Sunday, February 02, 2014

The One With Sulfur Burps

Today I have lysoled:

  • My entire bathroom
  • The kids entire bathroom
  • The changing table
  • The wipeys
  • The Aquaphor lid
  • The Aquaphor container
  • The diaper genie
  • Every door handle
  • Every sink handle
  • Every and any surface
The Neff House is under attack.  The Sulfur Burp Flu, or, The Aguado Flu, has hit us hard. 

Real hard.

It started with me, maybe.  It's hard to track it back.  The CDC would struggle with this one.

It hit me hard Friday night.  I have never thrown up so much, or done the...other thing so much.  And it was awful.  It was black.

And now my poor Kiki boo has it.  Break my heart.  His little belly is so bloated and hard and in between spouts of happiness is whining because he just doesn't know what is going on.  So sad.  

A picture for the grandparents.  Like kids and books, they only read blog posts with pictures ;)

Saturday, February 01, 2014

The One Where Six Hundred Of Us Went To The Zoo

My good friend Clarissa does preschool out of her house, because she's slightly insane, and she got us all into the zoo for $5 a pop.  Sweet!

Clarissa and William


"Grace, scootch over so you're in the picture."


"Grace, scoot over so you're in the picture!"


"A little more..."


"Almost..."


Aaaand she blinks.  Poor kid.

After we took a trip into the desert...in Arizona...we went to pet the sting rays.  Because nothing says, "Come and pet me!" like a STING. RAY.  So soft and cuddly.

Actually, it was sort of the highlight of every ones day.



Kian got in on the fun, too.  So cute.

There were three or four little baby sting rays.  They were so fun to watch.  They would swim in the opposite direction, and swim under/over the older sting rays.  One swam right up to Kembry and ran into the wall trying to crawl up.  It was so funny.

We learned that baby sting rays are called "pops" and when they're born they look like little toquitos and then they open their little fins and are ready for life!


Here's lookin' at you, kid.  Don't mind his face.  We beat him.


I love my Cohen.  He is such an awesome big brother.


Kem and Em.  Cohen snapped this lovely picture.


Everyone, I'd like you to meet Eddie.  My future son in law.


Chloe is Eddie's "favoritest girl ever!"  Don't blame ya, kid.


This pose created by Eddie himself.  "Take our picture!" he hollered.  It's their future engagement picture.


Kembry and a water bottle!  Yay!


Weirdos.


Hangin' out with Philip.  The Orangutan.  "People of the forest."  They're my favorite exhibit.


"I got a boo boo so I'm hiding in my blankey."


"You takin' my picture?  You takin' my picture?"


Blue Steel!

 We had a blast.  Tons of friends, tons of fun.  Followed by tons of naps!


The One Where Brett Wants To Give Me A Lance Armstrong Bracelet

It's fun finally updating the blog.

NOT!

It used to be so easy.  Oh well, here's another day in the life...

Before our fabulous Christmas vacation in sunny Utah *snort* I had an MRI on my back to get an update on my spinal stenosis (it's moving along quick awfully), when they found a cyst on my right ovary.

*Shrug*

I've done cysts before.  Not too concerned.  So we went our way to Utah, froze ourselves nearly to death, or at least we tried, suffered miserably from the swine flu, and then made our way back to Utah.

Que cyst.

It burst.

I went to the E.R. to request euthanasia, they gave me morphine instead, so I settled down.  During the ultrasound to check and make sure the cyst had burst, they found a cystic teratoma on my left ovary.

Bummer.

So a little over a week ago I had to go under the knife yet again to have it removed.  Unfortunately, it had eaten away most of my ovary, so they took it and my tube, the thieves.

And so now Brett wants to give me a Lance Armstrong bracelet.  I feel a little lopsided, but not too upset.  Surgery is never fun, and the recovery wasn't great.  But at least I can still ovulate.

I rhymed!  I still got it!

The One Where Brett Is Right

Oh, that's every time, though.  He's always right.  Cause he's da bomb.

Anyway, last Tuesday Brett got the AWESOME opportunity to serve as a parking attendant at the open house for the new Gilbert Temple.

We went to lunch before I dropped him off, cause, that's how we roll.  And we had a fabulous conversation.

I was telling Brett how I wanted to be better at certain things.  One of my biggest problems is having grand intentions, worthy desires, and then, blip.  No follow through.

I wasn't sure where it was coming from, or what exactly it was.  For example, I have general desires to raise my children to be righteous, beautiful children who have perfect testimonies of the Gospel.  Simple, right?

But it seems like life just keeps getting in the way.

So this is where Brett's advice came in.

D&C 82:10
"I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise."

Brett told me to hold the Lord to his promise.  Pray to him with my desires, which were good and worthy desires, and He could help me figure out what it was I needed.

Once I had that feedback, he then instructed me to go back to the Lord, and request help overcoming those obstacles.

So I did just that.  Dropped him off at the Temple, headed home, and prayed for guidance.  My answer was immediate.  I knew exactly what I needed to do to become overcoming my blip attitude.

I realized I needed more courage to say no to the good in order to accomplish the best.

The Lord never fails to follow up promptings and revelations with real-life, hands on experience.  So just shortly after this happened, I got a text from Brett:

"Guess what!  They said I can take you guys through the Temple and we don't have to wait in line.  Get the kids ready, be here at 6."

Sounds simple, right?

Enter obstacles.  I had a girls night planned that night.  My monthly girls night.  My beacon of all things laughy, girly, and full of delicious food.  It was my good friends last GN before her belly burst and she gave birth, and my others friends birthday bash celebration.  I had been waiting and waiting for over a month for this night.

*Lightbulb*

Aw, now I see.  Time to hold the Lord accountable.  If I do what He's told me to, I know He will help me.  So, post-surgery, highly uncomfortable, I got myself and four children ready to go to the Temple.

And was it hard to choose the best choice?

Surprisingly (or not, I guess, depending on where your faith stands) it was not!

Cohen bathed, without argument!

Kembry, too!

Chloe let me choose her dress!

Kian didn't have a blow out diaper!

All sorts of miracles started taking place.  A lot of you may giggle at what I constitute as a miracle, but these were tiny sweet blessings all for me following revelation.

We showed up at the Temple at exactly 6 o'clock.  It was peaceful, beautiful, and amazing.  I cried.  My kids were so excited to see the Eternity mirrors in the sealing rooms.  It was the most wonderful feeling to show them the alter where mommy and daddy knelt (upon a similar one in the Salt Lake Temple) and were sealed together for time and all eternity.  I touched it's soft velvety surface and let the tears fall.  I was so grateful to be in that room with my family, I can't even describe the joy I felt.  I honestly don't think I've ever felt anything like it.  And I know they felt it, too.

My heart nearly burst when I saw Kembry reach out and gently brush the velvet of the alter.  Her tiny hand on such an important and simple piece of forever.  It was incredible.

And then we went to dinner.  The Spirit followed us, our dinner was so peaceful (even though poor Cohen puked right before we went in.)  And even though I had planned on meeting up with some awesome women later, I just didn't want to be away from my family.  I wanted to kiss my kids goodnight and snuggle with Brett.  And so I did.

Heavenly Father had given me direction on how I should act, and followed up with amazing blessings.

D&C 82:9
"...I give unto you directions on how you may act before me, that it may turn to you for your salvation."






This experience was almost immediately followed up by another where I had already RSVP'd to a rockin' birthday party for a good friend.  But then Brett signed us up for the marriage class the Stake offers, which we've been wanting to take.  I could have easily missed it.  In fact, there were women who did miss it in order to go to our friends bash.

But I knew Heavenly Father had made me a promise, and I knew what I would get in return when I held up my end of the bargain.

Brett and I don't really need a marriage class (cause we're rockstars.  Ok.  He's a rockstar, but I get some glitter now and then.)  We just love learning about the Gospel and ways to improve ourselves.  And I did learn just that.  Like a waterfall, more of my prayers and concerns were answered.

I got an answer to how I can better study my scriptures with Brett.

I realized we were lacking in saying prayers together.

And I learned again how very, very much our Heavenly Father loves us.

I'm so grateful I listened to Brett's advice, and so grateful that Heavenly Father blessed me with guidance and promises to help me succeed.  I have a loooong way to go, but I also have that same feeling I get when I'm in the Temple.

Everything is possible.  It's almost...easy.  With His help, I can do anything.  Even say no to a party or two.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

....And Then I Realized....

So I'm laying in bed the other night thinking about all the stuff I didn't do with the kids that I had wanted to.

I really wanted to do some kiddie crafts with my little ones.

I really wanted to have Kembry help cook dinner (she did help with the cookies...ish.)

I really wanted to read two chapters with Cohen since I missed two nights in a row.

I really, really, REALLY wanted to clean the kitchen.  But that's not with the kids, that was for my own sanity.

I really wanted to read our scriptures together.

I really wanted to say a family prayer.

And then it was 11:30, and I was in bed, not sleeping.

And then I realized...

I never did any of those things when I was kid.  Like...ever.

My mom tucked me in every night until I was like 10, but I don't remember reading chapter books with her.

Pretty sure we never prayed together, or read scriptures.  Ever.

My mom was a working mom, so I don't remember ever doing kiddie crafts with her.

But you know what, I still really love my mom.  I still turned out pretty okay...ish.  My kids still think I'm pretty cool and love me.

So even though there are still things I want to do just because I want to do them, I've kind of accepted that, hey, I turned out okay without ever learning culinary arts at my moms elbow.  And maybe my lack of craftiness doesn't stem from not weaving when I was a toddler.  Shoot, I can crochet a wicked hat of a random proportionate size.

And because most of this lamenting was poured out in prayer, Heavenly Father helped me recognize some other things:

I haven't yelled at the kids in a long time.

Kembry gives me hugs every fifteen minutes and tells me she loves me.

My kids love going to school.

My kids love coming home from school.

My kids have friends.  And they're good friends.

My kids smile more than they cry.

My kids are beautiful.  And they're mine.  And I adore them.

So I'm on my way.  I'm on the road.  And on that road may be the occasional, and I do mean, occasional kiddie craft.  Perhaps when Kembry is 16, I'll teach her the art of crock potting.  Cohen and I may just finish the Leven Thumps series before he graduates college or have his fifth kid.

All in good time.  There is a reason we have eternity.  There is time.

And because everyone loves inspirational quotes (okay, maybe just me?)  I'm throwing this in here.  My friend Shine posted it on facebook just when I needed it.  Another tender mercy of the Lord.

"By their fruits ye shall know them" Matthew 7:17; 3 Nephi 14:16
"Have you ever bitten into a fruit that's not ripe--a hard strawberry or a green melon or something like that? It's gross! All you really want to do is spit it out. If you were judging the fruit based on that appearance at that time, you might think the fruit was not good. But if you waited until the fruit was ripe and then tried it, you would see how delicious it could be.
An important thing to understand about raising children is that children are the slowest-ripening fruit there is. Those precious fruits of our mothering take a long time to mature, and what's more, they all ripen at different rates. So it's unproductive and even dangerous to base our feelings of mothering confidence on where the fruit is at any given time." - Emily Watts "The Slow-Ripening Fruits of Mothering," (p. 10-11)


And then of course, there's this:









Sunday, December 01, 2013

"Let Them Know Me"

I know I'm not the only mom out there who worries her nails over the state of the world.

I love reading books from the 1800's whose mother-characters worry over the state of their world.  What did they have to worry about?  Hems raising above the ankles?  The deplorable state of mud roads?  Horse poop?

I guess they worried about their spinster 18 year old daughter and if she'd ever get married.

I worry about all sorts of stuff.  I reserve a special time of day for it.

It's called bedtime.

But I'm grateful for a revelation that I keep receiving, giving me comfort.  I'm especially grateful that Heavenly Father is kind and patient enough to continue to remind me.

Whenever I worry about the state of the world, if my children will come home safely from school, if they'll grow up to be politicians or worse...like...what's worse?  I dunno, serial killers.

Anyway, when I worry about these things I pray and ask Heavenly Father to lift my burden and tell me what to do.

Just tell me what to do, and I'll do it.

And every time He tells me the same thing.  "Let them know me."

And the rest suddenly doesn't really matter.  Because if my children know their Heavenly Father, they know who they are.  And I know who they are.  I'm reminded of the power that is in place to protect them, and all of Heavenly Father's children.  I'm reminded that I was married in the Temple, that my children were born under a promise that we would be together forever.  A promise. 

No matter what happens here, we have forever.  We have repentance to bring us to forever.  And we have repentance because of our Savior.

"Let them know me..."

It sounds so effortless.  Like all I have to do is step off to the side, and let their spirits feel His divinity and love.  Like I just have to reinforce those good and beautiful feelings.  Like I just have to show them that I know Him.

What a powerful reminder.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

New House Woes

We recently moved from a 1,200 sq. foot home to a 2,500 sq. foot home.

It's like this house was actually built for 6 people!

In our old house, there was one tiny, iddy biddy little linen closet.  I think it was meant for an old man to store his stamp collection.  

Here, we have two HUGE linen closets that I couldn't fill up even if I tried.  No, really.  I put my craft stuff in our linen closet in our gi-gahugic bathroom (that IS a word...in the Kelly Dictionary) and I still have 3 empty shelves.

In our old house, I could tell where the kids were at all times standing anywhere in the house.  

Here, they have closets to hide in, a back yard to play in, neighbors to run away to and their own bedrooms. 

In our old house,  we had 2 kitchen cabinets.  Ok, slight exaggeration.  We had 3.  

Here...I have several that are still going unused.

Now, you would think I would be thrilled, and I am, over the top thrilled.  But, change for most people is tough.  This change has been weird for me.

For example, our bedroom.  The light is all off.  I'm used to our little bed lamp lighting up the entire room that was painted in a soft, light sea-foam green.  We could steam up our tiny bathroom just by washing our hands in hot water.  

Our new room is ginormous.  We could quite literally put our entire living room set in here, along with our bedroom set, and be quite comfortable (ironically, every man that went on the tour of house said as much.  Every MAN, mind you, not woman.  So I guess it's a mans dream to have a living room set in their bedroom.  Who knew?)

Don't get me started on the stairs...actually, the stairs haven't been too bad.  Kians a fast learner and can go up and down those things like a little tiny stair-pro.

We have a play room upstairs now.  An office downstairs.  A separate dining room.  Gone are the days of the formal/living/playroom/office all bundled up in one huge room where we could always be together. 

I guess I just miss the closeness.  It's nice to spread out, to breathe a little.  But...well...my kids are only little for so long, ya know?  And sure our old home was like living in a sardine can, but now I feel like I hardly see the kids, even when we're in the same house.  

I know I'll get used to it.  

And probably wonder how we ever lived without it.

But in the meantime, my kids are just going to have to get used to me sneaking into their beds and night and snuggling them. Fodder for their future therapy sessions.  

Monday, November 25, 2013

Why We Should ALL Be Grateful for Idiots

In today's world, it's not difficult to find things for which to be grateful.

My two walk in closets.

My beautiful home.  My mini-van.

My t.v.  My cell phone.

And of course, the other things I usually take for granted:

My healthy children.  My even tempered, hard working, faith building husband.

My church.  My beliefs.

But there's one very important thing I think we all take further than granted.  We take it to the other end of the scale.  We actually HATE them.

WELL NO MORE!

This season I'm working on my gratitude for all the idiots in the world.

I'm grateful for that idiot in front of me who leaves on his stupid blinker.  Will he turn, won't he?  Who knows!  But I do know one thing, I'm thankful for the reminder to make sure MY stupid blinker isn't on. Where would I be without these idiots?

I'm grateful for the moron who ran the red light and nearly side swiped me and my precious cargo.  I'm grateful to be reminded that no matter how late we're running, our lives and the lives of other drivers are never worth the luxury of being on time.

I'm grateful for the dumb people who over share everything and anything on public social sites like Facebook and Twitter.  I'm grateful that they remind me to hold still, contain my emotions and think through those hurtful and moronic words I'm typing up.  To subdue my passive aggressive tendencies and think to the future and not dwell in the present.  All because of their fine example.

Thanks dumb dumbs.

I'm grateful for all those myopic haters, those bigots, those brainless lemmings who follow blindly any and all wildly provocative ideal.  Because they remind me that one solution does not fit all; except for love.  That's a fabulous daily reminder.

I'm grateful for those stooges who try to shove their philosophy down my throat.  I get to be even more grateful for my own free agency; to know I don't have to follow anything anybody says, that I'm free to follow my conscience.

I'm even free to love the idiots.  What a world.  What a world.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

What are YOU grateful for?




Sunday, November 10, 2013

I'm Tired. Here's Why...

Somewhere between "Let's buy us a house," and "We're all settled in our new house," comes...REMODELS!!

And can I just say, because it's my blog and yes I can just say, that I was totally project horny.

In our old house in Utah, we did lots of projects.  It was the best.  It's been a looooong 2 years without any projects.

So without further ado, I give you the last 3 weeks in PICTURES!


Our living room fire place.  I've never understood why Arizona would even have fireplaces.  But there it is.  A fireplace.  In Arizona.  It also happens to be the only place in the entire living room where we could hang our TV.   Therefore, we tore out the "mantel".  It's mid project.


This is the view from the fireplace towards the kitchen and nook.



Same view, just towards the stairs.  If you look real close, you can see a Kian.


The front door.  Through those double doors is the den/office/guest room.  To the left of that is the half bath.


The kitchen nook.


Le kitchen.  The "Before".


Before....


Before....


During....PS, 24 doors and 13 drawers.  Kind of a huge task.


During...


During....


During....


During....


Getting closer!  You know how when you're planning a project, like say, oh, staining the frames for your cabinets.  And you're like, "Oh, this should only take an hour or so."

Well...4 hours later...


We slowly start to make progress....


And then BAM!  24 doors and 13 drawer fronts, waiting to be stained.  It.  Took.  FOREVER!


During...


Not pictured: screwing in all the knobs and handles.  It took quite awhile.  But here is my handsome and amazing husband, hanging up our doors so that I could see a glimpse of what our future kitchen would look like.



TA-DA!  5 down, a million more to go!  Meanwhile, we had some painters come...


(Remember how Brett tore out the mantle?  That's why there's no mantle.  All caught up?  Good, let's move on...)

Picking paint colors was not fun.  It tested our marriage.  Just kidding.  Well, only sort of.  The light colors on the walls are actually a light gray, and the blue you see is really not quite that blue.  In real life, it looks AMAZING.





The light gray and the background color is dark gray.  The dark behind the light really gives dimension to the room.  It was Brett's idea and it looks incredible!!


Still dark gray to the right.  It's hard to tell in the pictures.  It's definitely dark gray ;)


Now brace yourselves...for...


YELLOW!  


The Jury is still out on the yellow.  It's growing on me though.  

So there you have it.  We've owned this lovely huge new house for 3 weeks and yet we still don't live in it.  Alas.  Upstairs features new carpet, fresh coats of paint, and a master bathroom the size of a shopping mall.  Complete with two walk in closets.  HEAVEN!

It's like it's a house MADE for 6 people.  We're so excited and so, so thankful for our new home.  It's still in our ward, which we love, and it's right across the street from the kids school, which they love.

We live about 1 minute (walking distance) from the house we've rented for the last two years. We get to keep all our wonderful friends and get to know all new people at the same time.  

Sometimes I don't know how we got so lucky.

More pictures to come!





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