Thursday, January 24, 2013

A little bit of this and a little bit of that.


You'll have to bear with me...
this post is a {random} collection of pictures and thoughtful reflections
on the changes we've experienced the past few months
as we've welcomed our 12-month old foster son, baby boy, and our
 extremely precious, daughter, Taylor Elizabeth into our family.

 It's been a somewhat cold January for us South Texans.
Not freezing cold by any means, and no where near what you
 poor East Coast folks are facing now....
but we've had a nice amount of days with cool 40 and 50 degree temperatures.
It's always fleeting though--for example this week, it's back in the 70's and 80's.

I always enjoy when cooler temperatures finally make it down our way.
It gives me an excuse to drive-thru Starbucks and get me some of their rock-star hot chocolate.
Noah loves sipping on hot chocolate with me.
He usually likes to eat one of their cake pops with it, too.
We bought one for baby boy the other day and he devoured it....Noah thought it
was funny how fast he gobbled it down.

Since the cold and flu season are running their course down our way,
and after having to suffer through it for a week myself--
I've been staying around the house moreso than usual with the hopes of keeping the kids well.

And in doing so...I've been having fun capturing random Kodak moments of the kids
with my camera lens--actually my handy-dandy iPhone camera. ;-)


These two are so cute together....I took these pics after church last Sunday.
Their giggling and laughter always make me smile.
Baby boy loves Noah so much---he wants to be wherever he is.

Having baby boy following him everywhere sometimes aggravates Noah a little---
but he's starting to get used to it.
He really, really wants to be the best big brother and
I can tell he really tries his hardest to be patient with him and share his toys.

Noah loves his baby brother and sister so much.
I love to listen to his nightly prayers and it never ceases to bring a tear to my
eye when he prays for Taylor and baby boy---for their safety and happiness.

Also, it's really precious when we're out and about running errands or  at church....
Noah likes to proudly introduce his brother and sister to others.
"Hey...This is my baby brother and baby sister!"

Really, really precious.
It makes my heart overflow with love for him when he does this.

And yet with all these sweet moments, I'm a little ashamed to even share this,
but I feel I must since this little blog is where I chronicle
 our family's journeys and experiences.
The good times yes, but then also, the not so happy times.
Hence the name...Cupcakes and Mud puddles.
The pretty and special times, but also the icky and messy moments in our lives.;-)

Since becoming the mom to three children in a matter of months, I would be lying
if I didn't share that I have had some moments where I have felt
completely overwhelmed and totally ill-equipped as a mom.
There have been a few times where I just wanted to lock myself in
my bedroom and let the tears freely flow.

Tears of complete exhaustion of the mind, body and soul...
tears of feeling inadequate as a wife and mother...
tears of frustration that we don't live closer to family...
And yes, tears that stem from loneliness as I try to navigate my way
through this sacred calling of motherhood.

But alas, when I'm feeling my lowest and the most overwhelmed, 
almost always---a  clear and very distinct thought comes to mind ---
and it is this...

"You waited so long for this opportunity Jennifer---you must remember that.
You are going to just have to dig your heels in...dig a little deeper...
and know that Heavenly Father knew you could handle this.
He sent these precious spirits to you to mother them...
to love them with your whole heart...
to shelter them from the world...
and to teach them and provide them a firm foundation in the gospel
 so they can someday return and live with Heavenly Father again.
Never doubt the sacred calling you've been given of motherhood."

I know these thoughts are tender mercies and answers to my prayers
that no doubt come through the Spirit---
when I've humbly prayed for strength and guidance.

There is no question--as all you mothers out there know all too well--
motherhood is one of the toughest jobs on this earth.
But also the most rewarding.
I wouldn't trade the tougher days for anything, for they are what make me stronger.
They are what shape and mold me as a daughter of God.
They are what lead me to realize my full potential.


I have felt the Lord's hand in my life these past two months--particularly when I was so sick 
with the flu recently and feeling the most downtrodden physically and spiritually. 
 The Lord has continued to lovingly guide and comfort me when I felt it was too much-- 
when I have felt completely overwhelmed and that I was lacking as a wife and mother. 

I have been reminded of this one truth about life as we have faced
 these growing pains in our family and it is this....
our blessings and answered prayers will almost always bring with them a new set of challenges. 
But that's okay---that is life. 
Life is not meant to be easy.
 That's why we're learn and grow from our trials.

It's comforting to know that we are never given more than we can handle
Even in our darkest of hours--- there is Hope-- there is a way to find strength 
and move forward in the toughest of times and be the best we can be
when we have the faith to turn to the Lord. 

 Our challenge in life is so often just trying to continue to put one foot in front of the other--
 to be humble enough to exercise greater faith in the Lord and in His will for us-- 
and trust that the He will provide and take care of us and our loved ones always.

And so it is with a grateful heart that I say I am thankful for these challenging moments
I've experienced the past few months as I am navigating my way through
my role as a wife and mother.

 I'm thankful for Jody and all that he has done for me as I've struggled to find a
 healthy balance now that I'm the mother to three children. 
I know it hasn't been easy for him---he's had to exercise greater patience with me.
 He's been extra supportive and continues to look for ways to bless my life and the kids.
 Our marriage has been stretched through this process--without question-- 
for example, we don't have as much time for each other like we used to. 
We've had to learn to rely on each other more diligently-- 
especially since we don't have family nearby to help us with the kids. 
But I have seen how these struggles have brought us closer together-- 
and for that, I am truly grateful.
The Lord has helped bond our marriage through this process.


Some simple lessons I am beginning to accept are these...

Life is never going to be perfect. 

We must not focus on the things that we don't like about our lives,
but instead---focus on all that is wonderful and splendid in our lives.

I love what Dieter F. Uchtdorf has to say about this...

"We shouldn't wait to be happy until we reach some future point,
only to discover that happiness was already available--
all the time!
Life is not meant to be appreciated only in retrospect."

So very true.

Life is much more splendid when we actively seek to focus on
 the everyday, little blessings we experience with
 our precious children and loved ones.


 All things that I have been working on as I have embarked on the New Year... 
trying to live in the moment more and not worry so much about all the things
I can't control in my life.
For example, while our wish is that we will be able to adopt baby boy--
at the end of the day, it's really out of our hands.
If we are meant to be his forever family--- then it will all work out.
But if not, I have to have faith that if he is sent to someone else's home--
the Lord knows what he's doing.


Yes...when I savor more of the everyday moments I have with my husband and children
and don't allow my mind to worry and stress so much about the things I can't really control--
essentially when I choose to focus on the good and positive things in my life--
 I find I am happier and more at peace.
I am more appreciative of all that God has blessed me with.

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It has become more apparent to me than ever having turned 40 this past year how fleeting life is... 
I look back over my life and my heart aches for the loved ones that are no longer here.
I wish I had one more day with my grandparents to tell them how much they meant to me--
the impact they had on my life.
How much I love them---
and of course, to introduce them to their great-grandchildren.
But that day will come someday---and how joyous that reunion will be.


Yes my friends, Life passes by ever so quickly-- 
it's sometimes hard to remember this when we're in the trenches of motherhood and well, 
just life in general-- 
but that is also why it is so important we take advantage of every single moment
 we have with our children.
The good, the bad and yes, even the ugly times---for they are what make us a family.



To any mother out there reading this and to my sweet daughter who will someday be a mother herself...
I hope we can remember these things while we are in the thick of our daily lives...
to never doubt our worth as wives, mothers, sisters, aunts and grandmothers in God's eyes.
To always value and cherish our sacred calling as women and mothers---
for they are divine in nature....

there is tremendous beauty around us to savor and lives we can impact if we'll only open our eyes
 and truly SEE through the spiritual lens God has given each of us...

and when we focus our thoughts and energies more on what matters most--
the eternal things in our lives--
we'll feel less overwhelmed by any setbacks and struggles we may encounter.

"And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. 
I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts,
 and mine angels round about you, to bear you up." 

~D&C 84:88



  1. Great post! You are doing an amazing job Jennifer!!

  2. What a beautiful post. Thanks for sharing your heart with us. You are doing an amazing job. The way your family grew in such a short time would be so hard for anyone; plus all of the mental stress that comes along with adoption and foster parenting...if you didn't want to lock yourself in a room and cry sometimes, something would be wrong with you. Your faith will get you through, but you already know that. Sending prayers your way.

  3. This is such a beautiful post!

  4. Thank you so much, everyone. It felt good to be able to write these thoughts and feelings down---they had been stirring in my heart for a while. :-) And many thanks for stopping by the blog and taking the time to leave a comment. I love reading them. :-)



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