As a family, we joined Nana and Papa Turney up at Ponderosa camp in California for a fun weekend of camping. The kids loved it, and we loved being able to watch them interact with their extended family, especially Adam's cousin's kids, and play in nature. The kids loved sleeping in the cabin, climbing on rocks, and getting dirty. Sam especially loved the getting dirty part. He spent the whole time with a stick in hand, digging around in the dirt!
Adam and I had a big announcement for the kids! We had our first ultrasound, and announced to the kids that another brother or sister would be joining our family in April. The girls were so excited, and Sam had no idea what was going on. Hannah said, "Wow, Sam is going to be a little big brother!" She's right. They will only be 22 months apart. She also said, "Oh that's why you've been having so much trouble," acknowledging for the first time that I've been sick. Paige on the other hand, has been very aware of my sickness, and took very good care of me all through September.
We spent the majority of September lounging around, mostly because I was feeling so sick, and also because Sam and Paige were also very sick! Sam ended up with pneumonia and an ear infection and Paige ended up with strep throat! We were in and out of the doctor and emergency room a total of six times! To add injury to injury, Paige tore her cornea while playing a rough game with Hannah. It was a rough month for the Turney clan, and a rough month for our bank account. Nevertheless, we remained in good spirits and counted our blessings, especially staying grateful for health insurance. Thanks, Obama.
Tomorrow is Paige's birthday and I was just going over my journal from her blessing day. I wanted to share part of that journal here.
This morning, I dressed Paige in her white dress and had a few minutes alone with her. I thought of the brief time she has had on earth, what a joy she is, and what a privilege it is to be her mommy. When I took her to the doctor for her two month checkup he asked if she was smiling at Hannah and Adam yet. I told her of course, and he said that was good because developmentally, that was where she should be and to expect her to start smiling at people who lived outside our home at about four months. I told him that not only does she smile, but she laughs at everyone, even people who she just meets. She has so much joy inside her already and she has so much love. I also get complements often at her attentiveness, and her ability to hold eye contact and concentrate for a long time. I think Paige is going to be a really great listener, a true friend. I feel angels in our home, guiding me daily to care for, and teach these beautiful daughters of God. Each day, I’m learning a little better how to do so. I am also learning more and more about the nature of our Heavenly Father. I have felt His love in a different, my personal way since becoming a mother to Paige. I have a testimony of His divine love for each of us, and his desire for us to obey His commandments so that we can return and live with Him and our family for eternity.
When naming each of our children, we have taken special consideration in the meaning of the name. Hannah Elizabeth came to us in the temple three weeks before she was born and means “Gift from God” and “Promise of God.” Paige was a name that we loved, and I love that it means “Little Servant,” because I like to think of her dedicating her life to the service of God. “Lily,” means purity and innocence and we chose that name as a variation of Lilian after my Grandmother who is one of our favorite people. I hope, like my Grandma, Paige is a strong and faithful woman, dedicated to the gospel and her family, obedient…but blessed with a spunky personality. Very feisty!
Happy birthday to my sweetest Paigey Pie. Paige is such an important part of our family. She is the passion and the fire. Paige can stand her ground in any argument. She is stubborn in the best way. Paige is my most loyal and most helpful child. She is always anxious to be with me and work next to me. She brings the best dynamic to her siblings. Though she and Hannah argue a lot they are best friends and she often talks about how much she loves her sister. Sam adores her, and more than anyone else in our family he saves the sweetest hugs for her. She is very loving and appreciative. She's the only one who ever notices when I'm sick or sad, and will do her best to make me feel better. Even though she's my most sensitive child, she's also my most defiant. She appreciates her free agency and always wants to exercise it. She loves singing primary songs, especially Follow the Prophet (she sings it on a loop and makes up her own words). One of my favorite things she says is, "right?!" After everything. "I'm a good girl, right?!" "This dinner is yummy, right?!" Another favorite is, "How DARE you ---" it's just hilarious. "How dare you take away my toys!" "How dare you pull my hair, Sam?" "How dare you talk to my sister that way?"
Recently Paige took the Pottermore sorting quiz. She got Hufflepuff and immediately said, "yay! I'm on a team!" Which is such a Hufflepuff-ism, but also so Paigey. She just wants to be on everyone's team.
A side note: Paige was my easiest/ hardest birth, because the epidural didn't work. I was in so much pain, but she was out within two pushes. I cried and cried because I felt so blessed.
Per birthday tradition Paige woke up to her room transformed with streamers, balloons, a birthday sign, and a flag banner. It's always fun to sneak in at night to decorate and imagine the birthday girl waking up to birthday-central.
Isn't grief strange? When a loved one passes grief is overwhelming, and as time goes on the pain subsides to a degree, and life goes on, with a painful reminder now and again. Then one day you are sitting around, minding your own business and the grief returns without warning or explanation. I had such a moment this morning when I was recalling a conversation I had with my grandma a couple years ago.
We went camping in Sequoia National Park this weekend. We had a blast with the Turney clan!
Today was pretty great. Adam helped me put together a fantasy football team, which was pretty fun/funny. It was exciting to see him excited for me to be involved this year. We also got to go to the temple, which was lovely and needed. (Thanks, Natalie Gifford!) We also had school pick up, music class, homework, babysitting, dinner, books, and bedtime. It was one of those days that I really appreciate having such a wonderful friend and partner to face the responsibilities of life with.
and sat in silence, just watching it all unfold. Our humanities teacher had us write letters to our children the following day, so that we could record our feelings and pass them along to our children, as if we could forget the fear of the unknown that day, the hurt and the unanswered questions. I still remember how it felt when I saw the first plane in the sky a week later, when flights were no longer grounded. I won't ever forget.
We are about six chapters away from finishing Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone but I've developed a pretty sore throat. Hannah is anxious to finish and she said, "maybe we can read a few chapters tomorrow, since it's Saturday!" I told her I didn't know if I could read. I said, "Maybe Daddy will read a few chapters to it, or we could listen to it on tape." "TAPE? She exclaimed what is...tape?" Oh yeah... I fumbled for a second to explain and she said, "We can just listen to them on your IPad." Good idea, since we don't own it on tape, let alone a cassette player.
One of the things I miss most about Utah are the big family dinners on Sunday. A couple weeks ago when I was homesick I decided we'd host one. I love our little Las Vegas family, we are definitely growing! Last year when we did this for Labor Day we were short the Campbells and four babies (But we had five Packards ). I'm grateful for good food, great friends, and a new house that can handle all thirty of us!
It's my sister's birthday today. Shout out to my parents for making this awesome human for me to love and tease. I'll never forget when she was born and my grandma told me I had a sister. I leaped into the air, fist pumping. She may be the skinny one, the pretty one, the witty one, and the one with the better taste in music but I ain't jelly, because she's mine, and also, if it comes to fisticuffs I'll win 9/10 times.
My parents Tim and Margie are going to Italy for ten days. They sent their children itineraries so we can know when and where they'll be at what times, in case of emergency, like if the Vatican is under attack on a Wednesday, we are to check the itinerary and say "Cool, they were there on Tuesday." To prepare for the worst case scenario they hired a lawyer to put their affairs in order so that things could be smooth for us. The email my mom sent went something like this: "Hey guys! We're so excited! Here is our itinerary, we'll be staying at this hotel, this is our lawyer's name, you'll find all our legal documents here and here. This is what we'd like to happen for our funeral and burial. We'll see you in ten days!"
Also, Megan's job is to drive them to and from the airport, while I'm tasked with the unpleasant duty of pulling the plug after consulting with their doctors.
And people wonder why I'm overly dramatic and paranoid.
Thanks friends for the congratulations yesterday. We are beyond excited to welcome baby number four into our family. I wanted to share one of the best moments of my life… Telling Adam we were going to have another baby. This baby was thought about prayed, about, and planned for, although it happened A few months sooner than we were expecting. We were both completely shocked and elated, but I thought Adam's reaction was priceless. I found out on our ninth anniversary.
There is something so soothing about Mister Rogers. He's just so gentle, and demure, and understanding. I wish I could have one afternoon with him to tell him my problems and woes so that he could listen and tell me he likes me just the way I am. I was just watching it on Netflix with Sam and it was so sweet I could have cried.
Slowly but surely we are making our way through Harry Potter, and we should be done with the first book this week. I just read about the Mirror of Erised. When we were done with the chapter I asked Hannah what she would see if she looked in the mirror. She said, "I think I would just see me, there isn't anything I really desire." I thought that was pretty impressive, but then she said, "Actually I would see me and Emma playing together again. That's what I would see." I smiled and said that would be fantastic, but my heart broke a little bit.
I'm so jealous of Adam Turney. Tonight as I was laying in bed I was missing Sam really bad (even though I'd spent all day with him) so I snuck into his room (like the mom from I Love You Forever) picked him up and carried him to my bed for snuggles. I got to cuddle with Sam for a sweet moment, then Adam got into bed with us. He took Sam's little hand in his, who then sensed his daddy's presence and he left me to lay across Adam's chest. They have the sweetest bond! Moment ruined! (For me). I'm glad we were blessed with our Sam.
My poor kids. This is Sam's third visit to the doctor in five days. He needs to get an x-Ray because of pneumonia (he also has an ear infection). Paige is also sick with a fever (but no congestion issues) and has to be dragged to every appointment. She's exhausted and we've been here for an hour and a half, but have to wait until a student shows up to help because I'm pregnant and can't go back to the X-ray. Sometimes motherhood ain't no picnic.
We couldn't wait until tonight to finish. After my morning walk we snuggled up and finished the last few pages of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Hannah kept asking, "Why does your voice sounds like it's trying not to cry?" I finally lost the battle when Dumbledore awarded Neville for his bravery in standing up to his friends. It was a lot of fun! I wasn't planning on reading Chamber, but Hannah said, "I can't wait! Now we get to read the next one!" So I just may .
I just read there is a hashtag trending called #shoutyourabortion. I read through several of the posts and they made me sick to my stomach, so right now I'm going to #shoutforlife and #shoutforadoption. I had the phenomenal privilege to conceive and carry these three children, and I feel beyond blessed to be able to be carrying their little brother or sister right now. Pregnancy is such a miracle. It is difficult. It's a sacrifice. There is nothing in this world like it. I've been blessed with the ability, so many others are not. I'd never take for granted the privilege and blessing of being able to have three+ healthy pregnancies. I'll never take for granted the privilege of being a mother. The shout your abortion hashtag makes a mockery of those who are desperate for the blessing of a baby. It makes a mockery of the priceless miracle of conception and pregnancy, and the sanctity of life.
Four years ago when of my dearest friends, Rosalie, went in for a routine ultrasound only to find that her baby had an abnormal chromosomal defect called Turners syndrome. One of the options her doctor suggested was to abort the pregnancy. Knowing that her baby would not make it full-term, Rosalie made the courageous decision to continue with the pregnancy until the baby passed away on her own. She didn't know how long she would carry her daughter, but she honored every day that she did, until Elle passed away and she delivered her. That is what womanhood truly is. It's what being a mother is truly about.
I don't want to judge another persons choices, or shame anyone. I don't want to get political. I just want to say that the hashtag is deplorable, and instead of being proud about the life you took, perhaps think for one second about the mothers who would give anything for the baby you threw away.
A few random thoughts: last night we watched Harry Potter and the philosopher stone as a family. It was such a treat to sit with my kids as they squealed, and got nervous and excited for Harry. I especially liked when Hannah saw Neville and said, "oh so that's what Neville looks like? A big fat guy?" Just you wait Hannah, just you wait. Paige didn't want to sit and read Harry Potter with us because she though it was scary, but now she wants to read with us. She's so funny to watch movies with because she physically reacts to everything. The girls are officially Potterheads.
Another thought: I have been walking every morning 3 miles around my neighborhood. I just want to say that I love living in Mountain's Edge. There are so many friendly people and so many pretty views as I walk around the neighborhood. I love seeing so many people walking their dogs, and watching couples walk together or runners speed past me in the morning. It makes me feel safer as I go on my walks. Apparently it is a very physically active community I love that. I never run into fewer than 20 people (usually more).
My favorite Sunday of the year is always the primary program. I cry through half of it because I can feel the sweet testimonies of the children and they strengthen mine. Hannah did such a good job on her part about following the prophet. Even though Paige was so looking forward to her first program she didn't feel well enough to go up to the stand, so she sat next to me and sang her little heart out. Even Sam was mesmerized, and sat still, listening, which was a miracle.
On a funny note, Paige wanted to draw in her notebook, but she's afraid to open either eye, so she'd open her notebook, ask me if it was a blank page, and start drawing. I could tell what her intentions were after a minute or two when she'd finish her picture and ask, "Is it a good tree/house/girl, mommy?" Sure, Paige.
Two years ago when I was in the relief society presidency, our stake relief society president advised each of us to gain and bear testimony of our prophet, Thomas S. Monson. That has stayed with me, and I've sought different opportunities to come to know this wonderful man, most recently through reading his biography: To The Rescue.
It has been an incredible experience to read about the life of the president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I've gained such an appreciation for his life, which he dedicated to the service of his fellow men and women (when ye are in the service of your fellow beings, ye are only in the service of your God). He councils often to never let a prompting go unanswered, and his life exemplifies that. He is a friend and a follower of Jesus Christ. Everything he does is with an open heart and with charity (the pure love of Christ).
Last year after my grandmother passed away, he took the time to write a letter and express his condolences and love to my grandpa. She worked for the church office building many years ago, and he recalled her with fondness. This, to me, speaks of who he is as a leader. Someone who will leave the 99 to minister to the one in need.
Even as a little girl, I loved to listen to president Monson. I loved to hear him recite poetry or song verses, and tell stories from his life, or from classic literature. We even have something in common. Each year we read A Christmas Carol as the holiday season rolls around.
I look forward to listening to him in conference this coming weekend. I believe that he truly is a prophet of God, just like the prophets of old. "We thank thee o God for a prophet, to guide us in these latter-days."
I started reading Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer. Oh my gosh, it is so intense! Apparently I'm an adventurer/adrenaline junkie at heart because this and Wild have been two of my favorite reads this year. Can't wait to see Everest with Adam Turney!