Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Everyday Miracles

So, I will be honest.  I don't know what it is but I seem to be feeling kind of overwhelmed this Christmas.  I have been really having a hard time getting excited for Christmas (except for spending time with my family. . . I'm always stoked about that!) and this is really unusual for me.  And then it happened. . . . a string of tiny little miracles that have now completely changed my mood and are making me excited for Christmas.  I was worried about getting all of my shopping done and then my BFF called me up and said that she wanted to ditch her kids with her hubby and we are going to go to our 24 hour Walmart and Superstore and get those last gifts that I need to pick up as well as all of the groceries that I am going to need to get through Christmas.  It gave me the strength to actually get my butt out there and I will be shopping tonight at about 11 pm, so YAY for Miracle #1. 
I have been asked to volunteer at my kids' school tomorrow and Friday and I have been having the hardest time finding a babysitter for tomorrow and then all of a sudden my BFF said she could watch the boys in the morning and then a girl in my ward is going to swing by and pick them up to watch them in the afternoon. . . . Miracle #2. 
I am organizing a huge scrapbooking convention for April and I have been having a hard time finding some companies to come because of the economic slow down and then I talked to my mom and about 1/2 hour later we had enough companies to fill all of the class time slots . . . Miracle #3. 
We are taking the kids down to visit Otto's Mom and my Brother-in-law and his family this weekend and we are taking down some furniture for my Mother-in-Law for her Christmas present and I have been trying to figure out how to get us all down there without having to take 2 vehicles (I hate spending that much on gas) and to not have to squeeze us all in the truck illegally.  Then Miracle #4 happened. . . . my Brother-in-law called me and said that he was going to be in town on Friday morning and that he could bring up his trailer and we can put the couches on that and take them down so that we can all go down in the van.  He then planned a light sight-seeing expedition while we are down there, and then a play, as well as a family dinner, and a fun little get together with some people all to happen while we are down visiting.  I am now really excited about going down there.  I was kind of dreading it before (I just don't want to spend money any more) and now I am really looking forward to it.
So, maybe it's because Christmas is around the corner, or maybe it's because I am surrounded by awesome people, but I really feel grateful for all of my little everyday miracles that have been happening to me today.
Thanks everyone!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas

My concert went really well.  I was quite happy with it.  Once Otto uploads the video onto the computer, I will post a link to it for all who are interested in watching it.  The circus video will be on there too.
I was just thinking about how things are starting to calm down right now.  It always seems to be that everything gets scheduled in the first half of December and then around the week before Christmas things start to calm down so that I have time to spend with my family.  The house is decorated, the chocolates are made, all the baking is done, shopping is pretty much finished, Christmas dinners are organized, piano recitals are done, Christmas music concert is an amazing success, and there is snow on the ground.  I just can't help but feel excited for Christmas.  We are going to be having 4 Christmas dinners this year.  One with Otto's Mom and her husband and my brother-in-law and his family.  One with Otto's Dad, his wife, my Brother-in-law and his family and my Sister-in-law and her family.  One with my Lee side and one with my Bennion side.  Then it will be family togetherness time in the hot hot sun!  I am really excited for Christmas to begin.  To me, the best part about Christmas is being able to spend time with my family.  The presents, good food and sunny times are just a bonus.  I would be just as happy without all of that if my family just hung out and spent time together, playing games, etc.
So bring on Christmas.  I just can't wait!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

I'm Here

To my sister Jenna,
  I'm here.  I'm alive.  I'm busy organizing a musical concert for Sunday.  I will write more after that is over!  Life is CRAZY BUSY here right now.  I love you and will update you soon!
Megs

Monday, November 30, 2009

Commitment

Every year for the past 11 years, I have sung in a church chorus that performs Handel's Messiah.  This is something that I have always enjoyed doing.  I always leave rehearsals feeling uplifted and happy because I have been able to do something that I love doing for 3 hours.
Last night was the last performance of the Messiah, and I skipped it.  I debated whether or not I should go all day long, and I didn't choose to skip the last performance on a whim.  I thought about it long and hard.  One of the very reasons I decided to stay home with my family was because of something my conductor has said over and over again.  Every year he gives us a lecture on commitment and he always talks about making sure you prioritize your commitments and always do your best to keep them.  What he didn't understand is that some of us really took that to heart and I have decided that being with my family, and spending time with them is the most important commitment. . . .especially on a Sunday.
Last week was extremely busy and this week will be even more so.  I will not be at home any evening this week and I will also be gone most afternoons as well.  I have 4 - 5 things scheduled each day that have to be done and when I looked at my calendar last night I realized that my family won't have some quality time together at all this week.  I felt sad and then I really felt as though I should stay at home with them last night and we should do something as a family.
So, we did.  We had a great dinner and then after the kids were done the dishes, we all got into our pj's and watched Star Trek as a family and had some treats.  It was nothing special, but it was at least time together as a family.  We haven't had an evening where we are all home at the same time in about 3 weeks.  We really needed it and it was so much fun to cuddle with my three younger kids during the movie.
I am sure that my conductor was not impressed that I wasn't there last night, but I was keeping my biggest commitment of all. . . . the one I made to my family 11 years ago.

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Comin Family Proudly Presents. . .

. . . The Circus!

On Monday night, after teaching piano lessons, the following notice was found on my bedroom door:
The Circus
The Circus will be on Thursday the 26th of November after dinner when Anne and Caroline come home before dinner we ask that we get ready for it so that we will be on time and so we won't have to do it when it is are turn to do the circus and there will be two parts of the show so we ask if you can sit down well we are getting ready for the second part of the show and we ask if you can sit on the floor or on the other sofa and it would be best if you sit on the other sofa or stand up. 
Please bring a video camera!
To The Circus Please!!!!!!!!!!
THANKYOU!!!!!

Of course, once we read that notice we had to make sure that we could attend the circus.  So, last night (as posted) we attended the Comin Family 3 Ring Circus.  Abby was the emcee and she started off the evening by handing us a "Circus Flodder" (folder) which contained the program for the evening (2 copies of it of course) and the words to the "good buy" song that they made up. 
The program went as follows:
1 . Dance by the clowns (Anne and Caroline)
2.  The tripe artist (I believe she meant trapeze artist, but we called them the tripe artist for the rest of the evening)
3.  Silly clown song
4.  Silly tea party
5.  Sad clown song
6. The Good buy song

The kids had been working on this circus for weeks and it was all that they could talk about.  I let them use the Halloween face paint and paint their faces and then after the circus I made scones for everyone so that we could have some yummy circus food after the show.   I do have to say that my favorite part of the circus was actually the "Good Buy" song.  It went like this:
Good buy good buy good clowns good buy we hope you enjoyed are show _____.
We hoped you will come soon so be good to your parents and they may take you to our circus so be good ____.  So that you can come to the circus.  Are tripe artist says good buy are ring master says good buy (good buy) are clowns says good buy.  Good buy good buy we hope you will come again soon we don't want to bother anyone we don't we don't want to be mean to your parents but we will see you next time _____.
SO BE GOOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Personally, my favorite line was the last one, but Otto enjoyed the entire thing.  I told him that next time I find a great sale I will sing this song in my head.  There is no particular melody, just pick a note and start singing whatever tune comes to you.

So the circus. . . . . IT WAS AWESOME!!!!

GOOD BUY!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Circus is Coming to Town . . .

. . . . and there will be more details about it tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Getting Ready

The thing I love about November is that it is my "Get Ready" month for December.  Christmas is coming and I just can't wait!!!  November is when I decorate my house, get all of the activities planned for December, get the Christmas card written and ready to go, gather addresses, buy Christmas PJ's, buy all major Christmas presents, plan my Christmas party, get ready for my cookie exchange, make sure I have everything to make chocolates, set up all of the Christmas Trees, buy any decorations that may have gone missing over the past year, etc.
I LOVE Christmas and I try to make it last as long as possible.  I love that I get to have 3 Christmas dinners this year with 3 sides of my family.  I love that my Father in Law is coming into town so that we can see him on the 23rd.  I LOVE that I get to have a good old fashioned Lee Christmas Eve with all (or almost all) of my Calgary cousins!!!  I am excited to see my Bennion cousins on Christmas Day.  I am sooooo excited to be going to Jamaica with my hubby, kids, parents and siblings.
I have been very blessed this year, and I plan on celebrating Christmas all December long!  So, I must continue to get ready!  It's coming fast!!!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Quote

On Sunday, I got the special honor of attending Relief Society for the first time in a long time.  (If you are not a member of the church that I belong to, click here if you would like to learn more about what I am talking about.)  I am in charge of the Primary (the children) and so I usually have to miss out on Relief Society.  Anyways, this past Sunday I did receive the honor of attending Relief Society because it was our Visiting Teaching Conference.  I loved this conference and it really helped me with certain aspects that I have always had a hard time with.
One of the quotations from this conference was from Julie B Beck of the General Relief Society Presidency who was talking about what she learned from Sister Camilla Kimball, and it says this: "Never suppress a generous thought".  When I heard this quoted at my Visiting Teaching conference it reminded me that over the years, I have always had this thought with me in some form or another.  It is a motto that I have tried to live my life by.
When Otto and I were living in the Married Student Housing at the University, we were so lucky to have 5 other families from our ward living in the same courtyard as us.  Because of this, we were all in daily contact with each other and I would spend hours outside in the courtyard with the other wives and our little children, talking about our days and visiting.  It was a really fun time in our marriage!  Otto and I had some friends that we knew fairly well, but not extremely well who lived directly across from us and they had a son who was a little bit older than Abby.  The wife and I were pregnant at the same time and we had our second babies 4 weeks apart.  Having 2 children within a year of each other is REALLY hard, (but worth it later on) and I knew this because I would spend most of my days that first month crying all day long. 
After Jen had her baby neither of us went outside very much because I think we were both a tad overwhelmed.  There was one day that changed my life forever.  It is a day I will never forget.  I was having a pretty good day and I hadn't cried very much that day and so I was feeling pretty good about myself.  However, I kept on getting this really strong feeling that I should go over to Jen's place and see if she would like for me to take her older son for awhile.  I quickly rationalized this feeling away because I was pretty sure that I would end up overwhelmed and crying, and I didn't really know Jen all that well, and I had a new baby too, etc. . . .   The feeling never went away though.
That night, her husband stopped by (I can't remember why he did) and I asked him how his wife was doing.  He looked really sad and said that she had had the worst day ever and that she was feeling really overwhelmed and was really upset.  He also said that he had had to leave school early just to be with her to calm her down.   I FELT TERRIBLE!  I KNEW that I should have listened to that feeling.  It just wouldn't go away.  Ever since that day I have tried to follow all strong impressions when I feel them.
This brings me back to the quotation that I mentioned earlier.  We always hear that when we do good things for others, we receive blessings in return.  I have learned, from experience, that this is the case.  However, I have also learned that you don't always feel a warm fuzzy feeling inside, and you don't always get the thanks you deserve;  sometimes it even backfires on you and people get really angry.  However, you do get blessed.  The blessings may come in different shapes and forms than you would expect, but they do come! 
Service is an attitude.  I have learned that from my Grandma Bennion.  She is the ultimate example of service to me.  When I think about service I see her face.  Grandma Bennion taught me through example how to serve.  When a friend of yours has a death in the family, don't call them and see what you can do to help, go over there, listen to them and just do things.  Randomly show up and steal their kids for a few hours, bring them muffins and other snack foods for them to put out because they usually have to host families, attend the funeral service so that you can be there for your friend.  Do things that YOU would like to have done for you if that ever happens and never tell them to ASK you for help because it won't happen.  I can't even begin to tell you how many times people have done things for me when I have been in my weakest moments and it has completely changed my outlook on life and has given me the strength to go on.
So, learn from Sister Camilla Kimball and "Never supress a generous thought."  It WILL pay off.  I promise!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Busy Bee

I know I haven't posted in awhile.  I know that with it being so close to after Halloween that I should follow suit and do a post-halloween blog post.  I'm just not feeling it though.  Don't get me wrong, Halloween was great and my kids all dressed up in the Wizard of Oz theme, and the weekend was CRAZY busy.  But I think that the busyness (sp?) is what got me thinking the most.
Are any of you out there like me?  Here's what I mean.  I have found that I am most happy when I am busy.  I always need SOMETHING to do or else I feel like doing NOTHING.  People look at me with my 5 kids and my piano teaching and catering company and digital scrapbooking teaching, and they ask me how I do it.  The answer seems pretty simple to me.  I HAVE to do it!  If I want to be motivated to clean my house, I have to invite people over to it.  If I want some motivation to make a really elegant dinner, I invite people over to eat it.  I do not have the self-dicipline or motivation to just randomly get up and do things.  Now, am I weird over here or is there someone else in this big wide world like me?
I think the reason that I like to be so busy is because I like to have a purpose.  I have to feel needed and I love to help others.  I think that's why I love to teach piano and digital scrapbooking.  I feel as though I am helping those who don't know as much about those things as I do.  And I feel so proud of my students at our recitals when they can play their pieces.  I love watching them progress.  When I cater I feel as though I am helping other people with their food.  My most favorite events to cater are weddings because I can make the food so elegant and beautiful and it is such a happy time in the life of the family that I am doing the food for.
So, for those of you who don't get it I know I sound crazy, but I just love to be busy.  Speaking of that, I had better go. . . . I have a thousand things that need to get done!

Friday, October 23, 2009

A Letter

Before you read this letter that I am just writing to an imaginary lady, I want to first let you know that I do not mean to offend anyone.  I know that different opportunities are available to different people.  I just need to vent because I am tired of getting one of "those looks".

Dear 38 year old mother of one,
  I wanted to thank you, so much, for the wonderful comment you made today about the fact that I have so many children.  I really appreciated the follow up with the eye roll and the huge sigh.  That really made me feel as though you were trying to help me.  I just wanted to let you know, that despite what you may believe, I am not crazy and I do not need help. 
  Let me ask you this;  how many times did your child poop today?  What was that?  3?  Congratulations!  You should get the award for mom of the year.  Huh?  How many times did my child poop today?  Which child?  Oh, the baby?  Ummm. . . well. . . do babies poop?  I am sure that they do, but I have no clue.  I didn't change all of his diapers today.  Who did?  Well, I am sure that my husband changed a few, and I KNOW that my 9 year old pitched in and help change one.  Yep, you heard right.  My NINE year old changed a diaper.  You think that's terrible?  Did I mention that she can do the dishes and make a simple dinner too?
  Yeah, I know that you think that my children should be taken away because they have to help out.  I know that you think that I am a terrible wife because my husband helps out with EVERYTHING.  Did you know, that if anything were to happen to me that my family could still function?  My Caroline has been able to make a caesar salad since she was 3.  It is her favorite thing to do.
  Believe me, I KNOW that children are expensive.  I have to pay for school fees x 4.  I shell out over $300/month just to have 3 of them in music lessons.  I'll bet I would surprise you though with the amount that I spend on groceries. . . . I'll bet its not much more than you do.  It just takes planning.  I KNOW that children are a lot of work.  I have 5 of them!  Every day, I get to read and sign 4 agendas.  I  get to do laundry for 7 people.  I get to cook for 7 people.  I get to make everyone help me clean up for 7 people.  What's that?  Yes, my children have to clean.  No, I am not a slave driver, but neither am I their slave.  I am the mother and that makes it my responsibility to teach my children how to be responsible for themselves.  Yes, my kitchen cupboards would be more organized if I always put away the dishes, my beds would always be made and have hospital corners in the sheets, my windows and walls would be fingerprint free, and I would never have piles of laundry in my laundry room, but I would be a basket case and miss out on so many fun times with my children if I spent all of my time cleaning up after ALL of them  ALL of the time!
  Please stop judging me because I have so many children at such a young age.  I DO know what caused it, and no, I am NOT having any more.  Why?  Because I feel as though all of my children are here.  I know that all of the outfits that my children wear are not designer outfits.  I know that at least 80% of what they wear are hand-me-downs.  I know that you see my life as crazy and hectic and you think I am insane for having this many children.  I know that you see me as irresponsible for having this many children. 
  Let me ask YOU something.  Which one should I give away???  Should I give away my Abby?  She can be bossy, but she is my rock!  She LOVES to help out whenever she can and she is generally a good kid and very easy to get along with.  Should I give away my Anne?  She can be so materialistic, but she has a heart of gold.  She is sensative and she goes out of her way to make sure that everyone is included in everything.  What's that?  Caroline???  You mean my monkey???  Nope!  Even with all of the struggles we have with her disability and her stubbornness, no one and I mean NO ONE makes me laugh more than this cheeky kid!!!  You won't get me to give up Dustin with his incredible brain and his crazy sense of curiosity.  And Lee, my baby is mine forever.  His kisses are worth more than gold to me.
  So, lady, when you see me walking down the street with my children, please don't feel sorry for me.  Don't tell me how crazy I must be to have so many children.  NONE of them were accidents.  You get excited when your child has a mildstone.  You called all your friends when your baby first smiled, laughed, cut their first tooth, sat up by themselves, crawled, walked, went to preschool, started kindergarten etc.  I get to experience that 5 times.  I get to be excited and relive each milestone 5 times.  I get to attend more school concerts, piano and cello recitals, basketball games, and church activities than you will get to.  So maybe instead of thinking "poor girl" a better thing to think would be "lucky girl".  I am not sad about the life I have CHOSEN.  I am very happy with it.  The only thing that would be the icing on the cake would be if you could not stare at me with sympathy in your eyes.
Thanks again for your advice and help,
Megan

Saturday, October 17, 2009

A Little Story

I know that I haven't posted in awhile, and it isn't because I have had a lack of happenings around here. . . just the opposite, in fact.  However, I wanted to tell you this little story because I have only told very few people this story, but it concerns something that I feel strongly about.  So, have a good read, and feel free to post your comments after you have read this post.  I think that this is a great topic for discussion.
This story is true and it takes place about 5 1/2 years ago.  Being the mother of 3 beautiful girls, I felt as though I had faced quite a few trials.  The biggest trial being the birth of my third daugher, Caroline.  I feel as though I went through Hell and back just trying to bring this beautiful blond hair, blue eyed little girl into the world.  I knew from the moment that I saw her that she would be my trial.  I still don't know why I thought that at the time, but I still believe that my sweet Caroline was chosen to be my daughter to keep me humble.
Anyways, 5 1/2 years ago, my Caroline got sick and had flu-like symptoms and a high fever.  Being the young, protective mother that I was, I held my little girl night and day and I made sure that she was getting her fluids and was nice and bundled up.  She was, after all, only about 6 months old and that was all that I knew to do.  Because I didn't want to bother the doctor, I didn't make an appointment for her to see him, and I figured that this fever, like all of the other ones my girls had previously experienced, would also pass without any incidents.
Boy was I wrong!
After about 3 days, I felt really strongly that I needed to take her to the Children's Hospital.  I was very worried about her, and she must have showed some signs that she was getting more sick because I am not a big fan of visitng the hospital and I felt as though I was there at least once a year (and I was!!!).  But, ultimately my concern for my little girl overpowered my stubborness and I packed myself an overnight bag and drove to the Children's Hospital for what I knew would be a long wait followed by more long waits.
Once we got to the hospital, we stood in the line and waited for the triage nurse to do a preliminary check-up on her and direct us as to where we needed to go.  I remember this night as though is was yesterday (which is interesting because I can barely remember yesterday, much less 5 1/2 years ago. . . that shows how much this affected me.).  The triage nurse directed us into a triage room where there were 5 other sick children in beds divided by curtains.  Caroline was acting thirsty and so I got her a bit of apple juice as directed by the triage nurse.  And then all of a sudden I was looking at Caroline and it felt like my soul was saying good-bye to her.  I don't know why I started doing that, but it seemed as though I was watching her die.  To anyone else, it would have looked as though she was sleeping, but I knew that something was wrong.  Luckily for me, the triage nurse just happened to be walking up to our bed at that time and she grabbed the doctor as Caroline started to have a ceasure.  I was quickly pushed out of the way as they grabbed her and took her into the emergency room and started pumping her chest and sticking tubes in all sorts of places, and giving her needles and doing all of these crazy things to her.  No one said a word to me.  Every eye was on Caroline and my heart was beating as fast as her little heart was.  I knew that something had gone terribly wrong, I just didn't know what it was because all I could see were people in scrubs, tubes, monitors and blood.
Finally things seemed to settle down and people started to leave the room.  I think that's when someone remembered that I was standing there in the corner, white as a sheet and very scared.  A doctor, a resident and a nurse all came over to me and started asking me a ton of questions.  They then explained to me that they had no idea what was wrong with Caroline, but that her fever was so high that it had caused her body to start shutting down and that was why she had siezed.  They didn't know if or what the long term effects would be, but they knew that it was definitely the fever that had caused the ceasure.  The doctor, nurse and resident all then proceeded to explain to me that when a baby has a fever, you shouldn't keep them warm and bundled up, you should do whatever you can to cool them down.  Who knew?  I certainly didn't.  I certainly didn't realize that something as common as a fever could cause me to almost lose my little girl.  I felt as though I had failed her.  I felt as though I had caused it.  And I vowed that I would never feel like that again.  I would do whatever it took to keep my children safe, even if it meant researching something as mundane as a fever.
The reason I am sharing this story with you is because of this. . . when I made that vow to myself, I soon realized that even though I couldn't have prevented the fever from starting, I could have learned how to control it.  There were people out there who knew what I needed to do and they had information for me to be able to help my child.  I just needed to reach out and do something about it.  What's my point?  It is this. . . I am a very strong believer in vaccinations.  I believe that the medical professionals have been researching diseases and their causes and effects for a very long time.  I truly believe that when they strongly recommend that children should get vaccinated at certain ages that there is a reason.  I don't believe that one doctor decides on a whim that a certain age is appropriate for a certain vaccination and because everyone else likes the idea it becomes accepted.  I believe that there are certain laws and practices in place to prevent that from happening.
That being said, I also believe that there can be reactions to certain vaccinations.  I also believe that those reactions are the exception and not the rule.  I have also come to believe that sometimes people can overreact when one of these exceptions occur and then try and convince the major population that the vaccinations are not a good idea.  I personally have seen the devasting effects that some of the diseases that my children are vaccinated against have done to those who have had the strength to survive the diseases.  The long-term, lasting effects of these diseases is something that cripples these survivors for the rest of their lives.  As a mother, I do not want anything like that to happen to my child . . . especially if the answer to preventing these terrible effects is as simple as a free vaccination that is readily available to my child.  I could never live with myself if my son or daughter died from something that could have easily been prevented if I had taken the time to get them vaccinated.
The vaccines that are given to us, and especially children have gone through extensive testing and retesting and have had to pass through a series of approvals before they can be available to be used as a form of preventative medicine. 
I never thought I could lose a child because of a fever, but I almost did.  I truly believe that Caroline's disorders that she is now living with are a direct effect from that fever and ceasure that she endured that night in the hospital.  I could never live with myself if she had died from something that I could have prevented.  She is a constant reminder to me of how important it is to make sure I know all of the facts about something, even if it seems to be something that I see every day.  You just never know what could happen.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A Little Bit of Room

I haven't posted anything in a while because I have run out of things to say.  There is nothing extremely exciting happening in my life right now and everything is running pretty smoothly.  I know I need to post something, so I turned to the trusty old journal starters and I found this question:
What is your favourite room in your home and why?
My favorite room???  I would have to say my Great Room on the main floor.  This includes my Family Room, Kitchen and Eating Nook.  When Otto and I were building our house we saw the upgraded main floor plan which cost an arm and a leg more than the original floorplan.  It added about 100 extra square feet to our main floor and doubled the size of the kitchen and eating nook.  So, Otto gave his arm and I donated my leg and we upgraded the main floor.  We have never looked back.  It was the best investment we could have ever made.  Since we have moved here our kitchen has been filled with different dishes created by obscure recipes that we have come to love.  Our Eating Nook has been the host of several buffets and special dinners.  Our Family Room has held many friends and family at various parties and get togethers.  We have loved having our house filled with loved ones who can come over and share our food, friendship and laughter with us.  We even had hidden speakers put into our ceiling that have been the source of many a musical background. . . especially at Christmas time!  So, my favorite room is my Great Room. . . . there is a reason that it is so great!  It's not exactly the room itself (though I think it looks pretty great) its the fact that our Great Room is the perfect gathering place for the people we love, and that's why its my favorite room!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Family Fun

My sisters are all coming home this weekend and I am thrilled beyond thrilled!  I miss my sisters, so much, when they are at school and I can't wait to see my neice and nephew tonight!  We are going to spend tonight at our family's favorite restaurant, "Leo Fu's" and then we are going to play games (sans kids).  Tomorrow will be an early Thanksgiving dinner, followed by family pictures.  Then my parents and brother and his wife will head out to a wedding reception and we will send the other men off to a church meeting and have a girls night/chocolate fondue with all of my sisters and my kiddies!  Sunday will be spent watching a church broadcast in our pj's at my parent's house and then hanging out until the afternoon and wrapping up the day with a dinner with my Bennion cousins.
So. . . bring on the weekend!  I am ready to have some family fun!

Friday, September 25, 2009

One of those days

Have you ever just had one of those days? You know the ones I am talking about right? The ones where no matter where you are something goes wrong, or no matter what you say it is the wrong thing and everything you touch breaks??? Yeah, I have had one of THOSE days today! At first I was getting frustrated because everything was doing the opposite of what I wanted it to do, but then I started to wonder. . . . how much of this very bad day is actually bad and how much of it is my own attitude?
So, I began to pay attention and make myself not get frustrated but laugh instead, and I found the answer to my little question. The answer was that it was just one of those cosmic bad days. Things were happening to me that I just had no control over and things kept going wrong, and I just kept laughing. I even taught a class tonight at my mom's store and afterwards things just kept going wrong and the other employee at the store and I just kept laughing. I mean, what else could we do? We weren't causing the problems, they were just happening and we just had to endure them. So, after a crazy, bizarre and frustrating day followed by a laughing evening I am exhausted.
Hopefully tomorrow there will be sun!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Menu

I just wanted to let you know that I have now posted my two week menu on my "Don't Mind Me" blog. I hope it gives you a few ideas!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

New Goal

Ever since I finished my first 10K people have been asking me what my new goal is. Well, I have found one that I think should work out great! It will be hard and not fun sometimes, but I am really determined to do it! Check out my other blog "Don't Mind Me" (link is on the right hand side of this page) to see what my goal is and if you are interested, come and join me! It is always more fun to accomplish a goal with friends on board!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

She's 6!!!


I can't believe that 6 years ago yesterday, I gave birth to my Monkey! Right from the start, things were rough, but she has always been a source of light and laughter for me.
Caroline has had some struggles with her speech and her coordination, but she is such an example of how a positive attitude and a witty joke can get you through almost anything. I am so proud of how far she has come with her speech and I admire her strength as she tries to tackle the Spanish language.
She is my Monkey. She is my Monster. She is my Angel. She is my Caroline!

Monday, September 14, 2009

What?!?!?! I'm NOT immortal???

I don't know what it was about yesterday. . . .maybe it finally hit me that I am 30 and now supposed to be a grown-up, maybe its this stupid ankle thing that is bothering me, maybe its the fact that I have a friend whose brother died suddenly at the age of 42, maybe its the fact that my grandpa just had surgery on his back and is STILL in the hospital. . . I don't know, but for some reason my mortality really hit me like a ton of bricks.
I started thinking of what would happen if I died tomorrow? (not in a suicidal way) Would I have regrets? Would my family hurt financially? Do I have a will? Do I have enough life insurance? Would Otto have to go into debt just to bury me?
Like I said, I don't know why I started thinking about that, but I believe that it was a good day to reflect. I know the answers to all of these questions and it has made me think that maybe I need to do a little organizing because I don't think that everything would go smoothly if I were to suddenly pass away. I do have life insurance, but I couldn't tell you how much or where the documents are. I don't have any regrets, however there is still a ton of stuff that I still want to do. Do I tell my children I love them enough? I hope so. I hope that one day (hopefully 60 years from now) when I do pass away, my children will always know how much I love them. I hope that I will have filled their lives with wonderful memories that they can cherish. I hope that I will have family and friends who will think of funny moments that we have shared together and that there will be a big party and everyone can hang out and relax after my funeral.
What it really boils down to is something that has been important to me for a long time and it is this:
I hope that my life will have mattered. I hope that in some small way I have made a difference in the world and that the world was a better place because I was in it. I hope that when I do get to the other side that my ancestors will be proud to claim me as their family member and that I leave a posterity who are successful and strong people. I hope that my belief in my religion will be passed onto my children and their children so that they can have hope and happiness when I am gone and I hope that when I see my little Robin again that I can cherish the fact that we will be together again.
So until someone finds a way for me to be immortal, I will just have to try and live this life to the fullest and make sure that my affairs are in order. . . just in case!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Little Indulgences

As part of my smiling all of the time goal, I have been trying to think of things that make me happy. Lately I have had a really sore ankle and when I went to my doctor he sent me to get an X-Ray which showed what they think is a tumor on my ankle. Don't freak out. There is a 95% chance that it will be benign but it has been causing me a lot of pain and I have even been banished to crutches if I have to go long distances (like from my bedroom to the front door).
Now, I will admit that if I lived by myself, I would probably just sit and wallow and feel sorry for myself. However, being the mom of 5 (3 of which are worried little girls) I don't have that luxury, so when the kids are home I have to be completely cheerful and happy. That being said, I have been trying to find things that make me happy and either think about them or do them so that I can be happy for my kids.
So, here are a few of my little indulgences that help put me in a good mood:
1 - I like funky hair! The good news is that my cousin, Amber seems to be a genius with my hair and always does a great job with the cut and color! Everyone always admires my hair when I get it done. Getting my hair done makes me happy on so many levels. . . I feel good about myself which makes me happy, and I love spending time with my cousin (and all of my cousins in general) which also makes me happy, I get some time away from the kiddies. . . another bonus (I love them but it is nice to have a break every once in a while!).
2 - I have a weakness for croissant donuts. . . yes, you heard right. . . there is probably nothing quite as fattening as a croissant donut, but when I die of an overdose of croissant donuts you can be sure that there will be a smile on my face!
3 - I love to plan and organize. I have been working on my food storage for my family and getting ready for the winter. In doing this, I have been canning like crazy and it feels so rewarding and I love seeing all of the jars lined up in nice neat rows. . . now I just need more space to put them!
4 - I love babies. I can't have any more of my own, so I pretty much steal any baby that I come in contact with. If you are not okay with this, then I warn you to hide your baby when I come around because you can guarantee that I will immediately snatch your baby and play with it until it is time for me to leave. Don't be shocked, I have been this way since I was 12.
5 - I like to watch movies at the movie theatre. This could be an expensive habit, however there is a rewards program here that I participate in and so all of my movies (and the accompanying popcorn) are free. . . . saving money too. . . another great thing for me!
6 - I like to travel. I like to plan trips and I love to look forward to trips. The planning for trips keeps me happy for hours on end.

There are many more things that I love to indulge in to help keep me happy, but I am curious, what are some things that YOU like to indulge in when you get a moment?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Smile, Its an Attitude

This is what my cousin, Michelle wrote on my facebook page in response to my status one day. Its amazing how sometimes a person can say just the right thing to you at just the right moment. When I read "Smile its an attitude" I realized that I am probably seen as a grumpy person. I do like to complain a lot and when people tell me their problems, I don't tell them to look on the bright side of things, I help them vent until they feel they can tackle the problem themselves.
This doesn't mean that I am not a happy person, but I guess that I just don't show my happiness enough. So, my new goal is to actually smile. I'm going to try harder to show people that I am happy and to show them how much I love them. It is my new found weakness that I am going to try and make my strength. . . I will admit that it may take a while, but I will sure have fun trying :)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

No Place Like Home

I'm sorry I haven't written in awhile. I have had a lot of things that I have wanted to write about, but I couldn't choose which one I wanted to talk about first. And then last night, Otto and I were talking about the summer and the topic of this post hit me like a freight train.
A couple of weeks ago when I was calling my family's house my brother got on the phone and asked me "Megan, what do you like most about the cabin?" Without hesitating I answered that my favorite part about the cabin is spending time with my family. Apparently that was what Jason was wanting to hear and he was thrilled that I said it. However, I don't think that he quite understood what I was trying to say.
The cabin, to me, is my home. When I go there my spirit feels connected to my past and to my future all at the same time. As I sit on the deck and look at the beach that my mom, Grandpa and Uncle Brant cleared away when my mom was a teenager I giggle as I recollect the stories of how she was punished for going out with her friends by being ordered to haul wood up the mountain all day long. I look at the rocks with their holes eroded into them and recall endless summers playing on the beach and pretending those rocks were my kitchen and spending hours "cooking" in my kitchen. Memories of my sisters pretending to be the Little Mermaid on those rocks also come flooding back to me as I show my little girls how they used to pose on the rocks and sing the songs from that Disney movie.
Whenever we pull up to the marina and load the boat to go across the lake to get to our cabin memories of going across the lake in storms always make me nervous that the weather will be stormy and I will have to do it again. Other memories of being allowed to sit on the top of the front of the old Sea Ray boat to help weigh it down make me smile as I remember feeling so excited to be in my favorite place in the whole world.
I feel connected to my past and linked to my future when I go to the cabin. I had my first kiss at the cabin. I have grown up with a lot of the people who still visit their cabins every summer. I have had the most spiritual church meetings held at various cabins along the lake. My favorite Sundays have been where the church meetings are an hour long, and the visiting that takes place afterwards is just as long. There are Steak dinners followed by peaches and cream that have long been a tradition. There are tube wars, water skiing and wakeboarding lessons. The summer just wouldn't be the same if I didn't spend some of it trying to bribe my own children to jump off of the cliffs or try wakeboarding or tubing.
So, when I say that I love to spend time with my family at the cabin, it is more than that. I love to spend time with my roots. I love to go to the place of my childhood and create memories with my own children. I love to sit on the dock at nighttime with my sisters and ponder the mysteries of the Universe. I love to watch my mother be happier and more relaxed than she is in any other place. I love to go home to the cabin. It is a place of great memories for me, and it holds a special place in my heart. My only hope is that if my mother ever decides that she wants to sell it, that I have enough money to buy it from her. Because if I were to ever lose the place that I feel more at home than any other place, I would be sad. I would miss it more than anyone would know. It is my home. As Dorothy put it "There's no place like home."

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Cousins and Babies

Thanks to the miracle of technology and the astuteness of my cousin Michelle, I was able to know the good news of my cousin Carolyn having a baby shortly after the sweet baby arrived. I am so excited for my cousin Carolyn and for my Aunt Judi and Uncle Garry's entire family. Having a new baby in the family is so much fun. I really wish that my cousin lived closer so that I could see new baby Elizabeth, but I am sure that my Aunt Judi will post lots of pics for me to see.
I know that Carolyn reads this blog, and so I just wanted to take a minute to say "Congratulations!" I am so excited for you. You have NO idea what you are in for, but I can guarantee you that it will be quite the fun ride. You will realize that you have never been more tired, happy, stressed, hormonal, full of love, overwhelmed and know that it is completely worth it than you will in the next few months. Your body will do things that are amazing, and weird. Your life will revolve around bodily functions and you will never have seen anything more beautiful than when your little girl smiles at you for the first time. Having a daughter is the most wonderful/challenging thing in the whole wide world! I will warn you that Jeff is probably already wrapped around her cute pink little finger and that will never change.
I love you little cousin. We have spent many years growing up together and I am so excited and proud of the woman you have become. So congratulations again! I love you and I am so excited for your new adventure to begin!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

A day in the life of Otto

This weekend we had plnned a little get together with Otto's Mom, her husband, Otto's brother and his family, and Otto's sister and her family. We were planning on going to Waterton, but alas the weather and Otto's brother's back didn't cooperate so we had to come up with a plan B. Plan B consisted of going to Otto's Mom's house and helping her dejunk it. It was not as glorious as the original plan, but we still got to spend lots of time together and it was great.
That is not why I am writing this post, believe it or not. The reason that I am writing this post is because of the little treasure that we found when we were cleaning up at Otto's Mom's house. This little treasure came in the form of a cassette tape labeled "Babe's in Toyland". I was just going to put it with the other tapes when Otto completely went beserk and demanded that we keep it and take it home. I was startled that my big guy would get so emotional about "Babe's in Toyland", but it was important to him so it became important to me. I kind of chuckled when he told me that the reason that we needed to save the tape was because on the reverse side of the tape was recorded the song "Puff the Magic Dragon". Now that was all the convincing I needed, so the tape was saved from my Mother-in-law's house and taken to the home of the Comin's.
My Mother-In-Law lives about 2 1/2 hours away from our house, so it was quite the drive home last night. Finally, when all of the kiddies were settled in their seats I put the "Babe's in Toyland" tape into the cassette player in the van (yes our van is that old) and I was shocked to hear a child playing on the tape. Otto was not impressed and had a mini tantrom because he thought that his step-nephews had recorded over his beloved "Babe's in Toyland". There were no names on the cassette and so we didn't know who we were actually listening to. We were just about to turn off the cassette when all of a sudden we heard someone yell at the boy on the tape to "Come here!". We quickly rewinded the tape a bit and turned up the volume so that we could hear who it was being called. . . . .turns out we had been listening to Otto as a child.
The rest of the tape was a pleasure to listen to as we heard Otto playing robots with his friends in some parts, randomly spouting out numbers in other parts and counting by fives while he was waiting for his mom in other parts. Otto did think that the highlight of the tape was when all of a sudden the song "Puff the Magic Dragon" played and he realized that he had taped over everthing else on the tape except for his beloved dragon song.
It was so cute to listen to Otto as a child in Grade 4. How do we know that you ask? Well he did recite all of the people in his Grade 4 class picture which just happens to be posted on facebook right now.
They say you get blessings when you serve other people. Last night our blessing came in the form of a cassette tape which contained a little piece of information about what a day was like in the life of Otto when he was in Grade 4.
Thanks Kathy! That was the best little treasure you could have given us.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Proof!

Here's proof that I did it!
Thanks again Jay for running it with me!




Saturday, August 8, 2009

I did it!

Well, Jason and I ran the race this morning and it was great. The course was quite challenging but so beautiful! Jason was a bit disappointed because his goal was to run the race in under an hour and he ran it in an hour and 16 seconds. My goal was to finish the race. My fastest time that I had ever run 10 km was an hour and 26 minutes. There were 600 people racing today and Jason came in around 141st overall and I came in 319th but I had beat my personal best time by running the race in an hour and 21 minutes and 34 seconds. I am happy that I was able to accomplish this goal because when I started training in June, I probably wouldn't have even been able to walk 10 K's much less run them.
So now, for the rest of the weekend I plan on relaxing and playing with my brother and parents!
Thanks for running this with me Jay! And thanks for coming with us mom and dad! It was really nice to have people cheering for me at the finish line!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Yes Man

We have just gotten back from a nice little 12 day vacation. We spent a sun and sand day in Windermere, headed off to the Shuswap for some Comin Craziness followed by two days of cleaning (not as fun), then onto Fernie for some family hikes and swimming and finishing up the trip with a sleepover at my brother-in-law's place and a day in Waterton.
Fun. Exciting. Great Memories.
One of my most favorite things happened while we were on our trip. My little Lee has decided to expand his vocabulary. He can tell you what a doggy says, a kitty says and a ducky says. He constantly yells Abby's name when he needs something and he LOVES to just stand there and yell "Abby!!!!". My most favorite new thing that he does, though is he always answers "Yep" to any question that you ask him. It doesn't matter what the question is, the answer is always "yep".
This has made me think about things. I mean the boy is probably the easiest and happiest baby I have ever had (and I have had a few) and he just is so content with life. When Lee says "yep" it is always with a smile and no matter what, he always seems happy with the results. Whether he is getting a toy, a kiss or having to be strapped into his car seat, he never whines and he is just a happy little guy.
I have seen the movie "Yes Man" and I thought about my life. Would I be happier and just try more things if I was like Lee and answered "yep" to anything that was asked of me? I don't know, but it would definitely help me get past some barriers that I usually put around me. It would make me put myself out there more and it would make me try new things. That is something that I might just be willing to experience. I may not say yes to everything, but maybe I can try to be more willing to say "yes" when things are asked of me.
Thanks Lee! Who knew you could be so wise at the tender age of 17 months?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

When God Closes a Door. . .

. . . He always opens a window. At least that's how the saying goes. However, at my friend Annette's condo, when someone closes a door, people seem to forget how to open it again. But no worries! Someone has taken it into their own hands to remind others how to open it. They have written on the door. "Turn the handle and push to open." I laughed so hard when I saw this sign and I wished that I had brought along my camera to take a picture of it. Needless to say, I will be taking that picture tonight when I see her. I will even post it on here for you to all get a good laugh.
Sometimes one just needs to see a funny sign!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Just Do It

I am back for a little bit, so I thought that I would take a minute and jot some things down. The cabin was fun, and I loved hanging out with my family. I am going back out there next week with Otto's family and I am excited to spend some time with them too!
I am not going to talk about all of the things that we did at the cabin at this time and talk about how proud I am of all of the new things that the kids tried and accomplished. However, I did want to write a post today on something that I have been thinking about for awhile now.
I have always been a person who is big on having a goal. I feel that if I am not working towards something then I am wasting my time. I once had a conversation with my dad (about a totally different topic) and he told me that I should take a piece of paper, divide it in half and on one side write a list of all of my strengths and on the other side, list my weaknesses.
I will be honest, I have never actually written them down because I know that the sad reality is that my weaknesses greatly outweigh my strengths. However, the advice that next came from my dad has always stuck with me and is the reason for my post. He said to now pick one of my weaknesses and work on turning it into my strengths.
This may not strike a chord with you, but this piece of advice has been life changing for me. I know that my dad was talking about personality weaknesses, but over the years, my mental list has also grown to include just stuff that I don't like.
As most of you know, I am currently training to run a 10K race in August. This is because of the advice that my dad gave me that night. I have always hated running and I never knew what the big hype surrounding it was. I didn't understand why people would actually want to run around for no reason at all. So, I decided to make this goal of running this race so that I could see if I could turn my hatred of running into a love of running. While I am not completely infactuated with the whole running thing, I do actually find my self enjoying running most of the time.
Another weakness that I have always harboured is my fear to put myself out there. I have always been a little timid when it comes to just letting go and getting recognition for something. However, in Orlando when the people were asking for us to audition for the American Idol experience my dad's advice rang through my head and I decided to just get up and do it. I figured that the worst thing that could happen is that they wouldn't like me and I wouldn't sing. Well, they did like me and I made it to the finale.
While I won't go into detail about a lot of other experiences that I have had following my dad's advice, I will say this. I have never had a bad experience trying to make my weaknesses my strengths. Every time I have made the conscious goal to do this, I have been rewarded greatly. I feel a great sense of accomplishment and I feel great about myself. I want to encourage those of you who read my blog to try it. Just pick one weakness (if you can find one) and make a goal to do whatever you can to turn it into a strength. . . you just never know how it will affect your life for the better unless you just do it.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Pointer Finger, Family and a Remote Control

I have to write this post today because Dustin has been driving me crazy all week and so I have to remember why I love him. Seriously. . . I am at my wit's end with this kid and I don't know how much more I can take!
Anyways, last Sunday when we were all at my Grandparent's house, I decided to show Dustin that I was magic. He was getting into trouble (again) and so I told him that if he sat under the light in the family room and said "abracadabra" then the light would automatically turn on or off. He didn't believe me, so I said the magic words and all of a sudden the light turned off. Dustin got really excited and so he jumped up and said the magic words and all of a sudden the light turned on. Now, Dustin is a really bright kid, so as soon as this happened he looked to see if there was someone standing next to the light switch. No one was because unbeknownst to Dustin, that light is controlled by a remote control that my brother just happened to have in his hand. We all laughed continuously as Dustin turned the light on and off with his magic words and his incredible magical powers.
As with all games, it did start to become old after a while (sooner for us than for Dustin) and so we told him that the light needed to go to sleep and so his magical powers wouldn't work while the light was sleeping. Dustin (totally convinced that he was the one with the magical powers) didn't believe us, so while almost everyone went back to their various activities, Dustin sat on my dad and discretely pointed his finger at the light and very quietly said "abracadabra" over and over again. Unfortunately, the light had, indeed gone to sleep and it took Dustin about 5 minutes to finally convince himself that his magical powers would have to wait until the light had woken up again.
I guess that the kid does have some magical moments. . . I will just have to hold on to those when he is being a holy terror!

Monday, June 22, 2009

To Four Generations

This weekend I had the opportunity to spend some time with my family. I realized, as I was standing in a room full of my relatives and learning about my ancestry, that I am so thankful for the 4 generations of my family that have touched my life. And so I wanted to take a minute and thank those generations for all that they gave me.
#1 - I want to start off and thank my Grandparents and their generation for all of the time, effort, money etc that they have put into recording my ancestry. Family has always been a big deal to me and I am so grateful for the wonderful examples that my grandparents are to me. I have always felt loved and special whenever I have been with them. I appreciate the time that they have always made for me growing up. I still remember how lucky I used to feel when Grandma and Grandpa would take just me and go to the farm, or go visit my Grandpa's sister, or go to something on the Archer side. I always enjoyed my time with them and I always learned a lot. They taught me that family is important and that I am a part of a support group who loves me and cares about me no matter what.
#2 - I want to thank my parents. My parents have always been an example to me of people who are balanced. I love how ambitious they are. I am so proud of my mother and all that she has accomplished. When I was a little girl, she showed me that she loved me by making all of my birthdays so special and by making it exciting to go on trips by buying us little presents to open during the car rides. Because of those things that she did for me, my children benefit from it. No matter what is going on in our lives, my kids always look forward to their birthday parties because we spend months planning them and making sure that they have the time of their lives. I am also so grateful for my dad who sat me down one day when I was about 16 or so, and told me that he chose me. That was something that I have never forgotten and it has always meant so much to me. I believe that my dad is the wisest person I know and even though I am now grown up with a family of my own, I still seek him out for advice when I am about to make a big decision.
#3 - I want to thank my husband for being my rock. We have always worked as a team. I really appreciate how our marriage works and how we are always doing something side by side instead of one in front of the other. I really appreciate what a wonderful father he is to our children. People often ask me how I am able to have 5 kids and my immediate answer is that it is because I have such a wonderful husband. He is so thoughtful and caring and I believe that my kids see him as a superhero!
#4- Finally I want to thank my children. I have never known as much happiness in my life as I have been able to experiece since I have had my babies. I love how unique they are from each other. I love how beautiful they are. I love their strenths and I worry over their weaknesses. I have thought about what my children would be like ever since I was 16 and it really affected the choices that I made when I was that age. I am so blessed to have them in my life and I love that they believe that we are "Team Comin". After dinner you can usually hear the cheer "What kind of work? TEAMWORK!" being chanted in our house as we do our family chores, or as the kids are tackling the kitchen. I hope that they grow up to realize that our family really is "Team Comin" and that when they are going through something that they have a team of 6 other members who are cheering for them and who will support them in any trial.

So Thank You to all of my family. I know that I am so blessed to be a part of this wonderful family and I hope that one day I will make you all as proud of me as I am of you.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Brothers!

Have you ever noticed that some people seem to just be born to do a certain thing? Sometimes it seems as though there is just natural talent oozing out of them? That's what I have always felt about Abby and the cello. I had always hoped that one of my children would want to play the cello, and then when Abby was 3, she was invited to attend a cello camp for a week and by the end of the week she could play 3 songs on the cello. I knew right then that the girl HAD to play the cello or else I would kick myself for the rest of my life!
Last night was Abby's cello recital. She takes from a teacher who has a double music degree in singing and the cello. The first 5 performers were singers and then my Abby played the cello. I sat in the perfect spot to video her and she was doing such a good job. . . and then. . . Dustin came into the room! The room was silent and so it was very obvious when he came running down the aisle and proclaimed that he was going to chop off everyone's heads. He kept on walking directly in front of my camera and talking. I couldn't make the kid be quiet and Otto was in the hallway with Lee, so he couldn't help.
I felt so bad for Abby, who just endured it and played on, and as soon as she was done, Dustin was quickly whisked away into another room and given the biggest lecture of his life!
I always wished that I had had more brothers, growing up. But now I am grateful for the one that I have because he never used to bug me, or tease me, or hurt me. He was a great little brother. . . . I hope that one day Abby can say the same thing!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

My Little Handsome


- He says the craziest things
- He can solve grade 1 math problems
- You can convince him to eat anything provided his plate is orange
- His tummy always needs a snack
- He has so many Thomas and Friends trains that when they are put end to end they make a line that goes from my bedroom all the way to the bonus room
- He likes candy, candy, candy, candy, candy
- He can stand and pee and will tell you so
- He refuses to do anything that my seem girly because "I am a boy mom!"
- Spiderman is the coolest
- Transformers are the best
- He has superpants that make him go superfast
- He can navigate the Internet to get to his favorite websites
- He will count anything that is put in front of him
- He loves his mama
- He is now 4 years old
- His name is Dustin

Where did the time go? It seems like yesterday I was walking into the hospital announcing that I had an appointment to have my baby and going through the easiest C-Section I have ever had, and now he is 4!!! This little boy is so bright, and funny and crazy! I am constantly laughing at the things he does, and cherishing all of the cuddles he loves to give me. The only other person who looks at me the way that Dustin looks at me is Otto. I have never seen such love looking at me from any of my other children as I do when Dustin looks at me. Dustin is always trying to impress me and he is always trying to figure out how things work. Dustin is always hungry, but only for snacks. . . he hates eating meals! However, last week when I announced that I was making a white chocolate banana loaf, Dustin looked at me, licked his lips and stated "I like what you said mom!".
I sure do love that boy, and I am so happy that he is in my life. I know that Dustin will accomplish great things in his life because he is so driven, smart and talented. I constantly have to remind myself that he is barely 4 years old, because it seems as though he is about 6. I sure do love my little, handsome boy. I am looking forward to watching him grow up. I think that I will have the time of my life raising this one!
Happy Birthday Dustin!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Treat Your Mom Nice And You Will Be Rewarded

Thanks for your comments on my previous post. I do think that I am going to have a nice chat with the mothers of those other girls. Not a mean one, just a nice one so that hopefully they can help their daughters understand Caroline a bit better.
So, speaking of Caroline, we were running errands today and I ended up buying her a bike. No, it is not her birthday, and we actually do have a ton of bikes around here. However, this child rarely asks for things. She is generally a happy child, and being number 3 I often feel as though she gets overlooked. The bikes that she has been riding have been old boy bikes that were given to us by some random people about 5 years ago. They are both really boyish, but Caroline has never complained. The other day Caroline asked me if I could take off her training wheels so that she could ride a two-wheeler. I told her, of course, and then I watched her as she struggled to ride this boy bike and all around her were all these girls (including Abby) riding these beautiful girly bikes. I felt so bad for Caroline (even though she was just happy to ride the bike) and I felt especially guilty because Abby is 9 and has just learned how to ride a two-wheeler, and Anne is 8 and hasn't learned yet even though she has the cutest bike in the whole world; and then there is my little Caroline who is bound and determined to ride a two-wheeler and she is stuck on a boy's bike. So, I fixed that and bought her the most girly, purple and pink flowered bike I could find! Right now she is outside riding her little girly bike around, just as happy as can be.
The icing on the cake was when we were driving home from the store and Caroline said to me "Mommy, thanks for getting me my new bike! When I saw it in the store I really wanted it! When can I ride it?"
TOTALLY WORTH EVERY PENNY!!!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Breaks my Heart


So I got a phone call from a good friend of mine this morning who just happened to teach Caroline's class on Sunday. For those of you who don't know, Caroline is my 5 1/2 year old who has a severe speech problem (which gets better and better every day) and is soooo shy because of it. However, once she opens up to you, you are able to see that she is the most hilarious, cheeky kid you will ever know. She loves to tease and be teased and she totally plays practical jokes on everyone. It KILLS me that she is sooo shy because Caroline really does have the best personality!
I guess on Sunday, my friend had to leave the room for a minute with another child and when she came back, apparently the other girls in Caroline's class were making fun of her speech and telling her that she talks like a baby. Apparently Caroline didn't really notice, or else she gets that alot because she didn't bother to tell me about it and when I talked to her about it today it didn't seem to phase her.
However, it broke my heart that other children (especially these two girls that Caroline really likes) would make fun of something that Caroline really struggles with. It has taken me 2 years to get Caroline to actually speak when other people are around and her speech and improved by huge leaps and bounds, and even though apparently Caroline didn't really care what they were saying, my heart broke when I heard what had happened. I don't know why Caroline has the disadvantages (her speech is only one of them) that she has, but I really wish that she could, at least, have a couple of friends who wouldn't make fun of her and just love her for who she is. This kid has my entire family wrapped around her little finger, now she just needs some friends.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

My friend Herb

For all of you who don't know, my parents share a birthday. I have always thought that it was sooo cool and when I was younger I thought that you had to marry someone who had the same birthday as you, so I would always ask the boys when their birthdays were before I became friends with them. (Turns out, not that many people were born on May 3.)
Well, my dad turned 50 this year and so him and my mom went away for a little surprise trip. My siblings and I have been planning on having a surprise dinner for them when they get home today and so I have been cooking all night and morning. We are going to have some really tasty ribs, roasted potatoes, buns, salad and then for dessert, I have made a Sour Cream Chocolate and Peanut Butter cake. The recipe for which I got on the Smitten Kitchen blog that I follow.
I don't know how many of you make ribs out there, but it is a lengthy process if you want it done right. As part of the process I always boil my ribs for an hour to start the tenderization process. Now, most people just boil their ribs in water because that is what most recipes call for. However, I see this as a perfect opportunity to add some flavor. So, I decided to turn to my best friend. . . Herb! (That is what I have named my Herb Garden. . . go ahead and laugh. . . I never did quite grow up, even if I AM 30!) I had planned on having a large garden this year. I had bought the house that I did because it came with a gorgeously huge backyard and side yard that was southwest facing! This is PERFECT for garden growing! However, to make a long story short, the garden wasn't created.
I was feeling bad about the lack of garden one day, so I took the kids to a local greenhouse, and paid way too much to buy some herbs. We planted them in some nice long planter boxes, assigned the older 3 girls their own boxes to take care of, and VOILA. . . Herb was born!
So, today I decided to use some of the fruits of my labors and add some of my fresh herbs to the boiling water to infuse the ribs with more flavors. . . the smell in my house is HEAVENLY!!! And I can't wait until dinnertime when I get to taste these wonderful smelling ribs! I could write about food forever, but alas, I haven't made the BBQ sauce that will be topping these ribs yet, so I had better get on that!
So, thanks Herb! I can't wait to taste your wonderful contribution to my ribs!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Sorry Baby!

Pretty much every afternoon, the two little boys and I go for a nice 3.8 K walk around the neighborhood. I have decided that there is no better walking partner than Dustin because we end up singing all sorts of songs, playing tons of games and generally having the most interesting conversations. I am really interested to know what he is going to be like when he is older.
Because it was such a nice day yesterday, and because I kind of felt sorry for Lee who had been stuck in the front of the stroller for a good 1/2 hour, I decided to stop at one of the various parks that we pass on our daily walks.
At this park there were some swings. So, I decided to put Lee in the swing and see what happens. Unfortunately, Lee has never been in a real swing before and so I had no idea as to whether or not he would like it. I should have known that the happiest baby that I have ever met would, of course, love it! He had a blast! Lee had the biggest smile that I have ever seen, and he threw the biggest temper tantrum when I pulled him out of the swing. I felt really bad that Lee had never had the experience of being in a real swing until now.
I guess that that's what happens when you are the youngest of 5 kids. I often feel as though he misses out on things that I have done with the other kiddies, but I do try and do lots with him. In fact, I can't wait until September because the girlies will all be in school all day and Dustin will be gone every afternoon, so it will be just me and the baby. Maybe then we will be able to do some more things together. I really don't want him to feel deprived. I guess I will just have to try harder.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Good Friends = Good Times

I am not a person who has a TON of friends. I have a lot of acquaintances, but I don't really feel completely comfortable around that many people. However, the few close friends that I have, I have forever. I am one of those people who are really loyal to my friends and even if I haven't seen them in 10 years, when I do it was as though nothing has changed.
Tonight Otto and I and the kiddies hung out at a park with our really good friends. We all got married at around the same time and our kids are close to the same ages and we have just always gotten along really well. I find that it is rare to have another couple that are really good friends with BOTH Otto and I. Usually one of us is better friends with the couple than the other one. This is not the case with this couple, I could hang out with the wife, or with the husband and it is great. The same thing goes with Otto. It makes things so nice! We didn't do anything very spectacular or special, we just hung out, cooked hot dogs, had a campfire and the kids played. But it was nice.
Don't you think that sometimes the best times are just hanging out? I really love it when you can be so comfortable with people that you don't really have to be doing anything at all in order to be happy and have a good time. Those kinds of friends are the best ones to have. I sure hope that all of you are lucky enough to have friends like that. They really do make life a lot more enjoyable!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

New Blog

Hey there everyone. So because I am training for this silly race in August, I have decided to start another blog that records my thoughts, progress and obstacles. Please feel free to check it out and make comments/laugh at me!
You can find it at mcomin.blogspot.com .
Leave me a message so I know that you stopped by!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Do Run Run Run

Alright! I am doing it! I am going to be running. After those of you who know me stop laughing and pick yourselves up off of the floor because you fell off of your chair, just hear me out. I want to see if I can participate in a 10K. I just want to say that I did it. I know that I am the world's most uncoordinated person when it comes to running and I usually trip on anything and everything, but I am going to try and endure it. Hopefully I won't get too hurt. I fully expect to come in last, but I am going to do it.
So, wish me luck. I will DEFINITELY need it!

Monday, May 25, 2009

She'll Remember It

I was talking to a friend yesterday and we were talking about Anne's baptism. I told this friend (who has a son who will be baptized in December) how incredible it is when your child gets baptized and how much it affects you. He agreed and we started talking about how weird it is when your child goes through something that you know that they will remember for the rest of their lives.
In our church, we baptize our children when they reach the age of 8 because we believe that at that age they are old enough to be accountable for their own choices. So, Anne got baptized on Saturday and it was great. She got baptized with a friend of hers that was born a day before her. In fact, we saw each other in the hospital when our girls were born. Both of our girls are these sweet little blond haired, blue eyed girls and they are actually quite good friends. When I found out that their daughter would be getting baptized with Anne, I was quite happy with that because I knew that everything would run smoothly.
It was beautiful. The talks were great, Anne's cousins were there, all of my family was there and most of Otto's family was there. We even had some good friends show up and both Anne, her friend and all of their sisters sang a beautiful song called "Baptism" and I really felt the Spirit there.
Afterwards there was a family dinner at my parent's house and we had a BBQ, a bouncy house, a trampoline yummy cupcakes and lots of family there. I really appreciated my sister and her husband driving down from Edmonton to be there and my brother, his wife and their brand new baby for coming. I always feel so honored that my siblings make such a big effort to always be at the big milestones for my kids. They have no idea how much that means to me.
So after family, parties, presents, food and general good times, its neat to think that Anne will remember most of what happened on Saturday. I am so proud of her for making the decision to get baptized. One thing I love about Anne is that she never does anything halfway. She always puts everything into whatever she does. I know that she is going to grow up to be an amazing woman and I still can't believe that she is old enough to be baptized. The time is really flying by, but I sure am enjoying having her in our family. I know that Saturday will be a day that Anne will remember for the rest of her life.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Moms are not allowed. . .

. . . to get sick. Its true! I was sick all last week and I know that it was not only hard on myself, but on my family. It seems that everything sort of falls apart when I get sick. The kids are miserable, I am miserable, my hubby is miserable and the house gets sooooo messy! I always feel bad for Otto when I am sick because he is such an angel and he tries to take care of everything by himself. I know that it is hard with his work for him to have to come home and help out around here, but he is so amazing and does it anyways.
But now I am better and I feel ready to take on the world again. I just got another catering job that I am VERY excited about because I love both the bride and the groom (no they are not related to me) and I am SOOOOOO excited for them. The mother of the bride is a chef, and we have talked alot over the years and so I am excited to work with her to figure out the food for her daughter's wedding.
It's just amazing to me how much your health can affect your outlook. If I had gotten the request to cater last week, I probably would have felt overwhelmed, but because I am now all better, I am excited and I have something to look forward to. So, hopefully I can say "goodbye" to my basket of medicine and "hello" to my chef's hat!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

My Anne


Happy Birthday to my Anne! I love you! I can't believe that you are now 8 years old and are going to be baptized next week! I love your beautiful personality. I love how you can be soooo girly and yet such a science fanatic at the same time. I love your tender heart and your loving spirit. I love how sensative you are and how helpful you are. You have blessed my life in more ways than you can imagine! I can't think of a more wonderful girl than my Anne!
Happy Birthday kiddo!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Happy Birthday


Happy Birthday to my sweet little Angel Baby. She would have been 2 years old today. They say it gets easier, but that's a lie. I feel just as terrible today as I did the day that I had her. I will always miss her. Today is the hardest day of the year.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Thanks Otto and Jason

Thanks to my wonderful husband and brother, who have been willing to postpone going out to the cabin for a day, I will have my Big Guy with me on Friday. I know it will make a world of difference. I am still not looking forward to Friday, but at least I know I will be able to get through it!
I love you both!

Monday, May 11, 2009

All jumbled up inside. . .

It is always with mixed emotions that I celebrate Mother's Day. I actually couldn't write this post yesterday because I was afraid of how it would turn out because I was a mess of emotions. It was Mother's Day weekend, two years ago, that I found out that Robin had died. It was two years ago this Mother's Day weekend that I went through the hardest trial of my life! My entire world was changed forever, two years ago and so I always feel a whole mess of emotions on Mother's Day.
After I had Robin I made myself a promise that even though I would always miss my sweet Angel Baby, I would still live for my living children. I promised myself that I wouldn't live in the tragedy that was her birth, but that I would make sure that I didn't put my loss above the wonderful blessings that are my 5 other babies. Even though I still think about Robin almost every single day, I am still able to have joy and happiness in my life. I sincerely hope that my children don't think that I have put her above them, because I have made such an effort to really show all of my children how much I love them.
That is why Mother's Day is so hard for me. It reminds me of the hardest day of my life, but on the other hand, I love that my children celebrate it. Otto made Crepes for breakfast and I got a ton of handmade gifts that the kids did at school and then I got some great Mother's Day gifts (including Bernard Callabaut chocolates) and spent the evening at my parent's house with my extended family. I had fun and it was a good day. I did miss Robin terribly, but I couldn't help by participate in the festivities. It was sooooo much fun!
The only hard part was the fact that I felt just about every emotion that I could feel. It also made me realize that Robin's birthday is coming up on Friday and Otto is going out of town and I don't know if I can get through this on my own. I didn't realize this last week when we all decided when Otto and Jason were going to go out of town to open up the cabin. I don't know how I am going to get through it, but I know that I will have to, and that I will have to do it alone. . . . I just can't wait for this week to be over!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Religion in schools?

So I was reading Mandy's blog and it really got me thinking. She was talking about how she was considering home schooling her son because of a book that she is reading called "The Thomas Jefferson Education". I have not personally read this book, and so I cannot make direct comments on said book, however she wrote about something that I think is an issue that many people take offense to, which I see as not a problem.
The issue is of the topic of religion in schools. From Mandy's point of view she believes that "they" (I believe that she means the school board) are taking taking God out of schools altogether and not allowing kids to make the choice. I want to quote the next part of her blog directly because I want to make sure that you understand her point of view before I comment on it. It reads:

I think the people who are so worried about this (not allowing the teaching of God in schools) are most likely people who have no strong religious affiliation and are concerned that their child will be easily influenced to believe something else. Why should that matter? We live in a country where we are supposed to be able to worship freely, right? So how does controlling the topic of religion allow that freedom to citizens of the country?

I can see and understand her point of view. I have heard it many times. I also know that Mandy reads this blog and I want her to know that I respect her for her opinion and that I am so glad that she has it. I am hoping that maybe I can offer a slightly different perspective on this whole topic because I believe that hearing different opinions actually helps us in the development of our own beliefs.
Before I tell you what I think, I want you to know where I am coming from because that, obviously, influences my point of view. I have a very strong testimony of what I believe to be true. I am an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and I do have 5 living children. 3 of my children do attend school, and it is a Spanish school. I live in a city (as opposed to a small town) and I am really involved in my children's school because I believe that I should know what my children are doing all day and who they are spending their time with.
I can understand that people think that they are taking "God" out of the schools, but I don't really believe that they are. People are upset that they don't call "Christmas Break" by that name anymore and now it is merely "Winter Break". But, can you understand it from someone else's point of view? This isn't an issue in our school because our school is big on immersing the children in the Latino culture and so we celebrate Christmas as part of the curriculum. I LOVE it because I happen to be a HUGE fan of Christmas, and my children even learn about why we celebrate the birth of Christ. The catholic religion is HUGE among Latino cultures and so we also learn about Lent and Dios de los Muertos (day of the dead). I, personally, am not Catholic, but I don't mind that my children are learning about those religious holidays because I make sure that I teach them at home and at our church meetings about OUR religion.
I know that our school is the exception and not the rule, however I also want to make it known that I do encourage my children to learn about other religions and cultures. I believe that by learning about them, it can increase their faith in their own religion. I have always been curious to learn about other religions and it has not taken away (in fact it has added) to my own beliefs in my own religion. I believe that the school board is trying to look at the topic of religion as an all-inclusive option rather than "forcing all children to learn about one religion". I can understand why the schools acknowledge Kwanzaa and Hanukkah and Ramadan. Can you imagine moving into a country where you are told you have the freedom to worship the way you believe but then your child is forced to acknowledge a type of "God" that you don't believe in? I know that I would not appreciate it if my child couldn't worship the way that we believed if we moved into another country. I believe that the school board is trying to do what our country claims we believe in and that is to have a freedom to worship as we see fit.
We do have an article of faith in our church that does go along with that and it says that "We claim the privilege to worship the Almighty God, according to the dictates of our own conscience; and allow all men the same privilege. Let them worship how, where or what they may." I am a big believer in this. I don't believe that it is my right to take away another person's freedom to worship how they see fit. I don't think that my children are losing their convictions if they can't learn about God in the schools.
I believe that it is my right and responsibility to teach them at home what we believe and then to help them understand that it is okay to believe something different from someone else. I believe that we do have the amazing right to be proud of what we believe and to be able to talk about it freely with others. The schools have not banned the discussion of religion in the schools, they have simply tried to include the many different religions from the different ethnic backgrounds of the children in their schools. We can look at it from two opposite sides. We can take the stand that our right to worship our God in schools has been taken away, or we can look at it as an opportunity to stand as an example of our faith and learn about other religions and cultures. I believe that this is an amazing opportunity, and one that we should take advantage of.
I am a descendant of Pioneers. I have been to Nauvoo and to Missouri where my ancestors were persecuted. How I wish that they were shown the same compassion and courtesy that we are now able to show to other immigrants and people of different religious backgrounds. I am always saddened that my ancestors had to fight so hard in order to worship as they wanted, free from persecution. I would like to think that the right of religious freedom is something that they fought hard for and because of it they have blessed the lives of millions of people.
So, please don't take offense at this post. I know that it is a sensitive topic and that people can easily internalize this. I am no scholar, I am just a mom. I love the hope, peace, joy and comfort that my religion brings to me and I believe that other people should also have the right to have those same feelings. I do not believe that by not being taught about God in school my children are losing a piece of themselves. I just believe that it gives them more opportunities to learn about acceptance and it opens the door to a better understanding of other religions. I also believe that it puts a greater responsibility on myself to teach them about our religion and all that it encompasses.
I would love to hear your thoughts. I won't get offended if they are different from my own. I love to hear different opinions as I mentioned at the beginning of this post.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Homecoming!

Last night I went to visit my little niece, Brooklynn. While I was there, I spent some time hanging out with Suzanne and we had fun hanging out and chatting. I sure love Jay and Suzanne's little baby! I am so glad that I get to see her! She is pretty darn cute, and she looks so much like Suzanne that I just can't get over it!
Anyways, while we were chatting, Suzanne asked me if I used my blog like a journal, and I told her that I absolutely did! That being said, I did realize that I tend to be better at blogging when I am on vacation than when I am at home. So I have recommitted myself to writing on here again. I know that I am not that interesting, but at least my kids will have a record of what I was like when I was . . . . GASP. . . 30!
I didn't write about my homecoming from Disney World yesterday, and I really don't know why. Otto and I had a BLAST while we were there and I am so glad that we went. However, I was ready to come home. I missed the kiddies like crazy and I was beginning to get quite homesick. When I got home, everyone was in bed so I went and woke up Lee just so I could hold him! Man I love that baby!!! Oh, and in case you didn't notice, he is HUGE!!! I also realized that little gem while I was holding him. How did my baby get so big????
Yesterday morning when the kids woke up, I gave them all their presents. Each one of them got a special pair of Mickey ears, a present, a candy and a trinket. Of course they were sooooo excited about their stuff that they all had to wear their ears all day and take their presents to schools (thanks to their teachers for being so patient with them!).
So, my trip was fun, but it does feel good to be home. . . . it would feel better if my house was clean, but I guess that that is the next big project that I am going to have to tackle.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The first anniversary of my 29th birthday.






Tonight, I received an AWESOME email from my Dad. It was short, but he has no idea how much it meant to me that he sent it to me. In it he wrote that this is a big birthday for me because it is the first anniversary of my 29th birthday! Seeing as I plan on having at least 50 more of these 29th birthdays I can really appreciate that comment.
I have been dreading turning 30. 30 just sounds like a grown up. I feel as though I have been kind of playing around with my life up until now and I can no longer say, "When I grow up I want to . . ." I am actually here. I kind of feel weird, like I don't know what I am supposed to do next. And that is why I decided to celebrate my birthday in the most childlike place I know. . . Disney World!
My mom and Jenna and Kristin are down here too and so we decided to spend part of the day together! We spent the morning together at Epcot doing Future World and part of the World Showcase. It was really fun and I am glad that we got to spend the morning together. After eating lunch in the Biergardens in Germany, Otto and I spent the rest of the day going around the World showcase and visiting the different countries. It was really fun. I LOVE learning about other cultures and seeing their art and tasting their food and smelling their smells (no seriously. . . I really do notice the smells!!).
Because this is the year of Celebrations for Disney, they have a variety of fun gifts that you can choose from on your birthday. You can either get a free admission to the parks, a gift card for the equivalent of the entrance fee, or a fastpass to 6 rides of your choice. Because we had already bought our passes, we chose the gift card. I am really good at buying gifts for others, but I have a hard time spending money on myself, so this was fun because Otto and I decided that I HAD to buy stuff for myself. So, I bought a nativity from Italy, a Mickey Mouse apron and some gifts for my favorite niece, nephew, nephew dog (I didn't get anything for my OWN pets, but I got something for my brother's dog. . . go figure hey?)and a gift to put in Robin's memorial box. After realizing that I had spent part of my gift card on other people, Otto and I went and bought a cute Disney World frame to put some of our favorite pictures into. I don't know where I will put it, but I am sure that I can find a place.
So, there you have it. We go home tomorrow after visiting the Animal Kingdom and then it is back to the real world. I have had so much fun being here with Otto and celebrating my birthday. I miss my kids like crazy, and it is definitely time to start heading home. I can't wait to see the kiddies and give them all their presents.
It has been a great 30 years, so far, and I look forward to celebrating the anniversary of my 29th birthday many, many, many more times.