I never could have imagined the experiences, challenges and rewards that come along with the title and responsibility of being "Mom". Everyday my little ones present different needs to be met, new attitudes to understand, stages to conquer, and find new ways to unravel my patience. Despite the challenges, the rewards that come from a genuine I love you mom, a moment of 3 children happily playing together, and even a simple accomplishment bring feelings and emotions that words can't describe. I am ever so grateful for my Precious Little Ones; for their individuality, talents, and the completeness each one contributes to the Cox Clan.

April 17, 2011


Ashton recently had his pictures taken.  They are priceless. His sweetness and purity were captured perfectly.  This never would have happened if it were just up to me...scheduling and arranging for a newborn photoshoot.  Although I wanted it done, my "pregnant brain" was never on track to actually get it set up.  If it weren't for my dear friend and talented photographer, I would have missed out on getting these special pictures.

Good friends....they're priceless too!

I've had other "priceless" moments recently. 

While at the dentist, the hygienist was complimenting Madelyn and telling me how sweet she was as she cleaned her teeth the day before.  She went on to tell me about their conversation concerning Madelyn being the only girl with 3 brothers, not having a sister and how unfortunate or unlucky that is!  Madelyn's response was, "But I have my mom so it's okay!"

That made my heart melt. I hope I will always be her friend and someone she truly enjoys being with.

Jalen has had a rough time with our transition to 8:00 church.  Usually, the kids get to bed later on the weekends so to be up and ready in our Sunday best by 7:45 while Alan is at meetings is a challenge!  After much prodding and persuading one morning, I finally had Jalen out of bed and dressed but it wasn't easy! He kept falling back in bed, or crying and whining telling me how tired he was and he just couldn't get ready. He just couldn't do it! Here's part of our conversation:

"Mom, I just don't want to go to church! Why do we have to go to church? I'm just too tired!"

"I'm sorry you're tired. I'm tired, too. But we still need to go."

"But why can't we be like our neighbors and just not go to church?"

"We just can't. Our family goes to church. That's what Heavenly Father has asked us to do."

"Well, I dont want to go. I'm just too tired to be a Mormon!!"

It took everything in me to not laugh out loud.

I love Jalen's outlook and perspective about life.  He always has a way to make us laugh.  In reality, he is right on...being a Mormon sometimes is exhausting and the easier way would be to not do the many things we do.  But of course, I wouldn't have it any other way.  The blessings are worth all the sacrifice and work, even the early Sunday mornings getting up for church!

Last week, I geared myself up to head back to church...you can only stay home with a new baby for so long without people (namely husband) giving hints and remarks that it's time!  Anyways, of course I knew it would be challenging to do the Sunday morning routine on my own and with a newborn this time so when we were in the car at 7:50 all ready, I was proud of our accomplishment!  I was really looking forward to being there.  Maybe that's partly why I hussled Mason to get ready and slightly ignored him when he told me his tummy hurt.  After he ate a huge bowl of cereal, I figured he was okay. So off to church we went.  But as the meeting started, Mason became more fidgety and I could tell he really didn't feel well.  I kept asking him if he was going to throw up. He kept saying no.  But as the sacrament bread was passed and he didn't want any,and then his face became pale, I knew we needed to take him home.  Alan was blessing the sacrament so my thought was as soon as he gets done, we will figure out who will take him home and what we'll both do with our classes.  At one point, I had the thought that I should just take him out in the hallway and Alan could meet us when he was done. I ignored that thought.  Unfortunately, that's when Mason did throw up...all over himself, the bench, the floor and the bench in front of us. Poor little guy. I didn't know who to feel worse for...Mason or everyone around us...for the disruption we caused and the smell we left behind.  Then I just felt guilty.  I kept reviewing all the signs that I ignored that would have saved Mason from this experience.  Next time, I will be much more cautious and lenient with a child when suggesting their sick.

Motherhood experiences and memories, good or bad...priceless.

In the last couple of months, I've lost my Grandpa Jack after an unfortunate burn accident, and my Aunt Debra from cancer.  They were both such amazing people and great examples to me. 

My Grandpa was the hardest working man ever known! As one of my cousins said so well, "Grandpa's legacy is one of work and productivity.  When he worked it wasn't first gear, second gear or third gear.  It was overdrive! Grandpa has taught us the value of hard work and his example will be remembered for generations."

I will always cherish the memories I have of watching old western movies while eating black licorace; his endless and fun teasing; his dress attire of cowboy boots and wrangler jeans at Lake Powell; and the many times of enjoying the farm with him...riding his horses, looking at the new baby lambs, collecting eggs from the chicken coop and swimming down the canal.  I love my Grandpa Jack. I will miss him.

This is a picture of my mom (she's in the red dress) with her family when they went to Disneyland.

At the end, Grandma took such vigilant care of Grandpa. She would hardly leave his side.  They were high school sweethearts and loved each other dearly.  One of the last things my Grandpa said was,
"Lois, you are the love of my life."
He will be anxiously waiting for Grandma to join him someday.

My Aunt Debra was one of the most sweetest and kindest ladies I know.  She was genuinely so good and saw only the best in others.  Her son told a story at the funeral that describes his mom perfectly. 
During a trip to Hawaii, Aunt Debra and some of my other aunts and uncles were walking home from dinner.  They came upon a group of women (hookers) all dressed to fit their part.  At the next corner, another group of women.  And at the next corner, another group.  The family continued on, not saying anything about the women or surroundings until they got back to the hotel when my uncle finally said, "Well, it sure looks like the hookers were out tonight!"
Aunt Debra said, "What? There weren't any hookers!"
Everyone else, "Debra, you saw all those women working their corners!"
Aunt Debra, "What?? Those nice young ladies? Surely they weren't hookers!"

She truly did want to see the best in everyone, no matter what!
She has a beautiful family, who my heart just aches for. We will miss her terribly.

With the passing of two family members, I have experienced overwhelming feelings of gratitude for the knowledge I have of the Gospel plan...knowing there is a plan and purpose for each of us that includes life after this one.  Knowing we can be with our families forever someday.  For me, there is nothing of greater value than this.
My sister, Natalie, posted this statement below from Debra's funeral. It fits pefectly with my thoughts so I had to include it here. (Thanks Nat!)
This is a picture of Aunt Michelle and Aunt Debra several years ago-- now they are both in heaven.  At the funeral they had this picture and A. Michelle's daughter Mckell said this, " I can't imagine heaven looking any different than this picture right about now".. .. priceless:)

March 21, 2011

Welcome Little One!!

Our home has experienced a change...a very exciting and good change.  Bringing home our new baby has been a delightful experience!  Even though this isn't new for me for some reason, this time around has been different.  More than anything, I think watching my 3 other childrens' anticipation for his arrival, the excitment of him being born, and the new everyday life with him in our home has been incredibly enjoyable for me.  We absolutely love and adore him!

Baby Ashton
Born March 7, 2011
Weighed 8lbs 8 oz; 20 inches

The kids were so excited to finally meet their new brother. Unfortunately, their first glimpse of him had to be through a window...they couldn't touch, hold or kiss him until he came home. We were heartbroken! Luckily, they only had to wait one day and so Ashton's arrival home was anxiously welcomed.

 I am thoroughly enjoying Baby Ashton and the time I get to spend holding, rocking, and cuddling him. I find myself snuggling with and watching him many hours throughout the day (when I should be doing many other things) and wondering how it's possible that in such a short amount of time, I can love him so much. It is an amazing experience and I am very grateful for the moments of realizing how special welcoming a new little one into this world really is.

February 17, 2011

You Know Your 9 Months Pregnant When.....

Just when you think you have something figured out, life seems to throw a surprise. At least that's what I've experienced these past 9 months.  Having done it 3 other times, all of which were very similar, I thought I knew what was in store when pregnancy #4 began. But I have been proven wrong!!  This time around has been a new experience.  I've learned to truly appreciate women who have many children, not just because they love, nurture and raise them but because they endured all those pregnancies as well.  I've come to the realization that yes indeed, some people are physically sick the entire 9 months and they're not being complainers or over-dramatic. I've learned that pregnancy does slow you down.  Most of all, I'm experiencing the "9th Month Syndrome"...when everything (and even sometimes everyone around you... at least that's what it feels like) reminds you that you're 9 months pregnant! 

So I've been thinking, you know your 9 months pregnant when:
1. Tums become a staple at your house and routinely appear on the grocery list. 
I've never had to buy Tums and now I can't live without them

2. You can't make it up and down the stairs without feeling winded
This is so depressing!

3. People you don't know continually make the comment, "You gonna have that baby any day now?"
Even at 35-36 weeks, I was getting this comment. Not very encouraging.

4. Even worse... when people say, "You've got the waddle!!"
Just as a sidenote, do they really have to remind you? Pregnant women already feel uncomfortable, fat and unattractive. Do we really need to be reminded that now we walk funny too? And another sidenote, men should never ever ever be allowed to make this comment. Especially when they really don't know you!   

5. You can appreciate the kankles
I've discovered that just when shaving my legs gets akward, now at least I don't have to worry about knicking my ankle bone with the razor.  The swelling protects this!  Yeah for Kankles!

6. The idea of a newborn waking at all hours of the night is no longer dreaded.
Because I'm already awake for several hours during the night because of discomfort, I feel like at least with a newborn I will have a few restful and comfortable hours during the night.  Even more so, it is much easier waking up for a sweet newborn rather than pelvic pain just trying to roll over, or terrible heartburn that won't allow me to lay down.

So yes, I'm ready for the pregnancy to be over.  But I think we are given 9 months of pregnancy for a reason.  We are prepared to get to the point of not fearing labor and delivery or all of the adjustments that newborns bring to our lives.  For me, it means many changes I haven't experienced for quite awhile. Like being sleep deprived; having less "me" time; toting around all the baby accessories, like a diaper bag and stroller; spending lots of money on diapers and wipes and everything else; and not being able to just walk out the door with just my purse but instead having to allow for much more time to be prepared to go anywhere.  But in exchange, I am receiving such a blessing. A new baby to cuddle and love and watch my children and husband dote over.  It's been awhile since we've experienced this and it's time to soak it all in again. We are all so excited.  We have been anticipating this for awhile.  So yes, we are ready. Especially me.

October 5, 2010

Cowboy Up!

Last week was Jalen's birthday. For some reason, this year and this birthday was a real challenge for me. I couldn't get motivated or excited about planning a party.  So with not even a week left until his birthday, my answer then became that we wouldn't do a party but instead would plan something fun for our family to do...maybe a Diamondbacks game, Chucky Cheese, or the Children's Science Museum.  (So much easier for me!) But I failed at this...miserbly.  At the end of our conversation, I had a heartbroken little boy with crocodile tears running down his cheeks, who was set on having a party, and me, experiencing a very guilty conscious.  I began to think, there's not going to be too many years left that my little boy wants his mom hanging out with him or his friends on his birthday or that a party at our house is cool.  So I better just get with it and plan something!!

When Jalen's birthday came, I couldn't believe how emotional I felt all day about it....Jalen turning five.  And although he was so proud, mentioning it all day to almost everyone he talked to, reality hit that I am not ready for my baby to reach this age.  I love so much the moments that only a little boy creates that makes me smile and laugh.  I don't ever want them to be outgrown.  Here's a few examples of what I love so much about Jalen:

* He is a loveable little guy; always has a kiss for his mom; loves to cuddle; and still (not sure if this is a good thing) likes to come and sleep in my bed at night

* He is a peacemaker; always on the lookout for his sister and brother; and will easily give up or share something to make them happy

*Jalen has such a fun personality. He continually keeps our family entertained and laughing.  A couple of stories to share....

Whenever we head outside and Jalen spots a landscape worker, he has to run over to them and say, "Hola!" He will even wait for them to come closer if they are driving the lawn mowers and are some distance away. The workers usually grin, laugh a little and nod and then Jalen rides off on his bike with a very proud smile! One day while at the park, Jalen was leading a group of 4-5 little boys chasing down and running after a lawn mower.  I ran after them to explain the danger in that and how they needed to leave the workers alone and let them do their work.  Jalen's response, "But Mom! I just want to say 'Hola' to them!"  At first I didn't know if I should be embarrassed or embrace his efforts in identifying with culture differences and trying to relate to them.  Whether it's appropriate or not, I'm not sure. Regardless, Jalen loves trying to communicate just that one Spanish word he knows!

One day after watching the garbage truck go through our neighborhood, Jalen turned to me and said, "Garbage truck drivers are the smartest people in the whole world!" I said, "What makes you think that?"  "Because they have to know how to do lots of things...drive that big truck and not hit other cars or people and they have to pick up all those cans without dropping them.  Maybe when I get bigger, I can be smart enough to learn how to do that, too!"

During the summer we took the kids to a rodea, the Ute Stampede in Utah.  We had a blast! We had great seats, right next to the bull pen, where all the horses and bulls were let out.  We closely watched the riders saddle up, their preparations before the gates opened, and the cowboys who led the horses or bulls out of the arena.  So Jalen had a very up close and personal experience with cowboys, horses and bulls. The next day, Jalen was talking to his Aunt Meagan.  Here's how their conversation went:

Jalen, very seriously: Do you ever wish you could be on TV?
Meagan: No, not really, do you?
Jalen: Yes! Someday, I'm going to be a cowboy and ride those bucking bulls and be so good people will all come to watch me and I'll be on TV, too.

I love his insights about life!

It wasn't too big of a surprise when Jalen wanted a Cowboy Birthday Party.

Jalen had a very fun day. His favorite cowboy games we played were shooting squirt guns at plastic snakes and hitting empty pop cans with nerf guns. Typical boy!!

Towards the end of the party, I was sitting by the table while the kids were eating cake and ice cream.  They were all being so cute and funny...talking about Halloween and saying some of their favorite cowboy words, like Yeehaw! and Ride 'em cowboy! and Giddyup!  I couldn't stop smiling at how adorable they were.  And then I realized, this is why I do birthday parties.  It may be a ton of work and take many hours, (especially when thrown together at the last minute) but it is so worth it!  These kids are all so worth it!

So Happy Birthday Jalen! You are a sweet, good boy and we all love you so much!

September 20, 2010

Mama's Big Belly

The past week has been quite entertaining as my little ones try to figure out this thing called "pregnancy." There have been quite a few conversations and remarks that have sure made me smile.

When we announced the news and Mason first realized that I was going to be having a baby, he instantly looked at my tummy. And he wouldn't stop.  The first thing he did was walk over and lift up my shirt to check out where this baby was. He did this all morning long. When his ride came to get him for school, he ran out the door yelling (sharing) our news. I walked out to talk to my friend and with a van full of kids, Mason says "Mom, show them all your big belly!" Ya right, I'm going to lift up my shirt! But so funny because just the day before, my tummy wasn't so big. Now because Mason knows there's a baby there, it's all the sudden BIG and he wants to share and announce this to everyone!

Madelyn's reaction has been so cute. She has anticipated this for a very long time, and even consistently started praying for a new baby several months ago.  To her, this is "our" baby. Just as much hers as mine.  Madelyn was so intrigued with the fact that I've known since July that I was expecting.  This was just mind boggling to her.  She continues to ask, "But mom, how did you know you were pregnant?" I continue to say, "Mommy's just know these things." Or "Mommy started feeling really sick, so I just knew."  These answers will satisfy her for a short time and then the question is asked again. I'm not sure what else to say....

I've been able to hide the sickness (in other words, throwing up every night and morning) pretty well. But this last week I've been caught a couple times.  After one occassion, I was lying on my bed and here's how the conversation went:

Mason: Mom, are you sick?
Me: Yes, I don't feel so good but I will be fine.
Mason: How come?
Madelyn: Because she's pregnant, Mason.
Mason: How come that makes you sick? Is the baby sick?
Me: No, Mommy's body isn't used to a baby inside, so it makes me a little sick.
Mason: Oh, so you probably just throw up when the baby hiccups, right? Or when the baby spits up, that makes you spit up, too. Right?

All the things they're figuring out. Too funny!

Another time I was caught by Jalen. He wouldn't leave the bathroom. He just wanted to stand over my shoulder. Of course he announced it to everyone else so they all had to come in too. Then his response was, "Oh mommy! You're so sick! You just need to drink some sprite and lay down."

I was thinking, I would love that! But then who would finish cleaning up breakfast, make lunches, help Madelyn with piano, finish helping Mason with his homework, comb 3 kids hair, change the laundry, shower and get ready, drive the kids to school and be ready to go visiting teaching by 9 am????

Sipping on sprite and laying around would have been nice, but the reality for Moms is that life continually demands our attention. There's no time to slow down, give in to what our bodies really want, or ease up on schedules and responsibilities.  So we deal with it.  We hide the sickness.  We carry on.  And for the most part, we do it well. Because really, there's no other options!  So to all of you mothers, Kuddos to you!! You are amazing and courageous and give me strength knowing I'm not the only one to do this before!

September 7, 2010

Alan's Birthday

Today I want to say Happy Birthday to my sweet husband! He is an amazing husband and father and always works so hard at everything he does. We all love him!

We want to share a little of the birthday surprise that took place in our home this morning...


September 6, 2010

Madelyn's Special Day

Madelyn had a very special birthday this year, turning eight and getting to be baptized. She has anticipated this day for a very long time as she has watched many of her friends have their own baptism day. We were so fortunate to be surrounded by many family members who participated in the program and made it such a wonderful and special day for her.

My brother Jake and his wife Natalie sang "What Heaven Sees in You" and put together this slide show of Madelyn. It was amazing. After the song, there were few dry eyes in the room. Here's the link.