Friday, December 30, 2011

Prayer request please....

A family in our ward just found out their 6 year old son Caleb has Burkitt's lymphoma a very aggressive cancer. Fortunately it is treatable, but because of the nature of the cancer, the treatment will be intense and aggressive as well. This cute family has some tough times ahead.

I think it has hit me hard this week because I too have a 6 year old son who is friends with Caleb. Caleb has been to our house to play, he has a smile and energy that light up a room. He has so much personality and charisma. In fact he reminds me a lot of my 6 year old personality wise, they both have a gleam in their eye and a disarming smile. Caleb is strong and will get through this.

Please keep their family in your prayers and thoughts as they have been thrown into a very hot fire. Below is a story about some women in a Bible study group who learned more about the "refiner's fire". It is beautiful and has helped me multiple times..... my dear friend Lisa (who has been in the center of the refiner's fire for years) introduced me to it several years ago.

The Refiner's Fire---Author unknown

There was a group of women in a Bible study on the book of Malachi. As they were studying chapter three they came across verse three which says, "He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver." This verse puzzled the women and they wondered what this statement meant about the character and nature of God.

One of the women offered to find out about the process of refining silver and get back to the group at their next Bible study. That week the woman called up a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work. She didn't mention anything about the reason for her interest in silver beyond her curiosity about the process of refining silver. As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that, in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest so as to burn away all the impurities.

The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot - then she thought again about the verse, that He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver. She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined. The man answered that yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. For if the silver was left even a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed.

The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, "How do you know when the silver is fully refined?" He smiled at her and answered, "Oh, that's the easy part -- when I see my image reflected in it."

If today you are feeling the heat of the fire, remember that God has His eye on you and will keep His hand on you and watch over you until He sees His image in you. AUTHOR UNKNOWN

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas!

"For Christmas is a beautiful time of the year. We love the excitement, the giving spirit, the special awareness of and appreciation for family and friends, the feelings of love and brotherhood that bless our gatherings at Christmastime.

In all the joyousness, it is well to reflect that Christmas comes in three levels:

Let’s call the first the 'Santa Claus level.' It’s the level of Christmas trees and holly, of whispered secrets and colorful packages, of candlelight and rich food and warm open houses. It’s carolers in the shopping malls, excited children, and weary but loving parents. It’s a lovely time of special warmth and caring and giving. It’s the level at which we eat too much and spend too much and do too much–and enjoy every minute of it. We love the Santa Claus level of Christmas.

But there’s a higher, more beautiful level. Let’s call it the 'Silent Night level.' It’s the level of all our glorious Christmas carols, of that beloved, familiar story: 'Now in those days there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus…' It’s the level of the crowded inn, and the silent holy moment in a dark stable when the Son of Man came to earth. It’s shepherds on a steep, bare hill near Bethlehem, angels with their glad tidings, a new star in the East, wise men traveling far in search of the Holy One. How beautiful and meaningful it is; how infinitely poorer we would be without this sacred second level of Christmas.

The trouble is, these two levels don’t last. They can’t. Twelve days of Christmas, at the first level, is about all most of us can stand. It’s too intense, too extravagant. The tree dries out and the needles fall. The candles burn down. The beautiful wrappings go out with he trash, the carolers are up on the ski slopes, the toys break, and the biggest day the stores in the entire year is exchange day, December 26.

The feast is over and the dieting begins. But the lonely and the hungry are with us still perhaps lonelier and hungrier than before.

Lovely and joyous as the first level of Christmas is, there will come a day, very soon, when Mother will put away the decorations and vacuum the living room and think, 'Thank goodness that’s over for another year.'

Even the second level, the level of the Baby Jesus, can’t last. How many times this season can you sing 'Silent Night'? The angels and the star and the shepherd, even the silent, sacred mystery of that holy night itself, can’t long satisfy humanity’s basic need. The man who keeps Christ in the manger will, in the end, be disappointed and empty.

No, for Christmas to last all year long, for it to grow in beauty and meaning and purpose, for it to have the power to change lives, we must celebrate it at the third level, that of the adult Christ. It is at this level–not as an infant–that our Savior brings His gifts of lasting joy, lasting peace, lasting hope. It was the adult Christ who reached out and touched the untouchable, who loved the unlovable, who so loved us all that even in His agony on the cross He prayed forgiveness for His enemies.

This is the Christ, creator of worlds without number, who wept, Enoch tell us, because so many of us lack affection and hate each other–and then who willingly gave His life for all of us, including those for whom He wept.

This is the Christ, the adult Christ, who gave us the perfect example, and asked us to follow Him.

Accepting that invitation is the way–the only way–to celebrate Christmas all year and all life long." -William B. Smart, Messages for a Happier Life.

May you find the true joy of the season as you see the magic in your children's eyes, as you serve others and most importantly as you pause and reflect on the 1st gift of Christmas. "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son". (John 3:16)

Monday, December 19, 2011

She'll always be my baby....

I have one daughter. She is 4 years old and pretend play and using her imagination are what she does right now. She is constantly in "play mode". She loves dress ups, her dollhouse but what she REALLY loves is baby dolls, I mean really really loves them, she has about 12 of them. She has such a nurturing heart and loves to take care of them. She sleeps with about 4 of them and tucks the rest of them into their various beds she has made for them. She takes after her mother in this regard as I loved to play with dolls too as a girl.

So for Christmas guess what she wants (may or may not be this exact doll pictured)? My husband has wondered out loud several times why she NEEDS another baby? Well honestly she doesn't NEED one that's for sure, but she is getting one.

The method behind my madness is this....I want to encourage her playing with dolls for a couple of reasons. First I am thrilled that she is playing with baby dolls and not wanting Bratz dolls or Monster High dolls etc... She is so little and will grow up so fast, I want her to stay as innocent and young as possible for as long as she will stay little. Secondly, I hope she chooses to be a mother someday. I hope her love of nurturing stays strong...she already has a "mothering heart" and I want to encourage that as much as possible.

So yes we will introduce baby doll #13 (or 14 or whatever the number) on Christmas day and she will give as much love to that dolly as to the others and I will love every moment watching her do it (and will most likely join in her play:)!

Besides, there's nothing like the smell of a new doll on Christmas...

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas stories

One of our favorite Christmas traditions is reading a Christmas story every night before bed. I am always looking for a good one so....this week at our book club this week we talked about our favorite Christmas stories (mostly for children)...I compiled a list and thought I'd share.

Snowball Soup by Mercer Meyer
The Gift of the Magi by O’Henry
Christmas Day in the Morning by Pearl Buck
The Littlest Angel by Charles Tazewell
Bear Stays up for Christmas by Karma Wilson
A Christmas Dress for Ellen by Thomas S Monson
Christmas is not just once a year by Heinrich Boll (a short story more for adults than children)
The Best Christmas Pageant ever by Barbara Robinson
The Three Trees by Angela Elwell Hunt
Christmas Oranges by Linda Ethers
The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski
Merry Christmas Big Hungry Bear by Audrey Wood
Snowmen at Night by Caralyn Buehner
Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg

What are your favorite children's Christmas stories? I'd love to add to this list.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Just laugh Mom...

Last night I was tired...sooo tired. My husband is gone most Tuesday nights teaching an Institute class for the young single adults so I was flying solo. Not only was I tired, but a bit grumpy as well. I wanted kids in bed so I could relax and fall asleep.

I sent them up to brush teeth and climb in bed. From all the noise upstairs I could tell it wasn't happening. I started to march upstairs to be drill sargeant Mom. This face greeted me. He told me he had put on 13 shirts and 5 pair of shorts and said, "Look how buff I look!" I started to scold a bit, but then I looked at him and I started to smile and was trying to hold back the laughter. He noticed it being the extremely observant child he is and said, "Come on Mom just laugh!" So I did. It was a fun moment and lightened my mood.

I was able to go upstairs and be a happy Mom putting my kids to bed. Thank you son for being my comedic relief (he often is!)

Friday, December 2, 2011

Middle of nowhere....

If you are every having a hard time being patient with your children, two things rest assured will help that:

1. Watching them sleep
2. Listening to them pray

This morning my 6 year old said the absolute sweetest prayer. He said, "Please bless those who live in the middle of nowhere that they will find peace and comfort and be warm and have something to eat."

Not sure where he got the phrase "those who live in the middle of nowhere" but he is very concerned about them. Maybe we need to figure out a way to do service for those inhabitants of "the middle of nowhere".

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

from the mouths of babes.....

Here is my facebook status yesterday:

"If my ornery, teething toddler will let me put him down I might get something done today! Any grand ideas to do with the letter "K" for preschool?"

It's true, he has been super ornery, clingy, not sleeping well etc (very unusual for him). It has been hard to get anything done or pay attention to any of my other children which creates other issues of them doing very naughty things to get attention. It's been a rough few days. Fortunately I think we figured out the problem. It's not teething, he has been drinking regular milk and it does not do good things for his tummy. He is doing better today as he is off milk again.

I have been thinking a lot about this status since yesterday and wondering if my toddler were to vocalize a "status" update about his day it might have gone something like this:

"If my ornery, impatient Mom would just hold me and read me stories I might feel better. My tummy is hurting and I don't know why....why won't she just love me instead of trying to get things done?"

It has helped me today look at things from his perspective and try and be a better Mommy and meet his needs instead of trying to complete my checklist (in my defense lunches do need to be packed, dishes done and dinner made).

I think so many times we try and make the child fit our schedule instead of following their lead....Sarah from the Clover Lane blog wrote this post and I love love loved it. She is so insightful! I especially loved this part:

"When they place that baby in your arms, let the world rearrange itself. Let YOUR world rearrange itself.

This is scary! What you thought was so important might plummet to the bottom of the list. Let it happen, and don’t fear change. You will become someone new — the birth of your baby is also a rebirth for you. Be open to that. Often I hear the lament about motherhood “I feel like I lost myself.” Yes, you will become someone new and different, a new better version of your old self if you are willing to change. You will become selfless and generous. You will become confident and secure. You will become tender and patient. I will bet that some of things you will lose won’t even compare with the worth of these qualities that you will gain if you let yourself."

So here's to my world rearranging today around my cute boy....oh and those 6 preschoolers coming to my house today to learn about the letter "K"! Life is never dull around here and that's just how I like it! :)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Rattling around....

(a little something to make you chuckle)

A few thoughts in my head right now....

You can be a good Mom/parent and enforce rules/boundaries with much love and without harshness and yelling. In fact it is wayyyy more effective and preserves a healthy relationship with the child.

A nap is a little slice of heaven

It costs some $$ to host Thanksgiving dinner but how grateful I am that we are able blessed!

We made a Thanksgiving chain last night in family home evening and it is WAYYY long. I love it, we all tried to come up with 20 things and most of us exceeded that. We encouraged the kids to come up with things they wouldn't normally write on the list.... Some of the things on the list are; indoor plumbing, clouds, the earth's layers, pajamas, ice cream, Dads homemade milkshakes, eyes, doctors, dessert, bugs, boogers, bums (wow is it obvious we live in a household of males who thrive on potty talk?)....

Really missing friends who moved away. I love blogs, facebook, email, phone calls etc but nothing is the same as having them close by. A friend sent me pictures last week of our two little girls playing together (best little friends) and it made me cry.

The unknown is a bit scary...I need to remember this and just dive in and find out the information I need (I know this is vague but that's how I'm rolling right now)

I am so grateful for so many things in my life. I have a goal from now until Christmas to list 10 things in my journal daily for the blessings in my to join me?

What is on your mind?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Junk work

Last week my son discovered several papers he had done in kindergarten that I had put in the recycling bin. I guess I hadn't shoved them down far enough to hide them from him (please tell me I am not the only one and you don't keep every paper your child does in school...with 5 kids we would be drowning in paper!). He was ANGRY, he brought them to me, threw them down at my feet and yelled, "WHY DID YOU THROW THESE AWAY??? I DON'T DO JUNK WORK YOU KNOW!"

I had to stifle my laughter and tell him I was sorry and I appreciated his work. We set them aside and after he had forgotten about them they went in the BIG recycling trash can outside. Shhh...don't tell him. To defend myself, I do keep papers they have worked hard on, first time they write their name, special artwork they complete and especially if they write something about themselves that tells about an experience they've had etc....I'm not totally heartless.

The more I think about his exclamation of, "I DON"T DO JUNK WORK!" I realize how closely I can relate as a Mother. I too want to scream and stomp my feet when the laundry I have washed, dried and folded gets thrown on the bedroom floor to be walked on. I too have felt that same way when I JUST finished mopping the kitchen floor and somebody spilled an entire bottle of apple juice on it. How about the time I sorted through ALL the Legos (which at our house is THOUSANDS) only to have them all dumped on the floor by a boy who needed to find the teeny tiny lego light saber at the bottom of the bucket?

Yes many days I want to stomp my feet and scream at the top of my lungs too. It would be easy to do because it seems that no matter how hard I try my work often gets "trashed". It is only by having a deep conviction that what I am doing matters...and it matters in a long term perspective. I am not just doing laundry or mopping floors, I am molding human beings. I am showing them I love them and would do ANYTHING for them. I truly believe a Mother's love can overcome most obstacles in this life....or at least help our kids climb up and over them. So most of the time I control my urge to throw a tantrum and complain about my hard work meaning nothing...because it does mean something even if it only lasts for 5 minutes!


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Second chance....

Today I am so grateful that kids are forgiving. It was a ROUGH morning that consisted of much bickering between siblings and excessive amounts of whining. Those two things are nails on a chalkboard for me and almost always elicit an angry Mom. It wasn't pretty. (I should note that my kids are out of school today and tomorrow)

Fortunately we have moved on and are having a much better rest of our day. I am still upset with myself, I chose to RE-act instead of controlling my temper. I have apologized and just hope when my kids look back on their childhood they won't remember an angry Mom who loses her temper, but a loving Mom who keeps her head and has fun with them. Sigh....

I promise to try harder and do better. What do you do when your kids push you to the limit?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

20 and counting...

Today the Duggar's announced on the Today Show that they are having baby #20! They have a reality show on the network TLC. Last time their baby Josie (pictured) was born at 29 weeks due to severe preeclampsia (which I had with my last baby). Michelle Duggar (the mom) is in her early to mid 40's and so her risk of having this complication again are high.

What do you think? Honestly I think the Duggars are good parents, I think they are raising good kids to this point. But now it feels to me that this is about publicity and air time. Maybe I'm being too cynical.

I'm all about big families (obviously I have 5 children!), I think it is fabulous if people can handle it and choose to have a big family. I grew up in a big family, married into a big family etc etc... But 20 kids seems like wayyyyyy too many to handle. In fact the older girls do all of the laundry and cooking and while I think it is great to teach those skills and have them help, it is the parent's responsibility to do those things not the kids.

What do you think?

Monday, November 7, 2011

I was published!

I am super excited! I submitted one of my blog posts to the "Power of Moms" website and it was published yesterday! (my name wasn't listed, but this is my work!) If you want to read it, you can go HERE

Monday, October 31, 2011

True beauty...

“For attractive lips, speak words of kindness.
For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.
For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.
For beautiful hair, let a child run his or her fingers through it once a day.
For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone.

People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you'll find one at the end of each of your arms.

As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others. The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman must be seen from in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides. The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mode but the true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives the passion that she shows. The beauty of a woman grows with the passing years.” ― Audrey Hepburn

This is the message I wish was being sent to all girls/women! Instead many are being sent the complete opposite message.....

Yesterday I went into my kids elementary school for Halloween parties. I was shocked at some of the costumes the girls were wearing. Since when was Halloween a "sexy holiday?" A 3rd grader was wearing a "sexy" Hermione costume and a 4th grader was dressed up as "Snooki" from Jersey Shore. Admittedly I didn't really know who she was so I asked her and she gave me this look like I was SOOO dumb and said, "I am Snooki from Jersey Shore, my favorite show!" Wow....I had to come home and google Jersey Shore to find out more about it and I am most sad about her being allowed to watch that show! Last week I went to a performance at my oldest son's middle school where the kids wore costumes and half the girls looked like they should be working the "night shift" if you get my drift.... I remember in 4th-6th grade I went dressed as a "baby" for Halloween...dumbest costume ever but at least I wasn't wearing fishnet stockings and a miniskirt that barely covered my parts!

Who is buying them these costumes and telling them they look so "cute" in them. Do we really want our daughters to be looked at as sexual objects? Because as much as we want to deny it, that is what is happening. The girls don't understand what is happening, but the adults in their life should be protecting them from this! The media is having a hey day with girls ...the dolls and toys out there, the shows being marketed to them, the clothing...oh the clothing! My 4 year old daughter just grew out of the toddler clothes and we jumped up to the girls sizes...trying to find her something that still looks like a little girl and not a teenager is challenging to say the least!

We are giving girls the message that their body and being "hot" and "sexy" is what is most important instead of focusing on their kindness, their intellect and their inner beauty. I for one don't want my daughter thinking the only way to get attention is by flaunting her body. I want her to appreciate and respect her body for the amazing creation it is, but not to be so focused on her physical beauty that she neglects her beautiful soul and spirit. Now helping her feel beautiful and confident is wonderful, but teaching her that true beauty comes from inside and not from what you put on your body. I love the philosophy that you dress nicely, put on some makeup and work on looking as beautiful (without obsessing about it)as possible before you leave your house and then you forget about yourself as soon as you walk out that door and focus on others.

C.S. Lewis has a quote I love that says, "You don't have a soul, you are a soul. You have a body."

So how do we combat this??? What can be done?? I want your ideas and input because it is really disturbing me today!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Hi, My name is Cheryl and I have...

(now this is contentment)

A contentment problem brought on by Pinterest (maybe I'll sue). Pinterest is a fun website that is basically a "virtual bulletin board" of ideas/websites. Very fun and addicting. But I found as I looked more and more at it that I became very discontent with my home/furniture/ kitchen cabinets /wardrobe/creativity/talents. It was not a good thing for me. I still go there occasionally for recipe ideas/kid activities/halloween costume ideas/Christmas neighbor gift ideas and have gotten some great stuff from it...but I have scaled back big time.

Instead today I am going to focus on what I DO have and what I am grateful for! So here goes:

1.I have a child who is extreme in everything he does. He is either extremely happy and delightful.....or not. And I am grateful that for the most part he has been very delightful lately! I think much of it is due to this decision for which I am not taking credit....the thought that I needed to have him repeat did not come from me, but from a Higher power who knows him better than grateful he is feeling successful and happy.

2. Norwex cleaning products...they are seriously awesome and for the most part I am cleaning/sanitizing my house without chemicals. I think I might love the dryer balls the most. No longer do I need fabric softener or dryer sheets to have static free laundry! But I also love the cloths that sanitize with just water and clean my windows and mirrors with absolutely NO STREAKS.

3. Grateful for 70 and 80 degrees.

4. My daughter has been a "mommy" from the moment she was born. She mothers everyone in the house (including me). Today she had her dolly whom she has named "Blue Baby" (nothing to do with a heart condition :) and she told me I have my "blue baby" (my 18 month old) and she has her "blue baby" and we are both Mommy's to our babies. Made me smile and my heart swell with love for her innate nurturing soul.

5. Life after death. I know it exists, I know those whom we love that have passed are close by, just in a different place. We lost a beloved aunt this week in a very unexpected way and it has driven home again the knowledge that we just move on to a different place and wait for a reunion on the other side.

6. Health and a husband who provides so well for us.

7. Parents...I am so blessed to have wonderful parents..both biological and in-laws. Such amazing people and wonderful examples for my children to look up to. They have given me such a rock solid foundation for life for which I am eternally grateful.

Now i feel better in spite of getting on Pinterest today :) Actually reading "mommy blogs" can do it to me too. Those who portray life as perfect...their appearance/home/children/meals etc. I hope to portray my life as "real" but still wonderful and that I am so grateful for it!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Let's give each other a break....

This post today inspired by this article:

Disclaimer: just because I wrote this post does not mean I don't struggle with being judgmental...I wrote this for myself as much as anyone!

Eight years ago I was at a playgroup with a bunch of women and the conversation inevitably turned to childbirth as it is prone to do in that circumstance. I was talking a bit about my two births and how my epidural doesn't work once the baby drops into the birth canal, so I basically do a natural delivery blah blah blah.

About 5 minutes later I noticed that a woman who I didn't know very well had come and sat close to me...and was getting closer and closer and eventually was WAY in my personal space. All of a sudden she leaned over to me and literally whispered in my ear, "You are such a great candidate for a home birth, I would love to talk with you about it sometime." I was SHOCKED I tell ya...I didn't know her at all. So I said, "Why do you think I am a candidate?" (never had ever remotely considered it). She stated her reasons and how the hospital is a terrible environment for a mother/baby and interferes with their bonding etc....Then I broke her the bad news...I had to have c-sections from now on due to some surgery. Oh boy, then she ranted and raved about how my doctor did unnecessary surgery (which it was absolutely necessary) and how doctors are just greedy and are all about the bottom line and profit....

I think perhaps my jaw dropped open because I know my doctor geniunely cares about me and my well being and is a good, honest person. I guess the thing that shocked me the most is her narrow mindedness, she was absolutely convinced her way was the ONLY way to do things and that doctors and hospitals were evil and greedy.

Her choice of how and where to birth her children is up to her, I wasn't trying to talk her out of birthing at home and stating all the risks (although I wanted to because she was driving me crazy), and I would have appreciated the same respect from her in not stating my choice and doctor was wrong and invalid. We must give each other a break and not be so up in arms about others choices:

Here are some other "hot topics" that come from my own experience and for which I have felt judged at some point or another:

Breastfeeding is the absolute best option for a baby..... until they can't latch on due to being tongue tied, or until they are a preemie and can't latch on and have a severe milk allergy, and then thank goodness for formula and bottles. (BF my oldest wasn't possible with my youngest 2 and it was VERY hard for me!)

Having children and big super sensitive especially if you can't have as many children as you would like to and then it is painful to hear the command to multiply and replenish the earth. Our family size is between husband/wife/Lord and nobody else. (and you may not think I ever struggled with fertility having 5 children, but we did struggle getting 2 of our children here)

Home school vs Sending your child to school.....thank goodness for the choices we have out there today. I nearly did an online home school option with my #3 this year if the school wasn't going to cooperate with him repeating kindergarten.

My point in this whole thing is....we need to back off on the value judgements/criticism etc of each other and give one another the benefit of the of my favorite quotes by one of my inspirations:

“Why can't we resist the urge to second-guess and evaluate each other?...Sometimes I wonder if the final judgment will be a breeze compared with what we've put each other through here on earth.” Sheri L. Dew

Monday, October 10, 2011

I believe in Christ....update

I can't stay silent any longer. All this talk about Mitt Romney and Mormonism and not being Christian and being a cult etc..... has had me thinking and pondering for days. Here are my thoughts.

I am a Mormon and I believe in Jesus Christ! I believe that it is only through Him that I can be saved. I know that he loves me and because of that pure love, he suffered for my sins in Gethsemane and died for me on the cross at Calvary. Through Him all will be resurrected and live again.

Are there theological differences in what we believe and other religions believe about Jesus Christ? Absolutely. But the fact of the matter is we believe in His ability to save us from our sins and from death and we should be able to unite with other Christians to show our Savior's love and make this world a better place

In Webster's dictionary the definition of a Christian is one who believes in Christ, I also believe it should include one who treats others like Christ, which many so called "Christians" are lacking.

I served a mission and one of my areas was in Maryland which had a very large Evangelical Christian population. I had many interactions with them and they are good people with good values. We have so much in common as far as family values and living good, moral lives. But they have been taught by their leaders how to proselytize Mormons to "save us". Most did not want to build on common beliefs but to debate and destroy my belief. We had a set of evangelical missionaries follow us for about 2 weeks trying to 1st...destroy our beliefs and find anyone we were teaching and destroy any teaching we may have done. They would often be at our apartment when we would retire for the night trying to engage us in a debate. It was actually a bit scary as they were a couple of "20 something" men and if felt as if they were "stalking" us. We eventually had to move apartments and cities to get away from them.

The only way we are going to change this country for the better is to be unified in our love of the Savior. Working together will get us much further than bickering about doctrinal differences. It is all about mutual respect and love for our fellow man that will change the world. I honestly don't know who is the best candidate for President yet, but I know I won't be discounting any of them based on their religious beliefs.

(P.S. I realize not all evangelical members behave in the way the 2 missionaries did I had the run ins with on my mission...most are good, moral people and I am not judging them as a whole based on that experience....just sharing my experience)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

This is so my life!

I have had "phantom health problems" for several years. I have symptoms, but I go to the doctor and they find nothing! Often they ask me how many children I have and when I tell them 5, they throw up their hands and say, "Well I would have these symptoms too if I had that many children!" Nice and professional dontcha think?

I guess you could say that my kids make me sick! :)

So when I saw this photo someone posted on FB I laughed very hard and almost felt validated :) Actually diet and exercise have helped my symptoms greatly!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

I can do hard things...

This summer I became a recovering "helicopter parent". You know the kind....overprotective, doing things for their kids that they can do for themselves, jumping in at the first sign of hardship or pain. Yep that was me pretty much. I was contributing to the "woosification of society"

My oldest son turned 12 in May. He went to Scout Camp for a week...without me! He survived...but more than that he THRIVED! He did really hard things that he didn't think he could do. He swam to the bottom of the pool and recovered at 10 lb brick to earn his lifesaving merit badge. He earned 4 other very difficult merit badges as well. He grew up on that scout camp and his confidence SOARED!

Later that summer my husband decided he wanted to climb Mt. Olympus to honor two of his brothers. He invited my oldest to go with him...purposely withholding how difficult this hike was. My husband said it was the hardest hike he has ever been on (and that is saying something for him), my son said if he had known how hard it was beforehand he would not have gone. But you should see him light up when people congratulate him on doing it. It was quite possibly the hardest thing my son has done in his life...and he did it! I can't even tell you how proud I am of him!

This has changed me. I wasn't purposely trying to do things for my kids or trying to be a smothering, helicopter Mommy. It was just me trying to be loving and nurturing to my kiddos. But I took a good hard look at myself and my kids need to learn to overcome obstacles and how to do things themselves. I read a blog recently (can't remember where so I can't give credit) where when the child is having a hard time or needs help the Mom says, "You are a capable and smart person, what do you think you can to do accomplish that?" I love the positive nature of that comment and the confidence it instills.

I refuse to be the parent that my child needs me to swoop in and be in a job interview when they are 16 or fills out their college application. I think I can give them roots without strangling the roots with weeds of dependence on me. I am working on it, but my kids are doing more to help around the house, doing more for themselves and taking on more responsibility.

Old habits die hard, so I still find myself doing things for my kids that they can do for themselves (and sometimes that's okay...that's part of being a Mom). But kids gain confidence when they can do things for themselves and when they accomplish hard things, so I will continue to make my transformation and hopefully raise 5 confident, capable children!

"Woosification of society"

This is what my husband calls the overprotecting we do in society today of our children....he's not the only one. Here is an article about a "Nation of Wimps". Read it and let me know what you think...I will write more about it later.

Monday, September 12, 2011

I started this today...want to join me?

I am always looking for something to help me in the "Mommy department". It's kind of fun to have something totally spelled out for you. I started with #12 so they correlate with the days of the month and will finish up October 12th. Here's the link if you can't read it on here

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Love this!

I saw this video this morning while watching BYU TV. It so feels like my life so many times. I love the man's expression watching the little boy..he is trying so hard to be patient, but you can see the exasperation on his face. But in the end he chooses patience instead of anger or frustration.

Makes me think that I need to CHOOSE patience more often! My being patient has nothing to do with my has everything to do with me and my choices in controlling my frustration and anger.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Power of a Mom....

Remember this post? Well here's the big reveal as to what the decision was we were trying to make. Our 3rd son went to kindergarten last year and did fine, but didn't necessarily thrive. I thought for certain this summer would bring big changes for him in maturity, academics etc...

Well those changes didn't happen to the extent I was hoping for. He is a young buck for school, his birthday is in June. So starting in about July I started thinking of having him repeat kindergarten. Basically the shortened version of a very long story is that he is going to repeat kindergarten to give himself another year under his belt and to feel successful and confident in school and in himself.

I am certain this is the right decision for him...however it has not been an easy road. Many educators do not feel that retention is beneficial, in fact many feel it is a detriment (and whether it is a detriment to the child or to the school's numbers/budget is debateable in my mind). I am his mother and I know what is best for him and believe me my "Mrs Weasley" or "Mama Bear" had to come out in a big way this week (along with some tears and some VERY direct conversations and emails from this girl who HATES conflict and is a people pleaser). This process has felt as if it was one brick wall after another in front of us. But just because this wasn't easy, doesn't mean it wasn't the right took persistence and sticking to what I KNEW to be right in order for it to happen. We as Moms HAVE to be our child's biggest advocate and cheerleader. We have to push for what is best for them even if it isn't popular or looked upon positively by the so called experts. WE are the experts on our children and we must be there for them to be as successful as they possibly can be. We must build them up in such a way that they feel they can overcome anything because they know their Mom has their back. We must teach them..."You is kind, you is smart, you is important" (my favorite quote from "The Help" in case you haven't read or seen the it!) and if they believe that and know their Mother believes it they can conquer anything! My husband was also very involved in this process, I want to give him credit as well as he is on board with this and was awesome in helping make this happen!

Call it my Mother's intuition, call it the Holy Spirit (one and the same if you ask me) but I have rarely been so certain about something in my life regarding one of my children. It has been a learning process for sure. Just because something isn't easy doesn't mean it isn't right. Just because brick walls seem to be popping up at every turn doesn't mean you don't break them down and plow forward. This is a lesson I need to remember for many other things in my life that I am sure will not be easy...but will still be right regardless of the difficulty!

Friday, August 19, 2011

People lover

Recently I have reunited with a couple of different groups of old friends (by old I don't mean their age! :) I love keeping in touch with people from my past, in fact you could say it's one of my hobbies. Once I make a friend, we are friends for life and I want to know how they are, what they are doing etc.... This is why I love facebook (maybe a bit too much) because I can reconnect and keep in touch with friends from long ago.

This picture is when I went to dinner one of those groups of friends. We worked together at a girls camp 20 years ago together. The camp was only 3 months and we had a couple of months of training beforehand, but the bond we created there and the true friendships I made there are strong for life. It is amazing that 3 months can change your life for the better and give you deep, true relationships. When we got together for dinner it felt like no time had passed at all, there was no awkward silence, (in fact for the customers around us there was probably awkward loudness!), we jumped in like no time had passed at all. I love these ladies and know they have my back and are such a great support system. We have created our own little private group on facebook and it feels like we live around the corner from each other.

I also did lunch with some friends I served with in the church many years ago. Honestly it feels like I served with them 2 years ago, but it's been 7 or 8 time flies! All of us have been through some pretty major trials in the last few years and it was so good to reconnect and visit with them...they are fun and deep and amazing!

I have so many wonderful, close, true friends in my life. I am so very blessed to have had so many incredible people be my friends.

“Even though we've changed and we're all finding our own place in the world, we all know that when the tears fall or the smile spreads across our face, we'll come to each other because no matter where this crazy world takes us, nothing will ever change so much to the point where we're not all still friends.”


Monday, August 15, 2011


Today we celebrate being married 15 years! We were taught by amazing parents how to have a successful marriage, my parents have been married 50+ years and Dave's parents 40+. Here are some things I learned from both sets of parents....

1. Think more of your spouses wants/desires than your own
2. Stick together through thick and thin...just found out today that I live in the Divorce capital of the U.S....something to not be proud of!
3. SERVE your spouse
4. Work together
5. Laugh a lot, have a sense of humor
6. Nourish your marriage through dates, time away from children, couple vacations....
7. Only talk positively of your spouse to others...don't air dirty laundry to friends/family etc
8. Rely on your faith through thick and thin, make God the 3rd partner in your marriage
9. Choose your love.....Love your choice!

Can't say I do all these perfectly, but I sure try to make this marriage the best one I know how! Thanks Moms and Dads for your amazing examples to us!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Pressure cooker....

Being a parent is not easy...and that is an understatement! We are in the process of making some decisions regarding one of our children that will literally affect him for the rest of his life. That is a LOT of pressure! When did I become mature enough to assume this responsibility? When did my kids get old enough that these decisions affect them so much? Time flies by and my kids are making choices and we are making choices that will affect them for life!

I have 6 older siblings and they have all said that parenting older children is harder than parenting younger ones. I used to question that a bit, but now that mine are getting older I think I see where they are coming from! When you are parenting tiny ones it is totally physically exhausting. You aren't getting enough sleep, you are in constant motion, you are filling all of their physical needs. But as they get older that diminishes and the difficulty becomes emotionally, mentally and spiritually.

As my husband and I together make some choices about our kids, we are relying on our faith and guidance from above to make these choices. I pray we make the right one!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Random thoughts.....

(Neville, Luna Lovegood, Harry and Draco)

Monday I almost felt like one of those perfect "blogging Moms". You know the ones who throw tea parties or fairy parties for their kids spontaneously.....who decorate perfectly, who make gourmet food, who have perfect photos etc.... July 31st is Harry Potter's birthday so on August 1st we had a Harry Potter birthday party for my kidlets, however it was far from perfect, the kids made the decorations to hang up and came up with their own costumes (see the imperfect photo), the food was not gourmet but kid friendly...we had a great time and my kids had a ball and that is what counts I suppose!

Left my #1 son in UT to spend time with cousins.....missing him lots! Brought home a cousin who is #2's age to hang out and have fun with. They are having a great time in spite of my lack of desire to go anywhere or do anything. They go from playing Harry Potter to Superheroes to Star Wars without blinking an's hilarious. Right now they are watching the REALLY old, really cheesy BATMAN movie!

I admit that I am a homebody. After being gone for almost 2 weeks I just want to be home. Too bad that translates into bored children. It is to the point of the summer where we are feeling the boredom set in. The excitement of being home and having lots of time to ourselves has worn off, the anticipation of our long family vacation is over. The family fun jar (our savings for fun family things to do) is depleted by the vacation and Mom's creativy is a bit dried up. Give me a few days and hopefully it will be rejuvenated!

How do you beat the end of the summer blues/boredom?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

A Mother's Love...


A big movie came out this past weekend. We were one of the crazies who did the midnight showing. My husband took our 12 and 10 year old....they didn't get home till 3 a.m.! They LOVED it and what memories it made! I went to see the movie (because I was as excited as my kids about it) Friday night with 3 girlfriends. LOVED IT...every minute! I clapped and cheered and cried.

Are you aware that Harry Potter is about mothers? The entire premise of the books is a Mother's Love. Harry was the "boy who lived" only because of his mother's sacrifice and deep and abiding love of him.

Albus Dumbledore talking to Harry at the end of book 1:
"Your mother died to save you. If there is one thing Voldemort cannot understand, it is love. He didn't realize that love as powerful as your mother's for you leaves its own mark. Not a scar, no visible sign ... to have been loved so deeply, even though the person who loved us is gone, will give us some protection forever."

My favorite parts of the movie/book were about Mothers. Molly Weasley has always been one of my favorite characters in the books. She is so spunky, she is such a natural nurturer, she takes Harry into her home like one of her own children without a 2nd thought. At the end of the movie Bellatrix messes with fact she tries to kill Ginny and Molly's MAMA BEAR comes out in a big way! IT IS AWESOME! (Bellatrix is also one of my favorite characters but in a completely different way..the actress who plays her is brilliant because she is so totally evil and actually frightening!)

Mama Malfoy also proves that she has a heart and will do anything for her boy. (even though I think the Malfoys are cowards and two faced, it warmed my heart a bit to see their devotion to their son)

But my favorite Mommy moment of all was when Harry was going to the Forbidden Forest to fulfill his destiny and he was frightened. All of a sudden he is surrounded by those he loves who had passed on...but especially Lily, his mother, he couldn't get enough of her. From the book:

"Lily's smile was widest of all....her green eyes, so like his, searched his face hungrily, as though she would never be able to look at him enough. "You've been so brave" (she says to Harry). He could not speak. His eyes feasted on her, and he thought that he would like to stand and look at her forever, and that would be enough..... Harry looked at his mother, 'Stay close to me' he said quietly. In the movie she responds, 'I always have been.' " (Deathly Hallows pgs 699-799))

Lily is the true heroine in this entire series. She gave up her life so he could live and because of her evil was eradicated and good prevailed. We moms leave a mark that stays with our children FOREVER. Our love can overcome almost anything. It can give our children strength to stand up for what they believe, to fulfill their God given mission in life and to face huge challenges.

So my fellow Moms, give yourself some credit (and reward yourself and go see Harry's worth it to see Molly Weasley stand up to scary Bellatrix!)

Monday, July 11, 2011

A whole new world....

Have you ever done something to just tweak your normal routine that makes a big difference? I have discovered a whole new world with this one simple idea...


You may ask yourself how paper plates have changed my world?? Well you see, I am the youngest child of 7 and have lots of great role models who are amazing Moms. My sis-in-law has always had the practice of using paper plates for lunch....actually any type of lunch/snack food. I don't know about you, but in the summer it seems like as soon as I get breakfast cleaned up in the morning, it's time for lunch and another mess.

I have adopted the paper plate philosophy this summer and I am telling you has quite possibly changed my life...tear :) (Especially when your dishwasher has gone kaput and saving for a heavy duty one!). If you haven't tried it I would highly recommend!

What is a small change you have made in your routine/life that has made a big difference?

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Swimsuit fear...

(kinda wish just a little bit that this was still what swimwear looked like)

I had an "AHA" moment this week. I was talking with a friend about the HEAT of the summer (today it was 114 folks!) and how to stay cool and keep kiddos entertained. That led to a conversation about getting in a swimsuit..which so happens to be not very fun for me or many other Mommys I think right? or is it just me?? I feel so self conscious at the pool (remember this post?)

But then I kids could care less about what I look like in a swimsuit. All they want is for me to be there with them, watching the jump off the side, swimming underwater for the first time, blowing bubbles and laughing and smiling. I want them to remember me as the Mom who is THERE where they are, doing what they love...not the Mom who is too self-conscious about her body to put on the dreaded swimsuit (besides, what message does that send to them about body image?). It just doesn't's not about ME anymore, it's about THEM!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Monsters vs...

(my brood minus 1)

I went to a new doctor Monday and the nurse was asking about my medical history. You should have seen the look on her face when I told her I had 7 pregnancies (2 miscarriages) and 5 kids. She was absolutely flabbergasted. She said, "How did you go through that many pregnancies? I did two and they were so hard!" I told her mine weren't easy either, but the reward at the end of the pregnancy is worth it! She said, "Well I guess so (with very little conviction)..mine are MONSTERS!" Hmmm...didn't really know what to say to that.

I tried to talk positively to her about being a Mom, but she was pretty negative about it. So I went on my way. Today I went back to have blood drawn. It took a while for her to find my veins so we had a while to talk. She started asking me about how I get my kids to get along, help out around the house and how I can stand to be home all day with them. By the end of our conversation I think I got her thinking about some things. It was a great conversation about motherhood.

I am such an imperfect mother, I am not an expert on ANYTHING when it comes to being a Mom. But I do LOVE being a Mommy to my brood and feel a sense of responsibility to pass my love of being a Mom along. I think too many times the attitude in society is that kids are a burden and inconvenience who are only meant to be endured. I want to pass along the joy my kids bring me, in spite of the fighting, the messes, the lack of sleep etc. They are totally and completely worth every inconvenience that comes along with them! They make me a better person and make me smile each and every day!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Luckiest kids in the world....

Today we went to the park for a picnic and to let the kids play in the water. We had a great time together. At the splash pad there were a bunch of kids playing and the adults were sitting on benches watching.....

But not my husband.....I was playing at another part of the park with my daughter and I looked over and there was my husband right in the middle of the splash pad. He wore his swimsuit so he could play with the kids. He was running and splashing and biggest kid. It made me it did the other adults watching him. My kids are so lucky to have an involved Daddy who genuinely LOVES to be with them and to play with them.

No need for a lengthy Father's Day tribute to him, his actions speak for themselves. He could seriously give lessons on being a great Dad! I am so blessed to have him, it is much easier to be a good Mommy when I have him as my partner in this parenting business!

(Great article on Fathers HERE)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Perfection vs happiness...

We had a nearly perfect weekend together as a family. We didn't do anything major, we cleaned the house together, ran to Costco, husband and I had a date night, two of my kids pooled their $$ and bought a guinea pig (named Rascal) and we went swimming at the local family pool.

At the pool, we chose our spot to plop our gear down and then I noticed "HER" right next to us. A woman with the "perfect" body (obviously EXTREMELY surgically enhanced....if someone chooses to do that it is up to them....but please save the itsy bitsy bikini that covers barely anything for the adult pool thanks!). She was strutting her stuff and obviously quite proud of her body. In fact my 6 year old noticed her right away (in fact I think his jaw dropped) and pointed and asked why her swimsuit wasn't modest and why she wasn't covering those "things".

There I sat with my very squishy baby producing body and I started to feel self-conscious and did the ever so popular game of comparing my weaknesses with her "strengths". I was feeling a bit down on myself.

And then it happened. I had a very profound experience right there at the public pool with hundreds of people surrounding me. I was holding my 1 year old who was done with swimming and was drinking a bottle very sleepily. I looked down at his sweet face and sweaty curls, I then looked out at the kiddie pool where my husband was catching my darling 3 yr old daughter over and over and over again as she jumped off the side and squealed with joy every time she did so. I looked over to my 3 older boys who were playing tag in the pool and having so much fun together. I had such a strong sense of gratitude and knew I am just where I am supposed to be, doing what I am supposed to be doing at this time in my life. And for that knowledge I am so grateful..sometimes I just need that little reminder.

Monday, June 6, 2011


I walked into a neighbor's home the other day. It was perfectly clean, perfectly silent and I reveled in that for about 10 seconds. But then I realized that there was something missing. There was no spirit about it, I looked around and realized there were no family photos on the wall, no artwork, the only thing on the wall was a clock. No children's artwork or achievements felt sterile. It was a house, but not a home.

I walked back into my home and absolutely loved the feeling there. It was chaos and messy. It had fingerprints on the door jams, it had crooked family photos, it had lego creations on the table waiting for me to see them. It had love and humor and a definite spirit about it. I LOVED being there and I would take mess over sterile any day of the week!

Yes my home needs to be clean, but I won't sacrifice my relationships or the feeling in my home for sterile!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Burned out....updated

I love being a is all I ever wanted to be "when I grew up". I played with dolls till I was 12. Most days I feel like I am living my dream....

However I am burned out. My baby has been sick for over a week...I mean really sick. High fever, not sleeping, totally miserable, cannot console him sick. Double ear infections (viral apparently since the antibiotic isn't doing a darn thing for them), sore throat and a head to toe itchy rash will do it to you I suppose. Now we are quarantined until the rash is gone because they have no idea what it is....a "non-specific" viral rash (is code for we don't know what the heck is wrong with your baby).

I have great sympathy for this darling boy and feel so bad for him.... but I want my happy, busy, charming, baby back (who happens to sleep well when he isn't sick). He just started taking his 1st steps the day or two before he got sick. Since his illness...not a step taken.

I am tired and burned out. And my other kids get out of school this week and are expecting me to entertain them....wonderful.

Okay...I will be back to my normal self who loves being a Mommy soon enough, but for now I just needed a bit of a pity party. Thanks for coming....

Pity Party over....soon you realize that someone else always has a heavier burden than you do. Someone very angelic who is carrying a hard burden brought me some sweet treats tonight just to brighten my day...thank know who you are!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Summertime Fun

I have been reading many blogs with fun ideas for the are a bunch of links of great ideas!

The Girls at eighteen25 this is a really fun blog with easy craft ideas...if I can do them they must be easy!

Families online magazine ideas for teens

Family Fun magazine online one of the few magazines I subscribe to. Such fun and simple ideas!

From my sis-in-law Heather:

-Make puppets (sock, paper bag, etc) and learn/rehearse a play. Pick their favorite story or something classic like Goldie Locks and the Three Bears. Then perform the play for Dave when he gets home from work.

-If you have a digital camera that the kids can use, send them on a picture scavenger hunt throughout the house. Have a list of things that they need to find and take a picture of that item. For the younger ones the list can be something like this: find something red, something yellow, something long, something tall, something yummy, etc. And for the older kids the list can be more challenging like: find something that reminds you of winter, something yellow & purple, something that stacks, something that moves fast.
Then look at everyone's pictures on the computer together.

-Have a read-a-thon. Make forts, wear pj's, bring out the blankets, pillows and treats.

I have a friend who has some activity planned every day of the week such as:

Monday=stay home and clean
Tuesday=library day
Wednesday=swim day
Friday=friend play dates

I think we will also do regular field trip days.

Another way to do it is to have a calendar and write something down every day on the calendar from a list generated by the kids/parents

I plan on teaching my kids some new skills this summer such as cooking, laundry and sewing

Here are a few other ideas we came up with:

Make homemade ice cream and have an ice cream party with friends
Snow cone and/or lemonade stand (I plan on buying one of those at home snow cone makers)
Discovery children's museum
Craft Day
Summer Book Club for kids(my friend Cherlynn gave this idea)
Summer reading goal (my older kids is to read 1000 pages this summer....big reward at the end if they reach it)
Free movies
Service projects
Make photo albums together
Springs Preserve
Mt Charleston hike
Natural History museum
Railroad museum
Lake Mead
Sew new blankets/pillowcases for them
Visit an old folks home and sing or bring them treats

Any other great ideas?? I am open to them!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Looking for a cure for those summertime blues... kids have had year round school for the past 5 years and so our longest break has been about 5 weeks. But this year our district switched to 9 month school and I'm not sure how I feel about it.

Don't get me wrong, I love having my kids home (mostly), but it is BLAZING hot here for June/July/August and trying to keep them busy and off the screeens is going to be challenging. When it is 105+ nobody wants to be playing outside unless it is in a pool. We will have regular swim days, but the other days is what I am worried about.

Here is what I was me your ideas (or comment) that keep your kids busy and entertained during the summer months and I will put a blog post together listing all of them to give a bunch of ideas for all of us to use!

If you want to participate email me by the end of this week at vegasmom77 at