Wednesday, May 23, 2018

God Sanctifies Your Most Difficult Days

"To mothers, especially young mothers, who often feel overwhelmed and underwater while striving to raise 'a sin-resistant generation,' never underestimate your central role in God's plan. In stressful moments-perhaps when you are chasing little ones and a charred smell from the kitchen informs you that your lovingly prepared dinner is now a burnt offering-know that God sanctifies your most difficult days."
 - Elder Brian K. Taylor

Patient Covenant Keeping

"Patiently keeping our covenants while we 'do what is necessary' to receive answers from the Lord is part of God's pattern for learning truth. Especially when things are hard, we may be required to 'submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord.' Patient covenant keeping increases our humility, deepens our desire to know truth, and allows the Holy Ghost to 'guide us in wisdom's paths that we may be blessed, prospered, and preserved."
 - Thomas S. Monson

Moving Time

After almost a year of looking at houses we finally found one we both liked and thought would be suitable for the next 20 years. By the time our realtor drove home to submit the offer, the house was sold. This market is crazy cut throat! We were really disappointed, especially Lance, he was pretty upset. I reminded him that if the Lord wants us to be in that house then something will happen and the house will be available again. Deals fall through all the time. Two weeks later our realtor called us and said the house is going back on the market but the seller would not accept any offer contingent on a house being sold. So that night we put our house on the market.

In the next 18 hours we had three competing offers, all over the asking price. We accepted an offer on our house and as we were submitting our offer on the new house, they were getting more offers! Ugh! But they did accept ours this time so we'll be closing on both homes June 14. Unfortunately, the kids and I are leaving for summer vacation two days after closing so it'll be a really tight deadline.

We're happy about this home, its about 4-5 miles east of here nestled in the hills of a great neighborhood. It has 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms and 3600 square feet. It does need a few repairs and updating throughout but it's totally livable. I think we'll shoot for remodeling it in 5 years.

The worst part is that we'll be in a different ward by only one street! We really love our ward and I've met so many great new people since the stake changed all of boundaries last year. But I also have faith that this is where we're supposed to be and the Lord made it all work out. I'm SO excited to have more space!!! But now the real work begins.


Cora has loved her music class and it's proven to be worth it as extra "therapy." Julie's mom is her teacher and she's so wonderful with kids. This was her last day of class, the kids put on a little show for the parents. When they all walked in, Cora refused to come into the room. She wouldn't do it, she didn't like all the grown ups staring at her and the formality. So she hid in the corner so nobody could see her.
Eventually we convinced her to sit by Daddy, but she wouldn't participate in the group musical numbers at all.

Each child performed a solo of their choosing, Cora chose the Finger Family nursery song. I knew if there was to be any chance of her singing it she would need someone to be with her so Lance accompanied her on the ukulele and sang. But it was still too much for her, she stayed on the floor and covered her ears with her hands and rocked back and forth. Afterward each child received a set of maracas from Ms. Teresa and had little party. So fun!

Spring Time Fun

Little Maestro

Lance has started to teach Kimball informal piano lessons and Kimball loves it. He's picking up on it pretty quickly and Lance said he even has good pitch. Hopefully his love for music only deepens.

Potty Training Complete!

This girl has mastered potty training! I'm so proud of her, this is such a big milestone and I wasn't even sure if it was possible. But she's proving once again that she can do whatever she sets her mind to! This was her final prize that she picked out.

Ezra turned 1!

My sweet baby turned 1 year old, I can't believe it!!! He's still the wiggliest, squirmiest, on-the-go baby ever. He tries hard to keep up with Cora and Kimball. He's pretty stoic and makes you work for a smile but is a pretty happy baby and so playful. He's the light of Cora and Kimball's life, they want to be with him all the time and it's so sweet to watch the sibling relationships develop. We love you, little buddy!

Love My Cubs!


Spring Barbershop Show

This was Lance's spring barbershop show, they did a great job. He's singing here with his quartet the Blue Jeans. The director is taking a "long vacation" so Lance is now the official director of the chorus for at least 6 months. This past weekend they went to a district competition in Missoula, MT and had a great time. Their score was 59.1 (they were hoping for 59) and wanted to be the novice quartet which they were not named. But they had a great time and it was a good little vacation for him.

Thank you, Julie!

This family means the world to me. Julie is my best friend and without her friendship in Spokane, I'd be pretty lonely. She's my voice of reason and a great encourager. She's an excellent Mama to her tribe of 6 and I'm so thankful she's my friend!

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Potty Training Week 3 & 4

Week 3 proved to be the pivotal week, Cora finally figured out how to use that little muscle and just let the pee out. She'll go when I ask her to and doesn't hold it any more. This is huge!!! Because she doesn't hold it, that also means she doesn't throw fits and going to the bathroom is not a dramatic 30-60 minute ordeal anymore ending with both of us in tears. What a relief!!! (Pun intended).

With this week being week 4, we're working on her going before running errands, playing outside, before leaving the house, etc. Occasionally she'll still hold in her poo so we're working on that this week as well. She has a lot more confidence and understanding and is much happier. That also means I'm much happier! 

She filled up her second potty chart and it seems to be a great motivator so I'm going to stick with it. I appreciate the support of Mom and Dad sending Cora rewards as well, Grandpa sent her a box of chocolates this week. She's so sweet she wanted to share with all of us, they were delicious. I'm so proud of Cora, this is such a big deal and a big feat for her!!

My Boys

For unknown reasons Kimball hasn't been sleeping well and this particular night he'd been out of bed several times crying. I finally just decided to snuggle him and that pint-sized 6 year old fell right asleep on my lap. I was so tired, it was almost midnight and I really wanted to go to bed. But I thought to myself, "Self, this may be the last time he falls asleep on your lap." So I quieted down my own concerns for sleep and just relished in the moment.
This little guy is all over the place and never holds still. Before I know it he'll be in Kindergarten and I'll wish he still got into everything.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Sunday, April 22, 2018

"The waters did not part as the children of Israel stood on the banks of the river waiting for something to happen; rather, the soles of their feet were wet...As they moved forward, the water parted."
- Elder David A. Bednar
"First I obey, then I understand."
- Marjorie Hinckley

Thoughts on Cora

I've had a couple thoughts the last few weeks I wanted to write down to sort it all out. My long term goal for Cora is that by the time she's in Kindergarten she'll be caught up to her peers and be mainstream. 

Her PT is going well and she's almost caught up. When I see a child her age run and jump around I can still see a difference - Cora's reflexes are slower (like starting a race, she won't jump the gun, she's very slow getting started) and she's not as precise. She has great endurance and will try almost any physical activity. Her handwriting/drawing is definitely behind, she cannot write any numbers or letters and can't draw a smiley face or a stick figure. Her speech is also definitely behind, I think she'll be in speech therapy at least for another 2-3 years. Her social skills lack a few basics the most prominent being speech. I've noticed the last several play dates we have she would rather play with kids younger than her. I don't know if that's because she identifies better with them in terms of her speech and gross/fine motor skills being developmentally delayed or if she just prefers younger kids to play with. She has a hard time being in large groups, for example her music class has about 6 kids in it but we attended a make-up class that had 15 kids and she did not do well at all. She just sat in the corner and rocked herself. I'm not sure if she's just overwhelmed or if she has anxiety or if she's not confident in herself.

I've wondered if she'll need to repeat Kindergarten twice so that she has a more concrete understanding overall and sharper skills in those areas. I've also wondered since she prefers small classes that maybe she would do better in a special education class that's small. Maybe mainstream isn't the best option for her? Maybe for her to be successful and to develop those skills she needs to be in an integrated class? Or if she does mainstream Kindergarten, maybe she'll have to repeat it and then be mainstream? I struggle with what to do when that time comes because I do want her to be mainstream but I need to remember that what I want isn't necessarily the best thing for Cora. Maybe the best thing for her to progress quickly would be a small special education class.

As I've been potty training and trying to be more in tune with her these last two weeks I see such innocence in her. She's still different than kids her age and she just has an innocence about her that other kids don't seem to have. Something about her eyes are just so innocent and pure, I really don't know how else to explain it. She's a smart girl! Even though she has physical delays, her mind is sharp. There seems to be a kind of disconnect between what her brain is telling her and being able to execute that action. She can count and she knows a lot of letters but if you ask her to draw it, it's impossible. She can't lie and she makes the greatest faces when we ask her something like, "Cora did you hit Ezra, is that why he's crying?" Most kids would say no because they don't want to get in trouble. She says no because its the absolute truth and makes a face at us like, "how can you even ask me that, of course not!" I know for certain when she says something I need to believe her because she may be incapable (is that even possible?) of lying. Even when she doesn't need to potty even though it's been 6 hours since she last went, if she says no then she really doesn't.

She has made great strides the last 6 months. Yesterday we worked outside in the yard and she didn't bat an eye at the lawn mower. Last year she threw fits, ran inside scared, and covered her ears from the noise. She has also attempted a two wheel bike with training wheels and didn't bat an eye. Last year she wanted nothing at all to do with it and only wanted the baby tricycle. Also, her sentence structure is more fluid and elongated with about 7-10 words per sentence.

Her eyes and the innocence in them is just so sweet and gentle and honest and pure. I learn so much from her everyday. I absolutely need her in my life and I'm so thankful to be her Mama!!

Potty Training Week 2

Music class proved to be much like last week - not cooperative, didn't participate, not engaged or happy and just rocked in the corner by herself. I still had her in underwear and was really hesitant to put a pull up on her because she hadn't had any accidents for a few days.

Friday was an awesome day, I was afraid she'd be uncooperative again for therapy but that wasn't the case. She was the same old Cora who worked hard, loved the challenges the therapists asked her to do, and was confident in herself. I still had her in underwear so I think she's finally starting to get used to it in public. Later that day she not only came to find me and tell me she needed to potty, but also went potty without throwing a fit! Both of those are big deals!! 

I finally feel like we're very SLOWLY making some progress potty training. She did fill up her potty chart so I need to take her to the toy store to pick out what she wants. Grandma Julie has continued to send surprises as motivation which has been SO helpful. I took her to the pediatrician and he referred us to an incontinence clinic at the hospital. They'll do biofeedback on her bladder and kidneys (put little electrodes on her abdomen) to see how full her bladder is and how efficiently everything is working. I think this might be worth it just to make sure that there's nothing anatomically or medically wrong. However, I don't know how well she'd cooperate with it so that's the tricky part.

We did see the behavioral counselor about the anxiety and fits toward the toilet and he wasn't very helpful. He just said she won't be diapers in college and to celebrate the successes she does have.

I think we'll continue making slow progress and hopefully by summer time she'll be completely potty trained during the day, we'll see. I'm really proud of her, I'm certainly not going to stop now!

Mr. Squirmy is Almost One!

Friday, April 20, 2018

Five Senses of the Body

 Debra submitted this in the family newsletter in regards to Grandpa's death and I really liked it and wanted it saved somewhere:

About a month before Dad’s death, as
I was driving him downtown to MSTI
for his chemo treatment, He told me
that it’s hard to ‘go’ when you are
leaving family behind. How he loved
his family!

Below, in Dad’s own words, he
expresses his love for his family plus
you can get a sense for his tender

“The Lord has blest you with 5
senses of the body.
Your eyes to see the workings of
Satan. To also recognize the beauties
of the world, to see God and his works
in every living creature and plant.
Your ears to hear the rumble and
noise and unclean voices of the
underworld. On the other hand, to
hear the voice of the Holy Spirit, to
recognize the feelings and inspiration
produced by beautiful music and clean
and wholesome language.
Your heart and mind to tell and feel
the differences between good and evil
actions. Your heart and bosom will
swell with joy when you act with
kindness towards your fellowman and
God’s animal creatures.
Your nose and its ability to smell
the fragrance of the rose and other
beautiful flowers. To smell the air after

the falling rain has cleansed the earth
or the soft wind carrying the smell of
the desert sage or the smell of new
mown hay. One never forgets the
smell of mother’s fresh baked bread or
all the fragrances that brings sweet
memories or delights our God given
Your sense of touch and feeling
may not be fully appreciated until
misfortune takes it away or disease
lessens it. Time erases the memory of
your mother’s first touch and caress,
but you’ll always remember holding
her hand and the hugs and kisses she
gave to comfort you when misfortune
came. And when grown up yourself
and when you find happiness in your
own family and have your own to
touch, feel, caress and to love is when
you really appreciate the God given
sense of touch.”
- Grandpa Don Watson

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Potty Training: Week 1

The first two days of potty training Cora were great, she told me every time she needed to potty or she just ran to the bathroom and sat on the toilet by herself. She didn't have any fear of the toilet and did superbly well sitting there. She had just as many accidents as she did victories, three and three. I awarded her with the potty treats and she put a sticker on her chart and we called Grandma and we had a mini party and blew the horns. It was great.

Every day since then has not been so great even though she's not had any accidents at all. She has been holding it for hours until it hurts and has associated that pain with the toilet. So now every time she sits on the toilet she's very hysterical and throws belligerent fits. I mean screaming at the top of her lungs, pounding her feet on the stool, jumping up and down on the seat, etc. It's torture for her and I! She no longer voluntarily sits on the toilet, I have to carry her in there and place her on the seat all the while she's screaming and trying to get out of my grip (which is easy to do because she's a big, heavy and very strong girl). The last two days she has held her urine for 10 hours, only peeing once a day.

After she goes we always talk about how easy and quick it is to just let it go instead of holding it in, and it doesn't hurt and we try the best we can to explain to her how to release that sphincter muscle, and she's all in and says she'll try it next time. But when next time comes around it's the same circus.

Friday was our first day out of the house because she had all 3 therapies back to back followed by music class. At therapy she hid behind me and cried and refused to go back for therapy, and she loves therapy! She just all of a sudden became shy and ashamed so I carried her and Ezra back to the gym and sat with her for 10 minutes while she warmed up to therapy. She finally decided to play with Jayme, Sam, and Sarah so I went back to the waiting room. About 15 minutes later they all came back and said, "I think we're done for the day. She's not wanting to play or cooperate and there's no need to waste your time or ours, we'll try again next week." I was shocked. Cora's never done that before. I tried having her sit on the toilet and she threw a loud fit and we left to go to music class.

I had to stop at a gas station because it was only 9:30am and I needed chocolate! Cora did the same thing at music class. I felt so defeated and discouraged. I was utterly exhausted both physically and mentally. What a day!

I'm really not sure where to go from here. Her OT said it's definitely a behavioral thing with anxiety. If there was something anatomically wrong with her bladder or kidneys then we definitely would've known by now. Every day I talk to her about how easy it is, and fast, not scary, painless, etc. which I know she understands (she's a smart girl!) but when it comes to going potty she still just throws a hysterical fit. Her OT did mention that there's a behavioral counselor that deals with incontinence that we could see so I think we're definitely interested in that. I left a message for her pediatrician and the nurse just said to stop potty training immediately. I disagree with that, until I can get in and talk to her actual doctor I'm going to keep at it and just pray and hope that things will eventually click for her. Oh heaven help me!!

Grandma sent Cora a potty prize and she asked for something purple. Cora checked the mail box every day for her "purple mail" and it finally came yesterday. Purple easter bunny pajamas, so cute!

Friday, April 13, 2018

Spring Chicks!

Date With Mommy

Last week I took Cora out on a date for some one - on - one time in preparation for potty training.
We drove Daddy's van so it was extra special. In the van she found a Book of Mormon and on our drive started to read it, "I know Jesus loves me and I love him. Jesus loves me soooo much..." I was touched that of any knowledge she may have about the gospel, she knows that Jesus Christ loves her.
First we stopped to pick up some new church shoes that I had ordered. Then we went to a store to pick out her very own underwear. She chose Princess Poppy from Trolls. We also loaded up on juice boxes as rewards and incentives to get lots of practice from the natural result of drinking a lot. We also got plenty of potty treats.
Before we went home we grabbed a bite to eat and she wanted sandwiches so we stopped at subway for a real gourmet dinner. We had such a great time just the two of us! It was so fun to just focus on her and to do things that only she would enjoy.
 When we got home she couldn't wait to show Daddy her new underwear!

Monday, April 2, 2018

Cora's Homework

I was really impressed by Cora's work on these worksheets, if they weren't dry erase I would've taped them up on her bedroom wall. As you can see she's very rigid with her wrist movements but this is a major improvement!

Easter 2018

We had an Easter egg hunt with my friends and the dad's all joined us after they got off work. It was so nice and the weather was perfect. We had dinner together afterward and then cake to celebrate Aaron's birthday. This photo is of all the kids minus babies Ezra, Jensen, and Magnolia. Oh and little Max, he didn't want to stand next to everyone. 

The Easter bunny visited our family and the kids were thrilled with their loot. Kimball got a basketball, Ezra got a stuffed sloth, and Cora got a Princess Poppy but I think they were mostly excited about peeps. Go figure. We had such a nice weekend listening to conference. We participated as they did a solemn assembly to sustain the new prophet, President Nelson, and a few changes were announced along with seven new temples. It was quite the conference and indeed the work is hastening on. I'm grateful to be part of the true church of Jesus Christ!