Sunday, January 7, 2018

A Family Update

Time for some updates and catching up on this blog! I'll start with me and work my way down the family. I should write this sfuff down for us all to look back on one day and for anyone who loves us and wants to know how we are doing :)

I got diagnosed with a auto-immune disorder over Christmas break. I've had issues with it for 15 years or so, but it was good to finally get some tests done and get an official diagnosis. So I've been learning a lot about how to naturally heal my gut so I don't have to be on anti-inflammatories and immunity suppressants for the rest of my life :) It's been pretty fun actually. Whenever I tried to get on a strict diet before I worried about being "extreme" and doing things "in moderation." I tend to jump into things with all my heart until my enthusiasm wanes and I find something else to be excited about.  So people would say, "You don't have to be extreme about your diet - just do things in moderation." But judging moderation is so hard! Now that I know I have to be extreme in order to give my body an opportunity to heal, it has been so easy to seek and receive personal revelation about what I need - even if it's different than what the world says I ought to have - because I know I'm different now and need different things. This has been a profound lesson to me in other areas of my life. It's been refreshing and good.  

I am loving life as a momma of 8. I have learned to find more peace in mothering with each child and to hand my worries over to the Lord more and more. It makes mothering so much more joyful. I love having a baby and sometimes not being able to get anything done because he needs me. And how I feel when I do get things accomplished, knowing full well that Heavenly Father has my back and will help me get the things done that He wishes me to do. I have found great peace after failing in my expectations by reminding myself that Heavenly Father knew I would be where I am at, and it's part of his plan - I only need to learn from it and move on. His path is straight before me always.

I am learning to embrace and love cycles. I used to be so hard on myself about not being consistent enough in my goals. I always started strong and waned and "failed" after a few weeks. Now I am finding that newness gives me energy and I can cycle through new goals and still be progressing. Not that pushing through to establish a habit is not sometimes warranted - I just need to check in and make sure that the "pushing" though is inspired and not my own expectation. When it's inspired, it's joyful as I feel God's strength in my weakness. When it's pushed by my own expectations, it is drudgery. 

I am finally learning how to help our family work together. It's been a work in progress for 10 years, but I think I am finally getting the principles of unity and joy in working together as a family to establish a house of order and learning. That is a topic for another post though.

And I am loving living next to the mountains. I love being able to walk out my back door and go on a hike or a mountain bike ride. I think my personality needs nature close by, and I am so so grateful for this tender mercy from my Heavenly Father.  I can hear personal revelation more clearly when I am out on the mountains.

Bill is now working for IHC. He seems to be enjoying it. He is training for a half marathon with Cassia and is currently doing a detox with me (yes, I am modifying my detox since I am nursing).  I love this time of year - I love fresh starts any time of year - but it's nice to have a time of year dedicated to think about fresh starts. Besides working on his health, he is learning to be a father of 8 - and he is doing it well. I love how Bill is willing to take on challenges and find ways to have fun doing it.

My little girl is now an adult. And such an inspiring one! She wants to live life to it's fullest and she sets about doing it. She likes to keep herself busy with good things - art, classes, seeking God's will, serving in her family, sharing her love of the gospel and being honest with her struggles. She is such an inspiration and example to us. She plans to serve a mission this year, so I keep feeling like I want to spend as much time with her as possible since that's coming up so soon. It's so hard to let go - motherhood is so full of contradicting emotions!

How I love this young man! He has a strong sense of what is right and a desire to live by it. He has been blessed with the gift of discernment about what is important and what we need not worry about - that is a huge blessing to our family as we discuss gospel principles and how to live them. His laugh and smile often brings a lightheartedness to our intensity sometimes - one can't stay angry when William is around.  He enjoys Speech and Debate and does well at his competitions while learning a lot about the world and how to think. He is doing concurrent enrollment at Lumen with Cassia so he will have an associates degree when he graduates. I am grateful for the good friends he has been blessed with through his education.

This girl is an angel on earth. She helps her little brothers learn piano, reading and kindness. She plays with her little sister, does her hair and teaches her to be nice. She is often holding the baby and helping him be calm. She lights up and beautifies everything she touches. She reads phenomenal books so I don't have to worry about her education. Lately she has read "War and Peace," "Brothers Karamazov," "7 Pillars of Wisdom," a bunch of Brandon Sanderson books - several times. And many more. She sometimes reads me a particularly amazing passage from a book and I am amazed at her wisdom and insight in learning from it. She makes her own educational goals and revises them as the need arises. Right now, she wants to work on solidifying her math foundation. She sets a great example. I don't think I could handle having 8 children if I didn't have my little angel Jessalyn to help me in this grand endeavor!

I have loved seeing Dallin interact with our new baby. He just melts around him. Dallin is a very logical and thoughtful young man, so it is so good to see the sweet side of him more often with a new little baby in the house. Dallin wants to do good and has a strong sense of justice which can be a hard gift to have in a family of 8! But it is giving him a lot of practice in forgiveness - he is going to be a great father someday! He is often thinking of interesting questions and experimenting on how things work. He loves to program and figure things out on the computer. He also loves to read and it's hard to find him when he is in the middle of a good book. He is very considerate of me and shows me his love in his helpfulness when he notices I am particularly overwhelmed or in need of help. He has a very big heart.

 This child has so much feeling. He puts his emotions into everything he does.  He sets goals for himself about being kinder and more happy in obedience. And he keeps trying even when he falls short. He loves to joke and make us smile. He recently started violin lessons and he seems to really like it - it's a very good instrument for expressing emotion I think :) I am glad he wants to learn it. He also loves to sing. There is usually some king of background music at our house - if it's not the radio than it's someone singing or playing a song and often it's a combination of it all. Joshua has a love of stories and can remember stories he is told in great detail. He is improving in his reading and I think he is going to LOVE the adventures awaiting him in the books he longs to read.

My James is sweetness... his hugs and his puppy dog eyes and his smile. He makes the sweetest comments at our morning devotionals about how Jesus loves us so much and wants us to be good. His prayers often ask Heavenly Father to help us "have good feelings in our hearts and to do good things." He wants to understand everything and is always asking questions about why people do certain things or why something was funny. He tries to help his little sister a lot - despite her protests sometimes :) And he loves to talk to and hold baby Coen. He is a good reader and picks up on academic things very quickly. It will be fun to see where his talents take him.

Little Joy is a little bouncy, singing fireball. She is struggling a little with no longer being the youngest and reacts by being kind of loud and lovingly rough with the baby, so I am trying to teach her how to be soft and gentle and get attention in other ways. She has an incredible imagination and will sit with two toys by herself sometimes and make up an elaborate scenario in which they converse and take part. She is usually not herself during the day - she dresses up and pretends to be some princess - usually Elsa - which makes it so no one can touch her because she might "freeze their heart." She has a sensitive heart and wants to be liked, so her feelings are easily hurt when she perceives that someone is unhappy with her. I see a lot of me in her, so I am learning a lot from her and hopefully I can help her overcome those tendencies as I keep learning how.  She is a bit of a tom boy because she has so many brothers, but also extremely girly in many ways. She is so much fun to be with.

Coen is 3 months old this week. He is a chubby, smiley chunk of cuteness.  His tummy has been troubling him lately, but his pacifier helps a lot! He has blessed our family with such an added measure of love in our home. I am so so glad we decided to have him join our family! It is fun watching his personality slowly start to emerge.

And now, pictures of our doings August - October. I tried doing November and December too, but I kept having technical difficulties and this is all I had the patience to get done!

August...moving in!

Finally in our new home!

Date night with new homeschool group parents

Starting with a new homeschool group

 September.... getting settled and a baptism

 Getting ready for Joshua's baprism

New carpet burn

Homeschool Group


Happy park days

Tarantulas in our driveway

Cassia and Lilia chalking the block

Using our Thanksgiving Point membership while the older kids go to classes baby

More Thanksgiving Point

Halloween Fun