My Family

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




Monday, August 31, 2015

One of The Best Days Yet

Yesterday was one of the best days so far. My husband stood in a circle with the most important men in my life (except Logan and Skip). He ordained Jackson to the office of a Priest in the Aaronic Priesthood in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. It was beautiful. Jackson then stood in that same circle as my dad ordained Braxton to the office of a Teacher in the Aaronic Priesthood in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Finally, Colton sat in the same chair as Josh laid his hands on his head to bestow upon him the Aaronic Priesthood and ordain him to the office of a Deacon.

My dad, my mom's husband, my sweet Grandpa Nef, my brother (Brandon), Bishop Cottle, Brother Nebeker (YM President), and Brother Laws all stood in that circle. They are all honorable Priesthood holders. They have, and will continue to, have a great influence on my boys' lives. The Spirit was strong. The words were beautiful. The feeling was of immense gratitude and humility.

The journey on this Earth so far has been full of trials and struggles. My boys have strength like nothing I've ever seen. My boys have courage like nothing I've ever seen. My boys have hope like nothing I've ever seen. My boys are valiant and stalwart. My boys are compassionate and empathetic. My boys are kind and forgiving. None of these attributes are because of me. Rather, they are because of our Heavenly Father who knows us and loves us. They are due to the people who have been along our path all the way. They are because of the struggles that we have been through, and the ability that our Savior has given us to overcome and keep pushing forward.

Last night, I had a long talk with Jackson. He asked me to pray with him. There is no better mommy moment than when our children ask me to pray with them. I know that they have faith that those prayers are heard and answered. I know that they have faith that they are known. I know that they have faith that their mom has faith. I prayed, as I always do, that our Father would hold him in the hollow of His hands.

I am grateful for the Gospel and for the knowledge that we are not just here, in this crazy world to struggle, to face sadness, to face fear, to face anger, and to fail for no reason at all. I am grateful for my knowledge that there is a plan. There is a reason for all of this. There is a next step after this life. I am grateful for prayers. I am grateful for the Priesthood. I have five Priesthood holders in my home now. What a gift! What a blessing!

I am so grateful.

Friday, August 28, 2015

And That Makes 14

This handsome boy turns 14 today! He is a really great kid! He LOVES to help Josh and I with whatever we are doing. He is happiest when with Josh. He is a great handyman, a great friend, a good brother, and a loving son. He is feisty, and can get upset when he doesn't find his center, but he loves his family fiercely and defends what he believes in with courage. Happy birthday to my little Peanut!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

When Life Gives You Apples...

...Make some applesauce!

Josh and I had a hot date last night canning applesauce. We got nine quarts done last night. We have about 20, or so, left to do. I also need to get some apple pie filling made with some of the apples. I need to get this done before the pears and grapes are ready.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Apple Picking

Last night, we went to Uncle Brandon and Aunt Carrie's house. They have an apple tree that is VERY productive. ;) We picked and picked and picked. Colton's job was to pick up all of the apples that fell on the ground and he did a great job! I will be canning applesauce and apple pie filling for the next week and I can't think of anything better!

I am so grateful for the fruits and veges that have been sent our way. They are feeding my family and it's a huge blessing. Our own peach tree is trying really hard to get those peaches ripe. I will be slicing and freezing them as they come. I love to stick them in my lunches everyday to eat. They are delicious and healthy!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The BIG 16

This feller of mine turns 16 tomorrow! 16!!! This boy has been through more in 16 years than most people will go through in a lifetime. Yet, he is kind, funny, smart, quick-witted, friendly, helpful, and adventurous. He is tall and handsome.
This boy is going to go places, I tell you. He is a sophomore at Layton High this year. He will be driving by himself before we know it. I love him so much!!!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Boys' First Day of 2015-16

Jackson started tenth grade at Layton High.
Kaydon started seventh grade at West Point Junior.
Braxton started eighth grade at West Point Junior.
Colton started sixth grade at West Point Elementary.

Mommy started crying as soon as I dropped the last one off.

The end.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Mommy Martha Haircuts

Mommy Martha cut hair on Monday night. We were there for quite some time because we have a lot of kids! Even daddy got in on the action and got the middle of his goatee bleached. The kids thought that was hilarious!

I am so grateful for Martha. She is a good second mommy to my kiddos. They love her and they know that she loves them!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Tis the Season

Football season has begun. Gus went with us to the Blue and White game on Friday. I'm pretty sure he loved it!

Mom Time / Girl Time

Saturday morning, I told Josh that I needed Mom time. He and I went and ran errands for a few hours, then went home and took care of everything there. I was thinking about what I wanted to do all by myself. Then, I remembered Brooklyn's little voice that had been begging me all day to do girl time with her. I knew in that moment that Mom time could wait - my girl needed me. We were both in our pajamas. I told her to put her shoes on and get in the car. We got our toe nails painted - her favorite!

Afterwards, she asked me if we were going to go get dinner. I reminded her that we had just eaten dinner right before we left. Stinker!! Then, she kept saying "I could really use a popsicle!" So, we went and got popsicles for she and brothers.

I know that soon our kids won't care to spend every minute with their parents. I am grateful for these times when we make memories, when they know that they are loved, when they know that they are worth it!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Back to School Dinner & Theme

We had our back to school dinner last night. Brooklyn started school last Monday and the boys all start next Monday. Josh grilled steaks and I made rice pilaf, green salad, and corn bread. Dessert was our favorite - Christensen Diabetes. It's an ice cream sandwich dessert that is amazing!

Our theme comes from Elder Boyd K. Packer. It is: "If you stumble, rise up, go on." I read from the talk that Elder Packer gave. It talks about keeping your body and your mind clean. It also talks about the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and how because of that we can always rise up and go on.

I explained to our kids that we are not on Earth to be perfect. We are here to make mistakes. Stumbling is okay - as long as we get back up and go on in the right direction. I told them that they are going to have times during this school year when they stumble. I told them that there will be bad days. I told them that they will struggle, but that because of the Atonement, they can get back up and move forward.

This year, we will have a tenth grader, eighth grader, seventh grader, sixth grader, and first grader. I am beyond grateful to be their mother. I am so proud of them and the choices they have made thus far. I am also eternally grateful for Josh, who by all accounts is the greatest patriarch our family could have. His focus is always on those kids.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Kaydon Turns 13!!

Kaydon turns 13 today! This boys, as I've said before, is a miracle. So many operations, so many hospital stays, so much home-health and therapy. He is strong and feisty. He loves science and history. He loves, loves, loves movies. He loves Legos. He loves animals. He is still a mama's boy. Not a day goes by that he does not say, "Mom, you're so beautiful!"

This morning, I emailed his gastroenterologist, Dr. Mizell. I sent him a picture of Kaydon, who is strong and healthy. I thanked him for his tireless efforts on Kaydon's behalf. I thanked him for the mornings he would come in to our hospital room and tell me to go take a break, to go eat. I would come back to the room and find Dr. Mizell rocking Kaydon and talking to him softly. This man saved Kaydon's life, and comforted me in the process.

Kaydon starts 7th grade in a week and I can't wait to see what he can accomplish!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

This Boy

This boy has our hearts. Gus is calm, obedient, smart, and loving. He is a mama's boy through and through and I kind of love it! When he sees daddy, it is a barking war, a tickle war, a tug-of-war or just rough-housing and he knows it! He loves the kids! And, they love him so much. This was a good decision for our family. We needed Gus and he needed us.

Brooklyn met him on Monday and he had her laughing so hard that it was a rolling, loud laugh from her. She is in bliss. In between trying to catch her breath from laughing, she would say, "Gus, I love you so much Gus Gus." It melted my heart.

Around 7:30 every night, he knows it's calm-down time. He comes into our room and waits for someone to get him up onto our bed. Then he lays there, chews on his bone and falls asleep. Daddy puts him to bed and the night is over. It's heaven.

Monday, August 10, 2015

First Grader!

Today, this beautiful girl began first grade! I know she will do great things! She is beautiful, smart, funny, kind, compassionate, observant, and fun. This is just the beginning, Sweet Girl. Mommy loves you!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Gus Christensen

Meet Gus Christensen. Gus Gus. Gusolopolaus. GUS!!
Gus is a Maltese / Russell Terrier mix. He was born January 21. He is a daddy's boy so far (not even 24 hours old). Welcome Gus Gus.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Admin Retreat

I wrote a proposal to have an admin retreat, and then planned a day that would include training, team building, fun, and laughter for my admin team of five. Monday was the day. It turned out really, really well and I was so grateful! I have a team of five - me and four other full-time employees. Our jobs are big, important, tedious, and trying. We deal with the public, which can be tough and emotional on days. I wanted us to have a day where we came together, got to know one another, had in-depth training, and walked away refreshed. It worked out so well! I am always thankful for Josh's support and help. He always talks things through with me so that I am ready to go and prepared.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Salesmen & Blessings

Grandma LeeAnn had a yard sale Saturday morning. She is still going through all of Grandma's things. The boys asked if they could sell some of their things and we agreed. They were on point! For the first thirty minutes, they were the only ones selling anything! I was so proud of them! We were able to help Grandma LeeAnn and teach the boys lessons about hard work, honesty, and money.
Afterwards, Jackson drove he and I home. It's kind of terrifying, but I can't wait to have a third driver in our home!!
We had THE coolest experience during this yard sale. A sweet man named Earl came with his wife to look over the goods. He was carrying his oxygen tank and wearing his Marines hat. He was so talkative and just wanted to tell me about everything. I could not get enough of him. His sweet wife took her time, just looking around. He talked to my brother-in-law, Matt, and thanked him for his service. I sat him in the cool garage, with a fan and a cold drink of water and then I just loved on him. He told me the story of meeting his wife, Rhonda. He was 29 and had a three year old daughter. She was 17. His daughter saw her one day and said, "Daddy, I think it's time to have a mommy. Will you marry my dad?" Earl said that he went and paid for the $2 marriage license, married her, and got out of town so that he wouldn't be arrested for marrying a 17 year old. :) They have been married for 53 years. I love him. He made me so happy. I was honored to meet him. I gave him a hug and kiss when they left, and gave Rhonda a great big hug. After the yard sale, Josh and the three youngest boys went and picked plums off of his tree because he couldn't get up there to get them. Josh and I made 10 pints of plum freezer jam with them. I love that Heavenly Father knows who we need in our life, right when we need them!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Priesthood

Josh was in charge of FHE last night. He taught us about the importance of the Priesthood on the Earth today. He reminded our family that all five boys in our home will now have the Priesthood. He is ordaining Jackson to a Priest, Braxton to a Teacher, and Colton to a Deacon on August 30. Kaydon will also still be a Deacon. He had them each tell him what their particular responsibilities are. He talked to Jackson about blessing the Sacrament. He talked to them about the importance of honoring that Priesthood. He then bore his testimony. It touched my heart to the brink of exploding.
I then talked to them quickly about the importance that honoring their Priesthood is for Brooklyn and I. I told them my testimony of the Priesthood and how it blesses their sister and I. I told them that it is important that they ALWAYS honor it so that they can use those keys at any time that they may be called on to do so.

The Spirit was strong in our home last night, and I am so thankful. I have a testimony of the Priesthood. I know that through the Priesthood, and the MEN that hold it and honor it, we are blessed on this Earth at this time. I have been given many Priesthood blessings by men who worthily hold it and my life has been blessed immensely. I have seen sick people be healed, I have been comforted, guided, and directed, and I have seen people be released comfortably from this life to the next. I am grateful for the blessing it is in our home.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Colton is 12

I am so sad that this is the only picture I got of the amazing birthday cake that Martha made for Colton! By the time I realized it was a blurry mess, it was half gone! Martha is so great! She made Colton the yummiest, cutest birthday cake EVER! I am so thankful that she loves my boy!
Colton is 12 years old today! Apparently this morning, he called everyone he knew to remind them that it is his birthday! Awesome. That's one of the many things I love about Autism! He felt like everyone should be wide awake, celebrating with him!

We are so thankful to have this little guy in our family. His life is full of adventure, love, and light. He lives in a happy world where everyone is full of goodness and love. Happy birthday, Boogie!