Monday, July 27, 2015


This little love of my life turned one year old. 
He wasn't feeling the best with teething, and he thought it was pretty crazy with all those people singing at him, but it was a GREAT day to celebrate Bens.
He loves his cute little toys.
He is so blessed to have so many people love him so much! And we are so blessed to have him. 
A year ago at this time I was so happy. What an angel, sent straight out of heaven to bless my life. He was sent to us by the grace of God, and I'll never forget that. He is a source of joy to every one of us! This silly, precious little boy! 

Dear Grown-Up Benson, 
This first year of your life was a real whirlwind of activity. You joining us was the best part of it all! I love you, I love you so much, my little son that is probably now a giant! 
Your buddy, 

Friday, July 17, 2015

Ma Ma

Laying awake while my right hip and knee throb away. I'm such an old lady it's adorable.
Speaking of adorable -- this guy! 
Benson now makes the "ma" sound. He can't always quite get it, he'll look at you and smack his lips to impersonate you, but every now and then out it comes. So cute. He is also incorporating a face-plant-and-slide scoot thing with his usual ninja rolls and is becoming quite a menace when it comes to getting where he should not be! He also is the ultimate vacuum cleaner -- and thinks it's hilarious to not let you get the offending thing out of his mouth -- clenched teeth, shaking his head, pushing it to the other side. What a character! Then giggling through the whole thing! Love that precious boy. He is teething and doesn't feel good, but he still just keeps being adorable. What a good sport! So lucky he is ours.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015


Katelyn the Greatlyn turned 5.
That's right, ladies and gentlemen. This girl is 5.
How I love my little Captain Insane-O-Pants. She is a profound joy to me, and also the kid that gives me the best run for my money. She is so smart and an incredibly deep thinker. She asks hard questions. She is headstrong and relentless. She is funny and creative and deeply sensitive. 
To celebrate I took her and KJ and Liv to see the movie Minions last night (including Minion happy meals, naturally) and we had a blast. Even got a free birthday cupcake, which she graciously shared! 
Then today she came with me to pick out donuts for breakfast, opened presents (she kept saying how much she loved her surprises), lunch at Dairy Queen and a family birthday party at the park with grandparents, cousins, and even Aunt Sil's uncle, aunt and cousin Bia from Brazil, who so kindly gave her a very sweet stuffed animal that she adores. 
My favorite quote of the day? "You can't be mad at me! It's my birthday!" And she's right, too. When I asked her if she liked her birthday party she said she loved it and loved the whole day. Her eyes were so happy, and my heart was so full. 
The only sad thing was going to bed: "But it won't be my birthday tomorrow and I'll be sad!" Ha Ha. I get it, Katee. I love birthdays so very much. I love your birthday and I love you. 

Dearest Grown-Up Katelyn, 
I know the years will fly by. So I want you to know that now, then, and always -- I love you with my whole mother heart! You are so good and such an individual (which you know I love). You are the perfect daughter for me! I am so thankful for your life and your lion heart. I know you will always bring me great joy and laughter and always keep me on my toes, for which I am forever grateful. I love you so much. You were the cutest little five-year-old ever!
Your Friend, 

Friday, June 26, 2015


Saw this gem of a picture today at Mom B's. That Double B McButter Pants gave Benson the exact same hair and much of his cuteness. 
I guess my suspicions could come to fruition and my tiny Double B could grow up and have his dad's black hair. Time will tell. Either way, that is one cute family. 
In national history, today the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage nation wide. That makes me pretty sad... because as a history student, the overriding of states rights scares me. We have a carefully constructed government. It hangs on its ability to check and balance itself. 
In family history, today we went to an awesome trampoline place with Sil and her girls. The kids LOVED it, it was awesome! Olivia found several ways to injure herself but she was a champ. She has some serious circus basketball skills! They were all sweaty and tired, but we had fun. Costco, sweltering in 111 degree heat, a fun visit with the grandparents B and cousins, and lemons to top it off. Can't complain about that. 

Christmas Flash Back

So I'm not a hundred percent sure what got me thinking of this, since it was 110 today and we spent hours at the splash pad and drinking our weight in Frys drinks (a tragic discovery if ever there was one. They already know my order when I pull up to the window -- Diet Coke, double lime. It's so sad. And yet is so happy, too).
I think my Christmas Flash Back comes courtesy of a little board book Benny was playing with -- that puts pictures to the song "Mary, Did You Know." Kate wanted me to read it to her, recognized the lyrics, hunted down the Pentatonics Christmas CD and the portable movie player, and danced her little heart out to the music, on repeat.
So my little mind time machine took me back to last Christmas, when the Double B ate his entire box of birthday-cake Oreos and most of his sock candy during the opening of presents. Then ate a very sugary breakfast. Then declared himself very ill. All before about nine o'clock in the morning.
He spent pretty much all of Christmas day in bed, and didn't even feel good enough to come with us to celebrate that night with the Tates. Which was too bad, because we had fun. The rest of us had a jolly time. But not the Double B! We got back just in time for me to help offer him moral support while he barfed up everything he'd ever eaten in his life to that point. I pitied him -- at least 50%. Then Olivia called me upstairs because, sure enough, Katelyn was barfing. Then Double B. Then Katelyn. It was a Christmas barf competition!
Olivia was awarded the red badge of courage for being my faithful, compassionate assistant with all the yakking going on.
So that was Christmas 2014. A good year. Recited to you this 25th day of June, 2015.
The end.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger, and Disgust

It was a great day today. We met Aunt Trina and her kids at the park for a picnic and my dear friend Jodi just happened to be there. We had a lovely visit! Kate took the two pictures on the right while puttering around:
Then tonight we went to see the new Pixar movie "Inside Out." It was darling. I seriously did laugh and cry. In fact, I ba-hewd! Something about that imaginary friend helping Joy just caused a small eruption inside myself! I love every time I cry now. Sounds funny, I know, but it is such a release valve... I have really missed the ability to weep. Every time it comes now it's just a huge relief! I'm not broken -- Hurray! 
At the park we talked about being "nice" women, and how important it is to be able to actually say what you mean. To be kind but to be forthright. I realized a while ago I'd smothered that inside myself, and really, by not saying what I really meant or thought it was just a form of lying. It is hard for me to feel comfortable sharing, but I am determined to be that kind of disciple! Loving and kind, but totally forthright and without guile. Life goal. I know it will make me a better wife, mother, and friend! 
It is funny, because on the way home I got feeling weirdly guilty. Like, how dare I share my opinion to my friends? See, I have work to do. But I have the desire to DO the work, and that makes me happy.  
Forward and not backwards. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

For I Am Not Ashamed

Meet "Oliver" and "Ken."
These people crack me up. 
Today is our 13th anniversary. Didn't get the chance to celebrate today -- spent about 20 waking minutes together -- very romantic! But we'll do something in the next couple days. How I love my Double B. He is the peanut butter to my jelly. Everything would be different without him. He is my own personal cup of hot cocoa. How I love him. Best of all, here's what we have to show for 13 happy years together:
We are a family. How amazing. 

And now, since this blog is basically for my children and grandchildren and all the other childrens, some thoughts. Seems like recently I've read or seen a lot of things that are angry. Angry at the church, the "brethren," God, religion, ethics, morals, pretty much anything you could think of. It's tragic to see wonderful people losing their faith in the good. Or giving up on years of beautiful faith and experience because they have questions. My dad always sang us a fun little song about the Bible that has a verse about Jacob and Esau that says he sold his inheritance "for a sandwich and a beer." That's what's actually happening right now, though. I love questions. Jeffrey R. Holland has said that if you haven't questioned your religion, you probably haven't thought about it hard enough. Questions are awesome! I love people who wrestle. Enos from the Book of Mormon is one of my heros -- his story of the "wrestle which he had before God" got me through my own 20 year-plus wrestle before God. But now, on the other side, I am so profoundly grateful for the wrestle! Because of that wrestle, my confidence as a woman in God's kingdom is unshakable. I don't need anyone else to tell me what God thinks of me, or my gender, or the power I hold directly because of my gender, because I KNOW. He patiently taught me. It was line upon line, precept on precept. But I don't need anyone or anything to tell me I'm more or I'm less, because I know. The Holy Ghost has made my faith unshakable in that thing. I don't have a ton of knowledge -- I have some! -- but what I do have is a ton of is faith. It is hard won through experience! Through testing the word. So when God speaks, through the Spirit or through a prophet, I seek personal confirmation and I act.  I know He will display His mighty hand. I have received too many witnesses -- sometimes big and sometimes small -- to ever deny it. I realize this is my path and I acknowledge others have their own path. I honestly respect that. I just realized last night while reading an angry article with angry comments -- none of this outside anger can change me. I've wrestled my great wrestle before God. Now it is my responsibility to continue rowing my way up the stream. Strong, solid, steady rows. And to encourage the amazing questioners and the wrestlers in my life to keep going -- keep seeking -- keep experimenting upon the word. It may take twenty slow years of here a little, there a little -- it may take longer -- but I have a perfect knowledge that you will be answered. And the answer is worth the wait.