Monday, January 30, 2012

I love to laugh!






This is Jenny.

My sweet, quirky, unique and amazing sister Jenny.
(No...she's not single. This is not another shameless plug)

Jenny makes me laugh.

This is one of my all time favorite photos. Every time I see it, it makes me laugh all over again. It also makes Lucy laugh. I always tell her it's her crazy Aunt Jenny...and that makes her laugh too. 

I talk on the phone with Jenny often and I always laugh.

I wish she lived closer.

It's so good to have people in life who can make you laugh, who can make you forget your troubles for a moment, who can help you find joy...even on your yucky days.

She is one of those people for me. 

Life is too short not to laugh. 
Really?

Well that's enough to make me want to laugh all day long!

Must go find something funny...maybe I'll call Jenny.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Simply Sunday: All is Well


All is Well

Again, a wonderful Sunday!
 I can't tell you how happy Sunday's make me.

So...onto sharing something that makes me feel stronger, reassured and more at peace.

We all have those sayings in life that click in our minds and in our hearts and just plain work.

This is one of my favorites.


How can you argue with that?

Life can just be plain hard sometimes. There are always things that cause pain, stress, frustrations and worry. And the yucky part is, many times we have no control over those things (unless you have superhero powers...which I don't). We are all going to have them. And when those struggles come, MAN can they be hard! For me, that is where the saying "All is Well" comes in. It's a reminder that even though things are hard, eventually it does get better. It's a reminder that challenges aren't necessarily bad things. It's a reminder that even when I don't see the answer or solution, I know that at some point I will. And it's a reminder that even when things are hard...REALLY hard, things can still be good. I can still find peace and I can still believe in something better.

I added the just breathe part, because quite frankly there are days when that is what it takes. Just breathe. Just move forward one step at a time. Sometimes we don't have the answers and feel like we don't have the strength. On those days we are required to trust and believe...then take a big breath...and keep living life.

Keely once asked me why I always said this. And I told her because it helps me to rise above my fear and discouragement. Sometimes I just need to be able to believe that everything really is ok...or at least it will be. I want my kids to believe that.

When I remind myself of this saying, I somehow feel peace. I feel stronger. And I feel like all really will be well. Even if I don't understand how.

I love sayings like that.

All really is well.
That I know.


Friday, January 27, 2012

My Mom and Dad


It All Began With Them


I love this picture for so many reasons. Mainly because it represents the beginning of my family. And since my family is something I cherish above all else, it makes me very thankful that they decided to get married! They raised 10 kids and now they completely spoil 37 grandchildren.

I couldn't love my parents more.

Aren't they adorable?!


They have given me so much more than life.

They have taught me by the power of their examples. They have taught me to believe in myself, but to also believe in the goodness of others. They taught that it's always better to put someone else's needs before your own. They taught by example that you give until you don't have anything left to give...and then you give some more. They taught me to have faith, not just in myself, but in a very loving Father in Heaven who knows me and is always there. They taught me to laugh, when I wanted to cry. They taught me to forgive, when I wanted to be mad. They taught me to never give up. Never give up on myself, never give up on others, and never give up on trying to do better and be better. They were patient with me, even when I didn't deserve it. They forgave me, even when I didn't deserve it. They have always seen the very best in me and expected the best out of me! 

They are everything to me.

Look at those faces! They are completely lovable!


One of the most valuable lessons my parents have taught me is how to love. They have taught that loving someone is hard. It sometimes comes with really tough challenges. But, they taught that you don't give up. I am so very thankful that they never gave up. When I think of my dad, some of the first thoughts are of how much he cherishes my mom. He absolutely loves her. From my earliest memories I have always known that about him. There's a saying, "The greatest thing a father can do for his daughter is to love her mother." His willingness to always show that has been a powerful force for good in my life. And my mom. Well, anyone who knows my mom knows she's just good. She is loving and kind and it's all mixed up with a bit of sassiness. She has been an exceptional mom. A mom I will never be able to measure up to, but I have fun trying every single day.

They are my heroes in every possible way.


Thank you Mom and Dad. 
I love you.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Tornadoes...and all that jazz!


So, it's January and I am sitting here at almost 2:00 in the MORNING watching the news lady track a yucky storm, while my storm radio is screaming at me. CRAZY! Being from the west, this still is so strange to me. You get to just sit here and watch crazy danger coming your way...with no chance of outrunning it. There have been some scary storms here, including more than our fair share of lovely, happy tornadoes. 

So, here I sit. A big chicken. Still scared of storms. 

And I have nothing to do but sit here. 
So, I thought I'd create a printable.

Why?

I have no idea.

Why not? Right?

So, here you go!

I'm creating this while listening to people talk about the damage they've received from this storm. You never know what life is going to hand you. I do plan on being around tomorrow, but life IS short. 
So, let's LIVE!!

I want to look for the good, assume the best, try a little harder, be a little better, and enjoy the moments that really matter! 
(If you want it, just right click on it and save it to your computer)


Well, the scary stuff is getting closer...officially under a tornado warning.
So, this big chicken is going to go wake up Big Daddy!
...he's brave.  :)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Simply Sunday: Best Day EVER!!



I'm learning that the simple things in life make me the happiest. The older I get, the more joy I find in life's simplicities. It takes very little to make me smile, to make me laugh or to make me love someone. For me, Sundays are one of those simple things. It feels so different than any other day of the week, and I love that. We get up, go to church and hunker down for the rest of the day as a family. We don't go anywhere or do anything fancy, we don't do a lot of things that we do on the other days of the week. And because of that it is the most special day of the week. It just feels different. It feels calmer and more peaceful and I feel like I get to recharge my batteries for the rest of the week. So, on Sundays I thought I would share some of the simple things that make me think, that make me grateful, that make me feel strengthened and that make me happy.

Best Day EVER!

Luke started a saying in our home when he was little. When anything good or exciting happened, he would shout,

"It's the best day EVER!"

It has now been passed on to Lucy who says,

"It's the best day EBBER!"
(combined with her "thumbs up" of course)

The other day I told Lucy that we had to go to the bank. She asked if she got a sucker. When I said, "yes",  she says,

"It's the best day EBBER!"

...all because of a sucker.

So, this has started me thinking. I have been paying attention to the things that make the two of them say this. It has been humbling to see life through the eyes of a child. They manage to find joy in the simplest of things. How awesome would life be if just going to the bank and getting a sucker made me feel THAT excited? Unless it's the yucky pink one...why do those taste so bitter? Anyhoooo...my goal this week has been to find joy in the small things. I've tried to find something every day and here are my "best day EVER" moments.
  • I was sitting and talking to Big Daddy on the couch the other night, and he kept stopping and saying, "You are so beautiful!!". I don't remember any better moment in my day than that. Especially when you consider what I may look like at the end of a long day. :) I love him.
  • I walked into the boys room to wake them up and even though they are big teenage boys, they still look so young and innocent while they sleep. They are the best boys EVER! :)
  • Israel said the prayer at dinner and expressed gratitude for me. Such a small gesture, but it means everything to me. Little does he know that I am the one who is grateful for him.
  • Zach pulled Luke up on his lap and just wanted to hold him.  
  • Hearing the silence in my house first thing in the morning. For just a few moments I felt like everything in the world was perfect.
  • Had a good conversation with a good friend. It wasn't about anything important, but it really is one of those simple things that makes me so very happy.
  • Listening to Keely sing her little heart out to some teeny bopper song in her bedroom
  • Feeling reassured that what I have to give, really is good enough.
Simply put, this week has been filled with many thoughts of "It's the best day EVER!"


Saturday, January 21, 2012

Fun Family Plates!


OUR FAVORITE PLATES

I thought it would be fun to put some of my favorite things on here. I have many favorites. Some are just for me and others are things that make our family life a lot of fun.

That brings me to my dinner plates.


...plates?

Yes! Plates! 

I love them!

A couple years ago for Christmas, my mom (AKA Super Grandma Ruthie) bought each family a set of personalized photo plates. Such a GREAT idea, right?!

I will admit that it was kind of creepy eating off of someone's face at first, but it was short lived!

We have had a lot of fun with our plates!

Sometimes they get to eat on their own plate...for some reason this makes the food taste so much better!. But, most of the time they get a random plate. 

Most times we'll go around the table and you have to tell something you love about the person who is on your plate. This is great for days when my kiddos are miserably cranky a bit off. How can you not feel better when someone tells you why they love you?! 

We have also done random acts of kindness at some point throughout the week for the person who is on your lovely plate. 

Othere times I'll put numbers on the bottom of the plate. 
The numbers are assigned to a treat with the same number. 
Then other times...we just have fun.

Who says playing with your food is a bad thing?




You can imagine the fun we have!

The ideas are endless! 

I'm a firm believer that there is great value in sitting and eating together as a family. 
It is also one of my favorite things.
 So, why not make it a little more enjoyable?

I LOVE MY PLATES!

Want a plate? Here's a great link!


The first one you see is a plain one like we have.
See how easy it is?

You too can have your favorite plates!

Let the fun begin!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Back Tickling Bargain Hunter


The Back Tickle...


This is Noah.

Noah loves me.

Noah also knows me very well.

Noah knows that a back tickle can do magical things.

So...

Noah has become our back tickle bargain hunter. He is the master of it. See the photo? Become familiar with his expression. When Noah wants something...he walks up to me with that expression.

And he'll ask...

"Can I have another cookie?"
 (even though he's already had half a dozen)

"No, Noah."

(Now...please refer back to the photo.)

"What if I give you a back tickle?"

...hmmm...

"...ok."

And Noah wins again! It really isn't quite fair the power he has over my ability to say yes or no.

He knows it...and he thoroughly enjoys it.

Why does it work so well?

Because he gives the BEST back tickles ever.

...end of story.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

May the force be with you!


In a Galaxy Far, Far Away...

There's a little boy in our home who absolutely loves Star Wars. ANYTHING Star Wars. I believe he came out of the womb loving Star Wars.

As a baby he heard, "Luke, I'm am your father" more times than I can tell you. And having older brothers, he learned the art of fighting with a light saber at a very early age. When he was two years old, he decided his name was Anakin. I would call to him, "Luke!"..."Luuuke!". He would ignore me. But if I said "Anakin" he would immediately turn around and say, "What Mommy?" If someone said his name, he would quickly correct them and say, "No, I Anakin." And of course, we all lovingly played along.

Although he loved the name Anakin, his true love was Yoda. 

Everything has always been about Yoda.

But, the funniest part about living with a dreamy little boy who loves Star Wars is the fact that he thinks he has the "force". We have a van with an automatic door and he thinks he can open the door using the force. Here he is at 3 years old.

He would concentrate really hard...


Being a good mommy, I would then secretly push the button, and as soon as the door opened, he would yell, "I DID IT!!" 
Hilarious? YES! Adorable? Absolutely!

The funniest part today is that at the ripe old age of 5 years old...

he still thinks he has the force.


I know...I really should tell him. But, I can't bring myself to crush his simple, childlike belief in himself. He thinks he's something special!

Just look at his body language! He's so proud of himself that the door opened! 


So, for now, in the Blaylock galaxy, we have our own really special Jedi. His name is Luke, but he will answer to Anakin.

He thinks he's something special...and I couldn't agree more.


Sunday, January 15, 2012

Hannah


I thought it would be fun to start introducing our crazy kids! Since it's the week of Hannah's birthday, I thought I'd start with her.

so...

Heeerrrre's Hannah!



Where to start...

Hannah is the oldest girl...a fact that she is very proud of. :) Being the oldest is also something she takes very seriously. Being one of the oldest in a big family is hard in many ways. Especially if you are the oldest girl. But, Hannah has handled it with a bit of her own Hannah magic. From day one she has played a critical role in our family and has cemented a very special place in my heart.

Back to the beginning...

After a couple weeks of talking to Big Daddy on the phone and on the computer, we decided it was time to actually meet. So plans were made, a ticket was purchased and it was all set in motion. I was excited and nervous at the same time. When I got off the plane, I made my way down the FOREVER LONG walkways in the airport...getting more nervous as I walked along. Then I saw him. But, he wasn't alone. He had brought back-up!! NO FAIR! That was the first time I met my sweet Hannah and I'm so thankful that my first memories of this experience include her.

Hannah had no idea what to do with me at first. I've tried many times to put myself in her shoes and have tried to imagine what it must have been like at the age of 12 to have a new stepmom move in. I instantly felt a deep love for Hannah and in a strange way felt very connected to her. It's hard to explain, but it felt as if she had always been in my life. She has been much more than a daughter to me. She has become a treasured and beloved friend. She is someone that makes me feel like all is right in the world when she is around.

What are some of my favorite things about Hannah? I literally could talk your ear off for days about that question. I will do my best to describe her. Since she is away at college, my emotions feel very close to the surface, so bear with me if I get a bit too mushy.

I do have my box of tissues right here, so I'm ready to go.

...sniffle, sniffle...

HANNAH


She is a hard little creature to describe. She is unique in so many ways and doesn't really fall into one category. She is gentle, sweet and compassionate, yet she is a force to be reckoned with and is incredibly strong willed. She cares deeply about the people in her life, yet she doesn't let what others think about her dictate her actions and choices. She's goofy and quite hilarious (at least I think she is), but she can be very serious and contemplative. She will lay on you, hang on you and have no regard for your personal space, but she requires her own personal space or she goes crazy. (heeheehee..I love you Hannah). She is really, REALLY fun to scare, but she's also REALLY good at scaring me. I don't like that part so much.

Remember I mentioned that Big Daddy was gullible? Well...so is his daughter. Actually, that is an understatement. She is REALLY gullible. And I have completely taken advantage of that...many times. Come on! We all have to have a little fun in this life! Right?

Well, one of my favorite tricks I played on Hannah involved our sweet little Luke. When we sat the kids down to tell them we were having a baby, we talked to them about names. As a joke, we told them we were going to call him Dwight if it was a boy. Well, through the whole pregnancy we had Hannah believing that his name was Dwight. At the beginning of my baby shower, Hannah ran up to me and said, "Veronica! You need to let everyone know his name is Dwight! They have Luke written on everything!" 
AHH-HA-HA-HAAAA!
Needless to say, I still have a hearty gut giggle when I think about that. 

I know! I'm so mean!!!

Hannah is absolutely wonderful! She is a loving sister, she is a total daddy's girl (she's just like him in MANY ways), she's a great listener and someone I always feel safe talking to. She is patient and forgiving. She is adventurous and is never afraid to try new things. She has great courage and there is nothing I can think of in this life that will ever be able to hold her back from accomplishing really great things. She is my favorite chic flick buddy, especially Pride and Prejudice...ahhh...Mr. Darcy! 

I think she's beautiful in every possible way. 
How could you possibly not agree?

Hannah, I love that you sing at the top of your lungs. I love that you are confident, yet humble enough to recognize that there's always room for growth. I love that you believe in people and in life. You make me laugh harder than anyone (except for maybe Dad) and can make me cry in an instant. I am grateful that you love your Father in Heaven. And I am grateful that you love Dad the way you do. It has been fun to watch you figure out your own life and to learn to make really good decisions. You have been responsible and cautious about the right things, and that has been a great example for your siblings. Thank you for making the choice to make room for me in your life and in your heart. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for deciding that I was worth a chance. I miss you more than I can express and love you more than I ever thought was possible.

That's my Hannah.


...thank goodness for tissues. 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Thumbs Up!


by Lucy Lu-Lu (or Foofie) Blaylock


"Thumbs Up" is one of Lucy's favorite things. 
It is something that happens all the time...and has many meanings in Lucy's cute little world. 

I'll give you some examples:
  • (thumbs up) "Mom, I NO go nigh-night right now. K?" (another thumbs up with a confident nod)
  • Luke howls as Lucy reaches over and takes his precious sucker and immediately starts to drool all over it. After a stern look from mom, she give the thumbs up...and then waits to see if I think she's cute enough to let her keep it. Another semi-stern look with a touch of a smile and she hands it back to Luke, and then a last thumbs up to let me know she did the right thing.
  • Coming downstairs fully decked out in Luke's spiderman costume. Strikes her best superhero pose and wait for it...DOUBLE thumbs up with a facial expression that convinces you that she is not a superhero to mess with.



  • Daddy walks out the door to work and Lucy shuts the door. "I love daddy", she says. "You do?"  (thumbs up) Nods with a sweet gentle smile.
  • Gets to go to church after missing for a couple of weeks (which she has been so upset about). Buckled up in her carseat. HUGE grin. DOUBLE thumbs up!
  • Lucy whining about who knows what. "Lucy, can you stop whining please?" She gets a look on her face like someone just turned a light on in her mind..."Oh!" (the whining stops immediately)...she turns to me and smiles...a big thumbs up.



Why do I love "thumbs up" so much? Because this small, innocent gesture reminds me EVERY day, all throughout the day that we all have those "thumbs up" moments. Lucy's world is a very happy one and she finds happiness in the smallest things. In her way, she's expressing gratitude, contentment, and joy mixed with a huge dose of Lucy humor and mischief. In our home her "thumbs up" has been contagious. We all find ourselves giving her the "thumbs up" right back and we now jokingly do it with each other. She reminds me that it's the small and simple things that help us create homes filled with love. 

I have a "thumbs up" life and I'm grateful to Lucy for helping me to remember that.



Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Magic of the Human Touch!



Being the mom of nine is absolutely as crazy as it sounds. You take the noise, the drama, the contention and you multiply it...by a gazillion! :) 

OK...so a little exaggeration. But, you get the point...pure craziness at times.

I've been asked before how I do it. Well, the truth is, I do it just like any other mom. You take one little meltdown, one little heartache, one little last-minute homework project at a time.

In my home, there is no perfect parenting. There are perfect intentions, but no perfection anywhere else. I'm just like you, I scratch my head on a regular basis trying to figure out how to instruct, how to help, how to guide, and how to comfort. 
I promise, I scratch my head OFTEN!

How do I handle the craziness? Well, Big Daddy has taught me some good ol' tricks as well. He did handle 6 of his own for a while! 
(Have I told you he's wonderful?)

Just last night we had a little "hiccup" (my codeword for the "less than perfect" occurrences in my home). 

Onto our hiccup...

Keely and Luke were arguing lovingly sharing their differences. So...they got the Big Daddy special.

Sit on the couch...and hold hands.
(my kids hate this when they are angry)

(hee hee hee...oh, the wicked laughter begins)

The best thing about this "consequence" is that no matter how determined they are to hold on to their frustration or anger, no child of mine has ever been able to make it last very long while they are holding the hand of their enemy. It's only a matter of time before the giggling ensues. With Keely and Luke, they were giggling and making faces before they even sat down. 

I believe there's something magical about the human touch. I also believe that it's a critical part of our existence in this life. There's something magic that happens when they touch hands. They can no longer be mad. I have some very strong willed kids...and boy do they try. I can only remember a couple times when their stubbornness ALMOST won.

And then the big guns are brought in.

The Big Daddy Super Special!

You must kiss your enemy on the cheek.

Can I just say that we win every time?
AH-ha-ha-ha-hahhhh!

I love the magic of the human touch! 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Mallorie...one of my first.


Introducing Boo Boo!

OK...so she wasn't REALLY one of my first, but she is my baby sister. I am third oldest of 10...and she was number 10. So, as she was growing up, I felt like a second mom in many ways. I can't tell you how excited I am to do a post just about Mallorie. We have affectionately called her BooBoo since she was very little. 


Why do a post on BooBoo? Well...she will absolutely die...and then she may actually be tempted to buy a plane ticket to Tennessee to come kill me.  :)  (BooBoo...just remember it's all because I adore you!) But, LOOK AT HER! She's beautiful, incredibly smart, VERY talented, has a beautiful singing voice, one of the FUNNIEST people I have ever known, is compassionate, very loving, the best auntie that ever walked the earth, and is currently an OB/GYN in Salt Lake City, UTAH (come on Utah people!). 

Get it? BooBoo...our cute little doctor! Now we call her Dr. BooBoo! HAHAHA! I love it!

oh.

Did i mention that she's single?
(the gut giggles begin as I realize how much trouble I'm in right now)


In all seriousness, this post is more than a shameless effort to let the world know about my darling and amazing sister (you know she's single...right?). Mallorie came into our family as number 10, and made our family complete. My mom struggled with her last pregnancies, so I'm glad that my parents decided to ignore the doctors and have number 10!  She was the perfect way to wrap it all up. She is so very important to each one of us and we all have our own special relationship with her. She has loved each one of us and has made efforts to be involved in all of our lives. I thought it would be fun to publicly let her know how very much I love her.
(You have to admit that at this point you think she's darling...right?)


One of the greatest things about her is her sense of humor.
Don't believe me? READ ON!

BooBoo's Blind Date Adventures in her own words

OOPSIE POOPSIE
Lest you think my life consists only of work, let me share a story from the other side of my life: dating. Now you can think that my life consists only of work and dating. And you'd be close to right. Continuing my journey through Singledom at the ripe old age of 29 seems to create more than ample opportunity to talk about dating with everyone with whom I come into contact...and I do mean everyone. It usually goes something like this:

Mallorie are you dating anyone?

Nope.

What?! Why not? You're sweet, I bet the guys are just knocking down your door.

Nope.

Really?! That's so weeeeiiird! I'm going to talk to my sister's husband's next-door-neighbor's great aunt to see if she knows any nice single men. There must be someone out there for you.

Oh really? You don't have to do that, but that's so sweet of you! Thank you so much!

Oh no it's no problem really! I think I saw a man walking past her house the other day. I don't know how old he is, or what he's doing with his life, or if he's nice, but I didn't see a wedding ring--you guys would make such a perfect couple. I'll see if she can track him down and set you two up!

Oh wow. That's very thoughtful of you. Thanks so much.

Then, a few days later I get a random number on my cell phone and I put on my nice charming phone voice, "hello?" And thus, the blind date experience begins.

A little while ago I had two dates in one weekend. Don't get too excited--this is a very rare occurrence for me, but there you have it. First up we have Frank planned for Friday night. Frank and I had talked on the phone briefly but we didn't talk much about what he looked like. Frank and I made arrangements for him to call when he got to the parking lot and I would just come down and meet him there. I've done this before with other blind dates and usually when I walk out the door, there's a man standing next to his car. I'm pretty sure that's the universal sign for "I'm your blind date come to pick you up and I've been waiting here awkwardly for the past ten minutes while you took your sweet time to come down." That's part one of the story. Hold on to that whilst I paint another picture for you.

Next up we have Larry. Earlier that week, I had run into Larry when I was leaving for work. Larry lives in my apartment building and the parking spaces we've been assigned are right next to each other, so we've met briefly in the past and we occasionally see other coming and going. Usually we exchange a few brief hellos and polite chatter then move on our ways. This time however, he asked for my number and we made plans to go out that Saturday. Now remember those names. It's important. Frank-Friday night blind date. Larry-Saturday guy in my apartment building blind date.

It is now Friday night. My phone rings and it's Frank, "Hey Mallorie I'm just downstairs in the visitor parking" "Ok great, I'll be right down." Fatal mistake #1: I should have asked if he planned on positioning himself in the universal blind date position. But I didn't ask. I come down the stairs and open the door into the visitor parking area and am greeted by two elderly women bustling through the doorway with all their latest purchases, so I smile and politely hold the door for them, while simultaneously scanning the parking lot for the single man next to his car. No single man next to his car. Here's where it gets awkward, but keep in mind it all happens very quickly. I'm trying to scan quickly so I don't look like a total dummy just wandering lost around the very small parking lot. I then notice a black car parked 3 cars down still running with a guy inside and I think, well, maybe he didn't see me come out so he wasn't ready for the universal sign yet. I walk slowly over trying to catch his attention to see if he'll recognize a potential fellow blind dater and actually get out of the car and make the sign like he's supposed to. I'm edging nearer to the passenger side window and finally I catch his attention. He raises his head and gives me a "hey what's up" nod. Nice. So I'm going out with a guy who not only doesn't know the blind date sign, but also isn't going to acknowledge me--a total stranger he's about to take to dinner--with more than a nod. Nice. But he did acknowledge, and there's no other man around, so he must be my blind date. I reach for the door handle to let myself into the car, and as I do so I see the passenger side window rolling down as if this person wants to just chat casually with me and not, in fact, take me on a date. But don't worry dear Reader, I wasn't so easily swayed by this strange behavior as some weaker women may have been--I just kept right on reaching for that door handle to let myself into the car.

The next part, if it were to appear in a movie, would happen in slow motion.
I begin to think,
hmm, this car kind of looks familiar...
(grasping the door handle)
Why would I recognize this car? Where have I seen it before?
(Pulling open the door and seeing the window being rolled down)
Why is he rolling down his window instead of getting out to come introduce himself and open my door?
(Opening the door wider and gesturing as if I'm going to climb into the car by turning my body just slightly so that I could slide my bum onto the seat)
It's funny but this car looks a lot like...
(freezing then very quickly changing the direction of my bum so as to look like I was not getting into the car, but simply standing next to the car)...
...this car looks a lot like...
"Oh! Hi Larry! uhh...how's it going?"
It looked like Larry's car (my date for the next night, you remember), because it was, in fact, Larry's car with, that's right, Larry inside.

The conversation that followed I cannot fully describe, either because it's one of those few times when you really had to be there, or because it's so embarrassing that I just can't bring myself to actually print it publicly. But essentially it consisted of a very shocked Larry trying to figure out what I was doing getting into his car, and a very shocked Mallorie trying to smoothly act like it was intentional. You know how smooth I am.

Turns out Frank was parked around the corner. Awesome. Way to go Frank.

Remind me to avoid blind dates in the future. Or to at least ask what kind of car they drive. And tell Larry to stop parking in the visitor parking.
HAHAHA!! I told you she was funny!
Want to add to her blind date adventures? Just let me know! :)

So...BooBoo...
(this is for her, but the rest of you can just join along)

I LOVE YOU!

I love that you have had enough faith to follow the promptings that you have felt over the years. I love that you have the strength to do what has felt like the impossible on some days. I love that you are with families as they go through the sacred experience of bringing a child into this world. I love that you have a compassionate heart.  I love that you have chosen to be a good person. I love that you are virtuous and that you strive each and every day to be who Heavenly Father wants you to be. I love that you want the things out of life that are most important (they are coming!!). I love that you know how to laugh, that you can find joy in the difficult things and that you share your humor with the rest of us. Most of all, I love that you are my friend. I love that I get to share my life with you. I love that you have taught me more in this life than I will ever hope to teach you as an older sister. And I love that I get to sit by and continue to cheer you on as you create a wonderful life for yourself.

She's darling in every possible way.

That's BooBoo.

My amazing, beautiful (and very single) sister.
Feel free to share her with the world! :)
(the gut giggles continue!)

I'm in so much trouble...

oh...and by the way...she's 30! :)

(Did I mention that you have my full support in SHARING this with everyone and anyone who may have a wonderful, single hottie-hottie they know others? Look at all the options below! Email, post on your blog, FACEBOOK, twitter, etc! The ideas are endless!)

Oh look...what's that? The URL?
How wonderful that it's right there for you to copy and paste!
http://nineaplenty.blogspot.com/2012/01/mallorieone-of-my-first.html
Need more info? email me at vkblaylock@comcast.net



Monday, January 9, 2012

Finding Joy



So very true. I believe finding joy as a mom is a choice. It's tough to be a mom in the world today. Each day is filled with those moments where we have to choose. But, I have learned that each day is filled with wonderful moments that bring joy. I just have to make the choice to recognize them. Great joy is mine, even when it's hard.

My joy so far today...
  • Kids woke up happy...such a treat.
  • Everyone was on time...still seems like a miracle when we accomplish this!
  • Seeing Lucy with eyes half asleep, saying "I love you Mommy. I need to hold you."
  • The fresh hole in the wall from wrestling teenage boys is actually smaller than I imagined!
  • Boys walking in from early morning seminary and being so excited to see Luke and Lucy...so sweet that they love them the way they do.
  • Watched Keely and Charity interact this morning and felt so thankful that they have each other. 
  • The spilled milk and cereal only required TWO wipedowns! Success!
  • Hearing laughter in my home as two sets of little feet run around chasing each other.
  • The fit about sitting on the potty eventually subsided...thank goodness. 
  • A bit of heartache while missing my college kids, but so happy they are where they are...doing what they are doing. So proud of them.
  • Found a long lost little shoe. It no longer fits, but I did find it! 
It really is about the simple things...


Sunday, January 8, 2012

Introducing Big Daddy!



Just looking at this picture makes me happy. I truly am a very lucky girl. He's everything to me and I love him beyond words. So...here's my introduction of my sweet, hilariously funny, incredibly charming and amazing husband Ricky, otherwise known as Big Daddy.

Almost 8 years ago I went through a very painful divorce. It was the hardest thing I've ever been through. It made me question everything in relationships and I worried that it would change my ability to trust in someone loving me. I didn't want those struggles, but I guess it's just part of the territory. After a very lonely period of time, I made the crazy decision to get on the internet. I guess I just wanted some hope that there were still some good men out there. Being alone the rest of my life just didn't sound like a lot of fun!  I came across Big Daddy's profile and decided to say hi. That started it all. Seven weeks later, I was on a plane with my cute little daughter flying to Tennessee and we were married. CRAZY! We still laugh about it. But, I believe that there were too many little hearts on the line that needed stability, so we were just pushed quickly along.

He's a good ol' southern boy!

Big Daddy is a Tennessee southern boy, through and through. He loves turnip greens (YUCK!), leaves 3 black eyed peas on his plate on New Year's Day, knows how to work hard, loves his momma's cookin' (and so do I!), does the farmer's nose blow (I won't elaborate, but it's gross), has rock solid integrity and says it how it is. He's a wonderful father. He loves his kids and puts them first. He teaches them to be honest, to work and to not use the trials in life to become excuses. He expects them to behave and is a southern dad who's not afraid to be tough. Last, but not least, I think he's got the cutest little southern accent!

He's the BEST!

The best part about being married to him is what he has done for me. It's been helpful to be married to someone who went through the same heartache. He has understood all the little quirky things that come with divorce. He has single-handedly rebuilt my confidence, made life feel very safe again, and makes me feel like the most beautiful woman in the world. He has healed my broken heart. I have never felt more loved or cherished. He has been my miracle, in more ways than one.

He's FUNNY!

He makes me laugh like no other. When you tickle him, he giggles like a girl, he even howls if you get him good enough! Makes me laugh just thinking about it. He has these funny dances that he does. Don't ask me to describe them...it would be impossible. But, take my word for it, they would make you laugh every single time. He's gullible. He swears he's not...but he really is. I get him all the time. Most recently I had brought a baby home in a carrier (I was watching him for a bit) and told him I just found this baby in the parking lot. It only took a couple minutes to convince him and the worry and fret started to show. I know! It's mean! But, it makes me laugh so I can't stop! I promise, I didn't let it go on for very long. He has a very quick wit and there has not been one day since I've met him where I have not laughed. That alone is a great gift to give to your spouse! It makes life much more fun!

He's like my DAD!

He loves to build things and work with his hands and can fix anything, which is so WONDERFUL when you have a home with this many kids. Something is always breaking, needing repaired or getting worn out. He's great at math (THANK GOODNESS) and is the math homework specialist. Growing up I was always amazed that we could ask my dad ANY question, and somehow he always knew the answer. And Ricky is the same. It's like living with a walking encyclopedia. He isn't afraid to show his emotions (which I think is incredibly manly). He loves order and loves having a clean house. And he's not afraid to help to keep it that way. Most of the time when I'm cooking (if he's home), he is grabbing the dirty dishes and pans and cleaning them just as quickly as I'm done using them. He works hard in our home to keep it nice, and loves to work with his kids. I didn't think I'd find anyone like my dad, but instead I married his little mini-me.

He loves Heavenly Father!

This has been the most important thing to me. He loves his Father in Heaven and tries every day to do what's right. He is a godly man who understands the meaning of loyalty, integrity and virtue. He takes his role in our home and family very seriously and that has made me respect him more than I can say. He loves to pray with me...and for me. He also knows and understands the scriptures inside and out, which is so much fun. He loves to serve and is always willing to help when there's a need. I told you I was a lucky girl!

Well, that's my sweetie in a nutshell. There are a million and one more things I could say about him. Most important is that I love him, he loves me, and we work every day to make this crazy thing called marriage work.

He's Big Daddy...and he's all mine! :)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Hello!

Well, with the much needed help of some beloved sisters, I've finally done it! I've created a blog. I do believe I am one in a small handful of others who have not already accomplished this great task!

Why a blog? I guess I feel like life is going by so quickly. I'm a 43 year old mother of nine, who can't even remember my own name on some days. There are so many wonderful moments that happen in my every day life, and I guess I don't want to forget them. In a home of this many children, life is constantly throwing exciting new things at you, and in spite of all the chaos, I want to remember how very special my life is.

So...
Nine A Plenty.

A little history on my life. After trying for 10+ years of fertility treatments, I had the amazing blessing of adopting my sweet and very special Keely. She was 15 months old at the time and was my whole world. I always knew that I would love easily, but was surprised by the instant power of the love I felt for her. It was overwhelming. And my life of nine began.

After a heartbreaking divorce, I met Big Daddy. His name is Ricky, but Big Daddy is more fun to say! :) He had 6 absolutely darling kids that he was raising, and in a whirlwind of craziness, we decided to join forces! He informed me that he felt like he was done having kids, and I told him, "That's great! Because I couldn't help you if you weren't!" We thought seven was GREAT! So our blended family fun began.

One month after getting married, I started feeling really crummy. Eventually I took a pregnancy test, then ended up sitting on the edge of the bathtub looking at the results...POSITIVE. There's no way to describe my thoughts and feelings at that moment. I had fought so hard to be ok with the fact that I would never physically give birth to children of my own. There had been so much heartache and despair that I had worked through. And now I had 7! I thought life was complete. But...SURPRISE! I was pregnant and 9 months later, Luke entered the world and changed all of our lives. Our little bundle of joy was our greatest miracle. He healed hearts, he connected us all to each other and helped us to all feel like a family. So EIGHT! Eight was ENOUGH! We were busting at the seams in our home, but felt so happy and blessed.

Another surprise pregnancy ended in a very painful miscarriage. But EIGHT was still wonderful and was certainly still enough.

After a yard sale where all things relating to pregnancy and babies was sold...ANOTHER surprise pregnancy. I couldn't believe it. Nine months later, Lucy entered the world and again a little tiny baby changed our lives. She has been such a joyful little cutie. She is number NINE, and nine really is plenty.

Our family is not your typical family. We are blended. We have kids who struggle daily to deal with the effects of divorce. But, we have worked really hard to build a family that is strong, a family who loves one another, and a family who makes the best of what we have. And the best is pretty darn good.

So, that's my life in a nutshell. I love my nine. I have only given birth to two of them, but I love the other seven as my own. They are my greatest joy. And they are mine.

Nine a plenty...here we go.