So, as the weather gets colder I get more and more nostalgic...I'm not sure quite why, but for some reason, cooler weather means random teary moments, feelings of great compassion and incredible gratitude. Maybe it's conference...maybe it's just because I do love a good grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup...who knows. At any rate, as I looked at all of my family blogs, saw how kids are growing and what fun new things are happening, I just feel so lucky. So incredibly lucky. And just knowing how lucky I am wasn't enough. I need to SHARE it with everyone!
First, of course, I am SO, SO, SO grateful for FAMILY. I have the most wonderful husband whose favorite pasttime is entertaining, spending time with, and generally being an in touch dad!
I have the most fabulous children! I'm sure ever mom feels the same way and I am no exception:
Tyler will be 15 this year and is quite enjoying 9th grade. He loves to hunt and be with his dad. He is a huge help with his little sister and brother and is so fun to have around. He is patient and kind. I couldn't ask for a better oldest son!
Holden is turning 12 in a few months and has begun a great year in 6th grade. He is coming into his own pursuing fencing, karate (more UFC style fighting), reading, and computer stuff. He is HILARIOUS...you can count on Holden to lighten any situation. He always has a joke ready! He is so responsible and secretly compassionate with his little brother and sister. Who knew 12 could be so fun!
Cole, I know he's not technically mine, but I SO love this kid. Cole turns 8 in about 5 months...I can hardly believe it! He is such a tender kid, he thrives on attention and loves to just be with people. He is so smart, reading just about everything he can see. He is enjoying 2nd grade this year and has friends everywhere you turn. Even though he is only ours "part-time" he fills an otherwise empty spot in our home, hearts, and family!
Camden turns 7 just before Colie turns 8...man time flies. Camden is LOVING 1st grade this year and has decided he prefers "home lunch" to school lunch. He is my social butterfly...he gets along with EVERYone. Not a day goes by that I don't get a text invitation, knock at the door, or phone call requesting Cam's presence. He is such a little diplomat, kind and generous with everyone. What a treasure, what a joy!
Miss Addy...turned 5 about 6 weeks ago and ADORES Kindergarten! She is thriving and learning so much. She is like a sponge! Though that sometimes backfires...Addy is so sweet and so "spicy"...that's what little girls are made of, right? She is following in her brother's footsteps, being kind to everyone, though a tad more shy. She has a little of Holden, she is turning into quite the comedian. She has daddy wrapped right around her little finger and is just as stubborn as her mom. We sure love our "baby!"
About 4 years ago a Sister in our ward bore her testimony. Each of her 3 children had some form of disability: Autism, Personality Disorder, and Deaf. As she expressed the hardships they had endured, she stated that she had compiled a list of names of those God had put in their path at just the right time. She kept it folded into her wallet and pulled it out when she was discouraged. She called it her Gratitude List.
I have made a Gratitude List of my own. This list is comprehensive, so it will take a while :)
Grandma Peg and Grandpa Alan...even though Grandpa just recently joined our family, he fits perfectly! It's as if we were just waiting for him to find us, or vice versa. "Mom" just says it all. My favorite thing is this: She always told us "Life is just an adventure, what tools do you need, and what can you learn?"
Grandpa Jay and Grandma Annette...so glad to be grandparents and enjoy each of the grandchildren
Grandpa Steve and Grandma Ellen...I cannot express how grateful I am to them for so wholly loving not only my children, but Shawn and I. They know no bounds.
Karalee...my sister-wife, "step-mom"...parenting is a lot easier when there are 3, 4, or 5 of you.
Wade, Ruth, Alexa, and baby...so accepting of all of us...like peas in a pod we are!
Gregg, Holly, Lula, and Ella...Holy Cow! It is an honor to be counted among family, you have no idea.
Shenagh, Jody, Meghan, and Cody...what can I say? Scoop and toss! Scoop and toss!
Mike, Paula, and all the girls! I will never forget...I did family pictures for them when Shawn and I were dating. Mike wrote the check to "Jessi RICHINS"...I have NEVER once felt like I didn't fully belong.
Gordon, Joyce, Rachel, and Everett...just thanks...they are both so easy to talk to and so willing to do whatever.
Jason, Kaisa, Hannah, Spencer, Sam, and Matthew...a great example of loving and kindness.
Ty, Melissa, Sydney, Xander, Briggs, and Carson...a family after our own heart...wild meat is not to be eaten, dead animals do not belong in the house, and family is paramount!
Dylan, Tiffany, Emily, Jayden, and Austin...wow...sometimes, when your really lucky, family crosses the line to good friend. We were that lucky.
Colby and Natalie...a constant reminder that kids are a gift to be enjoyed day after day.
Shelley...such a support, such a counselor, such a friend, such a sister!
Jon, Amylee, Koston, and baby...who knew there was a sister out there who could accept, love, and take care of BJ? And what a man, husband, and dad he's become.
Roxanne and Mariah...such a good fit, it only works because we all work at it...so accepting and loving of everyone.
Dave, Becca, and baby Aiden...he will never out grow the "baby" title...what a pleasure to count them among our own...much like kindred spirits!
Chris and Nora...I always appreciate a dad who cares and works as hard as he does...
Todd...so "rough" on the outside...and just plain old "fluffy" on the inside :)
Grammy and Poppy...too much...too much...too much...they have been everything when that is what is needed...and stood on the sidelines when you needed to grow. Too much.
Mama Jo...short-time, but what love...I still remember the emotion in Shawn's voice as he explained to me how he'd made it through...I will be forever grateful for that. And the fact that she used to call Dylan Winston (the dog). HEHEHEHEHE...
Auntie Jo, Tony, Mike, and Erin...a second mom, and extra siblings...they taught me how important family is.
Auntie Pat...always willing to take a frantic call, offer advise, or share recipes. I cannot explain how big a part my aunts played in my life.
Cousins...cousins...cousins...you always have a friend, a supporter, and a confidante in cousins.
Family has ALWAYS been the most important thing in my life. We would not have made it through without them. From the moment we realized we were lost in Idaho (I think) and Craig responded to his sister's panicked call to the years and years we lived in the loving home of our grandparents...to the family we adopted over the years. My list is filled with in-laws, out-laws, steps, and others...it's all the same. And the greatest thing about it all is this: NOone, not one person, makes the distinction. Truly our success, my own success, in our home and with our family relies heavily on the fact that EVERYone accepts that our family is all encompassing.
About 6 years ago, I was in Sacrament Meeting with the boys. Tyler was 8, Holden was 5, and Camden was almost 1. The speaker was talking about family history and learning from our forefathers. Tyler leaned over to Holden and said, "Four fathers! I thought 2 moms and 2 dads was bad...at least we don't have 4!"
Our situation may not be perfect...but it is certainly IDEAL! Thank you to everyone on my list and all those who are on it, but didn't get a shout out! We love and appreciate you all!