Sunday, April 12, 2015

Our Amazing Daughter

Our teenage daughter wrote the following blog post.  Her blog is private, but we got permission to share it here.  She is pretty insightful.

Change Isn't Just In The Air...'s in us.

   (Before you freak out, this does NOT have ANYTHING to do with "The Talk". I promise. I'm not touching that subject with a ten foot pole.)

   Autumn is often referred to as "the season of change", but it doesn't seem fair to me that it would be the one season to gain that distinction. Each season has changes. The Earth is constantly changing, along with the world (as in the people and society), and us, individually.

   Over the last couple weeks, I've become a huge Agatha Christie fan. (More like an addict...I read one book, and then I couldn't stop.) Recently, I read a Miss Marple book called Nemesis, and there was something in it that made me very, very sad. (Um, aside from the murder part. Because that's obviously not good.)

   There was a young man in the book who had been bad news his whole life. He was given chance after chance after chance, and never seemed to change, and by his late teens, everyone had, more or less, washed their hands of him. Even people who he hadn't really met, and who should have been people to trust in his ability to change...well, they just didn't. No one believed that he could change, even when he himself had good intentions for the first time in his life, instead of others having good intentions for him. He couldn't change, everyone said. Not fundamentally.

  And the sad part is, that at the end of the book, everyone still believed that. 

  One of Satan's most effective, widely spread lies is that we do not have the ability to change. Sure, we can change our intentions and our attitudes for a little while--but we can't change. Not fundamentally.

  But guys, that is NOT TRUE. 

   To say that we can't change who we are for the better is to say that Heavenly Father's plan for us was doomed to fail. To say that we can't change and be the people God wants us to be is to say that Christ's sacrifice for us was pointless. To say that we can't change, fundamentally, is to say that there is no point in life at all.

  Of course, Heavenly Father's plan can't fail. Christ's sacrifice was not some futile effort on His part. And life is anything but pointless.

  Last year, I went through one of the hardest times of my life. For about six months, I consistently felt like I was a terrible person who couldn't get better and that there was no point in even trying. Every time I heard something that said that wasn't true, something inside of me went, "yeah, okay, that's true for most people. That's true in most cases. But not mine. I'm too far gone. I can't change." 

  Sometimes I still feel that way. But by now, I know what to do--I pray. And invariably, I remember that those words are lies. I can change. I can change just as much as you can change, and you can change just as much as Alma and his son changed, just as much as Saul changed on the road to Damascus, just as much as every one of those millions of people who are trying every day to improve and be better can change. Just as much as those people do and did change.

  It doesn't matter what circumstances you are in--it doesn't matter how far you feel you are gone. You can change. That's what life is all about, really, changing to become more like our Savior. And believe me when I say, it's possible. With His help, you. can. change. I'm not saying it's going to be easy--because it's not. It's going to be one of the hardest things you will ever do, and the process is gonna take your entire life. But with His help, you are up to the challenge.

  Please try not to forget that. And if you do (because I think we all do sometimes, no matter how hard we try), turn to the Savior. And He will help you remember just how special you are. I promise.

   So, it's not Autumn. But it is Spring. And as I see magnolia trees and daffodils bursting into bloom all around me, I can't help but smile. Heavenly Father loves me. Christ loves me. And I can change.

   And the same goes for you.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

You Have HOW MANY Kids???

Yes, they are all ours. No, there are no twins. Yes, they are fabulous!
We've become a bit lax in our blogging, and we mean to correct that. Of course, after our last post where our oldest son impaled his foot with a copper rod, nothing else really seemed blog worthy! Well, we did move over a thousand miles away and had a baby, but c'mon! He had a metal rod go through his foot! How do you top that?

Speaking of having another baby, little baby "C" brings our total to seven children. If you think about it, that's one and a half dozen children! (Seriously, think about it -- one AND a half dozen children; pretty funny, eh? I crack myself up.) Yes, we've officially entered into what most people refer to as "what the heck is wrong with you?"

At least, that's what I thought would be most people's reaction. Oh, there have definitely been a few jaw drops and double takes. This usually happens when Sherrie and I are out with just the baby, and people ask, "Is this your first?" Like shifting gears in a car, some people just aren't quite able to make the mental switch from "first" to "seventh" with much ease. And we have certainly been asked, "You do know what causes this, don't you?" And you should see their reaction when I mention that they were all delivered by C-section. I usually tell them that we just had the doctor install a zipper after the third child.

When we had our seventh child, we were prepared for these reactions. We knew that it was just part of the territory for parents of large families. What we weren't prepared for, though, was that the overwhelming majority of people have reacted in way we hadn't anticipated: admiration and support.

Far more often than the looks of shock and jokes about the origin or our situation, we have had people tell us how great it is that we have such a large family. People have called us blessed. They've told us how fantastic it is that our children have a built-in support system. We've been congratulated on having an amazing family. It has been mind-blowing! WE knew all of that was true -- we just didn't expect that in today's world so many other people would recognize it.

Yes, we do have a large family, and we wouldn't have it any other way. These kids are some of the most amazing people we know. We have found that more kids really just means more love.

And as for the question about whether or not we know what has caused it, rest assured that after seven kids, we've figured it out. Sherrie and I will be separating our laundry from now on.

Friday, June 14, 2013


WARNING! This post contains some extremely graphic pictures. If you have a weak stomach or just don't want to see pictures of absolute grossness, you'll want to skip this post. If, on the other hand, you are completely intrigued by this disclaimer, read on! (For the faint hearted, you can still go ahead and read the post; we'll make sure to give you a warning letting you know to not scroll down any further.)

Here's our oldest son, J. He was supposed to be at Scouts. As you can see, however, he was in the hospital instead. Here's the story.

Last Wednesday, Jay was making dinner (a lovely concoction involving Ramen and broccoli; don't judge), when he heard, "Get Dad! It went through my foot!" Now, that's not a normal thing to hear, so he went out to investigate. The kids were all outside screaming such nice-to-hear phrases as, "He's dying!" and "We love our brother! He can't die!" Jay rushed to the scene of the commotion and saw J. on the other side of the fence with a rod STICKING THROUGH THE TOP OF HIS FOOT!

Jay hurried in and told Sherrie to call 9-1-1, then ran back to help our son. Jay held J. in his arms to keep him calm, and told him, "It's alright." J.'s response was, "It's not alright! It went through my foot!" OK, it's a bit hard to argue with that kind of reasoning!

You're probably wondering at this point just how in the world this happened. It went like this: J. was outside with his younger brothers and sister and a friend, playing football. It was a beautiful summer day, and we really do have nice grass, so they were, of course, barefoot. The ball went over the fence (It's only 4 feet tall), so J. hopped over the fence to get it. He landed right on a 1/2" thick utilities grounding rod, and it went completely through his foot! He was effectively nailed to the ground.

The paramedics and sheriff arrived within only a few minutes. In order to get J. free, they had to dig the ground under his foot and snap the copper rod with the Jaws of Life. He was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance (for the 3rd time in his life, we might add!) and the wonderful doctors removed the rod. Thank you, wonderful doctors! That rod was really in the way.

Now for some amazing things. Amazing thing number 1: despite the ridiculously high amount of bones, tendons, and ligaments in the foot, the rod missed all of them. There will be no permanent damage, other than a couple of really cool scars! Amazing thing number 2: J. did not cry during the entire ordeal. He certainly let us know he was in pain, but he did not cry. Actually, there were a few tears, but that was only when the doctor said he would be in the hospital until Sunday; he had been looking forward to seeing his cousin for weeks, and his cousin was only going to be in town for the weekend. The thought of missing out on playing with his cousin is what made him cry, not the HUGE HUNK OF METAL IN HIS FOOT! Amazing thing number 3: J. was out of the hospital on Friday, so he didn't miss a second of being able to play with his cousin. Amazing thing number 4: If you're a really sweet 10 year old boy, who doesn't complain at all about one of the most gruesome injuries ever, nurses give you all the ice cream you could ever want. Even if that amounts to about 300 a day. Amazing thing number 5: J. didn't die of ice cream overdose.

Alright, now for the good parts: the pictures! First, some non-graphic pictures:

Now for the really good part: the graphic pictures. So here's the promised warning:

WARNING: If you continue to scroll down, you will see some pretty nasty pictures!

You can still turn back if you don't want to see!

Last chance!

Congratulations! You made it to the gross pictures!

And here's the wound without the rod. It's healing up nice!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Our Happy Family!

We have the best family in the whole world! We cannot even begin to describe how amazing these kiddos are. They make us laugh with the fun things they say and do, and they always impress us with how responsible they are! Families are forever, and we are forever thankful to be a part of this family.

(And for those of you who are wondering, Sherrie took this picture! She put the camera on a tripod, told us where to stand, hit the timer, and ran to her spot. She's awesome!)

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Jill & Chris: FAMILY

What a fun family.  What a pleasure it was to document the love they have in their family.  

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Camille & Will: Wedding

Camille,  You are stunning!  There is no other way to say it.  And Will compliments your gorgeousness amazingly.  

Thank you for a wonderful weekend.  I loved hanging out with your family.  I loved hanging out with my family.  I loved celebrating your happiness.  I loved the warm weather.  I loved eating grapefruit right off the tree.  Especially since it has been 12 years since you got me hooked on them.  But most of all, I loved seeing you so incredibly happy.  I loved seeing you with the person that has made you that happy.  I loved documenting that happiness.  Thank you so much for allowing me to share in your special day.

Love you always.


Friday, June 22, 2012

Baby "S": Omaha Baby Photographer

This little baby is so tiny and so sweet.  She was born at 6 lbs 14 oz.  Our babies probably weighed that at 6 months in the womb!  She was alert and awake when we started, and then a little snuggling with mom put her right to sleep.  

Congratulations Brian and Melissa!  She is beautiful.  And you even made her yourself; way to go!