Saturday, February 25, 2017

Christian at 8 months



This month Christian turned 8 months and was once again at Grandma Smiths house. I think its a tradition we should keep up! :) We had just gone to Disneyland and it was so fun holding him for three days almost constantly he loved it and got very spoiled and I think my biceps are getting somewhat ripped. ;) It was fun how everyone adored little Christian. He smiles at everyone so he spread happiness all over Disneyland with his adorable smiles. I was so impressed with how well he managed the long days and nursing and sleeping in my arms instead of being in the comfort of his home and normal routine. His favorite rides were Peterpan and Alice and wonderland.  He has gotten to be such a trooped on long car drives. He got one more tooth this month so now he has seven, that 8th is taking it time. He is eating more and more  and basically eats everything w do. He has gotten so he loves taking baths. He splashes and splashes and loves it. 

He's the perfect running buddy and always falls asleep while we jog. When we get home and I wake him trying to transport him into the house I get the sweetest sleepy smiles. His eyes are getting lighter and lighter and his lashes are getting so pretty and long!



Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Seven Months of Christian



This little man is growing up! He has gotten more and more hair and more and more teeth! He has gone from two teeth to six this month. He is now sitting up in the shopping cart like a big boy! I love this as I now have more room in the cart but poor guy cant sleep through our shopping anymore! He is crawling and getting around and into mischief! He smiles constantly! Well, unless he is tired or hungry but even then he smiles a lot! I used to think that all babies were this way but I've come to appreciate that I make exceptionally smiley babies. He loves his mommy the best but is ready to love everyone given a few moments to warm up. My favorite moments of my day are snuggling with him and making him giggle. He is learning to eat more and more real food and he loves it. Food is a friend. He likes bananas the best. He has been sick and doing a lot of teething but he has been a good sport.  His siblings are absolutely in love with him. He is such a big part of our family and we completely adore him. What a blessing this little man is in our lives!!!


 



getting in some leg lifts. :) 



Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Christian is 6 months old




Our  Christian boy is 6 months old. On Christmas Eve even! It'll be easy and fun remembering that Christmas Eve is his half birthday each year. :O)

Our little man is scooting around the house and more and more. He gets up on his knees and rocks back and forth trying to figure out how to get coordinated enough to crawl. He can sit up now but is still a bit wobbly so we stay close by. :) He is all smiles and he entertains us all day long. Right now he is pretty sick with a bad cold and has his two top teeth coming in so when he cries and tries to make any noise it is the most pathetic sad little squeaks. It breaks my heart to hear his sore voice. But even though he is sick he still is smiley and sweet. He loves his mommy and his three solid meals a day. Stewart tried to give him a bottle the other night when I was gone but Christian would not have it at all! I got a call while checking out at the store with poor Christian screaming in the back ground. I was starting to think about weaning him but not anymore! :O)

The other day when I was changing his diaper he peeped and it squirted him in his mouth, up his nose, and got in his eyes! Poor little guy got showered in his own urine! lol I know someday he'll think that is hilarious and so gross!

He has started to jabber and say "dadada" and "bababa" and things. Its so fun to hear those tiny emerging words. He really helps make our family feel complete. I am so thankful for my sweet little Christian. He's everyone's favorite.

6 Month Stats
Weight 19 lbs. 14 oz. 84%
Height 28.12 inches 93%
Head 44 .75 cm 82 %





Sunday, December 18, 2016

Christmas Magic - Winterhaven


Oh, this year we had such a fun time at one of our favorite Christmas traditions,Winterhaven. We had so much fun knowing exactly where we wanted to head to to see our favorites and we loved seeing the new additions to the neighborhood too. 

Our all time favorite is the "Bellagio House". The lights, water, and music show are so much fun! We stayed and watched several songs. its really magical 


This nativity was newer and I loved it I want to have Stewart make me something like this for our house some day.  



This year they had a Christmas story house. It was fun to sit and look through books! 


Stewart got off work a little after we got there i was stressed it'd be hard but since we've done it each year it was so easy knowing where to park and getting around was not a big deal without him. but we were so happy to have him join us! 


We like always loved hte princess house. It so fun to see the new princess they add after each new movie!  


I always love the giant present house too! 

Next door they have the Christmas card house. this one s always really special for the kids to write letters. 



And although I didn't get any really great pictures I have to mention how much we love the Winterhaven Zoo house. Its a huge corner lot right when you enter the neighborhood and they have probably 50 different animal "enclosures" with all sorts of cute animals. It is so much fun looking through all the adorable animals. Its in our top two for sure! 

Like everything this year as we go about our holidays and traditions and favorites and have such a good time my mind is drawn to the sad fact that it is our "last time". Winterhaven was especially sad for me. Each year we've come to Winterhaven we've had a new baby to bring along for their first Christmas and saying goodbye to all those years and memories and this chapter of our lives full of babies absolutely breaks my heart. To think back over Naomi, Memphis, Doreena, and now baby Christian I just feel so sad that as we move forward Memphis, and Doreena will not be coming with us. It is so painful but I have to believe that the future holds more joy than I can yet imagine. But in moments I have to mourn and say my good byes. Good bye Winterhaven. 


Saturday, December 10, 2016

Pinehurst, North Carolina

Back in September after we adjusted to school starting, Christian's birth, and Stewart's fellowship responsibilities we started to realize it was time to start applying for jobs. We thought that this would be simple. We would simply apply to the two places in Tucson, interview, pray for offers, and then choose. Well, at least that was the hope. But all along I had concerns, the two groups had things that we didn't like but we felt like living in Tucson was THE option because it had felt more like home than any other place we had lived. Stewart sent out his CV to both groups and immediately got a call from Arizona State Radiology. We were threw the moon, so excited! He came in for an interview I think that very week. They liked him and more than half the group were Rads he'd worked with at UofA and really liked. They decided to give him a job right away but not for a long-term position just for some Moonlighting. When Stewart tried to push to see if it could turn it into something more they backpedaled a little bit and said, "well working for us is the best application." and then asked, "so where are you applying for a job next year?" As the days passed that question weighed heavily. And as we heard more information that they really didn't want to hire a new breast specialist in the next few years our hearts fell. It became clear that they were they weren't going anywhere so we started to think where else will we apply?

We kind of just started to talk about what we thought about different parts of the country I cannot live where it's very cold so that knocks out almost all of the country.  With my hating the cold it leaves thong pretty limited as to where we could live. There was Nevada, California, Arizona, we sent out applications but only heard back from Reno.  Reno was hard because I hate the weather there and we'd left there a bit depressed with how our short sale  had financially ruined us. So we had to apply more broadly. I've always liked the idea of Texas so we threw in Texas ontop of the pile and then we started seeing listings for North Carolina. We looked into North Carolina a little bit. The weather was nice, people seem to like it a lot who had lived there.... and so we added North Carolina to the list of places we would apply. One day when Stewart came home from work he announced that he had sent an application to a place called Pinehurst, North Carolina.  When he said that something magical happened, a little sparkly something on my heart went off...I don't know what it was but all the sudden I wanted to know everything about Pinehurst, North Carolina.  At first it was just a fascination with how cute it was. It's this tiny little village, they actually call it a village. And the cutest little shops.... I felt like I was looking at pictures of the Gilmore Girls set. As the weeks progressed Stewart started getting phone interviews and they all went so well. Then he was getting invitations to fly out for real interviews and we got really excited and stressed,  and excited and stressed! Stewart learned so much about all these wonderful groups in different places in the country it was a really exciting time to visualize all these locations becoming a possibility. After the phone interviews went well then he was issued more phone interviews and real interview invitations to fly out and interview in person. This is when it got REAL. We were moving. We were going to live in one of these places!

The first was Reno.  When we got there we were nervous that it would just feel like going back in time which was not appealing to us. But we found new areas of the city that were gorgeous and we could picture ourselves living there with the access to the university,  proximity to California and Tahoe, and the great group there. We could picture our lives there and it was a really awesome life. But as I sat at the dinner interview in the restaurant and looked around and took a moment to kind of process what I was feeling and where we were and what we were considering, I just felt this feeling that it was wrong. I knew that this was not the place.  We were not going to come to Reno. That was really sad because we wanted it. We went there and we wanted it, i saw my old best friend, i knew the city so welll, itd be easy and happy! Honestly it waa the job and location that made the most sense. So I think that was why Heavenly Father let us know so strongly that it was not the right place for us.

Then Stewarr was off to Texas.  He turned down an interview to San Antonio and opted to just go to Austin for an interview. I wasn't able to come but he was blown away. It was his favorite interview I think. People were so kind, that combination with the wonderful the group, amazing accomdations, the smooth practice they had set up....it was amazing... He could picture our lives there and I could kind of a picture it too and really liked it.  It sounded so fun and so comfortable and just a place you really want to live.

I decided I really needed to come to the other interviews because it was hard for me to not actually have gone to Austin so we flew to North Carolina for two back-to-back interviews and then it was straight onto Visalia, California for a final interview. 

At this point it seemed so unreal that one of these places was where we were going to live and it was overwhelming and exhausting but exciting but super scary! We just prayed so hard that Heavenly Father would  tell us where he wanted us to live and every night before scripture study we sang as a family the hymn I'll go where you want me to go dear Lord. This is also when we really explained to the kids that we were infact going to have to move and Tucson was not an option. We told them that we might live in North Carolina or Texas or California or possibly Nevada. There were tears but I was impressed with how mature they were about it.

So on to Greensboro North Carolina we went with my sister watching my kids fir me! Bless her heart! The most striking thing about Greensboro was that it was absolutely beautiful and I fell in love with the southern people.  Their kindness, their warmth, their accents, they're talking about going to church every Sunday,...I was sold fresh out of the gate. I love everybody I talked to there. What was strange about Greensboro though is that I felt like a visitor. I felt like I was playing pretend as I drove around with the kind secretary who showed me around cute neighborhoods and shopping areas I felt kind of fake. I didn't know what that meant at the time but I did just feel like a visitor. Then that night after the dinner, which I wasn't invited to :-( , we drove to Pinehurst. On the way Stewart said during the dinner he felt the spirit tell him that it was not Greensboro. He was sad because he liked it so much, but he knew it wasn't going to work out.

  I had been anticipating the interview in Pinehurst more than any other interview, something about it when we talked about it, when we looked at houses online, whenever we prayed about it, there was a bit of magic (aka the spirit touching our hearts). To think of it was different than the other places, something exciting and warm. I wanted to be there and see what I'd feel when I was there in the flesh.  I didn't know if something magical would happen and so I just really was so excited to get there. When we drove into Pinehurst it was really sweet. We rolled down the window on the dark night and i we could smell sweet pine trees. When we drove through the downtown it did seem like a set on a movie, it was so cute. The hotel we stayed in was so old I swear I thought it was haunted it was a little creepy for me but it was also an adventure. The most striking thing though was the feeling of the place.  In the morning when the realtor picked me up and she drove me around all day I did not feel like a visitor. I did not feel fake. I felt like I was at home as I looked around it was like, "huh, okay so that is going to be the kids Elementary School and that's probably going to be their middle school and okay there's the chapel we're going to go to... I felt like I was meeting my new home and it felt like home.  This really scared me so I kind of burried it down and I didn't want to influence Stewart's  decision-making unnecessarily. I really wanted this to be his choice but I kind of I felt like it really was home when we were in Pinehurst. But I wasnt totally sure and I wanted to give every other place a good chance and let Stewart make his choice. One night when we were there and as we were talking in the hotel room after our lovely day I asked him if he remembered what happened after his initial phone interview,  He said he didn't know. I reminded him that after his phone interview we went to bed it was late and he said he'd woken up in the middle of the night and couldn't go back to sleep and he just got so excited and happy and he had this thought repeated in his head "you are moving to Pinehurst" he said he didn't remember that. Lol  But that since I had brought it up now he did remember it. I was glad I brought it up because to me that was very significant. I remember when he had that phone interview we felt so excited.  It was just a magical thing every time Pinehurst came up.

I think what also made it so stressful.and hard was that our next interview was in Visalia, California.  Visalia is a special place to us.  My parents lived there for several years and Stewart's big brother and his beautiful family live in Visalia.  That's where he is a surgeon and the thought of living in the central California Town surrounded by farmland and being so close to all of our family Stewart working with big brother at the same hospital was what we wanted. we wanted all that convenience and all that comfort and we just weren't ready to say yes to Pinehurst.

Visalia was still an option and we had to go and we had to try and we had to pray and see what God wanted for us.

In Visalia we had so much fun with Stewart's family.  We were beyond exhausted but it was really great. Stewart and I didn't have a chance to really talk about our feelings because it was so cahotic with all the kids and it was so short. So we finally talked when we were driving home. I was not sure what Stewart felt he was very depressed and I wasn't sure why he was so sad. Finally he told me that he was so sad because he knew it was not where we were supposed to go. This was so hard for us. Especially to dissapoint excited family members on both sides....ugh. it was a horrible feeling.

So we kind of pushed it away, we said " we'll see. we'll keep praying." But I think all along looking back now, we knew it was Pinehurst but that process was really important. We had a good interviews and to see it and to see what it felt like in all these locations,.... I'm grateful for that process it was exhausting and expensive and tiring but it was necessary for us to make such a huge life choice.

I don't know how long we're going to live in Pinehurst but it could possibly be for the rest of our lives...Anyways,  when it finally came time for us to decide and we really had to say our final prayer and make the decision it was really hard.  We felt so blessed he ended up with four  job offers and a deadline in which we had to make the choice. We made a pros-and-cons list of every place ranking them from cost of living and location to family and location to Temple and all the other various things. Then we talked about what we wanted,  what our feelings were, and finally after all the numbers and all the talking and all the feelings we settled on Pinehurst. We could feel the spirit really strong that was where we were supposed to go and so we knelt in prayer to do our final prayer of asking if our decision was correct.

Stewart said the prayer. He prayed sincerely and the spirit was very strong and I just felt so much peace and happiness.  When I looked up I realized he was crying. I don't know how many times I have seen my husband cry. Not very often maybe he cried in a movie or two and at the birth of our children but not even every child birth....for him to cry was a big deal. So when I looked up and saw tears streaming down his cheeks and him saying to me,  "Emily, I know we're supposed to go to Pinehurst" and feeling of the spirit filling our room and our hearts meant very much to me. I was so grateful that he made the decision that he thought and prayed and was seeking for what the Lord wanted because now as the months have passed we feel really scared and overwhelmed.  We're so grateful that we had such a strong confirmation that that's where we're supposed to go.

Moving across the country far from family is really hard. But when I get scared, what I come back to to help me feel comforted again is the feelings I felt.   I have in my head a luttle vision of what we're going to be doing in Pinehurst, what our life will be like, and I have this strong feeling that this is the career that my husband is supposed to have.  This is where he's going to thrive and use all of his skills.  I feel so excited for all the good he's going to be able to do in that community that he's going to really further their ability to serve women Against Breast Cancer. I feel like the community really needs him to do that. I'm so grateful that he's so well trained to provide that for these women in that area. I also feel like we'll be a strength to the church. The church is weak there but that we have service there that we're supposed to do. I feel like there my husband is going to really grow into his priesthood more fully. For myself when I was in North Carolina I felt so good. Everyone was so friendly,  I felt like I was my favorite version of myself. Talking to people who I saw everywhere i went and talking about church and about Jesus Christ and bearing my testimony about how much I love my big huge family I just felt like I'd bloom there a little bit. I think we have missionary work to do there, that's really exciting because I've never been a great member missionary and I think that's going to happen for us in North Carolina. To feel like the Lord wants us somewhere to do a job means a lot to me.

For the kids, im not sure yet what the Lord has in store for them. I'm just praying so hard that they're happy there. I picture them running around all these pine trees and exploring nature and making friends and riding horses, getting involved in the small community, and being a blessing there and being blessed by the friends and people that they come in contact with. I'm excited that people go to church there and I like that that will be normal. My kids friends may not be LDS but they will be the kind of kids that have faith and say bedtime prayers.... I like the support that they have faith.

In the spring we'll be going back out to Pinehurst to find a home to live. It is starting to stress me out. I know it seems like it's far away but with how fast the months fly these days I know it's just a blink away so I'm trying to research areas, think about options: buying, renting, buying them renovating, renting than buying that same house. I'm not sure but I'm trying to be open-minded and not be house greedy.

It will be so exciting to move there but I'm scared and I'm also sad as I'm mourning the fact that my life here in Tucson is going to draw to an end. I love Tucson so much and I love the people here and our Ward family, the school community.  I will be very sad to leave this chapter of our lives. it's been such a happy blessed time.

But I keep referring to Pinehurst as a gift, a gift from Heavenly Father.  I know in the coming years we're going to be able to unwrap this beautiful gift and see the blessings unfold in our lives in big and small personal ways.  I'm excited for that. I'm hoping for that. And I'm anticipating the meaningful experiences that will come.  But since I don't know what they will be and it's in a location so new and so far away I often feel a little afraid.

But when it's all said and done I know the Lord wants us there, so it will be good.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Life is moving as fast as lightning

Life is going so quickly these days. I keep setting the goal that I will set aside time for blogging on this or that Sunday or Friday night but I never seem to have the moment to do it. So I'm going to just blog on my phone when I can and it probably won't be as good of quality but at least I'll be be able to record the little memories and milestones as they are happening.
Since I've last been on the computer Halloween has come and gone and so has Thanksgiving and now Christmas is coming. But perhaps bigger than all of these things has been that we went through the interview process and Stewart accepted a job in Pinehurst, North Carolina. I can't wait till I have a minute to write all about that journey of finding where the Lord wanted us to spend the next 20 or more years of our lives! Also, Christian is now 5 months and he is crawling and scooting and rolling all around. Today he scooted and made his way over to the Christmas tree unwraped a present and ate the cinnamon cookie ornament inside! Lol
Today I wanted to write about an experience I had in my calling at church. I was just called to serve on the Relief Society activities committee. Christmas time is our busiest time as we throw a big relief society Christmas dinner. In the years previous the dinner has been so nice with a beautiful program and really excellent decorations. This year as I came on the committee the decorating fell to me. I find myself often in positions where I'm helping to throw events and decorate and cook to provide for celebrations. I enjoy it and I think I'm able to do an okay job but I sometimes feel like there's more important service I could be doing. when i'm running around neglecting my family's needs buying decorations and cooking cookies I wonder if it's really necessary? is it really worth all the money and stress and hard work just to decorate a room?!?!
This year as I've spent the past month stressed out trying to get decorations together and person after person kept having to leave the committee and more and more was put on my shoulders I found myself praying for lots of help and support. I've never done the dinner before and I knew expectations were high but I didn't feel how much it mattered but it was what I was called to do I was going to do my best. As I went around town visiting the dollar store and Walmart and Jo-Ann's and all the stores I needed to to find the items for the decorating I kept coming home with extra things like extra twinkle lights, extra foam balls for the angel heads... I thought this was just going to be one more thing I would have to do going back returning all these extra items. But then when the night came for decorating it all came together. every single extra thing I accidentally bought  made it so we had exactly enough to decorate the room. We needed an extra table and thankfully I had an extra wreath, an extra Angel, and an extra set of Twinkle lights. the piano needed  decorating and thankfully we had an extra table cloth and extra Angel and all those little Christmas trees filled the space perfectly. there was not a space where something was needed and there was not that item provided. And i didnt have an extra of anything! The decorations weren't grand but they were nice and they were pretty.
When I sat back and saw the little miracle that had taken place I realized that heavenly father has provided the way for me to have moments of lapse of judgement and counting so I could  add extra things to my cart over and over again at all the different stores. He made that possible so that when the night came when everything had to come together and all the adjustments had to be made we would not be without what we needed. Also, all those little last minute thoughts of I think we need an extra extension cord, or I think we might need this tree from my Christmas decorations was him guiding me all month long to prepare me. I decided that if Heavenly Father felt that it was important to help me with all those tiny details for the relief society Christmas dinner in the Hidden Valley ward in Tucson, Arizona then I guess the decorations did matter after all. My calling and my service mattered to Him. He helped me do a good job and multiplied my abilities and my time and my effort and in such a kind and considerate way.
I want to remember how much heavenly father loves all of us in our little corners of the world, in the little jobs and services were are asked to do. I'm not in Africa providing life-saving Medical Care, I'm not on the front lines saving refugees,  I am in my little Ward serving to make a pretty dinner for the Sisters. it's not much but Heavenly Father cared and so I will care too. I will continue to serve where I'm at the best that I can.
I'm grateful that heavenly father loves each of us and helps us to be successful. I'm grateful for this experience where I got to feel that love and his undiscriminating watchcare so personally. Heavenly Father  and Jesus love us so much. I'm so grateful to feel their love in my life!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Family Pictures 2016

Every year I use the motivation of sending out Christmas cards to get myself to take family pictures. Its so much work but I'm so glad I do it. I love looking over all the beautiful pictures of my kids year after year and seeing how much they have grown. My family is such a treasure. They mean the world to me. And they are sure good looking...I'm bias but I think they're so beautiful and sweet.

Lately I've spent a lot of my mental energy processing that we will be moving to North Carolina. When I was taking these pictures I kept thinking that next year I would be taking these pictures with pine trees in the background! Ah, its going to be so different! But different might be nice since we literally took these in a dry river bed or dirt pit as the kids called it. LOL not the prettiest of back grounds but oh, well!

but for now here is my not so little family in 2016!


My boys.
 I cant get over how lucky I am to to have three boys! I love that Christian is a mixture of both Ben and Bridger in looks...oh, the years of cute pictures ahead of me with my little matching set of boys. 










My Girls. 
Again, how am I so lucky to get THREE girls! and they all are so beautiful in their own way. Oh, these girls are so wonderful. I am the luckiest mom.






The whole bundle of kiddos 
 


Me and my main squeeze,,,were looking a  little aged! lol aged but happy as can be.
 I wouldn't change a thing!


and us again. I am so thankful for my family. They're my favorite.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Benjamin Turns 8 years old


My third child and sweetest angel haired boy turned 8! This boy is kind, patient, sincere, friendly, social, loves to learn, loves to play, makes fiends easily. Is a picky eater. He has a magic touch with his little brother Christian and its clear he has a knack with babies and a special bond with his baby brother. He is funny, thoughtful, a quick learner loving math and science especially. He is very conscious about doing whats right and being a good boy. He loves the scriptures and remembers the stories he reads and is taught. He loves them and uses them to guide his life. He is quick to pray and has a gift for hearing the whispers of the Holy Ghost and he is quick to follow what he feels is right. 

He is a gift to our family and he makes life so fun. I remember being so scared to have my third baby but I felt that this baby would be a joy who'd lift my burden...its been true his whole life. He seems to add nothing but good wherever he goes. What an honor it is to be his mother. I love you Mr. Benjamin. You are sweet and happy through and through. Thank you for being my son!