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The pic doesn’t show it well, but #3 got his first shiner!  Thankfully it wasn’t from a fight or argument.  It was an accidental collision in the swimming pool.  The funny thing is he didn’t mention anything about it and I had no idea until Sunday morning at church.


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A little color on the road home.



Is the Circus Allowed at Church?

Juggling Jacks and Jills

Nine children.  Put them all on a bench next to each other for an hour and then on top of that ask them to be quiet – you are practically asking for the impossible.  Especially if there are toddlers involved!

My time at church is peaceful, quiet and super spiritual.  Then I sit down!  Yep, as soon as I sit on the pew the struggle begins. The baby wants me, the two year old demands me and the four year old just squeezes his skinny little body between me and whoever is next to me.  I begin to sweat.  I look down and see my daughters freezing.  Seriously – are we in the same building?

 1 baptismMy husband doesn’t want us to bring drinks and snacks for the 2 and 4 year old anymore.  The 20 month old still gets a bottle and snack though so I have to answer about…

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I Saw the Sign

This describes our family well.

Juggling Jacks and Jills

So my daughters and I were mulling around Cracker Barrel when my oldest declares “Mom, you have to get this!”

I read the sign, laughed, fell in love with it, asked how much it cost and then decided – I can make it.  My oldest again says “Mom, just buy it. It’s only $6 and it will save you a project.”

Wow, she knows me well.  She also knows our family well. So here it is – the sign that proudly sits on the shelf right by the front door.

new sign

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Morning Events

Daily Pic – January 27th, 2015

Three events that dominated my morning commute:

  • Getting gas at $1.99 per gallon – yay!
  • A terrible accident that took nearly an hour to get past – glad everyone survived!
  • My car turned 2 – 200,000 miles that is!



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Saturday Chores

Daily Pic – January 3rd, 2015

We spent Saturday cleaning and getting ready for the week. After two weeks of being at home with sickness, we are all ready to get back to work. I caught this moment of #2, 4, and 6 as we were finishing up with the cars.



Daily Pic – January 2nd, 2015

The whole family enjoying Grinchmas at Universal Studios Orlando.


Our Christmas Guest

Apparently, the stomach virus didn’t have a nice home to spend this Christmas, or maybe we were overdue for a visit, but either way, it stayed at our house. Six of the nine were affected as of Christmas day. We had to change our plans a bit, but Christmas came all the same. We opened presents with eight of the nine, and took a brief break in the middle of opening to clean up the baby’s vomit.

Thankfully it happened while I was off work and the kids were on break from school. The first night I slept until 3am then woke up to clean messes while my wife rested. Once the baby came down with it I was done. The little ones wanted to stay by mommy’s side.

The only real disappointment was having to miss a few caroling vists. There are just too many special people around and we couldn’t get to all of them. We also missed Six’s laughter. He came down to open presents after everyone else was finished, but didn’t last long.

The best part of this Christmas is that we’ve been enjoying it all year long. We decided after last Christmas to forego lots of presents and instead purchase tickets to a theme park. I also did a girls and boys long weekend at the park. We stayed in a hotel and had three full days of daddy time. It was a lot of fun, and since it’s an hour car ride to the park, it resulted in good quality time. I was able to talk with the kids, play road games, listen, teach, and enjoy each other’s company.

Instead of buying presents we gave each kid a little money to shop for two of their siblings and put those gifts under the tree. They had fun shopping for each other, wrapping gifts, and really being on the giving side of Christmas.

So despite our uninvited guest, we had a nice Christmas and were able to use the holiday to build relationships throughout the year. We may just have started a new Christmas tradition.

Merry Christmas!

Why nine?

To my nine:

Recently we celebrated the 15th anniversary of the beginning of our family. On that evening we made a nice dinner and spent time together as a family. Throughout that day, I reflected on the day I married your mom and the events surrounding that occasion. There are some things about that day I want you to know.

We began our life together as a family at the Portland Oregon LDS Temple. I remember sitting in the airport with your mom the day before, nervously waiting for the flight to arrive. We checked all of our bags except one, a carry on that had your mom’s wedding dress crammed inside. As we sat at the terminal waiting for the flight, we talked about our future family and what we wanted our life to be like. At some point in the conversation your mom turned to me and asked if I had ever thought of a specific number of children I wanted. The truth is, up to that point neither of us had thought of a specific number. We both agreed we wanted a large family, but we had never defined “large”. But in that instant when she posed the question, something happened. A number immediately came into my mind.

I told your mom that I had never thought of a specific number until now. At that moment I had a strong impression – but it was crazy. She smiled and said the exact same thing. She had never had a number but one came to mind in that moment. I’m pretty sure she made me share my number first and I said, nine. She smiled and said that’s exactly what she felt at that moment. We spent the next while talking about how nine was the wrong number. I only remember two of the reasons we didn’t like it now. It was a big number and it was odd. Despite our initial reactions, we shared our excitement about our future family and desire to do whatever the Lord would ask of us. If that meant nine children, then we would gladly welcome each one.

It wasn’t easy.  Even though mommy always wanted twins, it never happened. She bore all nine children one at a time. We had the first six in six years. There was a break in between the “six-pack” and the last three, but only because mommy developed kidney stones and struggled with a different kind of pain for several years. Courageously she had the last three to complete our nine. Along the way we prayed a lot, talked a lot and doubted whether we could do it, but that number, and that moment in the airport, came rushing to our minds whenever we struggled. After every child we knew there was another waiting. We also knew when another one was ready to come.

Living in a big family can be tough. We have to make a lot of hard choices and do things differently with our time and resources. You have learned what it’s like to be part of a family that works together, struggles together, sacrifices together, and  rejoices together in the greatest blessings God gives us. I hope this serves as a witness to you that even before you were born, you were known. Your family was prepared. Your parents were prepared. Even though we are far from perfect, and struggle daily to make this work, it’s worth every worry, every prayer for help, and every moment of joy and laughter. I am grateful for each one of you and hope that you always remember how loved you are and how this family was prepared for you.