Monday, September 28, 2009

Hi to all of you! I thought I'd forward you this email I sent to Ry a couple weeks after we moved in to our new house. It sort of lets you know what we're up to and also why I am so bad at staying in touch. I know some of you can relate ... and some of you will shake your heads ... but from our new (old) house in Hurricane if you listen closely enough you'll hear our little voices shouting "Hi!" to all of you! It feels like home which is so very nice. We hope you all will come visit us anytime you are able, and thanks for all your love and friendship (I promise it won't be this hectic when you come -- okay I can't promise that but at least we'll try to keep it to a low roar :)

Rachel Jessop

Begin forwarded message:

> > Well, we got through the morning with family time (reading about the
> > exodus), boys and Mercy off to school, we finally got one toilet
> > working but the other royal throne is still out of order, no time to
> > go get a plunger though so we close the door and I go in to shower,
> > remember I have a guy coming to give us a bid on insulation so I
> > don't get in the shower, no time. Insulation guy knocks on the door
> > as I'm still pulling on my pants so I walk him through the house and
> > show him the three doors to access the attic walk around outside and
> > see if there is anyway we can access the top part of the attic (no
> > unless we drill a hole and snake a hose up to blow some insulation
> > in), he leaves, I get the rest of the tags pulled off my jeans (new
> > MOM pants complete with high waist but at least no elastic waist
> > band!) walk out to get some grapes for the kids off the vines
> > growing along the backfence, spend 15 minutes clipping back the
> > grapes because they really are getting out of control and filling a
> > big bowl full of the grapes and then Kelly and Sheila Dutton show up
> > to fix the dishwasher. Surprise! We have SUCH fabulous neighbors
> > but I had NO idea they were coming. Still haven't got in the shower
> > or brushed my teeth. They are here a few minutes and the landscape
> > guy shows up (I thought he was coming NEXT friday!) to bid the
> > synthetic grass (can you say PRICEY but NICEY!) So I'm trying to
> > call you so you can talk to Kelly and tell him what's up with the
> > dishwasher, hold Jonnie who cried if I put him down, get the kids
> > grapes washed, be chatty with Sheila, answer the door and explain
> > what I want to the landscape guy, keep the kids out of the water
> > I've turned on to water my fruit trees and still I haven't combed my
> > hair. Meanwhile I get the garbage emptied before it overflows, which
> > leaves a trail of ?milk? spilled which Sheila points out. Jonnie
> > still has a messy shirt on from the breakfast I fed him earlier and
> > has now pooped his duds so I change Jonnie, pull of his shirt, and
> > try to get him distracted so I can clean up the spilt milk. About
> > now would be the right time for Lina to go to school since it's
> > early day Friday -- but I am not remembering this and therefore she
> > is not on her way to school. Well, Kelly needs to go downstairs
> > which leaves Sheila with nothing to do in between him yelling up to
> > her to flip the breakers on and off so she is being chatty again,
> > but I can't chat because the landscape guy wants me to sit down and
> > go over the bid with him. So we sit on the porch which has a pile of
> > stuff left in the corner because I swept it up this morning but
> > didn't get it into a dustpan before everyone started showing up.
> > Daisy and Braelin are in the side yard yelling at each other because
> > why??? I don't know. I apologize for the yelling, tell them to be
> > quiet, set Jonnie down on the porch to play and listen to the
> > landscape guy tell us that it will cost us a fortune and so we
> > should do rocks instead, freak out because I have seven kids, and
> > then again say, yes lets do big rocks and mulch and a little bit of
> > grass. Okay - but now Jonnie is crawling down the front steps and so
> > the other landscape guy is trying to catch him for me before he
> > falls and so I've got to get him. The landscape guys leave so I go
> > back in to Sheila and Kelly and try to wash a few more grapes to
> > send home with them. Before I can wash any more grapes I've got to
> > find a handtowel that is clean and some countertop space that is
> > cleared off to put them on. ( Oh a lovely dishwasher will be so
> > nice!) So I start putting away the dishes that Tali washed last
> > night under threat of missing school and clear off enough
> > counterspace to wash the grapes (I don't have much counterspace to
> > begin with!) after I find a clean handtowel. Later I realize the
> > handtowels were in the right drawer all along, I was just looking in
> > the wrong drawer. So I still don't have my hair combed, my teeth
> > brushed, nor have I taken a shower, but I do have a presentable
> > outfit on at least. I sweep up the piles in the house and on the
> > porch and put up the baby gates so Jonnie doesn't crawl off the
> > porch or up the stairs again, and Kelly gets the dishwasher working
> > as I try to put away the oatmeal the kids left out on the counter,
> > and generally spruce up the rest of the kitchen. Fabulous!! I am so
> > excited the dishwasher is working!! Awesome, way cool! But Jonnie is
> > fussy because he needs a bottle and I really need to get that made,
> > so I do while they tuck the dishwasher back away and then I get
> > Jonnie in the stroller sleeping while Kelly cleans up his tools and
> > give Sheila the grapes and tell them thank you so much and turn
> > around to get Carolina some lunch after they walk out the door. But
> > I get distracted because Daisy is upset that she doesn't get to do
> > what Carolina is doing and is being tormentuous now (is that a word?
> > It describes her sometimes!), and Jonnie just got woken up by Brae,
> > but I've got to get the food in the oven for long enough to get it
> > warm before we head out the door and I'm running out of time and I
> > really need a drink so I rinse out the pitcher and get some fresh
> > water and lemons and ice in it since the water from the tap is
> > probably 70 degrees. So, finally we heat the corndogs for about 15
> > minutes to little of time before we REALLY need to go because
> > Carolina is already supposed to be at school so we throw everyone in
> > the van and I look at the gas guage and it's a good thing the school
> > is just a short distance away because I can only drive 8 more miles
> > -- ooops now it's seven. So we get to school and I drop Carolina off
> > and come home but the rocks are so hot that Braelin needs to be
> > carried but I can't carry him and Jonnie and the uneaten corndogs we
> > need to finish cooking and so he starts walking on the hot rocks
> > anyway and sits down and screams in the driveway until I come get
> > him while Daisy is NOT getting out of the van but has jumped up to
> > the front seats and started rifling through everything including the
> > pocketknife case WHY is there a knife case in the van and where did
> > it come from I have no idea, but anyway the pocketknife case (which
> > she already KNOWS is a knife case because when it is empty she says
> > "Where is the knife that goes in here?" And I say - gone because
> > you are getting into stuff you aren't supposed to now get out of the
> > van, but she doesn't have shoes on either because we hurried when we
> > left and so I am carrying both of them into the house and hoping
> > that Jonnie didn't make it anywhere he shouldn't be yet -- and
> > hoping that he isn't eating the two cockroaches that I noticed in
> > front of the washer dying in the soap that got spilled and so now we
> > are all in the house and I get Jonnie away from the laundry area
> > (gotta call the pest control people back again I guess) and throw
> > the corndogs back into the oven but miss on one of them and it
> > bounces off the sheet pan and gets stuck and the back of the oven
> > burning but I don't realize this until I can smell it of course. By
> > then we are already untangling Daisy and Braelin again who are
> > fighting about anything and nothing all at once. Finally we get all
> > the kids out on the porch and I've grabbed the rest of the food for
> > the baby and the now warm corndogs including the one I fished from
> > the back of the oven and given them to Daisy and Brae and promise
> > we'll put together their cardboard playhouse I bought yesterday at
> > Costco as soon as I feed Jonnie (who still doesn't have a clean
> > shirt on but who cares if he is naked except a pair of shorts right?
> > At least I dug the boogers out of his nose even though he screamed
> > at me for doing it.) Okay - so now Jonnie is fed and the baby gate
> > is up and the fans are whirling and I have gotten the house put
> > together and Daisy keeps on saying "I LOVE IT!" (Best $20 I've spent
> > for a long time!) and she is so excited that I let her call you.
> > Meanwhile, Braelin is being a typical boy and decides --doors???
> > What are those for? I'd rather keep going in and out of the
> > windows, so he does. Pretty soon I see a bike zoom down the street
> > with an elementary school kid on it and think -- what???? Why are
> > there kids coming home so early? AAAAAAAHHHH!!!!! it is early
> > Friday and I forgot to take Carolina EARLY! No wonder there weren't
> > any other mom's dropping their kindergarteners off at school while I
> > was there! I just thought I was a little late! So the kids come home
> > and they are all happy
> > except for Tyler who saw the burnt corndog stick and is crying
> > because he can't eat a corndog for snack instead of grapes and
> > carrots and crackers and we are all looking forward to seeing you on
> > Sunday for a couple days :)
> >
> > Lots of love,
> >
> > Rachel
> >
> > PS ... Mercy says please bring her bike! PSS ... Please work on
> > your resume so we can start finding you a job down here!! Love you!
> > Rachel

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Red Milk, and Rude!

Originally posted April 1, 2009

The thing with having a toddler who can say anything and everything, speak in paragraphs, tell jokes, and repeat scenes from movies he hasn’t seen for weeks, is that he never shuts up. For all his big vocabulary, the phrase “It’s time to be quiet” somehow escapes his understanding. 
“I want some red milk!” has been one of the sentences I’ve heard most today.... that along with “Mom - she’s being rude, rude, rude!!” 
I’ll explain. The chili peppers (my children) and I are traveling. A friend left half a gallon of red Tampico for us. Ever since then, Braelin has been asking for the “red milk”. And since I’m trying to keep him somewhat quiet (ha ha ha!!!) at the hotel we are staying at, I keep giving in and letting him have a few more sips. End result?  Barf. Red barf. All over the tile. And he insisted on cleaning it up himself so it is now smeared ALL over the tile. At least it’s not on the carpet - and hey -- he wants to clean?  My kid? Wants to clean?  He must have a gene none of the rest of them picked up because this is NOT normal for my kids. My kids are the ones who get “bathroom-itis” every time they have chores to do.  You know -- the sudden urge to sit for a long time in the bathroom hoping someone else gets the cleaning done before they get out?  Well, it’s a named  and frequently contracted disease at our house. 
So anyway, now you know about the red milk. Want to hear who is being “rude?” 
Of course, not many of you have 7 children to go on long car trips with, but I’m sure most of you have at least one. So, multiply that to get 7 kids in the car with all of the fun that goes with it. 7 times the potty breaks, 7 times the “are we there yets?”, 7 times the kids who just don’t like to be cooped up in a carseat! 7 times the running around when we do get to where ever it is we are going and stop.
Thankfully - my kids are actually really good in the car. They’re used to traveling, but Braelin with his enormous not even two year old vocabulary has said “Mom, she’s being rude, rude, rude!!!” far too many times for me to count today.  (She being Daisy - bet you couldn’t have guessed that!) The day ended with him screaming the whole way through Zion’s National Park.  Good thing I was still smiling and having a fun time.  It’s really been a great day with lots of good memories too.  I’ll tell you more about those in another entry. 
So, wow, it’s been a long time since I wrote.  Here’s a quick run down of what’s been happening with us.... 
I am feeling better.  Much better.  Good meds help :) Lots of sunshine and avoiding stress is critical to daily function but I AM functioning. I get up and dressed and can interact great with my peppers. 
I am still NOT up to crowds. Social anxiety still very high, which means homeshows are out of the question. 
I eat chocolate.  Lots of it, turns out. But since I found Healthy Chocolate -- it’s all good.
We are selling our house -- or at least trying to. We had a buyer, but that didn’t work out -- so if you know anyone who wants a cute house with a huge yard in Roosevelt -- send them my way :)  Ryan will be manning an open house this weekend!
We found a house in Hurricane, UT that we LOVE. Very cute, old historic home with a fabulous yard. I am so ready for a warm winter!  Here are some pictures  Of course - we sort of need to sell the house in Roosevelt before we buy this one.  “Thy will be done.”
Meanwhile, I could not stay at home trying to keep it clean with the four little ones at home. I was going crazy, and I’m already crazy enough! So, the kids and I moved down here to Southern Utah for the time being. We are here there and everywhere, thanks to a kind brother, aunt, and sister who have let us stay in condos, guest houses, and way cheap hotel rates.  More stories to come .... 

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


Originally posted February 4, 2009
Christmas morning, best friends.

Have you ever imagined life without friends?  I told you this blog was partly to answer the question “how do I do it?”  I can tell you - the only way my family has made it through the past two months is because of help and love and support from friends.  So this post is a tribute to them.  Thought it seems woefully inadequate for what we feel in our hearts -- Thank you, thank you, thank you.  I am humbled by the love and friendship you have all given me in so many ways, and by the grace of God that I have so many friends when I feel so undeserving.
To Alina and Ellen, for rescuing my house, taking such a tremendous load off of Ryan, and helping me laugh. 
To Rich, for giving Ryan a much needed break.
To Nan, for loving me and caring. 
To Joe, for being the best big brother anyone could ever ask for. 
To Vicki, for taking me to the sunshine, and reaching out to me with so much understanding.  
To her kids and family, for letting her and Alina leave for so long!
To Becky, for letting me get some much needed naps!
To Cicile, for the VERY well timed treat of pizza for dinner!
To Valena, for caring and understanding. 
To Sil, for giving me a hug and reminding me sometimes a mother’s love doesn’t always have to come from my mom.
To Vana, for sending hope along with the sweet letter.
To Carmen, for stopping by and asking questions, and for your sweet concern. Thanks.
To Danielle, for calling to see if I was okay, and calling again when I didn’t answer the phone. 
To Val, for not freaking out when I was freaking out.
To Natalie, for being a friend without needing to understand.
To Laura, for babysitting and being so willing to. 
To Mercy, for smiling and being my right hand.
To Taliesin, for rocking Jonnie and taking care of Brae.
To Tyler, for missing me.
To Valena, for letting your girls come help clean the house.
To Grandma Nancy, for the blanket of love and sweet note.
To Jill for taking over the regional presentation - and for helping me talk through my fears. 
To Shauna, for picking up what I had to drop, and not making me feel bad for it.   
To Laura and Heather for picking up the pieces of my team.
To Rebecca, AnnMaree, Tina, Susan, Heather, Laura, Shauna, Bobbi, Valena, and everyone else, who have emailed your love and support.
And to all of your families too!
And last but not least, to Ryan.  Thank you for not leaving me alone, for holding me when I cried, and for helping me take it one day at a time.  You’ve been amazing.

Monday, January 12, 2009


This was originally posted January 12, 2009. Anyone who knew me knew I sold Usborne Books, and loved doing so. The trips were amazing, the people are amazing, and I am incredibly grateful for the experience and the ways it has enriched my life, and my family's life.

January 12, 2009

If I were the Usborne Wonder Woman, I would have my January calendar all booked. I would have my book club orders in. I would even know where to find my new title flyers.  I definitely would have all the inventory that someone borrowed in December put back in the closet where it goes.  Ha Ha Ha. 
Here is what I have done for Usborne in January. 
1. Spa Day retreat with my team -- but that was prepared for before the baby came. 
2.  Talked on the phone with Jill Cox planning our class for regionals... but really she’s an awesome friend and helped me talk through the PPD more than anything and is finishing everything needed for the class.  So I can barely count this.
 And written a newsletter article at HO’s request.
The Home Office must have caught me on a good day because I haven’t been working Usborne at all.  Not a single outgoing phone call.  Crazily, I said yes, I’d write the article. Now, Ry and I have talked about earning this trip before, and we decided that yes, I could work toward it but not focus on it.  Instead, I would focus on the input like I always tell my team to do and if the trip works out - great! 
So, I wrote the article.  It was before I realized and way before Ryan realized how full blown the PPD had become. 
When you read it -- you’ll really think I’m crazy. (And you’d be right!!) 
Normally, February is a great month to schedule a lot in because I don’t have kids sports games going on, no gymnastics competitions, no voice recitals, and everyone has their tax returns so sales are great! It’s a month I can put a lot of Usborne time in without it really killing my family. 
Not this year.  It has become apparent that I will not be doing that.  I won’t be doing anything until I can spend a whole day out with my kids without getting completely wound up. 
So for now -- the trip is on indefinite hold.  The only miracle way that trip will happen is if my school/library orders that I worked on last September come through. Then maybe, just maybe... I might still see you on the beach.
Bottomline -- don’t think I’m “tripping” when you read the article... there is no way I’ll put the trip before my health or family. 
(As always, I love to hear your comments.  Drop me an email at

Saturday, January 10, 2009

A Good Day With PPD

Originally Posted January 10, 2009

If you've ever had a kid then you know people always ask about the baby.  "How is the new baby?"  they'll say.  "How are you liking that new baby?"  and "Aren't you just loving that new baby?" 
My response "Oh, he's so cute!"  And he is. The truth is, the baby is fine.  I like the baby. I love the baby. 
Some very thoughtful people who know I've struggled with postpartum depression in the past even ask about me.  "How are you doing?"  they'll say.  "How are you holding up?"  And I say "I'm doing okay!  Ryan's been awesome and we're lucky he's been able to be home with the kids to help so much."
And, that's the truth.  Ryan is awesome, he has been SO very extremely helpful. And I am okay.  After all, I'm not drowning the kids like you sadly hear about sometimes in the news.  I'm not even stabbing myself like 'this woman' did.  And, the very fact that I am talking to them in person or on the phone means that I really am doing okay - that day.  There are, after all, times when I can psyche myself up to function and talk myself into doing something fairly normal like having a conversation with someone.  But for those who really dig deeper, and I mean dig because I'm not the one to usually spill my guts unless you do dig... here is the bigger truth.
The bigger truth is that indeed, I have PPD again.  I thought I was doing pretty well.  I think I was really.  And then I had trouble nursing the baby because I got some flesh eating bacteria and nursing was out of the question, so I started pumping when absolutely necessary and bottle feeding formula the rest of the time.  The result?  My hormones shifted WAY to fast and furious I guess... because I got slammed and knocked on my rear and PPD this time took on a whole new form of torture. 
I have good days.  These are the days where I spend most of my time in my bedroom but I'm not crying the whole day, just part of it.  The children will run in and out of my room and talk to me and I can handle it for the most part or at least for short periods of time before I redirect them to "go get a drink" or "go check on your brother" or "go... whatever."  I do enjoy them around me, just for very short periods of time and not all at once and not if they are talking much above a loud whisper.  
I know that it is crazy to have this many children and yet not be able to tolerate them around me and I have to remind myself that again it is the rollercoaster of hormonal and chemical imbalance raging within me that causes me to be so sensitive to overstimulation because that's not how I feel.  I feel completely wound up and like a horrible mother because I am and because it takes so much work for me to have them around me for more than 30 seconds before I want to freak out on them.  Everything is magnified. Smells, feelings, and sounds especially.  But I am grateful too.  Grateful that I have learned methods of coping with this from past experiences so that even though I am feeling like a crazed psychotic woman -- at least I am not acting like a scary mother from hell. Odd yes, and they do notice that I'm different... but still I'm grateful that I have learned that I can close my eyes and breathe instead of scream and yell.  I can ask them to leave when I first feel the keyed up feelings instead of waiting til I'm past my blowing point. I'm grateful that I have children who still run back in a few minutes later because they love me. 
Today is a good day, and I'm glad for it.  Now if I could only get my good days to be my bad days I'd feel much better.  
(As always, I love to hear your comments.  Drop me an email at

A Single Rose...

Originally posted January 10, 2009
Bouncing a screaming baby as you walk up and down the hall isn’t anything new.  Anyone who has ever had kids knows what I’m talking about.  Well, that’s what I did tonight. At 8:30 I said prayers with the children and put them to bed. At 8:31 Jonnie started screaming because ... a bubble?  I’m not sure but I think that’s why. (If you are one of those really great moms who has it figured out why the baby is screaming this time... feel free to leave me your great wisdom.)
Walk down the hall bouncing my screaming baby.
Walk back down the hall and put Braelin back in bed.
Walk down the hall bouncing.
Walk back and put Braelin in bed again.
Bounce the baby.
Put Braelin in bed.
Bounce the baby.
Put Braelin in bed.
You get the picture.  This continued from 8:30 til 10:00 when the baby finally fell asleep.  Then I picked Braelin up and started walking him up and down the hall.  I know, I should be firm and make him stay in bed, but what can I say?  He just had his world rocked with a new baby too, so I’m a pushover. 
Well, that worked great til 10:10 when the baby woke back up screaming. Braelin went back to bed, I bounced Jonnie again and we started the process all over.
Bounce, put Braelin in bed.
Bounce, put Braelin in bed.
Bounce, put Braelin in bed. 
At 10:30 I finally gave up on keeping Braelin in bed. Jonnie went back to sleep at 11:05.  At 11:10 I could hear Ryan walk in the door from a late night at work. And, at 11:11, the baby woke back up. I put my head in my hands and let him cry for a minute before I picked him back up and started bouncing again... but as I reached the end of the hallway, Ryan was there holding a single red rose.   
And that’s how I’m able to still keep doing what I do...   Thanks Ryan.
(To my readers: As always, I love to hear your comments!  Drop me an email at

Friday, January 9, 2009

Why The Blog?

Originally posted in January, 2009
This was the original description of my blog... way back when.  

I’ve been thinking about blogging for a while now because if I had a quarter for every time I’ve been asked the question “How do you do it?”  I would have enough saved up to buy my own private jet. Apparently it is a major feat to raise seven children, run my business, and still make it out the door with matching shoes on. People either think I’m superwoman (I’m not) or they think I must be a neglectful mother whose life is eaten up by her business (it’s not, at least not most days).  So, I decided to blog a little about my life and let people really see me.  And that’s the other reason for the blog... because when I was little, If I was having a hard time something, my mom would tell me “Write it down!” Ever since, writing has been a good release.  Sometimes writing it down helps me to see things what they are, so if I really AM being neglectful that day, I’ll recognize it.  So to all of you reading this -- thanks!  And I hope it is helpful in some way, because more than anything that’s what I want it to be.  -- Rachel
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