My Family

"Life will knock you down. You can choose to stand up again."

Thursday, May 28, 2015


Saturdays are always quite busy for us. There is soccer, wrestling, umpiring, kids hanging with kids, chores, shopping, yard and house work... It's the same for so many of us, isn't it? How blessed are we that we GET to do all of those things on Saturdays?!! SO blessed!

Last year, for my birthday, Josh made a topsy turvy. He and I went and bought flowers for each of the six pots on Saturday and he got it up and looking amazingly beautiful Saturday afternoon! It is oh, so amazing!

When he was done with that, he began weed wacking the side yard. The next door neighbor's horses were along that fence grazing. The weed wacker didn't bother them as long as we were feeding them long grains of grass (weeds). They are the sweetest horses. Colton and Brooklyn just LOVE them. Sonny is my favorite. He is so sweet. He gives kisses and lets you comb his mane as much as you'd like. We are so blessed!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Because I Said So

Josh is a very strict parent. He is a very loving parent, but he has set some pretty defined boundaries and he expects his children to stay within them. You have to be 13 and getting the grades that are expected of you individually to have a phone. Those phones are monitored, as are all social media sites. This is illustrated below in the picture where Josh is looking over his boys' shoulders at their phones. They know better than to try to hide them.

Our boys are getting to the age where they are a bit more socially independent. They are wanting to go and do things with friends, minus the grown-ups. There are rules: they need to come up with a plan, including when, where, who, how, and why. Once they have a plan, they bring that to their dad and the receive a "yes" or a "no." For example, Jackson made a calendar to take to his dad. He has "plans" in June. He has scout camp one week, and the next week he wants to go to Sandy to hang out with his friends. He came to Dad with a calendar, showing that he would ride Front Runner, than Trax to Sandy on a Monday. He showed where he will stay and what he will do each day. Then he showed that he will be home on Saturday night, just in time for Fathers Day. It was a "yes."

Braxton (gotta love him!) came to Dad with a plan that he was going to go to a movie with a girl, another girl, and another boy. Josh told him they would have to choose a movie that would allow him to be home by 10. Braxton wanted to see a movie that started at 9:20. That was a "no." Braxton changed the movie and was home at 9:20. Good plan, Braxton! Then Braxton came to Dad on Monday to ask if he could go to a girl's house that he likes after school. Dad told him that parents would have to be present, and that when he arrived at her house, he would need to call his dad so that he could talk to the said parents. Braxton acted like that was silly. Dad said, "no." Then Braxton talked to the girl, telling her that it was a rule that parents had to be there. She said that her parents had the same rule! Weird!!

Josh later explained to both boys that we have rules for a reason - and it's a good reason! He told them that Satan loves for them to be in positions that can cause mistakes. It is our job to help them avoid those situations! He also told them that he and I are always allowed to be the bad guys! They can always tell their friends that their parents are mean if that helps them to get out of a bad situation.

In other news, our van is a little high maintenance. It has to be jumped every time we have to start it. Before church, after church... really any time. Our kids are going to be master jumpers!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

We Play!

One of the many blessings that we receive by living where we do is that the kids have endless time outside. They can play outside and be loud and creative and it's just nothing but a thing! Every Sunday night is game night at our house. Some nights we play board games, some nights we play card games and some nights we play outside games. This past Sunday, it was soccer then capture the flag. Even I played capture the flag with them! The kids know that they have Josh's undivided attention on Sundays for game nights and they get SO excited!

On Saturday, Kaydon was out playing warrior, or whatever he calls it. He gets all dressed up and goes out and twirls sticks and makes awful noises. Anywho, Sis likes to participate, so she gets all decked out in her princess dress so that she can be a princess warrior! It's one of the cutest things ever!!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Autism In Our Home - Tap-Out

This is a picture of Josh tapping out Braxton. It's not as scary as it looks! Braxton didn't clean up after dinner, so he gets to wrestle with Dad. It's completely legit! :) When the kids have a rough day, then tend to try to take their dad down. One day last week, Jackson decided to launch himself into our bed to wrestle Josh. The only problem was that I was IN the bed. No bueno!

One of THE most frustrating things about Autism in OUR home is that it is impossible to know what is going on in Colton's mind. It is impossible to try to understand why he does some of the things that he does. It is also impossible to know how to deal with it. At this point, every one of his toys has been taken away. He has lost privileges to all of the gaming systems. He has had to sit on his bed every day after school. Nothing seems to do anything.

This morning, Josh got a call from Kaydon that Colton had taken off on a scooter north on 5000 west. Josh told Kaydon to go get him and Josh left work to head home and deal with it. By the time Josh got there, Kaydon and Colton were getting home. Colton had gone, gotten into a pasture that is owned by who knows who, and pet their horses. YOU CAN'T DO THAT!!!!! But, what do we do? What else is there for us to do? Does Colton not understand that those actions are not okay? Does he care? How do we make him understand? How do we make him see that there are consequences? What consequences do we use?

Josh called me after leaving home and told me what had happened. He is so frustrated, so tired. We both said over and over to each other, "I don't know what to do." We both have to work full-time. His brothers can't be with him every minute. Do we start putting locks on doors and cupboards and the refrigerator? Do we hire a nanny for an almost 12-year old? We don't know what to do. Sometimes we feel like tapping out, at least I do! Sometimes I feel like throwing my hands up in the air and just yelling at the walls. Sometimes I know my husband feels like doing the same thing. But we keep going. We keep trying.

Sometimes this life with Autism is just plain hard.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Road We Travel

Yesterday was a very long day for me. I was at work until 8:30 pm. I was asked to take minutes at a City Council Town Hall Meeting. What an honor it was to be asked to do that. In the two and a half weeks that I have been at my new job, I have been involved in several events that were important. I represented the city at the marathon, Make a Difference Day, and at this meeting last night that was held at the University. This job has kicked my booty. It is completely different from anything I have ever done, yet so similar. As I drove home last night, this is what I saw.

I thought for those moments about how our Father is all-knowing. Every single job I have had up until now has prepared me for this. Whether it's minute-taking, organization, multi-tasking, event planning, personnel management, purchasing, budgeting, or just socializing - they have all prepared me for this. Heavenly Father knows us. He knows what our future looks like. He knows what we need, when we need it. He knows US - you and I. Each step we take in this life prepares us for the next.

I also thought about what I was traveling to last night. I was traveling home to a place where my children would be comfortably sleeping, with full tummies from a yummy dinner that Josh made for them. I knew they were safe and well. I knew that they were in clean pajamas, in comfortable beds with pillows and blankets. I knew their homework was completed. I knew that my husband would be there, protecting them and waiting for me. I knew that he would welcome me home with open arms, an otter pop, and a movie. And, he did. The dishwasher was going from the dishes at dinner. The laundry was done. My bed was warm and comfortable. My heart was full.

I KNOW that we are children of God. I know that He knows us and that if we are doing what He has asked, we WILL be blessed. Our cars will still die. Our basements might still flood. Our appliances might still go out. Our children might still be naughty. Our health might still not be ideal. But, it is all preparing us for the next step of which He is completely aware. I am so grateful.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Lucky Wifey

It's possible that Yoshua may kill me for posting this. Oh well!

Most of our relationship has been me and the kids supporting Josh while he coaches and plays sports. I love it! I love watching him play sports and I absolutely love watching him coach sports! I love being the supportive wife. This past Saturday, the tables were turned a bit and Josh didn't miss a beat! We needed to make an appearance at the marathon on Saturday and eat breakfast with important people. It was pouring rain and it was COLD. He was so great! We were there at 7:30 am and I could not have been more grateful for his support!!!

After the marathon, he took me to see Pitch Perfect 2! It was like the best day ever! I LOVE that movie! I ate my popcorn and laughed and danced in my seat! Just me and him at the movies! After that, he took me to Bountiful to a little boutique he found and bought me a skirt. Did you know that Josh buys all of my clothes and puts all of my outfits together?! He does. I HATE shopping. He does such a good job! THEN, he took me home and put movies in for me all night! Seriously, what in the world did I do to deserve him?!

Wait, there is more. Yesterday, half way through Sacrament Meeting, I got a text from the lady that I co-teach in Primary with. She wasn't going to make it. I showed Josh the text, and without hesitation he got on his phone to figure out what I could do for the lesson. Then he ran home and got the laptop. Josh teaches Sunday School, but missed it so that he could come help me. We have a challenging class this year. The girls are scared to go to class because of a little guy in there and that little guy causes quite a bit of trouble. The other little boys in the class don't do so well either. When Josh is there, everything is calm. The girls are laughing and smiling and the boys open up and participate.

I read a story and showed them the golden plates that Josh had made for me for another lesson. They were SO CUTE! They all told him that they want him to make them their own. He's going to be busy with that project! Then, he went up to the front and showed them a video and had a discussion with them. The kids were laughing, smiling, participating, and having FUN! The little guy who can be a trouble maker was SO good! He participated and smiled!

After class, the kids wanted him to give them piggy-back rides and let them fly through the air with their chairs as they stacked them. Inside, my heart burst! These little kids just blossomed. My husband went in there with a plan that he developed over about five minutes and rocked it. He didn't complain, he didn't act like it was a burden. He just did it. I cannot wait for him to achieve his goal of being a teacher. He was born to do it!

I'm a pretty blessed girl.

Friday, May 15, 2015


One of the hardest things about switching jobs was that I could do my previous job in my sleep, and sometimes I did. I knew that job inside and out. I knew who my resources were and because of that, I was really efficient. I had down time. Another thing that was hard about leaving that job was that I knew everyone, and I loved them. I still love them. Coming to a new job where I know no one and nothing has been a huge challenge for me. I have kept it together pretty good, but inside I'm bursting and feeling overwhelmed. My inbox is ALWAYS full and my to-do list is never-ending. This morning, however, I walked in to this:
That's my kind of inbox! I work with just the greatest people. There isn't any drama. Ever. Everyone works hard and gets their work done. Everyone has been so patient with me and so kind to sit with me through all of my note-taking. I have gone through multiple pads of paper. I'm getting it, but it's slow-going. I can't wait for the day when I feel like I get it! But today, I'm grateful for some thoughtful hearts who filled my inbox with Diet Coke... just because.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

One Year

One year ago today, we moved as a family of seven to West Point. At 5 pm, we rushed back to Sandy and got married, then headed to Chick-Fil-A to eat dinner. After that, we all went to our new home and went to bed. I remember telling my bishop that we would like to hold the ceremony to five minutes. He promised he'd do it in less than that. He kept his promise. Last night, Josh and Colton and I were sitting in the family room. I told Colton that today was our one year anniversary. Colton asked why. I explained that it had been one year since we got married. He said, "But Dad has been our dad for four years!" In his mind, it's a four year anniversary because that's when Dad became HIS. And, that's just fine. Separately and very randomly, Braxton and Kaydon came upstairs last night and told me how much they love Dad. It made me cry tears of extreme gratitude.
This life has not been easy. Moving, new schools, new jobs, health issues, financial struggles every day, struggles with raising children, missing Brooklyn when we don't have her... the list goes on and on. But everyday there is joy. Everyday I look at my husband and feel intense love and gratitude for him. I watch him with his five kids and I smile. I adore him. I love him. He is our rock. He is our pillar. He works oh, so hard. He is a tough dad because he loves his kids. He expects them to do their best every single day. He supports me. He never, ever puts me down. He helps me in my church calling, he helps me with chores, he shares all responsibilities with me.

I woke up to a painted canvas this morning, telling me that his wish came true when he found me. I can assure him that it wasn't his wish that came true, but mine. I pray for eternity with him. I pray that our struggles will become our strengths. I pray that we will be old people, sitting in our wooden swing watching baseball. I pray that I will be a better wife today than I was yesterday. I love you, Yoshua.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015


This year, we set a goal as a family to have an actual Family Home Evening every single Monday night. For the past five weeks, we have had utter success! Each of the children has planned, and presented a lesson and activity. Josh bought a wonderful book for them to use as a resource. When I get home on Monday nights, Josh has dinner prepared and has made sure that the person in charge is ready to go. After dinner, we all meet in the living room and listen to the words that have been prepared. Last night, Braxton taught us about King Lamoni and Ammon. We then all wrote what we believe on a piece of paper and then placed it on the fridge. I believe that these little meetings that we have every Monday night will provide our family with necessary protection from the adversary.

As I think about protection, I think about Brooklyn and her four brothers. I had a conversation with a new co-worker yesterday. He spoke of how his teenage daughter is beginning to date. I thought of the poor chaps who show up at our door, wanting to take Brooklyn out on a date. Can you imagine that poor kid's face when he sees her four brothers (not to mention her daddy) all standing there?? Brooklyn will always find protector with her brothers. Saturday, she and I were playing Battleship. She didn't quite get the gist of it, so Jackson sat beside her and helped her navigate. He looked out for her best interest, just like a big brother should.
After the game, she beat him up like only a little sister can... but more often than not, she is attached to her big brothers much the same way we should be attached to our elder brother, Jesus Christ. When we are doing what we should be doing, what we have been told to do for our own protection, we feel that safety that is so necessary in this world.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Mama's Day Weekend

I LOVE Mother's Day. I understand how blessed I am to be a mom to five amazing children. They bring so much joy to me every single day. They teach me so much. They have faith beyond measure and I love their curiosity and their brilliant minds. I also understand how blessed I am to have a husband who I love and adore. Josh puts up with a lot! I am a weee bit feisty and sassy and grumpy now and then. He is so patient. He and the kids painted canvases for me. They are A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. I love them so much!
After church, we rested. I napped in my bed. Josh went downstairs with his boys. Josh had set up mattresses and cots for their sibling sleepover on Saturday night. They were still in the downstairs family room so Josh and his boys took a little Sunday sleep. I am so thankful for my life and for my family.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

G & G Come To Visit

Grandma and Grandpa Nef came to visit on Saturday. Grandma interviewed every one of the grandkids on how school is going and on how boys shouldn't be in relationships until AFTER their mission, and on how Brooklyn is a princess (duh!), and on how Josh is amazing. Grandpa just sat there and... well sat there. He then played horses with Colton.

I have become quite close to my grandparents the older I have gotten. My grandma and I talk or text about once a week. I have come to love her and respect her and appreciate all of her amazing talents. My grandpa has always been one of my favorite people. He makes me smile. He makes everyone smile. I can't think of anyone who might dislike Grandpa. He is so hardworking, funny, talented, smart, out-going, accepting, and affectionate. Everyone he meets gets a hug and a kiss. I long for those hugs. He LOVES his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Every single one of them. It was so fun to see them!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Autism in Our Home - Time

Almost everyday, Colton struggles immensely to find something to do that HE wants to do. Once he finally figures out what HE wants to do, nobody wants to do it with him. Awesome sauce. NOT. Last week, Jackson sat down and played Battleship with him. I can't tell you the feeling of gratitude I had for our oldest. It probably wasn't what he wanted to be doing, but it was a blessing for Colton, and I'm sure he was able to feel the Spirit by doing it.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Changing Directions Is Hard To Do

Last Thursday was my last day at SLCC. I worked there for eight years and I loved it. It was home to me. I had the privilege of working with some of the greatest people. I loved my eLearning family and my boss was one of my best friends. It was time for a change, though. Two hours in the car everyday is no bueno. I was no longer loving my job and knew that it was time to move on with a new adventure. I was offered a position at Ogden City, in the Public Ways and Parks Division. I started on Friday. My office had a going-away reception for me on Wednesday. The only picture I have is of the brownies. ;)
I started on Friday and quickly learned that there are great people in my new office! Throughout this process, I never had a feeling of peace and calm. I never really felt that I was making the right decision. But Josh did and I trusted him. I'm so glad I did. As soon as I arrived on Friday, I KNEW that the decision was the right one.