Friday, August 31, 2012

The best season of the year

It's football YA'LL!!!!

College football (for us) starts TOMORROW!! and I am totally pumped!

Tomorrow starts my favorite time of the year.
College football season begins it all for me.
September through December is college football. And if we are lucky enough 
(and well lets tell the truth here, our team is Alabama, so we usually are)
 we get to play into January too.

October we have one of my favorite holidays- Halloween! 
November is the feast of all feasts- Thanksgiving!
And then December is my most FAVORITE season of all- CHRISTmas!
So basically for me, tomorrow is when all the awesomeness starts.
We get to eat football deliciousness every weekend. 
I am talking grits casserole (if you don't know what this southern awesomeness is, I will have to share the recipe), little smokies, nachos, chips and dip, cookies, cupcakes, brownies, veggie trays, home made salsa, and much more palate pleasing, waistband expanding foods.
I am telling you this is the best time EVER!!!

I love to decorate and have decorations for every season of the year. 
Once Football season starts I start to drag out my 30 big boxes (and no I am not kidding) of my fall/winter decorations.
I change out our dining room chalk board and add in the schedule for the season. 
Then after every game I add in the score to the right side of the team name we played.

To say we are football fans is a bit of an understatement.

Its more like football FANATICS!!!
When people who we have just recently met come to our house during football season they usually say something like this, "Wow! You really are fans. I didn't realize when you told me that you liked Alabama football that it was this serious."

Yeah ubber fans we are, and we don't try to hide it.

My daughter has a closet full of Alabama football bows, hats, onsies, dresses and cheerleading outfits.
In fact the first thing she ever owned once we found out she was a girl was an Alabama cheerleading outfit.
Roll Tide Yall!!!

(my beautiful daughter,  thank you Andrea Gray photography )

We fly our colors with pride. It's a great conversation piece too, we have met a lot of our neighbors simply because they stop to say something about our flag. (usually its because they hate Alabama and want to dog on us, but sometimes its to really talk shop... er football.)

My husband always asks for Alabama clothes for Christmas.
 My kids always get an Alabama outfit from mom and dad for Christmas too. 

 Out of the 6 sweatshirts I own, 4 of them are Alabama.

When we moved into our house, our boys requested (on their own, I am so proud!) to have an Alabama room, so that is in the works.

(see that 2011 champions its about to be 2012 too, and yes I do trash talk, but only in a loving way....)

Every season we have a "shrine" in place for our beloved team.

And when you walk into our front door, right there in the entry way, you will automatically know what we are all about. 
Football baby!!!

And the piece de resistance, the evidence of the magnitude of our fanitude.... 
our third sons name is Tayton Bryant Jenkins. Paul William "Bear" Bryant being the most winning coach in Alabama football history. Yes we named our son after a piece of Alabama history.
A big piece! Alabama football is all about the Bear. 
(go here to find out more about "Bear" Bryant)

So now that you know my guilty pleasure do you still like me? Dislike me just a little?

Hey admittance is the first step right!?
*raising hand*
Hi, my name is Aurie Jenkins, and I am addicted to Alabama football! 
and honestly I don't care to recover.

Happy college football season yall. 
And Roll Tide Roll!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

I am a Mormon

The Mormon church has been in the news a lot lately. 
Mitt Romney is Mormon and running for president, so the world wants to know as much as they can about him.
The problem is, is that most people are only getting partial truths or misrepresented truths. Its like reading a book but only reading every 50th page. You get parts of it but not the whole story. And then you take those parts and fill in the missing pieces with what you want it to say. Its not accurate and its not the whole truth or the whole story.

I think what makes me the saddest is that there are so many places to go to find the truth. and are the best places to go to find out more about the Mormon Church.
Another way you can find the truth is to talk to someone who is a practicing member of it. Go to the source. 

I have been a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (mormon) my whole life but it wasn't until late into my teenage years that I became converted to the gospel.
 I had "borrowed" the testimony of others.
 I felt the spirit speak to me and I knew that what I was taught each week and what I read in the scriptures was true.
I knew that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that he saw the Angel Moroni and received the golden plates from him.
I knew that through the gifts of God he translated those plates into what we now know as The Book of Mormon.

I knew all of these things and I stood up for all of these things. 
But I had not had them strongly stitched into my heart. 
These truths and the knowledge I had of the gospel had not been stitched into every piece of my soul. 

I love the gospel.
I always have loved the gospel.
And I have always known it is true.
I faced many trials the last two years of high school. 
I found out I had a kidney disease.
I gotten beaten by my mother.
I went to live with a family from church whom I had not until that point ever met.
For  sometime I felt lost and confused.
I felt very alone and forgotten.

I prayed a lot during that time. 
I sought for the comfort and guidance of my father in Heaven.
He was there for me when I felt like no one else was.

Through my trials I grew! 
I came to know my Savior personally.
I came to cherish the gospel and found solace in the pages of the Book of Mormon.
I had the gospel of Jesus Christ so woven into my life that it became EVERYTHING I was and am today.

The church of Jesus Christ is my home. 
The gospel of Jesus Christ is everything I am.
I know that my Savior died on the cross for me.
I know that he rose and lives again, and that because of that I can live again with him and my family one day too.

I know that the temples have the power to seal families for all eternity.
I know that our forefathers established this country on their faith in a loving God.
I know that our Father in Heaven had a hand in making this country free. 
I have read many history books and in all of them I see Gods hand in the creating, protecting and the growth of America.

I KNOW that Joseph Smith saw a messenger of God and that he restored the church that Jesus Christ created while he was on this earth. 

I know that our Father in Heaven loves each of us and knows each of us. 
I know that we lived with him in heaven once and we knew him and he knew us. 
I know that we can live with him one day again.

I know that Families are Forever, ETERNAL. 

I know these things with every ounce of who I am. 
I have no doubt.
I have no questions.
I have no fear.

The true church is on this earth. And it is lead by a prophet of God. 
Why would a loving god remove his revelations from the earth?
I know that he hasn't. I know that there is a prophet on the earth in these latter days. 
I know that God has not forgotten us. 

President Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God.
Adam, Moses, Abraham, Noah, Enoch, Jacob and many more men, are the prophets that God reveled his work to in the olden days. 
And just like in those times of old he still reveals his work to the world today, through his latter day prophets.

I know that if you are seeking for answers (in the right place) with an open heart and willing mind  that you can find them.
If you feel like something in your life is missing you will be able to find it.
If you want a relationship with your Father in Heaven and want to feel his arms around you all you have to do is ask.

 “Therefore, ask and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you…” 3 Nephi 27:29
"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." Matthew 7:7

The answers are out there and they are waiting for you.
Seek out the truth for yourself by reading the Book of Mormon and praying about it.
No one can create your faith for you. 
No one can tell you how to feel.
God gave us all agency and he wants us to seek him out and find him.
Our Father in Heaven is waiting with open arms and asks that you come unto him.

Our savior knows all that you have been through because he too has been through it. 
He bleed from every pore in the Garden of Gesthemane.
He was crucified on the cross and had nails driven into his hands, his wrists, his feet and side and when he was dieing he said to his father,
"Then asaid Jesus, Father, bforgive them; for they know not what cthey do. " -Luke 23:34

He plead for the forgiveness of those who persecuted him and killed him. He is a loving brother to us all and wants us to return to live with him again.

I ask that for those of you who want to know more about The Lds/mormon faith that you go to the source for the answers. We are not a church of secrets or a church of mystery. 
We have the truths, plan and simple and beautiful. 

Ask a member, or go to these sites and and find the answers. Don't rely on hearsay or the media. Find the answers for yourself. Read the truths and pray about them and you will feel the truths speak to you. You will feel the spirit of God burning within you. And you will find the place where you belong.

My name is Aurie Jenkins. 
I am a wife, a mother, a sister, a daughter, a friend. 
I am an avid lover of all things decorating, crafting and creating. 
I am a blogger and 

(all of these pictures where taken by me with my TOTALLY WONDERFUL camera at Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah. This temple is the Salt Lake City temple where work is done to seal families for time and all eternity. If you would like to know more about my faith, please ask, and I would love to answer any questions you have.)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Hard day for Braddoc

Today was a hard day on Braddoc. 
Autism and stores, especially grocery stores, are not great combos when it comes to Braddoc. 
You have smells coming from the foods. Noise is coming from all the carts, the freezers, the people, and the loud speakers. There are LOTS of colors and LOTS of things to see. 
All these things are enough to kick Braddoc's sensory levels into high gear. 
The poor guy has things coming at him from all directions and he does not know how to deal with them. He can't put them in compartments in his brain and deal with them as they come. 
He hears more things then we can, sees more things and smells more things and its all just too much for him.

I try not to take him with me every time but some times I have no other choice. 

I have found that if we can get something in his hands within the first minute or so that he has something to focus on and block out all the other sensory things going on around him. This usually works really well when he is alone with me. I talk to him and distract him and we have fun. But when his brothers are with us they touch him, and yell at him, and hit him, and try to mess with him and be silly, like boys do. All of that together makes it really hard for him. 

Today he picked out a box of cereal and sat in the cart and just looked at it for a good 10 minutes. He was very deep in thought and it was very sweet to watch.

 But then all "crap hit the fans" so to speak. 
Landon started touching his foot. 
Tayton kept saying "Beibers" over and over again.
Other peoples carts kept hitting ours.
I could tell Braddoc was trying so hard to not lose it and that the poor guy was so confused and overwhelmed. He starts to rock back and forth or squeeze himself or my arm/leg really tight.
I decided what things were NECESSARY for us to get through the night, grabbed that and then headed for the check out.
Everything was going good until the cashier messed up our order BIG time and over charged us by $40. 
She was taking a long time to fix it and Braddoc lost all control of his emotions and started grabbing every thing and touching every thing.

 He pulled out my wallet and dumped it all over the floor and when I bent down to pick it up he slapped me in the face. I talked to him about how that was not nice and hurt me. He started laughing and his eyes went blank and I could tell I had totally lost him. He was in defense mode and his mind was shutting down to "protect" itself.

While I was cleaning up my wallet he wedged himself between the check out lane and the cart and started grunting and fussing because he couldn't get out. When I tried to help him he just starting hitting me and grunting louder.

When we finally got done with the check out (and after I had 4 different people stop and tell me I had my hands full..... um yes, thanks! I really needed you to point that out. It really helped me....) I got money out of my wallet for the bagger and was going to give a dollar to each boy for them to hold. Braddoc started crying BIG HUGE CROCODILE TEARS! and grunted when I tried to give him the dollar.  He was jumping up and down and would not communicate with me. 
I hurt for him watching him.

We got to the car and I got all the other kids in while he stood there and cried. 
When I had gotten everyone in the car I went and held him (which is usually all I can do to calm him down) and he still cried, grabbed the car door and tried to get away from me. I just held him closer and rubbed his back (his favorite thing, and the best thing to calm him down). 
He grunted at me and twisted his body so I could not touch his back.
He kicked me and hit me and spit at me. 
He pushed at me and tried to get his feet between me and him.
He was gone, my little sweet boy was not there.
I started to rub his head, while he was hitting me, while we were sitting on the edge of the car in the parking lot and I started to cry. 
I had tears streaming down my face because I was at a loss. 
I did not know what to do for my sweet boy. 
I was lost and I was hurt and I was overwhelmed and most of all I ached for him.
I wanted to know where my little boy was, because this little boy I was holding seemed like just a shell. I loved him even more. I cried because I didn't even remotely know what he was going through, trapped in his own head.

This continued for about 20 minutes and then I said a silent prayer and felt like I needed to just leave him alone. 
I sat him in the front seat and closed the door. I sat down in the back and let him do his thing. 
He cried for a little bit longer and just sat there like a statue.
But after about 5 minutes you could slowly feel the spirit about him change.
He started to touch the door. 
He turned his head and looked out the window.
He pushed the buttons on the radio.
He started to make noises.
And then he turned to me and smiled and said "Hi mommy, I love you!" and the tears started again.
I think this is the hardest part about Autism so far for me. Its the aching for him. The pain I feel at watching him fight it and wondering where my son is and if he is hurting inside.

I am getting to the point where I can tell first thing in the morning whether Braddoc is going to have a good day or a hard day and so its easier to prepare. 

Today I loved him even more, but I also needed a break from him even more.
He exhausts me!
He tests my patience!
He makes me question everything I do!
And he loves me more then I could ever imagine a little boy loving his mother.
And I love him more for it too.
I love him for the battle that he has to fight every day.
I love him for the choice spirit that he is.
I love that he is my son and I am his mom.
I don't know why Heavenly Father thought he or I needed this trial. 
Some day's I don't think I am the mom for it, but every day I am proven wrong and we make it through another hard day.
Some days I want to run away from all the heart ache I can feel as a mother, hurting for my kids.
And some days I can't imagine a more perfect life.

My brother with Braddoc

Braddoc is one of the most loving, sweetest boys I know. He loves to give hugs and kisses and tell you how awesome you are.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Parlor love!

When we moved into our new base house Noah claimed the front room as "The Parlor".  We are big "southerners" at heart and so since this is the first room that you enter he dubbed it the parlor. 

I knew right away that I wanted this to be our Family Home Evening room. I wanted it to be warm and inviting and I wanted it to be a place where anyone could come and be "alone" (if that's possible in a family of 6). 

I also knew that since we can't paint or wallpaper any of the walls in the house that I had to get creative on ways to make the space more inviting.

I put all of our books in here and our pull out couch so that guests could have a space for themselves when they come to visit. 

Something I LOVE about our new house is that we have lots of blank walls and great spaces for "creating". 

I stalked pinterest and pinned a ton of different  ideas for how to decorate our walls.

Here are some examples of my favorites.

 I decided a few things that I wanted this wall to be:
* all black frames 
*square and rectangle sizes
*I wanted a combo of things I loved
*I wanted it to reflect parts of our religious beliefs 
(because this was going to be the family home evening room after all)
*I didn't want to have to spend very much money and really wanted to use my existing stuff.

I "shopped" my house and found all the things I wanted to go on this wall. 

I started by measuring the wall and then I mapped out the distance on my floor, so I knew how much area I had to work with. 

I then took all the frames and started laying them out on the floor, it took me awhile to find the place for everything I wanted. I have a couple of vinyl quotes that I have ordered,  (but that are not here yet) so I also had to configure them into the mix. 

I then took pictures so that I would know where they all went once I actually started hanging them up. 

 I then started hanging the pictures. I wish I could say I measured them and all that fun stuff, but I didn't. I had 3 little boys hanging on my every move and wanting to "help" me so I got all of the pictures up as fast as I could.

Once I started hanging the pictures I did a little bit of reconfiguration so that it flowed the way I wanted it too.
 I still need to change out some of the actual pictures and add in the vinyl (our family name will be diagonal in the top left corner. And there will be a long quote under the elephant picture.)

We have our "Living Christ" frame, the first presidency of our church and a painting of the sacred grove (go here to find out more about those), our FHE board, family pictures, and quotes I love.

I love this room. It's not very big and I think that for the space we had to work with its really well done. I usually go into this room to talk on the phone and be in "semi quietness" for a little while.

I am also in the process of shopping for an arm chair for this room and it will go in front of the book shelf. 

I have a whole hallway project to start planning now. 
I also finally finished the family room walls and I will share those with you soon.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Emotional Olympics

Do you ever feel like as a parent that you run the gamut of emotions in one day?

I sure know that I do. 
Today especially was one of those days. 

I started the day waking up too early with a 2 year old and that caused a headache. 

Then all the boys came and got in bed with me and we laughed and tickled each other until the space in the bed was not enough and we were irritating each other. 

Then we ran around and played and jumped on the trampoline and learned a bunch of new tricks. We all laughed as we watched Tayton try to do flips, (which are more like spastic rolls) and clapped as Braddoc mastered the front flip.

We had lots of mom and Landon trials as we dealt with him disobeying rules and breaking his punishment of being grounded from the trampoline (because he ripped all the padding off of the trampoline the day after we bought it, "just because"). There was lots of talking and him yelling and me trying to keep my cool and teach him about respect for things.

Braddoc had some great moments and he also had lots of shut down moments because he was overstimulated. 

Noah and I had lots of kisses and we also had lots of "arguments" about how to better work with and help Braddoc with his autism (more about that at a later time). 

We had an awesome Family home evening lesson about our bodies and we enjoyed laughing and being silly as we talked about what cool things our bodies do. We also had some momentary melt downs about who got to hold what prop from our lesson.

Today was emotionally exhausted. I rode a roller coaster of emotions, some fleeting and some strong and overwhelming. 

Someday's I feel overwhelmed by everything that I had to endure that day.
Someday's I hope that we at least taught our children something good and that the day was not all for naught.
Someday's I think we all barely survived and maybe a few of us did not escape unscathed. But I hope that nothing that was done can't be undone the next day.
Someday's I end the day feeling like super mom and that I DID IT ALL that day. I go to bed that night praying that I will have that same kind of day the next day.

But really in the end, every day is a blessing and even though some days my emotions are not all over the place and they thankfully hang out in the happy/patient mom realm, that those days won't always be there. AND THAT IS OKAY! That's not what matters.

What matters is that I enjoy the journey. Really enjoy it. I don't have to "enjoy" each moment per say because lets face it, being sad and mad and frustrated and overwhelmed are not fun emotions, but there are beautiful vistas intertwined into each day. I just have to find them.

Gordon B. Hinckley says it so wonderfully:

"Life is just like an old time rail journey ... delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders, and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed. The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride."

I do thank the Lord each day for letting me have this ride as a mother.
 All the ups and downs.

I thank  the Lord every day for this beautiful girls smile. She is so good and she warms my heart, so even when her brothers are being particularly crazy I know that I can always count on her to put a smile on my face.

I have to get over the finding play dough in every single corner on my house and enjoy all the beautiful creations that are being made.

I have to know that when these two boys are fighting like cats and dogs and telling each other that they don't like the other and don't want to be friends, that shortly (maybe not today, but soon) they will be best friends again and won't want to leave each others side. And they will be jumping up and down saying "Your the best brothers ever."
I know that when Braddoc is having a melt down and Landon is just making it worse and when I have to explain to him for the hundredth time that Braddoc's mind doesn't work the same way our minds work and to just be nice and patient with him, that eventually it will sink in. And that occasionally when this happens, Landon will stop what he is doing and lovingly look at Braddoc and calm him down and smile at me because he knows he is helping his brothers and showing him love.

I have to see the joy in finding a HUGE grasshopper (and I do mean huge. This thing was half the side of our large TV remote.) in my pile of CLEAN laundry, because it gave our kids a good 20 minutes of fun watching it walk around on the floors and learning about grasshopper's. (Braddoc wanted to keep it as his pet.)

I can enjoy watching my 2 year old, who was super clingy and crying for me to hold him ALL DAY, learn to roll down the hill for the first time. I can enjoy listening to his sweet little voice say "Watch iss mom, watch!" 500+ times, because he was so excited about learning how to do this.

So while I do go through the laundry list of emotions everyday, 
(some multiple times and some not at all)
worn out
long suffering
over bearing

and many more....

that in the end I am always blessed.
I am always loved and I am always going to be able to find the joy in the journey if I just look for it.

"My plea is that we stop seeking out the storms and enjoy more fully the sunlight. I am suggesting that as we go through life we 'accentuate the positive.' I am asking that we look a little deeper for the good, that we still our voices of insult and sarcasm, that we more generously compliment and endorse virtue and effort." -Gordon B. Hinckley

Its easy to see the storms all around us. Satan is good at helping us see that, and the world is good at helping us see that. 

If we are more in tune with the spirit, then we will be more in tune with happiness and joy. We will easily find the joy. We will always be able to see the sunlight streaming through the clouds (I always think that its Heavenly Father shining down on me.) We will always still struggle, because we are all human but its the effort that we put into finding the joy in our everyday lives that matters.

Tonight I sat down at the computer not wanting to do much of anything at all. I was frustrated with some of the days events. I was overwhelmed by some of the conversations I had and my heart was hurting a little bit because of some things we had to go through with Braddoc. 
I pulled up my photo albums and started browsing through the pictures. Then an amazing thing happened. I started smiling, and tearing up and chuckling to myself at all the fun/silly pictures I had of my babies. 

There is so much joy to be found in my life and someday's I need to work a little harder, and put better effort into just seeing the beauty for what it is. I can't try to see the beautiful forest through the trees. I need to open my eyes and see that the beautiful forest IS THE TREES!!!

So here's to riding the wonderfully exciting, never dull roller coaster of being a mom.
Whats your trick to being able to enjoy the ride?

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Rain rain please stay

Something we looked forward too about our move to Utah was rain, lots of rain. We hoped! It has only sprinkled a few times since we have been here, unfortunately. It's kind of funny (not funny ha ha, but funny like "ARE YOU SERIOUS??!!) that the last week has been super rainy in Las Vegas. Hmm- thank you Mother Nature for messing with my head like that.

One of the nights it was sprinkling we ran outside and let the kids play in the light, LIGHT rain. They loved it and didn't really know the difference between a real good hard core rain storm and what we call a slight drizzle.

Aowyn and I hung out under a big huge tree so we didn't get wet. (I don't think anyone really got wet.) 

She spit up all over her cardigan and so I took it off of her, so excuse her "immodest" dress. She was looking as cute as ever though. 

I could kiss those cheeks and stare into those eyes all day and all night. I really love this little miss.

Tayton wasn't sure what to do with the rain every time it hit him. He finally just gave in and had fun with it.

They were running back and forth across the field and laughing so hard and so loud.

Braddoc got very over stimulated really fast and just laid down in the grass and took a little break from the fun. 

Sometimes I wonder what is going on in his head. Can't you tell he was THRILLED that I was taking his picture?!

This is our hotel that we stayed in for 2.5 weeks. I was so glad to leave that place. Definitely was not a home sweet home.