Saturday, December 1, 2012

Karen Davidson/An Answer To Prayers

Our wonderful Aislyn is quite often the subject of my prayers. So much of the time I feel completely inadequate in raising her. Things I do with the other children just don't work for her. Sometimes things can feel pretty hopeless. But where do you turn when things are hard, when things don't make sense, when it all just seems pointless? I have learned that there's only one place you can turn. Heavenly Father. So it was at the beginning of this summer. Aislyn had spent a year in public school with tons of special help and attention and still had not made any progress academically that I could see. And her self esteem had been decimated because of the human tendency for comparison. I took her back out of school. But now what? I just wanted so much for her to start reading, to see a glimmer of hope. And so I prayed and I prayed. I prayed that this would be the summer that Aislyn learned  how to read. In my head I pictured it being a torturous summer of crying, temper tantrums but that if I persevered enough, if we worked hard enough, she would learn. 

And then I met Karen Davidson. I met her just two weeks after I began earnestly praying for my baby girl to learn to read. I do not have the words to adequately describe my admiration and love for this wonderful woman! She raised seven boys of her own and home schooled them part of the time. She has developed, written, and had published her own reading curriculum called Number Phonics. She spends so much of her time in charitable pursuits. She is such an example to me. 
She started coming to our home two days a weeks and working with Aislyn with her reading program. It has been nothing short of a miracle. Where no method or approach seemed to reach her before, Karen Davidson did! Aislyn has progressed by leaps and bounds. I have even found her reading for fun all by herself. The process has been nothing but a joy. No crying or temper tantrums. And although I was willing to do just about anything, I didn't have to. An angel was sent and did the work for me. Sometimes all we have to do is humble ourselves and ask!

I am so thankful for this miracle in our family. I am so thankful beautiful people who live their lives so as to be the answer to other peoples' prayers. Most of all I am thankful for a heavenly Father who knows and loves me and my family. He provides everything and knows best how everything can work out. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Newest Judd

No, I'm not pregnant(yet). But we do have a very cute and sweet new member in our family. Meet Hazel!

Marley has wanted a bunny for a very long time now. She even put together a lovely power point presentation on why bunnies make excellent pets. Hazel has been with us for two weeks now and Marley has been in heaven! I have to admit she is ADORABLE. Joan-Claire almost starts hyperventilating with excitement every time she sees her. She makes the cutest little crunching sounds when she eats lettuce and carrots. And when she's happy... oh my, you've never seen anything cuter than when she hops and runs like a crazy bunny all over the house.

Virginia Is For Lovers.....And The Judds!

I've been thinking I should do a better job of updating the blog and what better way than to announce that WE ARE MOVING TO VIRGINIA! It's certainly not the place we expected to go and yes, we still feel that Utah is our ultimate destination. But how fun to take a little detour all the way across the country! We are so excited to be in a place with broad-leaf trees(rather than pine and fir trees) and don't even get me started with all the amazing history and museums we'll be able to see. My most FAVORITE historical figures are Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. And now I get to go see where they called home!
There is a lot of stress ahead. A lot of plans to make and details to work out. But I just feel so at peace. God has been in control and He always provides and takes care of us. I'm excited to see what happens next!
We will miss so many people on this side of the country. I hope everyone will come to visit! We'll take you to Washinton  DC and the Smithsonian. Did you know it's free! I didn't. How cool is that?

Sunday, September 16, 2012

My Motto

This is us. The Judds. All nine of us. This picture almost didn't happen. I had really wanted to get a new family picture ever since Joan-Claire was born. Picture day ended up being just one of those crappy days were everyone was grumpy or sad or whiny or just plain antagonistic. Frankly I just didn't have the energy to try and get everyone to pretend to be happy and smile. But, my sweet husband who loves me(but doesn't love getting his picture taken) saw my frustration and worked his magic and made it happen. Somehow everyone ended up happy and their smiles for the most part are real ones. I love looking at these pictures. I love having a small visual to represent all that we've accomplished together. All of these lives working together, to learn, to grow, to be happy, and to try and make others happy.
I never, ever in a million years would have thought that I would end up with a such a large family. To be honest I never particularly enjoyed children in my younger years. I was the oldest of six kids and felt my whole life was just one big injustice because of my big family. What did I know?! I was just a kid. Now, I am so immensely thankful for the experience, the work, the capacity to handle chaos and the capacity to love   I gained from growing up in a big family. It is such a blessing.
That is not to say that it is not hard. Oh, my! Most days I feel completely overwhelmed, not up to the task. Some days I just don't want to get out of bed. On the really bad days I just want to run away. But somewhere among all the trial and chaos of my day there is a beauty and a joy that is indescribable. We stand together on a foundation so solid that we cannot fall completely. And we built that foundation together, we continue to build it every day. Life is hard, it is for everyone, and truly it was meant to be that way. But the good news is- we can do hard things! I have adopted that as my personal motto lately. I CAN DO HARD THINGS!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Five Months With Joan-Claire

How did we ever live without Joan-Claire?

She is such a smiley, sweet, and social little lady. She loves to be paid attention to. How fortunate for us that there are so many people around to love on her.


Each baby that comes into our family seems to grow up faster than the last. She is rolling over, laughing, and of course putting everything she can get her hands on in her mouth. She sucks her fingers and it is just so darn cute!
I sometimes think,"What if I had stopped at six?" Of course I wouldn't know what I was missing. But truly our family would have been missing someone beautiful and a bringer of great joy. Oh, how I love our baby girl!

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Sunday, July 22, 2012

In Honor Of Grandma GG

My grandma Mary Dorothy Elizabeth Sutton O'Neil passed away on June 7th 2012.
We had a family memorial service for her on the top of mountain. On Chinook Pass to be precise. It was a beautiful, perfect day. Everyone there had the opportunity to share their feelings or and experience with grandma. As everyone spoke I was just so overwhelmed. Every single person told of how she made them feel special, loved, not judged, and very important to her. What an amazing make that many people know that they as individuals were important to her. I hope and pray that when my life is said and done all my loved ones will know without a doubt that I loved them unconditionally and they were so very important to me. I wrote a little about her here. She always had time for me. She called me her Bronny-Winnie. She always hugged me tightly and told me,"I'm so glad to see you!" She was fun and adventurous and independent. I can't wait to see her again!
After the memorial we went camping. It was beautiful and fun. Here's uncle Justin and Townsend eating a most delicious tin foil dinner.

 My mom is already just as an amazing grandmother as her mother was. My kids love and adore her. She is fun, loving, and will do anything and everything she can for them. Here she is exchanging smiles with Joan-Claire.
Thomas by the river.
Here's aunt Melanie loving her Naomi and sleepy Joan-Claire.
Jairus, Ephraim, and best bud/cousin Adam.
Aislyn on the mountain top.Posted by Picasa

Monday, July 2, 2012

Utah Vacation 2012/We Really Want To Live Here!

Every summer for many years now, we pack everyone up in the car and drive for a million hours to the magical land of Utah. Now, I must admit I haven't always been able to see it's magic. Thomas and I lived there for a year while he was going to BYU and for one reason or another it was one of my least favorite years of my life. But now....well for one thing they have there in Utah a little something called "the sun". Yes, that beautiful, golden little piece of heaven that has not shown his face up here in Washington for what seems to be a decade, at least!

 But even better than the sun, Utah is where a good many of my most favorite people in the world live. All of Thomas' family have migrated south and now even my sister has moved on down. We're doing everything in our power to make the jump as well. But as with all things in life, it is ultimately in the Lord's hands.
 So, what did we do while on our sojourn in the land of warmth and sun?
We played so hard that we fell asleep.

 We turned twelve and received the Aaronic priesthood with all our uncles, cousins, and a grandpa.
We got blessed!
 We snuggled with sweet cousins.
 We went swimming!
We went to the Hogle Zoo with friends we love sooooo much.
 We saw cousins that we've missed.

And we even got to just sit, relax, and read a book by the river.

My Man

 How I love this man! I am thankful every day for his love, kindness, and understanding. Also, life is never dull with Thomas Judd around. He makes me laugh- he makes me happy. He supports me in all of my crazy ideas and interests. He always takes the time to talk, to make sure we're understanding each other, to make sure I'm happy. He makes me feel strong and capable of anything. He loves his children so very much and is so happy in this crazy chaotic world of children. We have built this life, this world together. It's so amazing to see what we are capable of, together. My heart is just full and ready to burst!

Sunday, April 8, 2012


The day finally came....and then went. Can you believe she's already three weeks old! I can't. But all the same Joan-Claire is here and she is very, very loved!

These pics are all from her on day two and three. As you can see Ada is in LOVE with her baby sister. In fact she only refers to her as "MY BABY". So that's good. Ephraim, on the other hand didn't take to her quite as quickly. I'm always fascinated to know what's going on in my children's minds. We talked all the time about our new baby sister before she was born but somehow he really and truly expected to have a baby brother. She for the first day and a half he refused to look at her. But finally Joan-Claire used her awesome baby skills and she won him over. He's in love just like the rest of us.

So, the birth story..... I decided to have this one at home too. After Ada I just wouldn't want to do it any other way. We rented a birthing tub again. I've had four of the seven kids in the water and let me just say it makes all the difference in the world. I started having contractions at about 1am. I'm never really quite sure when it's the real thing. I called Dawn Wadleigh (the most wonderful midwife ever) when the contractions were about ten minutes apart. We decided I'd call her when they got just a little closer together. Luckily Thomas was listening to the spirit and decided to call Sarah Simmons ( who if you remember actually delivered Ada and is now Dawn's assistant). He asked her to come before just in case. Good thing. All of a sudden the contractions were five minutes apart. It was not like previous labors. The contractions of course hurt, but I felt like I still had a while to go because they weren't excruciating yet. And I was able to talk  and move in between them. As I was sitting on my stability ball I felt very strongly impressed that it was time to get in the tub. I almost pushed the thought aside but it came again more strongly so I listened. And then almost immediately the contraction were closer and closer together. Sarah got there. My water broke. And then within five minutes of Sarah arriving Joan-Claire made her appearance! I was in labor for a total of two hours, which of course I am most thankful for. Marley was the cutest and sweetest birth assistant to Sarah. Joan-Claire tied Townsend for our biggest baby at 8 lbs. 7 oz. She was 20 1/2 inches long and actually has a little bit of hair, which for us is a rarity. Yay! for babies.