Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Is anyone there? Haha

Wow, it has been a really long time since I've been on my blog!! We moved to idaho in May or June. I can't remember. Probably june. I had just given birth to our fourth son McKoy about two months before that. We lived in Mountain Home, Idaho for a year. It definitely wasn't my favorite place to live. In fact , I think it's on the bottom of my list of all the places we have lived. Haha! I homeschooled the older two boys while we were there. It was definitely a huge change from what I am used to. Having my boys with me all day, plus a baby, was challenging. I really loved a lot about it too. I have a passion for homeschooling now. I say that ,but I am sending them to school this fall. I decided I need about a semester off. I need to take some time for myself and with McKoy.  I need to put some of my pieces back together again, and then I will be ready for it if its right. I have a feeling I will be doing it again, I just don't know when. In the meantime, I still read about how to improve what I didn't do right the first year. I'm still very passionate about it. After about a year in Idaho we moved to Kansas city. Shane is doing a pediatric dental residency. It's a two year program and then we are free to settle down! Oh I almost forgot, we also separated from the Air Force a few months ago. Our time in was good. We were excited to get out though. I really like KC . It reminds me of where I grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Lots of trees and lots of green. It's great. And I have family nearby for the first time in our marriage!

I am probably not going to be on this blog anymore. I'm considering starting a new and different blog. One that goes through my life as a mom of four boys...what it's like,the challenges, the ups and downs, what boys need, what a mom of four boys needs, sports, boy noises, boy smells, boy drama. I will also include my own hobbies, what I go through as a mom, etc. it's going to be real. No fake stuff. I won't make life look perfect. It's going to be all the ups and downs. I'm trying to find my talents, and one of my talents that I need to improve on is my writing. I love writing. I often have strong desires to sit down and just write, but never do BC I don't know what to write about! I was reading my patriarchal blessing the other day and realized that writing is probably a gift I've been given and I need to work on that. So, I will start by blogging out the real life stuff folks. Should be interesting. Very interesting. 😉 I am definitely going through a change in my life right now. Trying to do some self improvement. Working on myself is never easy. It's uncomfortable. It's good though.

Just curious if anyone will read this post . If you happen to read this will you leave me a small comment? Thanks!!!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


At the moment we are living out of our suitcases and will be for the next 3-4 weeks or so. The military is slower than a turtle. We have been living out of our suitcases for almost a month. I am soooooo ready to get our furniture and just settle in. By the time we settle in we will only have 10 months left here. It will go by so fast, and it is making me dread moving again so soon. Such is life.  I have quite a few things on my mind since being back in America.

I already miss the kindness of Okinawans. Why are Americans so pushy, rude, in-your-face, and easily offended? It is so different from Okinawans. SO different.  Just in the first few days back we already had someone flip us off, and another person honk their horn at us. Not once in our 3 years in Okinawa did we receive such love and kindness(being sarcastic here).  I just get this sense that Americans are losing it. They are losing their purpose in life, forgetting what it means to do unto others as you would have them do unto you. They are forgetting what it means to love one another.  Then again, i have also chatted with some very kind people since being here. All of whom are senior citizens.  So, apparently the past couple generations are losing it.  We could learn a lot from our elders and from Okinawans. :)

We have also learned a few things during this move.  DO NOT rent a house sight unseen. No bueno.  We learned our lesson on that one. ALSO, nice cars with all the bells and whistles are overrated. Just saying. There are a lot more things i would rather do with my money than have a fancy shmancy car. Second lesson learned. :) You live you learn. 

It's JUNE here in Idaho. JUNE. WHY ON EARTH IS IT COLD?!?!  And i thought we weren't supposed to get much rain here in the sage brush desert. It's been cold and rainy the past two days. What is this?  I enjoyed the nice crisp chill air the first few days, but now i am missing the heat of Okinawa so that i can go swim in the ocean or pool. It feels like low 60's upper 50's. This is not settling well in my mind for what is to come this winter. :)  And Florida is looking pretty good right now for pediatric school options. :) oh yes.

AND this is a random thought. But i was on and noticed a question that said, "How has being a parent shown you the love God has for you?" I instantly thought of recently giving birth and had to write this down so that i don't forget it.  I learned a huge portion of Heavenly Father's love and the Savior's love for me with McKoy's childbirth experience. Let me first say...there are many people who have given birth naturally who would think i am crazy for being glad i had no epidural and did it natural, and for what i am about to say. BUT we are all different and we all have different human experiences that are meant to teach us something, which means we won't all have the same experiences from the same situations. We are all different. So this is my experience. What i learned from natural childbirth is in my top 5 most spiritual experiences i have ever had.  I learned a portion of my Savior's love for me and for all of us.  I realize how he must have felt going through his experience at the Garden of Gethsemane, and on the cross.  It was painful, it was the hardest thing i have ever done, as i am sure his experience was for us...BUT i knew the end result and i knew what was coming and that it would be over soon, just as he did. It was completely worth it. AND i would do it all over again. I learned what it was to not avoid pain, but to experience it, so that i could learn valuable lessons in my life. AND i did. We learn a lot through experiencing life, through experiencing, pain and trials and hardships.  And if i had tried to avoid the pain of childbirth, then i wouldn't have learned valuable lessons. I wouldn't have experienced such a spiritual and bonding experience with my husband and my baby.  Then i realized that so many times people in life try to avoid pain, so they turn to addictions....or people try to avoid pain that comes from making bad decisions, so they try to find blame somewhere else and try to convince themselves why what they did is right, when really it wasn't. BUT when we FACE the pain, when we FACE the consequences of bad decisions, when we let life happen... THEN and only then do we learn valuable lessons in life that we wouldn't learn otherwise. Those lessons help develop our character. Those lessons help us progress and become wiser, stronger, and more loving towards those around us.  This is just a few things i learned through my childbirth experience. I hope whoever reads this doesn't think i am trying to say they shouldn't have an epidural. If thats what you get from this, then you are missing my point. :)

We spent a few days in Hawaii before coming back stateside. It was beautiful with perfect weather.  We drove from the North shore all the way down to the south shore on the east side. It was a beautiful drive. And it was really relaxing. We were able to see the temple and we experienced the Polynesian Cultural Center, where we also experienced our first Luau, and the Night Show. It was money well spent and we REALLY enjoyed it there. And thank goodness, McKoy is a great traveler.  

Well, thats about all i have to say about that.  I will say this though....i have received all of my homeschool curriculum and i am so excited to get started with the boys. If you had asked me a few years back if i would ever homeschool, my answer would've been a firm, strong NO WAY IN HECK. Life happens, and things change....and now i am excited about it. who knew!!?

Friday, June 6, 2014

{family pics before we left okinawa}

The last time we had family pics done was when Jaydon was a brand new baby. I insisted we get pics done before we leave okinawa. im so glad we did.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

LIFE lately....

I only have my ipad for posting. Sooooo I feel limited on my blog right now. I just wanted to update what's going on in our life, and things that have been on my mind lately.

FIRST, McKoy is about six weeks now. I can't believe it. He has been smiling from day one. He is a happy baby. He can also be a tough crowd when trying to get him to smile. I often catch him smiling at me when I'm not even looking at him. It's so funny. He loves his food and is eating way more than I think he should. 5 ounces! That's a lot for a little guy. He is sleeping good at night. He went 5 1/2 hours last night without being fed. That's his longest stretch so far. His personality , so far, is reminding me of tanner.

SECOND, majority of our household stuff has already been packed and is gone. We go into temporary housing next week when the rest of our household goods get shipped out. We have 1 week and 6 days left on this island. I'm getting so sad about having to leave. Don't get me wrong, I'm excited to be back in the states and close to family, but this has been my family while here. I've loved the weather, the okinawans, the close knit community, etc. I'm really going to miss it here.

THIRD, Gavin won a 2 mile kids race last Saturday. Tanner made two shots for his basketball team. Jaydon is an excellent helper with the baby. He loves to help. I love it. Having a fourth child has been my easiest transition. Probably because all our kids are older and that helps a lot.

No more time for this...I gotta run! Such is life lately!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

{Our Birth Story}

I don't have pictures yet , but i will soon post some.

Before i jump straight to the birth experience, i will give you a little background. I knew i wanted to have a natural birth this time. I knew this was going to be my last pregnancy, my last baby, my last chance. Because i knew these things, i really wanted to make this experience different. I had done some research to show why having a natural birth benefits both you and the baby in many ways. I took a hypnobirthing class, hired a doula, and tried to prepare myself as much as i could for this birth.

When i hit 36 weeks pregnant, life got hard. My last baby, Jaydon, was born 3 weeks early. Tanner was born 2 weeks early, and Gavin was born 1 week early. In my mind he would follow the pattern and maybe be 3-4 weeks early. Although , i knew 4 weeks early wouldn't be a good thing. 3 weeks early would have been good though. And i was hopeful we would have him in March. I wanted him born in March because , before McKoy was born, the boy's brithday months were all 3 months apart. If his was in March we would have birthdays exactly every three months. I figured he would follow and stick with this pattern we had going.

When 37 weeks hit, i was very anxious. I thought it would be any moment. I had false labor a few times. It was very discouraging, thinking i was going into labor, just to have it stop a few hours later. I was checked at my 37 week appt. and was dialated to 2cm. Dialation really doesn't mean anything, so i tried not to be discouraged by it.

For the next week after that i really experienced a lot of contracting, more false labor, and i felt like things were picking up and i would go into labor any minute. So, when i reached my 38 week appointment i was kind of surprised i still wasnt in labor.

At my 38 week appointment the Dr. checked me and told me i was 4-5 cm dialated and that i was about 75% effaced. That explained all the contracting and pressure i was feeling during the week leading up to that appointment. She stripped my membranes and told me to go home and get my bags and go back to the hospital. She thought i was going to go into labor and that once it started i would go fast. I did start contracting, especially when i tried staying active. We got our bags, sent the kids with some friends, and went to Foster. I didn't feel like i should go to the hospital if i didn't feel i was in labor. So , we walked around some stores on Foster, and then finally decided to go into the hospital to see if the contracting i was having was doing anything to my cervix. It hadn't been doing anything, so we went home. I was disappointed, wondering when this little boy was ever going to come. The thing is, i felt like he was ready and felt like my body was ready, and wasn't sure what he was waiting for.

I found myself doing things during the week to relax myself and focus on relaxation techniques i planned to use during labor. I would take a lavender hot bath, turn on pretty music, and focus. I remember praying often during those times. And i remember feeling and knowing that i was going to have angels with me to watch over me and strengthen me during my labor. I knew things would be fine.

As the week went on, and as i was getting closer to 39 weeks, things became pretty quiet. I didn't have tons of contracting like i did the week before. I was discouraged, and i am pretty sure i received two blessings that week from Shane. In one of those blessings i remember him telling me this delivery experience would be everything i have envisioned it to be, and that it would be a very special experience for me. I also remember him telling me it would be hard. The HARD is what stuck out in my mind. SO, i tried to remember that so i could focus myself again. I was on an emotional rollercoaster. I wanted this baby to come so bad, i felt huge, and i knew it was time. Why isn't he coming, i thought? In the days leading up to it i remember feeling like something was off, or something wasn't right, but couldn't explain why i felt that way.

Two days before i hit my 39 weeks of pregnancy, i went in to be checked again. I was still 4 cm and 75% effaced. The Dr. Stripped my membranes. I hoped it would start something, but wasn't planning on it since last week nothing came of it.  I just felt like this little boy was going to come when he was darn ready to come. :)  A couple hours after she stripped my membranes i started contracting again, like i didn last week when they were stripped. I didnt think much of it. I was contracting every 8 minutes apart. We decided to go in and get checked. I was experiencing "false labor" again , said the triage nurses. I was so bummed. We came home, went to bed, but i couldn't sleep that night. I kept getting woken up every 8 minutes from the contractions i was experiencing. I couldn't sleep through them. So, at around 2 or 3 am i decided to get up and take a bath, text my mom, and just hang out since i couldn't rest. As soon as i stood up my contractions picked up to every 3-8 minutes apart, depending. I figured this has to be labor, but then again maybe not, since they were irregular. At this point i realized this could quite possibly be another slow labor like Jaydon's was. And the blessing came to my mind when shane said it would be hard. I ws still gearing myself up for that mentally. I took a bath at about 5 am, and things slowed down a little bit after the bath, but i was still contracting every 8 minutes apart. And they hurt. I was kind of hoping it wasn't real labor because i was already so tired from no sleep and dealing with contractions since the day before. I just wanted rest. We gathered our things, and headed to the hospital that morning. I went in with contractions that were coming every 3-8 minutes again. When i stood up they came every 3-4 minutes. When i sat down they slowed to 8 minutes apart. I went in and they checked me and things were still the same. I was feeling lame at this point. This is my 4th child and i still don't have it figured out, i thought. BUT i knew i was in labor, but didn't know what was going on. I didn't understand why it was dragging. Again, i had a feeling that something was off. They sent me home again! The contractions were hurting, but the nurses must have thought i was just being wimpy or something.I knew i was in labor. I didn't understand how all these painful contractions were doing NOTHING to my cervix. And i didn't understand why my contractions slowed down when i sat down, but the minute i stood up they started instantly at 3-4 minutes apart. I just remember thinking i wished the contracting would just stop if they were pointless. I just wanted rest.

We left the hospital frustrated. I called my doula telling her i didn't understand why all these painful contractions for almost 24 hrs were doing nothing to my cervix. She asked if she could come over to our house to help maybe encourage the baby into the right position. She was thinking maybe the baby wasn't in the correct position or something was off balance, and she knew some different poses i should get into to help baby into the correct position. She came over and worked with me for about an hour. When she was done She told me i should nap, which sounded like a great idea. I was already sooooo exhausted from having contractions for almost 24 hours, and no sleep. I needed the rest, i thought. So, i went upstairs, my husband turned on my relaxation techniques, filled the room with a humidifier lavender aroma and shortly after got comfy on the bed. Shane left the room. I started closing my eyes thinking i would be able to get some rest and maybe the contractions would slow down. That's when the contractions suddenly got stronger. They were coming every 4 minutes apart. I got to the point where i coldn't help but MOAN through them. Shane came up and said, "We are going back into the hospital." He didn't think i should be in this much pain for nothing, and he was worried for me. I agreed. I was so exhausted from the pain and no sleep and i didn't want to deal with this pain anymore. I didn't know why i wasn't progressing but i was in such pain. We dropped the boys off at our friends house first. On the drive i was contracting every 3-4 minutes, and they were getting stronger. It was painful. I remember telling him to be careful on turns and bumps while i was contracting.  I wanted to start crying through some of them because i was just soooo exhausted. We got to the hospital, saw the same nurse in triage, and i said "I need MEDS." They just blew it off with a sweet smile of pity, put me in a triage room, and made me wait. I was in my triage room, breathing heavily, and moaning. I didn't understand what was taking so long for them to come help this woman who was OBVIOUSLY in pain. I yelled "I need somebody in here!!" The nurse came in, casually. I could tell she thought "oohh her AGAIN." She instantly checked me, instead of hooking me up to everything again. She said, "Oookay, you are 8 cm, 80% effaced with a bulging bag.

 First thing i said, "are they gonna be able to give me the epidural in time? Will they be fast?!" She said they would be fast. I said, "please hurry". They came in and pushed me to my room. My doula showed up a few minutes after they admitted us to our room. She encouraged me to get out of the bed and in positions that would be more comfortable. They raised up the back of the bed and i leaned over it while on my knees. I let Shane and Amanda(my doula) massage my back and use counterpressure through the contracting. They tried to remind and encourage me to breath through the contracting. I did my best to breath slowly, but i moaned through all of it. When the contraction stopped i just lay there, eyes closed, trying to sleep/relax and enjoy that minute of no pain. I didn't talk. I just stayed in position with my eyes closed. Shane kept coming up and gently putting my face in his hands, kissing my cheek and telling me things i needed to hear. Then he told me, "Angels are here with you ashlee."  As exhausted as i was, i knew he was right. It brought tears to my eyes. And i remembered that feeling i had a few weeks ago that i would have angels with me. My husband confirmed that for me.

Then i stood up and placed my left foot onto the bed and rocked side to side. The contractions were soooooooo intense, i can't even describe the intensity and pain. You have to go through it to understand that kind of pain. As i am contracting, suddenly my water BURST and broke. It sounded like a huge water balloon that just splashed all over the floor. It was CRAZY. That's when the crazyness got more crazy. I started telling them i needed the epidural, when are they coming to give it to me, i need it. I wasn't saying this like a crazy mad person. I was saying it with exhaustion in my voice, and desperation. I was scared. I was scared to push and i knew that he was coming any minute. Amanda and Shane kept telling me that he is almost here, encouraging me, and reminding me this is what i wanted and that he is almost here. They were great. They said "let the dr. check you to see where you are before you get the epidural." I did. They checked me and said i could start pushing if i wanted to. I wanted the epidural first, i said. I was too tired and didn't want anymore pain. The Dr. told me there wasn't time for it. I got up on my hands and knees on the bed again. I started to push and suddenly i wanted to push hard. I could feel him opening me up, and i didnt' like the feeling. It gave me flashbacks to Gavin's birth , which was traumatic for me. The feeling was extremely intense.

I pushed a few more times, felt him moving his way down. I also went to reach down to see if he was there yet because i needed that encouragement if i did feel him there. And when i didn't feel him there it made me more much more intense was that feeling going to get, i thought. I pushed some more and through this all i was in another place and zone. I was there in that room having a baby, but then again i wasn't. I was in a completely different place and zone than any of them were. Suddenly, i hear shane say with emotion in his voice, "Ashlee, he is coming. You are doing it. He is almost here." I reached down and felt his head. I felt very encouraged that he was almost here. I remember thoughts coming to my mind during the pushing.... which i believe were angels strengthening me on the other side. As i was pushing it was like someone was talking me through it(in my mind) to give me the strength i needed. There were thoughts coming into my mind explaining to me what was going on and that he was almost here...and that the burning i was feeling was his head coming out, and to remember that was normal, and that means he is almost out. Finally his head was out, and i felt a bit of relief, but still hurt. I started to feel his body come out and could feel the Dr. trying to help him out. Finally he was out. It took me a minute to come back inside myself, and realize it was over. I look down and they placed our sweet baby boy on the bed , under me, so that i could reach down and pick him up all by myself. I grabbed him and held him close, skin to skin, for the next hour. They didn't take him from me, and do all that stuff they like to do. I had him in my arms the first hour, skin to skin. I loved it.  He didn't really cry. He was just calm and peaceful. My husband came in for a big kiss, an emotional sweet kiss. We both had tears in our eyes. It was so special. It was very special. I had never experienced a relief in my life like i did at the moment i realized he was here, the pain was suddenly gone, and we did it. The pain was gone, and we had our reward. That was a truly amazing sense of relief. Nothing like it. We finally had him here. Our anxiously awaited little boy finally was here.  The feeling at that moment is unlike anything i have ever experienced. And again, it's another feeling that i can't explain in words. It's something to be experienced in order to understand.

 I couldn't believe i did it. I DID IT. And i had the best coach by my side. My husband was afraid of not being what he needed to be for me while i was laboring. I knew he would do good, and he exceeded all expectations. He was by my side every second, encouraging me lovingly, massaging me, giving me gentle kisses through it all. He was soooo there. The best support i could have asked for. It was definitely a bonding experience for me, with him. It was a changing experience for me. I think it was for him too. It brought us closer in a very intimate way.

An hour after i gave birth i was up and about walking around, cleaning myself off, eating food, going to the bathroom. It was nice not being stuck in the bed because of an epidural. I had no tearing, which i partially attribute to the position i gave birth. It all went the way i envisioned....for the most part. The only part that didn't go my way was having a quick labor. :) I did go quickly from a 4 to a 10, in a matter of a couple hours....but the laboring before that point was not something i planned on. :) It was 25 hours of laboring. And i was reminded, how Shane said in the blessing he gave me , that it would be hard. Well, it was. It was hard. But so worth it.

I remembered thinking, that day, that i was glad i did it but wouldn't do it again. Now that i have been able to ponder on it some more, and look at the emotional pictures my doula took of the process, i get so emotional about it all. In a good way. I just think about it and i get tears in my eyes. How do you describe your most painful experience to someone as it also being the most incredibly beautiful experience you have ever had? It doesn't make sense. BUT that's the way it was. I don't regret doing it the way i did it. I am glad i did. I wouldn't have had that experience any other way. And i couldn't have done it without my husband's perfect support through it. My love for him and appreciation for him has grown a lot just through this experience. Difficulties bring about GREAT things. This experience has also made me ponder , a lot, of what our Savior went through for us, and how labor and delivery probably has many parallels to what he experienced for each of us. I will save that for another post.

Sweet baby McKoy Seifert Jenks was born at 4:53 p.m. on April 10th. He was a big 8lbs. 15 oz. and 21 1/2 inches long. He had a head of brown hair, and some big chunky cheeks. I knew he was ready to come out before he did. That's a big baby, and he even had long nails. He was just too comfy in there. And now that he is here and i have gotten to know him more, i realize he WAS too comfy in there. He has been a HARD one to wake up. In the hospital they want us to wake the baby and feed him every 2 hours. The nurses couldn't get him to wake up. They tried their tricks but he wouldn't wake up for them. He woke when he was ready. Well, he came when he was ready. :) We all love him. He is a sweetheart.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

{On a Mission}

I have been on a mission the past couple months.

1. To learn more about boys and to try to understand them and who they are. If i can do this, it will help me better be able to parent them in the way they need.  2. To learn more about the school system vs. homeschooling.

First, I read this book called "Wild Things: The art of nurturing boys"  It's a terrific book. I feel like i better understand my boys, and am excited to implement a few things in our family that BOYS need. It also helps tremendously on how to discipline boys, and how what they need is far different than what girls need, in schoools and at home. It's a very interesting read. And I am now reading "Parenting with Love and Logic"...this is terrific too, in helping how to discipline and teach our kids responsibility, and how to raise them so they know they were loved, but also know how to work hard. Both of these book combined, i have lots to learn and practice in this house, BUT i am determined. I feel this drive and motivation to be the kind of mom i need to be for my boys. I don't know why, But i am on a roll! :)  I have read a book called "Dumbing Us Down" and another one "100 Top picks for homeschool curriculum." And of course i have read quite a few articles online about homeschooling and the school system. It's been really fun learning about it all.

Second, I remember probably a year ago i was watching the news. There was something on television talking about the school system these days. I don't remember what they were saying, but i remember feeling like the school system is failing our kids. And that's when the idea was planted in my mind that i might possibly homeschool one day. I was the type that NEVER EVER would have considered homeschooling. I couldn't wait til all my kids were in school so that i would have time to myself. That has changed. My time is no longer my concern. As time went on, from that moment on, the idea still stayed in my mind. Then i started hearing of friends who DO actually homeschool. I started hearing more about it, and decided to visit with a few people about homseschooling and their thoughts on it and how they do it. That sparked my interest even MORE. Then i decided to research it. I was curious how it works...laws regarding homeschool, how you homeschool, different programs to help you homeschool, etc. There seemed to be so much involved with it and so many options that it felt overwhelming. After reading a few books on homeschooling, and reasearching homeschool curriculums, i am now more determined than ever to homeschool my older two boys this fall. Jaydon will go to kindergarten. He needs it. I might be able to teach him when he gets to be Tanner's age, but not right now. I just felt this feeling that i could do a better job at homeschooling than the school system can do. Not only that, but the idea of sending my kids off ALL day long to let them be taught by somebody else that they don't even have a close relationship with, stuck with a bunch of kids in a room that they will never keep as long time friends, and to be taught by someone other than me, started to seem unnatural to me. I have started feeling like i should be teaching them. Family is where it starts and ends. Why am i giving up my children ALL DAY long to let somebody else teach them? I feel like i never get time to teach them what i want them to know....i never get the time to teach them important things in life. They come home from school, do homework, then we go to some sport activity OR scouts or they want time to play because they have been cooped up all day long. I am here to love and teach them, but i never get to because everything else is taking up that time. I am letting the world teach them, alone. That's the way i have felt.   Now i get to teach them, and they will experience the world in a different way.  I want homeschool to help them build their character and i want them to LEARN TO LOVE TO LEARN. They go to school, memorize things, and are tested on it. I want to teach them to love learning, to build their character, to learn about a community and service, all in a loving environment surrounded by the ones they love. The more i started reading , the more it all started coming together in my mind and making complete sense to me that this is what i need to do. I know there will be hard days, but i feel it will be 100% worth it. I don't remember a dang thing i learned in school. It was so hard for me because it was so boring. I had to memorize everything just to be tested on it. I memorized it so i could pass a test, and it never stuck with me. Where was the fun in learning? There wasn't. Looking back, i don't remember much of anything i learned. I am hoping to help them learn in a fun way that it will stick with them, and they will love to learn, instead of being bored by school. Gavin has always been bored by school, which is something that has always bothered me. I didn't think it was supposed to be boring, and he is so young i thought. If he is already bored with school in 1st grade, then he is going to be bored until he graduates. I just felt like it shouldn't be that way. I feel like homeschooling can fix this for him. And he is excited about it. And i am letting them pick what things they want to study about science, and i am letting them pick their electives. And it's going to be a literature based learning, which is great. We will read good quality chapter books that will teach them a lot about many areas of life. And i am excited about it because they love to read. What better way to teach them than with a literature based curriculum?!?! :) I really am so pumped. I am going to post more about this as soon as i know my homeschool schedule, so you can get an idea of what i am doing. :) And i am so excited to learn along with them. It will all be like new to me.

I have learned a whole lot about the school system and homeschooling the past couple months. I wouldn't be able to explain everything to you because i am not good at reiterating my thoughts on what i have learned. I am better at writing it out. But i have been learning, and it all just makes me feel that more comfortable with my decision to homeschool. I chatted with a friend who pulled her oldest three out of school to start homeschooling them, for various reasons.  She said its the best decision she has ever made and she hasn't regretted it for a second, and that it has been the best thing for their family.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

{A mom of all boys}

Being a mom of all boys is no easy task. They are more destructive , busy, and energetic than girls , not to mention their brains are wired differently, which requires a big learning curve for me. :) They are just different.  Sometimes the testosterone in our house is a bit much for me. It can be hard to handle. The farting, wrestling, tough talk, destructiveness, energy, and their ways i just can't understand, can be overwhelming. They always want to go play football, or basketball, or golf, or xbox. It's always boy centered. I don't always want to do those things. Sometimes i feel like i am losing myself in all the testosterone. The more time goes on, the more grateful i am that i am a mom of all boys. I am also grateful for who they are, and for the gender differences. I am learning a lot from it all. Boys are such lovers. My boys love me, and want to take care of me, and they show that often. I love that about them. And i am so grateful for that.

Would i really WANT to play with hair all the time? And do makeup and nails all the time? And would i really WANT to deal with what comes in a girls life as she becomes a teenager? NOPE. I remember all too well what I was like as a teenager and the thought of having had a girl like me stresses me out. I am sure one of our boys will give us a run for our money, but it's still very different than having a girl. Yes, i wanted a girl, but i have come to peace(finally) with the fact that it's not in our plan. At least while here on this earth. :) For some reason, the Lord knew we needed boys. I feel like i have already realized a few of those reasons. A part of it was for me and because of me. :) I know it. It's something i needed for various reasons that i won't get into. But i hope that it isn't just them teaching me a bunch of lessons. I hope they were also sent to Shane and I because there is something we can provide to them as parents that nobody else can. I hope they were sent to us because we too have lots of things to teach them about life. I hope that we are the kind of parents to them that will make them grateful to have us, respect us, and love us, and follow and trust our direction. I hope we can be exactly what they need. That is my biggest prayer i hold in my heart constantly. I just want to be the kind of mom they need. That's my deepest desire.

And i also pray , constantly, that i can live everyday to make them GLAD that i am their mom. It is hard to live that way everyday...or maybe i expect perfection of myself and i am just too hard on myself....but i try everyday to be a good mom to them. Boys are special. They are more special than most people realize...more special than i ever gave them credit for years ago in my life. But my eyes are opening. They are very different from us girls, but that's a GOOD thing. We need them for their differences, even if it can be frustrating sometimes.  And there is a lot to be learned from them that we could not learn without them. They help us learn and grow and progress in this life. They help us become more like our Heavenly Father. And it's up to us(myself) to learn to love those differences, embrace it, and learn from them, and love them for it.

Boys can become extraordinary men if they are loved, nurtured, appreciated, carefully lead, and lovingly guided throughout their growing years. And i know that this world needs a lot more extraordinary men in it, and i hope and pray i can be the kind of mom to help mold and shape them into the kind of man that makes them extraordinary... not in the way the world would define extraordinary, but in the way God believes is extraordinary.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

{An afternoon of Japanese tradition, food, and wonderful friends}

My friend, Jennifer, and I were invited for a New Years celebration lunch to our friend Tomoyo's home. She is someone we met when we first moved here. We were introduced by our friends the Thompsons, and have been visiting her and her family at their family owned restaurant ever since.  Tomoyo and her family are some of the nicest and most genuine  people we know. They are just wonderful.  She took the missionary discussions and was baptized. It can be hard to convert japanese because their traditions and culture are very deep rooted and go way way back. She is the most loveable and teachable person i know.  Everytime we go visit them at their restaurant we always make sure to bring a gift. They always have some sort of gift they give to us as well. That's a japanese thing too.  So, when i went to her home i decided to bring a bouquet of flowers this time. They are really into flowers. Anyway, below is a picture of some of the food they made for us. It was soooooooo delicious. One of Tomoyo's friends made something kind of like a chicken salad. It was good. They also had daikon, which is a big white radish that's popular here. It was sliced, and had been boiled, topped with miso paste. It was surprisingly very good. They also had some bamboo, that was very good. She made egg rolls that were amazing. And they had the best miso soup ive ever had since living here. Man it was good. The tofu in it was amazing. They also had some apple raisin bread, and some other breads that i didn't try. And she made this amazing drink that consisted of gingerale, cucumbers, ginger, mint, and couple more things in it. It was awesome. I am going to get the recipe. :) Now that i know what japanese food should taste like, i am going to be disappointed anytime i eat japanese back in the states.
 The missionaries were also invited to this lunch, and jaydon came along with me. Jaydon wasn't sure what to do with all the eyes that kept looking at him and gawking all over him. It made him very uncomfortable and he kept burying his face in my lap. :) I think the missionaries thought they were coming for a discussion on the temple, but it didn't go that way. :) Everyone there, including my friend jennifer, could understand most of what our japanese friends were saying, except for me. It was a bit awkward at times, but it was interesting and fun. :)
 Next to Jaydon is my friend Nozomi. She is the daughter-in-law to Tomoyo. She also has three boys like us, and she is now pregnant with her fourth. She is so kind and loving. Next to Nozomi is Tomoyo. She has the kindest spirit of anyone i know. Next to her is my friend Jennifer. She and her family have lived here for about 7 years. Next to her, more towards the back, is Eiko. I don't know if i am spelling that right. She is very sweet, and i learned that she knows how to speak French. Very cool. :) She enjoyed trying to converse with me through translations on her iphone. :) I can't remember the other two ladies names. They were a bit harder to remember. :( But they were soooo entirely kind. I really loved their company and who they are. The missionaries were from Pocatello, and from Utah...Elder Wood was from Pocatello and Elder Budge( i think i have it wrong) was from Utah. Elder Wood just arrived on island and was very new. The other Elder had been here since August. He was really good at speaking japanese though.
 After we ate and took some pictures it was time for another japanese tradition. She bought everyone these special papers, with a hard cover on the back.  She pulled out her special black ink and brush and everyone was supposed to write, in Kanji, their New Year wish or Hope for the year. Someone wrote , peace, in Kanji. Someone else wrote something about being surrounded by good friends. For mine i wanted , inner peace. It's actually a thing we have in our family, and something we took from Kung Fu Panda 2. I was trying to tell them inner peace so they could help me figure out the kanji for it. It took awhile for them to understand what i was saying. :)
 Here's Tomoyo trying to show me how to write it. We practiced on newspaper first. They are amazing at writing it so well. I learned how to write it and actually did my own, but when i compared mine to theirs i realized mine looked like a little kids handwriting. :)

 I don't know if you can see mine ...i just finished it on that piece of paper on the newspaper. :)
It was such a fun afternoon spent with wonderful people, and excellent food. I'm so happy to have gotten to know Tomoyo and her friends and family. As a parting gift, her husband gave Jennifer and i some smoked pork roast.  He makes a lot of that for their restaurant, so he gave us some meat to take home. He also smokes chicken. It's very good. She had a lovely home, and it was fun to see and go inside an actual japanese friend's house. :)

{Zukeran mini zoo and egg shop}

I took the boys to a mini zoo and egg shop/ cream puff bakery. Yes, very interesting. The Japanese come up with some different stuff. :) Anyway, in this mini zoo there were bunnies, birds, a donkey, pig, and some little weird looking things that looked like a cross between and squirrel and monkey. It was interesting. The boys liked being able to pet the bunnies.

 This statue kind of creeped the boys out. At first they didn't want to sit in that chair. haha...
 Here's one of the bunnies. It was the fluffiest fur ball i have ever seen.

 And when we were all done walking around looking at the animals, with the smell of poo in the air the whole time, we went into this little shop where they sell bulk eggs and baked goods. haha!  I bought some of their FRESH eggs, and then i bought the boys their very own cream puff. These are the biggest cream puffs we have ever seen. They were yummy too. :) Cream puffs are definitely a japanese dessert. We see these everywhere.

{Taiko Drumming}

Taiko drumming is a huge part of japanese culture. It is done year round for just about everything and anything. The kids at school have the opportunity to learn it and be part of that tradition. Gavin is in the Taiko drumming group. He has been staying after school every tuesday and thursday for practices, but they recently changed it to just one practice a week.  So far, they have performed once in front of the BX . All the parents brought baked goods so we could make money for their group in order to make some more Obi's( the red vest thing you see him wearing). They are expensive and cost 80 bucks. Little insane.  Anyway, the kids would perform and then they would walk around and attack everyone walking in and out of the BX to try and get donations. haha! We spent a lot of our time just sitting back and watching Gavin and his classmates perform. It was fun. And when they all drum it is very powerful and loud. It's very cool.
 So far, they have learned three different Taiko drumming performances. Gavin loves it and is always practicing at home. I usually make him go outside, and i have to laugh because it really is so loud and i often wonder what the neighbors think of the constant beating of the drum. haha!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

{Christmas Break}

We bought tickets for christmas break way back in February 2013. We had been planning christmas for almost a whole year. The time finally came to leave and the boys and i were off. We left Dec. 9th. Shane wasn't with us, again. :(  At least not for the flight. Let's just say...good thing we are moving back to the states this summer because i wouldn't do that flight again by myself. NOPE. Even if it meant a whole year and a half of not getting back to the states. It's hard. Especially when you add in a sick, puking boy(on the flight and in the airport), the 2 1/2 hour drive back to grandma and grandpa's house right after that extremely long flight, and the drives back and forth from logan to blackfoot. And adjusting to the time change. ugh. We spent two weeks in Utah/Idaho, and then we spent two weeks in Minnesota. The flight back to okinawa was painful. Literally. Gavin got sick again(im convinced he has air sickness), and my tailbone/lower back was in a lot of pain from all the sitting. It's been hurting ever since. Stupid flight. I am soooooooooooooooooooo glad i only have to do that one more time(one way), and my husband will be with me this time. :) If he ends up not being with me, then i think i will fly alone with the baby, and he will get all three boys. :) I would take tanner along with the baby. But i will let him keep jaydon and gavin. hahaha! okay, sorry. This has been nothing but whining, but i feel i really need to express the pain and torture involved with such a long flight and all the travels, alone with three boys, and pregnant. It's rough man.


Now that i got that out....let's move onto the good stuff. It was soooooooo good to see family again, and at christmas time. We had tons of fun with our family in Idaho. The kids were able to get in some good playtime with the cousins. There are getting to be so many of them now that it's starting to become chaotic when they are all in the same house. It's fun though. We had a blast. Papa pulled the kids on the sled behind the 4-wheeler. They played in the snow, which they loved. We went on a horse drawn sleigh ride to tour a nativity set outside, while sipping our hot chocolate. Santa came and visited all the kids. We had a fun family christmas program where all the kids put on some kind of performance. And we did a lot of hanging out and chatting. Oh , and the guys and gals were able to get in a few basketball games.  It was so good to be with family.  I cannot wait to move back to the states. Even if we end up in, that is still so much nicer than where we are now. And i can't wait to take road trips to see family, instead of paying for plane tickets. We are already looking into a van that will be durable enough to travel long distances. :)


After two weeks with shanes family, we headed to Minnesota. All i can say is BURRRRR. We experienced the cold like we have never experienced it before.   Some days were -50 wind chills and many days were in the negatives. It was painful to go outside. Luckily there were a couple days we could go outside without freezing to death. On those days the boys went sledding down hills. They loved it. We also went to the Mall of America, which is now tradition with each visit. The boys ride all the amusement rides in the mall. Papa spoils them. :) While we were there we also played a lot of darts, ping pong, and xbox. The adults had our traditional Texas Hold'em tournament. My dad gives the 1st ,2nd, and 3rd place winners a certain amount of money for keeps. Shane got first and i got 2nd.  Last time we did this tournament with them i WON. We love our traditional Texas hold'em tournament. It's fun. And since we spent christmas day there, the boys spent lots of time playing with all their new toys. They had most fun with their new NERF guns. They got some pretty awesome nerf guns. One of them is the longest nerf gun in existence. And it hurts when the bullets hit you. My brothers LOVED the guns and they even played with them. Shane and my brothers said they want a nerf gun next year for christmas. :) And i guess if they come  to our house for Christmas next year then we can have NERF gun fights. My mom and I had fun cooking and sharing recipes, which is a hobby we both share.  And we did TONS of shopping. Oh my. I cannot wait to move back to the states. :)

...While we were there we found out some information that was going to help us decide wether to stay in the AF one more year or get out. It turns out that we will PCS and spend one more year in the AF in the states, and then get out and start pediatric school.  That also means we get to move in June, in 5 months!!!! WOOHOO!! SO excited. We should know by march where we will be stationed. We have the baby in April, and then we will be doing lots to get ready for our move in june. The next 6-7 months of our life is going to fly by and be crazy! I am excited for the adventure, probably because i am just so excited to be back in America. :)


I am just about 7 months along now. The baby is quite the mover and the kicker.This little guy actually hurts me when he kicks and moves. The other boys weren't this rough. And so many times i wonder if he is even sleeping because he is moving ALL THE TIME. Ever since we have been back in Okinawa i have been organizing our house and getting rid of things we don't need. Speaking of, i need to go do some of that right now.

It was hard to come back here after such a fun vacation, but being back makes me realize we are that much closer to living in america again. It doesn't feel like its actually going to happen, but i know it is....and im so excited. :)

Thursday, December 5, 2013

 I love this picture of my boys.....
I have a Christmas card i want to put this picture in to use, but i don't know that we will end up doing it. Money. Ya know.

This week has been a crazy week...i hope we are getting this all out of our systems before we fly on monday. I hope monday goes smoothly. I am NOT looking forward to flying and the jet lag we will experience for the first 3 days while we are back hom. :(

Monday...Tanner was wheezing. I haven't heard him wheeze in a few yrs. so i took him to the ER. We were at the ER from 7-11 pm.

Wednesday: Tanner has some severe allergic reaction after rolling around in the grass. His whole eye got swollen and red and inflamed. 

Thursday: He vomitted on his bedroom floor and then on his toy room floor....but he never had any signs of wanting to throw up. He didn't feel sick and it just came on suddenly. I kept him home for an hour and he seemed totally fine, so i took him to school. I just thought it was a fluke thing.  I get a call from the nurse at noon saying tanner feels sick. I go get him and he does totally fine the rest of the day UNTIL later that night...he pukes again all over the toy room floor.  He has always been really good at getting to the bathroom to vomit. So, this kind of surprises me. Shane asked him why he didn't go to the bathroom. He said he didn't know it was coming. I think its the allergies making him vomit. He has them really bad this year for some reason. And i think he has so much snot that its upsetting his stomach.

Friday: Then this morning Jaydon comes running into the house grabbing his mouth asking for water. He licked an elephant ear plant, which are poisonous, and his mouth and throat were burning. I almost took him to the ER, but turns out i got some answers that he would most likely be fine. If he had eaten and swallowed some THEN i would take him in.

Last week, the boys left the front door open during the evening. Shane and i had no idea.  We start hearing shuffling around in the dining room. Shane goes in and there is a BIRD in our house. He started flying all over in a panic. He ppooped all over the kitchen and dining room. It was even on the walls and stuff. It was digusting.

This all makes me kind of nervous. I hope our flight and everything goes fine and smooth. Today and tomorrow are CRAZY DAYS and i don't even feel like i have time to get ready for monday! It's creeping up on me so fast. So many things to do in so little time. eek!!!