Blessing Day

One of the sweeter things in life has been to see my husband give each
of our kids a name and a blessing.
It's something we do in our church.
I really love this little girl.
She makes our family so complete.



Emmie Faye Carter

The much anticipated finally arrived.
Our sweet angel came to us safe and sound about two weeks ago.
We all love her so much.
She was the perfect Christmas gift.

6 lbs 5 oz
18 inches long
with a head full of jet black hair.

I love this mini Shawn.

Same hair as my Daddy

The first of many sister pictures to be sure.
The girls were very sick and heartbroken to not hold her more.
Mason's first time holding Emmie.

I am always amazed at what my body can endure and go through to bring children into this world.
Barely two weeks out and I'm already starting to forget about it.
All the pains and aches of pregnancy, labor and nursing are starting to fade.
It's so strange when you think "How am I going to do this?"
and then before you know it... you already did.

It's a good feeling to have complete confidence in my ability to care for a newborn.
I've got a few tricks up my sleeve after the fourth time.
Now having four kids, that may take some time for all of us to adjust.
But bring it on!  My purpose in life never felt so clear.

I couldn't do it without Shawn.  He is an amazing Father and Husband.
I don't mean to take advantage of how completely unselfish he is, but I know I do without realizing.
I am one lucky girl!
We have our moments, but after nine years- we have gotten used to each other.
Oh, and we love each other like crazy so that helps too.

I was also blessed to have my Mom come and stay for almost a week before and after.
She is everything I aspire to be.
The perfect blend of humor, love, fun, and dicipline.
I wish it came more naturally like it does to her, but I really have to work at it.

So, Shawn goes back to work on Monday and the kids start school again.
Back to our busy routine.
It's bitter sweet.
I usually choose structure over chaos.
But I have loved most of the chaos of the past two weeks.
Mostly because my sweetheart has been by my side for every second of it.
Goodbye to the most magical Christmas of my life.


Douglas Arnold Teeples

 It's hard to know where to start in expressing my feelings and love for my Grandpa Teeples.
(He passed away November 16, 2013)

I am the third out of his eight grandchildren, 
which means I spent a lot of one on one time with him. 

Most of my childhood memories have him in it.  

A million stories and Grandpa-isms are running through my mind.  So if it seems jumbled, this is my attempt to paint a picture of the man I so dearly love. 

Grandpa was a storyteller.  I never tired of hearing his exaggerated tales.
Here's one.
"Did I ever tell you about my pet bee?  Well one day I was working on my roof and this bee was buzzing around my head.  Instead of shooing him away, I put out my finger, and do you know what?  He landed right on my finger.  He looked at me, and I looked at him, and then I noticed... he was smiling!  So I moved my finger a bit.  He flew around in a circle and landed right back on my finger.  And that's how I got my pet bee.

I must have heard this story 250 times in my lifetime, and I still love it. 

Grandpa was an artist 

His incredible oil paintings are just the beginning of his artistic talents.  Grandpa was an excellent writer, and wrote two books that I am aware of (an adventure tale and an autobiography)
He was a talented photographer.
He played several instruments among them the clarinet and saxophone.
And he made jewelry out of dental gold that which gave to my Grandma.
I would say that he lived his life in color, much of which was expressed through his art.
I loved walking through his art gallery.
The way he lived was also artistically beautiful.  He didn't waste a lot of time on something that wouldn't promote self improvement.

Grandpa was honest.  He didn't hide much about himself and usually said what was on his mind.  Usually it was hysterically funny.  Often times it was something from his past that most people wouldn't share freely.  Sometimes it was at the expense of others feelings to get a laugh, but his heart was so tender.  I saw my Grandpa cry several times in apologizing for hurt feelings.  He once told me when I lectured him in making a joke about someone (which was true and very funny but not very nice) that I must be without guile. I had no idea what he was talking about.  He then explained that my lips never say anything bad about anyone.  Speaking of my lips... when I was little he always told me that "loose lip sink ships" and dubbed me as loose lips for a while.  Apparently I could never keep a secret.  But when I got upset about it a few years down the road he never brought it up again.  When my cousin Carissa was little she couldn't say Grandpa and she called him "Crap-pa" We all thought is was funny (especially me.)  I started calling him that also.  One day he told me he didn't want to be called that anymore because he had lived through a lot to get to where he was.  So for a while I called him Grandfather.  He loved it.

Grandpa was a friend to all.  He loved people.  He had so many friends, many of which were uncommon for someone in his generation.  He didn't really care where you had been, or what your race was, or your status, or how much money you had, or what religion you were.  All he wanted was someone to laugh with, tell his stories to, and share in some adventures.  And he had many adventures traveling and living all over the world.

Grandpa was there for me in a time when no one else could have been.  When I was 14 my parents decided to leave Indiana and move to Utah.  I had some rough preteen years that caused me a lot of turmoil.  Some of it was from childhood heartache.  Most of it was from mistakes I had made and the anxiety they were causing me.  You see I was always very religious and worried that things I had done would stick with me forever.  He gave me a very special Priesthood blessing before we left for Utah that ultimately motivated me to make a course correction that changed the direction of my life and committed to my religious beliefs.  He also taught me the miracle of forgiveness.  Grandpa taught me just how much my Heavenly Father loved me and was an instrument in his hands.  He took his role of being a father figure very seriously.  I will never forget talking with him for hours a few nights before my wedding day.  He told my Mom that talking with me that night had made the trip worth it.  He always made me feel like I was worth his time.  Even when he was teasing my incessantly.

Grandpa was fun!  I could always count on him to take me to get a thrifty's ice cream cone.  We usually got rainbow sherbet, my favorite.  He also taught me to swing dance and would pick me up and flip me around the room.  He turned tragedies into funny stories.  For instance... one of the homes we lived in had an ant problem.  I had this idea to put a piece of bread on the porch to get the ants to leave the house.  Of course, in a few hours there was a swarm of ants.  When I told him why I had done it, he laughed and told me that I had attracted every ant in a two mile radius of our house.  He didn't get frustrated, just smiled at my childhood idea.  
I have many memories of him swimming in the pond with us, building a raft, sledding, watching Jimmy Stewert movies, painting in his art studio, and teaching us to appreciate air.  This game included him putting his hand tightly over our mouth and nose until we started to panic so we would appreciate air.

I could keep going, but I think I will pause for now. 
I love you Grandpa.
Even though I will miss you terribly it's so easy for me to imagine all the fun you're having in the next life.  Heaven just got a whole lot more exciting with you there. 
Love, Brooke 

 The Last time I saw Grandpa was the summer of 2011 when I flew to their home in Indiana to visit them with Sadie.

I will always think of them standing on the front porch, crying when we said goodbye.  I love you Grandma and Grandpa



Ponder much? Lately I do.

All I really want in life is photos just like this one.
                                In that little snap, time stops and so much joy is captured.
Some days seem sooo long, and so redundant.  
A good amount of time is spent doing things that I have to talk myself into liking.  You know, things like cleaning up the pee I just stepped in because someone missed the toilet and didn't say anything.  
But seriously, look what I would miss if I just focus on those miserable moments. 
She is so beautiful. 

And that little boyfriend below was cracking me up tonight singing in his room, under his covers at the top of his lungs.  Trying to lull himself to sleep.  He also informed me that he is going to start smiling in pictures again, so will I please buy his school pictures from now on.  
We have had some challenges lately in our little family, just like everyone does.  Sometimes I get pretty down about it.  I am not the most patient person, and I want answers to what I think are pretty important need to knows.  BUT, there has also been this inner peace that I can't explain or describe.  I think it is me finally realizing what REALLY matters and what really brings me joy.  It's okay if there are pieces missing to the puzzle, because putting it together is part of the challenge and the fun.   
It's those challenges that really cause me to look harder at what I already have, and notice what is beautiful about it.  I don't need a lot in life to be happy.  It's the simple things like our dance parties in the kitchen, or hearing my kids bragging about their Dad like he is a super hero, or family prayers, or the daily cup of hot chocolate I give to myself, or fall leaves, or putting up our Christmas decorations on (that's right) November 1st, or meeting friends at the park, or reading a classic novel that I never have before, or taking some time to play my ukulele, or studying the words of the Savior and the prophets, or waking up every morning next to someone special for the last nine years, or wiping off that last sticky counter and having a clean kitchen for ten minutes.    
There is too much good about my life for how much complaining I do.
I will probably always be busy and trying to figure out how I'm going to do everything. 
I'm sure I will throw a tantrum every once in a while that will rival my three year old. 
I wish I would never lose my temper ever again, but I probably will
Each day is a new opportunity for me to capture some more joy.  
I don't want to just survive anymore, I want to LIVE!  
So cheers to baby number 4 coming in a few weeks and all the changes to come.  
Today I am grateful for all of this.   


Autism no more

So much has happened in our family since last summer, I couldn't possible catch up.  
So, I am starting with now and moving forward. 

I want to start with Mason since that's where I left off.

 First of all.... seven years old rocks! 

Mason is such a creative little boy.  He always has extravagant plans for everything (most of which are impossible) but I humor him anyway because I love his ideas.  I am convinced we have an engineer/ inventor in our future.  Everything about him is so little boy and I am soaking it all up.

 Lately he has been telling me "Mom, I know you love me."  It makes my heart sing.
I do love him and I'm glad he knows it.

When Mason was three he was diagnosed with Autism.
I thought my life was over.
I was terrified.
I was a young and inexperienced mother who received a quick education.

Now at seven years old Doctors are saying NO MORE AUTISM.
I am all over the place with emotion.  Mostly joy mixed with hesitation.
I don't think labels are as important, as getting the help you need for your child is.
But sometimes a label is necessary to get the help.  Does that make sense?
I am grateful for the diagnosis he received because of the path it took us down.
But one thing is for sure now, he struggles with different things, but AUTISM is NOT one of them.
And I feel like his struggles should be kept at a need to know basis.
If anyone is interested in all that we did to help him I would be willing to share privately.

He will most likely always have an IEP at school.
He will always require extra attention from parents and teachers.
But He is quite an amazing little boy and if you know him personally 
you will understand what I mean.  
You also know what I mean when I say that even though this is a close to a chapter, 
the work isn't over.
The good news is, I am not terrified anymore.  Not even close.  
I am completely confident moving forward.

As we close this chapter in our lives I want to thank all our family and friends who supported us.  To the schools, therapists, primary teachers, his sisters, and Mason's friends.
He has had very special friends who have come into his life at different times and taught
 him things he needed to learn.

I am so extremely proud of my Mason.
Like I said, everything about him is so little boy and I'm soaking it ALL up.


A Boy and his Bug

I'm not sure where to start when it comes to Mason and his bugs.  How can I adequately describe the love he has for each and every one, in his little boy heart.  He spends hours searching for them, building "habitats" for them (he likes that word), and then caring for them.  There are tears shed over departures, but not so much since he learned about decomposing.  Teaching him about decomposing served a dual purpose.  First, it stopped the tears flowing because "Decomposing makes the earth grow new bugs," (This was his interpretation.)  And second, it keeps his from begging to keep all the dead bodies.

My favorite memories as a child were in my own backyard.  I spent hours wondering, imagining, and just being a kid.  It thrills me to see my little ones doing the same.

However, the position of our house in the neighborhood is such that you can literally hear the children down the street.  Their happy screams echo around the neighborhood.

I can't wait for a bigger back yard (and a little more privacy someday) but it will also be sad to leave all these adventures behind... and the bug graveyard.


"You cut off all my beautiful hair Mom." Cry, cry, sniffle, sob, bawl.  I still feel so horrible about it.  I just went in for a trim and she could not keep still.  Next thing I new she was back to a bob.  I told her we could grow out her hair together.  She was fine the next morning, but I still want to cry about it sometimes.  

 It's just hair... right?  I hope she can always know just how beautiful she is.  That the real beauty comes from inside.  Still... accidentally chopping my daughter's hair.... not my best mommy moment.