Special Day

Our sweet baby girl was given such a lovely blessing on Sunday by her daddy.  She wore the same dress I wore when I was blessed.  IMG_1223_edited-1 
These two. ..they adore each other.  She gave him her first smiles, and still gives him her best ones.  He has loved all our chidren. But this little girl, he definitely has a soft spot in his heart for her.  And it makes me happier than I could have imagined.   
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We are so very thankful for our family!

Back to School

Another school year has started and all three boys are in school this year.  Wade has been so happy to show Sam the ropes at his school and Sam has loved riding the bus home with Wade. 

Luke is also riding the bus to school this year, which honestly I feel a little guilty about since it take a half hour there and back.  But he loves it and loves to feel like a big kid, and since I have a new baby it is a tremendous help to not have to drive him.  And it is only two times a week.  Luke's speech has made tremendous progress over the summer, but there are still a few things he says that we can't understand.  School will be so good for him this year.  

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My entire pregnancy with this last baby was so hard.  I was so sick, and then so hot, and then so miserable.  My last two babies came early on their own, so I was sure this one would too.  But the days kept ticking by and this baby would not come.  I was pretty discouraged, but I had an induction date set for the 15th of August so I knew there was an end in sight.  However, the Sunday before my induction date, the hospital called to tell me that there wasn't any room for me the next day.  Discouragement hit an all new level and I spent a good portion of the morning sobbing on my bed.  

Much to my surprise, when I called the hospital the next morning to double check there was a room available.  We grabbed our bags and ran out the door as fast as we could before they changed their minds.  Labor and delivery was so easy and fast.  Because I was positive for StrepB  I had to be pumped full of antibiotics for 4 hours, but thankfully we had the Olympics to keep us entertained.  Once I had the full dose of antibiotics, I had my epidural put in and then the doctor broke my water, and two hours later the sweetest little baby joined our family.

Tessa Katherine was born at 2:25 pm weighing 7 pounds 13 oz and looking very much like her older brother Sam and her mama.  She is named for her Great Grandmother Katherine who was one of the sweetest Grandmothers one could ever ask for, and for her Aunt Katie, who we know will be one of the greatest influences on this little girl.  

Tessa has not been the easiest newborn, but after Luke, we have been much more prepared for taking care of a baby that cries a lot.  She does have a lot of happy time, and when she is awake she is surrounded by her doting older brothers.  We all love this little girl and are so excited to have a little head to adorn with bows!






Merry Christmas


2015 has been a big year for us.  Phil and Jen celebrated their 10 year anniversary with a trip to Paris and London in the spring.  Phil started a new job with Ebay, and our family moved back to Utah, locating farther south in Sandy.  We bought a house without even seeing it and then proceeded to tear it apart.  With the help of many friends and family we painted, put in new floors throughout the house, redid the powder bathroom and installed a whole new kitchen.  We couldn't be happier with how everything turned out...so happy that we are already looking forward to redoing the rest of the bathrooms next year (well, at least Jen is).  

Wade is in second grade and making lots of new friends.  He took golf lessons this fall and can't wait until he gets good enough to drive a golf cart.  He loves math and is better at doing it in his head than his mom.  He is also a fantastic reader and we often catch him staying up late to finish a book.  He turns 8 next month and is excited to be getting baptized.  His favorite activity is hiking and scaring his mom by getting as close to the cliffs as he can.  

Sam is in preschool and loves it.  He is still our tender-hearted little boy and often tears up, making his mom and dad feel guilty for ever getting mad at him.  He is reading surprisingly well for his age and even gets most of the words right when we read from the scriptures.  His favorite thing to do is ride his bike and he is quite upset that we just got over a foot of snow preventing him from riding for a while.   

Luke is trying to make up for the first three years of his life.  He is so much happier now that he can somewhat communicate with us and showers us with smiles to let us know when he is happy.  He is adjusting well to his new preschool and we are so excited for all he will learn there with his new speech therapist.  Luke loves cars and helping his dad with any kind of outdoor chores.  He also loves to do anything with his big brothers.  

We love this time of year and the chance it gives us to reflect on our Savior. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."  John 3:16. He is truly the greatest gift we can receive this holiday season.  We wish you all the merriest of Christmases.  



 This little one turned three yesterday.  I am not gonna lie, there were days I wasn't sure we were going to make it this far.  This kid can throw a tantrum!  Most of his tantrums are due to his inability to communicate though.  And he is finally getting the help he needs.  Back when he turned two, I had Luke evaluated for a speech delay, and he barely didn't qualify.  After we moved to Utah, I had him evaluated again, and he definitely qualified (being in the 1% for his age).  He has had two months of speech therapy so far and it has made a world of difference.  Now that he is three, he qualifies for the preschool program which includes a speech therapist.  Today was his first day.  And when I dropped his off....he kicked and screamed....not really a shock.  But his teacher said he calmed right down after I left and played happily.  When I picked him up, he spent a good five minutes telling me about his snack and the colors he used today, something that was not even possible a few months ago.  It made my momma heart happy.

I am so thankful he qualifies for this program and that there are sweet teachers who are willing to be so patient with my little boy.  I love him, but it has been such a hard three years.  I am praying that as his communication skills get better, he will be happier.   

Sam is 5

Another year older!  We sure love our sweet Sam.  He is such a happy and loving little boy and we are so happy to watch him grow.  Since this little boy loves Thor, we had a little Avengers themed party.  

Everyone picked a team to be on.  And you know, sometimes Iron Man just has to pick his nose.IMG_0880_edited-1 
Their best superhero poses...IMG_0884_edited-1 
Some took their job more seriously than others.IMG_0899_edited-1 IMG_0950_edited-1 IMG_0920_edited-1 
We played Avengers games...IMG_0907_edited-1 
but the favorite was capturing the villain and tying him up (thanks for being such a good sport Grandpa!)IMG_0962_edited-1 
And of course we had Thor cupcakes.IMG_0873_edited-1
Thanks for turning 5 Sam and letting us celebrate you!


I opted not to do a theme this year, but to let the boys each pick their own costume.  Wade is really into space right now, and decided to be an astronaut.  He even helped me make his helmet.  Sam loves Thor...not exactly sure why.  All of the other Avengers are, well....they are just ok.  But Thor, he's the man.  And little Luke.  He had about 5 different costumes to pick from.  I tried to talk him into being cookie monster, but he insisted on wearing his ghost costume from last year, which is much too small, but he was cute all the same.  Phil and I even dressed up for our neighborhood block party.  (In case you can't tell, we are Flo and Mayhem).  We had a great night trick-or-treating with friends.IMG_0854_edited-1 IMG_0839_edited-1 IMG_0832_edited-1 IMG_0829_edited-1 IMG_0860_edited-1

Reconstruction: Part 1

One of the last trips I take from Houston I notice this car in the parking garage.  Notice the registration expired December of 2011.  I think the next season of the Serial podcast is investigating this one.

Memorial Day weekend I take off from my second job so I can move my family up from Houston into Jen's parents' basement.  We pack all our stuff into another Uhaul and get the picture of the boys standing on it again.  It's a long drive and we swear we'll never do it again.  Seems like we said that last time, too.


Back to work.  I clear out the laundry room/bathroom on the main floor.  I've done tiling before so I can get that done pretty easily.  I need to put down cement backer board and decide to use my circular saw to get it done in about 45 minutes.  Note: when doing the same thing for my bathroom in my house in Woods Cross, I used a knife to score it and break it off.  It took about 12 hours and 15 blades to get done.  I borrow my brother in law's man tile saw and he helps out doing most of the cutting.  I get that done while Jen's dad (GC) works on wiring.


I get a batt of insulation and stuff it up in the ceiling of the main floor to muffle the sounds from upstairs.  I wear long sleeves, gloves and facemask, but neglect to wear eye protection.  That stuff is brutal.  If you want to know what it feels like without having to buy the insulation, just crush up comes glass and use it instead of your contact lens solution.


At the end of most of my night shifts I open doors at both ends of the house and use my blower to create a wind tunnel and get as much of the dust as I can out of the house.  We get the wiring and insulation set for the kitchen walls so it's time for a contractor to put the drywall up and texture the ceiling.  "I'll do anything for remodels (but I won't do that)" my GC says.  He's got a guy in his ward that does it so we talk to him and he says he'll be out by the end of the week to take a look.  Never hear from the guy again.  So I go to redbeacon.com to find somebody new (I'd done some work with them when I was consulting).  I spend about 5 hours on the phone and talk to about 5 different outfits and they were all booked for 3-4 months.  Jen talks to a friend of hers in the ward and has him come take a look.  I meet him at the house and he says maybe a total of four words, not including some grunts.  Three of the four words were, "Start on Monday".  Sold.  I have to take care of a joist that is hanging low, so I spend one of my shifts cutting it down while coming millimeters from the gas line we just put in.  Don't worry the gas wasn't flowing at that point.


We took the next weekend off to go down to Austin to see my family.  The cabinets we'd ordered were delivered about the time we got back, so Jen's dad and I got to work installing those (good thing we got the contractor out to put up the walls just before we left).  For some reason they didn't make the cabinets exactly square (either that or our fur out job wasn't exactly square, but I think we can safely assume where the problem was), so it took a fair amount of work to get them into place.


Next time: the exciting conclusion.