Saturday, January 2, 2016

The Year of the Seed

The Crisis Center is located in a desert. A high desert, but a desert just the same. We tend to have a bit of a laugh at the whole climate change thing here. Quite frankly, climate stability would be more of a shock.

As last winter came to a close it was quite obvious that our little neck of the woods was in serious trouble in terms of water. No snow in the mountains is a pretty big deal and we were heading into what appeared to be a long dry summer.

As you might expect in this wonderful town of mine....folks talked about the weather. We speculated, we discussed, we consulted the Farmer's Almanac and looked to the old and wise for moral support. The cheering section was groaning right along with the rest of us.

There is nothing quite so discouraging as working hours and days and weeks and months to prepare and plant and weed a garden only to get a pittance in return because of a water shortage in July.

The consensus among many was that for the first time in my life....the wise would not be planting a garden.

What you might not have expected in this little town of ours is that we still pray together. And although not everyone chooses to participate, sometimes we fast together, too.

We decided to fast and pray for rain.

I'm sure I'm not the swiftest runner on the track, but I have learned something about the God that created me. For starters, He has a sense of humor. So while most were content to pray for rain I'm afraid I wasn't so quick to utter those words. I had no problem envisioning an entire year's allotment of water falling in a week and having to sheepishly admit that we asked for it.

I decided to try a different approach to this asking thing. I decided that I knew my Heavenly Father created me and I knew he would answer prayers and I knew He knew that all the empty bottles in my storage room kept me up at night and I knew that if He wanted me to have a garden we would have a garden. And I knew that He knew the exact amount of water and the exact time that water needed to be provided for our plants to flourish. So that's what I prayed for. I prayed that if it was His will, we would be blessed with rain when our garden needed it.

And then we planted seeds.

As it happens, I also found that I needed to have faith in my sweetheart as well. I let him make ALL of the decisions in the garden. ALL of them. I let him decide what to plant, where to plant it and even let him decide how wide to make the rows. I said absolutely nothing and impeded him not. (That might have been the biggest miracle this year).

We were blessed for putting those little pods of hope into the soil. Every time our water turn ran out and the earth began to bake I smiled at heaven and thanked Him in advance. What a simple concept and yet how abundantly we were blessed. I actually ran out of empty bottles!

I know this may seem like a pretty strange thing to write about as my top story for the year. For certain there have been mountainous events in my life this year that I should have been jotting down notes about instead.

But maybe not.

This year I have sent children off to college. I've held bodies that contained broken hearts. I've hugged porcupines and cuddled stink bugs. I've lived through a nightmare with a precious child and a brain injury. I've welcomed home one missionary and sent off another one. We've thrown a wedding, potty trained, learned to spell, learned to ride a bike, and lived through the High School musical. We've danced, cried, yelled, loved, and we've begged for forgiveness. My life this year has seen fun travels and exciting new friendships as well as longing for home and mourning with old friends.

And this year I became a Grandma.

So why write about some silly seeds?

On the night that my sweet granddaughter came into this world I was able to hold her in my arms for a few brief moments. I was asked to help clean her up a bit and for just seconds I was left alone with this precious gift straight from heaven. In the flash of that instance I realized how unsure and scary and dangerous this world is that she just became a part of. And in that same moment I was reassured that she knew what she was getting into and she was prepared for it. I felt her strength.

I simply whispered to her not to be afraid.  I think it was really her whispering to me.

At some point in her life, my sweet grandbaby girl will probably start to doubt who she is and where she came from. At times she might feel like there is a drought of one kind or another in her world. I have hope that someone will remind her that she can always turn upward and ask for a summer shower.

I have faith that she will get exactly what she needs when she does.

As a side note to this story.....I did mettle just once in the planting. All I asked was why I couldn't see any zucchini coming up. Mr. Steve planted SEVEN hills of it to avenge my wrong. We're still eating zucchini bread!


Monday, November 9, 2015

Where Babies Come From

Just two nights ago I was blessed to witness the birth a beautiful and absolutely perfect baby boy.  My heart is so full of gratitude for the remarkable woman that so willingly let me be a part of her sacred moment. My words seem so inadequate to describe such a miracle!

Toward the end of her laboring, this unfathomably strong woman turned to me and reminded me that my husband was to be thanked for their decision to bring another child into their family. Steve had shared some of our story with them at a party one night and it changed their lives. I was asked to retell that story. I could never do it justice. I wish I could get my sweetheart to guest write for me!

I can't get him to write for me so I just feel the need to bring back one of my very first posts instead.

I'm sure as Steve grew up he never envisioned having a family this big. He's the oldest of four children and has exactly six cousins, counting both sides!

 I distinctly remember the conversation about children when we were falling in love. 
He asked me how many kids I wanted and I replied, 
"As many as we have".
 I meant six or eight.

 I asked him the same question and received the same answer. 
He meant three or four.

 But life is awesome like that. You think you know what you want and then.....

Our third child, Miss Brianna, was hard to get here. A very difficult pregnancy that brought some serious health problems. We were told that IF I lived through the delivery I would be lucky and that certainly we shouldn't have any more FIVE different doctors.

  I think Steve was able to come to terms with this.
 After all, having three children is an enormous blessing.
 However, I knew there were more little people meant for our family so this was a difficult time for me.

For several years we tried to adopt.
 We started the process to become foster parents.
 I spent a lot of time on my knees begging for understanding.
 My sweet man did his best to understand me. 

Then one day I had a conversation with a woman who knew someone that knew someone that might be able to help me! That conversation led to a doctor and surgery and we were soon blessed with 
Sir Jake.
 And then Miss Emily.
And then...
I remember so vividly the night I got to announce to Steve that he was going to be an
 He didn't take the Father of Six thing as well as you might expect. 

He was overwhelmed.
 And now it was my turn to try to understand him.
Can I just say how good God is.

 At this crucial time in our lives He sent angels to both of us.

A little angel girl started following Steve around. He would feel her standing behind him at work. He could sense her presence to the point that he had to tell me about her.
 Then one day on his commute home he had a vision of himself in heaven, a white-blonde little girl tapping on his shoulder. She was asking him why he didn't let her be a part of the family.

 He started to explain that we couldn't afford her, that our house was too small, that he...
...then he realized that there was no excuse he could live with.

Our sixth child, Miss Sarah, has the most stunning white-blonde hair...
...and seven younger siblings.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Families Are Forever

I was taught to choose my friends wisely.

Many of my teen pondering sessions were used up on that bit of wisdom.

I was so incredibly shy and unsure of myself while growing up that I found that advice comical. I set goals each day as to the number of people to try to look in the eye and say hello to. I put down exclamation marks in my diary if someone actually responded. Yes, it was that bad.

What do adults think? That you just scan the crowd, find someone with perfect morals and a sense of humor that goes swimmingly with yours, then tap them on the shoulder and say, "Hey, I pick you."

Choosing friends is the easy part, making them is another story.

But God is good.

One day during lunch hour (as I sat all by myself on the grass) a beautiful, bubbly, radiantly happy person tapped me on the shoulder and asked me to join her and her posse for lunch.

My life changed in that very instant.

Miss Nicky chose me and that made all the difference in the world. I'd like to tell you that she and I became best friends forever, and that would be true. However, just about everyone that meets Nicky feels the same way about her. 

As I look back at some of the crazy and happy things that Little Missy and her entourage did (which I was delighted to be a part of) I have to wonder if we had any idea what life had in store for us. I certainly didn't.

I'm writing tonight to that amazing woman that continues to change every life that is fortunate enough to interlink with hers. I am so grateful that you have chosen to meet your current battle with the faith, courage, and Christlike love that I was privileged enough to become familiar with so many years ago. I wish I could convey my feelings but my voice just freezes up and my heart physically hurts. Please know that I love you. Please know that my family prays for yours. Please know that you are, always have been, and always will be a great example to me.

As I sat at the table tonight with my children I wondered at the spot that must feel so empty at yours. I hope that you will feel Miss Keilani with you at those times when you most need to as well as those when you least expect.

My littlest one jumped up at prayer time to lead the closing song tonight. She picked the same song she does every night.

I am a child of God
and He has sent me here
has given me an earthly home
with parents kind and dear.
Lead me, guide me, walk beside me,
help me find the way.
Teach me all that I must do
to live with Him some day.

 My children seem to teach me so much more than I ever teach them. I hope you don't mind if I wrote another verse with you and your littlest one in mind.

You are a child of God
and He has sent you here
to show me child, the way to live
with patience, faith, and prayer.
Lead me, guide me, walk beside me
teach me from above
help my heart feel peace and joy
for God's eternal love. 

I love you Nichole. You can do this. There are no coincidences in this life. Everything and everyone has a purpose. Thank you for following the Spirit. Thank you for being you!

Read more about this amazing story of unconditional love, adoption, heart babies, and the inspiration of this good woman and her family here.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

I Am Here

The first time I tried to commit suicide I was completely out of my mind.

 I have almost no recollection of that day.

There were no feelings to remember....I was entirely past feeling.

What blips of memory that exist for me are in third person. I am watching myself but I am totally disconnected from myself.

My soon-to-be sister-in-law is in the house with my two children. They don't need me. I can't make myself think of them. They don't need me. Why can't I make myself think about them?

I am so numb.

Why don't I feel anything?

I am walking to my car that is parked in the driveway. I can see the highway. There are semi trucks coming down the highway.

Get in the car.
Drive to the highway.
No more me....

Why are you pulling me out of the car?
Why aren't you at work?
You are always at work this time of day.
What are you saying to me?
I can't hear you.
Why are you holding me?

I am invisible.
How can you see me?
Let go of me.
I need to find a big truck to run into......

I will never know what prompted my sweetheart to come home in the middle of the morning that day. I know for a fact that had he been even seconds slower in getting there I would have already destroyed my life without even knowing why.

The rest of that day was spent with my husband's arms around me. He drove me to a lake of some kind. We walked around, I think. I'm sure he really didn't know what to do so he just kept hugging me. I wish I could tell you that I felt something, but I didn't. 

I'm pretty sure that day was a scraping bottom day. I've heard that when you hit rock bottom you should see it as a blessing because you have firm ground to shove off from while you climb back up the rope.

The problem with that moment of my life was that I wasn't even holding on to the rope, let alone having rational thoughts of climbing it.

In hindsight it is obvious that I needed medication. My body had never recovered from the postpartum depression and our baby was already several months old. My choices magnified the problem.

I owned my business. I was designing and installing window treatments all day and sewing them all night. Our babies were with me on the road and next to me while I sewed. My Sweetheart was working two jobs as well. We were forever pushing toward the summit.....but never seemed to get any traction.

I wasn't eating.
I wasn't sleeping.
I was barely thinking.
I was existing, a sort of animal instinct type of survival.

That was 20 years ago.

We've muddled through a bit since then, Mr. Steve and I. We've discovered and learned more than we care to know about depression. Trust me, it's a WE thing.

While it is clear now that I needed medication then, I chose a different path. In retrospect I have mixed emotions about that decision.

I recognize now how fragile life is. I recognize now how much work my Father in Heaven had planned for me to do and how paper-thin close I came to missing out on the privileges of living my life. So, if given a re-do, I would have asked for medication.

But I would also say, with gratitude in my heart that I'm still here and capable of looking back, that my struggle with depression has been a blessing.

Before you write me hate mail (and assume I'm judging everyone on Prozac) let me explain.

For the three years following that ground splatting day, I remained unable to feel. While I never went 'out of my mind' again, I still remained numb to most emotions. I don't have words to describe what this did to my marriage. This experience should have been the end of us, and almost was. But miraculously (and mostly because of Steve) we worked through it. Talk about tempered steel.  If you ever feel to question the utter devotion I have for My Man, I'll have to point you to this time in our marriage. I would never wish the trials we went through upon anyone else nor would I ever want to go back to that mark in history, but.......

.... I would never want to tamper with the results of those hard times. In my personal situation, I'm not convinced that we would have learned the same lessons or gained the same strengths had I been medicated. (Now you can judge me.)

While the hormonal issues in my depression equation continued to fluctuate and at times improve, my decision making abilities did not.

We followed new employment to a distant state and found ourselves in a better situation but still struggling financially. It was so easy for me to pick up business to help out and off we went down the same path again.

And then it ended.

It was May. I had a deadline for an entire house to install and a three year old with an abscessed tooth....what I didn't have was a dentist. I packed the babies into the car (there were three of them now) and worked as quickly as I could, hoping I'd have a minute to find medical attention before closing time. After a long, miserable day, I put the Little People back into the car and wondered where to turn for help.

Then a dreadful thought hit my brain. It was the last day of the month. We mowed the several acres of lawn at our apartment complex and if I didn't get it finished before dark our rent would be due in full the next day. I stepped on the gas pedal.

A few minutes later a dog ran in front of me. I swerved but it changed direction and hit my tire. Now all three of the babies are crying because Mommy had killed a doggy.

After much drama and sadness, and a heaping dose of Worthless Mama thoughts, a kind neighbor carried the dead puppy to it's home and laid it on the porch...... where it miraculously jumped up and started barking at me.

Too late for a dentist, I put the babies in front of a movie with Popsicles and canned soup. Then I started the push mower. I would run a lap around the complex, check on the babies, and then run back to start the mower again and repeat.

It started to rain.

Dripping with sweat and rain, I forced myself to stop and check on the children. They were great. My carpet was not. Visualize soup sand castles on berber. I wondered if it was possible for anything else to go wrong.

There was a knock at the door.

"Sister Crosgrove! We were driving by and had a distinct impression that we should stop and talk to you about your missionary experiences!"

The sweet couple standing in front of me stopped smiling. It didn't register to my brain as to why they were staring at me. I didn't care. I did not have time for this.

"That isn't why we were supposed to stop, is it?" Their voices were solemn now.

They proceed to walk in without invitation. The older gentleman assesses the situation and starts washing my dishes without a word. His angel wife cleans up the soup castle and gets the babies excited for bath time. I'm still holding the front door open, completely frozen.

That's about the time my sweetheart gets home from work.

He looks around confused. The lawn mower is out in the rain, a strange woman is bathing the babies, and her husband is doing the dishes.

"Your wife needs you. She needs a blessing."

The next thing I know, I am sitting in a chair. The sweet woman is holding my hand. Our husband's are praying over me.

The peaceful moment is interrupted.

"Hellooooooo, is anybody out there? You left us in the bathtub!"

It struck me funny. I started laughing. Then I envisioned that stupid dog faking dead to get me in trouble and I laughed some more.

I hadn't laughed in three years.

I couldn't stop laughing for three days. The heavy oppression was lifted. The sun came out. I was me again.

Being me means I cry a lot. Some people think I cry because I'm depressed. This is not so. I cry because I can and I refuse to suppress such precious emotions. I cry when I feel impressions. I cry when I feel gratitude. I even cry when I'm downright happy sometimes!

I still battle this depression beast, but I learn something valuable about myself whenever I work through an episode. When I wrote Attitude Adjustment I was reflecting on some of those lessons learned.

I also mentioned in that post that Miss B played in a concert. She was opening for Wood Live Music and a good friend of ours, Bryce Wood. Bryce had just written a song about the perspective changes a person goes through when they deal with a terminal illness. He ended the concert with this beautiful song titled I Am Here. The powerful music moved me. It went straight to my soul. I felt like I was communicating my emotions through his music. I could feel myself standing in the middle of a huge grassy field, arms spread wide, face up to the sun, smiling big as life and yelling, "I AM ALIVE! I AM FEELING! I AM HERE!!!"

I don't mean to take anything away from those who face terminal illness and have to embrace the reality and shock that days are numbered. But I love the way my friend Jeanne put it at a funeral the other day. "We all came into this world with a round trip ticket."

Having looked death in the eyeballs I can tell you that I have learned to live in the moment. I don't take for granted the digits that were added to my own countdown. I will notice the blue birds and the yellow flowers. I will breathe each day like I won't get the chance to do so tomorrow.

I am here.

I am now.

"I will live this day as if it is my last. This day is all I have and these hours are now my eternity. I greet this sunrise with cries of joy as a prisoner who is reprieved from death. I lift mine arms with thanks for this priceless gift of a new day."
                                                              - Og Mandino

Listen to Wood Live Music here. Make sure you crank the volume. You might also want to keep a grassy field or a Kleenex in sight...just in case.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Part Two: Let's Dance!

I know it's been weeks since my little girl tied the knot but I still need to write about it. To be fair, I haven't just been slacking off during these weeks.

Sir Spencer decided to remind us all why we call ourselves the Crisis Center. He's been working construction and took a nail to his knee while holding a truss in place. (Read: entire day seeking medical attention!) The next day he decided that life couldn't go on without him and supported his siblings at an all day ballroom competition and then went on his first date in two years. Let's just say I was taking care of a very swollen, sore, frustrated, not medicated enough son well into that night.

I also had the privilege of attending a first ever retreat with my sisters. Even though I was reluctant to leave my family with so much "stuff" undone, I am so grateful that I traded that stuff (some of which was really good) for something even better. I don't think we've ever enjoyed an uninterrupted conversation together, let alone until 4:00 in the morning.

I have the attention span of a gnat, so I don't watch movies very often. When my sisters found out that I had never seen Mama Mia they were determined. They delighted with watching me experience it for the first time but I had the better time listening to them sing and dance. Who knew flashy pants and Elvis suits could be so much fun? Cannonballs onto the bed has its merits, too. (Don't tell the Little People I said that.)

At any rate, I love my sisters even more than ever and feel like we have a renewed bond.

But now it's time to finish my story.

Just ten days after Elder Crosgrove returned from serving a two year mission, our beautiful Miss Nichole was married to my now favorite son-in-law, Ammon.

There are so many things that I want to remember. I wish I could have written them down sooner. I hope I can still catch some of the essence of how special this day really was.

As much as I stressed over all the obstacles that came up while making Miss Nichole's dress, I am very grateful I had the opportunity to do so. Much of the lace in the bodice had to be stitched in place while she was wearing it. What a wonderful excuse to have those last precious moments with her before she went off and became her own woman. She still had a lot of planning to do with Sir Ammon but she didn't want him to see her dress. They solved that problem by him turning his back or covering his eyes while they talked. They are both really mature in their thinking and the way they handle responsibility....but it still makes me smile when I think of him sitting there like a little boy playing peek-a-boo to make her happy.

The day before the wedding, my sweetheart gathered up our boys and set out to transform our church's cultural hall (gym) into a spectacular reception venue. He spent hours hanging wire and lights from the ceiling. I guess he's just like Ammon. He will still do anything to make me happy.

The origami swans were Sir Ammon's idea. He insisted that in Japan the mother of the bride folds 2000 swans as a gift of admiration to her new son. It was a sad day when I had to burst his bubble and inform him that I am not Japanese. I did help fold a few of them. This little deal might actually become one of our family traditions. It was a brilliant way to get the whole family involved, especially the younger children, and they were beautiful!

Miss Nichole earned her wish to be married in the temple. It was such a sacred experience. I'll keep the best close to my heart but feel I need to share some thoughts from my perspective.

After all the planning, decision making, and hard work to put a wedding together, I found myself at the temple, alone for a few minutes with my sweet daughter all dressed in white, and it was very clear to me that none of the hullaballoo was even needed. She was where she needed to be, about to make promises that would bring her joy for eternity. Everything else was just extra. Wonderful.....but extra still the same.

I thought I would be a crying mess. I tend to do that. I was surprised at how calm I felt. Everything just seemed be just as it should be. It was so natural that she should be married and happy and my heart filled with joy that they were finished with the good-byes at the end of a date and on to forevers together.

Enough of the sappy stuff.

Let's talk party!!!!

My one wish for the reception was that everyone would feel our love for them and that there would be lots of dancing and laughter. I was overwhelmingly granted that wish. I couldn't believe how many of our friends and family came to support us.

One of my favorite things to remember will be dancing with my sweetheart. It's a pretty powerful moment when you realize you are dancing in the same spot you danced 24 years earlier as the bride and groom yourselves. It's hard to believe, but we're so much more in love now than we ever thought possible back then. Our dancing has improved slightly, too!

At the end of the evening, when it was time to say good-bye to the newlyweds, I took my little girl in my arms and danced with her one more time. (We took the opportunity to have a lovely waltz together the night before.) I can't post a picture of that because I really do look like a crying mess, and I won't tell you all that I said to her, but I will re-iterate some things.

I am so proud of her. I am so grateful that she has lived her life in a way that I can look up to her. I am so proud of her for being true to herself and her ideals. I couldn't ask for a better example for the rest of my daughters to look up to......

.....and I couldn't think of a better man for her to be happily ever after with.

photo credit: Brianna May Photography, Alex Trujillo, Keiko Foote

Monday, March 2, 2015

Part One: Let's Get Together

First family photo with all the Little People together!

Some things never change!

I never thought these two looked alike. Mind. Changed.

Just looking at this picture makes my insides all happy.

Isn't it ironic? The times when there is so much to say and record are often the times I have absolutely no minutes or even seconds left in me to do so!

The past few months have been a whirlwind for me. And that is the understatement of the century. I am positively exhausted. I feel like I should get a few weeks of recovery time just as the famous athletes take after an Iron Man or the Olympics. I honestly have no idea how we pulled everything off!

But I know I'd do it all again in a heartbeat!

I'm not an organized person. I take issue with that. I am also very determined to be able to retract that statement someday.

When it became apparent that I would be welcoming Elder Spencer home on the 10th of February, marrying off Miss Nichole on the 20th and then two days later hosting Sir Spencer's welcome home dinner I decided to pretend I was an organized person. I made lists and schedules and became down right pesky about decision making with all parties involved. I was very proud of myself.

And then I was reminded of all the reasons that I am not an organized person.

Miss Nichole had only three wishes (to begin with....the list grew as time wore on). She insisted on being married in the temple, to the right man, and in a dress made by her Mama. She was in charge of the first two items and the third was a no brainer. I had it covered, no problem.

My life always likes to slap me when I get arrogant.

We designed her dress with a million and one yards of chiffon and just the right lace. After ransacking every available resource we were left with nothing. It took days but I finally found the lace I wanted and felt pretty good about my dress schedule.

A week later the fabric and lace arrived.  They didn't match. You'd think white and white would go together......not so.

Then Steve left for Florida for an entire week and the Little People started to come down with the flu. The really bad flu. Fevers, pukies, trotskies, runny noses, body aches, the works. I couldn't even think about sewing. I don't think I even slept more than an hour at a time while he was gone.

When My Man came through the door that Saturday night I felt like the cavalry had arrived. I honestly thought we would be spending the night at the E.R. with at least three of the babies. A Daddy, a bag of Popcicles, and the goodness of God work miracles.

By this time I was two weeks behind in my very organized schedule. I wanted so badly to be finished with dresses and decorations at this point so that I could spend a day cleaning, pick my son up from the airport, and then spend a few days getting to know him again.

Instead I was employing my hard earned abilities to ward off depression and a physical break down.

I really struggle with asking for help. I love the beautiful mess that my life is. I would never want fewer children or lesser adventures. I would also never want someone else to feel burdened by the life choices that I've made. It just seems easier for me to try to figure things out and make them do than to have others help me, especially when I know that I can rarely repay the favors.

Once again, angels landed on my doorstep. My mother arrived early Monday morning and read to the sick children for the entire day. My sister Trina rang the doorbell with a cleaning bucket in hand and spent the day cleaning walls and toilets and all the while telling me how much she enjoyed it. Miss Brianna, Miss Emily, and Miss Sarah stepped up to the plate and made sense of the kitchen. I was able to focus on all the laundry and bedding that had to be cleaned.

We were able to get the house in reasonable shape. I just kept a prayer in my heart that Elder Crosgrove wouldn't be too overwhelmed with it all. I also wondered how we would be able to travel the four hours to and from the airport with sick children.

Elder Crosgrove answered that question. His last e-mail home was just three short sentences. One of which was a plea to be picked up by just his Mom and Dad. I was a little unnerved by this request (I had been envisioning a great family reunion for two years!) but I remembered how difficult it had been for Miss Nichole to transition so we sorrowfully left the other children home.

The airport was a repeat scene from when we picked up Hermana Crosgrove. There were several other missionaries returning at the same time and their families were waving posters, wearing T-shirts, and carrying balloons filled with anticipation.

I didn't know how to handle the moment. I started pacing away from all those excited families.

I heard a shout from my sweetheart.

"Julie, he's here!"

I turn around to see my not-so-little-anymore son coming down the escalator all by himself. There were no acclamations, no hysterical outbursts, no hero's welcome. Our eyes locked on each other and I was shocked at how calmly we just walked towards each other from across the room.

With about fifteen feet to go there was an interception. The Daddy just couldn't take any more and grabbed the first hug. I'm so glad he did. It gave me a second to absorb what was happening, to shake off some of the surreal aura of the moment.

When I did get that hug it was definitely real. I sent him off two years earlier as an eighteen year old boy and now I was hugging a confident, strong, capable man.....that really loved his Mama. Instead of the fanfare filled moment that I thought this would be, we took our time without much ado at all and just basked in the moment.

I thought I wanted a big pick me off the ground prove-to-me-you-missed-me hug. Instead I just kept feeling his face and looking into those huge blue eyes of his and soaked in the fact that his arm was around my shoulders and he was perfectly content to just leave it there.

He's been home two weeks now and he still puts that arm around me when ever we're near each other. Tender mercies of motherhood. I didn't think that anything could feel as amazing as a newborn's silky head rubbing under my chin. I've found a match for that.

I think the pictures above are pretty accurate for our arrival home. The doors flew open, siblings spilled out in droves, and happiness ensued. Except for Harley. He hadn't been off the couch for four days and he really wasn't in the mood for shouts of joy. Poor little guy.

The first moments with Elder Crosgrove and his littlest sisters were not candy coated. It's difficult for two people that should have a tight bond but have never met to have a storybook moment. Miss Izzie just stared at him with no expression at all, which was better than the panicked emotions that came from Miss Ives. Sir Spencer just kept saying, "What's up honey?" He still keeps saying that to her. They were best buddies before he left and now he's a complete stranger.

Things will change. Just this morning I saw her go to him willingly. He gave her the, "What's up Honey?" and she hugged him. More tender mercy mama moments!

I really need some sleep and this post has already been three days in the making so I'll just have to hope I can pick it up again soon and say, "To be continued........."

Monday, February 9, 2015

Thirteen for Ten

Ten days.
I get a whopping, ten days.
I get exactly ten days to have all thirteen of my children under the same roof.
That's it.
And that's not nearly long enough.
Look familiar?

Elder Crosgrove is packing his bags as I type and will be home (and sleeping in a bedroom that didn't even exist when he left) by Tuesday. This mama wants to hug him so much my teeth hurt! I decided to be sane and forget about all the hoopla and just get to the airport this time. Wish us luck.

Our efforts have been focused on getting enough beds for everyone. My baby girls have just sort of floated around at night for the past year. Their big sisters take turns snuggling them to sleep and they just stay there. Well....Miss Ivy sleeps. Miss Iz just hangs out. If the truth be spoken, she has been going to bed with whomever draws the short straw each night. No one can face daylight after spending more than two nights in a row with her. Myself included.

We decided to finish a bedroom in the basement and do some changing around. I actually have a nursery for the first time in eight years (and six children). It's taken us awhile. My brother actually built an entire house in the time it's taken us to finish this room. But it's finished!!!

Miss Nichole and Miss Brianna have been sharing a bed since Nichole moved home from her own mission and school. Thats been interesting. I won't share the best stories because of retaliation concerns, but let's just say they will have memories to giggle about when they are old. Especially all the late night talks and early morning alarm clock throwing. It will be sad for me to have that chapter of their lives come to a close. (Wiping away a bit of a tear, now.)

And that brings us to the ten day dealio.

Miss Izzy was born after Sir Spencer left. They meet each other on Tuesday and I get to finally have all my babies together for the first time in this life!

And then a few days later...Miss Nichole will become Mrs. Nichole.
And she decided to prolong that change in her life until her brother was able to be here.
Actually she didn't.

She was really thinking that a three week engagement was plenty and was hoping to have been married a month ago. At this stage in the game.....I'm regretting that I asked her to wait.

Yes, I just said that.

 I feel a lot of life coming at me in a very short amount of time and I could have had every excuse to enjoy a beautiful ceremony, kiss them both on the forehead, and then wave goodbye. (Can I insert a 'bless her heart' here for instant forgiveness in voicing that?)

So what does a big fat hen do when she only gets a few days to have all her chicks in a row? I think that decision has already been made. We'll be making a wedding happen.

I've given this quite a bit of thought, however, and even if I could load Moby up and go on one last epic trip together......I wouldn't do it. I would pass on every dream vacation I have ever had. I would even pass on the re-do of the Oregon coast trip that holds some of my favorite memories.

And this is why.

I'm getting older. I've witnessed enough water flow under the bridge to be able to look back on our lives thus far and see relatively clearly which events that have had the most profound affects on our family's happiness.

Disneyland didn't even make it on the list.

Know what I think is at the top?

All of those itty bitty things that we've done every day. Simpleness really. Those priceless tidbits of our lives that no money can buy and no travel agent can arrange for us. Those swiftly fleeting smudges of time that add up to overwhelming proportions of joy.

For the next ten days I will be doing my best to make sure we work together. I will cherish every moment that we spend seated around the table together. I will hold close to my heart the sweet songs we sing and the scriptures we discuss together each night. My prayer of gratitude will go up with theirs as I peek at us kneeling together at the end of each day.

And on the tenth night, when my thirteen will have become fourteen, (here come the tears again) I hope I get to witness my children celebrate and dance together.

And now I have to stop blubbering and go to bed because it is already tomorrow and that means that I get to hug my little boy again TOMORROW!!!!