Tuesday, June 23, 2009


This picture was taken just an hour after Owen returned home. (Yes, he has a beard - but he shaved it Saturday night).

We decided to surprise the kids about Owen's actual return. I told the kids he was coming home on Saturday when really he arrived Friday morning.

Friday, I sent the girls off to school and loaded the twins in the car telling them we were going "to a doctor's appointment." You can imagine the confusion when minutes later I announced that there was no doctor appointment and instead we were going to get Dad at the airport.

"Right now?"
"You mean, RIGHT NOW?" (T-man and Meya screaming with elation!)
Joyful Mayhem!

After getting Owen at the airport and lots of hugs and kisses, we drove to the girls' school. I had talked to the office staff the day before to let them know my plan. They were ready for us. They called each girl out of her class to come to the office one at a time. Leasie was all smiles. Madi was a bit emotional.

Lots more hugs and kisses.

It was a wonderful moment for our family. We are so happy to be together again.

Friday, June 19, 2009

What I have learned

My husband was gone for 63 days. Here's what I have learned:

The first week was hard, the second week was harder, and then we adapted.
I can function on much less sleep than I thought possible, but the dark circles under my eyes sure aren't pretty.
I'm stronger than I thought, but the 63 bedtime routines by myself nearly did me in!
I love my husband - I love that he is patient, kind, smart, and a great dad.
I love my children - they are my friends, I really enjoy them (most of the time!).
I have an incredible church - the support, love, and service was amazing.
My friends stood by me, even from long distances. I received care packages, cards, phone calls and emails that sustained me through tough days.
I have a greater appreciation for the military families who sacrifice much more than our small 63 days.
Life is about giving the best you've got to give to those around you.
Laughter solves a lot of problems.

I can't wait to...
kiss my husband
sleep without clutching my cell phone
have family dinner together
watch my husband play with the kids
get a pedicure
go to Myrtle Beach with my husband and kids

Thank you for all your prayers, well-wishes, visits, notes, and love.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

9+ Months

Since hubby left, Baby C has learned to:

Clap her hands (as shown above)
Stand up
Cruise along furniture
Say "ma ma ma ma"
Say "da da da da"
Click her tongue

I keep telling her to slow down. But she can't wait to catch up to her siblings.
She's not going to be a baby for very much longer.

3 Days to go!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Last FHE

We gathered for our last Family Home Evening without hubby. We had songs, a lesson, prayers, and a delicious treat.

I just have to say, I have amazing children. I am so blessed to be their Mom. This morning, Meya said, "Mom you're the best Mommy in the world!" I looked at her over her bowl of soggy Honey Nut Cherrios and thought groggily "Not really." Then I said outloud, "Why?" She replied without hesitation, "Because you are here with me everyday!"

You know what? I am. I choose to be here everyday with my kids. That doesn't mean I don't go absolutely crazy sometimes. But I'm here. Meya's comment made my day.
Here are my five little monkeys...who mean the world to me!

4 Days to go!

Sunday, June 14, 2009


I'm unraveling. With six days left, it is all I can do to just hold the bare essentials together. Food. Clothing. Sleep. Family Prayer. That's it.

I think the weekend of hauling all five kids by myself to two soccer games, church, and two social events did me in. My eyes feel like they were punched. My arms ache as though I've spent hours at the gym. And my fingers look like swollen sausages. Come to think of it, my whole body hurts.

My house looks like there was an explosion of food, toys, and laundry. And for the first time since Owen left, I had to break down and cry.

8AM Saturday can not come soon enough.

Friday, June 12, 2009

BIG fun

I'm trying to make this last week full of fun memories so the time will fly by. Wednesday afternoon Tman, Meya, and I picked out four huge bouncy balls at Target ($2.59 each - love it!). We also bought donuts. We had quite a party - huge bouncy balls flying and crashing to the accompaniment of squeals of delight. Although only thirty minutes into the mayhem, I found myself asking "What was I thinking?" I finally sent the balls and kids outside where they continued to have a great time.

After a week of ego waffles and cold cereal the kids begged for homemade pancakes. And oh did I give them pancakes! I made the first ever, ginormous Abbe pancakes for breakfast this morning. They were the size of dinner plates. Oh the laughter. And oh the full tummies.

8 days to go...

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

11 Days to go

Our Enrichment Meeting, "Come to the House of the Lord" was this week. It was a celebration of temples and temple work. The evening was a huge success thanks to so many wonderful ladies who contributed their time and talents. The evening began like a "wedding reception" (hence the DELICIOUS catered wedding cake). Then we dismissed for three wonderful workshop-type classes. 1) Teaching our Children to Love the Temple. 2) How to prepare for Temple Attendance. 3) Glimpses of Temple Truths in World Cultures and Religions.

I came away from the evening with my testimony of temple work strengthened and my resolve to attend more often revived. I am so thankful temples. They are a source of protection and safety in a world with ever decreasing moral values. If you'd like to know more about Mormon temples, click here.

Monday, June 8, 2009

12 Days to go

My husband is always very pleased with any gift he is given. At Christmas time, it is truly enjoyable to watch him open his gifts. No matter what the gift is--a twelve pack of white socks or a shiny new power tool--he is genuinely happy. One Christmas I asked him what his "secret" was to this phenomenon. He said simply, "I never have any expectations. If I don't expect anything, then I'm always pleasantly surprised."

I remember that I frowned physically and mentally. How sad, I thought, to not have any expectations. And yet...there he was smiling over his pile of gifts while I was himming and hawwing, figuring out which gifts I would return, and sulking over the gifts I didn't receive.

I looked at him and realized he may have a point.

There have been many times when I have expected something. A gift. An outing. Friendship. Help. Recognition. Only to be disappointed because my expectations were not met. Would I have been better off having low or even no expectations? I'm not sure.

I had a bit of a rough two days. And I think it was because I had high expectations that were squelched. So instead of being thrilled with what did occurred, I just feel rotten.

I'm aware of the counter philosophy of expectation (often used in pedagogy and child-rearing) - that if you set high expectations, the student or child will aim higher to meet those expectations. Even Dickens explored the idea and complexity of expectations in his work "Great Expectations." And I believe he concluded that it was much better to have great expectations rather than none...even if it means you're bound to meet disappointment.

I'm heading off to bed...is it too much to expect a good night sleep? :)

Sunday, June 7, 2009

13 Days to go

When I was little my sister was a pest. She was the baby, and being six years younger than me, she always seemed to act like a baby. She was a master tattletale running to mom at the slightest altercation. "Mo-om!" she'd call with a pitch and volume rivaling an ambulance siren. And no matter what the circumstances, it seemed she got away with murder, while I, on the other hand, was "the oldest" and was expected to "set an example." She drove me crazy!

There was the time that she wrecked my Barbies...
Sometime during high school I decided to neatly organize and store all my Barbie stuff (and I had a lot) for my posterity. I dressed each doll in their outfit, brushed their hair, and arranged the piles of clothes carefully. I put the dolls in my mom's hand-me-down yellow make-up bag. And put all the clothes in shoe boxes. I stacked all of the paraphernalia at the back of my closet.

One summer, when I was back from college, I was in Katie's room. I noticed that some of her dolls looked very familiar...and the clothes...didn't I have some just like them? Then it dawned on me. Katie had raided my Barbies! I rushed to my closet to find the shoe boxes ransacked and the my most prized dolls missing. Oh the anger!

Then there was the time that she wrecked a first kiss...
I had been dating a wonderful guy named Chip. On the night in question, Chip had taken me on a romantic train ride then treated me to dinner at a cafe in Hyannis. We'd been on a handfull of dates, things were going well, and I was giddy with the expectation of our first kiss. He drove from the train station back to my house holding my hand the entire way. Instead of walking me directly to the door, he took a detour, and we walked down a path that led from my house to Shawme pond. We sat on our dock watching the stars. He put his arm around me. My stomach was cartwheeling. He leaned in...only to be interrupted by an assault of high-pitched giggles.

We were both startled. I turned around to see Katie and her friend hiding, unsuccessfully, behind some bushes. I yelled my sisterly yell at her. She scrammed. But the damage had been done - the moment had been ruined. Sure, he still kissed me. But the butterflies in my stomach had been changed to battle axes ready to kill my sister.

Fast forward 17 years...

Katie, now 29, arrived on Wednesday for a whirlwind twenty-four hour visit. Since she lives on the other side of the continental US, I rarely get to see her in person. However, there is no one that I talk to more often than her. Besides my husband, Katie knows me the best.

We stayed up talking and eating cake until way too late. The next day, I had arranged a sitter for the kids, so we spent the entire day together - just the two of us. We shopped and lunched and talked. We talked about books, politics, love, motherhood, church, school, goals, heartaches--everything that was important to us. As we sat at the restaurant table dipping warm bread in olive oil, I looked at my sister and felt so much appreciation for her. Gone was the pesky, tattling, younger sister. In her place sat a beautiful, mature, engaging, funny, smart lady.

I know she could fill multiple blog pages documenting all the horrible things I did to her when she was little (stealing her best Barbie clothes in unfair trades, embarrassing her while she talked on the phone to boys, and teasing her relentlessly). Perhaps her infractions against me were mere retributions. But thankfully, and surprisingly, we've forgiven each other.

And here we were 17 years later laughing, sharing, and talking. Who would have ever guessed that my adolescent nemesis would end up being my best friend?

I love you Katie!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Final Countdown - 15 Days

We're down to only 15 days until Owen gets home. Each morning as soon as Tman wakes up, he asks "How many more days?" So since we're doing the countdown, I thought I'd switch gears on the blog and start counting down.

The last week has been so full that I will resort to using a list:
  • Downstairs bathroom was finished
  • Crown molding installed in front room
  • I tried five samples of yellow on the front room walls before deciding on a beautiful golden wheat
  • I painted the front room on Monday from 9-midnight
  • I cleaned the house and painted the front door Tuesday night from 9-2AM the next day
  • Leasie resumed violin lessons - we love her new teacher
  • Madi's soccer team is pulling together - they won a game against the top rated/undefeated team on Tuesday night
  • Wednesday was utterly crazy - setting up for Enrichment, picking up the wedding cake, making Thai chicken, and cleaning for Katie.
  • My sister, Katie, arrived Wednesday afternoon.
  • Enrichment meeting "Come to the House of the Lord" was amazing - the lessons were incredible, the cake/food was delicious, and the sisterhood was wonderful.
  • I spent the day with Katie on Thursday - we shopped, we lunched, we laughed.
  • I collapsed last night and everything aches this morning.