My Family

My Family

Friday, March 31, 2006

March is over?

It's hard for me to believe that March is over. My kindergartener (Nathan) said on the way to the bus stop this morning that once it was April, there was only one more month of school. While he's not quite technically right, he's got the idea that we are nearing May and the end of school. My oldest, Stephen toured the middle school yesterday, and brought home paperwork so he could choose his elective classes. (Where has the time gone?) My 4th child will start school in the fall, and I feel like everyone is growing up! Enjoy this spring, for it will soon be gone!

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Buona Dominica!

Good Sunday! or Buona Dominica! as Pat often says. That's one of the few phrases we still use in Italian with our family. Our new table is being modified (by us) for our family, which means that tonight, for the 5th night in a row, it has been out of commission. We have an "octagon" counter that sticks out of our kitchen island, and by squeezing the kids in rather tightly, we can almost fit around it for meals. Keep in mind, that it is fairly crucial in this *little* family of ours to eat together as a family (usually breakfast and dinner at this point). By the end of our meal tonight, I was ready to walk out! It is so frustrating to try and have a conversation with a child, and have 2 others yapping away, telling jokes and making their siblings laugh. (Not that I mind that normally, but, come on, this is our one chance to connect on a Sunday, and it was shot to pieces by self-centered kidlets!). Anyway, other than that, it was truly, a GOOD Sunday. Emily had a talk, which she wrote herself (and did very well at it). We stayed busy, both at church and here, and I felt like today, I fulfilled my Relief Society calling quite well. I compiled a bunch of surveys that our sisters have been filling out, and made sure a lot of bases were covered before April's Enrichment night. As for my calling as Sunday School President of our class, I actually walked in as the teacher was starting class by himself...'cause I was doing things for my Relief Society calling. Ah well, I am doing the very best that I know how right now...and it is sufficient for now.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Saturday is a special day!

Really, honest, truly. I love Saturday. It is so nice to have a break from the regular routine. Pat is home from work, the kids are home from school, and we can do things together as a family. Sometimes there are chores involved (not this week, 'cause I've been on a cleaning kick all week), oftentimes, a trip to the grocery store, but always, good time spent together.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Our Spring Break

It is amazing to me how much can be accomplished when people work together. This week has been my kids Spring Break. At the beginning of the week, I told the kids that we would do 1 big job every day, and then do something fun every day, in an effort to spice up a week here at home. Here's what we did:

Monday: Complete clean of the kids' rooms (under beds and dresser organization included)
*Bowling as a family*
Tuesday: Began work in the guest room, moved 3 dressers around, a couch and a desk as well as moving unwanted boxes to another room.
*Movies (rented)*
Wednesday: Organized and completed the guest room.
*Friends over for the afternoon*
Thursday: Cleaned kitchen (including washing cabinets) and adjoining rooms.
*McDonalds (Happy Meal!) and playplace*
Today: Finish the clean-up of the house, vacuum, and dust. Wash walls?
*Afternoon at the park*

Tomorrow we'll head off to go geocaching again. Yippee!
A very fun week in my opinion!

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Doing vs. Explaining

It is amazing to see someone "get it"! We spent most of the morning trying to explain to the kids what fun geocaching would be. It was really exciting to start the hike today and see the kids start really understanding what geocaching was all about. By the time we were just about to the cache site, they were jumping around and super anxious to find the "treasure". By the time we were on our way back to the car, we had been asked about six times if we could go geocaching EVERY weekend, and couldn't we, just maybe, do one more hike today? So, while Pat and I were both a little worn, our first experience was phenomeonal overall. We are definitely hooked!

Geocaching anyone?

So...for my husband's birthday I gave him a small GPS unit to allow our family the opportunity to go GEOCACHING! I don't think I've been so excited about a gift in a REALLY long time! For those of you who aren't sure of what geocaching is, it is a type of treasure hunt using the GPS unit to locate a "cache" (pronounced "cash") with a logbook and potentially something left by the geocacher who accessed the site before you. You also leave something for the next people who will find the cache. The amazing thing is that there are multiple sites everywhere!!  I am so jazzed about going out for the first time today!!

Thursday, March 16, 2006


Tomorrow is my husband's birthday! I have celebrated this day as his birthday for 15 years now, and spent 13 of those special days with him. I am REALLY excited because I just settled on his gift...and with the wonders of internet ordering and overnight shipping (it was actually cheap...$7.98!), it will be here in time for his gift unveiling tomorrow night!
Also, as part of my gift to him, I'll make a small list here of some of the many reasons I love him! (Bear with the mushiness...)
*He talks to me during the day and at night when he gets home.
*He really listens to my answers and asks me pertinent questions about my day.
*He seeks out ways to spend time with the kids.
*He helps me fold laundry.
*He does the dishes way more than he should have to.
*He's nice (to everyone).
*He's silly.
*He rubs my feet when they hurt.
*He likes me.
*He understands that sometimes I need time away, and is willing and happy to take care of the home and kids while I am gone.
*He teases me.
*He gives great back scratches.
*He finds ways to motivate me when I really don't want to do something.
*He smells good.
*He has beautiful eyes.
*His smile is genuine and lights up his face.
*He's a good kisser ;o) (and more...)
*He cleans the toilets without complaining.
*He interacts with us when he comes home and doesn't just sit in front of the computer or tv.
*He loves to learn.
*He loves to teach.
*He loves music and helps our family love it too.
*He just finished our new table and chairs for us and saved us a lot of money.
*He's working and going to school to better himself and our family.
*He desires to choose the right.
*He is honest with me.
*He honors the priesthood he holds by treating me and the kids with respect and honor.
*He kisses me goodbye.
*He kisses me hello.
*He doesn't complain when I don't do what I should, just encourages me to do better.
*He's a great DADDY to our kids!
*He is a dreamer and optimist.
*He writes me beautiful poems!
and last of all,
*He's 34 as of tomorrow, and we are the "same" age until the end of September!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Perspective on 6

Perspective changes things. My 1 year old is standing on his head, as well as he can, little legs planted firmly on the ground, with his face peeking through the upside down "V" his legs make. He thinks it is hilarious (and I actually think it is really cute)! I've tried the same thing, but find it's a little harder for me in my less limber, almost 35 year old body. However, my perspective can be changed, not by standing on my head, but by altering the way I'm thinking about things.
As I was changing the baby's diaper right now, I was actually thinking about the number 6. Realistically speaking, the number 6 isn't always viewed as a "large" number. In fact, in my mind, anything under 10, in general, is seen as not too many. Think about a handful of chocolate kisses, 6 is not quite generally want a couple more than that. If there were just 6 dishes sitting on my counter, I would feel that there weren't very many dishes at all, and probably put them off until there were more there. It's not uncommon to check out 6 books at a time, and hey, if you have less than 10 items, you can go through that quick check-out lane that most stores have! So why is it that when you speak of children, that 6, in most people's minds, is an out of control, unimaginable, do you have any clue what birth control is, number? It's not as if my children are hungry, naked, or out of control. However, I know that the fact that we have SIX kids is a bit intimidating to others. How can we possibly take care of *THAT MANY* kids emotionally? Are they getting all the attention they deserve? Well, of course my answer is skewed from my perspective, but I feel that the answer is an unequivocal YES! They might not know who The Simpsons are, but they have 2 families with friends here in town they are especially close to, and while our home has its share of sibling squabbles, if it really comes down to it, they are pretty tight as siblings go. They might not be able to name the most recent radio hit, but they can sing along to Phantom of the Opera if the occasion calls for it (or even if it doesn't)! They can tell you what they did the last time they spent time alone with mom or dad, and are excited about our upcoming family vacation. Overall, I think they are pretty happy kids. So why does it bother me so much when other people pass judgement on me or my family, simply because of the numbers involved? Mainly because I think they lack perspective.
I had an "A-ha" moment a few years ago, when I wasn't quite as comfortable with our *HUGE* family. I had gone into the post office to do businees with my *4* children. Someone commented (rather rudely) that *sigh*"You really have your hands full!" (*poor, poor thing* dripping from the comment). I didn't know what to say, and so, with my arms full, and my kids trailing behind, I manuveured my way around this well-meaning, let's point out the obivous, person, and huffed to my car, spent 5 minutes getting all the kids buckled up, and drove home, muttering and frustrated the whole way. After 3 trips to the car (2 for kids and 1 for packages and mail), I finally got settled inside and realized, "You know what? My hands ARE full. *DUH* BUT, (and here was the perspective change!) I CHOSE for them to be full. I wanted this, a home full of joy (and chaos), especially after realizing that I might not ever get to have a child physically! So, it became my quest to convey that I was not *put upon* by my husband and children, rather, that I was happy within the realm of my world. Since the comment I heard most often was the "You've got your hands full!", I decided I would craft a quick response to that. After dwelling on it for most of the afternoon, I struck gold! I would simply say, "My heart's full, too!" That was it! I could convey, in one quick breath, that *by golly* I meant to have *4* kids, and I was pretty happpy with the way things were.
I don't know that it has ever really mattered to anyone who has felt inclined to comment on the size of my family, or the fact that my hands REALLY are full, that I say (sometimes quite flippantly) "My heart's full, too!" but you know what? It changed my PERSPECTIVE!! And that, my friends, has made all the difference!

Monday, March 06, 2006

The girls
Rebekah, Emily - December 2005

The boys
Samuel, Stephen, Nathan, Thomas - December 2005

My Family
December 2005
Patrick holding Rebekah, Stephen, Kristine holding Samuel, Emily, Thomas, Nathan

My most recent picture
December 2005 - Kristine John

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Walking Tall!

I was born as the 2nd child in a young family. My mom and dad were happy to welcome a daughter to their family, as I had an older brother waiting for me to arrive. Their pictures of the first couple of months show a smiling mom and dad and a proud big brother. I had an enjoyable childhood, visited both sets of grandparents often, and did lots of fun things with my family.
My life changed dramatically when my parents divorced when I was 7 years old. Not only did we move from my childhood home, but my daddy was gone too. I was at the age where in my mind, my dad was perfect...and the divorce threw a big wrench into that picture. My dad was leaving our family...and things would never be the same!
I spent the rest of my childhood and teenage years in St. Johns, AZ, near my maternal grandmother and grandpa. They were very important role models in my life...and I still view my Grandma Olivia Nielsen as one of my personal heroes. My mom, brother, younger sister and I lived in an apartment for a couple of years, but by the time I was headed to middle school, we were in a home that my mom actually remained in until 2003.
As difficult as the growing up years can be, mine were filled with an emotional struggle of not having a father present in my life. I could remember how important my dad had been in my life, but I really felt that he was preoccupied with his new family (he had remarried and had 2 stepchildren) and didn't really care about me or my brother or sister anymore. There was very little contact initiated from him, and as a young girl, that was a sign to me that my dad really just didn't care anymore.
Soon after I turned 12, our young women's group at church started singing various songs, one of which was titled, Walk Tall, You're a Daughter of God. Immediately, I felt as if I was no longer alone! I had a Father watching over who had cared about me before I lived on earth, and one who continued to love me and watch over me! This song became one that I would sing when I was feeling sad or alone, and it always helped my perspective realign positively. Even as I matured and attended college, this is a song I would draw strength from and share with others if I felt there was a need. Today, I feel the need to share it here...I hope it touches someone's heart!

Walk Tall
(You're A Daughter Of God)
words and music by Jamie Glenn

Right now I have a prayer deep within my heart,
A prayer for each of you there is a special part.
That you remember who you are and him who lives above.
Please seek for him and live his way; You'll feel his love.
Walk tall, you're a daughter, a child of God,
Be strong and remember who you are,
Try to understand, you're part of his great plan.
He's closer than you know, Reach up; he'll take your hand.

Long before the time you can remember,
Our Father held you in his arms so tender.
Those loving arms released you as he sent you down to earth.
He said, "My child, I love you. Don't forget your great worth."
Walk tall, you're a daughter, a child of God,
Be strong and remember who you are,
Try to understand, you're part of his great plan.
He's closer than you know, Reach up; he'll take your hand.

This life on earth we knew would not be easy.
At times we lose our way his path we may not see.
But please remember, always please, that you are not alone.
He'll take your hand, He loves you! He will guide you home.
Walk tall, you're a daughter, a child of God, 
Be strong and remember who you are, 
Try to understand, you're part of his great plan. 

He's closer than you know, Reach up; he'll take your hand.

Have a beautiful Sunday!

Friday, March 03, 2006

A Glance into my history

My blog so far has not told you much about, in an attempt to acquaint you with me a little more, I'll give you a quick run down on my husband and children. That may seem like putting the cart before the horse, but my next blog will be about me.
My husband, Pat and I met at Eastern Arizona College, in Safford, AZ. We had actually met once before at a Youth Conference dance in Globe, but remet and reestablished our friendship in college. It was the year before Pat left on his mission, and I was in my sophomore year there at EA. We actually became really close friends, but I had vowed I wouldn't date any pre-missionary guys anymore, and Pat did not want a girlfriend before his mission, so we were both of the mindset that we could be friends, but we needed to make sure we didn't get too romantically involved with each other. One night I felt very strongly prompted that I needed to talk to Pat about my feelings shifting from "just friends" to "really liking him" feelings. That was a difficult prompting for me to follow. I remember struggling with that prompting for about an hour and half before I finally got the courage to say, "My feelings for you are changing, I'm not so sure I like you as just a friend anymore, but I DO NOT want to lose your friendship!" Pat was silent for a REALLY long time (as I remember it...really not more than about 30 seconds), and then said, "I actually am feeling the same way! We talked for a long time that night and again after church the next day, Pat invited me to his house for dinner (Yea! I was so excited not to have dorm food!). That Sunday afternoon we talked for another couple of hours, convincing each other that we couldn't get married for reasons X, Y, and Z. Although Pat always walked me home, that particular night someone came to pick him up before I left, and I assured him I would be fine while I walked myself home. I proceeded to walk out and get hit by a car. So, Pat realized that I could have been killed, and he REALLY cared about me, on a deeper level than he knew, and that was the beginning of our "romance". I was on crutches for the next 4 months, and slowed down enough to really let Pat into my heart. He got his mission call in January 1991 and reported to the MTC in April of that year. He served his mission in Padova, Italy and I wrote to him the whole time...but never officially said "I will wait for you". By the time he was out for about 9 months, I knew there was no one else like him for me, and I stopped dating and concentrated on school at NAU. When he got home in 1993, I just had my student teaching left to do, and we got married within 8 weeks (June 23, 1993). He really is the love of my life, and my best friend. I am so glad that Heavenly Father knows what he is doing!
Our first child, Stephen was born in August of 1995. I actually had a miscarriage before he was born, was diagnosed with endometreosis, had 2 surgeries and hormone therapy, and was told I would "probably" never have children. We felt incredibly blessed to have him, and realized that we could very well be the parents of an only child. I was still teaching school when he was born (actually starting my 2nd year), and Pat was finishing college at ASU. Stephen is a very musical child. He loves to sing and has started piano lessons. He is very exacting when it comes to right and wrong (we had a teacher say that he would make a good lawyer), and expects you to do just as you have said. He tends to be a bit of a procrastinator, but I've been working hard to help him overcome that...he is a hard worker, and LOVES his dad. He has a shy streak, and tends to be hard on himself (like I was).
When Emily was conceived, my doctor (an LDS man) said "How did this happen?" I had experienced a 2nd miscarriage in early 1996, and was very excited to know that my son would have a sibling. She was born in July of 1997, and had been very strong-willed since she was very small. I would characterize Emily as somewhat of a tomboy, and yet not. She loves to hike, climb trees, be outside and imagine. She does not like me to do her hair or wear dresses for anything other than church. She reminds me a lot of myself when it comes to having to work hard in school, but doing well. She is very outgoing with other people, and reminds me of Pat in her personality. She and Stephen both love to cook. Pat has been waking them early to cook breakfast with him one day a week, and they both have become quite proficient.
In 1998, I had a 3rd miscarriage. I remember thinking as I went in for the D&C, "How many more times can I do this?" I was emotionally and physically drained at that point, and while I wanted a larger family, I was unsure of whether or not I could carry a child again. That fall we went to Salt Lake City for a wedding of one of Pat's brothers. During that time, I actually had an experience that helped me know we would have more children. Within a couple of months, I had become pregnant again, and in July of 1999, we had Nathan (the last of our kids born while we lived in Mesa, AZ). Nathan has my shy spirit completely. He is also the kindest hearted and gentlest spirited of our children. I actually waited an extra year to send him to kindergarten (under promptings of the spirit) in order to not overwhelm him socially. I love to hear him laugh, and it has been really amazing to see his confidence grow as he has been successful in school this year. He loves to play outside too, and took really good care of our garden this past year. I see him getting ready for baptism (next summer) in a lot of ways already. He is a joy to have in our family.
Thomas was born in October of 2000. Within the first year of his birth, he needed eye surgery and by the time he was 2 and a half, he was wearing glasses. He is a very affectionate little boy, who loves to cuddle and put his arms around you and kiss you. He is our little engineer. He loves puzzles, and figuring out how things work. He will go to school next year, and I hope he will be successful. He still does not know his colors, so I'm not sure if there are issues with color-blindness, or if we will just have to work extra hard to help him learn things.
Before Rebekah was ever conceived, Pat actually approached me and told me we needed to have another child. I laughed. I had experienced postpartum depression after both Nathan and Thomas, and had very little social support from the ward or town we were living in, even though we had lived there for 2 years. I had no clue how I could deal with another pregnancy and birth. I told him I would fast and pray about it, and within a week, I had a very clear answer that I *could* do what the Lord was asking me to do. Rebekah was born in June of 2002. She is all girl. She loves to dance and sing, and dress-up. She'll even come and ask me to do her hair. She wants to be independent...and loves her older sister. She is working on being obedient all of the time, and has learned the importance of telling the truth! She does not have a shy bone in her body. (I remember telling Pat at Nathans 3rd birthday party that we had just had our 3rd child in 3 years. His response was, "No sir!" Once he counted, he realized it was true, and I think some of the physical implications of what 3 pregnancies in a short period of time had done to my body sank in. I did not experience any physical difficulties or PPD during or after Rebekah's birth. At that point, we chose to wait a little while before trying to have another child.)
Our "baby" Samuel was born last February, here in Silver City, NM. It has been really nice to have so many older siblings as helpers, and all of them really love Sam. He is a sweet baby. He is very content to sit on my lap, and ducks his head or puts it on my shoulder when other people try to talk to him, so I think he'll be shy. He is persistent...and happy. He is walking around and loves to play with the other kids. His favorite word right now is "nana", for he loved bananas for a while and would eat 2 or more a day.
We feel like there is at least one more child that belongs in our family. Right now, that is a concern for me health-wise. I need to make sure I can still take care of the rest of my family before I try to bring another spirit to earth. I am very overweight, and need to make some progress on that front before we move forward with having another baby. That being said, I know we will trust in the Lord and strive to follow His timetable.