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    a birth day story

    Jenna gave birth to a beautiful 9 lb. 10 oz. man child on Sunday at 12:52 p.m. 

    Meet Jayson Chance Whiting.

    But let me back up a bit first. 

    I have long known that when Jenna and Tyler finally brought children into the world they would be some of the luckiest children ever.  Period.  Tyler is a giant of a human with an enormous and gentle heart.  Jenna is loving & purposeful.  She knows what she wants by studying things out with all her energy & passion, then works her tail off to bring her visions to fruition.  There will be no accidental parenting in her home because she will make conscious decisions of how each situation will be handled.  I admire that enormously. 

    So I guess I wasn't surprised that Jenna had firm ideas on how she wanted to bring this babe into the world.  It would be in the comfort of her own home, with Tyler and both of their moms to assist.  I was surprised, however, and completely honored when she called to ask if I would come, too.  To take pictures.

    It was maybe my favorite job ever.  Here he more than a full minute out of the womb. 

    The birth story is one of power & beauty, but it's really Jenna's story to tell.  So I'll just share some of the side stories - moments that were sacred from my point of view.  

    To me the birth was a love story.  Many of the pictures I took were of Tyler.  He stood right by and held on to Jenna through it all.  Their eyes would lock during the heavy contracting, and it was obvious she needed him...gained strength through the power of his presence. 

    It was also a story of a mother's love.  I'm not sure if I felt more pain watching Jenna or Kay.  As hard as Jenna worked, Kay stood right beside her the entire time clearly wishing she could jump in to take over for her beloved little girl.   Jenna was unbelievable, but at the times it became most difficult, her eyes would find Kay's, searching for affirmation.  Which Kay gave with raw sincerity.  It was obvious that she had faith in her Jenna.

    It was also a story of a father's love, though I didn't take a picture of this part.  After a while of hard labor in the birthing pool, Jenna called for Mike to give her a blessing.  He placed his hands on her head and called on the powers of Heaven through the Priesthood on her behalf.  As he closed the blessing, my mind jumped back to the blessing I was also honored to witness on the eve of her wedding.  There is a special bond between Mike and his Jenna.  

    Perhaps my favorite moment of all came when Jayson was safely placed in Jenna's arms.  She laid down to cradle him, completely radiant with joy, then turned up to Tyler with a simple, "Can I have a kiss?".  Of course his response was instant.  And then she immediately said, "I love you.  We're a family now." 

    This picture captures that for me...and, of course, my eyes are wet even remembering that moment.  It was sacred & beautiful, something I felt honored to witness. 

    They are indeed a family.  And a good one. 

    Jayson holding hands with his dad for the first of countless times to come

    One last sweet moment at the birth was when the midwife (who was amazing!) gave Jayson the little hat she had knit for him as Jenna labored.  She placed it on his head, brought him over to Jenna's side and sang a sweet "happy birthday" to the boy.  No eyes were dry in the room. 

    When I left to return to my own family, I called my Jim and though I couldn't ask for a kiss at that moment, I gave a hearty "I love you."  And I thanked him.  Because he was always my rock through my labors.  And through every other living moment, really.  And then I called my mom, and thanked her.  Because she was definitely the one I looked to for affirmation as I became a mother.

    me, kissing on Jayson

    The next day we brought our family to meet him.

    They were, of course, enchanted. 

    Congrats to Jenna & Tyler

    for bringing this beautiful little human into our world!


    my three

    Summer is upon us.

    If you asked me a month ago, I had BIG, big plans.

    reorganizing the house...

    cleaning out closets...


    boosting the boys' school skills..

    Well, so far I get a big fat "F" in each of those categories.


    But here are the 3 on one of our exceptionally LAZY days:

    Needs are being met.


    {and in spite of their mother}



    just play along with me...Easter wasn't that long ago, right??

    Ours was fantastic.  Spent at a cabin in Lakeside with Tyler's family. We played a whole lot of Trek to Zion, did a whole lot of laughing and ate a whole lot of junk.  A good combo for a great weekend. 

    Azure had her Choncho to play with (and love on):

    And Aidan had his gang of cousins:

    D mostly wandered off in his own world (makes me sad that I got no pictures of that..he was truly content & in D-land), but here he is with the Hendrix gang:

    a few more from the weekend:

    I'm not trying to play favorites, but it's hard not to take hundreds of pictures of this girl when she's constantly by my side...the boys are constantly off doing their own thing!


    We made an afternoon trip to visit Grandma Scott in Springerville.  She is 102 and loves her Jim.  

    We passed some patches of snow on our way back to Lakeside, and D insisted that we stop.  He has never experienced snow (except when too young to remember), so he was thrilled to step into some. 


    until he fell knee deep into a patch and couldn't get his shoe out. He wailed & wailed, and I tried to control my laugher through his: "I never want to see snow again!" 

    Aidan ran across and slipped, but couldn't stop laughing through the pain.

    This recap says so little, but it was honestly a perfect weekend.  I love how chill Tyler & Gina fun to hang out with!


    the state of this Blog...and an FHE idea

    I recently freaked out, realizing that so many important events and memories are recorded on my blog.  It was definitely my primary source for journaling when the boys were little.  Wanting to preserve it in a hard copy, I've started the (very long!) process of turning it into a book.

    As I've gone back and re-read this blog from Day 1, so many thoughts have rushed through my head.  I've laughed at the chaos that once reigned over each day with two busy little men.  I've breathed sighs of relief that those days are done, then cried at the thought that I'll never hold those two mini monsters in my arms again.  Their legs are now long and their faces have thinned, and I face the realization that we've outgrown that phase forever. 

    Surprisingly, what I never supposed possible (in those tumultous days) is true.  Life is even MORE busy with them grown a bit. Still, I don't want it to slip by unwritten.  I want to record this stage as well as I did that one.  And I want life with Miss Mae in the mix to make its mark, too. I love this little family I am blessed to call Mine. 


    So I'm making a vow (Andee!) to post once a week. 


    And that's easy to do today.  Because last night was one of those perfect {and rare!} family nights.  After reading over my patriarchal blessing a few months ago, I was hit anew with the profound responsibility I have to teach my children.  I want them to love the gospel and teach it with ease on their missions and in their lives.  So we started what I hope will become a regular FHE feature.   

    I let them each choose a Gospel Art Kit picture. They then have 5 minutes to review the story depicted and devise a short talk and testimony related to it.  Then we go around sharing our talks.  Jim and I went first, so they'd have models.  The first time we did this was about two months ago...they loved it & the spirit was present. 

    Last night we did it again.  This time I told them they needed to focus on a gospel principle in their talk.  Davyn spoke about Enos and the principle of Prayer.  Aidan shared the story of Samuel the Lamanite and the principle of Prophets testifying of Christ.  And they each bore testimony.  Jim shared a picture of Lehi and Nephi, and bore testimony of how the gospel pierces hearts through the mouths of multiple witnesses.  Lehi taught great & powerful doctrines.  Nephi prayed about his father's teachings and then bore witness to their truth.  Over & over.  Jim's talk spiraled us into a discussion about how this is the teaching pattern they will follow on their missions. 

    I was struck with a confirmation that this FHE teaching practice will be a powerful way to prepare my children to be great gospel teachers.  Right now their talks follow this pattern:  Share a scripture story, point out the gospel principle in that story, bear testimony of that specific principle.  Eventually we will add more to this - a scripture, a personal experience, etc.  But my true hope is that they'll be prepared to speak at moment's notice and be comfortable speaking of spiritual things. 

    The other highlight of our night was when Azure robustly sang "Choose the Right" with us.  Her little vocal chords usually only make their appearance on "Popcorn" or "Itsy Bitsy Spider", so it was a real treat to hear her belting out the repeated line:  "Choose the Right."


    a Utah work-cation

    Jim always says his family never took vacations growing up.  Instead, each trip was a work-cation.  Whether it was putting a new roof on his grandma's house or helping round up some cattle, each roadtrip promised a sweaty couple of days filled with good labor.  

    When I told him I was going to Utah to help JoDee pull off a surprise party for Shane, he laughed and said it sounded like I was headed for a "work-cation" of my own.  In a way, that was true.  Jo & I hustled for days pulling together details for the party, and I could hardly keep my tired eyes open on the drive back home. 

    But there are few people I'd rather work side-by-side with than my sisters.  We did a whole lot of laughing on the road to Saturday night's surprise.  And it was a success.  Those of you who know Shane (you can't fool that man!) and JoDee (who simply can't lie well) will be stunned to hear that the man was indeed surprised. 

    It was a fabulous time, JoDee, and I'm glad I could be a part of it! 

    The dessert table: