Every once in a while I feel like a get into a rut.  I end up getting sucked into the television all day and not getting anything done that I want to.  As a stay-at-home mom with Dish, it is way to easy to plan your day around the television schedule and never fulfill yourself emotionally, spiritually or physically .  When I finally realize I am in a rut, sometimes it takes me a while to figure out how to get out of it.  Monday was one of those days for me.  I looked at myself and was shocked.  I was doing the absolute bare minimum for myself and my family.  Today is a revamping day.

On revamping day, I make sure I do everything that I have been wanting to do to prove to myself that if I really work on it, I can get everything done that I would like to.  So this morning I woke up and fed my kiddos, got dressed and went running.  Running is not my thing, but I made it 2.5 miles.  That feels good.  I got home, fed my kids their solid foods, put them down for a nap, cleaned my house and started my laundry. Now I am going to catch up on blogging, read my scriptures and snuggle my babies when they wake up.  Revamping day always makes me feel so good.  It is time to implement our new summer schedule and have it include everything I need an want it to.  Yes, this excitement and drive will fade, but sometimes life just needs to be revamped.

Five years ago I was diagnosed with a type of cancer called Hodgkins Lymphoma. When I was diagnosed they started me on a chemo protocol that had been approved a few years earlier. It took my chance of survival from 30% to 80%. The team that discovered the protocol had been funded by the American Cancer Society. So a fundraiser like Relay for Life saved my life and let me celebrate more birthdays.

Now I want to help the American Cancer Society help others be able to celebrate more birthdays and eventually find a cure for this horrible disease. Help me make a difference by donating to the cause. Even if it is only a few dollars, every little bit helps!

My Relay Page

Yesterday was one of those no good very bad days.  Justin and I decided we were very tired of being mom and dad after yesterday.  Addi woke up at 4 AM with a fever from her shots, we got her calmed down, and back to sleep for two hours before she woke up screaming again at 6.  Justin ran out to grab some baby tylonol because ours mysteriously went missing and we couldn’t find it at 4.  Since it was close enough to wake-up time, I fed her a bottle, her dad got home with her medicine and she and I went back to bed while Justin waited for Weston to wake up (yes, he actually is the best husband ever.)

Addi and I woke up at 9:30 and let Justin go back to bed for a couple of hours.  Around 1 I headed to the grocery store to grab everything I needed for our Relief Society (Church Group) activity and spent the afternoon baking, organizing and trying to get myself put together before 5:30.  All while the bladder infection I’ve had for the better part of a week made its way to my kidneys.

We had crabby kids all day and my husband is a saint for watching them while I got all of my stuff done.  After my activity I went right to the doctor and he gave me stronger meds that don’t make me sick to my stomach, told me that he thinks I have a chronic UTI condition and referred me to a urologist. I got home, we put the kids to bed, and went right to bed ourselves.

Today, the kids slept in until 8, ate their bottles and bananas like champs, went down for a nap at 10 and are just starting to stir now at noon.  I got my house cleaned, my new medicine doesn’t make me sick and actually fixes the problem, I’ve been drinking pomegranate cider (my new fave that no one in the city of Logan sells…. so I custom ordered some Torani Syrup) and Justin’s very late birthday present just arrived.  Yes, it is almost my birthday but I had to wait until after we got our tax return to get him his present.  Life is awesome and I breathe a sigh of relief that not all days are like yesterday!

The other night Justin and I went out on our weekly date night.  Since the kids are little, and we don’t know any young women here in Logan who love to babysit, they always get to come with.  Addi loves going out to dinner and usually wants to sit on my lap and flirt with everyone who passes by, and Weston loves to sleep though the whole thing.

The hilarious thing about going out with twins is this happens every time, multiple times in a row:

So after we went through the normal questions with our waitress, I told her–

I love it, twins are a blast, it is so much fun to be a mom.”

“Do you work?”

“Not right now.”

“Well that’s why.”

I was so bugged for the rest of dinner.  How could she assume that if I worked, I would not love being a mom?

Motherhood is not easy.  Taking care of twins is a lot of work. I feel more exhausted at the end of the day than when I was working full time and going to school full time.  I can imagine that I would feel even more so if I had to work and be a mom.

Maybe it is because I wasn’t sure with all of my health issues if motherhood would be something I would get to experience, but I feel like the love I feel for my children and how much I enjoy being a mother is something that should be universal.  It is something a lot of women want but can’t have.  Motherhood should be viewed as a gift or a privilege, not as something that you only like to do if you have nothing else going on.

Now, I’m not saying that I love every second, I don’t count down the minutes to nap times some days, or that the dried spit up scent will be my choice of perfume for the rest of my life.  But if I’ve learned one thing in my 23 years of life it is the things that are the hardest, craziest, or insane in life are usually the most worth it.


I got a new food processor that has a dough blade, so today I decided to make bread, and it got me thinking about the special relationship I have with my bread recipe.  I am so incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity to have known most of my great grandparents incredibly well.  Being one of the oldest grandchildren seems to let you have that opportunity.

I’ve received a lot of gifts in my life, some that I’ve wanted incredibly badly, and would have been heartbroken if I hadn’t gotten that I can’t even remember now.  But there are two gifts that I didn’t expect to receive, that I didn’t ask for, that have been two of the most life changing.

When I was little, and my dad was in medical school, we lived very close to one of my great-grandmothers.  She would babysit me when my mom would need her to, and we would go over to her house for dinner all the time.  Now, Grandma Pennington collected porcelain dolls.  Her house flourished with them.  But there was one that I was always entranced with.  Still, twenty years later, I can remember exactly where that doll knelt praying on that little stone hearth and how if I was very gentle, Grandma would let me touch her.  It made me feel so beautiful when she would tell me she thought the doll looked like me and how I should always remember to say my prayers like the little doll was doing.  Grandma Pennington put in her will which doll each granddaughter and great-granddaughter would get, and I was lucky enough to be getting this beautiful doll.

The Christmas that I was going through chemo was a rather bleak one for me.  I was right in the middle of a treatment week, so I was rather drugged and feeling crummy.  But I love Christmas with my family so after we saw our Santa presents, they let me take a nap so that I could take on the family present opening.

That year we each got a present from Grandma Pennington.  When I opened it, I could not believe my eyes.

It was my doll.  That Christmas that I expected to be the worst one of my life, was completely turned around.  It was such a special thing to me that Grandma would give me this beautiful doll before she passed away, during a time in my life when I needed most desperately to remember the power of prayer.

The second gift I received wasn’t for a birthday or Christmas or any other holiday.  It was a “just because” type of a gift.   The summer after I finished chemo, my little sister Savannah and I took a road trip to Oregon to see a bunch of our family.  We had a great visit and got to see a whole lot of grandparents and great-grandparents.  While we were visiting with my Great-Grandma Green, she had homemade bread and jam for us, and I mentioned to her that I couldn’t make bread because I could never get it to rise.  I was bread challenged when it came to cooking.  She told me there was no way she was believing that, and we went on with the conversation.

Now, 18 is a very interesting time in a young woman’s life.  My bedroom was super messy, and I would much rather go out for a burger or chicken nuggets than cook for myself.  I didn’t feel very domestic and thought I could never actually get married and be a mom because I could never pull it off because I only like to do things that I’m good at.

Two weeks after our visit to Oregon, I got a small package in the mail.  It was a recipe book of breads.  I laughed and thought there was still no way that I could pull off making bread.  When I opened it up to look through it, Grandma Green had written her bread recipe in the front, she finished the recipe with “Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, have fun, love to Jackie, Grandma Green.”  Now, this recipe has to rise not only once, but twice.  I loved that she had thought of me and that tiny little conversation where I said I couldn’t make bread.  I tried her recipe, and to this day, it is still the only recipe that I can make where I can easily get the bread to rise.

It was such a little thing that changed my life.  I could now make bread.  Maybe I could make a good mom someday.

This morning I pulled out my book of breads, opened to the front cover, smiled at my great-grandma’s beautiful handwriting, and made bread.  So here I am, my clean house smells like fresh baked bread, my two beautiful children are napping.  I am so happy to be a mom, and so grateful for the wonderful woman who unknowingly helped me realize I could do it.

It is a good thing I don’t drink or smoke.  It would kill me.  I get addicted to things very easily.  Recently, since I have been being a stay at home momma, it has been television shows.  Now, I’ve always had shows that I’ve loved to watch, (Gilmore Girls, Grey’s Anatomy, Castle) but recently it has gotten a little bit weird.  Not only has the numbers of shows I watch has grown exponentially,  I’m starting to feel a weird personal connection with the characters.

When you’re a new mom, you don’t leave the house a whole lot.  My only outings seem to be the grocery store and Wal-Mart.  The only adult I have substantial face to face conversations with is my husband.  So Regis and Kelly, or Ted, Robin, Barney, Marshall and Lily and all of these characters I see on the shows every week (or day) have become my friends.  I’m starting to feel emotionally invested in their going-ons.

Ridiculous?  Yes.  Abnormal?  Honestly, I don’t think I’m alone in this.;)

Since the day they were born, (even three and a half months premature) my peanuts have had very definite personalities.  As they continue to grow they even become more distinct and hilarious.  Take yesterday for example:

Weston looked at me like this

and proceeded to tell me about twenty minutes of

unnngeeee goooo mmmmgah”

Now, I wish I spoke infant because I’m absolutely sure in those twenty minutes he was imparting deep wisdom to me.  Probably the secrets to a happy life.  Whatever it was, he was sure serious about it.

Addi woke up in the morning and created a new dance which she perfected throughout the day.  Justin first called it a belly dance, but I decided Hula was a more appropriate name for it.  (I would prefer to not encourage my 4 month old to become a belly dancer so early in life.)

Yep, 6 years, 5.5 months of chemo, 4 universities, 3.68 GPA, 2 beautiful miracle babies, and 1 absolutely incredible husband later- I am a college graduate.  It is really interesting to look back on the crazy twists and turns that my life has taken since I graduated high school.  I remember the day vividly.  In all honesty it does not seem like that long ago.  Life tends to fly by the older you get.  I remember all of my hopes, dreams and plans.  I never thought I would be here with this life, but I am so grateful that I am.

I never thought I would beat something as big as cancer.  The fact that I could, and can now call myself a survivor has made me a different person.  I now know that I can do hard things.  Life is rocky.  No matter how lucky you think people are, everyone will have their ups and downs in life.  I know that that experience shaped me into who I am today.  And five months from now (or whenever I schedule my 5 year appointment) and all of my tests come back cancer free, I will no longer be in remission, I will be cured…. what a word huh?

I always thought I would graduate from BYU.  I have always been and will always be a Cougar at heart.  Yes, I only got to attend there for 3 months, but I am so grateful for the opportunity I had to attend so many colleges.  It gave me such a well rounded education that I will forever be grateful for.  I will also forever be grateful to all of the wonderful people I met along the way.  I just like to think about what would have happened if I hadn’t attended U of I.  While it was the last place I thought I would be, I wouldn’t trade my years there for anything.  I desperately miss that institute building, the singles wards, and all of the wonderful friends and roommates I had while I was there.  I got to study abroad and make incredible friends and memories in Italy that I will always cherish.  The U of I was good to me, it is where I spent my single young adult life and I am so happy for all of the wonderful friends and memories I made there.

3.68 GPA is something I am definitely proud of.  With all of the obstacles life has thrown my way, I’m glad to have kept my eye on the prize and been able to keep my grades high.  If all goes well this GPA will have the opportunity to get me a great Graduate degree some day.

My two beautiful babies are the most miraculous things that have ever happened to me.  I adore being a mom.  There is no better feeling.  It has been a hard road with lots of worry and tears, but all of that seems to fade into the background as I watch them grow and get bigger and more expressive every day.  I love to sit on the floor and talk to my little babies.  They coo and smile and they know I’m the mom.  It is such a special feeling.

While my babies are the most miraculous things that have ever happened to me, my wonderful husband is the best thing that has happened to me since graduating high school.  Our relationship was something that grew so gradually during my time at the U of I.  We started off as acquaintances, slowly became friends, then became best friends, then inseparable best friends, then finally decided to date.   We are so different, but it is our differences that make our life so interesting and fun.  He mellows me where I need to be mellowed, and just loves me when I can’t be mellowed.  He is the perfect dad to our children and works so hard to give us the life that he thinks we deserve.  I couldn’t be more proud of him.

My “college years” has been a very crazy chapter in my life.  Now we move on for sure to the motherhood chapter, possibly career, possibly graduate school, and any number of other infinite possibilities. I.  Can’t. Wait.:)

Five years ago today we were finally sure. I had cancer. It was officially diagnosed as Nodular Sclerosing Hodgkin’s Lymphoma stage 2A. I left BYU and my wonderful roommates tearfully. Things had been going exactly as planned and I felt like this was the end of my perfect life.

Since I was about 15 I had always had an answer to the question “Where do you think you’ll be in 5 years?” Cancer was not part of that plan. I was a 17 year-old, freshly graduated from Moscow High School. I was going to go to BYU, study Education, graduate with Honors and a cute husband in 4 years flat and start a family.

While I always hesitate to say I am thankful for the cancer that left me looking death directly in the face, I am thankful for the trial and the many wonderful things that I have learned from it.  The experience made me into the person that I am today.

I learned about the things that are most important to me- family, friends, love and most especially my spirituality.  I learned how to communicate with my Heavenly Father and how to use the Atonement.  I learned that Christ suffered for me and I can use his strength and support whenever I need it.  I learned that family relationships are the most important relationships in the world to build.  Your family are the people who will be there for and with you forever.  I learned how to be in love and what being in love really meant.  I learned that real friends come in all forms… and ages.

I feel like I got a second chance at life.  Cancer changed who I am, my direction in life and the way that I feel about change.  Change no longer scares me (as long as I can make a new five year plan of course).  Since that experience I have gained new friends, loved and lost, found the man of my dreams, married him, been able to expand my family and have two beautiful children and soon I will graduate from Utah State University.  Life is good.  Life is completely different from what I thought it would be five years ago, but it is better.

Between getting my beautiful babies home and taking them and all of their equipment to pediatrician appointments, my poor blog has gotten neglected. Yes, I believe it is better to neglect the blog than the children, but I still feel a little sad about the poor neglected blog.

So, if we’re wondering what has been running through my mind recently, it would be the steep learning curve that has happened at my house. Here are the things that I have learned about being the mother of two infants:

1. Keep a binky within arm’s reach at all times.

2. If both babies need to be held at the same time, take the time to put every single thing you might ever possibly need within half an arm’s reach.

3. Don’t try to hold both babies while feeding them both bottles, no matter how much dexterity you think you have, you don’t.

4. Babies cry, and it is OK.

5. You cry, and it is OK.

6. If there is someplace you need to be, start getting ready to go a minimum of 2 hours early.

7. If you don’t want 9 o’clock at night to hit without having any dinner thus making your husband run to get fast food, start making as much of the dinner as you can at 11 A.M.

Now, also being a cancer survivor, some people just don’t know what to say when they hear things like you have cancer, or you have brand new twins. Here is the list of things that you should never say to a mother of newborn twins:

1. Sleep when the babies sleep.– If you think that they will ever let you sleep at the same time, you are kidding yourself. If they are, then I take full advantage of it.

2. At least you don’t know any better.– I can say that. You probably shouldn’t. Yes I don’t know any better, but I can sure imagine how it would be.;)

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