Sometimes they've got to earn their keep.

Yesterday was Super Bowl Sunday.
I was totally unaware of this fact.
I invited the missionaries over for dinner.
Nate was not very pleased.
But he was a good sport about it anyways.
Honestly, I think Nate was mostly disappointed that I had made a healthy dinner.
He was very much looking forward to his munchy/crunchy/greasy/fatty/manly Super Bowl food.
The nerve... carrots AND salad? Are you kidding me?

Nate with his buddy Mark at the Boise State vs. BYU game. It's the only recent football picture I have.

After the missionaries left-
and yes, our visit turned out delightful-
I was suddenly exhausted.
Like exhausted.
I sat down on my bed to watch 'Once Upon a Time' with the girls
(or as Nate says, "Oh good, they're making soap operas for children now")
and couldn't keep my eyes open.

At 8:30 when the episode ended, I told the girls to hurry off and brush their teeth and then come back to tuck me into bed.
Tess gasped...literally.
"But Mom, you always tuck us into bed."
That's right darlin'... it's payback time.
So off they went and a few minutes later they were back...
Wrapping the covers around my body. 
Singing me songs and rubbing my back.
A mother could used to this.
It was heavenly.
(It made me glad that I do it for my children every night...it's a delightful way to end the day!)
And I was still smiling nearly 11 hours later when I got out of bed and found this waiting for me:

Totally worth it.


I think deep down she got the message.

Tess loves to write notes during church.
Do you think she's bored?
Never! Not my kids.
Shame on you for even thinking that.

Here's a recent exchange that took place during the sacrament...the most sacred part of our Sunday worship.

TESS: It's so quiet, I mean I know it's supposed to be quiet but...Ok who died?! 
ERIN: Jesus died. He died for you & me & everyone in this room. Perhaps that's why it's quiet. They are thinking about HIM.
TESS: No, but yes, but it's too too too quiet like we lost a war or somebody left to go somewhere.
NATE: See above. Maybe you should be thinking about HIM. :)
TESS: Dad, you need to work on your handwriting.

Ahh, those wonderful moments when you can sit with your family and all feel the spirit together.

Here are pictures of the Boise Temple Open House...
another event in which we were super-ultra reverent.

While putting these pictures together the kids and I had some fun:

 Tess' favorite

Will's favorite...we're guessing here. Will is on a snowboarding date with his dad.

 David's favorite

 Nora's favorite...oooh pretty rainbow!

The heavenly glow surrounding the temple.
Or as Tess says, "The light from the temple looks like it's killing Will."


From the Mouths of Babes

I love listening to my kids pray
I feel like I get a real glimpse into their souls. 
They are such genuinely kind-hearted people.
Like how they prayed for baby Jack for months after he was born.
They have never met baby Jack.
(Jack's family lives in AZ.)
He is their cousin that was born with Down Syndrome.
We talked about it as a family and from that day on they prayed in earnest that "Jack would be happy." And that "the other kids wouldn't tease him because he's different, but instead understand that he's special."
These are not words I gave my children.
They are genuine expressions of love from pure hearts.
My children understand so much more than I give them credit for sometimes.
I'm often moved to tears when I listen to them pray in their rooms at night.


But anywho, that's not what this post is about.
This post is about the funny things that the kids say when they pray.
My children pray that "we will have a good day tomorrow" no matter what time of day it is.
It can be 7:00 in the morning and they are praying for the next day.
But I guess today was covered in yesterday's prayer... so we're good.

And David's prayers.
It takes some serious will power to not bust up in the middle of them.
You never quite know what is going to come out of his mouth.
A few gems as of late:

  • Father, please bless that Mom will know that my shoes are getting too tight, but that I'm not complaining about it.
  • Father, please bless that Mom will forget that we have to do chores tomorrow.
  • Father, please bless that Mom and Dad will buy me a new skateboard...and that they'll let me take Freddie (the gecko) for a ride on it...just down the driveway...I promise he won't get hurt...because his hands are sticky. 
I think we are all secretly delighted when it's David's turn to pray.
I bet the Lord is too.
I'm pretty convinced He has a great sense of humor.

David's Baptism 12.29.12

The other woman in Nate's life.

The other day I listened to Nate have a conversation with Siri.
(You know Mom...that electronic lady that talks to you on your iPhone.)

Nate: Siri, do you love me?
Siri: You're looking for love in all the wrong places.
Nate: Will you kiss me?
Siri: Now Nathan.
Nate: Siri, what do you call me?
Siri: You are Nathan, but since we are friends I call you 'my hunk of love.'

He was cracking himself up.
It's the little things that keep us entertained around here.


And We're Back

We had such a wonderful summer.
Great trips, great friends, great fun. 
It was just delightful.
Until the last couple weeks...
when it quickly dissolved into a state of utter unbearableness.
I think my kids have been trying to set some sort of record for non-stop arguing.
(Is it that way for everyone by the end of the summer? Please tell me it's that way for everyone.)
There were days I was quite certain that World War III would begin in the Meeker home.
Specifically between Wess and Till (names have been changed to protect the not-so-innocent).

we made it.
And just look how cute the kiddos are on their first day of 6th/2nd grade x 3...

Perhaps they're just happy that they are off to 4 separate classrooms...far, FAR away from each other.

Tess spent all morning curling her hair to perfection and finding just the right accessories.
She's so beautiful.
And growing up way too fast that one.
She's started asking me if her clothes make her look fat.
I can't believe we're to this stage already.
It's downright terrifying.

I think we've all been experiencing some anxiety as this school year begins.
The girls have had trouble sleeping.
They're up worrying about problems that they had with friends at recess 5 months ago.
Will is worried about feeling shy.
David was up with an upset stomach last night.
Even I woke well before my alarm this morning.
I guess first-day-of-school jitters happen to Moms too.

The kids get home in a few minutes. 
I can't wait to hear how it went.
I'm going to feed them ice cream and take them to the pool for a relaxing afternoon.
Because strangely enough the house has been a little too quiet this morning.
I hate to say it but I think I just might be missing all the shouting.

Posted with Tess' permission.


The stories I don't want to pass over.

It's not my strong suit.
As clearly evidenced by this blog.
Well, I take that back.
I'm consistent in the areas that really matter.
I pray and read scriptures with my kids (almost) every day.
I make my bed and brush my teeth.
I constantly harp on the kids about vegetables, sunscreen and 
'for heaven's sake let's be kind to one another.'
I get the things done that have to be done.
I just rarely get to the projects on my to-do list. (Where is that list?)
Like blogging for example.
If only there were 100 hours in each day.

I recently had over 6000 miles in the car to organize the thousands of photos 
on my computer.
It was glorious. (Organization makes me happy!)
In doing so, I realized all the stories I have yet to tell.
So many missed opportunities to share the cute things my kids have said and done, 
and the fun experiences we have had together.
It makes me sad.
And makes me want to try harder to record those memories for my family.

There is no way to catch up on everything.
But here are the 2012 highlights that I must share....

"To: Tess
From: Nora
I am sorry. I want you to be happy. 
I am so sorry for breaking your necklace.
Will you forgive me ________?
And I know it is special."


David quickly learned that leaving teeth for the tooth fairy is a much faster/easier way to make money than doing those stinkin' chores. 
His philosophy: If it's at all wiggly, it's coming out. 
Sometimes he recruits his dad to help:

This is the 2nd Annual Art Night that I have chaired at the school. It's pretty exhausting but I love it! And it's so worth the effort when you see all the students proudly displaying their art. This year was especially fun because I was hobbling around on an undiagnosed torn ACL (with extensive bone bruising), climbing ladders and bending in all directions to get the displays up. By Friday night I could barely stand on my feet.
Good times.

My view overlooking BSU stadium while rehabbing my torn ACL. It's quite motivating. 
I just know I'll be back to dancing at half-time in no time. (haha.)


David broke his wrist at school while doing the monkey bars with gloves on. His hands slipped, he landed wrong and chipped off part of the growth plate... which meant 2 trips to the ER... one to get x-rays and then one later that evening to have it re-set once they realized how serious it was. They had to bring in a Pediatric Orthopedic Surgeon.
(He turned out to be an LDS guy that had lived in the same ward boundaries that we did in Philadelphia just a couple years after we left. We sat excitedly chatting while David lay in agony. Poor Davey. At the end I told the doc to thank his wife- a mother of 5- profusely for letting him get away on a Fri night. I understand her position perfectly.)
Then a week later David pulled his cast off 'because it was bothering him' and had to have it re-cast (but only after he hid under the bed for a while so as not to be discovered). Again, this all took place after business hours. 

Silly Davey. Way to make this as expensive as possible.

We live on a ridge at the edge of Boise. It's beautiful but it means that we get a LOT of animals around these parts. Last year we had 2 bunnies that lived under the shed. We affectionately named them 'Bob' and 'Bob's brother.' Well, ahem, they had a busy year. Now we have 10 bunnies and also an adorable family of quail that live in our yard. During the winter we get up to 8 deer at a time. They enjoy eating away at our plants/bushes. The worst for sure are the snakes and mice. (Shouldn't the snakes eat the mice??) Many people on our street get cats to kill the mice, but then the coyotes eat the cats. It's kind of a problem. 

Here is what a mouse nest looks like inside a piano (in case you were wondering):

Ahh, that's why the dog's food has been disappearing.


 If you ever have the choice to live anywhere in the country, choose BLOOMFIELD HILLS, MI. And then invite me to come visit you...because it's the loveliest place I've ever been.
Thanks Wyatt and Chelsea for a delightful stay!
Chelsea- you are so fun to be with!... and my style guru.

Wy- you may just be the most selfless man I know. 
God only had to give me one brother because he got it exactly right the first time.

This darling Tudor is the home that my family lived in 35 years ago while Dad was a derm resident in Grosse Pointe, MI. Yes Mom, it's still sooooo charming.

Oh Michigan (the place of my birth)- I love you. Hopefully I'll be back soon. Next time I'd like you to introduce me to your Great Lakes. I've probably seen them but I was too young to remember.

Nate will never toot his own horn, so I have taken it upon myself to do so.

Keynote speaker at the Red Cross Appreciation Dinner. 
He had the entire room sniffling as only Nate can do.
Afterward there was a line of people just waiting to shake his hand.
And a line of people waiting to congratulate me for being married to such a man.
Don't worry- I know how lucky I am.

Receiving grant money for pediatric cancer research.

An article appeared in the Idaho Statesman:

Thanks babe for working so hard and providing so well for our family.
You make me proud!

I was busy snapping away on the camera when I noticed David's shoes. 
Man, that kid is quirky.
(And for the record, I adore quirky.)

P.S. This post took me f-o-r-e-v-e-r to put together, but man-oh-man that ipiccy can do some fun things with pictures. I was having a grand old time playing around. I'm loving the 'Orton Effect' as you can probably tell.


The thing about infertility

I have wanted another baby for many years now.
How old are the twins?
Almost seven? (Good grief.)
That's about right.
I have wanted another baby for almost 7 years now.

Infertility is both my biggest hardship and my greatest blessing thus far in life. 

Were I not infertile, I would have had a 5th, and then probably a 6th, years ago.
I would have done this without even thinking about it.
I'd be surrounded by a gaggle of thin-haired, scrawny children with the varicose veins to prove it.
I'd feel complete. And incandescently happy.

Sometimes I like to imagine a world in which this is my reality.
Where I'm in control and get to plan things my way.
Where I could choose not only the year, but maybe even the month in which my kids were born.
Oh, the delight.
(For the record I would choose April and October because those are my fave.)

But that is not my reality.

And for that I am eternally grateful.
Really and truly I am.
Because it means that I've had to learn to rely on the Lord a bit more.
To put my faith and trust in Him.
It means that I have gotten to experience things I never could have dreamed of.
And learn things I couldn't have learned any other way.
The good Lord has blessed me immeasurably.

I am a mother.
I'm a mother of boys and a mother of girls.
I am a mother of a singleton and a mother of multiples.
I am an adoptive mother. And a biological one.
The Lord has blessed me with many different "mothering" experiences.
Oh, the joy.

Each of my children is so different.
I know all mothers say that.
But I think it's safe to argue that different genetic make-ups create truly unique children.
It's delightful to get to know each one...to figure out how each mind works and what makes them tick.
To discover their personalities and talents.
It's challenging.
And rewarding.
The joy that Nathan and I feel from this experience is beyond my ability to put into words.

Side note: I'm not sure where I am going with this post.
It certainly isn't meant to be any sort of big announcement.
I guess I just need to talk through my thoughts and feelings... mostly for myself.

I have prayed about whether or not to add to our family for years.
The last 7 years to be exact.
There have been times that I have felt very strongly that it was not the right time.
And then there have been times, like now, that I'm just confused and unsure.
You see, when you're infertile you can't go with the "let's just stop all preventative measures and see what happens" approach.
It has to be deliberate.
There are lots of options...artificial insemination, in-vitro, adoption...and with that there's foreign or domestic, black or white, baby or older...
It's downright dizzying to consider all the possibilities.
And they all take time and MONEY...so you dang well better be committed.

And then there's the fact that when you are infertile, you're conflicted with questions and emotions that fertile women have never even had to think about:
Am I infertile because I'm unworthy in some way?
Is God punishing me for something?
Is there something I need to learn before God will bless me with another child?
Maybe I shouldn't seek to have more children because it's clearly not God's will that I have them.
Did God know that I would be a bad mother and that's why he's made it so hard for me?
(This is especially easy to think on your less-than-stellar mothering days, which for me, happen all the time.)

I doubt and second-guess myself every day.

But then I go to my husband so that he can tell me how ridiculous it all is.
And that in fact, I'm a pretty good mother (which I need to hear).
And then I try to remember and focus on all the many ways in which the Lord has blessed me and my family.
And I normally end up on my knees in gratitude.

Alright, it's getting late.
Let me end with one final list to put my mind at ease so that I can get some sleep.
(And because I love lists!)
Things I know to be true:
a) The Lord loves all His children.
b) The Lord is mindful of our families and they are important to Him!
c) The Lord knows the righteous desires of our hearts and holds them sacred.
d) Sometimes the Lord makes a couple infertile because He knows that they will be willing to adopt and He wants good homes for all His children.
e) Adoption is sacred and pleasing in the sight of God.
f) I want another child.
g) I have no idea what's going to happen, but I am going to spend each day loving and feeling immense joy in the family I already have. Because dang it, I have some amazing kiddos. 


16 and How I Ruined My Knee Just Standing There

Today my love and I have been married for 16 years.
That seems ridiculous to me.
I feel old just saying it.
Not as old as yesterday when David asked me if there was electricity when I was born.
But still.

We've had our share of ups and downs over the years.
The highest highs and lowest lows.
I thank the Lord everyday that I've had Nathan by my side through those experiences.
He makes me laugh.
And he's my rock.
The man is tough- there's no doubt about it.
I think I'll keep him around.

Every so often Nate looks at me and says, "I never expected to marry a pretty girl."
I l-o-v-e it when he says this.
Because I think he's trying to say that he thinks I'm one of those pretty girls.
And who doesn't like to hear that?
Plus, it means that I exceeded his expectations.
And that's an awesome feeling.

According to Nate, he was a "total geek" growing up.
This is absurd to me.
Apparently, he grew up in a town of completely stupid women.
That or the fact that he wrestled in the 98 lb weight division in jr high.
When he was close to 5'10" mind you.
I've always tried to imagine what that must have looked like.
But now I have a daughter to show me:

This picture of Nora cracks me up.
She did not get that lean, mean body from me.
No siree. 
That's gotta be from her 5'10", 98-pound father.
Bless his heart.

Anywho- it doesn't matter because he blossomed into the total hotness that he is now, and I found him first.
So take that stupid women of England and Delaware.
(That's where Nate did his high school years for those that I may have lost. Stay with me people.)

To celebrate our anniversary I went to the doctor to get a knee injury checked out.
It's been 3 weeks.
I hadn't gone before now because, well, it seems silly to pay another doctor when you're married to one.
And I'm not in much pain.
But Nate had ruled out my need for chemotherapy and it still wasn't getting any better, so I thought I better see a real expert in the area.
The doc examined me for a total of 2 minutes and then said,
"Have you heard of the Anterior Cruciate Ligament?"
Heaven help me, please no.
But yep, worst fears confirmed.
Apparently I have torn my right ACL.

(Before you start judging Nate's skills as a doctor, let me add that the Family Practice doc across the street also examined my leg and didn't catch it. I'm super good at tensing up when someone tries to examine me. They end up saying, "Now try to relax your muscles" about 10 times before giving up.)

How did I tear my ACL?
Well, that's a rather absurd story.
Let me see if I can adequately paint the picture of awkwardness for you...

We were skiing with the kids.
I stood at the top of the hill.
One of the kiddos (who shall remain nameless) lost control and took off down the hill with my leg in tow, pulling it at a not-so-natural angle.
Kiddo was screaming in fear, I was screaming in pain, we were a big tangle of skis.
After 20 seconds of slow excruciating stretch I felt something in my knee give.
If you are thinking Ouch! then you are correct.
I was f-i-n-a-l-l-y able to release my bindings and then I was no longer in pain.
Mostly, I was just glad that the hill was dark and deserted.
That had to have been the most ridiculous looking fiasco in the history of skiing.
Bless my awkward heart.

(And yes- I had to be tobogganed off the mountain.)

Happy Anniversary to my love.
Sorry I'm not much fun lately.
But hey, if we need a pick-me-up, we can always ask Nora to flex her muscles.
That's sure to make us smile.