Wednesday, June 25, 2008

turn around and have some PB and milk

It's a big day here in the world of estrogen shortages.

Car seats are flipping forward and we have peanut butter sandwiches and whole milk flowing like manna.

Our baby is one year old today!

I have very fond memories of Squirt's birth - it was definitely the best of the four (I guess practice makes perfect!), not because it was amazingly short or pain free (it WASN'T), but he was the first one that I had the presence of mind to reach down and pull my precious boy out of my womb and into my arms. My awesome doula Claire caught the moment so perfectly.

With a little cropping, it was appropriate to share with you!

Those hands under his armpits are mine. His lower half was still inside my body and with the help of Kenyon and my amazing certified nurse midwife Tina, I was the one who pulled him up and out and announce to the world that we had a fourth son!


Kenyon said that I stole his thunder by doing his favorite part for him.

What an amazing woman I am - doing the pushing and the catching. I tell ya, multi-talented!

heishereHe wasn't too upset though. As you can see a smile immediately took over the lower half of his face and camped out there until he passed out from the exhaustion of a middle of the night birth.


In addition to my husband, midwife and doula I was blessed to have several other special people in the room.

They asked if we needed bleachers or whether we'd be more comfortable in the hospital auditorium.

My mom flew in from Chicago for nine days to take care of three wild boys whilst I waddled and we all waited. This was the second Sweeney boy that she has witnessed exiting my womb and entering the world.


My three friends Ashley, Erin and Jenny arrived just in time to watch me go through transition and push him out. Ashley and Erin were there for Rufus' birth and I have been with them as several of their babies have been born (we have to stay friends forever with all the privates we've seen on each other) - I decided that having friends and support is my version of an epidural. Jenny was 10 weeks pregnant with her first baby at the time and I wanted to scare the crap out of her show her what she was in for the joys and noise of natural childbirth (and selfishly, have her hand to hold too).

momandfriends One year later our Squirt is just sweet as pie. We can't say enough good things about him. His personality is really coming out - he's feisty and funny, loving and generally easy-going. Most importantly, he is a great sleeper.

He is so LOVED by his brothers. They drag him around and kiss and hug on him like crazy and they create spontaneous giggles out of him all the time.

I am so amazed how perfectly God plans families. I never would have imagined that I would be the mother of four boys (or planned it that way), but it is the perfect fit for Kenyon and me and I'm so grateful for the fact that God knows me better than I know myself.

So Happy Birthday to our little Squirt - we love you and are thankful every day for your place in our family!

Messy cake pictures coming soon!!!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

anyone want to buy a pop up?

This past Friday we took our 1985 tent trailer out for the first time this summer. We went out to the Uinta mountains to a campground called Shady Dell. We had a shaky start, especially when we went to two different campgrounds that were full and then our trusty crappy camper broke AGAIN upon setting it up. We spent over $300 last summer getting the crank cables fixed - and they broke again!!!!

In order to get past the marital strife that hangs around in stressful moments such as these, we took out the two by fours that we kept stored in the camper for just a moment such as this. After propping up the ceiling over our heads, we moved on to have a most glorious weekend out in the wilderness filled with hiking, squirt gun fights, splashing in the forty-something degree Provo River, campfires and s'mores. We brought scooters to ride in the campground and took a couple of walks each day. We drove all the way up Mirror Lake Highway to the other side of the Wasatch National Forest and at the top, there is still six feet of snow all around. When we stopped to look at the view at nearly 11,000 feet elevation, we had a snowball fight Kenyon bombarded us all with snowballs which was totally hilarious - especially when he hit the camera straight on.

We stuffed ourselves with yummy food prepared by the award winning camp chef and had s'mores each night whether we were hungry or not. The kids behaved very well and slept like a dream - especially our sweet dog Jack, who quite happily cuddled up in Rufus' bed.

"The only thing you can never do over in life is raise your kids."

I chose Steven Curtis Chapman's song "Miracle of the Moment" for this slideshow. Kenyon and I have been working very hard lately to savor each moment we have with these sweet boys. We know that their childhood is fleeting and soon we will look back and wonder where the years went. Already Squirt is turning one and we constantly remind ourselves that THEY are our legacy, not our job, house, money, passions, work or hobbies. It's moments like these that I don't ever want to forget.

VBS 2008

Last week Hunter and Sauce went to vacation Bible school at a local church here. It's not our home church where we attend every weekend, but it's near where we live and they do a FANTASTIC job each summer with VBS. The boys have been looking forward to it since last year. There's always a theme and we get a music CD to keep so the songs will live for many years in our home!

Each day of the week has a theme, like crazy hair day, crazy hat day, red white and blue day, etc. On crazy hair day, I realized yet another reason why God has not given me any girls. I cannot do hair in a timely manner - and I'm already 10 minutes late to almost everything!

On the last day of VBS, the kids performed all the songs they learned for the parents. Most of the video I captured was of Sauce, simply because once we sat down, Hunter moved to an awkward spot to get on tape.

An interesting parenting moment happened during the show that day. My sweet Hunter always puts his whole heart into performing (you will see that Sauce is a little more self-conscious during these times), and he was standing behind a little thug girl in his class that kept turning around during the song and telling him to stop singing because she wanted to "sing it herself." Brendan backed up, but kept singing - she didn't back off and it's not on tape, but it made him cry and leave the stage. Oh, my heart - it walked off the stage with him! We kept reassuring him that he was fine and to keep going, but it was all I could do to stay in my seat and not wring her neck tell her to please stop. I wanted to bring Hunter to confront her and tell her how she made him feel before we left that day, but luckily my husband, being a man himself, was wiser in the ways of raising little men and had a strong talk with Hunter about standing up for himself in the face of future opposition. I love my man!

Here are a few clips of their songs:

Monday, June 23, 2008

above rubies

I have some special women in my life. We are all busy moms, so we don's get to see each other as often as we would like. We try to preserve one night each month as our "girl time" and we hold it precious. When we get together, the children are in bed and it is just us. We make a batch of popcorn, bring out our latest crochet projects and just start talking. We have been through many seasons together - seasons of laughter, expectation and joy, as well as seasons of tears, loss and sadness. We depend on each other for counsel and encouragement, love and unwavering acceptance.

ashHere is Ashley. On our last girls' night this past week, she would not let me take a picture of her because it was late at night and we had been laughing and crying for a few hours already. Ashley is the mother of eight children and this was our first night together since she lost her little boy Jeremiah. How awesome it is to have the safety and comfort of friends to be real with through the good and bad.

erinErin was a little better of a sport about getting her picture taken. Erin is the mother of four children and one more is on the way. Erin's daughter Ellie and my son Brendan have decided that they are going to get married when they are old enough - we'll be fine with that. Lucky for me, her children are nearly the same ages as my four, so we share much of the day to day chaos and frustrations, as well as the humor and joy. We bring a lot of parenting questions to Ashley and Mandy and listen intently!

mandyThis is Mandy. Mandy lives about 40 minutes away from us, but that just makes time with her all the more coveted. Mandy is the mother of five children and she and her husband are bringing home two children from Ethiopia sometime this fall (yes, that's a total of seven!). Mandy taught Ashley, Erin and me how to crochet - which has been a hobby that we all enjoy so much. Many babies ago, we started a sweet tradition between the four of us that when one of us has a baby, the other three crochet a three-part, non-patterned baby blanket for the new baby. One of us starts it with our own idea/color/pattern and passes it to the next person who does the same and the last woman finishes it and puts an edging around it (we try to have Mandy do that when she is not birthing because she is the crochet queen). Each blanket always winds up looking "unique" but is always created with prayer and love for that baby by such dear friends. Lucas is asleep with his in his crib now! This week we gave Ashley her tiny little blanket to remember Jeremiah.

These are the women I share my joys and laughter with, and they laugh with me and share theirs. What is even more unique though, is that these are the women I complain and cry to, and they listen and empathize, but always turn me in the right direction. Am I justified to be mad at times? Absolutely. But how would God want me to react as His child? As a wife? As a parent? As a friend? As a stranger? These are the women that will so gently and lovingly turn me to the truths of God's word and encourage me to be blessed by obedience, even if I don't feel like it.

And I'm so very grateful to have them on all sides on this road of life.

Proverbs 31:10 "A capable, intelligent and virtuous woman woman, who is he who can find her? She is far more precious than jewels and her value is far above rubies or pearls."

Sunday, June 22, 2008

zero to sixty

Life has been a whirlwind these last couple of weeks. We have had consistently good weather since I last posted and my life has gone into high gear. This past week was packed with a tight schedule of vacation Bible school (Hunter & Sauce), swimming lessons (Rufus), t-ball (Hunter & Sauce), trips to the park and regular errands - and to top it all off, we left for a full weekend of camping on Friday and returned today. I am exhausted and I have been constantly thinking of witty and interesting things to blog about, but have returned to a kitchen that looks like a bunch of boys live here and about 10 loads of laundry to do (not exaggerating). I'll just tease you with a few highlights from my trusty camera.








Sunday, June 15, 2008

Summer is peeking around the corner

This weekend we've finally seen some temperatures in the upper 70's and lower 80's. We have savored every moment of it and much to the horror of our neighbors, we have neglected our lawn that is growing into a jungle from all the rain snow in May and June. Even though Squirt came down with his first ever ear infection, we've been taking family bike rides, jumping on our neighbor's trampoline, shooting magpies with a bow and arrow from the upstairs windows going to a minor league baseball game and not stopping to eat anything of substantial nutritional value.

Our good friend Todd Fischer gave the three older boys their first formal golf lesson (go figure, we live on a municipal golf course). Sauce has a passion for it and a natural swing, Hunter is equally passionate, and soaked up all the direction he could from Todd. Even Rufus hit a bucket of balls and we were amazed at how he connected with so many of them.

Here's Sauce:

Here is Todd with the boys:P1010913

Here's Rufus:

Squirt has been up to his own share of monkey business too. He's crawling all over the place and although he doesn't yet seem interested in walking, he finds his way to where he wants to go. It seems like every time we turn around he has climbed the stairwell and is entertaining himself in the outlets bedrooms and toilets bathrooms upstairs.

Aside from a busy schedule of swimming lessons and Vacation Bible School this week, we are finishing up our last couple weeks of T-Ball for Hunter and Sauce. They are having a blast and their coaches refer to them as "Rocket" and "Cannon" respectively.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Look familiar?

This picture looks vaguely familiar, doesn't it? Yup, I've posted these pics in the past. But these pictures are from THIS MORNING - JUNE 11th!!!

So, in honor of this shi depressing event, I've decided to write a Letterman-like top ten list.

Top Ten Highlights of Living in the Mountains:
10. Snow tires - the perfect solution for that extra $600 laying around.
9. Fleece - would you like fries with that?
8. Air conditioning, shorts and swimsuits are overrated.
7. How else would the natural gas companies post record profits if we didn't need to run our heat in JUNE???
6. It's fun to make plans dependent on the snow forecast.
5. When you spend
this kind of cash, you might as well get 10 months of use per year out of it.
4. We're a rugged bunch (we really are).
3. Hot chocolate stands have a higher rate of return than lemonade stands.
2. All wheel drive - all year long!
AND the number one highlight of living in the mountains is...
1. Being indoors a lot somehow produces large families!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

it's only by GRACE we are saved!!!

I'm so thankful for the saving grace of Jesus. I'm not working my way to heaven - I'm a sinner saved by grace alone.

Apparently so are my kids. This is the only thing that came home with them from church today.

I'm so proud!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

these are the moments...

Today we went on our first field trip with our new virtual charter school that we are joining in the fall. We went to the planetarium in Salt Lake City. When I registered for this event, I had to choose whether to view an IMAX film about the human body or a planetarium presentation about the stars. I thought the latter choice might be a little over their heads (ha ha ha), and the human body movie might keep their interest a little more (plus I had the little ones with me, so I needed to keep everybody's interest). I thought Hunter and Sauce would love it.

It was pretty interesting, I mean where else can you go inside a human heart, lung, stomach, intestine or ear? Much less in IMAX size. I noticed them covering their ears when we were in the heart (it was pretty loud and looked a little like a prop from a horror film), and Sauce's sensitive gut almost lost it when we saw undigested food hit the stomach, but again it was very unique and educational.

One of the underlying "storylines" (if even that) was a woman expecting her first child and she spoke of the feeling of the baby growing bigger in her belly and gave a brief overview of how the sperm swim their little tails off to get to the egg, of course showing each fifty gazillion times magnified. The film showed a sperm reaching the inside of the egg and the cells begin to multiply. At that moment, Sauce asked (loudly), "Mom, are those the baby's eyes?" No honey, that is the beginning of the baby.

Oh boy, I'm going to be answering some questions tonight!

I prepared myself as the film continued with a broad overview of changes in the body from babyhood, through puberty all the way until grey hair grows out of the ears of old men. They even had a discreet scene of childbirth (which is nothing new, my kids have seen "A Baby Story").

I've always believed that if children are old enough to ask a question, they're old enough to have an answer. So, I braced myself for the ride home.

"So, do you have any questions about the movie?" I asked as we pulled out of the parking garage.

"I do!" said Hunter.


"Mom, why didn't they tell us anything about snot?"

SNOT??? SNOT? All that potential to find out the secrets behind locked doors and he wants to know about snot. Hmmm. Oh well, that's a boy for you.

They seemed content to know that the movie was only about 45 minutes long and they couldn't possibly teach us about EVERY bodily function in that short amount of time (thank you Lord!).

OK, that was the funny part, but as we pulled into our neighborhood, both Hunter and Sauce were peppering me with questions about what happens to the sperm who don't make it to the egg, how does the sperm know where to go, etc.

And then, "Mom, how does the sperm from the daddy get into the mommy?"

Gulp. (santa claus? tooth fairy? easter bunny? stork?)

You'll have to check back to hear the conclusion of that conversation! (It might have started with, "Ask your dad.")

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Road Trip!!!

As I mentioned in my last post, we took a long weekend to go explore Zion National Park which is about four hours south of us. Kenyon had a business trip in Las Vegas Monday and Tuesday, so we just tagged along for that too. I was soaking up every second of sun and 80-90 degree temperatures. We got back Tuesday night to 50's and rainy!!!

We stayed at an all-inclusive ranch resort near Zion National Park for the weekend. They had an awesome pool and nightly activities like tug-of-war for the kids and a rodeo for everyone to watch. The staff was friendly and the cabin was great.

When we got to Las Vegas, poor daddy had to put on his suit and go to work while I got to take the crew to Mandalay Bay's Shark Reef Aquarium. The highlight was the pool where they could pet stingrays and horseshoe crabs. It was really fun.

Here's a little slideshow of our time away:

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

get used to it

May I ask you a question?


Are they all yours?


All boys?


Four boys?


It's like a factory.

Yup, we just crank them out.

More power to you!

Thank you.

You have a house-full of boys!

Yes we do!

Is that a good thing or a bad thing?

It's a great thing.

You are brave.


Are you going to try for a girl?

We're quite sure God knew what he was doing.

No one to help you in the kitchen?

Oh yes, this one empties the dishwasher and this one sweeps the floor and this one helps with meals.

You are one busy woman.

Yes I am.

You have your hands full.

Yes I do.

Better you than me.

I think so too.

God bless you mam.

Thank you.

Being on vacation has brought to my attention the fact that we have a large family. I know, I know, you think, "Laurie, you are with your family every day and this is just now dawning on you? You're blonder than you pay to be!" Yes, it sounds silly, but for the last five days we've been on a mini-vacation in Zion National Park and Las Vegas and for several instances, I have felt like we were an attraction for people to look at. Kenyon noticed that in Utah, our family isn't considered that large, but when we travel out of state, we suddenly become the exception, and not the rule.

Sure my kids are cute and all (ok, really cute), but it wasn't a cute factor - it was a "Holy Cow look at how many sons they have!" reaction. I guess I should get used to it, but this was the first time that I felt the pride ooozing out of my pores for the fact that I have four sons. Granted, some people pity me... many try to make it into a negative thing that we don't have any daughters, like we settled for a consolation prize at the county fair. But each time there was a look on someone's face or a comment like the ones above (those are just a few examples of what I hear all the time), I gleamed with pride for how blessed a woman I am. I'm sure I would feel the same way if I had four daughters or a mix of both - I'm just in love with our family. I can tell you that I'm grateful they are not being noticed because they are misbehaving, disrespectful brats - no one has noticed that yet (just kidding!!!).

About Me

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Messy and wonderful perfectly describes my life as a wife and mom of five. I'm passionate about advocating for orphans by telling their stories and encouraging adoption and orphan care. My schedule is messy and wonderful as I am charged with four sons and one daughter. We love living in our little mountain ski town. We do a little camping, a little skiing, a little hunting, and a lot of laughing and loving. Life is dirty and loud around here but we wouldn't want it any other way. Okay, maybe a little less dirty!

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