Wednesday, December 2, 2015

November Already Done?

25 weeks

Getting back from the Christmas parade 

Cody and the girls after the Christmas parade

Apple Pie-The desserts did turn out good!

Deviled eggs--a family tradition

Jane at her Halloween carnival at school

Cody coerced me into wearing a hideous hippy costume for the ward Halloween Trunk or Treat. Cody's wig was cool though. 

Jane as a witch. She loves to sing the "I'm a Mean Old Witch with a Hat" song. 

Trick or Treating on Halloween night
I have not had the time nor the energy to write lately, but I can see that time is passing and nothing is being written. I find that it is easier to post to Instagram than it is to write a post on my blog, but I love having a more comprehensive record, so I will keep writing.

October is way past and November flew by as it does every year.

October: I have just added some photos from around Halloween time. It was cold the night of Halloween and we just threw away the rest of the candy because Jane was asking for it everyday! I am glad that Jane didn't have the energy to go to too many houses. I ate way too much candy and Maurie had only Tootsie pops because she is allergic to everything else. I liked it better when I couldn't have anything because I was breastfeeding.


Christmas Parade was a hit. It was super cold and we didn't make it to the very end, but both the girls had fun! The only pictures we got were when we just got home. I wish I would have taken some photos of the floats and marching bands.

Thanksgiving: Props to my mom and all the people out there that make their own full Thanksgiving meal! We made our own dinner this year. I have made parts of a Thanksgiving dinner, but not the whole thing, so it was a great challenge and learning experience. I stayed up late the night before Thanksgiving to make pumpkin pies and an apple pie. This was done in an effort to free up the oven for the turkey, rolls and green bean casserole. Well, the day came and since it was also my birthday I ended up talking on the phone with family and neglecting to put the turkey in earlier. We didn't eat until 3:30pm. When the red button popped on the turkey, indicating that it was done, we all literally cheered out loud and gave each other high fives. We quickly carved enough turkey to eat and sat down to the rest of our meal that was essentially all reheated since it had been done all day. =) Cody made the rolls and as he was kneading the dough I looked over and wondered what had gone wrong because none of the dough was sticking together. We looked over the recipe and he had forgotten two eggs. He was a bit dejected at first and suggested he start over, but I suggested we just add them anyway. Thankfully after adding the eggs the consistency straightened out and we were able to make them. They were more brown than I like, but we were not willing to make another batch, so we ate them all. As you can see, we learned a lot that we will remember for next Thanksgiving, but at the end of it all we had a great feast that tasted delicious. Jane barely touched her food and Maurie wasn't terribly excited about any of the meal either. Such is life.
After our dinner we took our desserts to a friends house, ate treats, wrote down what we were thankful for and shared, and played games. We played an Eternal Companions Trivia game that was fun. It went a lot better than the first couples game Cody and I played right after we got married. It takes quite a bit to hurt Cody's feelings and the first time we played a couples game I unintentionally really hurt his feelings. Despite our past bad experience, we gave the game a try and it ended up being really fun. My kids played with our friends' kids and watched a movie. It was a great way to end the day. We are always grateful for the wonderful family away from family that we have here in Wisconsin.

My birthday: I am thirty years old now. It feels wrinkles and stiff knees old. I think everyone experiences those birthdays where they actually start to feel the age they are. This one was one of those.
Cody bought me some new Miller glasses since I lost one pair and Jane broke the other. I was able to talk to most of my family on the phone and I had many more family and friends wish me a happy birthday. It was a lovely day.

Our anniversary: We celebrated seven years of marriage by getting a babysitter so we could see the last Hunger Games. We laughed on our way there because we have watched Hunger Games for our anniversary or my birthday four out of the seven years we have been married. I am glad the trilogy is over so we can start a new, more engaging tradition for our anniversary celebration. I liked the movie, but I was terribly disappointed with the "horror" previews that came before the movie. I literally had my eyes closed nearly the entire time the previews were on and I wanted to plug my ears too, since scary music is almost as bad as the scary images. What is with them showing demonic previews at a PG-13 movie? Not cool. I even wrote a review on the movie theatre website.
Despite the previews, Cody and I enjoyed being out together without the girls.  I am glad to still be married, and I can only see it getting better and better. I am thankful he is my sweetheart for eternity. He continues to love me and serve me everyday. We shared our favorite memories of each other this past year too. You should try that on your anniversary; it is fun to look back at the happy memories you made together.

December will be filled to the brim as well, which I love. Christmas parties, travel, my brother's wedding and seeing family and friends. I am super excited and will make a better effort to post more frequently.

Quick update on baby #3: Still no name...Cody will be naming this baby, and I am pretty sure she will be born without a name picked out. If you have any good name suggestions that I can send his way, let me know. =)

I just finished a really good book--Ina May Gaskin's Guide to Childbirth. If you are pregnant, you should read it. It has moved up to my top three books about pregnancy and childbirth.

I was also able to go baby registry shopping with a friend this month too, and I was surprised at how many things we have accumulated over time. Before we went shopping, I made a list of things for her to consider buying/registering, and if anyone ever needs a list, I have one I can send you.

Baby girl is already head-down, and I am about 26 weeks pregnant at this point. She punches and kicks A LOT. I also feel a lot of energy/anticipation with this baby. I think she is very eager to get to Earth and get things started. I didn't feel that as much with my previous pregnancies.

I hope all of you are well and that your holidays have been and will be joyful! Until next time.



Thursday, October 29, 2015

Family Photos October 2015

Our friend Bailey Taylor took some family photos for us. The last time we actually formally took a family photo was when Jane was six months old--other than when we took a few when Maurie was born. It was overdue. I am thankful for her willingness to take them. I was telling Cody that I can't win with the family pictures though. Last time I had just had a baby and in these photos I am twenty weeks pregnant. O well! I have begun to embrace the extra padding that I carry with me. It is for the little ones and there will be a time that I won't have the excuse. I think I notice my weight fluctuation more too because Cody never, ever changes weight. He has looked the same since we got married seven years ago. But I digress! More than me having body image issues, I love, love, love to see my family. It is so nice to have a record of their smiles and their age. Here are some of the photos.

J-4, M-1, C-31, L-29

Fall Kickoff 2015

I am a little late in posting, but we had a successful Fall Kickoff this year. We were apprehensive to host a party because it has felt like we just couldn't finish the painting and other details of the house. Thankfully, the party was exactly what we needed to get our rear ends in gear. We finished the painting probably one hour before the party began. We were so grateful to be finished. We had a potluck and the soups that people brought were awesome. I made a lot of pumpkin chocolate chip cookies and made a pumpkin dip for gingerbread cookies. We had hot chocolate and hot apple cider. Many people brought yummy breads to share as well. Overall, the food was delicious. We played a few games and really enjoyed everyone's company. The kids played "What Time is It, Mr. Fox?" and they also played a candy corn game. One game adults and kids played involved popping balloons that were attached to our ankles. The last man standing with an inflated balloon was the winner. Our pregnant friend Rachael was the winner. We were all very impressed with her endurance! I loved watching the kids that had got their balloon popped already, gang up on an adult. It made me laugh. I still get a thrill out of being chased, even as an adult. I got jumped by two people and ended up a loser. I am sad I didn't get more pictures of the game. I think my friend got pictures, and I need to see if she will share them with me. It was a true fall, chilly day, but everyone spent plenty of time outside. The kids played in the treehouse and on the jungle gym. It was not until the very end of the night that we turned on Big Hero 6 for the kids to watch in the basement. Many spent a little time inside and outside. I am so grateful for the great friends we have. Until next year!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Gender Reveal

Thank you so much to our friends that made this fun and special for us!


Monday, October 5, 2015

Ready to Make Some Changes

This weekend the leaders of my international church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) spoke to us. Every time I listen I walk away with concepts to think about and plenty to do.

Here are a few things I learned:

  • The Spirit will tell me things that no one else will. Over my lifetime, I have had many times that the Holy Ghost would teach me things that I needed to change and do. I am grateful when I listen and make changes because then I can keep listening and improving myself. I feel so blessed to receive answers to my prayers and to be told what no one else will or can tell me. 
  • I need to use God as my partner in parenting. God loves my children and will help me to know how to teach and love them. Too many times I turn to frustration and anger instead of peace, patience and prayer. 
  • I also felt very valued as a woman and mother as I listened to several talks that honored the feelings of my heart. My love for my children runs too deep for human words to describe and Jeffrey R. Holland illustrated so beautifully the Christ-like love and devotion of a mother. I also was reminded that some of the gifts and talents that I have are valued by God even if they may not attract the attention of the world. My gifts and talents will bless my family and others if I will allow God to lead me. 
  • I need to "ponderize" (ponder and memorize) the scriptures, save money weekly and, overall, show more discipline in my life. 
  • I need to have more faith and trust and avoid doubt and skepticism. With God's help, I have overcome the doubts that once plagued me. 
  • Life is meant to be full of joy and brightness. I want to complain less and be more filled with gratitude. There is so many things to be grateful for. 

I hope that if you have not been able to listen to the talks given you will listen when you can and do what you can to become better. 

Lucy Bowman

A Word on Low-key Birthdays

Slowly working on her cupcake

Fun at the park

Enjoying the park with sister
Since Jane's birthday party, I have discovered the beauty of small family birthdays. Growing up I had a birthday party every year. I don't know how my mom did it.

Maurie turned one on September 10 and I was determined to keep it simple. I got online and was tempted to start planning a party that would take way too much time and effort. The mothers that plan elaborate parties for their one year olds either only have one child, find personal fulfillment in it or are gluttons for punishment.

I talked to my sister who went to a birthday party for a very young child and there were so many gifts that he or she said, "Am I done yet?" --referring to opening gifts. The child was literally throwing the gifts to the side as he opened them. As my sister told me this, I realized how excessive our lives can get. Gifts are certainly a sign of love and care, but when the child doesn't even care about the gifts, you know something is being overdone.

So...Cody and I bought Maurie new socks and a stuffed unicorn that she was partial to at the store. I wrapped them in tissue paper, made some cupcakes and we sang Happy Birthday to her. We also told Maurie the things we loved about her. She was happy as a lark and was thrilled with both the socks and the unicorn. She gave her gifts a hug and patted them, definitely a sign of approval. She eventually devoured the cupcake and we all had a stress-free evening that also included going to the park as a family. I felt like someone had just lifted a burden off my shoulders. My daughter felt loved; I had the time to show that love, and we all enjoyed each other. Wow, why had I made my life so hard with Jane's birthdays?

Now, don't get me wrong. I love a good, organized beautiful birthday, but for me and my house, we will be keeping it simple most years. I think there are a few birthdays that I will put in extra effort for, but family birthdays are lovely in their own right. I hope Jane is not too disappointed when she realizes that she may be just getting a new sibling for her birthday, a treat and a gift. She talks about cakes, balloons, surprises--a party that looks like something out of a Fancy Nancy book is more of what she envisions, but as long as she feels special and loved, I think she will forgive me.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Preppers for Life

So, the other day my husband was at church looking through his notebook before a meeting. He found a note I had written in his notebook some time previous and sent me a text letting me know he had found it. We both had a good chuckle.

He had left the notebook on the kitchen table and I had read all his notes about the signs of the last days. I wrote..."I am a prepper!" on his notebook and then wrote "I love you." I tease Cody all the time about being so serious about the end of the world, but I really do appreciate his efforts to be prepared. Lately, there has been a lot of excitement about signs and coming events that may lead to the beginning of the end. From what I have read from others and what Cody explains to me, this excitement is founded in years of research from many sources. I personally did not feel the need to get terribly anxious, but I did begin to think about what I would have to work with emotionally, physically and spiritually if it really was some day this month that the stock market crashed and life as we know it changed. It has been nice to be focussed on evaluating myself, my family and what we have.

The way I see it, if I am squirming in my seat, feeling uncomfortable about the end coming, then I am not prepared. Prophets and apostles have encouraged preparedness for so many years and yet generations from when that counsel began, I don't have sufficient water, let alone enough food storage. I would love to have someone tell me that "tomorrow is the day everything changes" and my response be, "That's okay. I'm ready." This confidence is something to work towards now, not later.

One thing that my sweet prepper, Cody has always emphasized is that it is not just a list of stuff we need to get. My knowledge and my mental attitude will make as much of a difference in times of trial or scarcity as my food storage and 72 hour kit. He learned these principles from a man named Jim Phillips who has dedicated his life to helping/educating others prepare for any situation. I have been impressed with his curriculum. I especially like his education on sanitation, cold weather clothing and mental readiness. I can see myself being able to physically take a blow during a natural disaster or other circumstance, but I let my mind get the better of me far too often. Attitude is everything. Check out the website here Safe Harbor Alliance. I tease Cody, but I take being prepared seriously. Like Noah, I want to have the last laugh--he probably didn't laugh--as I float on my giant boat instead of drowning in the flood with the sad thought, Well, he did tell me this was going to happen.

Despite recent events or even your opinions on when the end of the world may be, does it really hurt to prepare more, to have more stored up in your mind, heart and closets?

Do you feel ready for any circumstance at any time? If you don't, what could you do to feel more confident? How are you using this time of abundance and prosperity to prepare to bless yourself, your family and others?

"If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear." (D&C 38:30)



Thursday, September 10, 2015

For the Ordinary People

The other day I read a quote by Jenkin Lloyd Jones that made me feel a little depressed.

“Anyone who imagines that bliss is normal is going to waste a lot of time running around shouting that he’s been robbed. The fact is that most putts don’t drop, most beef is tough, most children grow up to just be people, most successful marriages require a high degree of mutual toleration, most jobs are more often dull than otherwise. Life is like an old time rail journey…delays…sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling burst of speed. The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride.”

I have a hard time thanking the Lord for the ride. Instead I tend to be discouraged that I am just an ordinary person and that the ride isn't always "beautiful vistas". I have thought a lot about how I would feel if I were to be ordinary my whole life. I have always wanted to do something extraordinary and touch many lives, so it is hard for me to swallow the fact that I may not make the kind of impact that I have imagined. 

Then, I read a quote that brought a lot of hope to me. 

"Ordinary people who faithfully, diligently, and consistently do simple things that are right before God will bring forth extraordinary results." --David A. Bednar

I may be just an ordinary person, but I have the capacity to create extraordinary results. I have always believed and will always believe that with God I can accomplish so much more. I am thankful for the seemingly ordinary things in life that have shaped me. Although millions of women have babies everyday, the fact is that having children is so personal and perfect. I remember reading a blog about a lady who said we should stop praising women for having babies and getting married and celebrate women who have climbed Mt. Everest, become successful in their career or had a number of other special accomplishments. While I completely applaud successful women in whatever their sphere, I do not agree that being married and having children is not a special accomplishment. Just because I am doing something that other women do, does not mean that it is not challenging and teaching me how to be the best version of myself. To what end do we do things? To impress? To prove something? Even if marriage and motherhood is ordinary, fulfilling my role as wife and mother "faithfully, diligently and consistently...before God will bring forth extraordinary results." To my children, no one can fill my place like I can...and that makes me special to at least them. 

I will not believe that what I do is not valuable. I am grateful that my mother did not listen to the lies and made me important enough to do ordinary things for, everyday. 

The late L. Tom Perry revered and honored his mother and I remember him mentioning how grateful he was for the clean socks in his drawers and other small gestures of love he saw in his mothers service. Think about the ordinary things you do everyday. Think about what life would be like for your family and or friends if you stopped doing those ordinary things. 

Cheers to all the ordinary people out there that do ordinary things gracefully and gratefully! 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Big, Surprising News

I have been planning some amazing, creative way to share this news, but all of my attempts have been failures.

Drum roll...


I was going to take really cute pictures of the girls holding up a sign that said "Big Sisters in March 2016" or take a cool picture of everyone's shoes and then add cute little baby shoes to the mix and have text somewhere that said "Adding two little feet March 10, 2016". Anyways, the point here is that I figured that by the time I actually produced these cute photos, the baby would be here already.

Some thoughts you may have now that you know...hopefully in this order and my reply.

1. Congratulations!
                 (Thank you!)

2. Wow! Didn't you just have a baby?
                 (Yes, Maurie is not quite yet one years old.)

3. Was this planned?
                 (Yes, just not this soon;)

4. Are you hoping for a boy?

You could have other thoughts, but these seem to be the questions I get most often. The only thing that has bothered me has been that people have found out and not even said "Congrats," or "I'm happy for you." Regardless of how many children someone has or how close their children are together, I think adding a human being to a family is exciting and worth celebrating...even the surprise babies.

Here is the story of how we found out. First, I took two pregnancy tests in May and both came back negative. I was appeased and did not consider pregnancy after that. I continued to not have a menstrual cycle, but I decided it was due to my quick weight loss. Three months later, I thought I was really sick. I was so tired, dizzy and feeling altogether terrible. I was still eating a very limited diet and thought I wasn't eating enough...which I was not eating enough for being pregnant. Eventually I had an impression to get a non-dollar store pregnancy test and check one more time for peace of mind. So after a trip to Walgreens, I woke up early the next morning completely expecting to see negative results. Well, obviously, I double checked the package insert to see that what I was seeing was a positive result. I came downstairs and shared with Cody that I was indeed pregnant. Cody just smiled, congratulated me and gave me a kiss. He was not surprised, but I could see the stress in his face. The two lines on the pregnancy test looked like dollar signs to him and he is right. We love our children, and they are expensive =).

We are also just coming out of some pretty traumatic, tough times with Maurie. She is sleeping through the night after 11 months and I can tell you I truly appreciate it! I laugh though because I have gone from not sleeping because Maurie needs me, to not sleeping because I have to pee a million times a night. However challenging the timing may be, I am just grateful for a healthy baby. When I did find out I was pregnant, according to my menstrual cycle I was supposed to be 13 weeks. When I went into the midwife, we could not hear a heartbeat, so I worried and went in for an early ultrasound. Thankfully, the baby was just fine, but I was not as far along. I can tell you during that time of worrying and wondering, that I was far more concerned that the baby was okay than I was with expenses or lost sleep. Children are work, but the best work!

We told Jane and she was so excited. She jumped up and down and came over to me to look at my stomach, as though she would see something already. She asked me consistently every morning for a week if the baby was coming out. I finally got her to understand that when she turned five years old in March, that the baby would come. She seems satisfied for now. She tells everyone that I am pregnant and that I am having a boy. We rarely have to announce because Jane beats us to the punch.

Are you serious, Mom? Another baby?
So happy!
You can imagine that Maurie doesn't think much about it. If anything I feel guilty that her babyhood will be cut short. She is still a baby and I am soaking in her milestones. She will be 18 months old when Baby Bowman 3 arrives.

What? I don't know what you are talking about. Yes, I am the baby.

Just to liven things up, we are going to do a gender reveal that is a surprise to Cody and me. In the past I have always just found out at the ultrasound, but I want them to put the gender in a sealed envelope and then I want to recruit a friend to help us set up a reveal. I will share the results in a little less than two months. We will not be sad if it is another girl. Our girls are so unique and such a joy. We, however, will admit that we will be extra excited if it is a boy. We have our top five names for a boy picked, as well as a few girl names. Has anyone ever done a fun gender reveal? Tell me about what you did. I hope my gender reveal plans go better than my plans to announce my pregnancy. =-)

Here is a video of what we want to do. Cody loves baseball.

So, here's to another adventure!

Hope all is well with you!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Leaving the Dishes and Chores

On Saturday, we left the dishes in the sink, the lawn uncut and the laundry unfolded. We attended a baptism in the morning and then headed to High Cliff State Park with our friends Steve and Rachael Thurman. We ate in the hot sun and hiked the Indian Mound trail, which is a beautiful forest with beautiful outlook spots to see Lake Winnebago. Then we went to a tower that overlooks the lake and played Bocce ball and frisbee in the park. It was a beautiful day and we had a great time visiting with our friends and enjoying the outdoors. We didn't get home until around 8:30 pm and we were all happy and tired. Maurie had been walking around all afternoon and sampling dirt and pebbles, and Jane had played hard too. Everyone slept well. =)

Cody and I can feel the summer leaving and the fall entering here already. We are eager to use the time we can be outdoors as much as we can! I bought Jane's school supplies, and it has been fun to see my friends and family's kids start school. I hope no one wasted the summer months!



Thursday, August 13, 2015

Lean on Me Sissy Sue

Today I took Jane and Maurie on a bike ride. They both sat in the bike trailer. I was pedaling along and look back to see Maurie sucking her own thumb and leaning on Jane. Jane had her arm around Maurie and was laying her head on Maurie's. I kept looking back to get a glimpse of their sweet expression of love. I prayed right then that they might always lean on each other. I know that the love of a sister is so special because I have leaned on my beautiful sisters many times. Here is to family and showing more love! I wish my mind could have taken a picture and I could post it here, but you will just have to imagine. =)

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Letting Go

The family at the Miller Company Picnic. J (4) and M(10M)
I have been feeling that Jane is getting too big without my permission. ;) I decided to take her on a mommy-daughter date. We went to the movie theatre to see Inside Out and it was appropriate because the movie was about a little girl who is growing up and changing emotionally. My children and I are growing up and changing, and I am having to let go and adapt with them.

The other day Jane was very tired and she started to cry and could not stop. I could tell she was feeling emotional, but all the sudden she says, "Mom, what is wrong with me? I'm crying and I can't stop." I felt a real connection with her. I feel like that a lot and I certainly did throughout my growing up. Jane also tells me amidst tears periodically, "Mom, I don't want to grow up!" I feel exactly the same way...I don't want her to grow up!

Jane is riding a regular bike--no training wheels--and loves it. Seeing her tiny legs pedaling around the neighborhood brings me so much joy and also reminds me that she will do more and more without me. Also, every time we sit down to eat or just rest, Jane wants to talk about something. Lately, we talk about why the cat took the spell book in the movie Hocus Pocus. (I know, I know, my four year old should not love this movie, but she does.) We talk about anything she decides is worthy of conversation really, in a very adult manner. =)

Maurie has also broke my heart lately. I have been breastfeeding for nearly 11 months and now she has decided she is done. For those who know me well, breastfeeding was very traumatic with Jane and I anticipated not being able to do it for very long with Maurie, but I have been pleasantly surprised. With Maurie, I have enjoyed breastfeeding. It has been the bonding experience that most Mom's hope for. I thought for sure that I would be the one to cut her off though and having her not want to breastfeed instead of me taking it away has been a little emotional. This is opposite the feeling I had as I weaned Jane at six months. Maurie also walks around, has a special smile for Daddy and gives the best open-mouth, slobbery kisses. Her dimples and long, curly black hair bring me so much joy. As she grows, I feel a desperate need to slow things down.

I remember around ten years old going to hang out with a friend instead of staying home with my mom. As I drove away I could see my mom sobbing as she trimmed the bushes in the front yard. Now I know why she was crying so hard. She knew I would never be the little girl who would rather be with mom more than anyone else. It was a turning point that moms know about intuitively. I know that my girls are not that big yet, but I feel like the time I really have them is far too short. So, like Jane, I say, "I don't want to grow up!" I'm not ready to let go of my babies and I don't want to miss anything. So, keep track of those moments that only last for minutes.

When were the moments that you knew that you or your children were growing into a new stage?


Friday, July 17, 2015

The Perfect Storm

My mind and heart have not been on writing lately. Cody called the last month or so "a perfect storm of events." I started a new job at Fox Valley Technical College teaching Business Communications right before we closed on our house and moved in. This may not seem like a lot, but it has been very stressful. With carpet cleanings, duct cleanings, painting, moving, unpacking, cleaning two homes, spending money and trying to figure out how to teach a new course, I have felt like I am on the verge of a losing my mind and especially my patience. Don't get me wrong, having a job and being able to buy a new home are not things to complain about, but the timing of everything has brought on tears and depression for me. 

To extend this perfect storm, nearly two weeks ago, a few days before my parents came to visit, God decided that it was time to give me some perspective. Our whole family got lice. No, I don't know where it came from.  I won't go into the disgusting details, but for the first time in a few months I was forced to think about things that really matter. Not having my entire house painted the color I wanted all the sudden seemed very trivial and the only thing I could think about was getting my family healthy--free of lice. To give you some perspective on this event, I have to describe the kind of person I am, for better or for worse. I am a clean freak. My house is not always sparkling, but I strive to have organization and cleanliness be the norm. I also have a real fear of bugs. So, to have lice, something associated with being dirty (I know this is a fallacy), and knowing that I had bugs in my hair really did put me over the edge. I had to completely humble myself and ask Heavenly Father to help me and my family. After spending an entire day treating and picking our hair, we decided to go to a lice removal company who uses a special dehydration machine to eliminate any remaining lice. After an hour and a half drive and $350, we were deemed lice free and I had some peace of mind. We still had the daunting task of cleaning all of our bedding and clothing, but we were on our way out of a hellish experience. So, I now have a better appreciation for the simple things in life and a new compassion for those that have had to deal with lice.

A few days later, my parents came to visit. It was lovely to have them come. We went to a cheese factory, ate out, finished painting the kitchen, watched a few movies and spent time on the deck in the backyard. More than anything, it was just nice to have family close by. Jane and Maurie got to play with Grandma and Grandpa, and I got to feel the wonderful feeling of being normal with family. There are not very many people on the Earth that understand me better than my mother and siblings. I figure Cody will understand me more and more as our marriage begins to meet and breach the time span I spent with my family. 

My class will be finished in two weeks. I have enjoyed getting to know the students, but I am eager to have a break. I believe that when I teach again it will be less stressful because we will be more settled in our home and I will be more familiar with the course I am teaching. 

Cody is doing well at work. He was able to spend a day with my parents and just got back from boating with the young men in our ward (part of a High Adventure trip). He has been riding his bike to work and it has inspired me. He recently finished reading Visions of Glory and now I am reading it. It has been giving us both a new and better perspective.

My health is fragile. Since Maurie's allergies and digestion issues, I have lost a lot of weight very quickly and I have been dealing with health issues that were not as apparent before. I do not have dairy, soy, peanuts and tree nuts, processed sugar, and I am just beginning to introduce gluten back into my diet. However challenging this has all been, it has taught me so much about what I put into my body and how it effects me and my children. I believe now, more than ever, that our diets are the culprits for most of the health issues that most Americans deal with today. I am determined to produce my own nutrient-dense food, find local sources of organic meats and produce, and educate others about how food changes everything. I recently watched the documentary Food Inc. and was reminded about the book I read, Fast Food Nation. I re-discovered how passive I have been about the kind of food I was consuming. I have made huge changes since I married Cody and even bigger changes in my diet since Maurie has had to pay the consequences food. I also feel inspired to raise my own beef, chicken and pork and maintain orchards. I also would like to help minorities and underprivileged people gain more access to wholesome food. I know that none of this is possible overnight, but I have a real desire to do these things. 

Jane is growing up quickly and reminds me everyday that children are resilient. I am so flawed as her mother and yet she continues to show me so much forgiveness and compassion. She is is helpful and loves her sister. She does so much on her own simply because there is no one else to do it with. The backyard has been as valuable as I imagined it would be. She make believes in the backyard daily. I am actually very sad that she will start 4k this coming school year because I have enjoyed having her home with me. I know she will love the sociality of school though, so I welcome it for her. She takes after Cody in social situations; whereas, I am completely content 90% of the time just being a home and being alone. Jane got a hair cut the same time as me and we are both boasting a very short cut. 

Maurie is still quiet and observant. She watches everything closely and she has a strong will despite her more calm and reserved nature. She has a head full of dark curly hair and I can rarely go somewhere without someone commenting on it. Maurie smiles and extends her hands to people now, but she is still far more shy than Jane ever was. Her cheek, the most apparent side effect of her  diet/allergy issues has healed, for the most part. I went out to eat twice in one day when my parents were in town and it did flare up for awhile because of it, but when I am eating a clean diet--I can't eat out--, her cheek and her digestion do better. I love her age right now...10 months. She will be walking soon. 

Today we went to Shawano Lake, WI. It was a beautiful day. Jane played in the water most of the time and the rest of the time she spent playing in the sand. Maurie was less keen on the water, but she ate some sand and was pleasant most of the morning. I enjoyed being outdoors and being able to spend some of the day with Cody.

This is a lengthy update, but it is no surprise when it is overdue. I hope all is well with my friends and family!

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