Wednesday, June 24, 2009

finding joy & sanity in motherhood

It seems to be a recurring theme: frustrated mothers because of the demands mothering brings. This doesn't mean that we don't love what we do. Motherhood is one of - if not the most - fulfilling calling/task/accomplishment we could ever partake of. Yet, it is extremely difficult, demanding, and emotion-draining - more than any of us ever thought possible! (FYI: Researchers have determined that stay-at-home moms work the equivalent of 4 full-time jobs and if in the work force would make over $150,000 a year.) Mothering requires being selfless all the time, and yet, we also need to find time to refill our cups in order to keep giving of ourselves. Consequently, we are in a constant tug-of-war between the giving that is always required of us, the want and need for "me time" (and the guilt that accompanies it). In sharing my thoughts, I don't wish to be self-righteous or condescending. I simply wish to share what I have learned in the hopes that one or some may benefit.

Father's Counsel
During our visit to Arizona in April, I approached my dad with what I knew was a loaded question. But, I had no idea the can of worms I was opening! I've been struggling a great deal with Laci behaviorally. Suspecting that she has ADD, I've wondered, where do I draw the line? How do I discipline a child who literally can't control her actions? She's incredibly impulsive. Her desires and intentions are good, but her ability to follow through in those desires is challenged by this disorder. How can I hold her to the same standard as a child that doesn't have that challenge? In trying to find these answers on my own, I ended up feeling helpless and confused.

Naturally, I turned to someone with more wisdom and experience than myself, my Dad. What he had to say was extremely difficult to hear! (It almost made me wonder how much he'd been bottling this up.) I have shed many tears over what he told me, which was essentially this: I am too selfish. My children don't know that they come first. I expect too much from Jason. My job is to be primary care-taker. I should have zero expectations from Jason in that department. His plate is full enough already as provider. This means that regardless of how tired and fatigued I am, my family must come first, and I must continue to give. I need to follow my mom's example of service - taking meals to families in the ward, doing laundry for a sister who just had surgery, driving people to appointments who don't have a car - basically, serve those around me, whatever, whenever, and wherever it is needed (and she does just that while raising 10 kids!).

Talk about a self-esteem downer! So, this is what my dad thinks of me? How could he be so judgemental? Yep, I left that conversation feeling pretty down on myself. I could argue with my dad and tell him why he was wrong. And, I had plenty to say! But, Dad, you don't get it! You've never been a mother. You just can't relate. Laci's activity level and Jacob's constant needing me leaves me so drained and depleted by the end of the day that I desperately need reinforcements when Jason comes home. Mom has been able to serve to that capacity because 1) she has the capacity of 10 people, and 2) your income has allowed her make extra meals and use extra water for laundry and gas in the car, and wherever else she is serving. She hasn't stood at the fridge or pantry with kids clinging at her legs because they are hungry and literally had nothing to give them! I have. How dare you tell me that I am selfish! I have been merely surviving from day to day: getting up, existing, and going to bed to start it all over again. Or I could shut up and listen, take it like an adult and make some changes. I couldn't turn back now. I had gone to him with a sincere desire for sound counsel, and he gave it to me. And, frankly, I could tell it was really hard for him to say.

Plan of Action
7 notecards. A new schedule for each day. Example 1, Monday:

5:00 Exercise
6:00 Family Scriptures, Chores - make beds, straighten rooms
6:30 Start making breakfast - put on classical/church music
7:00 Breakfast - pancakes
7:30 Kitchen clean up - dishes, counters/table, sweep, dress for the day
8:00 Cartoons, Mom's chores
- dust and vacuum upstairs (master, kids' rm, office, playroom)
- laundry (whites, bedding, Jason's work clothes)
- ironing (Jason & Jacob's white Sunday shirts)
9:00 Preschool
9-9:15 Seminary (similar to FHE lesson)
9:15-9:30 Letters (recognize)
9:30-9:45 Music (primary or fun)
9:45-10 Cooking (FHE treat)
10:00 Play Outside
10:30 Start making lunch
11:00 Lunch - mac n cheese
12:00 Craft: write letters to family members (Grandma & Grandad, etc.)
1:00 Stories & Quiet Time/ My personal scripture time
Fold clothes & ironing
If time, scrapbook, paint nails, watch TV
3:30 Play outside
4:30 Clean up time - playroom and bedrooms
Start making dinner
5:30 Dinner (look at menu plan for week)
6:00 Kitchen clean up - dishes, counters/table, sweep
6:30 FHE
7:00 Kids' baths, stories & bed
7:30 My shower, get ready for bed
8:00 Companion Study
8:30 Read 10 pages (book by general authority)
9:00 Bed/ Watch TV

Now, this may seem really excessive. I have one for every day. Each day changes a little bit, and we do have one day where we segway completely away from the daily routine for a play date, grocery shopping, and gymnastics. All my errands are packed into one day because Jason and I share a car.

I did this for two reasons: 1) it really does keep my sanity. I'm used to being crazy-busy, every hour and minute of the day allotted to something. So, this takes the guesswork out of finding things for the kids - and myself - to do throughout the day. 2) after getting Laci tested at the school district for ADD, they told me they can't diagnose but that her test scores indicate that she has ADHD. This was no surprise, but the news came about 2 weeks after I found out that I was pregnant with baby #3. Considering all the behavioral issues I was having with Laci, the thought of adding an infant to the mix (and Jacob was just starting to become more independent), was tremendously overwhelming. I cried as I asked these specialists what I could do to help her. I felt like I couldn't control her anymore, and discipline was becoming a nightmare because she could live the entire day in her room. They said, routine, routine, routine. All kids need a general routine, but ADD/ADHD kids need to know by the second what their day holds, and it needs to be switched up often enough that they don't get bored and start getting into trouble.

Also, I chose to do a preschool - just for Laci (Jacob will be there, too) - because, financially, it came down to enrolling her in a local preschool or gymnastics. After speaking to a preschool teacher about the curriculum, I thought, I could easily teach her myself and she could still get the socialization that preschool would bring through gymnastics. They mainly learn shapes, letter & number recognition, colors, so basic! I did not want to include other kids and make a business out of it because of the behavioral issues I've been having with Laci. I didn't want her to feel like she had to compete with the other kids. So, one of my summer projects is to gather materials for doing preschool in the fall. I've been doing a little everyday anyway with things I have on-hand. But, I want to create an outline for each month and have folders for each subject we'll be covering...less planning later!

Simplify and Simplicity
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, this past year has been beyond difficult. We reached the bottom...emotionally, financially, in our marriage...we hit rock bottom. Moving to Utah was a huge act of faith, and staying in Utah has also taken a great deal of faith. Yes, it's where we found employment, but it's taken almost a full year to recover financially. I think we naively thought within 3-4 months, we'd be back on our feet. But, one doesn't recover from rock bottom overnight or even within a few months.

On the other hand, it has been the greatest blessing. Hitting the bottom meant that we could only go up from where we've been. It meant a fresh start. It meant rebuilding. It meant that we had to rebuild with very little. So, I took a few of my favorite scriptures and have used them as a base for rebuilding our family and home:

1) Organize yourselves...every needful thing...a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God (D&C 119:110).

On this point, I wish to share one short story - and I apologize, I know this post is very long already! When Grandad Farnsworth was in the temple presidency of the Mesa Arizona Temple, he gave us an in-depth tour of the temple. When the Lord commands us to build a house of order, He means just that. When we went to the basement, the floors in each room were painted a different color so that when directed, no one ever questioned where something was to be placed. Even the pipes were painted different colors so that when maintenance was needed for plumbing or gas, etc., there was never a question of which pipe to go to. It taught me a great lesson about order. The Lord is not the author of confusion, and if our house is in order, there will never arise an occasion of confusion.

2) ...stand ye in holy places (D&C 87:8).

3) A place where the Lord may come, [the temple] is the most holy of any place of worship on the earth. Only the home can compare with the temple in sacredness (Bible Dictionary: Temple).

4) Other readings:
The Ministry of Angels, Jeffrey R. Holland, November 2008 Ensign
Daughters of God, M. Russell Ballard
A Mother's Influence, Margaret D. Nadauld
Raising Up a Family to the Lord, Gene R. Cook

We live in a world of choices. As Latter-day Saints, these choices aren't necessarily between good and bad, but good, better, best. I want my home to be a holy place, a sacred place, a refuge from the world. I want it to be a place where the Lord and ministering angels can come.

As mothers, we have been given that amazing opportunity and sacred responsibility.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

happy accident

well, here are the cutting disaster "before" photos:

left side...the beginnings of a mullet

right side;
it's kind of hard to see, but she took out a big chunk on the bottom right behind her ear.
Drum roll please...
Here are the afters:
left side;
the mullet hairs were blended in to look like they are tucked behind her ears.

right side;
we couldn't do a true aline here because of the chunk she took out behind her ear.
However, we were able to keep some length on that side to create an asymetrical bob.

Here's the back.
Thankfully, the waviness in her hair hides the chunkiness on the right side.

Here's the front view after playing with it when we got home. The stylist did more of a page-boy look with the hair plastered around Laci's face.
Just wasn't working for me.

I'm still going to have to play with it some till I feel like it looks just right. But, that's the perfectionist in me coming out.
I really love it! (She was due for a haircut anyway, and I wouldn't have thought of doing this.)
I love how it frames her face, and I think it really suits Laci's personality.
I made sure to give the stylist a really good tip because she saved Laci's hair and our family pictures, which means we can still have Lara be our photographer! YEAH!

Friday, June 19, 2009

on the parent's short list...

of nightmare incidents. (Okay, so maybe this one is just on a mother's short list.)

So, you see that big wad of hair? That's what Laci cut from her hair this morning. I'm telling you, I don't know whether to be fuming or to weep! I dread taking her to "fix" it because I'm sure the only thing to do is to chop it...and her hair is barely past her shoulders...4 years in the making! She's been telling me that she wants to grow it long like a princess. And, I've been planning to have family pictures taken within the month. If I had scheduled the appointment with a studio, I would just push it back a few months. But the photographer I'm really hoping and excited for is moving several states away! (Sigh.)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

not much happening here

So, we're just chugging forward, things as usual. I had bloodwork today to make sure my hormone levels are dropping after the miscarriage. And, hopefully, sometime soon we'll have an announcement for everyone. I'm definitely going to be waiting out the first trimester this time around. (I figured at 10 weeks, I was close enough ... guess not.)

Friday, June 12, 2009

fellow bloggers

Because private blogs are becoming the norm, I can't access several of my friends' blogs. You know who you are...
If I list your name, will you PLEASE leave me your email address in the comment box, so that I can email you for a blog invite?

Karli, Kim, Camie, Stacey (Oh, you added me, Stacey. Thank you!)

(I would love to get in touch with Katie, Lynn, and Annie, too!)


Here's my recipe, too (as promised):

Italian Chicken Sandwich

2-3 chicken breasts, cut through each chicken breast and open it like you would a book; you'll end up with 4-6 servings total. (I've heard this type of cut referred to as a butterfly cut - I like it b/c you don't end up with a huge chunk of meat to bite through and it stretches your chicken, too!)
1/2 c. butter, melt the butter then add the rest:
1 tsp. minced garlic
2 tsp. basil
1 tsp. oregano
1/4-1/2 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. lemon juice

Place chicken breasts onto baking sheet, (I like to foil my baking sheet for easy clean up). Pour the butter over chicken, coating both sides. Broil for 5-8 minutes on each side. Build your sandwich, using any kind of bread you like. (I used sourdough.) Butter both slices of bread, butter-sides out. Layer with tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, red onions, and basil leaves. Bake at 400 degrees on a different baking sheet (this time, no foil, so the butter can crisp) for 10-12 minutes; flip sandwiches; bake for another 10-12 minutes - or longer, depending on how crisp and golden you like your bread. Serve. (We ate this with tomato soup. Yum!)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

too tired

I thought about posting a recipe (because I liked Alacey's idea of doing that every now and then). But, I'm just too tired. I'll do it tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

highly recommend

I just finished Gene R. Cook's Raising Up a Family to the Lord. If you have not read it, I highly recommend this book! (He even has it on CD, which is great for driving in the car or while you're cleaning, folding laundry, etc.) I feel like it is a how-to manual on parenting! It's not a replacement for seeking the guidance of the Spirit as we each raise our individual families, of course. But, his views have confirmed, added to, and strengthened ideals and standards that I hold dear to my heart and wish to implement in my family. I've even decided that I'm going to read it once a year - because something new always stands out every time you read a book over again.

thank you

Thank you for all your comments. I feel extremely blessed to be surrounded by so much love and support! Many of you - and even myself - are surprised with how well I'm taking it. As I've had time to reflect, I feel like there are several reasons for this.

1) Knowledge is power. Intellectually, I know that miscarriage is very common: 1 in 4 pregnancies. I'm no mathmetician, but I know enough to figure out that that comes out to 25% or a quarter of all pregnancies. I know more women who have had miscarriages than not. My mind has wandered back to biology 100, when I learned about cell division. I think there are six steps in the process; if there is anything wrong with the cell when the it reaches step 3 or 4, it dies. I remember making the analogy to miscarriage when I was learning about that process - maybe that was to help prepare me for this moment in my life. With further study, I've also learned that most miscarriages occur because of some chromosomal defect. Your body, then, naturally terminates the pregnancy. I marvel how Heavenly Father created our bodies!

2) I know several women who have had much more heartbreaking experiences with miscarriage. My mom had several miscarriages and struggled with infertility before getting pregnant with me. In fact, they adopted my older brother thinking they would adopt their entire family. Needless to say, I was a surprise. With each succeeding pregnancy, my mom was on fertility meds just to get pregnant. After baby 5, my brother Blake - through which my mom was on bedrest for 5 months - my mom turned it over to the Lord. She felt like she had a large enough family considering all she had been through. And, after having gone through so much with each pregnancy: I was 3 months early; Heather was early and contracted pneumonia when she was 3 weeks old; Adam was 4 months early, and died at birth; Ashlee was early; Blake was early and survived the pregnancy only because my mom was on bedrest for the majority of his pregnancy. With each of these pregnancies, my mom threatened to either miscarry or enter preterm labor. She felt like if she was going to get pregnant again, it would be completely up to the Lord. And, after turning it over to the Lord, my brothers, Chase, Dane, Trey, and Zac were all conceived without fertility meds, and their pregnancies were, for the most part, healthy and normal. My mom is a tremendous example of faith!

I remember a sister in a previous ward who miscarried her baby 4 1/2 months into her pregnancy. She had just found out that she was going to have a girl. How heartbreaking - to lose your little girl - but more especially, to lose a pregnancy after you've felt life in the womb!

One of my cousins, also lost a baby when she was almost to term. She went in for a routine checkup, and they didn't find a heartbeat. She was later induced, and labored knowing that she would be burying that baby. I cannot imagine the devastation that one would feel going through something like that! She has been another tremendous pillar of faith in my life.

My experience just doesn't compare! - not when I'm going through something that is fairly routine.

3) Spiritually, I know that I have the ability to be carried through my trials when I turn to the Lord for comfort. I know that miscarriage does not determine how many children will come to my family. Responding to my attitude about this whole experience, my mom brought up a great point, why go through a mortal experience - greiving -when through knowledge and faith in the power of our Savior's Atonement, you don't have to? For whatever reason, I feel like the Lord is carrying me through this, and it is truly humbling. I feel undeserving. Yet, my heart is filled with peace and gratitude.

Thanks again for all your love and support! For lack of a better description, it's the icing on the cake - or the cherry on top of the sundae. Without it, this experience just wouldn't be the same!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

6 weeks, 4 days

Today, I went in for an ultrasound because I've been experiencing some light bleeding over the last few days. I really haven't been worried. Current research suggests that bleeding, even during the 1st trimester, is quite common and does not always mean impending miscarriage. However, during the procedure, we found that the embryo does not have a heartbeat, and measured 6 weeks, 4 days. I should be entering week 8, (which is still less than I thought, but a 40-day cycle does throw things off a bit; in a 28-day cycle, I should be entering week 12.)

Suprisingly, I'm not devastated. (There's no doubt that I would feel differently if infertility was an issue.) But, even with infertility out of the picture, I would be naive to think that I would never miscarry. It is estimated that 1 in 4 pregnancies ends in miscarriage; many women may not even know that they are pregnant, attributing it to a heavy period. (I think we all know at least 1 person who has miscarried, if it is not something we have personally experienced.) Furthermore, I don't believe miscarriages define how many spirits Heavenly Father will send to each home. He knows the number, and there is always wisdom in it.

Additionally, there is great value in personal experience. If for nothing else, I am grateful for the ability to empathize with others.

Being reminded how fragile and miraculous life is instills deeper appreciation for what we already have. I will definitely be hugging my sweet kids a little longer tonight!

You all know, from my previous posts, how difficult it has been for me to wrap my mind around getting pregnant again. Thankfully, to this surprise pregnancy, I am excited and willing.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

the wonders of a neti pot

Whenever I overdo, my pregnant body lets me know I need to take it easy. So, after a very full last week - celebrating Memorial Day on Monday, Blake's bday on Tuesday, catching up on laundry on Wednesday, errand-running on Thursday, more laundry + ironing on Friday, & preparing Sunday's talk in between - I'm now fighting a head cold. Normally, I wouldn't mind popping the cold meds, but especially since I'm in my 1st trimester, I had to get creative. At first I thought I would just buy some nasal drops, but then I remembered my neti pot - which I bought during my pregnancy with Jacob because my allergies were so terrible.

In two days I have gone from totally and completely congested - we're talkin' can't-breath-through-your-nose-at-all congestion - to semi-congested.

Wow. This thing is great!

p.s. there are a ton of You-Tube how-to's. In case you're wondering how it works.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


There was a comment made on my blog earlier that I would like to respond to. This person - I don't know who you are even after following your blog link - was obviously offended by my strong feelings about not wanting to get pregnant again ( soon, might I add!). Let me also clarify, I am thrilled! Not for a moment, since finding out that I am expecting again, have I cursed this pregnancy, dreaded this pregnancy, or wished baby #3 wasn't on the way! I am extremely excited. I am honored that my Father in Heaven trusts me enough to send me another one of His spirit children!

Before getting pregnant, however, as always there was the fear of the unknown. Was I going to have a difficult pregnancy again? How could I endure such another difficult pregnancy with Jacob so clingy? Might I also add that I am dealing with the possibility that Laci has ADD. (Or perhaps you are offended by that as well. Many people believe that ADD is a cop-out. My answer to that is, you haven't lived with a child who has ADD.)

Parenthood is a huge responsibility that I take seriously. If I am not equipped physically, emotionally, or spiritually to raise my first two children, how could I expect to add a third one to the mix? How can I expect them to grow into happy, healthy, and well-adjusted adults if I myself am not happy, healthy, and well-adjusted? You cannot give what you don't have. By expressing my true and honest feelings, I am not trying to sound insensitive to those who cannot bear children. I would never presume to tell someone who is wishing with all their might to have just 1 child - only to fail with each attempt - to just get over it. We all have different trials. This wouldn't have been mine if there wasn't something that I needed to learn and grow from by experiencing it. Ultimately, I believe that whatever our trials, they are meant simply to strengthen our faith, mold our character, and deepen our reliance on God.

taken completely by surprise!

So, most of you have noticed our baby countdown by now. Yep, baby #3 is on the way! Was this a planned pregnancy? Nope. Were we completely, utterly, and totally surprised? Yep.

Ironicially, Jason and I were looking at the calendar a few weeks ago to plan our summer family outings. Randomly, I just made the comment, "Well, at least we don't have to worry about having another baby in December." (Little did I know...)

FYI: Between our two immediate families this will be birthday #8 in the month of December!

Here's the deal. I haven't even been interested in the idea of getting pregnant again - at least not for a while. I've considered toward the end of the year as a nice time to start thinking about getting pregnant ... only to find out that I will be delivering at that time, yet again! Wow. Okay, so here are the reasons why I have not been excited at the prospect of another pregnancy.

1) I am sick and tired of being fat! No, I'm not obese, but I am overweight. Size 10 and 140 lbs. is a long way from my size 2, 100 lb., frame before I started having children. I desperately wanted to lose weight before getting pregnant again! - especially after having a c-section with Jacob, which totally throws your body off in ways you never imagined! (Yeah, surgery would be ideal, but nothing I could set my heart on at this point, and most likely, ever.) It's heart-breaking and discouraging, and if I spent time dwelling on how much I hate it, I would curl up in a ball and wither away. I honestly feel like a skinny person trapped in a fat person's body!

2) My pregnancy with Jacob was awful! (I'm sure I had it coming because my pregnancy with Laci was textbook.) I was sick the entire 9 months, and it wasn't from the typical nausea that accompanies pregnancy. That came; and I swear that I knew I was pregnant the very day I conceived. That was bad. Worse still: if it was contagious, I caught it. I am not exaggerating when I say that I did not go a week of being well that by the end of the week, I was down with something else! I can't even remember everything that I caught! But in case you were wondering, here's a sample of what I experienced during that pregnancy: sinus infection that lasted 4 months, flu for 7 days, yeast infection that lasted 3 months, bladder issues that we won't go into, and just about everything else you can imagine. I shouldn't complain. I know women who experience hospitalization, IVs, and bed-rest their entire pregnancies. (But, seriously, I might as well have been on bed-rest the entire time!) I felt like Jacob was sucking every nutrient out of my body. (My OB's response to that was that "it's like a parasite to it's host" ... well, if you want to look at it like that. Not exactly the picture you want to have of your new bundle of joy.) Exhaustion is an understatement. Oh, and let's add 6 days overdue to the list, shall we? (That's a big leap when your previous delivery came 10 days early.)

3) As if a rough pregnancy wasn't bad enough, let's cut you open and give you 8 weeks of recovery time. Oh, but that's not enough, let's add colic for 6 months and clinginess for an additional 8. Yeah, you know it's bad when your fellow ward members nickname your infant, [my] "Siamese twin" and "hip child!" I literally held him 24 hours a day for 12 months! Let's forget about the crib, because he'll refuse to sleep in it - so much so that he'll pull himself out and fall to the floor at your first attempt to transition him to the crib (he was 6 months old!). Oh, but that's still not enough - let's add unemployment till all your savings are gone & an out-of-state move! (No wonder I'm still fat!)

Okay, so I've really slathered on the sarcasm, but I haven't exaggerated any of it! promise!

Tell me, was I crazy for not wanting another baby right away? I told Jason a few months ago that a suprise pregnancy is probably the only way that I would have ended up pregnant right now. Recently, though, I have started thinking, if I'm not feeling it's time for another one yet, am I ever going to feel it? Am I only going to have two? That would be a far cry from the family of 10 I was raised in. But I'm not my mom, so maybe I'm not meant to have a large family. Yet, that didn't feel right either.

I'm relieved that I didn't have to wrestle with that decision, and that the Lord simply took over. I am grateful that this pregnancy compares more closely to Laci's than to Jacob's. I'm still battling with my lowered immune system, but at least my energy is high. Definitely one of Father's many tender mercies.

That said, are we happy and excited? Absolutely!

p.s. this is our tie-breaker! And, we've decided that we won't find out the sex of the baby till he/she is born! (Laci was hoping for a girl baby and a boy baby, but since we're only having one, she's rooting for a girl.)

Monday, June 1, 2009

Day 2: Happy Birthday, Uncle Blake!

On May 26th my brother, Blake, turned 20 years old - which is so hard to believe! I remember holding him as a baby ... (I really don't think of myself as old until I realize how old all my younger siblings are.) And that's just mind-boggling!

Memories about Blake:

When Blake was about 18 months old, my mom left me in charge for maybe 30 minutes while she ran to the store. During that short period of time, Blake reaked havoc on our family room carpet! This is when we discovered that Blake could open the fridge. Before I realized what he was doing, he had grabbed 5 eggs and was throwing them on the carpet. Of course, the eggs cracked and left a giant, gooey mess to clean up. Not only did he get into the eggs, but he also managed to dump out dark green chlorophyl onto the carpet as well. Um, chlorophyl does not wash out. Yeah. (Thankfully, my mom stayed calm and collected when she walked in the door.) For months afterward our fridge was locked shut with masking tape wrapped around the handles ... and a new rug covered the spot where the green chlorophyl was spilt.

When I was in highschool, I would usually take 45+ minutes - like most highschool girls do - to get ready in the morning. There was rarely a morning that Blake wouldn't tell me I was beautiful as I walked out the door. What a sweetie!

After I had Laci, my mom and Jason's mom would trade days babysitting while I could finish my degree. Blake loved to rock Laci in our backyard swing. He was always able to get her to sleep. I'm sure Laci didn't even miss me because she felt so loved!

Currently, Blake is serving a mission in the Mesa Arizona Temple Baptistry. He absolutely loves it! This is a very fitting mission for Blake because family is everything to him. Three days a week, he gets to serve in a place where it's all about family! He is such a wonderful uncle to Laci and Jacob. I am so glad that we got to spend a few hours with him on his special day.

Happy Birthday, Blake! We love you -

Jason, Tiffini, Laci, & Jacob

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