Saturday, December 25, 2010

It's Christmas

 Aislyn loves her new doll house. And Jairus loves playing with the miniature furniture inside. Marley bought the cutest little wood peg people off of Etsy and painted them for Aisy. She hasn't put them down all day.
 Marley and Townsend playing some Pokemon game together. They are revelling in their unlimited DS time today. They know they won't be this lucky tomorrow.
These two were in need of a bath ten times over! Ada has mastered scavenging the floor for abandoned candy.

The kids first woke up at 5:30 this morning but I mumbled something incoherent to their pleas and promptly fell back asleep. At 6:30 I finally succumbed to all the cheerful chatter and giggles. It was a sweet morning. It's wonderful to feel the excited energy, to hear Aislyn say,"This is the best Christmas ever!" To hear all the "thank yous" and "awesomes". I remember being a kid, and how I loved the night time with the beautiful Christmas lights on the tree. I remember the smell of the tree and how everything just felt happier.I hope that each one of my kids are creating their own special memories. I hope that they feel happier. I hope that they recognize the love of their Savior and how it feels.
I feel strange today. My emotions are very close to the surface. I find myself crying randomly. I find myself missing my brother Brent so much it hurts. He is so steady and sure, so dependable and so amazingly loving. I miss knowing that he is close by, because he would always drop everything and do everything he could to help if I needed it. I love my family. I am so thankful to be a Judd and to have that love  and support. I am so thankful for my Carroll family. My mother is a saint on earth. I am amazed at all she does for others. I am thankful for my dad and I 'm thankful to know him and understand what are wonderful man he is more each passing year. I am thankful to know my Steve Done dad and have him be a part of our lives. He is so generous and kind.
The past couple of months I have been led to discover some things about my sweet Aisy J.Her unusual and unruly behavior has been increasing by an alarming amount the last few months. She has recently been diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder. I still have a ton of researching to do. But it is a disorder in the spectrum of autism. And it explains SO much about Aislyn. It explains every strange thing she has ever done. It's interesting to see the phases of coping with difficult news.At first I felt relieved to know that there was a reason. Then I felt fear, for her future, for her capabilities. Now I feel hope, but unbelievably overwhelmed. I don't know where to go, what to do. All the occupational therapists within 50 miles of us are booked out for 6-8 months. But the hardest thing for me is letting Thomas go through his own phases of dealing.

I don't know that I've ever had so much "stuff" to deal with at one time in my life before. But in it I can see amazing blessings, and the sweet love of my Savior. Today I was reading the conference Ensign, a talk by Henry B. Eyring, who I love SO much. He is such a sweet and tender man.The message struck me very deeply. Peace and happiness come from trusting my heavenly Father. Simple and of course makes sense. But it's a concept that doesn't distill on my soul without the help of the Holy Ghost. Just trust Him, it is all for my good, for Aislyn's good, for Thomas' good. It is, so that we might be compelled to turn to our Savior and feel his love and healing. And what I realized is that He trusts me. He trusted me with this beautiful little girl, to raise her and love her and teach her the truth. And so, I resolve yet again to never give my Father in heaven reason to loose his trust in me. I will do my best.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Point Huskies!

Being a family of eight tends to put definite limits on our entertainment budget. But Thomas found an awesome deal and way to spend time with his girls. UW has a "Daddy, Daughter" package. For $25 a person you get a T-shirt, a volleyball game ticket, 2 basketball game tickets and a gymnastics meet ticket to see the lady huskies. It's so very fun and let me tell you those lady volleyball players are tough! Here's Marley and her dad just before taking off for their date. Oh, how I love these two!
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Tuesday, November 9, 2010


The first thing I noticed about Townsend as they laid him on my chest after he was born was his bright blue eyes. He was wide awake and ready to take everything in. He was also very hungry and was ready to eat the minute he was born. I loved him instantly. When he was about two he started giving THE best hugs in the whole world. He would put his little chubby arms your neck and squeeze with all his might and love. Those hugs....well they were beyond words. When he was four he learned to read and has never been without a book since. He is bright. Townsend's middle name is Justice and it is very representative of who he is and what's important to him. I have watched him grow in mind, body, and spirit and I am proud of who he is now and what he is becoming. He's not perfect,by any stretch of the imagination. There are days when I feel I am being driven over the edge of insanity by my sweet little guy. But I love him, he is funny, he is smart, he is tender, and he is thoughtful. And it breaks my heart when others don't see what I see. He is just trying to figure out his place in the world. But really isn't that what we're all trying to do?

I thought this one was so sweet. If I'm not careful it might bring a few tears to my eyes.
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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Best Friends!

One of my very favorite things about home schooling is how much time I get to spend with my kids. Of course if you catch me on a bad day I might also say it's one of the things I don't like about home schooling. But those days are rare. I have come to believe that as far as being a mother goes it's mostly about "quantity". Don't get me wrong "quality time" is very important. But we are all busy with so many important and worthy activities that sometimes, at least for me I don't have time for quality. But, my kids are with me in almost everything I do. I am able to teach them and gain their trust just by the sheer number of hours they have to spend with me every day. I am so thankful for my relationship with each one of my kids. They are each so different, so interesting, and have so much to share with me.
They not only spend an awful lot of time with me but also with each other. Some days it seems like all I hear is bickering. But somehow along the way all this "quantity time" has had an added benefit. They really love each other. Lately I have been noticing more and more my Marley and Townsend having real and meaningful conversations. They talk about books, they talk about qualities in other people that they admire or want to avoid, they tell me how much they miss the other one when they are away. They both say that even though they fight, the other is their best friend. And as a mother there is absolutely nothing more rewarding than my children truly loving each other. It makes all the mundane, gross, and tedious jobs worth every second I spend on them. I love you Marley and Townsie. You make our home a happy place to be!
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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Family Picture Time

My hat goes off to wonderful Amberlyn who was brave/crazy enough to take on my brood. Family pictures this year was an adventure full of surprise,Thomas' funny "WHOOP"ing, and a lot of bribery. Here are a few of the previews. I'm not sure we'll ever manage to get everyone looking at the camera at the same time, let alone with a half way normal expression. But I love how each photo captures the pure essence of each one of the kids.

Yes, I made matching dresses for the girls. I don't know what overcame me. I haven't always been the matchy, matchy sort of girl but it just seemed cute to me this time around. I even attempted to make myself coordinating dress but that didn't turn out so well. But my summer sewing adventures are a whole other story.(I'm saving up for a fancy dress form.)

OK. So...Townsend was "on a roll" this day. How I love that kid and all his boyish antics. Ephraim is pretending to shoot something in this one, which is pretty his new favorite pastime. Ada is trying to escape which her new favorite pastime. Marley thinks we're all a just a little weird, which is her new favorite thing. Jairus, well he was just plain happy for a minute which is not generally his favorite thing to be. And Aislyn, I think she was dreaming of the chicken nuggets we had to promise in order to get her to agree to this whole thing.

I have not been much in the mood to blog as of late. I have to admit I have been struggling a bit with a case of the "bad attitudes". I don't know what's wrong with me, but I have been uncharacteristically negative and grumpy for awhile now. My poor family. Also I don't really get any comments anymore so I don't feel motivated to write. It's all about the comments, people! I'm talking to you brother Brent.

Life is good though. Ever changing, busy, and chaotic. But I am so thankful for it all.
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Thursday, August 5, 2010


So today we had a little excitement. As you can see Aislyn did some experimental work with my sewing scissors late last night. This is what I was greeted with this morning as I came out of my bedroom. Pure awesomeness! It was one those moments when you can't decide if you want to laugh or cry. I mean, I was really excited to get some family pictures taken in a couple of weeks. I had happy dreams of everyone looking pretty, clean, and sweet. And now....uh, this.

Luckily we have a new friend in the ward, Cristy who was so very helpful. She saved us from a buzz cut! On the bright side, she looks a little like Haily Mills in Parent Trap.

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Monday, July 26, 2010

Paddle Boat Racing

Day two in Boise Thomas didn't have to work much. So we found a riverfront park to spend the day in. Did you know that Boise is called the City of Trees? Indeed it is, and it really is quite beautiful. I am not much of a desert loving person. The desolate hills and mountains all along the drive to Utah have in my estimation always been UGLY. So needless to say I wasn't too excited about a family vacation to Boise. I pictured it just being more dry, dusty, wasteland. I stand corrected. Such a beautiful river and trees and grass everywhere. It was hot and sunny the whole time, but not too hot.
There was a place you could rent paddle boats and since none of us had ever been on a paddle boat we thought we'd give it a try. It took three boats to accommodate all of us and once we figured out who should ride with who we were on our way.
Townsend, me, and Ada rode together. Townsend felt pretty cool being able to drive the boat. And of course as no ten year old boy would be, he was not content with mere liesurely paddling. And so a paddle boat race ensued! Turns out though, no matter how hard you peddle you really can't go very fast.
So, leave it to my sweet husband to up the ante and turn the paddle boat race into paddle boat bumper cars. Not to worry though, paddle aren't very good at bumping either. And in the end we all just paddled slowly side by side and had a lovely afternoon.
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Boise-Day One

It's been two weeks now since we left for Boise. I'm not behind or anything! Thomas was going for a week to help set some new scanners up at the Boise airport. Since the hotel and mileage were paid for we thought we might as well all go. As we were getting off the freeway to get to our hotel we saw of all things the Boise LDS Temple. So for our first adventure that's were we went. The boys had a lovely time discovering hidden doors all around the building, Aislyn spent her time fighting the urge to pick the flowers, and Ada was just trying to decide which she liked least, the sun in her eyes or the sun bonnet on her head. We met a lovely family who actually lives just 20 miles from us. The mother was from Brazil and she had all her family visiting with her. I just love listening to people speak in different languages.I can't wait for Thomas and I to be able to go on missions together. It motivated me to get back on track with my Spanish lessons on Rosetta Stone.
Our first day there was Sunday and temples are closed on Sundays. But the gate to parking lot was open so I just drove in. As we headed back to the car, much to my surprise I saw that the gate was now locked. I stood there for a moment with my mouth literally gaping open. And then I noticed a man across the lot with an amused expression on his face. Luckily he was kind enough to let us out.
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Monday, July 12, 2010


Here's my pretty girl. Camp can wear a girl out. She was away from us for a whole week! I just can not believe that my baby girl is old enough to go to Girls Camp. She had "THE BEST TIME EVER". She got so tan while she was away I almost didn't recognize her. Now she's home, well sort of. We had a fun time surprising her with an improptu family vacation to Boise. Poor thing didn't even get to go home and shower, we left straight from the church.
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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

What have we been up to?

Rolling down grassy hills.
Playing with chickens.
Picnicking with our much missed, unofficially adopted daughter Felicity who is back in Washington for the summer.
Snuggling with the cutest, sweetest, fat baby around.

We've been in Port Orchard for almost two months now and all I can say is I LOVE IT HERE! It is true that our house here is much smaller but somehow it's actually made life a little easier. I like that no one can hide from me. I love how beautiful it is everywhere. I love that the kids are practically always outside. Even my little TVaholic, Aislyn has all but forgotten about the lures of that creativity sucking television. They play "explorer" every day. I love my chickens. I love all the different birds that I've never seen before. I love how much more friendly people are here. Even the Costco sample ladies who in Tacoma are notoriously cranky are pleasant and sweet out here. I love our ward at church, I've never felt so welcomed. I love our neighbors/landlord.
Things I don't love: missing my friends and having to drive back over the bridge to visit them. Have I ever mentioned my irrational fear of deep, dark water? And I don't so much love the crazy big hills here everywhere you turn. Ok, I do love them just not when I'm trying to run. They're killing me.
We do still plan on ending up in Utah someday but for now I will just hope that's way off in the future. Port Orchard rocks!
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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

NEW YORK!(a month ago)

The last week in April Thomas, Ada, and I got to take a little trip to New Jersey to visit my beloved brother in law Brent and his lovely wife Sheree. We have missed them terribly since they left us for the Garden State. Thomas and I celebrate both our birthdays and our anniversary within a three week time period, so this little trip commemorated 14 happy years together. Man we're getting old! We ate REAL Italian food, saw a few historic sites, drove around looking at old beautiful houses, saw the Manhatten temple/stake center, went to NY City for a day, but mostly just spent time with people we dearly love.
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Thursday, May 13, 2010

She Sucks Her Thumb!

I have never had a thumb-sucking baby before. It's something I didn't ever hope for in my children. You know, horror stories of bad teeth and orthodontist bills and memories of that poor girl who was teased for still indulging in the comfort in the fourth grade. But it turns out that it is sooooo very cute when this little chubster finds her thumb and starts to sucking. A plus for me is that because of this new found skill she sleeps for longer stretches at night. Yay! Bad teeth be damned, I love sleep.
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Monday, April 26, 2010

We want a pitcher-not a belly itcher!

OK, so Townsend isn't really a belly-itcher, at least when it comes to baseball. He and his dad have been working and practicing and working some more on his pitching. The coach was so impressed with his form that he got to pitch the season opener. He did quite well, even striking a few guys out.
Baseball has never been my favorite sport to watch, but there's something about this particular cute boy in uniform that manages to hold my interest. I'm so proud of my Townsie. He rocks!
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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

In the Buff(Orpington)

My dream of raising chickens has become a reality! Although not at the most ideal time, as we are moving in two weeks and right now the chickens reside on my back porch. My sweet friend Ida ordered 25 layers from the awesome McMurray hatchery and we split them. I ended up with 10 hens and 2 roosters. I'm not even positive what breed they are, but I think they are Buff Orpintons which is quite a lovely name, don't you think? Not sure what I'll do with the roosters, but I have become rather attached one rooster in particular. He has such an attitude and I love him. In case you didn't know chickens grow quite quickly. They are only seven weeks old and starting to get their combs and feather out nicely. They aren't so very cute at this stage in the game, I lovingly refer to them as my akward teenage chickens right now.

Ephraim and Marley seem to be most excited about them. We took them all outside today as it is sunny and beautiful. They were all so awesome scratching and pecking and eating bugs. Ephraim likes to show who's boss. He's quite adept and picking them up gently, although it did take a number of lessons to get the "gentle" part down.

Here's my rooster! Can't you just see the attitude oozing out of him?
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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

9 Days-7 Books

Here's my almost ten year old guy. Townsend has many talents. Baseball, basketball, swimming, piano playing, giving beautiful prayers, reading, tormenting his siblings, and debating the pants off of anyone who dares try, just to name of few. But the one we're talking about today is reading. I've had to threaten to take away his books a number of times this week. It seems almost wrong as I catch myself saying it. I mean doesn't every mother want their son to spend his spare time reading? But really the kid is obsessed. I actually caught him hiding in a closet with his book so I couldn't pester him with requests to do his chores. Oh, how I love my Townsend!
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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

New Skirt

I have been in the mood for sewing a lot lately. Ada's blessing dress took me a few weeks to get done. But I was able to get this made in just a couple of days. Have I ever mentioned how very much I love to sew? If I haven't I will say it now. I absoloutely love to sew. I wish I had way more time. There is so much more I want to learn about the fascinating world of clothing construction. I love fabric. All the amazing textures and colors and patterns. I am happy in room full of fabric. OK, I'll stop now. This skirt is I think only the second thing I have made for myself that actually turned out. It's a lot harder to get things to fit an adult properly. I've got little girls' dresses down pat though. Next up...I think Marley wants me to help her make ruffle skirt out of some pink eyelet we have laying around. She's becoming a rather talented little seamstress herself these days.
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Monday, March 15, 2010

Don't Forget Your Hat And Boots!

We had a few nice sunny and fairly warm days a week or two ago, but for the most part it's still pretty wintery here in the Great Northwest. Luckily Ephraim has two posessions he doesn't ever like to be without. The first being the hood to his puffy red coat. He doesn't care too much about the coat itself, just the hood. The second, his rain boots.(In this photo he brought along his sisters' pink backpack for good measure.)
From time to time he may forget the nonessentials(like pants) but rest assured he will always remember to wear his hat and boots.
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