Monday, June 27, 2016


We had a wonderful weekend as we celebrated the baptism of McKay. He was baptized Saturday and everything about the day was nearly perfect. More on that in the next post.

However, this morning was less than perfect. Things started out great but once we started getting ready for church things went downhill fast. McKay couldn't find his suit pants which he decided he HAD to wear to church today. He knew that he was going to be called up to the front of the congregation by Bishop Lawrence (his uncle) to be welcomed as the newest member of the church. And he was nervous. He wanted to look just right and determined that without his suit he just couldn't do it.

Well, me, BJ and McKay all combed the house searching for the lost pants. Of course this was during the critical time when everyone should be getting hair done, shoes on, etc, none of which could happen because were were all searching for suit pants.

Finally BJ took the other kids to church while I tried to convince McKay that slacks and a shirt and tie would be just great. No luck.

Finally, I talked him into getting dressed and we made it out the door just a couple of minutes late. We raced to church and walked in just as the ward business was being conducted. I sat down on a row close to the back and thought McKay was right behind me. However, when I turned to look for him I saw he had walked right past me to the very back of the church where he pulled out a chair and sat as far back as he could.

Shortly after we sat down, Bishop Lawrence spotted us and said, "For our next item of business, we'd like to invite McKay Cox to the stand."

I held my breath, wondering what in the world McKay would do. At first he just sat still, I think hoping if he didn't move, no one would notice him. People slowly started looking around, wondering where he was. He seemed to notice this and stood slowly. I started to breath again, relieved that he was actually going to do it.

McKay walked slowly toward the front of the chapel, toward our waiting Bishop then, unexpectedly, turned and walked straight out the doors of the meeting. I don't think I'll ever forget the confused look on the Bishop's face as he tried to figure out what to say. I know in all my 34 years attending church, I've never seen anyone do that. Leave it to McKay!

Personally I wanted to disappear through a crack in the floor. After an awkward pause and many confused glances which I responded to with a smile and a shrug, Bishop Lawrence covered with, "While we're waiting for McKay, we'll invite another sister to the stand."

McKay never came back. I don't know when I've been more upset with him. I honestly didn't know if I ought to take the sacrament since I could hardly concentrate on anything besides trying to subdue the desire to smack him. However, after some deep breaths and pondering, I went searching for him and found him hiding outside behind the church pillars.

We calmly talked about his behavior and then he was informed that for his punishment he would have to return to the church after the meetings were over to make up the time he had missed. So, later in the day McKay and I went back to church. He sat quietly, reading his scriptures and writing the Bishop an apology note until his 38 minutes were paid back.

I'm sure someday we'll laugh about this which is why I'm writing it down but even still at the end of the day my blood pressure starts to rise every time I think about it. There is no controlling this one, that's for sure!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Halloween 2015

This year for Halloween the boys were super excited to be Star Wars characters! With the upcoming release of the new Star Wars movie they thought it would be great to have the whole family dress to the theme. We all got on board and thought that would be great--except for Lily. She wanted to be Elsa from "Frozen" and nothing could deter her. She knows her own mind, that's for sure!

We got to work searching for the boys costumes, as well as our own. Rachel was to be Princess Leia and BJ Han Solo while McKay was Darth Vader and Benson a Storm Trooper. The boys decided that they wanted to be bad guys and we could be the good guys.

McKay as Lord Vader at the school parade

Benson the Storm Trooper at the school parade

Lily as Elsa, complete with the tiarra and shoes

Baby Kate got to be a little elephant. She was adored by everyone (and cozy too)!

The kids decided they wanted to go Trick-or-Treating in Nana and Papa's neighborhood, so Nana put on a perfectly spooky dinner of soup in bread bowls with accompanying festive finger foods.

Wickety Witch, our favorite Staheli Farm friend, happens to live in my parents's neighborhood! On Halloween she sits outside her house with her tasty witches brew and witches fingers so of course we had to pay her a visit.

The kids were excited to visit her, that is, up until we pulled up in front of her house and they actually saw her. She looked so convincing that the boys wouldn't get out of the car! Lily ran right out to meet her and play in her front yard (below). After a while I finally coaxed the boys into coming out of the car...but they wouldn't get too close to  her!

Before heading off for Trick-or-Treating, we stopped in at Grandma Cox's house for some pizza and cousin time. Lily and Lance are best cousin-friends and it shows!

I think they could actually pass as twins and they love to play together. They get so excited every time they see each other. I love it!

The boys were very excited about their Star Wars costumes and planned them for months. However, after wearing them to school and the ward Halloween party, the novelty apparently wore off. By October 31st they decided they weren't going to wear their themed costumes but instead opted to create Zombie costumes and paint their own faces. I washed my hands of the whole thing and tried to keep my eye-rolling to a minimum so as not to ruin the evening.

Zombie 1 & Zombie 2

As mentioned, BJ and I had planned to be Leia and Han Solo. However, when it came time to get dressed, I tried on the Leia wig I'd purchased and realized it was TINY! I couldn't get it over all of my hair. I was very disappointed. Then BJ suggested we should trade characters which, as you can see, we did! It worked surprising well! BJ rocked the tiny buns and dress and walked away from our friends Halloween party with the "Best Costume Award"!

Developing Kindness

A couple entries ago I mentioned how Benson is kind to his siblings. I'm seeing kindness manifesting itself in different ways among our little ones. It's encouraging to see! Certainly we have a long way to go, but to realize that sometimes they get it right is so comforting.

Today I had a rough morning. Nothing really out of the norm occurred but I was just feeling tired ( the baby had been up 3 or 4 times in the night) and overwhelmed. A few days ago a little friend of the boys walked into our house to play and totally innocently said to McKay, " Why is your house always so messy?" It cut me to the core because it's true. Sweet McKay nonchalantly replied, "Because my baby sister is always unloading things." This is true. But sadly it's also because Mom is always way behind on everything. And I can never seem to get ahead. Even though I work at it all day and often all night, it really never seems to improve. I feel overwhelmed at the task of caring for my 4 little ones and often feel I don't even do a good job at that, let alone all the housework!

Anyway, those thoughts were nagging at me this morning and by 9:00am I was already feeling frazzled. Then Benson accidentally stepped on the living room curtains and tore them off the wall. And I lost it. I didn't yell but I did cry which I usually don't do.

When it happened I just said in kind of an exasperated way, "Oh no, Benson"! He really lost it then and ran to his room crying. I went to my room crying and sat on the bed. Little Lily followed me into my room and sat down next to me. In the most grown-up way I've ever heard out of her she patted my knee sympathetically and said in a soft, nurturing tone, "It's ok Mom, you can fix it. Here, have a cheerios (she put one into my mouth). It will make you feel better. You don't need to cry. Here, take my hand, we'll go fix it Mom. It's ok Mom."

It was just the absolute sweetest thing. It completely melted my heart and actually made me cry more to have her be so gentle and sweet and realize that maybe underneath that busy, demanding 3-year-old is a kind sweetheart of a girl.

Anyway, Benson came back down and I comforted his little tender heart with a hug and a kiss and the admission that I knew it was just an accident. Little Benson just wants to be loved and it breaks his heart when he thinks he's not loved. Such a little tender heart.

And, the other day I was struggling with the kids, trying to get everyone ready and out the door on time. Everyone was fussing. Lily wanted help eating her breakfast, I was trying to feed the baby and make McKay's lunch and tie his shoes and pour Benson's milk and it was just crazy! Lily kept shouting about her cereal and I finally just looked at them all and said, "Mommy just can't do everything right now!"

They could all see I was frustrated. Then, out of nowhere, McKay hopped down out of his chair and walked over to Lily. He started talking in a cute little voice, offering to feed her and even making a game out of it so that she would take bites for him. He fed her all of her breakfast and made her laugh, to boot! I was able to get the lunch made, the shoes tied and all without the chorus of complaints from the moments before.

Just before McKay left for school I grabbed him and hugged him tight. I told him softly that his actions were some of the nicest things anyone has ever done for me. I was so proud of him for seeing a need and taking the initiative to serve our whole family by filling it. It was really wonderful and changed the entire ton of our home at that time.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Lily's Dance Class 2015

Little Miss Lily LOVES to dance! When she hears music, or even when she looks in the mirror, her first inclination is to dance, it's always been her first response. On the last day of Fall semester her class had a mini concert and some grown-up helper time. Daddy and Mommy were there to watch, but so were Nana and Papa. Lily chose Nana to do some dancing with her. It was precious!

This Fall she has been in Miss Susan's class at Southwest Dance. This is the dance studio that Mommy grew up dancing in, so it's a special place for our family!

On the wall behind Lily is a beautiful quote by Miss Candy, my original teacher. Of Southwest Dance she said, “Our dancers know … that they are loved … that they are important … that they have their own statement, their own music, their own dance waiting to be created. Southwest Dance Theatre is a lab for young, inventive minds. We are the keepers of innocence, the makers of dreams.”

Lily has loved dancing and couldn't be cuter! I can't wait to watch her in the final dance concert. I have a feeling it will be quite memorable!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Benson's Recent Quotes

This little guy has been keeping us laughing recently. He seems to learn new words by association which lends itself to some pretty funny vocabulary choices.

For example, Benson really likes quesadillas and recently BJ introduced him to the idea of an open-faced quesadilla. The cheese gets a little crispy and tasty. Benson really likes it. So, the other day for lunch he said to me,

 "Mom, can I have an open-head?"
"What?!?" I replied.
"You, know, like a quesadilla with crispy cheese." He said.

It took me until I'd made the whole quesadilla, puzzling the entire time about what he meant by "open-head" until I realized he was trying to say "open-face". We now refer to open-faced quesadillas by using Benson's term. Don't be alarmed if we ever offer you an open-head.... its not half bad!

Tonight at the end of dinner I said to BJ, "Oh no! I just ate that entire salad!" Since finishing your dinner is usually heralded as a major victory among the kids, they were confused by my distress. McKay said,
"Mom, why are you worried about finishing your dinner?"
"Because I'm trying to lose weight, honey."
McKay asked why but before I could explain Benson jumped right in and said,
"I know how you lose weight! Eat lots of burritos!"
"What? Why do you think that, Bens?" I asked.
"Because I saw it on grandma's TV! If you eat lots of burritos and other tacos and meals then you'll lose weight!"
Apparently he saw a commercial about weight loss meals. That's the kind of diet I'd like to be on!!

He is also the cheerful peace-maker in our home. More and more often I see him giving over to his siblings to help them be happy and keep the peace.
Last week Nana brought a little treat bag over for the kids to share. In it, among other things were 3 Gatorade drinks, each a different color. Apparently Benson wanted the yellow drink and McKay the blue. However, by morning McKay decided he wanted the yellow drink.
Throughout the morning I heard McKay trying to bargain and trade with Benson but Benson really wanted the yellow. Since I feel like Benson usually gets the shorter end of the stick in these types of situations I told McKay that after school we could go to the store and get another drink for each of them and McKay could get the yellow then.
McKay still wasn't satisfied but I told him he wasn't allowed to bother Benson about it anymore. Just then Benson said,
"Here McKay, you can have the yellow. I want you to feel happy."
I was so touched, I almost started to cry. It was such a sweet thing to do. Benson is like that. Always wanting those he loves to feel happy. He is like BJ in so many ways. So grateful for this sweet boy!

Sunday, November 8, 2015


On Friday night BJ and I went to David Archuleta live at the Tuacahn Amphitheater. A finalist on American Idol at age 16 and a Mormon, he's been an interesting person to follow. He gave a fabulous concert. He sang just as beautifully as he did on American Idol. He has an amazing high range! During the concert he talked to the audience about the difficulty of deciding to serve an LDS mission when he was a rising star in the music industry. He said that he was told by all the people in the business that if he left for 2 years when he got back there wouldn't be a career for him. But, he said, "the same voice the prompted me to go audition for American Idol was prompting me to serve a mission so against everyone's advice, I went." He said his mission was the happiest he'd ever been in his life.

I was touched by his sincerely and goodness. On Saturday morning during breakfast BJ and I told the kids about David, his concert and the message he shared about deciding to follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost. Then we played one of his most popular songs which he sang as his encore, "Glorious".

David Archuleta's "Glorious"

The kids were really impressed with him and the choices he made. They liked the song a lot too and wanted to talk about it. I explained that the song says that everyone has a purpose, a special mission to fulfill here on earth that only they can do. McKay was amazed by this and said, with eye's wide, "Mom, you mean I have a special mission too?" I answered yes and he said with wider eyes and all the sincerity of a 7-year-old, "But Mom, how will I know what it is?" I told him he could pray to know what the Lord's mission for his is and that if he listened, the Holy Ghost would help him know. It was a sweet, beautiful moment in our home as the Spirit testified to us both of this glorious truth.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

General Conference Reflections Fall 2015

Oh how I love General Conference! I was just amazed at the power of this General Conference. It seems as the world grows more wicked the Savior imbues his church with added power and courage. I felt so renewed as I listened to the divine messages of our inspired leaders.
In particular, I heard messages about the Holy Ghost and much encouragement to listen to and follow His promptings. I felt the Holy Ghost throughout each session as I listened, testifying of the truth of the messages and their relevance in my life. 

During the closing session of the Saturday morning session, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir was singing "Come, Come Ye Saints". It was a beautiful version and as I listened I thought of my grandma Brady and the saintly woman she was. She had many struggles in life yet was always valiant. It brought tears to my eyes as I thought of her and felt the strength of her spirit. Suddenly, from the kitchen table McKay's voice permeated my thoughts as he said, "Mom, I feel like I'm about to cry." I asked him why and he said he didn't know. It was a beautiful opportunity to help him understand he was feeling the Holy Ghost through the beautiful song. I told him I felt like I might cry too because the Holy Ghost was touching my heart they way it was touching his. I'm so humbled by moments like this that allow me to teach the amazing little spirits the Lord has entrusted to me. 

I was inspired by the messages directed to the women of the church. I am a covenant daughter of God and it is my desire to fulfill the mission the Lord has for me and to do it well! I want to be a woman like this: 

As a young mother, I want more than anything to have happy, healthy, joyful children, who know who they are, and have a love for and relationship with their Heavenly Father and Savior. 

I have given up some things this year that mean a lot to me in order to be a better mother. I know it is my most important role--the most useful, vital, and significant role I have. Yet so often I feel so incapable of meeting the demands of my young family. The amount of mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual work it takes to be a good mother is both overwhelming and exhausting. Over the last several months Kate has struggled with digestive issues and Lily with immune issues. Lily is often seriously ill and Kate, since birth, has rarely slept longer than two hours at a time. This leaves me full of worry and deplete of energy. Though I try my best, I often fail to be the cheerful, tidy, energetic, creative, fun mother I wish I were. From this vantage point, Elder Holland's words were my balm in Gilead. More than anything, I don't want to fail my children or the Lord in the work of our family. Elder Holland's words soothed my weary soul. "No love in mortality comes closer to approximating the pure love of Jesus Christ than the selfless love a devoted mother has for her children."

I love this quote. I summarizes my renewed determination: