Thursday, April 30, 2009

T, Josh, and Me

A went to a friend's house to play today, so it was just T and me. We made Rice Krispie treats. As I was stirring the marshmallows, T found a Josh Groban CD sitting near the CD player in the kitchen. He asked me to turn it on. I put it in and we be-bopped and swayed to each song that came on. It got to be lunch time, so I warmed up some left over enchiladas, and we sat down to eat. We continued to sway to the music. Suddenly, T reaches his little two-year-old hand, palm up toward me across the table saying, "Let dance." I held his hand, and we swayed as we ate. Good times!!!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Further Corruption

We've watched this movie as a family, and the kids think these scenes are so funny.

The key for the new van is like a switchblade. You push the button, and the key pops out. T quickly learned to push the button and run the key through his hair as he says, "Two dollars....Cash."

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Now I KNOW I'm Living a Miracle

In this day and age, it seems harder for a mom to stay home and raise her kids. I have come to the realization that raising one is hard enough on the pocketbook, but six is a completely different beast and seven...well, we shall see. I have decided recently that it has only been from a little help from above that I've been able to continue to stay home and raise our children. Another blessing of tithing and a desire to be obedient.

This morning I read the list of "U.S. Cities Where It's Hardest to Get By." Portland, Oregon is ranked as #6. When I first saw this, I knew we had to be listed there somewhere in the top ten. Sure enough.

I read recently that the ability to stay home and raise children is possible only through sacrifice. I believe that to a point. Yes, we do give up quite a few things. Z and I don't vacation in the Bahamas, we don't have a time share, we don't go out and eat as a family more than once a month usually (and that's to teach our children public manners mostly--to give them experience), but I have never felt "poor." I really feel like I've never been in want. This, in my mind, is an amazing blessing.

There have been a few schools of thought that I've come into contact with. Women I used to work with used to comment about the importance they felt in "contributing" to their household by providing help with the finances. I definitely feel like I "contribute." Who else could do what I'm doing for my kids? The other thing I heard was when I was first pregnant with Q. My advisor at Western Oregon, when I approached her with the news that I was leaving school to raise my child said, "Someday you will regret this child for making you quit school." To me, at this point fifteen years later, I know it would have been the other way around. I would have regretted school for making me miss the first years of my daughter's life. And now, as another blessing, I am able to take classes to improve myself and finish that degree.

We've decided that "keeping up with the Joneses" just isn't important to us. We have been blessed with a home that fits our needs. We now have cars that can get ALL of us from place to place. Z and I get away together to nourish our relationship a couple times a year (thanks to some GREAT friends). We get weekly dates. Our kids seem to be happy and well adjusted.

I guess the point I'm trying to make is that none of this is our doing. I just feel that God guides our lives and blesses us with what we need. I'm grateful to have what I do at this point in my life. A few months ago, Z came home and announced that he might not get paid at some point because the school district might just not have the money (this has ended up not being the case. Phew.), but it really made me pause and consider our situation. We all tend to think that we're fairly secure. It's just easier to go on as we are and deny the possibility that things could change, but I realized that all I have is just a blessing.

Because of something said in the most recent General Conference (you can watch this talk by going here and clicking on the correct link next to the talk "Unselfish Service" by Dallin H. Oaks), I've been pondering on the idea of entitlement. I think I've gone through a lot of my life thinking that things have come to me because I've deserved them. Recently, I've come to the conclusion that I really "deserve" nothing. It is ALL because God is good to us. That's all it is, and I'm SO grateful for that.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Some Sweet Things

Just a couple quick stories for you....

Yesterday DJ was home with a bad cough. We even had her sleep on a mattress on the floor of our bedroom I was so worried about her. I swear it was bronchitis. She had this a few times as a small child but hasn't in the past few years. I decided that I'd give it a day and take her to the doctor on Tuesday if it continued to sound that bad.

At about 1pm, DJ came upstairs where I was doing laundry and said, "Dad's on his way home to give me a blessing. I just called him."

Wow! All on her own. Looks like my daughter knows where to turn when the going gets tough. I was just so touched by this.

Z arrived home about fifteen minutes later. He gave her the blessing she needed. A fever developed about three hours later, and that was pretty much the last of it. I heard no coughing at all last night and the coughing I heard today has been very mild.

This morning, I found T sleeping in my bed between Z and I. A few minutes later, I realized I was STARVING (doctor says it's because the baby's going through a growth spurt--so that must mean I'm going through one too--oh JOY!, so I ran downstairs as quietly as I could (it being 6am) and poured myself a bowl of Frosted Mini Wheats and ate it quickly. I returned to the bedroom to find T sitting up in bed. I climbed in with the hopes of getting just a few more minutes of rest, but before I knew it, there was T looking lovingly into my eyes saying, "My mom" with the sweetest inflection I've ever heard. It melted my heart. Am I a pregnant sap or what?

Last story...

Q got a new CD. We were listening to it in the car yesterday. She told me that there was a song coming up that she wanted me to hear because it was written to the singer's mom. This morning, on my way to the doctor's office, I turned on the CD and that song came on. Being the pregnant sap that I am, I started to cry. As I pull into the parking lot, I'm wiping tears off of my cheeks. I had two thoughts as I listened. First, of how blessed I was to be raised by such a great woman and second, the thought that someday I'd like my daughters to think the same of me. What huge shoes I have to fill.

Here's the song:

Monday, April 20, 2009

Out It All Goes

Today, a nesting woman's dream has come true. Each time I've been pregnant, I've started thinning things out in the house but because of limited garbage space, I've stopped myself short. A week from today, we start putting now flooring in our family room (because of the grape soda incident a few months ago). To save money on this venture, we've pulled out the old, stained carpet and the molding, and we have a lovely dumpster in front of our home.

As I sit here writing, my two oldest children are pulling things from the house and throwing them in the dumpster. I overheard them say something about a competition to see who could make the loudest thud as their item hits the bottom.

I am so excited to clean this place out! Nothing can stop me this time.

We also got rid of the sectional couch. One piece of it darkened our garage for two years and now the garage can be completely decluttered.

Now it seems that the biggest hang up for me will be all the paper that lies around. I need to redo our filing drawers and create a better system for those.

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Party Van

I mentioned it briefly in a previous post, but we got ourselves a new vehicle that would fit our current family plus one. I have honestly NEVER seen our kids so excited about a car. They can't wait to go someplace. The thing is a monster. I figure it is symbolic of my giving in to living in a giant's world (it's about time).

For so many years, it's been us who have had to call and ask for rides places. When people have called us asking for rides, we have frequently had to turn them down. Well...not any more. It's been so fun to have people call us and ask us for rides this past week.

One of my friends, who has a son G's age, called the other day and asked if I could pick her son up today when I pick up G. The kids announced to all of their mutual friends yesterday that he was going to get to ride in the Hesses "party van."

The amazing thing is that although the thing is HUGE, it drives like a van. It has sensors in the front and rear bumpers, so I don't hit anything.

I posted this youtube link before, but this is the one we purchased.

If you ever need a ride, or just feel like partying with us in the party van, give us a call.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Major Lesson Learned

I just have to share this. It's still blowing me away. As I was putting groceries away tonight, I realized that another big thing I learned this past year was how to use coupons and save money. This has relieved so much financial stress in my life.

Because there were no new coupons in the Sunday paper this week, getting everything figured out for shopping was super fast (thanks to the Obsessive Shopper). We went to McDonald's for dinner because it was McTeacher night and the kids' school would get 20% of all that was purchased there tonight.

Afterward, we stopped at Albertson's because we had time before the oldest kids had to be at the church for Mutual.

We seemed to just zip through. I had #1, #2 and #3 with me--a much different story than having the youngest two with me. Must be why it went so fast.

Anyway, when we were in the cereal aisle, I asked the kids to get four boxes of Frosted Flakes and four boxes of Frosted Mini Wheats. I had coupons for these two kinds, but I totally forgot to to tell them to grab the sizes that were on sale.

When I got to the car, I was very disappointed because I was expecting to spend less than $100. It ended up that I had spent $123.37. Sigh.... I got to looking at my receipt. At the very top were listed the cereals. They were listed as $4.79 and $5.19 per box. Ugh! I mentioned this to the Warden, and he asked if I wanted to go back in. We dropped #s 1 and 2 at the church and headed back.

I left the wrong boxes with the guy working the self-check area and went and got the right sizes. They were $2.29/box and really only a few ounces less.

So, here's how it all played out without boring you with too many numbers. The guy refunded my money and the cereal coupons I had used. He returned $44.92 to me. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?!!! He then scanned the right boxes. They came to $18.32--that's just for the sale price--no coupons. I had $5 worth of coupons I had printed online earlier in the day, so he put those in next. I had also received a $5 off your next purchase coupon when I had checked out with the original trip, so I used this.

My total ended up being $8.32.

It was just so astonishing to see all that cash left in my hands. I had saved $36.60. So, when it all came down to it, had I purchased the correct cereal on my first trip, I would have saved $204.90 and spent $86.77. Much more like what I was hoping for in the first place.

How did I EVER do it before coupons?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Can Anyone Help Me Out?

I am a very random person (if you hadn't noticed). Not really sure why that is--genetics? personality? upbringing? Just not real sure, but I'd love to overcome it. I'd love to be so together that life is just easy and just a matter of upkeep; not always putting out the same fires over and over again. Am I being unrealistic? Is it just that on the other side of the fence everyone else looks so organized, orderly and together, but it's just how it looks? Or is it really that I've missed out on some of that somewhere? If that's the case, where do I get some of that?

Yesterday I spent quite a bit of time with the pamphlet "One for the Money." I have organized a budget, and I feel really good about it. I've said this before, and I'm sure I'll say it many more times in my life, but I love it when smart (and inspired) people share their brilliance with the rest of us.

One of the things it says is, "Accumulate your basic food storage and emergency supplies in a
systematic and orderly way." When I went to visit my dad yesterday, his wife asked me how our year's supply was doing. I told her we had food storage. She encouraged me to inventory it. But, to be honest, I know we don't have enough--not for nine people for a year. We're getting there, and coupons are helping a TON (thanks, Rebecca)! The thought of inventorying it is overwhelming to me right now. She asked if we had wheat. I said yes, but it was purchased years ago, and we don't have a grinder for it, so what's the use? I'm much more of the attitude of store what you eat, but I know that some long-term storage is also needed.

So, here's where I need your help. What do you do that is in alignment with the charge from "One for the Money?" How do you keep it all systematic and orderly? With a family of nine, it's a daunting task just to think about buying it, but accumulating it, storing it, and then inventorying it is a completely other thing. Ugh! I know I will be helped as I strive to be obedient, but part of being obedient is being smart. That's where I come to you, my smart (and inspired) friends. Can you help me out?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Wow! What a Year!

Here's what my birthday cake looked like tonight. It was Baskin-Robbins chocolate mint chip with white cake. Yes, some days (very few, I'm grateful to say at this point in my life), but yes, some days, I do think I feel this age. Possibly more frequently in the next three months. We'll see.

So, here's me last year at this time, and here I am this year. Who would have ever thought I'd be looking like this now? In this past year, I lost 25 pounds just to gain it right back plus some. I'm glad to know that I'll be able to do it again. I think I'm more determined than ever to keep it off.

This has been a great year for getting back in touch with so many people who have been influential in my life. I've been loving this whole blogging thing and facebook has been nearly miraculous for one such as I, who is so bad at keeping in touch with people.

From April 13th 2008 to April 13th 2009, here are some important events that have occurred.

  • Had an amazing 40th birthday party.
  • Another wonderful year at Girls' Camp.
  • Had a great family reunion in Seaside in July.
  • A started Kindergarten.
  • Q started high school.
  • Lost 25 pounds and gained "lifetime" with Weight Watchers.
  • Got pregnant--expecting another girl (11 years since my last daughter was born).
  • Got a new calling.
  • Bought a new car.
  • Finished two classes and started another.
  • Z turned 40.
  • New washer and dryer (and dryer duct work).

    Here's what a year looks like:

Sunday, April 12, 2009

New Calling

After five years as 1st Counselor in Young Women, I was released today. I have been called as the new nursery leader. We have two nurserys in our ward, and I will be with the older group of kids. One of the other women whom I will work with is due with twins around the same time I am, so I'm going to have to find someone who'd be willing to sub for me during that time.

I'm very excited for this calling--comfy clothes, snacks, sit on the floor, take your shoes off, play, and more than anything else, hang out with little children who love you no matter how silly you act (actually, they love you for your goofiness). I am so up for this. Perfect with a little one on the way.

I will miss the young women terribly and hope they will still choose to have me in their lives.

Today was the joint lesson. Twenty four girls were there. I put symbols of the last few days of Christ's life in plastic eggs and scriptures that went with them in other eggs. There were twenty four eggs in all. I think it went pretty well. I felt the Spirit there, so I figure that in and of itself is a success.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Done Deal

Well, we bit the bullet and bought the beast. It's HUGE! It was NOT fun. I hate car shopping, but it's ours now, and we all fit so nice and comfy in it. We are no longer owners of a Honda Odyssey. I will sincerely miss that van, but you do what you have to do. Just glad to have it done knowing that we will have room for all of our family plus three when little Lachlan comes along.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Doctors that Listen--a Rare Find

Okay, Alyson, I'll end your curiosity.

I really do believe that doctors that really listen to their patients are a rare breed, and so far, I've been fortunate to have met two. The first was my former doctor, who I wish I still was able to see. The other is my current doctor. Honestly, the jury is still out on her, but considering her great compassion, I have no reason to disbelieve that she really intends to do her best by me. As I shared this story with her at my most recent appointment, she said it gave her "goosebumps," and she would do all that she could to see that this wouldn't happen again. For now, I have to believe her.

In my most recent post, I commented about A's story and that I would share it. So, here it is.

When I was first pregnant with him, I contacted my doctor's office to make an appointment. The receptionist asked me what hospital I would be delivering at. He had delivered three of my other children all at a rather inconvenient hospital. When I replied to the receptionist's question with the name of that same hospital, she told me that I would have to find another doctor as he no longer would deliver at that location.

I was heart broken. How could this be? How was I EVER going to find another doctor of his caliber?

I reluctantly turned to an Ob that had performed surgery on me years prior--before I was even married. I had been referred to him by three co-workers back in the day.

I saw him for a number of months and felt some relief when I ran into my kids' pediatrician leaving her appointment at his office as I was entering for one of my appointments. I knew if she had enough trust in him, he had to be good.

I kept trying to convince myself of this as I went month after month, but finally at about seven months into the pregnancy, it all caught up to me.

At seven months, I had a nightmare. I dreamt that I was waking up in a dark room with only the light from the hallway through an open door. I was laying on a gurney and was just waking from anesthesia. The doctor and his assistant entered and very matter-of-factly told me, "The trouble started at about 1am. The baby died. I'm sorry." He then left the room.

For the rest of the dream, I wandered the hospital looking for a friendly face, a shoulder to cry one, but there was none to be found.

When I awoke, my pillow was really wet, and it was clear that I had been crying in real life.

Now, please understand that I'm not one of those people who has revelatory dreams, so I really give little credence to them, but after about two weeks of pondering on this, I realized that if something really did happen, and I didn't do something about it, I would blame myself forever. I decided that I'd better be a bit proactive.

I called my former doctor. This time I refused to just talk to the receptionist and asked to speak with his assistant. She was out of the office, but I was forwarded to her voice mail. I left a message expressing my understanding that he would no longer deliver at the hospital where I could deliver but would he please, if at all possible, make an exception in my case.

A few days later, I received a phone call. Amy, his assistant, said, "Oh, Julie, who told you he wouldn't deliver at that hospital any more? Of course he'll do that for you. Can you come in tomorrow?"

I cheerfully went to my appointment with him the next day. You have to understand that this doctor isn't perfect. You have to wait a long time in the waiting room to see him--formerly this really bugged me. He also misdiagnosed me with gestational diabetes when I was pregnant with DJ, and I went to a dietician and pricked my finger for an entire weekend before he called me on Monday to tell me he had given me the wrong woman's test results. But, on this particular day, none of that mattered at all. I would have waited an eternity for him.

When he came in the room, he asked me to describe the entire dream to him. He asked if I was full term when I delivered in the dream. I told him that I assumed I was. He assured me that if that were the case, he would deliver the baby as early as it would be possible for him--thirteen days. We set the induction date that day.

As the day of induction approached, I grew more nervous. I had never had a baby that early before, but I just had to trust that we were doing the right thing.

Everything went very well. After A was delivered, the doctor delivered the placenta. He examined it as he did each time, but this time his reaction caught my attention, "Hmm. That's interesting." He shared with me that for some reason, which cannot be explained, sometimes, even in healthy pregnancies, the placenta starts to deteriorate. It seems that in this case, it had started some time before. He told me that if we had waited until closer to the due date, this baby might not have made it.

As I have thought about it over the years, how else would I have listened to this warning? What other way could I have been made known of this? Of course, I didn't know, but I guess I knew enough to do something when it kept bugging me.

I was extremely grateful for a doctor who listened.

Getting the Blogging Feeling Again--YAY!!!

We're still looking for a van to fit our growing brood. There's actually one across town! Only's new. We were hoping for a used one just because new ones lose their value so quickly. But, to not have to have it shipped or take a trip across country would be a great bonus. Also, the trade in of our beloved Odyssey (I will miss that van) would be easily handled right here in our own city. We're going to look at it on Saturday afternoon.

Found one of comparable value with a few features I like better--lower price, better color and lower roof--in Boise. I'd definitely be willing to make the drive to get those things. Plus, we'd be able to see a few members of Z's extended family (whom I adore). That'd definitely be an added perk. We'll see what the guy says today when he replies to my 10pm email from last evening.

I, after a long time, was reading over some of my friends' recent posts and found a link to NieNie. I have only read this blog very sporadically, but it inspires me every time. After reading this morning, I felt such a great gratitude for the life I have. Z interrupted my reading for family prayer. As he prayed, he named each of our children. At the end of the list, he added "Miss Lachlan." I felt so touched by this. She's such a part of our family already.

I'm at the point where I wonder what she'll look like. Will she have DJ's bald head? Will she have the customary big blue eyes. Will she be dark haired like B? Will she be the one to finally break the Hess mold and have a look all her own? I'm grateful for ultrasound that lets me know that she has a working brain and heart. That she has all of her fingers and toes. As time goes on, they have assured me that they will be doing weekly ultrasounds. At our last appointment, I shared with our doctor the story of A. I will post this later, so you can understand what I'm talking about. I guess with women my age they check things a lot closer, but routinely they start monitoring later than I need. My doctor assured me that the monitoring would start about three weeks earlier in our case. Phew! Thankful for great doctors who listen.

Today is a day off for the kids. There's usually a teacher work day, which means Z doesn't get to join us, on the second Friday in April.

Two years ago it landed on my birthday, so I dragged the kids up the Columbia River Gorge--my favorite place in the whole wide (though extremely limited) world that I've seen so far. I think that if I were to see the whole wide world in its entirety, I'd still love this place the best. My dad grew up on the Washington side of the Gorge in a little town called Klickitat, so we made frequent trips when I was a kid up to his old stomping grounds. These are great memories of my childhood.

On that April day two years ago, we hiked the day away, got lunch at the traditional "hole in the wall" drive-in (the East Wind Drive-in), who used to have the HUGEST burgers and fries and WONDERFUL milkshakes and headed home. They've downsized a bit over the years, but they're still the BEST.

Last year, I begged the kids to do this again, but one of them moaned and complained. Get the kid a doctor!!! Amnesia is a terrible thing. She must have forgotten how much fun we'd had the year before. Today, I'm so tempted to do it all over again, but this time I'm afraid, I'm the one dragging my feet and my overly large belly. I just couldn't do it properly. Oh, but I'd really love to try.

So, funny story....

When we only had two children, Z asked me what I wanted to do for my birthday. I told him I wanted to go up the Gorge. I don't think he'd taken this trip with me in the past. I put him in the driver's seat. What was I thinking??? I was surprised when he totally by-passed the scenic highway and Multnomah Falls and even Cascade Locks. He took me up to the Bonneville Dam and fish hatchery. What???!!! I realized that I was riding with an educator. I had only been to these places on school field trips when I was in elementary school. We saw the sturgeon and the salmon swimming upstream. Ho hum. The one good thing was that Z got his first taste of the drive-in and he was hooked. I have learned that when it comes to the Gorge, I'm a snob. I now know that I have to be in the driver's seat to do it right. I leave that to no one else. So, if you ever want to go see it, let me know. I'll take you in a heartbeat (with my bulbous belly or not)!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

A Good Laugh for the Day

LOVE this one. Z and I decided that we both want to be #51.


This Sunday, I'm in charge of teaching the joint YW Easter lesson. I think this is the only joint lesson I teach all year. Somebody teaches all the YW (ages 12-18) once month. Just so happens that I get the Easter lesson this year. Tricky thing is, there is no Easter lesson outlined in the YW manuals, so I get to come up with it on my own.

Last night, when Z and I went out, I told him what I was doing (I've been working on this for the last three weeks), and I asked him if he had any input. He said it might be good if I mentioned the Atonment and the Resurrection. I said, "Hmm. What a good idea." He then said, "I might not do the Easter Bunny thing." I replied with, "That was just the angle I was going to take. You ruin all my fun." He's a great help. Oh, us, and our sarcasm.

I was originally going to show this video, but have since realized that I need to have an internet connection at the church to do so, so there goes that.

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