Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Motherhood, Monotony and Joy!

I have been tossing different ideas around to blog about for the past couple of weeks but haven't made the plunge into anything....until now.

Part of me doesn't even know if I should keep this blog. I got rid of Facebook and Instagram, so I feel like this is my only "connection" to those who want to see pictures of my kids and see what our little family is up to. 

That makes up for the majority of the reason why I haven't blogged in forever. I push it off because I'm unsure if it's worth keeping up. However, I finally decided that I might as well post a little something in the meantime. 

I actually do have something that I want to post about....more than just pictures and brief synapses of what we have been up to. So if you read nothing else in this blog make sure you read the awesome quotes below.

I've been thinking a lot about routines, motherhood & monotony. Sometimes I become so unaware and ungrateful during those times when things are the most monotonous and prosaic. When a long stride of monotony hits & nothing new and exciting is happening I don't recognize the huge blessings that stare me in the face every single day. 

Sometimes instead of seeing the miracle of every day conveniences and blessings (like running water, cell phones, grocery stores, serving my kids, doing laundry, running, giving my kids baths....) I tend to look at what isn't exciting and what seems to be lacking. I get lost and become so unaware and ungrateful. 

I was just recently complaining about and feeling so run down by all the things that I 'have' to do for my kids. Sheesh- I have to bathe them, do laundry, serve 1,000 meals a day, clean up their messes, wipe dirty bums, deal with attitude problems, yada yada yada.... I was piling up this huge list of things I am 'so sick of doing'. And then thanks to Divine guidance and inspiration I felt like Heavenly Father was telling me, "You complain about these so-called tasks but Jena, they are only meant to bring you joy. These 'tasks' are what bring you close to your children, what help them know they are loved, helps you become a closer family, helps you become more selfless and caring. These 'tasks' are designed to bring you joy and happiness!" 

I felt like I was hit with a ton of bricks. Uhh...hello...how in 4 1/2 years of parenting had I not seen this more clearly? How have I been living so many of my days feeling 'blah' and frustrated by these 'tasks' instead of being filled with gratitude that I get to clean my babies, feed them healthy food, make sure they are growing healthy and strong. What a MIRACLE it is that I can go to the kitchen sink, pull up a lever and receive endless cold, FRESH water! I can fill a bath with hot water to keep my kids nice and warm while I bathe and scrub them clean. I get to wipe away tears, put bandaids on sore knees, kiss owies, sweep up the endless amounts of grass that trail through my house (so that we can live in a clean, happy home), do laundry so that my kids have clean clothes, etc....These are NOT chores...these are not tasks to be checked off a 'to-do' list. Each and every one of these moments is designed to bring us closer to God and closer to each other.

After this aha moment, I read this quote from a magazine that I LOVE (and highly recommend getting)- it's called 'Seeing the Everyday'.

"Our lives are the sum of each moment and interaction. Each day we work, eat, laugh, teach, play, read, remember- and work at it all again the next day. Within seemingly small exchanges  we find opportunity to build relationships, develop character, find joy for the price of our time. Life's most essential possibilities are realized at home. Where we share, teach, grow, learn, serve, give our best without praise or fanfare. Because every effort, every moment matters in the development of a person. Nothing is really routine."

Now if that doesn't hit the nail on the head then I don't know what does. It sums up exactly what I was just learning and realizing. This quote expresses what I was learning a million times better than I ever can. 

I also came across these quotes from the same magazine, and they are all just as applicable:

"It may in fact be one of the great secrets of life that working beside and for one another is intrinsic to real enjoyment and meaning. In doing this work together we will discover that we have created patterns of oneness....We will find that not only do families and communities thrive in working beside and for one another, but also that the oneness that results will invite the finest in individual exertion and development." 

And another....

"Our happiness lives in our common, daily routines and exchanges. This inherent power is released as we genuinely watch, listen to, and participate with those around us. Dwelling in the prosaic, we discover what we already have." 

So there...that's it. That's my post. If I am the only mother who has ever felt this way about life then please don't judge me here. Give me credit for trying my darnedest to be better than I am naturally. But my hope in sharing all of this is that it will strike a cord in another mother's heart and be the 'aha' moment that you need! 

 Realizing- in the most common ways- what we already have."

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Oaklie had her 1st birthday on the 10th of February. I can't believe that she is already 1 year old. I swear the more kids you have the faster each of their lives go by.

Here are some fun facts about Oaklie at age 1:

-She is now walking.
-She loves M&M's...just like her mama.
-She is mostly sleeping through the night (she still wakes up once some of the time).
-She is happy and content.
-She is a big mama's girl.
-She is very small for her age.
-She is the sweetest, most wonderful little girl on planet earth. 

Other recent random facts or events from our lives:

The boys are BIG into fort making. We have been doing lots of that and I love it. The mess drives me crazy but I'm learning to 'let go' and let them be kids.

I love being a mom. I love the boys and all the funny things that they do and they are constantly cracking me up. They fight like crazy right now and that drives me bonkers but they truly do make me so happy. And I love having a baby...as you already know. Oaklie really does make our family seem more complete (although not entirely complete yet).

I have been running a lot and am so grateful to be able to run. I think I mention that every post but running really is a huge blessing in my life. I love being able to go out and do something hard or clear my mind. It makes me grateful for all the blessings the Lord has given me and my family.

I still LOVE reading. I don't have near as much time as I used to to soak up a good book but I try to fit it in when I can.

Josh is still loving his job. He is a stud and the greatest man on earth.....I'm crazy about him.

I have been a homesick 18 year old lately. Christmas break was so much fun with my family that I just can't stand the fact that we don't live closer to them. Jessi and I dream about being neighbors some day...and it HAS to happen. We pray for it all the time. We love living close to Josh's family and have had such fun with them that I can't help but desperately wish that my family were here too.

I have been incredibly grateful for the wonderful parents that I have. Growing up I was close to them but I feel like I have really come to appreciate them in a whole different way over the past several years. I am so grateful that I have such great parents who are loving and selfless and kind. I hope that my children will love me as much as I love my parents. If so...I will have been successful.

I have become really close friends with a girl in my ward. She is amazing and like another sister. She has two boys that are Shaffer and Oaklie's age, so we love getting our kids together to do things. It just so happens that her husband and Josh get along great too, so as often as we can we do double dates! We try to find as many excuses to get together as possible.

I am incredibly frustrated with politics. I won't go into here but it's just a snap shot of my frustrations. Here is a fantastic talk that my dad sent me the other day. It sums up exactly how I feel and see things going.
It also has made me think a lot of what I need to do differently spiritually. I am incredibly imperfect and need to prioritize scripture study and prayers more. I make sure that I read and pray every day but my sincerity is sometimes not there like it should be. I'm working on that. I am incredibly grateful for the gospel and for the perspective and knowledge that it gives us in such uncertain times.

I got rid of Facebook...again! I had gotten rid of it a few times before but I actually completely deleted my account this time. Sometimes I miss it and I find myself wanting something to look at when I'm bored but it was the right decision for me. I already have Instagram and Pinterest and this blog...and that takes up enough time.

I know this is such a random post...but it's little tid-bits of my life that feel good to write about. These are all things that have been on my mind a lot or that are a big part of our lives right now. To wrap it up....I truly do feel so grateful for the gospel. It is my rock in a crazy world. I love life right now and feel grateful for the little blessings that the Lord gives us! Sometimes I wish I could freeze time with how well things are going and how sweet our little family is. Life is good!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

I have nothing fancy to blog about (as always) but here are some random things we've been up to.

We have a park that is close to our house that, when it's not 3 degrees outside, we like to play at. 

Josh and I took the boys on a special outing about a month ago. We went to J Dawgs to get hotdogs for dinner and then we went to a BYU basketball game. We had a blast and it was fun to have some special one-on-one time with them. They loved the hotdogs but were just so-so about the game. They actually liked the half time show A LOT. There were guys jumping off trampolines and dunking the ball (I'm sure there's a name for it) and they were in a trance watching them.

Playing in our back yard. Can't wait for spring and summer to be able to utilize this space.

Oaklie is now 11 months old. Here are some fun things about her:
-She has 2 teeth
-She is happy and content
-She is starting to do well eating solid foods like sandwiches, granola bars, toast, etc...
-She is a huge mama's girl
-She, unfortunately, gets sick a lot (just like Shay)
-She has been on the verge of walking for months now but hasn't decided to make the plunge
-She loves to get into EVERYTHING. She is constantly opening up cabinets and drawers and pulling everything out (like glass baking dishes)
-She loves her brothers toys. She has started to "fight" over them. If one of the boys takes something from her, you will most definitely hear about it.
-She is sweet as a chocolate and the most wonderful thing on earth.
-She has Josh and me wrapped around her finger
-I cry almost every day (not literally) because I LOVE having a baby and just can't stand the thought of her and the boys growing up so fast
-She is a tiny little thing. She is only 17 pounds (which is less than my boys were at 4 months). However, even though she is small she still wears between 9-18 month old clothes. 
-She has a very special Spirit that I can feel when I'm around her. It started on the day she was born and any time I'm around her I feel closer to the Lord. 

BYU Basketball game

Just because this picture is entirely too sweet to not put up.

She loves to stick her tongue out. You will almost always find her that way.

We do Sunday dinners with Josh's family every week. It is fun to be there with everyone and we can't say enough how much we love being back in Utah living close to family. Now if only we could get my family to move here that would be perfect. 

I love to bake. I think I grew up with an appreciation and love for good food and it has stayed with me ever since. For as long as I can remember my dad and I have always had a special bond because we both love bread so much. I worked for him during one summer in high school and we would make a special stop at Albertson's to pick up a fresh loaf of french bread to eat on our way home (while talking about anything and everything).
The boys are really starting to find a love for it too and get excited any time that I decide to bake something. They love to pour and mix and then, of course, to eat! 

We have been dealing with a lot sickness. Shaffer is my child who gets sick the most often. We've been consistently sick every 2- 3 weeks.
Oaklie has the same type of immune system and almost always has a stuffy or runny nose or some type of bug. That means that she wakes up at night. It's only once or twice a night but she is 11 months and I'm very ready for her to be sleeping through the night.

Sad but I just couldn't resist because it was so cute. 

Oaklie and her cousin, William Constantine at church! 

Yep! Sick again!

My amazing sister and her family surprised everyone and decided to come to Oregon for Christmas. They hadn't planned on it but decided a few days before that they wanted to try and make it work. So they drove 13 hours in bad weather in order to spend Christmas with us. 
It was the best Christmas present ever.
I love and admire my sister more than anyone. Even though she is the younger one I look up to her in so many ways. She has an incredible spirit!

Oaklie was a trooper on our LOOOONG drive to and from Oregon. 

Like I mentioned, we went to Klamath for Christmas and had a blast. I didn't want to come home  because we were having so much fun being together.
My parents remodeled their kitchen, family room, laundry room and bathroom. It looks amazing and we had fun oogling over the beauty of it all. 
Plus they installed a double oven that we put to good use. My favorite thing from the whole trip was the night that we spent baking a million cookies and treats. I swear there is so much joy in cooking together as a family. 

My brother, Ty and his partner Alan were able to come and spend Christmas with us too. It was the first time in a long time that we have had that much time with them. I am always amazed at how good and kind my brother is...and that goes for Alan as well. 
My brother Brad and his wife Molly had their 2nd daughter (Leah) while we were there. Unfortunately I have zero pictures of them and hardly any from our trip there. It was great being able to meet Leah before we left. 
My youngest brother, Travis, is on a mission for our church in Canada. We were able to Skype with him and talk for an hour or so. It was so much fun to see his face and to hear about how he is doing. He is an incredible missionary and we are so proud of him.

We had fun sledding down my parents yard. It was fun to let my kids sled where I used to as a kid. It brought back good memories and it makes me grateful to be able to add to those memories with new memories of ours kids doing the same thing. 

Logan is getting so big. The last little while he has seemed so much more grown up to me. He will be going to preschool this fall and Kindergarten in 2014 (he will be almost 6 by then because he has a late birthday). Some days I am excited about it but other days I'm not in the least bit ready to enter that phase. I love having all my babies at home with me where I can see all the sweet things they do 24/7. 

The loooooong drive home. 

Shaffer and I went out for a mommy/son outing before Christmas. He loved all the Christmas lights, so he and I went out for donuts, hot chocolate and to see some Christmas lights (because all special events include good food). It was fun having some special time with him. I love this little boy.

Sometimes life looks like this. Kinda crazy but sweet!

I love this picture of Josh and Oaklie. This is such a typical thing to see with Josh- he is so sweet and involved. He is the perfect dad and husband!

This picture cracks me up because I think it depicts the real craziness of our life. We have the tongue-sticker-outer, the crotch grabber, and the belly show-er. Sometimes I only want to post the "best" pictures, when in reality this is much accurate of what my life looks like on a daily basis. 
I am grateful for these crazy kids. I know I always end on a sentimental note but I just can't help myself. 
The truth is, I really struggle to be a good mom and to find the good among the fighting, whining, and craziness of parenthood. BUT, I think it has to be that way because when we are desperate for answers we draw closer to God. I know that I have spent hours upon hours on my knees pleading for guidance and help as a mother and I have my children to thank for my love of the Lord. 

Speaking of craziness- my boys are fighting and whipping each other with their blankets. It's time to be done! 

Friday, November 30, 2012

Blogging Slacker

All of these pictures are out of order but I'm just rollin' with it because, as always, I lack the time to do much with our blog. I was just on my blog today to check on some friends blogs and noticed I haven't done anything since September. I guess that's what happens when you have Facebook and Instagram. My life gets updated through those instead of the blog. 
Here is our life through pictures/Instagram:

Logan is really into pirates and ninjas. Sometimes he's a ninjate! 

Cutie cheeser Logan has so much personality. He is learning a lot and is starting to write his letters. I'm not super good at doing a whole lot of school stuff with the kids but I've been trying to be better lately and it's amazing how much they soak up. 

Oaklie has a fetish with our dishwasher. If she hears it open she comes crawling at full speed to get in it. 

Oaklie is almost 10 months old now and I can't stop her from growing up. I can't say how much I LOVE having a baby. There are times where my happiness is overwhelming and I sit back in awe and thank Heavenly Father for these children that he has given me...and cry tears of gratitude. If I can love these kids as much as I do, I can only imagine how much Heavenly Father loves each of us.

We took a trip to St. George with my family back in October. We had a BLAST! We swam, ate, went to plays, swam, ate, played games, talked, ran, hiked, etc....It was fantastic (and a HUGE thanks to my generous and amazing parents)!

We took some family pictures because up until that point we didn't have any family pictures since having had Oaklie.

Oaklie was horribly sick while in St. George. Her fever was almost 105 and I was really scared. I held her for almost two days straight (literally) and instead of being squirmy and happy she was calm and lethargic. I hate having her sick...but truthfully I loved the snuggling.

The boys and I have a little tradition (?) with getting donuts. I don't know how it started and there's no exact time when we do it but every once in a while when I feel like spoiling my boys and showing them I love them we will go get donuts. Also, whenever Shaffer has a dental apt we head out for donuts after. His appointments are quite the sight- he flips out and I can hardly get him in the car when it's time to go. 

Halloween was fun. I didn't get a good picture of the boys in their costumes because they were too excited about their candy. They had SO much fun and it was adorable to walk around with them and see them so happy. Josh and I were beaming with pride and oozing with love. 

Swimming at the Lehi Rec. Center. The boys love it. I hate it but it's worth it to make them happy..and it gets us out of the house.

Mr. Shaffer turned 3 years old on October 18th. I can't believe he is already 3. He is a really sweet little boy. Shaffer is quite emotional, accident prone, stubborn and dramatic which makes parenting him interesting, but along with all that is a super tender, soft-hearted little boy who makes my heart melt. He has been really big into telling me "I just love you SO much!" and every time he says it my heart leaps and I walk away on cloud 9. 

Had a really spiritual experience with some friends at a nearby church sight. Christ lives!

My two 3 year-olds! Man they are handsome.

Out for a walk with the kiddos. We like to go to the "track" which is actually an empty cemetery. Sounds creepy, I know, but it gets their wiggles out. 

Could she get any cuter? Babies rule and make earth feel like heaven.

Josh and I ran another half marathon. It was the Halloween Half down the Provo Canyon. We ran a 1:40:14 and I felt like death. I felt great the first 9 miles and then hit the wall with 4 to go. I was really stubborn and didn't want to slow down (plus the pacers for 1:40:00 were right in front of me and I wanted to keep up with them for some stupid reason). I was expecting it to be really downhill and it wasn't, plus to add on mileage we turned around and ran up the canyon for a mile. I'm not good with hills so it killed me. 
I love running and have been enjoying it a lot this year. Running reminds me about the miracles of the body and it makes me grateful for the freedoms that good health brings. I love being outside and running with my favorite person on earth- Josh. He is an incredible husband and makes me feel like a million bucks.

Who doesn't love a sleeping baby? Who?

Shaffer's new teeth. You might remember that he got them knocked out several months ago and we got a pediatric partial made. I thought they looked really cute and was happy with the finished product. Unfortunately they fell out 2 weeks later. We got them re-cemented and they came out 2 days after that. I'm not sure what we're going to do. Going to the dentist is extremely terrifying for Shaffer so I don't know how much I want to put him through it. I want them because I think they look good but if they keep coming out it just isn't worth the trauma.

We sold the Civic in order to get something with a little more space for Josh. We did lots of car shopping with the kids which was....great. :/ We finally bought a '04 Honda Element. We got it for as much as we sold the Civic for, which was our goal. No car debt! 

Bowling with daddy. Seriously love this man. 

Logan turned 4 on Nov. 6th! The years are flying by with this little guy. There are times where it catches me off guard how grown up he is. 
Logan is super social, sweet, a big helper but has also developed a sassy attitude lately. He will glare at me and pretend to throw fire balls (like Bowser off of Mario Brothers) at me when he is really mad. Haha. I need to remember to ease up on him and not demand so much from this little guy. I'm definitely learning as we go. Hopefully he won't hate me when he's older.

Shaffer has a thing with praying at the "track". Don't know why but I'm certainly not going to stop him. He can pray any time he feels like it. Just keep that up forever buddy. 

Playing in the fall leaves. 

Logan's first primary program.   

Shaffer was really sick a few weeks ago so we stayed home from Sunday dinner at Josh's parents house and made rolls and cookies. It was so much fun having some one-on-one time with him. I love those moments and when I can slow down and really focus on them individually. That's one tough thing about having 3 kids so close together (and none in school) is that there isn't much time for one-on-one with them. On the other hand it is really fun for them to have siblings to play with. 

Ninjate (pirate + ninja) Logan.

These are some of our family pics from back in October. We went up Snow Canyon in St. George and took a million pictures. Thankfully my sister and dad have sweet  cameras and much more talent than me. 

All the Mortenson grandkids. Jessi and Rich have little Will (in the orange sweater). Brad and Molly have Saige (in the black Hello Kitty shirt)! 

Josh, Jessi and I went for a long run down Snow Canyon while we were in St. George. It was fun to run that long with my sister too. We got poured on (and I mean poured) but that only added to the fun of it. 

Look at those chunky legs!! 

A comfy walk home after church!

The cute Rohat bunch

Crazy, nakey mornings. PS. We have recently potty trained Shaffer. He has been doing great. I love having only 1 child in diapers.

Josh had his first race as Race Director for Brooks Endurance Events. It was back in September and it was a full and a half marathon. It went really smoothly and we got a lot of positive feedback. Josh was incredibly busy the month before and several weeks after. We hardly saw him for a month or more. 
I was able to help set up the race and see Josh in action. There is something fun about seeing your hubby work. I don't know how to explain it but I was pretty dang proud of him. 
Josh's mom, brother and our sister-in-law all ran the half. And one of Josh's buddies from high school ran his first marathon and did great too. 

That's quite the update. If you read the whole thing I'll be impressed. At least you can see pictures of what we've been up to! 

The End.