About Me

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I am a 29-ish yr old married mother of 8. My family is my life and I wouldn't have it any other way. My darling husband is my very best friend and together we are raising 8 of the best kids in the world! They are Rose(12) Sarah(12) Ammon(10) Malachi(8) Gabriel(7) Hannah(5) Maggie(4) and Abbie(3) We currently own 2 dogs, 1 bird, 5 chinchillas, 1,000,000 rabbits, 1 cat, 4.5 horses, and one ferret. We just purchased a home that is definately a "fixer-upper", with land and room for the kids to roam. Our goal is to run a mostly self sustaining farm and live in peace as we grow as a strong family unit. We have seen our fair share of hardships, but we are thankful for the many blessings the Lord gives us on a regular basis!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

T'was the day of thanksgiving and up on the wall
were hand printed turkeys
made by kid Leschorns all

There was turkey and stuffing

all ready to eat,

but I took some pictures

'cause Mini-Nana's smile was so sweet!

So we all gathered round her

while she was so happy

Except the two babies...

They were to busy napping

Here's a pic of our Sarah

With the very best Nana

look how pretty they are

as they smile for the cam'ra!

Papa wasn't to thrilled

with the paparazzi

So we just snapped the picture

and hollered "Let's Eat!"

The entertainment began!
The audience silenced,
as I told a story
with minimal violence.
It began with the pilgrims,
long ago in England
that came to America
in hopes of making some friends!
(couldn't find a way to rhyme freedom of religion!)
They had found them a Mayflower
to sail or'e the ocean.
Then a big heavy storm came
And caused lots of commotion!
One hundred and two folks
were on that big ship.
They hoped and they prayed
that it wouldn't tip.
There was more to the story
'bout the Indians and all,
but we didn't get pictures
so it's hard to recall.
When the Puppet Show ended
All the kids took a bow
Then because we were tired
we just hung out for a while.

When Maggie woke up

she wasn't too chipper,

But Daddy fixed that

by giving her pie before supper!

I just kept snapping pictures,
even as folks were leavin',
but you have to admit,
it was a wonderful ev'nin!

A Secret!!!!

I didn't think I was gonna make it with out bursting! But I managed not to Blog about this until my Sweetie was able to talk to his parents.
Well, he just gave me permission to blab-Uh, I mean BLOG- about it...

As most of you know, John is adopted. His parents are two very caring people who have raised him to be strong and independent. I love them almost as much as John does and I am so happy to have them as grandparents for my children.
That said, John has pretty much always had a loving respect for his biological mother. Ever since I met him he has said that he would like to meet her if for nothing else to say "Thank You". Well, Sunday night he had that opportunity via email. After a bit of a whirl wind experience, he received her personal information, and they were talking on the phone by Tuesday morning!
Tuesday evening we (John, me, his biological mother, and her husband) spend a long time on the phone! She answered SO MANY QUESTIONS! My heart ached for her as she described her youth and her reasons for why she chose to give up her baby for adoption. I was shocked when she said that she didn't even know she was having twins until she was in labor!!!!
Perhaps the thing that touched me the most was when I asked her if she had held John and Bill before she gave them up. She told us that she had decided before they were born that if she held or touched her baby, she wouldn't be able to give it (them) up. The entire time that she was in the hospital recovering, she did not touch them once. She spoke of how she watched them through the glass of the nursery.
I found myself comparing her experience to ours with Gabriel when he was first born. When I was wheeled in to see him that first day in the NICU, the first thing I did was to reach out and touch his back. That sent his O2 levels plummeting and a nurse quickly informed me that I was not allowed to touch him. For three days I watched my baby. I yearned to hold that little angel. It was heart breaking, but the entire time I held to the knowledge that my baby was just ill and was going to get better... and I would be able to hold him in my arms!
Linda did not have that reassurance. She was giving her babies up. For all she knew, she could never see them again. Yet, she chose not to do the one thing that her arms, probably, ached most to do. She chose to suffer that pain, and so much more, so that her babies could have what she knew she could not provide for them.
While I would never want her to have chosen other wise. I wish I could go back in time and tell her it would all be worth it in the end. I wish I could have told her that her boys would be happy and loved by a large extended family. I wish I could have told her that she would meet them again! I can't imagine the nearly 31 years of not knowing that she has suffered through!
I am looking forward to John and Linda building and maintaining a relationship. I look forward to the healing that can occur in her family. I look forward to the relationships that my children can build with their new found cousins! Perhaps most important, I look forward to John and Linda finally meeting face to face so that Linda can finally give that little baby a hug!

I was tagged....

Okay I wasn't really "tagged". I was emailed. But I thought it'd be fun to turn it into a TAG!

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Depends on the present.
2. Real tree or Artificial? Real this year...Our artificial one was broken last year... in a Nerf gun incident!
3. When do you put up the tree? Traditionally Thanksgiving Day BUT we haven't seen any places to buy them yet.
4. When do you take the tree down? Usually New Year's Day
5. Do you like eggnog? Nope. Hate it. HATE...IT!
6. Favorite gift received as a child? A stuffed purple raccoon that I named "Cooney" from my sister Shannon. I carried that thing around for a looong time. I truly believe that my mother must have finally thrown it away for sanitary purposes! Though she claims to have no recollection of him!
7. Hardest person to buy for? My Ammon...Hes always so joyful about every thing that it's hard to tell if he's excited about the gift or just his normal smiley self.
8. Easiest person to buy for? Malachi...If it explodes, looks gross, has do with swords guns or magic, involves super heroes, or has the words "as seen on TV"... he's into it!
9. Do you have a nativity scene? Yep! LOVE THEM!
10. Mail or email Season Greeting cards? Well, I have this plan to have it together enough to send out beautiful cards with a beautiful nativity on the out side, and include a family picture in each one. In reality, however, my family should consider it a miracle that I call them after 8pm on Christmas day. SAD...I KNOW!
11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? I am known in John's family for taking baths (it's what I do to unwind) One year I received 16 bath sets...I had enough bubble bath for 3 YEARS! So it wasn't that I didn't like the gifts, but it was just too much of a good thing!
12. Favorite Christmas Movie? I'm a traditionalist... Give me It's a Wonderful Life ANY DAY!
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Ummmm...bought my first gift this year in June.
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? No. But I have bought gifts for my kids at yard sales and on Craig's list! (don't tell them)
15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Trifle! I Haven't had it since I was about 6 though!
16. Lights on the tree? White only...I think it's more peaceful.
17. Favorite Christmas song? Silent Night
18. Travel at Christmas or stay at home? Hmmm...Depends on where I'm going ;)
19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer's? Yep! I can sing them all too! Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen, Rudolf, and Leroy (the redneck one)
20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Star...We don't put it on until Christmas Eve though. It's our way of remembering what Christmas is all about.
21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Morning
22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? The extreme pressure that the world puts on parents to buy a bunch of meaningless crap for their children in hopes to fulfill an emptiness that can only be filled through a change in heart and the love of Heavenly Father and his son Jesus Christ!....and the fact that I am sucked into that same worldly view every year... until about a month after Christmas, and half of the gifts are broken or lost. It's always then that I realize how stupid it was that I was so stressed about providing a "nice Christmas" that would have been equally as happy with one gift and some extra hugs!
23. What theme or color are you using? Don't know! We have to go shopping for all new inside stuff...part of that Nerf gun incident involving several children and one father (whom shall remain nameless) But I have this dream of one day having a live tree with all clear and white ornaments and bows ... It won't happen until our little ones are much older!
24. Favorite for Christmas dinner? Ham! - With all the fixins' of course! Turkey's are for Thanksgiving!
25. What do you want for Christmas this year? Hmm. We don't really do gifts for adults so I don't think I'll get anything, but I'd like an IPOD or one of those tables that transforms to a fireplace in the center...Of course I'd never turn away jewelry or an embroidery machine either!
26. Who do you tag?
Cali, Andrea, Kermit Crew, and Cindy.

Giving Thanks!

Could there be anything more fitting than a beautiful rainbow, a double rainbow in fact, on Thanksgiving Day? This picture doesn't even do it justice. It was beautiful. It was so big that I couldn't get the whole thing in the picture!
We have so much to be thankful this year. This time last year I was in the hospital with pre-term labor, the five older kids were with Shannon in Indiana, and Hannah and Maggie were being bounced between ward members and Missy while John tried to work.
To top it off... I was so doped up on Mag that I no memory of it.

The contrast to this year is amazing. My children are all well! I am healthy and our family is together! I could go down a large list of all the things I am thankful for but for now I am content to just share it with my heavenly father. I love that peaceful content feeling you get when every thing is just the way it should be!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A new Chapter...

As most of you know (and some don't, that's why I'm explaining) The boy scout program is a big part of a young man's development in our church. They enter the cub scout program at the age of 8 and the hope is that they will complete Eagle before they turn 18!
Well, Ammon turned 8 in September and tonight was the first Pack meeting he has attended!
He was able to do the necessary requirements to get his basket ball belt loop. (Thanks Jed!)
He was pretty excited about that and had me put it on his belt the minute we got home!
I think the most exciting thing for him was that this also happened to be the week that they had the rain gutter regatta race!

Things have been a little crazy around here with surgeries, construction work, and what not. So we didn't even find out about it until a few nights before. Thankfully, Brother Shumway, the pack leader, was very helpful and even went out of his way
to go get another boat kit from the scout store and bring it to our house!
John and Ammon got to stay up after all of the other kids were in bed to work on it for three nights. I was very please with Johns self control! I knew he would have LOVED to do it all on his own!
But truthfully, except for a minimal amount of help with sanding and the lightning strike that Ammon insisted John paint, Ammon did it all!

This is a very special time for Ammon. He has entered a new and very large part of his life! Scouts will consume him for the next 10 years! John is THRILLED to see his son do something that he never did. He looks forward to working on projects and goals with each of the boys and I look forward to watching!

Of the three races he ran he only won one. But he didn't care! He thought his boat was the fastest! He calls it his "Turtle Lightning Boat!" You can see a good picture of his "turtle" on the sail here.
This is the ribbon Ammon got for participating! He was so excited that he was like a little ping pong ball!I couldn't get him to look strait at me long enough to get a good picture but I think the smile speaks for it's self!

Congratulations Ammon! We love you!

Jed's Girl!!!

Okay all! This is Brittany! She's cute, she's smart, she's funny, and MOST IMPORTANT she has two thumbs up from me and John!
We've told her that even if she doesnt marry Jed, we want to adopt her!

Oh ya! For all you Slusser girls, SHE PLAYS CARDS!


Okay, so she's not REALLY potty training but I'm thrilled to see her interested! It's kind of funny to watch...
First , She climbs up on to the potty

Then she scootches her little legs around until she's on it and finally....
...she looks at you like you're stupid for taking a picture of her in such a vulnerable state, and makes mental note to discuss this experience with her therapist when she's an adult!

Lady's graduation

For those of you who aren't already aware that we own the best dog in the entire world, here's proof!
Lady graduated from her beginner obediance class. She moves on to Intermediate in January! Good girl, Lady!

I love it when Maggie...


...looks cool!

...gets curious!

...dresses herself! (Yep, that's a shirt!)

How do YOU work out?

Monday, November 24, 2008

See What happens when you let Maggie entertain herself !?!

The funny thing is that I had just put a new safety lock on the fridge about an hour before! I was making breakfast and left it unlocked when I got the eggs out. I could see her in the living room bobbing her head and babbling sweetly, so thought she was keeping out of mischief for a while. I had just finished mixing eggs and pouring them in the skillet when I thought I'd take a peek at her. I was expecting to see her sweetly stacking blocks or playing with a couple of random toys... SILLY ME!!!!
You know, I am rarely able to get a picture of this sweet smile...I guess this is what it takes!
Don't worry it all came out rather easily!

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Friday, November 21, 2008

"Now take a deep breath and count 1, 2, 3..."

That was my thought this morning, when I needed to calm myself after frantically searching for a missing Maggie at 7 am! She hadn't been in her bed when I went into her room and no one else was awake yet. Rose found her downstairs wedged between the back of the couch and it's cushions...sound asleep!
When Malachi informed me that he didn't need to clean his room because there really is no Santa Clause (I'm sure I don't need to explain his 6 -yr-old logic) I thought my head was going to pop off before I got to ten!
Later when I heard screaming, I walked in to the kitchen just in time to see Hannah throw herself on the floor. Maggie had climbed out of her high chair, crossed two chairs, and was happily sitting sitting on Hannah's booster... eating HER lunch. My eyes shut tight so that I could be in my happy place!
I thought it again when Sarah walked in to the bathroom (while I was trying to go potty) and tried to have a discussion with me. Her topic: The process of doing laundry and why she shouldn't have to gather and sort the whites...That's not really a color you know.
By the end of nap time (or "anti-nap" as I sometimes call it) I was ready to jump up and down, pull my hair out, and start screaming! BUT being the calm composed mother that I am, I decided to count instead.
When Hannah came running down stairs to tell me that Maggie had knocked our ENTIRE box of laundry detergent (the brand new one...from Sams...you know... the one that holds like 180 loads worth) off the top of the dryer onto the laundry room floor, I started counting just one more time!
Then I heard the large crash from the kitchen. (while I was cleaning up puppy pee in my school room) A chorus rang out... "Maggie!" Suddenly, a herd of children were at my side before I was even able to get off the floor. All were more than willing to tell me that THEY were NOT the ones that pulled the kitchen drawer full of utensils out of the cabinet!
Now I am sitting at my computer. The boys and Hannah are outside playing. Abbie is down for a nap. The girls are drawing and playing with the dogs. Maggie is happily "cleaning" with the baby wipes I've given her, and all I can think is... "Yeah! Sometimes my days are like this... but sometimes they are much worse!"

Fall Recital!

As Most of you know, the girls joined the Higley Unified School District Before School Orchestra this year! (Whoa what a mouth full!) Sarah is playing Cello and Rose is on the Violin! There are three different schools represented here.
This is their orchestra conductor and private teacher, "Mrs Jill".
I am so proud of the two of them they have really grown so much over the past few months...It's not easy getting up early enough to be at a class that starts at 7am!
Most of the kids were at Aunt Missy's house because I had my surgery the next day. Se we were able to just focus on them (and Abbie) the whole night. It was a rare occasion!
After the recital Nanna treated us all to dinner at Texas Roadhouse! The girls were so tired that they looked like they were about to fall asleep in their mashed potatoes! So, we took a rain check on desert and went back the following Saturday!
Congratulations Girls! You did a great job!

Sunday, November 16, 2008


I had my surgery Friday... My hand/wrist/arm hurts... I'm so swollen you can't tell I have knuckles...maybe they accidentally removed those too... Typing one handed is hard... I'm taking a pain pill and going to bed!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Everybody say "Election Day!"

The kiddos got first hand voting experience today! That's right, at 8:30 this morning, they all piled into the Leschorn Limo with me as we headed off to our polling location. We sat in line for 1 1/2 hours and then we got to cast our vote as a family!
I know I could have done an early ballot, and to be honest, that was my intention. I just never got around to requesting it. Now that it's all said and done though, I'm glad I did it this way! I hope that my children realize how important it is that the American people let their voices be hear.
Even if we are not in the majority, and Obama wins, I can just feel the excitement in the air! This is a historic event in any case! There are record turn outs in voters and no matter who is elected there will be a first!

This is the line we waited in. I didn't think to take pictures of it until after we were done voting but I thought I should take them for historic purposes!

Monday, November 3, 2008

My Birthday Dirge...

***This is a VERY WHINY POST so if you don't want to read it... I won't blame you! I'll be back to my cheery self tomorrow, but let me grouch a little tonight***

It's funny what you remember from your childhood...
When I was like 7 or 8 I went to visit my Aunt in NY. (you know who you are) While I was there I learned that she had started dressing up like a bag lady...FOR MONEY. No...REALLY!
People would pay her to dress up as one of those weird old ladies that have no clue what the term "personal space" means. She was paid entertainment for birthday parties! At the time I thought it was one of the most insane ideas I had ever heard! (But then again my aunt wasn't really known for her sanity. )
Here was the kicker for this girlish mind of mine...She'd walk around in her old hat and sing a song (that I think she made up). She called it the Birthday Dirge. Of course I don't remember most of the words but I think it went something like, "Happy birthday. Have a good one. It might be your last one...People dying...People crying..." and so on.
Well I never quite understood why ANY ONE would think like that about a birthday...UNTIL NOW! You see, I'm officially 30!
So here I am one year closer to death. not much wiser than I was last year and feeling very worn out.

I know, I know, it's just one more year. I'm fine with that, but I am not one of those people who really likes to celebrate birthdays in the first place. I don't even tell my children when it is, although my older girls did find out today (thanks JOHN!)
I only remember 2 birthdays that turned out well, and of the two birthday parties I had when I was a child, only one is in my list of "turned out well". (the other "turned out well" involved a German Chocolate cake with that coconut frosting from an aunt in Florida)

Don't believe that my birthday ALWAYS STINK? Well, let's just look at an example, shall we...

Last night: My darling Maggie (22mos) who has a serious fascination for bathtubs, turned the bathtub on in my master bath, plugged the drain, and came downstairs to play with Mommy and Daddy...FOR TWO HOURS!!!!!!
Do you KNOW what two hours of running water can do to an upstairs bathroom!?! After Jed put buckets under all the leaks in our garage he brought up tote and came up to help me and John scoop up the 4 inches of standing water in my bed/bathroom! We're still sloshing in carpet and I can't tell you how many times we've used our carpet shampooer (is that a word) to soak it up!
Did you know that water can leak out of light fixers, air vents, and light switches too?
Please don't ask me the obvious question...Yes I realize how very lucky we are that Maggie didn't slip and fall in the tub and drown! But COME...ON! Guess what I was worrying about and working on most of the day.

I have many other stories of ruined birthdays and reasons why I hate them. I had planned on listing each negative birthday experience I've had, but to be honest, it just makes my brain hurt! I think I'll just silently sulk about the rest of them and just soak in the *bleh!*(couldn't think of a better word) of my special day!

So bring on the Birthday Dirge Aunt Betsie! I'll sing it off key, and out loud, right along with you!

*But then I'll just climb in bed, pull the cover up over my head, and wait for the day to be over!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

A Day for Jammies...

I haven't gotten dressed yet today because although the sun is shining and the air is crisp, I feel lousy. I went to bed last night with a fever of 102.
I'll post all the cool Halloween pics when I'm feeling up to it.
For now I'm going back to bed.