Sunday, October 24, 2010

Modern-Day Miracles

That's right. Miracles never do cease. I'm living proof.

Miracle #1: It's raining (and not just a lame-o drizzle like we usually get in Southern California). Peeps, if you have access to a Trader Joe's, this is the time you need to go and get yourself some spiced cider and maple cookies (the ones that are shaped like a fall leaf). Perfect, cozy treats for a rainy day.

Miracle #2: My house is clean. miracle. Well, we did all work on it for about 7/8 of the day, but ahhhh... (laundry doesn't count, right?)

Miracle #3: My dear, amazing friend Cherie and her miracle-working camera. She took our family's pictures last weekend and they turned out beautifully. Like everything she touches. She captured our family so perfectly. Now, the pressure is off for last-minute Christmas card pictures ...whew. Love you so much Cher. Thank you a million times over.

Are you enjoying the Fall season? Have you gone to a pumpkin patch lately?

Goodnight. xoxo

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Me & a bedside table

Hi everyone! I've missed you!
I've been on leave.

Let's see, where did I leave off...hmm...well, I don't even know where to begin. LOTS has taken place.
We travelled to Utah in the summer.
Kate was baptized (pictures to follow. a very special day.).
The kiddies started school at a new charter school over in Camarillo (adding an extra 2 hrs. for me, the boys, and Erika in the car. I think I've figured out every fruit and vegetable that is being planted off the freeway. I was just noticing all the harvested pumpkins on the hillside today. I am giddy it's fall)
I'm teaching the two music classes/week. Fun, but still ironing out the kinks.

Honestly, I don't know what has happened. It's a blur. I was just thinking tonight that I need to make a to-do list everyday like a normal person. Maybe I can keep track of my life a little better. Maybe that's why I needed to blog, to make some sort of documentation that my little family is still alive and moving along.

Hence, the bedside table. This is my bedside table...a disgrace, I know. Who knows what's piled underneathe there. Open the drawer and you'll be taking your life in your own hands. I have so many books that I'm in the middle of, no wonder my brain is a swimming mess. I'm overbooked!-Get it? I'm so clever. ("Great!" You're saying to yourself. So glad I'm reading Alexis' blog...such a boost!).

Well, here is the boost! My kids are as cute as ever...if I may say so myself. Every morning on the drive home, we have to take a specific route so that Austin and Joseph can see this "race car" parked in front of a house. When I pointed out a different race car on the freeway, Joseph said, "Mom, that's not a race car. It has to have a number on it." Oh, okay. Then, the entire drive home was spent conversing with my little boys on what type of race car they will drive. "A dark blue one with, guess what number on it mom?" I then spent the next little while, guessing what number they'll put on their race car. delightful.

Joseph didn't want to eat the yellow center of his hard-boiled egg this morning, so he promptly threw it in the flower bed. He said, "It'll be Jack and the Egg-stock." I laughed.

Kate started speech this year so that she could say her "aw's"=r's. She giggled while telling me that if she fills out her entire "chawt" (chart), she'll get an entire pack of silly bands. Are those silly things as big in your area as they are in ours? sheesh.

Austin started pre-school for the first time. I'm glad he's in preschool for the sheer fact that I get to pick him up and see his ecstatic face when he sees me come through the door. priceless. It's moments like those that I never want my babies to grow up. My heart can hardly take it.

Erika is as spicy as ever. She's the boss applesauce...understand rubberband? (remember that?). She crawls out of her crib every night and pitter patters down the hall to our room. We're still working on her vocabulary, since she mostly says, "Na-o" (No!) or "Da" (Yes!). We like to think of her as our brilliant, Russian speaking baby.

Annie is making friends at her new school. Like I tell her often, she could make friends with a post. She's enjoying having a locker in middle school and is growing up faster than is good for her mama's heart. She spent a week down in Texas, by herself, with my parents and Fordy. She had such a special time and will never forget those moments with Jefe and Merlsie.

Savannah is still as sweet as ever. She's still adjusting to the new surroundings at the new school. It just takes time. Every night, however, she makes a palette in the playroom for herself to sleep upon. My sleeping beauty. Never mind that we have four other empty beds in the house!

Adam's bedside table looks almost identical to mine. Get my drift?

Get some sleep and enjoy the weekend! It's conference time! I love this time of year. That is a true boost!


Friday, July 23, 2010


That link for BYU below didn't work. Try this:

Climb every Mountain

Can't you just hear the dear Sister in The Sound of Music singing this to Maria? Ah yes...Climb every Mountain. Did she mean mountains of laundry? Mountains of sand on the tile floor? Mountains of cracker crumbs and who knows what else on my car floor? Well, I'm climbing.

Things we have done this summer so far:

1) Gone organic. Organic meat, dairy, fruits & veggies. It's an experiment. I'll keep you posted on my findings; however, I find that I eat a lot less and am feeling good.

2) Watched T.V. I'm cancelling cable.

3) Listened to 1776 by David McCullough. Amazing. Check it out from your library. It changes your thoughts. Loved loved it. David McCullough is a brilliant researcher and writer. It almost convinced me that I want to have another son and name him George Washington Thunell. almost.

4) Bought a bunch of new roses for my garden. Oh mama mia. There's a rose. Her name is Neptune. If you want to smile every day too, you'll plant her in your garden. She's a lovely shade of lavender and she's planted all over Oprah's garden up in Montecito (you know, Oprah). Also, she has a friend...Chrysler Imperius. She is a deep hot pink color. These two roses are so fragrant that Savannah was watching me smell them yesterday and said, "Mom, you should plant these all over the place because every time you smell them, you smile." Indeed.

5) Prepared to teach my music classes this fall. Now, I am very careful and selective on what I whole-heartedly endorse. I whole-heartedly endorse the gospel of Jesus Christ. This is something that will completely change your life. I speak from experience. I can 100% endorse this. And, not nearly on the same level, but an amazing thing that I whole-heartedly endorse is Let's Play Music. It is an incredible music program that I wanted for my children and since there isn't a teacher in the area to teach it, I decided to certify and teach some classes myself (which included my children, of course). I flew down to Phoenix a couple times in June to do this. Look on this website and see if there's a teacher in your area. If there is, sign up--I can guarantee you won't be sorry! amazing.

6) Carted Annie and Savannah to Ventura every morning for Jr. Lifeguards. Oh oh! This morning as I was driving them to the beach, I noticed trailers, security and a fake brick entrance by the beach here. Movie filming. I would've never believed it if I didn't live here, but I've seen so many of these situations, especially off the 1 in Malibu.

7) Didn't swim very much. It's been rather cool and overcast. I think it's an extended "May-Gray, June-Gloom" this summer.

8) Didn't take pictures.

9) Purchased a lovely new thing for our living room that I will have to share pictures of next time.

10) Turned one year older (and wiser).

Watch this (sorry for being so bossy). Please watch this. It'll make you laugh.

Old Spice Guy and then BYU's version

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Ducks in a Row

Can you believe that I actually took this photo with my iphone? Can you believe that I caught this little moment in nature? Love this picture. Notice: SIX little ducks...all in a row. My sweet friend, Lynn, and I were driving down a busy road a couple weeks ago, and there was a mama duck on the road by the island, trying to get all her little ducklings to follow her and to keep them from getting hurt. We stopped. Lynn helped get all those little ducklings to follow their mama on the other, safer side of the street. It's so natural. So instinctual. That mama knew every one of her babies and those babies knew their mama. When they were finally all reunited...we sighed. Everything was right again.
I feel that. Even though it is total chaos when we're all together, it's just not the same if one, two, or...say, FIVE are missing. Summertime--so much to do, so little time. I have a million field trips floating around in my little head, but reality sets in and a trip to the pool sounds just so delightful. Today, I was determined though to take the trip down to L.A. to IKEA for some needed (?) items. (btw, I don't know if it's nation-wide, but our IKEA is offering free children's lunches now until July 5th). None of my older children wanted to go with me, so the 5 of them went to play at a friend's house. Erika and I took the field trip. My my...does that girl have...spunk! We pretty much made a scene throughout our entire shopping experience. I was tossing "IKEA" cookies at her, trying to keep her from falling out of the cart and breaking all my items in the cart. I was exhausted. What the? Having all six together is just easier. Crazy, I know. It's like Yin-Yang. We just go together. Me and my little ducklings. (Adam is standing right behind me at the moment, wondering where he fits in in this picture. He's suggesting that he's the dots on the everything balance. I would agree. You're so clever dear).
And speaking of husband, after reading my last post, he said, "We've come a long way baby? Isn't that from a cigarette commercial? You know, 'You've come a long way baby'?" oops. I knew I had heard that jingle before. I just didn't know where?? Now I know. And so do you.
One more thing I have to write, so I don't forget it. Last week when my two older girls received trophies at school, my Kate was muy disappointed since she did not get an award. The next day, Annie and Savannah were whispering with Adam about what type of trophy they were going to get for Kate. I eavesdropped, "Let's get her a really big one, like that soccer trophy, that says 'Best Sister in the Whole World'." Payoff. They get it. I was so happy and touched. Thanks for letting me tell you that.
And now let's see...what field trip for tomorrow? Any ideas???

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

We've Come a Long Way Baby!!

June 8, 1996

June 8, 2010

First day of school 2008

My three youngers

I'm here, I'm here, I'm here!

I'm sitting here with my Costco-sized bag of Nestle chocolate chips and the front of my shirt is sufficiently covered with traces of the day. It's been a good day. Everyday is a good day when you're married to a man like Adam (Can you tell that I have recovered from my last S.O.S? I think I was also suffering from the lack of ZZZs...and chocolate).

Last week we celebrated our fourteenth anniversary! We started a new tradition. Adam took the day off from work and dropped off our little ones with a good and true friend. We spent the morning down in L.A. at the temple which always, of course, puts everything into perspective--especially our marriage. Then, we spent the rest of the day down at Disneyland. Yes, that's right! Just him and me at Disneyland. It was a dream. A lot has happened in fourteen years. We've moved 9 times, had 6 children, finished 2 degrees, been so poor that lunch would consist of the free popcorn served at the bank (pathetic! but true), completed 20, 647 loads of laundry (or at least it feels like it), eaten thousands of dinners at the table together, dreamed hundreds of dreams together, laughed at our funny and clever children together, kissed goodbye in the morning and at night--who knows how many times?! That is the beauty of marriage. To me, this kind of love has roots. It grows and deepens. It's an amazing thing really. Here's to another fourteen years...and many more.

Tomorrow is the last day of school. I'm always nostalgic around this time. It's now when I realize just how fast life is ticking by and another school year is behind us. Today their school had an awards ceremony. After none of the girls had received an award during the time their teacher was handing out awards, and the three youngers were getting mighty restless, I left. weird. That afternoon when I picked up the girls, Annie and Savannah told me that right when I left, their principal gave out awards. She gave out the "Top Dog" Award--two from each grade. Annie and Savannah both received it. Kate received a Talent Award for her piano piece in the talent show. That's super! I'm glad for them. Mostly because they are all kind and good girls.

This past month I had a tender experience that I'm still thinking about. So, one overcast morning ("June Gloom" as California calls it--the marine layer) a couple weeks ago, Erika and I were sitting outside watching the birds hop around our backyard. It was a delight to see her face watch each of these little birds perch in the branches and swoop down onto the grass. After a little while, I left the back slider open and went upstairs to get ready for the day. As I was upstairs getting dressed, this bird came flying in and crashed into my bathroom mirror. I screamed! Then, Joseph, Austin, and Erika joined me in trying to shew this little birdie out of my room and down the stairs and out the front door. This hopping, screeching, and laughing (mostly nervous laughter with a few ignorant squeals from Erika) went on for about 15 minutes. All at once, the bird saw the the outside window from our bedroom door and flew at it with full speed. As you can imagine, the bird then crashed to the floor, it's wings spread out on the floor as if they were broken. We all ran down the stairs and realized the bird was still alive, but just couldn't move it's crippled wing. I started to cry. Joseph looked at me and said, "Mom, are you crying about this bird?!" So pragmatic. I carefully picked the little birdie up and took it outside on the grass. All four of us knealt down around this sweet little thing. I told the kids that we should pray for this little bird, so it could go back home to its family. We said a simple heartfelt little prayer that the wing would be repaired. The second we said amen, that little bird took flight. I couldn't believe my eyes. I learned two things in that moment that I keep thinking about:

One, that all living things are truly His and He knows each one. "He who notes the fall of a sparrow, surely hears the pleading of our hearts" (Pres. Monson). Two, I am so glad I can be at home with my children-all day. It is in these brief, impromptu moments that I get the best teaching in.

Summer starts tomorrow! Time for some serious swimming and sunshine!


Monday, May 24, 2010


Have you ever felt like crawling into a corner and hoisting up a white flag in surrender?

After a series of pretty interesting events this past month (a visit from the police was one of them...I'll give you the details later), I have felt quite defeated and rattled, especially in my mothering abilities. Then, as I was about to go upstairs and collapse in my bed, I read my dear, dear friend's blog. vitamin C. It came at the perfect moment. A life preserver rather. Hope you don't mind Cher... but hope you all can glean as much as I did.



Sunday, May 9, 2010


This morning I awoke to chitter-chatter from downstairs and the smell of bacon. My darling and dear ones all clamoured into our room not long after with breakfast. This experience always makes me smile (and laugh out loud on the inside). Using the same trusty breakfast-in-bed tray we received from our wedding (which has taken quite a beating over the years), my Adam, true to character, carefully brings up a culinary masterpiece complete with a flower in the corner, my napkin folded just so, and the food arranged like a work of art. I can tell my littles have already had strict instructions downstairs not to touch my food or ask for a bite. Although, of course I never mind either. Everyone hovers around me, pointing out all the little details of the tray, "Have you tasted the syrup?! It's just like Cafe Nouveau!" "Look at the heart waffle in the middle. You like waffles, right? And strawberries too?" "I love bacon. I sure wish I could have some." "We have to go downstairs now. Dad told us you needed some peace and quiet." I protested. But, there I sat eating my breakfast in "peace and quiet" and giving me time to think I was the luckiest girl on the planet.
Kate gave me a little poem entitled "My Mamacita" (She filled in the parts that are italicized):

"Mamacita always says take care of the baby.
Mamacita would tell you I'm cute.
Mamacita helps me clean my room.
Mamacita and I like to shop at the mall.
Mamacita can't stand it when I clean the house.
Mamacita loves it when I play with the baby.
And now that Mother's Day is here,
Mamacita deserves a great big cheer!"

Like Kate's piano teacher tells me on a weekly basis, "I could just eat her up with a spoon!" So cute. My Kate. Who has never once called me "Mamacita" until this poem. Who I guess seems to take care of the baby quite often. Who thinks that her help is unneeded when it comes to housework. Who ever said that being a mother is boring??

Happy Mother's Day to all of you brilliant, creative, beautiful, bright, enthusiastic, hard-working, loving, persistent, caring, compassionate, determined, enriching, happy people who change lives on a daily basis. Our role is a divine one. No one can take our place...and I mean no one.

"When God thought of mother, He must have laughed with satisfaction and framed it quickly--so rich, so deep, so divine, so full of soul, power, and beauty was the conception."
Henry Ward Beecher

And one that I read to myself often:
"I looked on child-rearing not only as a work of love and duty but as a profession that was fully as interesting and challenging as any honorable profession in the world and one that demanded the best that I could bring it."
Rose Kennedy

(picture of me courtesy of Joseph Thunell photography)
Watch this! You will absolutely love it...

Friday, April 30, 2010

I heart Grandma Camp

My amazing mother has hosted this event for hmmm...six years now. This is a modern day miracle because our numbers are growing exponentially and many of us have moved far away from the mother-ship. Yet, somehow she still manages to pull it off with flying colors. This is the main gist of Grandma Camp:

  • Everyone wears the same thing (boys & girls & moms). So, we barely have to pack anything. We wash these outfits every night and then voila! You are ready to go the next morning. Also, we can keep track of the littles better when everyone is wearing the same bright green shirt. You get the picture.
  • We usually put in our orders of what meals we love. My dear mother spends who knows how long, preparing our favorites: spinach lasagna, burritos (or some type of dish with beans. I mean, we must've eaten pintos 3-4x every week growing up. It just wouldn't be home without them), jambalaya, and of course, topped off with Blue Bell.
  • Each day, we usually take a field trip somewhere. Favorites: Blue Bell Factory, Bluebonnets, Houston Children's Museum (incredible), the park (simple and perfect), NASA, Chuck & Nancy's "ranch," Miller Theater, and the Houston Temple.
  • A Tea Party. The children dress up in their Sunday best and sit around Merlsie's dining table They sip peppermint tea using her lovely dishes, eat dainty cookies and sandwiches, and have a delightful conversation. They love this part.
  • A gigantic van is usually rented to fit everyone. Merlsie had a magnetic sign made for the van which reads, "Watch out! It's Grandma Camp!" I had the honors of driving the beast this year...and mercy! was it a beast! (I'm bummed I didn't get a picture of this. As you can see, my picture portfolio here is a little on the skimpy side).
  • This year we did a little "service project." The women-folk put together these darling fleece blankets for the babies down in Mexico, coming home from the hospital. My girlies loved it.
  • The children and mothers play, talk, and laugh. Laugh and laugh and laugh. It's a chance for the cousins to bond...and they do bond. They're all little buddies--just the way it should be. And, us women have so much fun talking, working in the kitchen, giving eachother pep-talks and ideas. just magical.

We all love and look forward to this little bright spot of the year. It normally falls in the springtime. Thank you Grandma Merlsie! Here's to another fantastic Grandma Camp! (The last picture has nothing to do with Grandma Camp at all. I just love this house. It's also on my parent's street. I drool everytime we go past it).

We had a bonus of having Adam's two sisters join us this year. We're all just one big family anyways.

And, as a side-note, us siblings threw together a surprise 40th Anniversary party for our parents. It was so much fun to plan and then to pull off. Ahh...all those years of Student Council paid off. At least I know how to operate a helium tank! BTW, fyi Costco enlarges pictures for a STEAL!! You can get a 20x30 poster-size for a sheer $9.99. We enlarged eight pictures of my parents through the years. They made us cry.

(Thank you Meesh. I love you too. Let's connect soon. muy bueno.)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Home sweet home

My mama tells me that I'm a sixth generation Texan. And, when I told someone recently that I was from California, she about choked, "You are not from California, you are from Texas. You live in California." I know. When I go back and visit, I can feel it...these are my roots.

We just arrived back home from a spring break visit to Texas last week for our annual "Grandma Camp" (which was a huge success). I will, of course, be detailing our Grandma Camp in the next post; however, I just wanted to spend a moment explaining my feelings about the Lone Star State.

Besides the heat and humidity (which gives me a headache), I love this place. These are my top ten reasons why I love Texas:

1) Blue Bell Ice Cream. These people know how to make seriously good ice cream in half gallon containers. None of this skimpy Breyer's container nonsense, in which every time I'm back to buy more ice cream, they've shrunk their container another size. so distressing. It's so good, we go to the Blue Bell factory every year for Grandma Camp.

2) The BBQ. I'm not normally a red meat lover (c'mon, I've lived in CA for almost 13 yrs now), but the meat down there is so tasty...mmm...I'm salivating right now at midnight. You smell it everywhere. And I love it. Pappa's, Goode & Co., my cousin Dale's favorites. Everyone eats it and everyone's happy.

3) The trees. Now, California has amazing agriculture; however, the thick trees in Houston make me smile and breathe deep.

4) The accent. I got jipped. How in the world did I not inherit an accent?? jeez. When I tell people I grew up in Texas, they always respond, "Well, you don't have an accent." Although, after I've talked to my mom for awhile or any friends there, I start using a little more twang and more "y'alls." I love it. It's home.

5) The cost of living. I'm not going to focus too much on this or I'll start getting the shakes. I am amazed how much house you can get there for your money. I'll leave it at that.

6) Biggie size. You hear that things are just bigger down there...and they are--the roaches, the hairdos, the earrings, the plates of food, the malls, the houses--everything. Get a load of that house I posted, which is right around the corner from my parent's home. My sister lovingly dubbed it "Toad Hall." I always trick-or-treated there. They gave out biggie size candy bars.

7) State pride. Where else do you see Texas shaped pools and Texas shaped corn chips (which were the store brand, mind you)? No kidding, I even spotted a Texas shaped stepping stone for your yard at Wal-mart (People use them too. Our cousin has them). If you want, I'm sure my mom would be happy to furnish you with a bumper sticker which says, "I'm not from Texas, but I got there as fast as I could" (she gave this one to Adam) or "Don't Mess with Texas" (a classic).

8) Bluebonnets. When I was in labor with each of my babies, Adam would tell me to go to my "happy place." Without even thinking too hard, I would imagine myself in a field of bluebonnets. It sounds a little weird. They bring back many happy memories of springtime trips to the bluebonnets. And, eventhough they don't bloom in the summer, they still bring me back to being in the Texas hill country all summer long.

9) The People. Eventhough I was raised with this, I forget...people are just downright friendly there. As I was pumping gas at Costco, an employee said, "Hi ma'am! How're you doin' today?" "Can I help you pump your gas?" I think I may have flinched (I'm sorry to say). Part of me was hoping he wasn't talking to me. Then I thought, "What is wrong with you?!!! Smile and talk!" We had a nice lengthy conversation about his family, Grandma camp, the weather (I was driving a 15 passenger van with a vast gas tank). Driving away, Annie said, "People are so nice here!" yes. yes they are.

10) My family. I love this house (the one Savannah is sitting in front of). We moved there when I was 3. And, I love even more the people inside. Really, they are why I love this place so much. I feel loved. I feel happy and warm.

I love Texas. And, I love California...this is where my little nest belongs. However, as my grandma Dorothy would tell me regularly, "There's no place like Texas." She's right y'all.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Leprechauns and a New Day Spa

Wow, I'm behind. It's practically Easter, and I'm just now writing about Leprechauns. BUT, just for the record, they did come to the Thunell home this St. Patty's Day. My kiddies woke up to green colored toilet water (classy) and green milk in the fridge. So, we know that leprechauns have to use the restroom and eat. Joseph and Austin stared down at the green water in amazement, all the while my older girls were smiling and winking at me. so funny. That entire St. Patrick's Day Joseph couldn't stop talking about leprechauns.
"Where do they live?"
"Why did they come to our house?"
"Are they all green?"

That day, I was out working in the yard with my boys in-tow. In the evening, they went to get their baths while I finished up outside. Not 10 minutes later, here comes Joseph on the driveway, dripping wet, and totally nude. (remember. Nut House). He was so worried. He pulled up his foot, which had a tinge of green from the grass. He said, "Look! I have green on my foot! Kate said I am turning into a leprechaun!" smile.

That night we watched Disney's "Darby O'Gill and the Little People." It is the obscure little Disney movie (that I own. thank you very much) about leprechauns that made Sean Connery's debut. See? There was a good reason to watch it. After saying how good-looking that man was a couple times, my girls said to me, "But, not as good looking as Dad, right?" Right. My husband trumps Sean Connery any day of the week.

On a separate note, we have a new day spa around these parts. They furnish massages, nail polishing, a hair salon, and good conversation. It is located on Belmont Lane. Annie and Savannah are the owners/operators. Come by and check it out!

The last picture has nothing to do with anything, except that Joseph was so thrilled to have the same clothes in his closet as his Daddy. He went upstairs and picked out the blazers and brought them down. my boys.
p.s. Thank you for all the calls, notes, and thoughts. As always, you are too good to be true.

Monday, March 8, 2010

A Post Script to my Faith post

I can't sleep, so here I am.

You didn't know this, but I've been nine weeks pregnant with our seventh little one. After getting our heads wrapped around the thought of caring for and loving another baby, we, of course, were thrilled. However, as we've talked about many, many times before, life doesn't always do what you think it's going to do. This week has been the perfect example. On Monday, I went to have an ultra-sound to make sure everything looked okay (even though I've been super nauseous for the month of Feb.--which I've heard is a good sign in pregnancy). I saw the little bean and heard the little heart beat. I sighed and smiled in relief.

Yet, early Friday morning I started miscarrying. I've done this before, but it's never any easier. Adam and I cried. Then, after experiencing some complications, I ended up in the hospital Saturday night. I don't know why this happens. But Heavenly Father does. I'm left feeling wiped-out, weak, sad...but, not empty. I have six beautiful babies, an amazing husband, and a wonderful support system of family and friends. Most of all, I have a Heavenly Father who loves me. He knows my purpose. He has a plan for me. And, I have faith in that.

Thanks for listening and being there. Love you.


Friday, February 26, 2010

Something that made me smile this week...

1. This picture. It cracked me up. I found about 50 others just like it on my camera. Oh that Savannah.

2. My Adam's birthday was this week. No, we didn't go to Long John Silver's, but I just found this picture and smiled. I actually have been pretty sick this past week, so one of my dear friends made dinner on Adam's birthday. Menu: bbq chicken, spaghetti squash baked to perfection, sauteed spinach, homemade bread, mashed potatoes that were the bomb, and german chocolate cake from scratch. I'm pretty sure it was his best birthday cake yet. I can't believe how great my friends are.

3. My girls wanted to do something for Haiti about a month ago. They put "Help Haiti" jars in all the classrooms at their school (with the principal's support) to collect change to donate to Haiti. We tallied all the moo-la on Wednesday. I can't believe this little fundraiser made $645.11! It was a good experience for my girls and it made me smile as we found Chuck E. Cheese coins and carwash tokens, knowing that the sweet little children at the school probably dumped the entire contents of their piggy banks from home.

4. My three oldest were accepted to this amazing charter school for the fall. This definitely put a smile on my face.

5. Annie won this speech contest at her school. It made me smile, looking at her in unbelief at how much she's grown.

6. After losing my patience yesterday (shocker), I said "shut- ___." You get into serious trouble around here when you say that. Austin came around the corner with a concerned look, pointing his index finger at me, "Mom, you said a bad work. You get spicy on your tongue." smile. "You're right, Austin." (while dishing up cayenne pepper on my tongue). Thank goodness for my littles. They keep me in line...and smiling.

7. It's Friday. Friday=Happiness (We're watching Phineas and Ferb at the moment. This puts a smile on my face...a grin and some laughter).

Hope you have something exciting going this weekend. It's supposed to rain here tomorrow...that's exciting enough for me.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


Happy Valentines Day!

I have a lot to tell you, but is your day going? Have you eaten anything delectable lately? Are there any lovely flowers on your table? What are you having for dinner? (I'm still stumped). How do you observe this Love Day?

So, this past week, my one-and-only and I went to Las Vegas for his business trip. Can you even believe it?! My generous parents came out and stayed with all the natives here. They pretty much put my house back together again with repairs, organizing, etc. I need to show you the inside of my'll be jealous. Anyways, so Las Vegas (the Strip-to be more specific). Let me preface this by saying that I could be dropped off in the middle of nowhere with my husband, and be perfectly content and happy. Our room was luxurious, the food was plentiful and delicious, we were able to go to dinner with Adam's brother and his wife (which was the best part); but other than that...yuck. In fact, did you know that the golden cow idol from the Old Testament transformed into a sparkly, golden horse and is now sitting in the lobby of the Bellagio? It's true.

When we arrived home, we were able to enjoy a couple of extra days with my parents and my brother Ford..."The Lady's Man." As he was running an errand with me, we were listening to some music. He refused to listen to any song, sung by a male. He said he prefers women singers. Okay. Then, he said, "I'm a lady's man." I burst out laughing. Surprised, he said, "What? I am." Love that Fordy.

Last Sunday, we drove down to San Diego for my niece's blessing. She looked like she just was dropped from above...dressed in all white, complete with a delicate white bonnet. The day was perfect. We all basked in the beauty of the day.

We celebrated our Annie's 11th birthday this week. She and I went on a shopping trip last night to celebrate. We had such a blast! She was very careful how she spent her birthday money. At the end of the night, I told Adam that I don't think they come any better than that girl. She is a joy.

Are you watching the Olympics? I can already tell that we won't be getting much sleep for the next two weeks. I just love the Olympics.

And, last but certainly not least...I got a new washer. Did you just gasp? This Big Daddy holds up to 25 bath towels. When Adam came home and told me that this washer had a "Fluff & Fold" feature, I gasped. What?!!!! It fluffs and folds? "No dear. (smiling and amused) It fluffs and gets it all ready for you to fold." Oh. Great. Nevertheless, I am thankful and ready to attack.

It is such a gorgeous, sunny day today. I hope it is so in your neck of the woods. Hope you can enjoy the Lovely Day. Go draw a card. Go read a poem.


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A Piece of the Puzzle

This morning my level-headed husband smiled and said that I had a sympathy problem..."which can be a blessing or a curse" (I can't say this word without adding Jack Sparrow's accent). He's right. For the past three or four nights I've laid in bed, unable to sleep, staring at the ceiling, thinking, worrying, crying over people I know and people I don't know--their decisions, their losses, their heartbreaks, their upcoming surgeries. Or maybe it was just the stomach flu that hit me on Saturday where I felt like all my innards wanted to be on my out-erds...never mind. I'll spare you all the gory details.

Nevertheless, it got me thinking. I started thinking about faith. Faith is such a simple, yet complex thing. I think maybe it's so simple and that's what is so hard about it. It is trust. Implicit trust. Trust in an all-knowing, all-loving Father in Heaven. Faith is hardest to grasp when the situation is hardest to understand. But, there is always a Plan. A Big Plan. My son illustrated this point beautifully to me this afternoon...

As Joseph and I looked at all the unconnected pieces lying on the table, he grabbed one and started connecting. He knew what to do. But, he would get stumped, frustrated, discouraged and then I'd point out a piece that would go perfectly with it. He would say, "Oh yeah, I know, I know, I know." As he started working on a small part of the puzzle, I asked, "Joseph, what is this puzzle a picture of?" "Oh, it's of this little boy with a crown." Actually, it wasn't. The small boy with a crown was just the small corner of the puzzle...a small piece of the big picture.

So often, we get frustrated and discouraged with our circumstances. Heavenly Father lets us try to figure it out for awhile and then gives us nudges. They seem so simple and obvious. We wonder why we didn't think of it ourselves. We get caught on one small part of the "puzzle." We think "this is it." But really, it isn't. Our plight is to trust. Implicitly trust. Knowing that Heavenly Father is aware of every single, solitary piece of our puzzle. He knows where they all go. If we put our trust in Him, he will teach us. He will help us to progress, to refine us. Soon enough, our puzzle will all be put together. It will be a masterpiece.

p.s. my sweet friend texted me this week, saying that I was slacking on my blog. I'm going to do better. "No blog slacking": resolution #382. It'll be right next to "No mildew in the laundry room."

Love you all.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

And, so it goes...really

Okay, since it is so late, I'm not thinking clearly (obviously). Here are the photos that go with the last post.

And the books...

And the website...

And I'm going to bed.

And so it goes...

I shouldn't be here at this hour. Please don't tell my husband. I'm already breaking one of my most serious resolutions; however, the house is unusually quiet right now and well..I just couldn't help myself!

So, since the last time we were together, life at the Thunell home has been moving at great speed (and with great volume). The silver-bowl epidemic swept through here with a vengeance. Large bowls were set very carefully and strategically by everyone's bed; however, it never seemed to work. I spent the week changing sheets, scrubbing throw-up off of carpet, toilets, walls (sorry) ...mercy... fixing broth, wiping mouths and buns (sorry). It was eventful. You missed a good time. And so did my husband.

At the end of the week, we were feeling better. The three youngers and I had a picnic lunch at the park. You know, before becoming a mom I had no idea what a huge part parks would play in my rearing of our children. I love parks. They are easy. Everyone is outdoors and happy. I have spent many happy moments with my babies here. very sweet.

Moving along...Annie has basketball games on Saturdays. For the past three weeks her team has been smeared. This morning she begged me not to make her go to her game. "Please. It's just so embarrassing." Adam (bless him) has taken her to the church court before school this week to practice. She is improving. This is definitely a lesson on endurance, perseverance, and commitment...none of which are easy to learn.

Monday, my sister, Lauren, had her 4th baby...Caroline Louise...precious. I do not like that she is all the way over in Milwaukee (not one little bit); however, I am so glad that my Mom could go help her. I love my mom. Lauren is an amazing girl. This is her fourth c-section and second spinal headache...ugh. BUT, thankfully she is feeling better and the babe is healthy and beautiful...a blessing.

My sweet brother, Clarky came up on Monday with his darling little boy, Ethan. We LOVED having them come for a visit. His wife just had a darling baby girl, Amber Nicole, in December, so this was the perfect chance to give her a break and to get some cousin time. Have I ever mentioned that I don't like family living so far away? Well, I don't like family living so far away. Clarky's family is living in San Diego at the moment...which we love and are grateful for. Ethan got a good, healthy dose (probably a little too healty) of his cousins. I think it may take him a good week to recover. We loved it. And, Clark hooked us up with Skype. We've spent every day with our family on this webcam in TX and WI...sheer delight!!!

And, it rained. Not just California mist, but honest to goodness TEXAS rain!! HALLELUJAH!! We even had thunder and lightning. I was giddy sipping my Stephens hot cocoa (I will soon become one of their sole stock share holders) and reading my delightful book. Right now, do yourself a favor. Go and get these two books and read them. I'm sorry to say that I was rather neglectful (tossing crackers at my children as I read); however, it was wonderful.

All in all, life has been great.

If you're interested, go here to help with the Haiti relief efforts.


Saturday, January 9, 2010

Welcome 2010!!!

Yeah!! You're here!

2009 was a wonderful year, but you will be even better (I can feel it in my chub-covered bones)!

2009 also went way too fast. Please, please don't do that to me. I don't want to get to Christmas and wonder how my children became just so grown-up. Just slow it down a little...for me.

And, I am going to be better. Look! I already bought a brand new beautiful calendar and four dozen exquisite tulips to inspire me, in your honor (I know. I always go a wee bit overboard. If 1 dozen are good, then 4 dozen are, of course, better).

My resolutions (filling a full sheet of college-ruled paper) include writing in my journal daily, havng 10 min. of alone time daily with each of my babies and sitting and talking with them at bedtime (versus falling asleep on their floor and mumbling, "Please, just go to sleep."), which leads to going to bed by 10 p.m., planting my rose garden this month, keeping up with my laundry every week, keep up with my book club list, invite a new friend over 2x/month, keep my outdoor pots lovely, finish painting my kids rooms, sing in church as a family, run 1/2 marathon with my husband (or a 5K or maybe just a run around the block...we'll see)...See, it's going to be a full, wonderful year!

Welcome 2010. We're in for a treat!