My Family

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

Friday, September 30, 2016

Friday Favorites

I am a list girl. I make lists for everything. Without a list, I feel out of control. I also love journaling, writing things I am thankful for, writing impressions I get, sayings that I feel apply to me in the moment, prayers that are answered, love I feel from others. These things remind me that Heavenly Father is aware of me and that He hasn't forgotten me. I also like to go back and read them from time to time, when I need a reminder.

And grocery lists - I buy mine at "It's Sugar" in Farmington Station. I just love the ones they have there and it's a "splurge" for me to spend $3.99 on a pack of 100 grocery lists. Don't judge!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

I Trust You

I have finally blocked someone from text and phone calls. I have finally emailed him all of the information he may need now that I am no longer taking care of everything. Now I just need to come up with the $340 to pay for the divorce that this someone won't. I'm not bitter. Just sad. Still.

There are times, especially when it's quiet, or when I'm driving, or when I'm laying in my bed, that I crave someone to love me. The way I have loved others. There are times when I crave having a partner to share the responsibility with, to share my day's funnies and not-so-funnies with. There are times when I cry, and other times when I tell myself to put on my big girl pants and just move on for crying out loud.

I had a talk with Heavenly Father last night. I do that a lot. Poor Guy. I ask for courage, strength, joy, comfort, peace, and the ability to do all that is required of me. I have began (finally) telling Him that I am totally up for His plan, for His path, for His will (mostly because mine always suck!). I am so ready to do what He wants me to do.

This morning, I opened a package from Miss Sarah - a journal and pencils. Last night, after I prayed, I watched President Uchdorf's talk last Saturday night. It's a beautiful talk. Just beautiful. I felt strongly that I need to write down my joys, my encouraging moments, my spiritual thoughts, my answers to prayers, etc. I'll use my new journal to do this. Then, I received a text from my Pam. She offered to take my family's pictures again next weekend. Oh, that brings me joy. Our last family pictures are beautiful - a treasure - but they were taken in the midst of such pain, such fatigue. We've gone nine months, or so. I can't wait for Fall pictures. I felt so happy when I saw her text. THEN, Miss Teresa sent me a picture of my Baby Victoria coloring. That baby girl, mixed with coloring = perfection.

Colton's Autism check-up was yesterday. As I drove all over the valley to get him, go to the appointment, feed him, drop him off, and go back to work, I thought about how I am so blessed. I am there with him. I am not missing out. My jobs are so supportive of me and my desire to be a mother FIRST. He is stable and is surrounded by AMAZING doctors and teachers and school administrators.

I trust Heavenly Father. Finally. I trust in HIS will, because mine is so blind. He sees more than I see. He knows more than I know. He loves me more than I could ever love myself. He knows what I need, what my boys need... If I do my part, the pain and the sadness and the hurt and the utter frustration will melt away. The blessings will continue to come. All will be well in the end.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Oooh Fancy!

Last night, the boys met me at my office after work. We then drove up the very narrow, windy Ogden Canyon to Gray Cliff Lodge. It is a beautiful, quaint, dainty place. It is a bit rustic, and we fell in love with it right away. I had quite a chat with my children before we left the car. I told them that this was THE fanciest restaurant we had ever, and would ever step foot in. I told them that they were to be quiet, they were to keep their elbows off the table, they were to use their pleases and thank yous. I had printed off a menu prior to them coming and highlighted the items they could choose from (this place is so far out of our price range that it's actually funny. They all knew we would be getting water. So, in we went.

The inside is so welcoming and so cozy. The staff was so kind! My boys were SO well behaved. They ordered perfectly and kept their elbows off the table. Kaydon did some weird thing with his pinky finger when holding silverware or his glass. He wanted to toast every time he took a drink. I shot that down real fast. Jackson was speaking with some foreign accent. I couldn't understand a word he was saying. The food was divine. They serve SO much food! It was delectable!

It was a beautiful evening. I am so thankful I won the gift card so that we could enjoy that time. I love every minute I have with my sweet boys!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

I Love You, Too

I got this yesterday. Enough said.
Sunday, I asked each of my kids individually if they thought I was doing okay. Was I taking good enough care of them? Was I giving them what they need? They each answered, "Yes." Now, they could have been saying that because I had yet to make dinner, but I needed them to know that I was trying and that if they need anything to come to me.

My shoulders are weighed down at times with the responsibility that is mine - Mother, comforter, protector, teacher, punisher, rule-maker, cook, homemaker, bread winner, sole supporter, spiritual advisor, referee, taxi driver, errand-runner, shopper, fixer, doctor, cheerleader, appointment maker, budget maker, and the list goes on. But, my heart is full and I know that angels continue to surround us every hour of every day. For that reason, I am eternally grateful.

Monday, September 26, 2016

It's Time

These boys of mine, though.
I have decided that it's time for this Mama to start counseling. We've almost been through an entire year since the world turned upside down for us. As I look back, I see how far we have come and how much we have had to overcome. I see that we have chosen joy most of the time and that we have truly done our best, which is all that is expected of us. But, there are parts of my story that I can't quite come to terms with. I struggle with not crying, not being angry, not being sad, not being hurt. I need to have help with moving completely forward, so I will do that. For me. For my boys. And, perhaps my boys will need to start the counseling, too. And that's okay. It's all okay. We are doing the best we can with what we've been given.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Stuff and More Stuff

There is always stuff, isn't there? This mama is tired. Two nights this week, I have had the boys put a movie on in my room and have laid with them while we let our brains go to mush. I feel like I am just exhausted.

Now that I am doing the training at Kohl's, I am working more hours. The nights aren't as late when I train, because I make sure to hold it to a couple of hours, but it's still a lot and I feel like my house to going to the birds! I feel like my kids are desperate for Mom to cook and not to have to rely on Mac and Cheese, Ramen, or quesadillas. This weekend, I need to find time to get freezer meals done or get stuff organized to get the crock pot ready for the week ahead.

Last night, I could not get my boys' attention. I needed one to do one thing, another to do another, a third to do something different and I was relatively certain that I was talking to the walls because nothing was happening. So, I went and put this hat on. Suddenly, I had undivided attention. Yes, they were odd stares, but I had them! I told Jackson that if he asked me to Homecoming, I would wear this hat. He told me that he couldn't come near me because he was certain there was something living on my head.

Ogden had a little storm hit this week. Flooding, power outages, trees down - you know just the norm. It was actually terrifying to be in the office and watch it all unfold... in the dark. Mommy no likey. As I was leaving work, though, this beautiful rainbow appeared. It's always a reminder if we let it be. We can be in the darkest of our hours, when we cannot see the blue sky through the heavy, dark, threatening, frightening clouds that are dumping on us, that are taking away our light, that are preventing us from going outside to get fresh air. But if we will just keep going, just wait it out, the rainbow will always come out.
Oh, and the thumb. No broken bones. No soft tissue! His soft tissue in the hand and wrist are obliterated. Too many injuries. Awesome. Cast for another three weeks, or so. Then, we will begin range of motion and see if he needs surgery. Not awesome.
Carry on.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Friday Favorites

I am a pretty organized person, at least I try to be. I have a few things going on. When Josh's grandma passed away, I snatched up this handy little hanger. It hold my earrings, necklaces, and my ring. It hangs behind my bathroom door where it is not in the way. It's the last thing I do before I leave in the morning - grab my earrings and my ring and head out. It keeps everything in one spot and easily accessible. Love!!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Living in a Boys' World

Yesterday, I went out with our Streets crew so that I could get pictures of them paving a street. It is so hot near that asphalt. I wasn't even on the asphalt. I was on the sidewalk and I felt like it was cooking my skin off. There are so many different aspects of paving. They have all these little measurements that they have to adjust mechanically. It takes a trained eye to see if there are high or low spots in the road that need to be fixed before the roller comes over it to set it. I was so proud of these boys of mine.

Even though they had to keep their eye on their responsibility at all times, they were constantly aware of where I was and always telling me to stay right with them. I would tell them I was a big girl and could take care of myself. They would just shake their heads and repeat to stay right with them so they knew I was safe.

On my way home from work, I traveled to JoAnn's Store. Kaydon needed supplies for a sewing project at school. As I entered the store after a long day at work, all I could think was how blessed I was to have the money in my account to buy these supplies for my boy, how blessed I am to be a mama to these boys, and how blessed I am to have these particular boys in my life.

When I got home, I made dinner and then told Braxton to meet me in my bed with his Geography homework. We labeled world maps for a few hours, laughed, ate some cherry sours, then I sent him off to bed and I went to dream land. Before I did, I said a silent prayer thanking Heavenly Father for these boys and for the gift of being their mama.

I can't imagine my life any other way.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

My Other Other Boys

I have my four boys that I am a mommy to. I have my two boys that I am a sister to. Then, I have my 88 guys that I am Heidi Ray to. These are my other other boys and I adore them. Yesterday was our Fall Social. We grilled up some lunch for them and then they played their bi-annual softball game. It's one of my favorite parts of the year! I love this day. The guys just get to relax and play some softball. There are very few things that I would rather do than to sit at a baseball or softball game!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Our Trial and Triumph - A Week Full of Blessings

1. A day off to clean and re-group
2. Ability to pay bills and buy groceries
3. Our Secret Gift-Givers and their love for us
4. Miss T's text (I am SO excited!!!)
5. Miss Birdie's package full of love and laughter and goodness (I read the book to myself every morning)
6. Getting a hair cut!
7. My kids making me laugh so hard I pee a little
8. Blankets
9. Hot Chocolate
10. My amazing co-workers
11. The colors in my mountains
12. Gus hasn't had one accident in the house this week! (this is big, People)
13. Miss Kim's text on Sunday
14. Chris's zucchini bread (holy crap goodness!!!!)
15. Watermelon gum
16. All of the boys in our complex unloading my groceries
17. Space heaters
18. Netflix
19. Health insurance
20. Hoodies

Friday, September 16, 2016

Friday Favorites

I love my crockpots. I have two of them. They cook most of our meals. I thought that today I would share a couple of the recipes that we are very happy with right now...

Hot Chicken (Miss T)
One package of chicken thighs (you can use any chicken cut. Miss T uses wings.)
One bottle of Red Hot Hot Sauce (I don't like ANYTHING hot. This is perfection.)
One package brown sugar

Stir the hot sauce and brown sugar together. Put the chicken in the crockpot. Put the sauce over it. Cook it on low all day. Done.

This is delicious. We love it. I have served it with red potatoes and carrots. I've also served it with just brown rice. You could do potato wedges. SO easy. So good!

Chicken Chili
Five large chicken breasts (skinless, boneless)
One can diced tomatoes (I just use a quart of my stewed tomatoes)
One can cream of chicken soup
Two cans white beans
Two cans black beans (I've used pinto beans, too)
One package chili seasoning mix
8 oz. cream cheese

Place the chicken on the bottom of the crock pot. Pour everything else, except the cream cheese, on top. Cook on low all day. About an hour, or so, before you serve it, cut up the cream cheese and put it in there so it melts. Shred the chicken at the same time. De-freaking-licious. Serve with sour cream, grated cheese, etc.

There are so many different ways to cook a beef roast in crock pot. This one was new to me and it is delicious.
Beef roast
Red potatoes
-Any other vegetables you want in there-
Two cans of brown gravy (I just use two packages of brown gravy mix and mix them up)

Put it all in the crock pot on low for all day. This is so good! I feel like this kept the roast really moist.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016


Some days are not joyful. Some days are really hard. Yesterday, I received an email from a teacher. She has two of my children in her class. She informed me that they cheated on a quiz. This mama does not deal with cheating very well. (Read over the last year of blog posts) I immediately called the children, who were at home. I informed them that this was completely unacceptable and that we would talk further when I arrived home. I don't think they were very excited for me to come home.

I prepared dinner, set the table and called the children in. I informed them that as they ate, I would speak and they would listen without interruption. And that is exactly what happened. I spoke to them about cheating, honesty and integrity. I reminded them that failing a class is acceptable as long as they hand in all of their work and do their best. What I will not ever tolerate is cheating and dishonesty. Afterwards, I read an article from President Hinckley from 1972, where he speaks directly to the Aaronic Priesthood. He reminds boys to be clean, be obedient, be prayerful, and be honest. He reminds them that they have the ministering of angels through the Aaronic Priesthood. I reminded them of the importance to be honorable.

As we were finishing up, someone knocked at the door. That usually irritates the heck out of me because the cute kids in the complex never stop knocking on the door. But this time it was the cute missionaries. They had a bag with root beer and ice cream and a card. If you know me AT ALL, you know that I DO NOT like surprises. AT ALL. Like, I still open my Christmas presents secretly early because I don't like surprises. I began to threaten the Elders to tell me who this was from. They wouldn't budge. Jackson started to tell me that I could be arrested for threatening. Whatever. I have no idea who this bag is from, but the gratitude that flowed through my heart was immense.

We are oh, so blessed. And, as President Hinckley promised decades ago, if we do what we are supposed to do, Heavenly Father will not forget us.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Heidi Days

Welcome back, Heidi Ray.

I spent a few days off the grid... in my home, or in other places with my children. I realized this morning that I hadn't done my hair or makeup since Friday morning. Pure joy. On Saturday, the children and I went to Lagoon for the last day of Lagoon-a-Beach. Like usual, I sat in my chair in the sun coloring while the children rode rides and picked up on girls.. you know, the usual. When we got home, I made a big batch of homemade peach ice cream. Then, my sweet Braxton begged and begged to go to Buffalo Wild Wings so we could watch the football game AND the fights. Colton came along. Notice, no makeup, hair pulled back, and peace.

Sunday, I was blistered and Braxton was sick. I slept while some of the boys went to church. They are good boys like that. Once I got out of bed, I bagged and froze 30 quarts of peaches. Delicious.

Monday, Jackson and I woke up early to go to the gym. I love having him as a gym partner. He makes me laugh so hard that I usually tinkle a little bit. Then we went and picked up a couple of pieces of furniture from Uncle Brandon's office. At that point, Jackson decided he wanted to spend the day with Mom, and after he had several panic attacks over the weekend, I was okay with that. We cleaned the carpets and then went to lunch. We watched Netflix and ate and chatted. I weeded out front and swept and mopped the kitchen floor. When the boys got home, I made dinner and we chatted some more.

People, it was perfect.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Friday Favorites

It's no secret that I love to color. It helps me so much to be able to take my mind off of stresses and trials and just kind of lose myself for a little bit. With the weather getting cooler, I have been going outside in my camping chair, in my weeds, on my lunch breaks. I just sit out there and color - only looking up once in a while to watch my "friends" across the street. I mean, I can't go a whole hour without watching their antics!

Anywho, back to coloring. My favorite kind of markers are really any kind, but if I am in a serious coloring mood I love the Sharpie fine point markers. I also love all smelly markers. How can you not?!

Coloring - It's what I do!

Our Trial and Triumph - A Week Full of Blessings

Even when things are hard... like really hard... if you look, you will still find blessings that you cannot even begin to number. They are infinite. They are there for us all of the time. We need to live worthy to receive them, and we need to open our eyes to see them and our hearts to let them in.
1. Health insurance
2. Taking Braxton to the doctor & eating lunch with him
3. Jackson going to the gym with me because HE wants to
4. Kaydon reminding me that we NEED family prayers every morning
5. Lunch with Rock
6. Peaches
7. A raise at Kohl's
8. Being a store trainer
9. Aunt Carrie taking Colton for a blood draw (She might be traumatized)
10. Brandon giving me a blessing Monday night
11. Coloring
12. Frozen grapes
13. Crazy co-workers who make me laugh
14. Cooler mornings
15. The ability to take the three youngest to school every day
16. Work ethic
17. Music
18. The matchbox
19. Scriptures
20. The ability for the boys' dad and I to be friends now

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Picking Peaches

Tuesday night, our Bishop's wife called and had us go pick some peaches and nectarines. Their backyard is amazingly stunning. Colton thinks it's Heaven, I'm pretty sure. Braxton and Kaydon picked peaches while Colton and I picked nectarines. I'll be baking and freezing peach muffins for my breakfasts and then slicing and freezing peaches for lunches and snacks. Miss T supplied us with a good amount of bottled peaches, so I won't have to can these ones. Blessed!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Guess Who!

If you are new to this blog, you may be unaware that between my four children there have been 26 operations. 26. And, Jackson has had zero. So, that makes 26 amongst 3 boys. Two of those children have just about died on my a couple of times. Seriously. No wonder I'm exhausted.

So, it was no surprise that yesterday when I got home from work I saw Braxton (shocker!) with a red bandana wrapped around his thumb/wrist/hand region. I just ignored it for a couple of hours until I finally asked him what happened. "First day of gym, Mom! Pretty sure I broke my thumb!" I am actually laughing while I am typing this because it actually is hilarious. Did I take him to the doctor? Heck no! My boys have had so many injuries, so many broken bones, so many illnesses that at this point if they aren't in danger of being permanently injured or of dying, I wait it out. I'm not kidding.

Uncle Brandon came over last night to give Mama a blessing. He moved that thumb around QUITE.A.BIT. Braxton was screaming and squealing. I felt kind of bad for him. Uncle Brandon doesn't "think" it's broken - probably just jammed really bad. We tied some bags of frozen zucchini to his thumb and sent him to bed. If it still hurts tomorrow, Uncle Brandon will x-ray it.

Until then, he is wearing a red bandana on it.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Stupid Wall

So, you know how you can be going along just fine, feeling great, feeling strong, in fact feeling amazing, like totally awesome-sauce - then BOOM. You hit the wall and blood splatters every where. And your parents pick you up and your little brother up and drive all the way to the hospital, to then realize that the newborn baby brother was left at home, so you have to turn around in your two-door Volkswagon Rabbit to get the newborn baby brother, just to turn back around to sew up the hole in your head from your little brother chasing you around the house...

Okay, so that is a true story - it happened when I was four, Brandon was three, and Logan had just sprouted from Mom's belly.

But it's also what has figuratively happened to me in the last week, or so. Here I have been going along just great (or so I thought), doing everything on my lists, keeping to the budget, cooking, cleaning, working, running all of the errands, setting up appointments, going to appointments, forgetting only a couple of the appointments, dealing with school stuff, working some more, setting goals, trying to come up with new traditions... then BOOM. I hit a wall. The only blood that has splattered is from my pinky toe, whose entire nail came off, but the tears that I have shed more than made up for the lack of splattered blood this time.

What is wrong with me?!?! Well, I'm sad. I'm hurt. I'm depressed sometimes. I have questions that may never be answered. I feel used and betrayed. (Both of which are accurate, FYI) I'm tired. Being emotionally broken is far more exhausting than being physically broken for me. The three back surgeries, heart surgery, hysterectomy, etc. were no match for the emotional exhaustion that I have felt in my life. No match.

I keep it together around people, and especially around my boys, but when I put myself to sleep at night, I cry until I finally go to dream land - which is only coming in spurts right now. I'm oh, so tired. When I'm busy, I'm better. When I'm working, I'm better. When I'm active with my babies, I'm better. When I'm alone, or quiet, or driving, I'm not better.

Rock came and took me to lunch today. I confided to him that I'm struggling. I asked him why? Why now? Why am I struggling now? Then I kind of answered my own question, with his help. I want for Josh to tell me everything I did wrong that made him go with other women and create another baby, all the while I was thinking we had a good marriage. You see, if he told me what I did to cause this then I wouldn't feel like my boys and I had been replaced. Feeling like someone replaced me and my children is oh, so painful. So, I just need him to tell me what I did wrong. But, he can't. He says, "nothing. I just made a big mistake." In my committed, loyal brain, that makes no sense. At all. Also, the last six years (really the last 20 years of failed relationships) have been a lie. I have been living a lie. I put soap in my kids' mouths for lying and grownups can just get away with it?? Like, it's nothing. Like, go ahead and live secret lives and there won't be a consequence for you, yet the other people involved will forever be affected by your stupidity.

See! I'm not okay, People! But, I will be. In no way is my testimony affected. Although, I have had some conversations with God lately that you could call real "whoppers." But, for crying out loud (and I do), move the freaking wall. Help me to know how to knock it down. I would love to take some sort of hard-hitting tool and just knock down some walls! I would also love to hit something else, but I won't go there!

This is what I know -- right now the wall is there and I need to get around it, go over it, knock it down... do something. I suppose walls are going to keep popping up along this path of life. I just want to be able to kick them down as soon as I see them. Patience never was a virtue of mine!

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Our Trial and Triumph - A Week Full of Blessings

I haven't don't this for a while. It's not because we are not blessed daily, that's for sure! I just got busy with activities and birthdays to blog about.
1. Hamburger from the bishop
2. Birthday candy bars from the bishop
3. Family traveling for Kaydon's ordination
4. Back-to-school blessings from Uncle Brandon
5. Messages from Logan!
6. Diet Coke surprise gift
7. Fairfield Junior High administration and staff!!
8. Card & gift from Miss LeAnne (I miss her!)
9. Gifts from Miss Sarah
10. Visit and gifts from Miss T!!!!!
11. My jobs
12. My boys talking to me about everything day and night
13. Clarity
14. My scriptures!
15. The Priesthood
16. Laughter
17. Ability to cry... then to carry on
18. Cooler nights
19. Ability to exercise again
20. Trials that lead to triumph

Friday, September 2, 2016

Friday Favorites

Clearance Racks.

I HATE shopping. A LOT. When I do shop, I only look at clearance, or I go to second-hand stores. The table cloth in the picture below was $1.25 at Kohl's on clearance. Bet your bootie I snatched it right up! I also bought the "wine" glasses, which were four for $1.99. Now we have fancy glasses for our fancy dinners!

I also bought our "lego table" at the DI for $5 and a bookcase at the DI for another $5.

We might not have a lot, and we might not have super nice things, but we have sufficient for our needs. And that is all we need!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

It's an Honor

Last night, family came together for Kaydon's ordination to the office of a Teacher in the Aaronic Priesthood. Kaydon had asked that my grandpa perform the ordination. Last night was the night that seemed to work. Grandma and Grandpa drove up from California and we all met at our chapel last night.

In the circle stood Grandpa, Papa, Pops, Uncle Brandon, Bishop Krum, Don Mendenhall (a previous YM advisor), and Jackson. In the surrounding chairs sat Nana, Grandma, Grandma Nef, Aunt Carrie, Mommy Martha, Baby Brooklyn, Braxton, Colton, and me. It was a beautiful ordination and blessing. To see my Jackson standing in that circle with his hand on his brother's head was priceless.

After the ordination, our sweet bishop said a few words. My grandpa spoke to Kaydon directly. Brother Mendenhall said some things that were beautiful. Then, Bishop asked me to speak. Through tears, I simply said, "I am honored to be their mom." "I am honored to be their mama. Boys, you are to live up to the Priesthood that you hold. You are to honor it. You have not had good examples in our home, but as you look around this room, you can see that you have all of the examples that you need. We need the Priesthood in our home and each of you holds it. Your mama needs the Priesthood, so you are to live it and honor it."

Look at these boys. Look at them. I am oh, so good.