Sunday, April 27, 2014

Easter Sunday

I love Easter Sunday.  It is a very meaningful day for me.  My grandpa Orme, who I was blessed to spend a lot of time with as a little girl, died in a car accident on Easter Sunday 17 years ago.  I know that is a weird way to start a post...but as tragic as his sudden death was to me at the time, it caused me to really look upward to God, to my Heavenly Father, and that is when I really remember knowing with absolute surety that families ARE forever...and that I would see my grandpa again.  I love that on Easter we celebrate our Savior's Atonement and sacrifice for mankind...and that we celebrate his resurrection and his life!  I know that He lives, and that He has made it possible for us to live again as well.  Easter is a wonderful reminder to me that this life is not the end, but that we can be together as families for all eternity.  I love Easter.
 
Our little Lainah, who is now 5 years old, was blessed on Easter Sunday.  That too, is one of the reasons that Easter is such a wonderful day for me.  I remember getting her dressed in her beautiful white blessing dress that morning before church, and crying up in my bedroom because of how alone I felt.  None of our family members were coming to her blessing, and we didn't receive any phone calls about her special day...and I just felt like my beautiful baby girl had been forgotten.  Well, as I was thinking these thoughts, an overwhelming feeling of warmth and peace came over me, and I KNEW that we were not forgotten.  My sweet babe Lainah and I, in the upstairs bedroom of my Cleveland home, were surrounded by loved ones who had passed on.  This I know.  I knew that her grandpa Thuernagle (Andy's dad) was there with us...I could feel his presence, along with several others...and I knew that my Heavenly Father who knows and loves each of us so perfectly, had known my thoughts and my feelings, and had sent us loved ones to be with us and to comfort us on Lainah's special day.  My beautiful baby girl had angels attend her blessing day.  I love Easter.
 
This Easter, Andy and I were asked to speak in church about the Savior, his Atonement and Resurrection.  I was so thankful for this invitation because for the week leading up to Easter as I was pondering what I would say, and reading the scriptures and reading conference talks about the Savior, our home and my heart was filled with a special spirit as my thoughts turned again upward.  I was reminded of the love that our Savior, Jesus Christ has for each of us, and that He is always there to lift us, to comfort us, to forgive us, and to strengthen us.  He set the example for us to follow...and is there with His hands outstretched, beckoning to us, reaching for us.  I love Easter! 
 
But with us speaking, and with all of the egg hunting and decorating and food prep the day before...by the time we got home from church and had finished with our Easter feast...I was worn out!
 
Addy kept coming back to her basket throughout the day to nibble on her "Canny."  She loves Easter too I think!  We especially got a kick out of her red cowboy hat that she likes to wear sideways and pulled way down low over her eyes.  She's like the little red candy bandit or something.

Rachey and Brooklynn did each other's hair...this is Rachel's creation, she is so talented!
 
And I had many "favorite" times during the day...but this had to be the best.  As everyone else was getting ready for bed, Addy and I snuggled up together on the couch to wait for them to come in for scriptures and family prayer.  Neither one of us made it...she and I fell asleep snuggling each other...I can't think of a better way to end another beautiful Easter Sunday!

The Making of a Feast

Here at the Thuernagle house, we like finding great reasons to hold a feast.  Luckily for us...we have 8 birthdays to celebrate each year...plus all the Holidays, so we feast quite a bit of the time.  I've never blogged about the prep...just shown pictures of the beautiful finished spread...but here goes.  The making of a feast:
 
On the menu for this Easter:  Ham, Party Potatoes, Jello Cups, Garden Salad, Green Bean Casserole, Challah Bread, Deviled Eggs, Holiday Punch, and for dessert...Strawberry Trifle.  Yummm.
 
The girls helped me most of Saturday...I had them slicing strawberries and making the puddings for the trifle that I would put together on Sunday.

Brooklynn made the jello cups...on Sunday we topped them with whipped cream and a jelly bean!

I made the Challah Bread, and had a hard time keeping everyone from eating it Saturday night!

Lainah gathered the tulips from our yard to use in the table centerpiece...and Andy made the deviled eggs.

Taylor made the Holiday Punch...which is grape juice mixed with 7up.  He had a hard time this year...it kept bubbling over...he had a big mess to clean up before we sat down to eat!

And after church, I cut up the Angel Food cake, and put together the trifle...chocolate pudding, strawberry Danish, fresh strawberries, whipped cream, and drizzled Hershey's syrup...this is an Easter favorite around here!

And here's part of the final spread!  Yum...

Little Addy was ready to eat!

And here's everyone else!  We usually bring out the china and silver but...I just knew that I wouldn't feel like washing dishes by hand afterwards...so we cheated.  It's okay.  The food was still scrumptious!

It's An Art

Ahh....egg decorating.  Every year I look forward to it.  I've never outgrown that feeling of wonder as you put a plain white egg into dye and it comes out beautifully colored!  This year, I bought the regular dye kit, plus two different kinds, one a tie-dye egg kit, and another a glitter egg kit.  The kids had fun.
 
Rachey was working on her first tie-dye egg...

While Lainah was sponging on some color so she could glitter her egg...I love the concentration.

And Brooklynn getting into the action.

Matthew, instead of trying the new kits decided to  just go with the tried and true...he had a good time dipping his eggs into all the different colors...and so proud of his brown eggs.  Seriously...what a silly boy.

In the meantime, Tay had come home from his campout...to relax on the kitchen floor of course.

And Andy's CPR course must have worn him out as well...he zonked out in front of the stove.  Seeing him like this reminded me of my grandpa Orme, who would come in from doing chores and lay down in front of the fireplace near the kitchen and fall asleep on the rug.  In just that position.  Too funny.

It didn't take long for us to convince Tay to join in on the fun...he and I used the silly face stickers that came with one of the sets to make a few "minion" eggs from Despicable Me. 

Andy laughs...but each year I boil more and more eggs and say, "do you think that will be enough?" It's a good thing we like deviled eggs around here...that's all I have to say! 

Easter Egg Hunt

What is Easter without an easter egg hunt?  Andy was gone to a CPR recertification course and Tay was at a campout...but the rest of us followed through with the hunt and had a great time!  Rachel was my big helper...I had her set her alarm early on a Saturday morning and rather than sleeping in, she helped me fill eggs and hide them outside.   
 
Here they are before all the fun began...

Addy didn't get it at first.  She couldn't figure out why we were trying to get her to put these funny plastic eggs into her basket!  Until she opened the first one...and said in her cute little baby voice, "Canny!?!"

After that...it didn't take any encouragement from us...she was on the hunt!

We gave them a limit of 12 for the first round...Lainah lost count apparently...she ended up with over two dozen just on the first round, and more later.

Willow even got into it.  He was confused about what was so amazing about these weird plastic things lying on the ground.

He started following Addy around...I guess he figures where she is...good food will follow?  She was happy to have her buddy helping her.
 

Brooklynn got a double jellybean...which are lucky!

And here they are at the end, with full baskets!
After Addy ate all of her candy...she figured out that Brooklynn still had a ton in her basket, so she snatched Brooklynn's entire basket and went running!
 

And because Rachey and I were the ones to put the whole thing together, we thought we needed a picture too...so here we are!  What a fun morning!

Meanwhile, as we were outside egg hunting...I came in to find Mr. Bix (Bixby) snoozing away in Addy's crib.  What a stinker kitty...

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Sleepy Addy

A friend gave Addyson the most wonderful gift when she was born...a cute, soft minky blanket.  Addy is rarely seen without her blanket, and ever since she was tiny has held it up to her little nose and rubbed her nose in its softness.  In fact, I have to smuggle it away from her to wash it, and even then half the time she figures out where it is and stands in front of the washer crying for it. 
 
The other night we were eating dinner...Addy had finished and was just sitting in her chair when we looked over and she had put her blanket up over her head.  When we peeked underneath, we found that she was fast asleep.  Too cute!
 
We must have really worn her out playing outside with the big kids...
 
And now that she had a full belly...and her snuggly blankey...she was ready for sleep. 


Friday, April 25, 2014

No Mistake About It!

When you are expecting baby #7, not very many people are excited.  It is a shame, but it is the truth.  In fact, you get so many comments from friends and strangers alike that are just plain vulgar and un-called for.  Most of the time, these little statements or inappropriate questions are posed under false fa├žade of humor...but the words are cutting and offensive and vulgar, nonetheless.  I wrote a post just before I had Addyson two years ago about giving people warning labels...I do wish you could stick labels on certain people's foreheads...it would make everyone else's lives a lot easier!
 
With this baby, both Andy and I have had MANY people ask us this question, and I quote: "So...was this one a mistake, or did you plan it?"
 
WHAT!?!?!
 
So far, Andy and I have answered with a respect and politeness that does not match the disrespect or rudeness of the question.  But I just have to say that I cannot think of how this question is anyone's business, nor is it appropriate, nor is it friendly in nature, nor is it funny.  It is just plain wrong, offensive, and rude.
 
 
Yep...even though she'll be the 5th girl...I can't NOT shop for her.  Already accumulating cute little frilly outfits for our newest princess!
Yes, this is our seventh baby, but Andy and I (and the kids for that matter!) are just as excited about welcoming her into our home as we were to welcome our first baby 14 years ago.  I for one, do not believe that ANY baby born into our world was a "mistake."  Life is precious.  It is especially surprising and offensive to get open criticism and sarcastic comments when the new little one will be born to two parents who love each other, and who will be providing a loving, nurturing environment for the babe to grow up in.  It just seems unreal to me that others would call this a "mistake."  What a sad commentary on our time and societal values (or lack thereof) even amongst those of us who hold traditional religious values and should know better.

I used to wake up in the middle of the night when I was expecting Taylor (our first baby) and think of names, and what he would look like, what he would be like, etc.  I've done this with each of my children. Last night I was awake from about 2:30-3:00 am doing the same thing.  In fact, I even got up out of bed to write a name down on our white board because the cutest little girly name came to my mind as I was thinking about her. I am so thankful to soon be the mother of seven children.  It is a great responsibility as well as a privilege that I am so thankful for and would not trade for ANYTHING in the world.  Not one single thing, not any title, not any amount of wealth, not any possession...nothing could possibly even start to compare with how much I love and value and adore my children.

So make no "mistake" about it baby girl and seventh child...YOU were MEANT to come to our home.  We KNOW it, and we are SO excited to be welcoming you to our family...you are much loved already by the people who REALLY matter.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Dating our Kids

After we graduated from dental school, Andy and I were listening to a talk about ways to be better parents, and the speaker, who was the father of 8 children, talked about how he and his wife started doing weekly dates with their children while they were young.  He talked about how it was initially a sacrifice to find the time, but that as each of his children grew to adulthood, he could see how many blessings came from spending the one on one time with each child, and how he and his wife's relationships with their children were so much stronger and deeper because of it. 
 
Well, that didn't take much convincing.  We set up a schedule immediately, and started taking the kids out on weekly dates.  It wasn't anything big, and we never spent a lot of money, if any at all, but what we did is spent one hour each week alone with one of our children. 
 
Then we opened our dental practice...the dates ended.  I would never have believed anyone if they would have told me that we could ever possibly be more stressed or busy than we were during our 4 years at dental school...but starting your own private dental practice with no outside private financial backing in a downed economy...yep.  That's more stressful.  Way more time-consuming and stressful.
 
Well, we have been very blessed during these past 5 years and our practice continues to grow and I don't know if the stress is any less, or if we have just learned how to shoulder it better...but we decided during our business trip last week that we needed to begin dating our children again.  So we started last Tuesday.
 
I took Lainah to the Walmart and let her choose 2 new nail polish colors...and on our way out we couldn't help but buy a beautiful bouquet of roses...
 We came back home, and I had everything set up in my bedroom to give her a manicure.  I locked the door, gave the older kids instructions that until I opened the door to pretend that we weren't home...and spent the next little while just talking with my 5 year old about her favorite things while painting her nails.
When we were done with nails, we tied some pretty ribbon around a few of the roses, and delivered them to a few ladies in our neighborhood that we thought would enjoy a pretty flower from the cutest little 5 year old ever!

At the end of the day, Lainah told me, "Mommy!  That was the BEST day ever!"  I thought so too.

And I don't have pictures, but Andy took Rachey on a date.  They went to Sonic, got shakes and then bought bike parts and went out to the garage and tuned her bike up for the season.  Simple and easy...but so great to be spending the time with each of them individually.

Life Scout

Taylor earned his Life Scout rank advancement this month.
Taylor has enjoyed scouting ever since he started Cub Scouts at 8 years old and immediately started earning as many belt loops as he could.  He has slowed down a little bit as he's gotten older because he is so involved in school, athletics, and music...but he still enjoys scouting.  He has an awesome leader, Carter Andrews, who puts in a lot of time for our boys.
Taylor is a good 3 inches taller than me now, and just keeps on growing!  He is a great kid, and I'm so proud of all that he is doing, and how hard he works in his achievements.
 He's currently serving as the Deacon's Quorum President, and we have seen tremendous growth in him from that calling...we have seen him looking more outward, seeing the other boys in ways that he never did before, and trying to find ways to include them all and help them all to feel a part of the group. 

So from his Star Scout advancement to his Life Scout, we have seen tremendous maturity and growth, and we've been thankful for the learning opportunities that have come his way.  It's amazing what just one year can do in the life of a young man. 
We couldn't be happier to have such an amazing son.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

"Remember When" Wednesday...

I love family vacations.  I love getting to spend an entire week with my husband and children alone and away from our day to day schedules.  I love hearing my kids say things like, "hey do you remember on the beach when..." or "remember last year in California when..."  Taking a yearly family vacation is something that I did as a kid, and I'm glad that it is a tradition that Andy and I have incorporated into our own family.  I'm the planner, the one who chooses where we go, makes all the arrangements, and plans all the activities...and I find that even before we're unpacked from one vacation, my mind is already thinking ahead to where we would enjoy going next.  Our world is an amazing place...there are so many places to see and things to do! 
 
Today I found myself thinking a lot about last summer's Oregon Coast trip.  I went through all of our pictures and chose some highlights.
 
Brooklynn and the seafoam...beautiful!

Mom...trailguide extraordinaire!

Lainah's important phone call...


Lainah dragging seaweed...yuck!

Rachel finding jellyfish...


Tay being Lainah's "prince."

Addy hiding in the TV console

Daddy & Addy watching the sunset off our balcony

Matthew overcoming his fear of the water

Taylor auditioning for Baywatch...

driftwood fires on the beach

Addy's cute chubby baby legs!

What!?!  Turn of the century lighthouses had thermostats?  Who knew!

Sharing jokes with Rachel

hiking with these clowns

Eewww!  Slimy Squishy Slugs!  Everywhere!

Pretending we're on "Survivor" and realizing...nope...I'd rather have chowder.

Lainah braving the slug stick

Mom's closeup shot...a cool funnel web
Tay's closeup shot...somebody's litter

Sleepy Addy...snuggled on Andy's back


Finding a secret mystical Pirate's Cove...or so we imagined
 

touring lighthouses...

Finding primitive tiny people huts deep in the Oregon coastal forests...

We had so much fun...can't wait to go back in a couple years!