Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 in Review

It has been a great year and I look forward to 2011. I have grown to love and appreciate life more fully with each year. While some events are expected and anticipated others are not. Whatever the experience, each has the opportunity to help transform you and your family in one way or another.

I look back on the year and realize that this year has been full of many of these experiences. I have improved and achieved some things and have a long way to go with many others. Some of these experiences of 2010 ....

January. Scott got a Pumpkin for his birthday which started a great journey with RC. It doesn't matter what the hobby, but is miraculous to see how it can unite a family, create memories and bonds. It is all about the time spent together.

February. Waiting for baby. Tired and apparent blood pressure issues which turned out to be a hyperthyroid.

March. Surprised with a little girl! Having a girl is something that I never knew I wanted or would ever have but that has been amazing. Girls and boys are innately different and the emotions that you feel as a parent toward a girl is different than a boy. She is such a wonderful addition to our family who we love so much!

April. Getting used to three. I felt great and so blessed that I was blessed with such an easy baby.

May. Warm weather consisted of stroller and bike rides to the park with the three kids. Enjoyed going to parks, being outdoors and feeling extremely blessed for some amazing friends for myself and my kids!

June. Went to Lake of the Pines. Great little vacation. Everyone is doing great. Enjoyed weekly Friday field trips with friends!

July. One of my first summers that I didn't work a ton and really enjoyed the summer and time I had with my family.

August. Found out I was working with a younger group at work. My work has been very good to me. Throughout the years I have realized that they have their unique ways of doing things, however, have learned to be grateful for work and grateful that I enjoy what I do.

September. Danny became a Sunbeam teacher. Danny was in Nursery in our last ward and is now with the youngest Primary kids. He is so great with them! I am so grateful for how great Danny is with kids and how much he loves our kids.

October. Scott started Pre-K and did great. He is so much like his dad. He is shy and has a couple of friends. He is kind and a pleaser and enjoys school. It was hard to realize my little guy is growing up. We are so proud of our little man!

November. Danny suddenly lost a job which made me appreciate more and reflect on the things that are really significant in life. Great life experience and very blessed that he found another job that he is excited about! Visited the McMillans for Thanksgiving. It was great to spend time with Danny's family. Tyler started to show signs of slowing down which made me realize that perhaps I need to slow down a little bit for him. Scott and Tyler went through this stage that they became a handful with each other. When they were together they were bound to be best of friends or worst of enemies. My patience was stretched and I am sure grey hairs were added to my head. This just might be life with two boys that are 1.5 years apart.

December. Tyler's echo went well. 2 more pounds until his surgery which probably means summertime. We are now focused on gaining weight which I think is actually going to work. Greatest Christmas gift was seeing how if you work on something it can actually get easier. Truly recognized the miracle of Carl, my family and the Lord in our lives.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Memories of Christmas

Top 5 things about Christmas...

Visiting Carl's Grave. We read the Christmas story in Luke 2 on our way. When we got there we got to explain to the kids that the entire reason we celebrate Christmas was because Jesus was born and he made it possible for Carl to return to live with him and for us all to return to live with him someday. The spirit was so strong. The graves were filled with flowers. It was a rainy day and I loved to see people visiting loved ones. It made me so grateful for my knowledge of Christ and his gospel. It was a great reminder to me and the kids to what Christmas is all about.

Scott's prayer. He said three things...."I am grateful for Jesus. I am grateful that today was Jesus, Carl and Pops Birthday. I am grateful for my guinea pig." So sweet, so genuine.

Santa Letter. We read Scott and Tyler a letter in the morning from Santa (the irony of it all) about the true meaning of Christmas, all the great things they did that year and a couple of things that they can work on. The major thing they needed to work on was being a little more reverent in church, sitting on the pew, etc. and opened a bag dedicated to church. They got bible coloring books with crayons, a water bottle, books, threading tools, etc. It was cute and I think Scott actually believed that Santa wrote the letter. The best part was today in church they knew they couldn't open their bag until after Sacrament, sat very patiently and quietly throughout the meeting. Reverent enough for my dear husband to take a 30 minute nap or so. I guess I need to get him a bag of toys to keep his attention. It worked today and I am stoked. Wish me luck for the future. The bag was inspired by Mardee's FHE on Church Reverence.

Celebrating my Dad. He is the best, most patient and available dad and grandpa. We are so lucky to have him in our lives!!

Playing with the kids during dinner. While Everyone was eating I had the five kids to myself and LOVED it!! Paisley and Kira played, Roman kept saying HI through the glass (which I think referred to Heidi) and I just enjoyed their cuteness and sweetness. I had the kids all to myself, focused just on them and loved it!!

As I reflect on Christmas I recognize how grateful I am for my knowledge of Christ. I have been blessed with experiences throughout my life that have allowed me to get to know my Savior in a very intimate and real way. He lifts my burdens and helps me strive to be a little bit better each day. He is always there for me and my family and gives me hope of eternal life.

I am grateful that we have an amazing family full of love and support. We got to spend it with them and talk to Danny's family throughout the day that we are a little farther from. We got to talk to and email friends that are significant in our lives and think of meaningful relationships we are grateful for.

Every year I want Christmas to be more focused on him and less focused on the world. Danny and I look forward to starting our own Christmas traditions, some of which we did this year and others which we hope to do in the future. I recognize that my kids willn't remember 99% of the toys that they receive, however, will remember the acts of service given, peoples lives blessed and acts of giving instead of receiving. We have such a long way to go.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas in the Vineyard

I will never forget the two Christmases of my truly was as close as you can get to understanding the true meaning of Christmas. The first in Barcelona, the second in Benidorm. The miracle of both was that as a missionary you are totally immersed in the Lord's work. The day was spent with others, sharing the Christmas message and spirit. Lifting hands and bringing others to Christ. Spain was full of different nationalities and cultures. I soon realized that some of the most faithful, giving people were also the most humble. Here is a video that I love that reminded me of my mission a little.
It is about a humanitarian vineyard of the church. The end is about a Spanish Branch full of people who deserve a break more than most, yet understand the true meaning of the season. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Tis The Season

Christmas of 2008 was perhaps one of the most spiritual days that Danny and I have shared. Our son, Carl, was born at 1AM Christmas morning. While the world was anticipating waking up to presents under the tree, we were able to feel the greatest gift of all. The gift our Savior gave of peace and hope. While Carl's body was simply an empty vessel his spirit filled the room. We knew he was in a better place. He continues to teach us the miracle of Christmas.

It was a simple Christmas focused on the true meaning of why we celebrate.

I want Christmas to be more than just presents for my kids. I want them to feel and understand the joy and happiness of giving rather than receiving. That Christmas, Danny and I were able to give our son the gift of a body and we in return received so much more. He has and continues to be a cherished and important part of our family.

As this Christmas season approaches, I have had the blessing of attending some amazing events that have helped me focus on the true meaning of Christmas. Our Relief Society dinner was about the spirit of giving. Laura sang the 12 days of service and did an amazing job. She talked about while not all of her days were filled with the service that she hoped to give, the Lord made up for the rest.

On Tuesday I was able to attend a charity fundraiser for a precious little girl who I have never met yet have grown to love. Her mom is one amazing mom and raising money for a full-time researcher at UCSF. We love and admire her family so much! The event was filled with the true meaning of Christmas.

On Wednesday I was blessed to attend a benefit concert for UCSF children's hospital. I almost didn't go and am so grateful I did. I got to sit with some amazing friends. We laughed, had a great night and enjoyed great music and food.

Most importantly, we got to learn from incredible men and woman who are making the world a better place. Marc Benioff, CEO of donated $125 million and working hard to get it matched. Colin Powell, one his mentors, and Marc gave amazing speeches followed by a great concert by Neil Young. All of the artists and speakers including Will I Am, Ray Charles, Bill Clinton and others donated their time and talents to a cause that I am so grateful for. Because of people like this, our children have the opportunity to receive amazing medical care. How blessed we are! How grateful I am for these Christ-like people.

Marc said that in the beginning of his career he was told that it doesn't matter how much money you have but what you do with that money. I think that this is one of the hardest things that our nation, including me, faces. Are we seeking the will of the Lord in all that we do and all that we have? I know I can seek opportunities to serve more fully in my life. As we do I know we will be blessed.

The percentage Marc has given hasn't changed with time, just the amount he is worth. Jon Huntsman, a philanthropist, has echoed the idea that he gave even when he was poor. The idea of "when I have more, I will give more" is something that seldom occurs. Charity is an action of the heart. These men decided that giving was a part of who they were and what they stood for. What examples of Christlike love and charity which is far more significant than worldly wealth.

Men and woman all over the world are making similar impacts, big and small. Some of the greatest examples of true charity in my life have been some of the poorest people I know.

Charity has been something I have been thinking a lot about lately. It is something that I really want to be better at. For as long as I can remember my mom and dad were generous with there time, energy and resources. They have opened their house for months and years at a time to help someone, volunteered for countless things and never hesitate to help. My sister follows right in their footsteps and they are all such HUGE examples in my life or charity and love!!

It has always been easier for me to give of my time and energy and harder to give of my things. I have this idea that I will need my things at a later time or for a greater purpose. Instead I should be thinking about how I can help others with the talents, time or possessions that the Lord has so fully blessed me with.

Over Thanksgiving I spent a lot of time with my sister-in-law Lisa and her husband who are such huge examples of this. She mentioned the idea of someone who has a "perceived poor mentality". Someone who is unable to give because of their perceived circumstance vs someone who might have little yet always be able to give.

Over the past couple of months I have been working on overcoming a little of this mentality. I still have a long way to go. Probably a lifetime but it is amazing how as you work on something and ask the Lord's help, you are blessed with opportunities to serve, grow and change. I have recognized that as I have sought opportunities to serve and give, I am happier, more blessed and able to serve him more fully. I can hear his voice and the recognize the needs of others. I am so grateful for the opportunities of this life to grow.

In the midst of trying to do better at this, I was released from young woman and called into compassionate service. I have had this calling in the past and love it. You get to help woman, old and young with varying needs. I love helping woman. I have recognized that as I make time to serve others, the Lord magnifies my time and blesses my family in some incredible ways. Truly miraculous.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

My dream

Last night, Barack Obama and his family were in my dream. We were to interview them at my parents' home in Utah. They were all seated on the couch in the living room and I said, "Barack, you look tired."

He said, "I know."

I said, "You can take a nap if you want." He shoulda taken the nap because he was out of it and the interview wasn't really happening. A weird dream.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

8 Months

I simply CAN"T BELIEVE we have an 8 Month Old!! I just can't believe it. This is about the time that I get baby hungry. I was pregnant when Scott was 10 months and Tyler was 9 but that won't be happening this time around. I never thought I really liked babies but I guess I do, because I am kind of sad that I don't have a baby anymore. Kira is big. Not in size, but in doing big girl things. Not just sitting and being a baby and that is kind of sad. It just goes too fast and I want to hold onto the time that they let you hold them whenever you want and need you for every need they have. It is such a short window that goes too fast. Here is Kira at eight months in a nut shell....
  • Eats more formula than breastmilk. I usually nurse until 9 months partially out of laziness and mostly out of a love that my babies don't feed every 1.5 hours when they are drinking my watery milk. I really do miss the convenience of nursing when I am done. Kira is the first child that I feel actually likes nursing.
  • Everything goes into her mouth! With two boys in the house she always has something in her mouth. Glad that she hasn't really choked yet. She does a great job at coughing it out.
  • Sucks her index finger most of the time. Thumb some of the time and both occasionally. So nice that she can self soothe. Extra nice at night.
  • Independent. She roams around the house finding things to play with. Will be entertained with paper. Really doesn't need or have an interest in toys.
  • Loves her dad and her dad loves her.
  • Smiles with her eyes which I LOVE!
  • Never let people feed her with a spoon hence passing up baby food.
  • Eats anything on her plate. She will eat food that our boys think is too spicy. We are experimenting to see if we can train her to eat spicy food young. So nice that she will eat anything we eat. Luxury!
  • Loves her brothers. They can make her laugh like nobody else except maybe the dogs whiskers.
  • Loves the bath and shower. She will sit in the shower with me and be totally content crawling around under the rain.
  • Pulls herself up. Not so sure about cruising. It usually ends in a fall.
  • Quiet. Doesn't talk or babble much. Must be a McMillan.
  • Inquisitive. Things to think and watch things intently.
  • Routine?? Sometimes I think she would be in more of a routine if I catered to her needs. It is hard. Today I had joy school so put her down for a morning nap at my convenience just to wake her up to get Scott at school. If it was up to her she would probably wake up around 3-5 to eat and go back to bed until 8'ish. She would stay up for about 2 hours and go back to bed for a quick nap (less than an hour) and another quick nap in the early evening before going to bed around 8-9. I wish I was better at routines. Oh well.
  • Calm and chill.....lets hope it stays that way.
  • Rubs her eyes when she is tired and gets fussy when she is tired.
  • Doesn't like being alone. She doesn't need 100% of your attention but does need to have someone in the room with her. She is fine if Scott stays with her and he is such a great babysitter. He takes his role very seriously. If I take a shower and ask him to babysit, he informs me that she didn't cry and what they did together. Very cute!
  • Weight: 15.1 oz (7%)
  • Height: 2'3" (54%)
  • Head: 16.5" (10%)

Kira has been the easiest transition into our family and thank goodness because her brothers have been bundles of energy lately. I know that I am going to look back at this time and say, "I remember when you were the easy one Kira." For now I will cherish and treasure it.