Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Winners...

Okay so I have been so insanely busy that I haven't had a chance to post the winners of my little book giveaway.

Drum roll please........







I appreciate your sweet words and much needed support. And to the others who participated, a humongous


to you too. I'm still not sure what will actually come about all of this. There are moments where I seriously want to throw up and forget about it. But I am definitely being pushed by something that is much bigger than me. I don't like feeling stretched. I like being comfortable. This book is making me stretch. I'm not as flexible as I thought. Your encouragement really helps.

So Jenny, I will bring yours to Utah with me, in hopes that I will see you there. And Liz I will get yours in the mail. I'm pretty sure I have your address...but just in case email it to me.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Taking it to the next level

A little while ago I mentioned that I published a book, it is called To Leah, With Love. I have a link to it here on my blog. That was a big step for me, and now I am ready to take another big step and take my book to the next level.
The truth is I'm not even sure what that really means. But these are a few things I've done...A couple of weeks ago I took some of my books to a local LDS Bookstore, The Brass Plates. I made a blog that is just about my book. Go check it out by clicking here.  I have sent a few copies out to publishers. And I will be in Utah September 23rd through the 27th to try and talk to some more people about it. I am excited but also incredibly nervous. I don't take rejection well, so I've been working on developing some thick skin.
So here is what I am asking of my fabulous, faithful readers to help me take it to the next level...
I've decided to make it worth your while by having a GIVEAWAY! The rules are these:
Do a post about about me and my book and make sure you put a link to my website http://www.toleahwithlove.blogspot.com/.
Leave a nice, supportive comment on my book blog.
This must happen by Thursday September 15th. Then I will enter you in a drawing for a copy of my book and an extra little somethin', somethin'. There will be two winners just to add a little more excitement!
Thank you in advance for your kind support!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Celebrating Chemo

I don't write often about my mother in law, Kathy's, battle with cancer. My lack of writing about it does NOT reflect its effect on my life. I am just cautious to share her story, because it's not mine to share. She is more private than I am so I love her and support her quietly. But today I am sharing.
We got some bad news back in July that the cancer was back...three tumors to be exact. This was not good news. The doctors said there was nothing else they could do. But they did find a clinical trial that K qualified for, the study was being done in two places, Nebraska and Idaho. Lucky for her, and for us, the one in Idaho was only 20 minutes from our house. My in laws also have a house in Idaho so it worked out great. This chemo had a 30% chance of stopping the growth of the tumors, it had a 6% chance of actually shrinking them. With all the hope and faith she could muster, K went for it.
She had a chemo bag that she carried around for 24 hours then the next day she would get unhooked. The next five days were beyond nasty, but she endured. Two weeks later she did it all over again. Last week she went in for the cat scan to see if it worked, and once again God provided us a miracle. Those tumors actually shrunk! I know that Heavenly Father has a plan for us. We know that his time is not our time. We are just so grateful that he has preserved K's life and blessed our family with this miracle.
So to celebrate we went to Manito Park and then out to dinner.
Here are some pictures of the gorgeous flowers we saw. This beauty could only be created by the finger of God.
Manito Park Sept
Manito Park Sept1

While we were enjoying the gardens I looked up and saw this:
Can you believe Santa was there! You have understand how far away we were. My zoom is ridiculous! I didn't even know he was waving his finger until I go home and cropped my pictures.
The weather was perfect and we truly soaked in the beauty that surrounded us.
We wore Little C out!
The girls loved posing...especially Eden.
After the park we went to Red Robin to celebrate the chemo that is giving us more precious time with Grandma Kathy.
A giant chocolate milkshake and garlic fries is the best way to celebrate any occasion.
So now K had her third round of chemo yesterday, she will head back to Fargo tomorrow, then come back and do it all over again in three weeks. After these two rounds they will do another cat scan to see if it is still working.
All I know is that I am inspired by her fight and humbled by her faith. Her fight has changed me. I do not take my health for granted. I value my relationships in a way I never did before. I hold close my testimony of eternal families and my knowledge that Christ is truly my Savior. So while K wakes up every morning ready to wage war on this beast, I wake up more determined than ever, to not take my life for granted and cherish every moment of every day.
Kathy, I love you. Hang in there!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


It is our tradition to say goodbye to summer by going to Silverwood the last week of August. Grandma K was willing to take Little C for us so we had quality time with just the girls.
I took this picture just before we took our first ride of the day.
These pictures were taken right after. We got soaked but it felt good. 
IMG_5332 IMG_5334

We all went on this ride , but the girls wanted to go again so I stayed behind and to take a picture.

 Eden wanted to go on this "baby ride" and Maya kindly accompanied her. She said it was soooo boring. They pretended to fall asleep.
IMG_5351 IMG_5352
Maya prefers the more adventurous rides. Which I don't understand. These two get car sick after driving around for five minutes!

Last year the girls wanted to go on this ride but they couldn't ride by themselves so I, the braver parent, took them and got terribly sick. You'd think I would have learned my lesson...but no.
Do you see my face?! Next year Ede's will be tall enough to go by herself...thank heavens!
It took me awhile to recover from that spinning apple ride. Luckily I was able to enjoy the biggest ice cream ever...seriously, I don't think I have ever eaten that much ice cream in one setting.

Now I don't have a picture of the following story but it is the most memorable thing so it has to be shared...
We had been at the park about four-ish hours and we were looking for the ice cream parlor when Maya started asking about the roller coasters. I explained that it was getting late and both mom and dad don't do roller coasters. She pleaded and kept saying..."just one mom...PLEASE!" So we walked around and found the least scary one, but by then it was dark and I really couldn't tell how scary it was. (It was called TREMORS)  Eden wanted to go too. They said they had gone on it before with my mom and Joe. We got in line and waited for like 20 minutes. While waiting I noticed that there were quite a few little kids in line. I decided it couldn't be that bad...
I      WAS     WRONG!
I have never felt so sick in my life. I kept my eyes closed the whole time and I was so freaked out I couldn't even scream! Thank goodness I went to the bathroom before or else I am quite certain I would have wet myself. It lasted a good three minutes. In my mind I was yelling...
Well it did eventually end. I was officially sick and kept my eyes closed the entire 30 min drive home. Maya kept saying, "I am so sorry mom. I won't ever make you go on a roller coaster again." I assured her I would be fine and that I will stick to the baby rides. And now I will happily and deservedly accept my "Mother of the Year" award.

Friday, September 4, 2009

My kids are H.I.L.A.R.I.O.U.S!

These are some of the happenings around here....I seriously just walk in on this stuff.
Camden getting the full service treatment at Maya and Eden's salon:

A Build A Bear Tea Party:

Camden dressed like an "African Prince":

Bananas (Maya's Monkey) having some serious health problems:IMG_4771

Dress up in my closet:
So this is a new thing. I go into my closet and it is a total wreck and now I know why...

Oh and here is another hilarious kid that I love. He was making me take pictures of him the other day. He would pose and then ask me what animal he was acting like....this was his chicken pose:

Camden hanging in out in the girl's dirty clothes basket:
Eden called me up to their room to check it. They had been cleaning it for like an hour. I went in and thought it looked good. The girls were giggling and I couldn't figure out why. It took me a good couple of minutes before I noticed this little guy in the corner.

The Rock Star Sisters:
*Maya's favorite song is "We Belong" by Pat Benetar
*Eden's favorite song "Sweet Escape" by Gwen Stefani
Seriously....I LOVE my kids. Not just because I bore them, physically and/or spiritually, but because they are awesome. Even though Eden is totally annoying me lately with all of her tattle tales and hunger issues. And Maya with her rude comments and "it's the end of the world because everything isn't exactly the way I want it" issues...I have great kids and they bring me joy.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Maya's Birthday Party

This year I informed the girls that they would take turns having a theme party. It is way too much work when their birthdays are only three weeks apart. So this is Maya's first "no theme" party...unless you call pizza and a movie a theme.
Maya was very insistent that no little sisters be allowed at this party. But look who made their way into the party...
It was so hard for me to watch Eden be left out.  I was the little sister and I remember how it felt. Aric on the other hand was not as sensitive about the situation. He was the big brother who didn't want the little brother around.
So when it came time for presents, Eden did not sit in the circle of friendship, she was on trash duty.

When it was time for the movie. Maya wanted to share a seat with her friend Holland so it left one extra seat.  I pulled her aside and asked her if Eden could watch the movie. She said yes but only if Eden promised to be quiet and not burp really loud(?). So Eden promised to be on her best behavior and she was so happy to be with the big girls. When I went to take a picture she covered herself up because she knew she wasn't "really part of the party"
Seriously...I felt so sad for her. Aric couldn't understand it. He thought that it was Maya's party and that Eden didn't need to be upset. But if tables were turned, I know that Eden wouldn't have thought twice about having Maya there. In fact she probably would have insisted on it.
So what would you have done? Should I have made Eden go somewhere else? Your sister should be one of your friends right?
Anyways...after the movie they played Sing Star until parents came. I think Maya had a great birthday party. She wasn't too disappointed about her lame cake...and she loved having her friends over. It was the easiest party to throw and I'm thinking of making "Pizza and a Movie" a new theme. That way I can just have that kind of party every year!IMG_5322

For Maya

Here's the thing, your birthday came and went. Just like that. There was A LOT going on but we celebrated.  In fact you had two parties! I shouldn't feel bad about missing your birthday post but I do. So here it is...I thought I would give nine fun facts about my pregnancy/your birth.

Fact #1
I totally craved mangos and chocolate milkshakes while I was pregnant with you. At one point one of the nurses kindly told me that I needed to lay off the shakes because I gained 8 pounds in one week! Daddy started making me fruit smoothies but that didn't last long. I embraced my weight and drank my shakes.
images     3865738023_6eafc0b2f0_t
Fact #2
We thought you were a boy for the first almost eight months of my pregnancy. I had visions of baseball hats and all things blue. Then I found out you were a girl. I was equally excited, the only dilemma was that I hated the color pink! Back then there wasn't really any shade I knew of except bubble gum and I just wasn't a fan. My dear friend Alisynn knew this about me and got me this sweet RED out fit for you. I still have it. Camden wears it. Oh and you have never liked the color pink. I love that your favorite color is green.
Maya Baby Shower2

Fact #3
We were SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO poor when you were born. We lived in this tiny rental house. It had the grossest, ugliest brown carpet I had ever seen. It had a wood stove that made the house smell smokey. It had only two tiny rooms upstairs. The windows didn't have screens, so when I changed your diapers I would just throw them out the window and then Daddy would gather them and put them in the trash can.
Maya's First Home

Fact #4
I read the book "What to Expect When You are Expecting" cover to cover. I thought that I knew everything I needed to be a mom. I had convinced myself that I was completely prepared. The truth is that deep down inside I was terrified. All those years of teaching, babysitting and being a big sister/cousin and still I was so afraid of  breaking you. This picture reminds me of how I felt during that time.
Maya Baby Shower1 

Fact #5
Um...you see that blue hideous dress I am wearing in the above picture...well I hated it. Your dad hated it. It only cost 8 bucks and it was the only cool and comfortable thing I had to wear so I wore it ALL the time. To make myself feel cute when wearing it, I always wore a necklace.

Fact #6
Your birth was the most amazing thing and the scariest thing I have ever experienced. I will never forget it. It is forever burned in my heart. I will never forget what it felt like to hold you for the first time. That is why I love this picture. It was the first time I ever saw you, smelled you, kissed you and held you.
Maya Birth

Fact #7
You were born at 8:48pm. Even though I was completely exhausted and loaded up on drugs, I couldn't sleep. The nurses kept trying to take you out of my room but I wouldn't let them. I just wanted to hold you. I would stare at you and cry. I couldn't believe that you were real! I sang you every lullaby and primary song that I knew.

Fact #8
The moment you were born, I discovered that  it was possible to love someone  instantly. I found out how deeply I could love . I found out how close heaven really is. You instantly changed me forever. Your spirit was so strong it healed parts of heart that I never thought could be whole. So even though I was the one taking care of you, you were actually the one taking care of me.
Maya Baby3

Fact #9
Your birth gave me a greater love for Daddy. I loved watching him play with you. He was so worried about how he would provide for our little family but every time he held you, he melted, and you brought peace to his heavy heart.
Maya Baby2

How did nine years go by so fast! It's hard to believe that my sweet baby girl is now nine years old. You continue to bring peace, joy, love and healing into my life. I love being your mom, I hope you had a great birthday!