Friday, December 21, 2012

Jesus Lord at thy birth

my cute oldest son

My favorite sacred Christmas song is “Silent Night”.  It has been for as long as I can remember.  But the year I had my first son the song changed for me.  He was born in May, so when the Christmas songs started in November he was 6 months old.  One night I was rocking him to sleep and singing “Silent Night” to him.  As I started to sing the 3rd verse the deep meaning of the song sunk deep into my heart.  In case you have forgotten the words they are as follows:

Silent Night, Holy Night
Son of God, love’s pure light
Radiant beams from thy holy face,
With the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord at thy birth;
Jesus, Lord at thy birth.

As I sang, looking into my firstborn son’s sweet face it hit me that when Jesus Christ was a newborn he was already the Savior of the world.  With his birth came the dawn of hope and redeeming grace for all of us.  Within that tiny baby was the potential to save the world, in that sweet face was the Love of God.

I looked down into my son's face and I wondered what potential was inside him from birth?  What great mission was he going to accomplish on this earth?  Inside him was greatness and unlimited potential even in that tiny body.  Our son came to us already who he was deep inside and it was my job as his mother to unlock that potential and greatness. 

You see I believe that our children’s personalities come with them straight from God.  We as parents shape and guide them, but we can’t or shouldn’t try and change who they innately are.  Their personality traits are given to them from a loving Heavenly Father.

As I sing that song (and almost always tear up)at this time of year I look at my children and wonder if I am helping them unlock their God given purpose and character inside them here on earth?  Am I guiding them in the right path, am I loving them enough and expecting enough of them?

Our children are on loan to us from a loving Father who allows us to be parents to refine and shape us.  He has given us His Son as an example of how to love and teach our children.  I am eternally grateful for that greatest gift of all.

Here is an absolutely beautiful version of "Silent Night"

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Free Gift!

Yes I'm still alive!  Just not in the mood much to blog lately.  Hopefully that will change soon :)

There is a GREAT offer right now from The POwer of Moms! They are offereing a free program for anyone as a gift for Christmas.  It is only until this Friday however.  So hurry quick an dhead over HERE to get your free program!

Friday, November 16, 2012

When I'm a Grandma....

My husband works for a general contractor and his latest project was a restaurant.  We won’t talk about the crazy schedule he has worked the last month and the times he worked a very full day,came home for dinner and bedtime and went back to work till 2 in the morning.  Nope won’t share that with you at all

Moving on….it was the grand opening last night and he wanted all of us to go and eat at his restaurant.  This is an actual sit down at the table and wait for your food kind of restaurant.  It is not a fast food joint or Red Robin.  It is super yummy Mexican food that doesn’t have a “Bell” in the name.  We couldn’t get a 12 pack of tacos for $6.00. (couldn’t even get one taco for $6.00) We don’t go to sit down restaurants often because of the cost to feed 7 people and because I have a phobia of one or more of my children having a total meltdown in that sort of restaurant and having to do the “walk of shame” out of said restaurant. 

When we walked in I saw the glances between the hostesses of this large family of children.  Not friendly glances either. So when they seated us SMACK DAB in the middle of the restaurant for ALL to see, I was a bit anxious.  Please sit us in the corner where not everyone and their dog are watching us.  We are a huge spectacle anyway, not many families with 5 children eating at this kind of restaurant in Vegas.

But this night was a Mommy Pay Day.  My kids, all 5 of them were incredibly well behaved.  They were surprisingly patient and happy.  Only one incident of the 2 year old throwing a chip because the salsa was too spicy (handed him my iPhone and he was as good as gold the rest of the night….cheating? maybe, I didn’t care).  They tried new foods and liked them!! I was so proud of my kids.  Maybe the many times we’ve talked about manners and correct behavior in public finally sank in a little bit.  I kept telling them how great they were doing and they beamed.

And then it was my turn to beam.  A sweet woman, probably my Mom’s age came over to me and said, “You have the most beautiful family, you are so blessed.  We have been watching you and are so impressed with how well your children are behaved.”  I almost wanted to cry it made me feel so good.

How many times do we as Moms get compliments like that?  RARELY if ever! We don’t get positive words like that enough and our pay days can be few and far between.  I decided last night that when I’m a Grandma I am going to compliment Mom’s with children in public. 

Then I thought today, why do I need to wait until I’m a Grandma?  Why not start now?  Why not compliment my amazing friends when their kids are well behaved at my house?  Why not compliment people whose children behave well at church?  Why not tell a Mom at the park how cute her kids are and how kind they were to let my children play?

Can you imagine how great we would feel if we did this on a regular basis with each other?  What if instead of comparing and/or criticizing we complimented and uplifted? 

Moms unite!  Let’s uplift and compliment each other more and give each other more Mommy pay days!  We deserve it!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

If you know me at all, you know that I was very disappointed in the outcome of the election.  I volunteered for the Romney campaign, had a yard sign, had stickers on my car etc…I was a Romney groupie J  I highly respect Governor Romney and his wife and family.  I was so hopeful he would be elected and make some needed changes for our government.  But I never though Mitt Romney was the “Savior” who would swoop in and fix our entire country and create utopia.  I agree with his economic principles and I think he is a proven and amazing leader and a good, moral man.

I do not hate President Obama.  I disagree with many of his policies and decisions, and it is unbelievable to me that my state voted for him when we have incredibly high unemployment and the biggest housing crisis in the nation.  But it is what it is, I have no control over it and it does no good to dwell on it and get sucked into the negativity.

What has almost saddened me more than the outcome of the election are the hateful words and actions spewed out by both sides.  I have been called a racist while wearing my Romney/Ryan shirt, but I have also seen equally hateful statements made by those on the other side. Our nation is The Divided States of America right now and nothing positive is going to come from the division.  We are not defined by our political views; we are not the sum of our opinions.  We are Americans and Children of God and have more in common than we have different.  We all want good things for our families, we all want to be loved, we want to be safe and have our basic needs taken care of. 

I really enjoy Facebook, and am on it frequently.  I have loved reconnecting with friends from long ago and keeping up with my friends who I don’t see as often as I would like.  I enjoy the fun, positive interactions.  However, there is a downside to Facebook and social networking.  The downside is that for some reason we feel free to comment and say things we would NEVER say to somebody’s face if we were having a face to face conversation. There is an element of anonymity there even if our name and picture are attached to our comment.    It seems that common courtesy and civility are disappearing from society and it makes me sad.  Even if you are certain you are right, it does no good to be mean and hurtful. It’s okay for people to think differently than you do.

I have always taught my kids that they don’t need to agree with everything somebody thinks or says, and they don’t have to be best friends with everyone but they must be KIND to everyone!  Kindness is such an amazing character trait and I’m afraid it’s disappearing.  One of my favorite Primary songs that I sing to my kids is, “I want to be kind to everyone for that is right you see. So I say to myself remember this, kindness begins with me.” 

That being said, I am worried about the future of our country, and not necessarily because we have a democrat in the White House.  Families are being destroyed. The moral decay I see everywhere is shocking.  It makes me sad for my kids and what they will have to face.  But what keeps coming to mind is that it is time for me to step it up and be the best member of my church, be the best parent and wife and citizen I can be. Our church leaders are optimistic and positive, if you don’t believe me, read their talks from conference.  We can do this; our kids are strong enough and were born at this time because they have been held in reserve until now as the strongest spirits our Father in Heaven has.

 I read this quote today and loved it.

”Your success as a family, our success as a society, depends not on what happens in the White House, but on what happens in your house.”  Barbara Bush

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Letting Go

We are reading this book for Book Club this month.  It is incredible.  In case you don’t know the story at all, here is a summary.  Chris Williams and his wife Michelle had 4 children and she was pregnant with #5.  They went out for dinner one night with 3 of their 4 children and as they were coming home they were hit by a teenage boy who had been drinking.  Michelle, their unborn child and 2 children were killed that night.  Chris and their son Sam were injured. 

We knew the Williams’, not well, but they were in our first ward after we were married. I remember watching Michelle and hoping I could be the kind of Mom she was someday.  They were a family we hoped to model ours after.

This story is such an incredible illustration of the Atonement and what we can do when we rely on the Savior.  Chris acknowledges he is nothing and it’s only through the power of the Savior that he has been able to be strong and not only forgive, but show great compassion and love to help this boy overcome his problems.

There is much sadness when reading about the accident and the death of this cute family, but it is absolutely an amazing and uplifting read.  It is life changing.  If you have the opportunity I would highly recommend it.

Here is a Mormon message about Chris Williams' story:

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Today is the BYU vs U of U football game.  It is affectionately known as “The Holy War” for the fans involved.

I grew up smack dab in the heart of “Ute country”.  My home growing up was  a 15 minute drive to the U of U campus and was surrounded by the fans of the red school.  But I was raised in a home that cheered for the blue team (except when they bought season tickets to the U of U basketball games…we’ll forgive that little infraction).  BYU football was a huge thing in my home, our fall was planned around the games.  Often we (or my parents) traveled to one or two away games each season.  We almost always went to the “Holiday Bowl” in San Diego that BYU used to play in nearly annually.  We attended the 1984 National Championship bowl game and I’m pretty sure tears were shed.  It was  BIG OLD DEAL and a huge tradition in my family.  My brother went to BYU and married a Ute fan and we say they have a “mixed marriage”.  One year my sister-in-law baked a BYU cake for my Dad to “congratulate” him on the Cougars win and when he cut into it, it was a red velvet cake.  So funny!

I was a HUGE football fan from my tween years on.  I knew the game, I knew the statistics.  I had huge crushes on the players (Steve Young and Mark Bellini mostly). I loved going to the game and watching them on TV.  In fact one of the things my husband was attracted to was my love of football and BYU.

 In my high school (Go Oly!) we celebrated “rivalry week”.  Mr. James Felt, my history teacher was  HUMONGOUS Ute fan.  He even had a red Swedish knit suit he wore that week.  I walked into his class with  BYU sweatshirt on, and he told me I lost points on the assignment for the day.  If he could have legally done it, I am pretty sure he would have.  We also had Mr. Marc Lyons who played for BYU and who does the color commentary for BYU football, he taught Math and his classroom was directly across the parking lot from Mr. Felt’s.  Every year they would each decorate their windows in their respective colors and the rivalry was HUGE between them.  In fact they always had a bet going, if their team lost they had to sing the fight song of the opposing school over the loud speaker and dress in Ute or Cougar gear.

If you haven’t lived along the Wasatch front or attended BYU or the U, you probably think the rivalry is a little bit ridiculous.  It is, but it is a fun crazy.  The “Holy War” title isn’t that far from the truth.  There are a lot of people who go to and teach at the U that have problems with BYU’s standards and even LDS doctrine.  Don’t get me wrong there are a lot of LDS fans of the Utes, but there is a bit of an undercurrent of some religious contention in much of the rivalry.  I have been to many BYU/Utah games and there are always fights that break out, there is always name calling and it happens at both stadiums.  BYU fans are guilty of baiting Ute fans (sometimes worse) and vice versa (and BYU fans can’t even blame it on the liquor!).

So we are heading off to some friends to watch the game and cheer for the BLUE.  Go BYU, please make a better showing than last year!                                                                                     

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Stand by Your Man

I loved Ann Romney’s speech last night.  She was articulate and genuine and  personable and real.  She did what she has done their whole married life…she stood by her man.  Behind every successful man is a great woman and last night I caught a huge glimpse of why Mitt has been so successful in life.  She wasn’t up there for selfish reasons, she was up there to defend her man from the countless attacks on his character.  She is his character witness.  I think how a man treats his wife is more telling of his character than anything else in life.  Last night she spoke volumes about his character.

Makes me think….am I as good at standing by my man and uplifting and telling the world about my husband’s  wonderful qualities??

What did you think??

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Bumbos, marriage and school oh my...

Did you hear that Bumbo’s are being recalled?  It’s because several children have had skull fractures from falling off high surfaces while in their Bumbo.  So they have to recall ALL the seats because some parents aren’t watching their kids?   It’s like punishing a whole school class because 1 or 2 kids are misbehaving.  This time it’s the parents misbehaving by setting their baby on a table or countertop and then walking away.

I am not guilt free from setting my child on a countertop in a Bumbo, but I never was more than arms length away.  My baby boy was the Bumbo escape artist.  He could arch his back and squirm in just the right way to escape from it.

I say bring the Bumbo’s back, they are fabulous!  I honestly don't care that much since I'm out of the baby stage and gave my bumbo away a year ago.

My husband and I celebrated 16 years of marriage yesterday!!  It seriously does not seem that long, I chose wisely when I married.  How was I to know that he would be the best, most involved Dad I know, as well as so kind and good to me?  That he would always build me up, and he has never spoken an unkind word to me.  To me it speaks volumes about a person’s character when they treat their spouse and children with respect and kindness.   They are the most important relationships in life and yet sometimes they are the hardest people to treat with kindness because there is so much emotion and investment in the relationship.  It is also easy to focus on the negative when you know a person so very well.

Yesterday we were able to go on a lunch date (how I love having older kids to babysit!) and we were talking about some of our favorite memories of the past 16 years.  It was so interesting that some of our best memories are from the really challenging times.  Our college days when we were extremely poor and crazy busy, my last pregnancy and our preemie baby, our infertility issues and other trials.  It was eye opening to realize how much those times have bound us together and how much they have strengthened our marriage.  Interesting to think about.

School starts on the 27th!  I haven’t been ready for my kids to go back until this week.  But man alive I am ready to have some routine and structure back.  I’m ready for my pantry to stay full for more than 3 days, I’m ready for my house to stay picked up for longer than 5 minutes.  It’s stinkin’ hot here and nobody wants to go out and burn off energy,  the kids are bored and when they are bored, they act up.  Bring on school!

All of my kids are wearing uniforms this year.  My oldest son wears any solid colored polo with either khaki, navy or denim shorts or pants.  My 2 middles wear a polo with the school logo on it and either khakis or navy.  It simplifies things significantly I must say!  Now my boys don’t have to worry about matching (they are fashion challenged) because any combination of shirts/shorts/pants match!  Woohoo!

First grade has always been harder for me to send my kids to than kindergarten.  It is all day, they don’t feel like they are “mine” any longer because they are gone from me for so long, HOWEVER this year I have a first grader and I don’t feel that way!  He did kindergarten twice and is so ready to go all day!  I say bring on 1st grade, he is super excited and will flourish!

What are your opinions on the Bumbo recall or marriage or school uniforms?

Thursday, August 9, 2012

School Days

My kids have been attending our local public schools and doing quite well.  We live in the 5th largest school district in the country.  I have loved our school which is literally around the corner from us.  The huge majority of our teachers are amazing and doing their very best to educate and love the children they have been entrusted with.   We have been so fortunate and feel so blessed to have had the interaction with the teachers we have over the years.  Please know my frustrations with our educational system have very little to do with teachers.  I think teachers are amazing and do so much for our kids with all the restrictions put on them.

However, the majority of the policies and procedures that our humongous district has put in place I do not agree with.  We now have bureaucrats and politicians making decisions for my children instead of educators.  Most of the fine arts are being cut in middle schools.  My son has participated in drama the past 2 years of middle school and has loved it, but it is gone this year.  My older children have lived with ONE 10-15 minute lunch recess for most of their elementary school careers.  The teachers are being forced to teach to the test which seriously limits their ability to teach in an  interactive and hands on way.

 It eats me up and I have felt like I have absolutely no voice to make any changes.  Last year I had an experience (rememberthis?) with our administrator that left a bad taste in my mouth and I knew  when that happened we would be looking into other educational options for my children after that.  When you limit the decisions a parent can make for their child when they know best because of policies and it making your numbers look bad there is something wrong.

So after much thought we applied to go to a local charter school which I have heard nothing but great things about.  Unfortunately we didn’t get into the one which is around the corner, but we did get into a school that is in the same charter system, but we will be driving 25 minutes (one way).  It is worth it to me.  I have been to a couple of parent meetings and it is amazing to really have a voice and feel like what I say makes a difference.  There are only 350 students going to this school.  Our principal is phenomenal and is willing to take input and suggestions from the parents.  She is the authority, she doesn’t have to go to the district for permission to implement a policy. 

She was going to implement the one recess rule as well until a few parents spoke up.  Maybe I spoke up too much because she put me in charge of a committee to come up with a solution for it.  But honestly I am so excited because the lack of recess has been a thorn in my side for almost 10 years. I feel quite passionately about it, which is due to my early childhood ed. Background, but also I have a boy who will not do well in school with only 10 minutes of down time.  I have written letters to legislators, school board members etc, but yet I knew nothing I said made a difference. 

But guess what??  I can make a difference here because the principal is listening and not constrained by the district, she said she is willing to look into another 15 minute recess if we can figure out a way to do so with the limited time and space we have. 

We will meet with her next week and talk about it.  In the meantime I am researching about the benefits of recess and plan to share my research in the meeting.  I will keep you all (all 5 of you) posted!

What's your opinion about recess, school policies etc??

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


We are on a family vacation and we spent some time at Grandma and Grandpa's cabin.  It is a wonderful place filled with lots of places to explore, sticks to find, dirt to dig in etc.  But the most beloved place at the cabin is far and away the river.  Fishing is a huge activity at the river and nearly all the kids, regardless of age participate.  My 2 year old could have stood on the bank and thrown rocks in FOREVER.  Another favorite activity is tubing down the river.  The river is usually calm and slow moving and not much of a danger.  Above is a picture of my husband and 2 sons before they went tubing this past Monday (2 year old had to show off Dad's fly rod in the photo as well). 

The boys wanted a longer tube ride than normal so they hiked up a ways above where they normally put in.  I decided a few minutes after they left to walk up so I could snap some photos of them.  I was walking with my two little ones and we were having a great time on a little nature walk.  All of a sudden I heard my husband's voice, it had great desperation in it.  All I heard was "Garrett...GRAB THE TUBE!  GRAB THE TUBE!"  With those 7 words dread entered my heart and I started to panic.  You see Garrett didn't have a life jacket on (I know...don't judge) and while he is a great swimmer (thank you swim team), I knew he was no match for a swift river.  I ran to the bank thinking if he was coming downstream that perhaps I could grab him.  But when he didn't come and I didn't hear anything more from my husband I started to panic.  I picked up my 2 year old and ordered my daughter to run.  We got to where the boys were just as I saw my husband and 7 year old getting out of the river.  My son was wet from head to toe.  My 13 year old was emotional. 

I asked what happened and heard this story.  Nathan (my oldest son) went down first on the river.  He went around a bend where he was sucked into a tree.  He was fine and upright, but couldn't move.  Then Garrett went down, that same current that sucked Nathan in, sucked Garrett in too, except it capsized his tube and sucked him under water.  He was pinned underneath Nathan.  Nathan felt totally helpless as he knew his younger brother was under there, but he couldn't do a thing to help him.  Dave said he watched this as if in slow motion.  He got off his tube and ran down there, but couldn't see Garrett under the water.  He then stepped toward Nathan and stepped on something.  That something was Garrett.  Dave pulled him out of the river by his ankle.  He was going down stream.   He was underwater for about 30 seconds. 

I started to cry as I was hearing this.  It could have been a tragedy.  It could have turned out so much worse.  I am so grateful that my son is just fine and it wasn't his time to go.  I am so grateful my husband stepped where he did.  I am so grateful Garrett was able to hold his breath for 30 seconds (thank you swim spite of Garrett kicking and screaming to go everyday, it probably saved his life this week).  That morning my cute 4 year old daughter had said our morning prayer, in that prayer she asked that we would all be protected that day.  I am so grateful that prayer was answered.

I asked Garrett what he was thinking when he was under the water.  He told me he thought he was going to die, but he wasn't scared.  I asked him if he prayed and he said, "Not really, all I kept saying in my head was HELP! HELP!"  I told him that was a prayer and it was answered. 
Thankfully Garrett seems no worse for the wear.  He actually got back on the tube and went down on a very calm part of the river right after this experience.  He hasn't had any bad dreams and wants desperately to go swimming again.  He is one tough kid and I am so grateful for that grit and toughness.  He is one special boy and I told him he has lots of important things to do on this earth and God wants him here to accomplish his mission in life.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Never and Always

Two commonly used words in the English language.  Not dangerous, profane or offensive right?  

However I have learned in my 13 years of parenthood that I have eaten them MANY times because I was the perfect parent before I had children.

Here are a few examples of my statements over the years:

  • My child will NEVER run around in just a diaper (this 2 year old is vehemently opposed to clothing)
  • My child will NEVER have crusty boogers all over his nose
  • My child will NEVER throw a tantrum in the middle of the store.
  • I will NEVER go out of the house without a bra on,  in my pajamas.
  • I will NEVER yell, scream or spank my child.
  • I will NEVER have a nasty toilet with dried urine on the seat and base (4 boys...enough said)
  • I will ALWAYS read my children bedtime stories and sing them lullabies before bed.
  • I will ALWAYS bathe my children every day.
  • I will ALWAYS have a clean car and NEVER allow for there to be nasty crumbs and garbage throughout the interior.
  • I will ALWAYS have a nice yard and NEVER allow for weeds and grass to overtake it.
  • My children will ALWAYS sleep in their own beds.
  • I will ALWAYS breastfeed my children until they are a year old.
  • My children will ALWAYS nap until they are three years old.

You see what I mean?  It is a teensy bit dangerous to make such generalized statements because these statements are usually made before one is in the circumstance.  They can also be dangerous in that they can be used to judged others.  

It is also dangerous to use them with your children.  In fact this morning my son got out chocolate chips and asked if he could have them for a snack.  He started to open them even after I said No.  I said to him...."If you open that package and disobey me you will NEVER get to eat chocolate chips."  Yes in his whole life he will NEVER eat chocolate chips if he opens that package.  Wow, a shining moment in my mothering.

The longer I parent the longer I realize how things are constantly changing.  Each of my 5 children have such distinct personalities that what works for one child will not work for another.  Something my 13 year old would NEVER have said or done 5 years ago has certainly changed as he hits puberty.  Most of all I think we need to be kind to others, ourselves and our children and not generalize or judge a situation we aren't in.

There are two NEVER and ALWAYS statements I can say with conviction:

I will NEVER abuse or neglect my children and
I will ALWAYS love them fiercely!

What Never and Always statements have you said and look back on and laugh?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Summer lovin'....had me a blast....

My kids get out of school on Thursday.  I am so ready!  I am ready for a break from packing lunches, and school projects and last minute..."Oh Mom I have this massive project due tomorrow" conversations.  The last few weeks of school are absolutely nutso and I have felt like a chicken running with her head cut off lately.

We have a summer packed full of things to do.  Each child is taking a class of some sort to improve their talents and keep their bodies or mind active.  We have tennis class and art class and swim team and dance class, plus piano lessons which happen year round.  It will be lots of running to and fro, but it will also prevent lots of time in front of the TV or Wii.

 I downloaded a "do it yourself summer camp" from Power of Moms that gives some great ideas of giving a bit of structure to your summer.   Each day they earn points by doing things such as reading, writing (a story, starting a blog, in a journal etc), chores, practicing a skill/instrument etc.  At the end of the week they can earn rewards if they have earned so many points.   As a whole they can earn big rewards like bowling or going to a movie in the theatre etc.  I am excited to have something that rewards them for doing these good things.

Not to mention that we will be swimming and playing with friends and learning to sew pillowcases and quilts and learning to cook and building forts, and camping and hiking and a family vacation  and yes there will be some TV, movies and video games as well.  I CANNOT WAIT!

People are telling me I am crazy and that I will be running to and fro too much and that I will be going crazy (already there people dontcha know?).  I say bring it on!  You see our last 3 summers have been less than stellar.  Three years ago I had a miscarriage at the beginning of the summer and at the end of the summer I was pregnant with Drew and was high risk for another miscarriage.  Two summers ago I had a preemie baby who came home from the hospital 3 days before school got out.  He was on an apnea monitor and had severe reflux, we didn't go ANYWHERE, my kids watched TV and played video games constantly.  It was a really bad summer.  Last year my preemie was much better, but still needed two naps a day and hated the water.

This year my baby is 2 and sometimes takes 1 nap for an hour or so.  He still doesn't love the water, but does much better than he used to.  He is happiest when we are busy and out and about. So maybe it's crazy and we are packing too much into summer, but I cannot wait to play with my kids and watch their talents grow and develop and keep them active and healthy.   There will still be lots of down time for them to play and create and be "bored".

Bring on the craziness, bring on more time with my kids, bring on less structure, bring on the memory making!

What are you doing this summer?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Give me 5...

One of the best ideas I got from the Power of Moms retreat I attended back in April was the idea to do High 5's for our family weekly.  It highlights good things the kids have done throughout the week and acknowledges them in a public, displayed fashion.

You can see an example of it in the picture above.  I trace a hand and then write something down for each family member.  We do it either at Sunday dinner or at FHE.  I present everyone with their award and then they go around and high 5 everyone. We cheer and clap for each person.

It is a fun way to reinforce the positive things that are happening with my kids and it also helps me look for the positives during the week (so easy to focus on what they aren't doing, instead of all the good things they are doing).  Instead of trying to come up with something on the spot, I have been writing down things I notice and then pick one or two to put on their hand.  But I do share with them the other things I noticed as well.

What do you do in your family to acknowledge the positive things your kids do??

Friday, May 11, 2012

Random thoughts

Have you seen Time magazine's cover this week? I'm not linking to it, because I don't want to be associated with it. me it was horrifying.  I am pro breastfeeding, I was able to breastfeed 3 out of my 5.  I enjoyed it, I think it's the best thing for babies.  But THIS is not what breastfeeding is about.  This is an attempt by Time to sensationalize it and sell magazines.  Women who are debating whether to breastfeed are going to look at this and think breastfeeding is what crazy people do. Breastfeeding is about connection and snuggling and loving.   If they had a sweet baby and Mommy snuggling together on the cover, if the Mom was uncovered I have no issue about that.  This is practically child p*rn.

Apparently the article is about attachment parenting.  Hey I am all for creating healthy attachments because bad things happen when kids don't feel attached to their parents.  But THIS photo does not depict healthy attachment IMO.  Talk about the ultimate "helicopter parent" who can't let go??  In my opinion our job as Mothers is to teach them that they don't need us anymore.  From birth our job is to "wean" them from being dependent on us. What do you think?


I have had a CRAZY few weeks!  Whew!  The end of the school year is always full of programs and projects.  It was one thing after another and it was a bit stressful.  Today I had a day where I didn't have to go anywhere!  It was SO nice.  I cleaned my house!  I cycled and folded and put laundry AWAY.  I sat on the floor and played with my kids.

I am a MUCH better Mommy when I am not going 100 miles an hour.  Other women like life at a faster pace and do better that way.  That is not me and I am soooooo okay with that.  I like a much slower pace.  I am a homebody, I like to be home more than I like to be out.

I am learning that it doesn't matter what works for other people.  It doesn't matter what makes other Moms work, what matters is what works for ME and my family.  Be the best Mom I can be, not what I think others expect.

I learned at the retreat the three C's you should never do...complain, criticize or compare.  Especially that last C is so easy to do to ourselves as women.  And I do it and have especially done it in the past...."Oh man look at her, she has 6 kids and is skinny and beautiful and wears cute clothes and runs marathons and owns her own business and her house is clean and her kids always look perfect."  (please tell me you've done something similar).   It isn't healthy and it isn't nice to ourselves.

My baby (he's 2...not so much a baby, but he's my last one so he'll forever be the baby), is not wanting to nap these days.  AAAAGH!  I am a big fan of kids naps.  All of my kids have been GREAT nappers and have done so till AT LEAST age 3.  Some of them napped till 4 and beyond.  I don't know what to do with a kid who doesn't nap at age 2!  I get nothing done during the day because he is SUPER busy and active and jumps off tables and stuff like that.  Any suggestions for getting a non-napper to nap?  I can take him for a drive and he will fall asleep,  but he doesn't usually transfer inside and stay asleep.  I don't have the $$ to drive around for 2 hours everyday and waste gas!

Mother's's always a double edged sword.  So nice to be recognized for all I do and pampered a bit.  But sometimes the "Mommy guilt" rears it's ugly head in force on this day reminding me of all the things I'm not doing that I should be.  Any suggestions of how to have a great Mother's Day?

Friday, April 27, 2012

The Flood

This week was our week of "the flood" as it shall hereafter be referred to.  One of my children made a bad choice and ended up flooding a bathroom which in turn flooded into the downstairs and caused about $2,000 in damage. Surprisingly enough I stayed extremely calm through the whole thing. I didn't scream and yell, I didn't spank his bum. I am thankful for prayer because I said a prayer that I could respond appropriately.  Later after the situation had calmed down, my husband and I did hand out various consequences that we felt were appropriate for him.  The specific consequences need not be discussed, let's just say that he will be doing extra jobs for a while.

What was interesting to me is when I told people about it their reactions ranged from  "Oh that boy should be glad he doesn't live in my house." to  "I would have come unglued." to  "How did you not beat his bum?"

Let me just say that in every situation all of us will respond differently. All children are different and respond  differently.  This blog post is not to laud my parenting choice in this situation, heaven knows it was a shining moment in many non shining moments in my 13 years of parenting, although I am certain some think I wasn't hard enough on him or harsh enough with the punishment. This post is also not intended to judge others choices as far as parenting goes.

All parents and children are unique.  Individual circumstances vary and personalities are too numerous to count.  You have to find what works for YOUR individual child and for your personality.  I know this particular child better than anyone and I know that screaming and yelling at him would only make things worse and would breed resentment and more bad choices.

I truly believe that parenting is a huge refining process.   It definitely shows us our greatest weaknesses.  If we let it, it can make us into better people.  It can help us become more like our Father in Heaven by having unconditional love and showing kindness even when we feel our child doesn't deserve it.

Recently, I have recently made a conscious decision that when it comes to situations with my children (this child in particular) that I do not want to react.  Reacting to a situation is most often a knee jerk reaction to the situation. The definition of reaction is this:"Respond with hostility, opposition, or a contrary course of action." 

This talk by Thomas S Monson   is amazing, it talks about the right, responsibility and results of our actions..  It is our choice. I want to be able to act and not feel acted upon.  For my children screaming and yelling and spanking don't produce desirable behavior.  In fact I feel a bit out of control when I am reacting like that.  I want to be in control.  I don't want my children's behavior to dictate how I act.  I want to choose for myself.I want to teach my children how to respond to a less than ideal situation.

I am so imperfect.  My first reaction most times is to punish and scream and yell and sometimes that still comes out. But for me personally I want to do better.   Yes I am raising 5 of God's most amazing spirits, but they are helping me become better and are teaching me far more about myself than I am certain I am teaching them.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Power of Moms

I was fortunate enough to attend a "Power of Moms retreat" this past Saturday. It was truly amazing. If you ever have a chance to go, I would highly recommend it. It was inspiring and uplifting and recharged me. I learned so much and want to share it with so many people! I believe strongly in their message of empowering Mother's and building families.

Some of my "aha" moments are as follows (there are a boatload of blog posts coming on these)

  • I want to not just survive Motherhood, I want to THRIVE
  • "Having enough (or being enough) is as good as a feast"...Mary Poppins
  • No is a complete sentence.
  • Thinking of what I want my family to be in 30 years and working toward that goal helps me with the drudgery of the every day stuff like laundry, wiping snotty noses and potty training.
  • Motherhood is about relationships....what do I want my relationships with my children to be like. Preserve the relationship at all costs.
  • What do I want my children to remember about me when they are grown and telling their children about their childhood. I want them to know I loved being their Mom and treasured them. Treat them accordingly.
  • Never, ever treat your child as an annoyance. If I expect respect from them, I need to give them the same respect.
  • I am painting the picture of my motherhood experience, I need to be in control and not just let it happen.
  • Enjoy motherhood NOW.
  • Working together is a chance to build relationships. It's not about the yard work or the clean house, it's about building our children and nurturing the relationship.

It was an incredible weekend, I am so glad I went. I came home to chaos at home, a messy house and tired, grouchy children, but you know what? I dealt with it differently than I would have before.

Today I rocked my 2 year old to sleep for his nap. I rocked him a little longer than I normally would have. I loved cuddling with him and watched those long eyelashes droop to sleep. I realize that I am losing my baby and I'd better enjoy him now. It doesn't seem very long ago that my nearly 13 year old was snuggling up to me and falling asleep and now he is as tall as I am and growing daily.

Motherhood is the hardest job in the world. But man it is so worth it. I love my job.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Two years.....

My baby boy turns 2 today. So many memories are going through my mind as I think about the last couple of years. It has changed me. Having baby #5 was completely my submission to God's will for our family. I was happy and feeling stretched as thin as I possibly thought I could be with 4 children, and yet here I am stronger and more filled with faith in my Father's will for me. I can't imagine our life without the experience of my pregnancy and Andrew's early birth, it has been one of the most profound experiences of my life.

You see my body did not like pregnancy the 5th time around and I developed pre-eclampsia. In spite of best efforts he came 8 weeks early and weighed in at 3 lb 14 oz. I only got to give him a quick kiss before he was whisked off to the NICU where he was ventilated so he didn't have to work so hard to breathe. I didn't get to see him for 24 hours after that due to some medication I had to be on. I remember my husband wheeling me into the NICU and I was looking around for my baby, I thought I would recognize him. I didn't. Dave wheeled me up to his isolette and the tears started to fall, he was so much smaller than I expected and he was hooked up to so many lines and wires and he was so tiny and helpless.

Then I realized I couldn't do much for him, I couldn't hold him, I could barely touch him due to his immature nervous system. Preemie babies are a whole different ballgame than full term babies. He started to cry, the tiniest little cry you have ever heard, I leaned down to him and started to sing. His tiny head turned to me and he calmed right down. He knew me.

The picture above is the first time I was able to hold this little one, he was 3 days old, it was one of the happiest days of my life. It was only for 10 minutes and I had tears the whole time I was holding him. He was so little, his thigh was as big around as my thumb, his head was the size of a medium orange. It's hard for me to even remember how tiny he was. He ended up being in the hospital for 6 weeks, it was so hard. I was torn wherever I was. If I was home I wanted to be with my baby boy at the hospital, when I was at the hospital I was thinking about my 4 kids at home, hoping they were doing okay without me.

But look at him now! He reminds me everyday that miracles happen. He is the cutest, happiest, smartest, funniest little munchkin ever! Happy Birthday to my miracle boy, thank you for changing my life!

Friday, April 13, 2012

War on women?

I assume you have heard about the Hillary Rosen comments about Ann Romney. I loved this response that Ann Romney gave the morning after.

I didn't take her comments personally as I think her intent wasn't to criticize stay at home moms, her intent was to criticize Ann Romney as being out of touch with Americans. I think Ann Romney was very articulate and handled this with dignity and grace. I think she is Mitt's secret weapon and would make a classy first lady.

Here's my opinion. Ann Romney didn't struggle financially like the majority of Americans. That is not to say she hasn't struggled. She has battled breast cancer and she has MS which is a chronic, serious illness. To say Ann Romney hasn't struggled simply because she is wealthy is ludicrous. Wealth doesn't equal a perfect life.

Ann raised 5 boys who are now good men, and contributing to society. I am raising 4 boys and I think she deserves a medal. Raising children is hard work and kudos to her for staying home. To those critics who say, "But I am sure she had help in the form of nannies, housekeepers etc...." I am sure she probably did and man oh man she deserved it! I think every Mom deserves help, maybe the Democrats should legislate for nanny's and housekeepers for Moms...just kidding!

Here is my rant and then I will climb down off the soapbox. So many are critical of Mitt Romney's wealth. That he can't relate to "regular" Americans because he is rich. The Romney's haven't worried about money, but I am fairly sure they have had their hard times in other ways. Raising 5 children is not an easy task no matter how much help you have. And honestly it really irritates me when President Obama criticizes Mitt for his wealth because it isn't as if the Obama's are in the poorhouse. They cashed in million dollar treasury bonds (that's plural by the way) last year. So it's the pot calling the kettle black (no I am not using a racial slur for all you who are PC freaks).

So PLEASE let's stop focusing on the Romney's wealth and start focusing on the issues of the day. Like inflation and my gas tank that is super expensive to fill up. Like my Costco trip that cost me $400 yesterday and a year ago it would have cost me $250. Like my home that is so upside down I can't even foresee how we will ever be able to get out of it and into a bigger home (we are so bursting at the seams it isn't funny!). Let's focus on issues like that instead of Ann Romney staying home with her children and tell me what you are going to do about them so that I can continue to stay home with my children!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

He can do anything..cuz my Dad's the greatest guy around.

Today is my amazing Dad's 80th birthday! This is the year that he and my Mom turn 80. To celebrate they took all 7 of their children and spouses on a Mexican cruise last month.

It was fabulous! Seriously everything about it was so fun. But the very very best part was being with my family. I am the youngest of 7 children, there is a 16 year age gap between me and my oldest sister. You might think we wouldn't have much in common or be very good friends. However, my siblings are amazing, they are some of my favorite people to be with and are some of my closest friends. We are very different in personalities, we all have strong opinions, it might be easy to disagree and have squabbles and hold grudges, but we don't have any of that.

The longer I am a parent, the more I realize that didn't happen by chance. My parents created an atmosphere where we developed friendships and did things together. We worked together, we played together, we did LONG road trips together, we prayed together, we worshiped together. Yes we bickered and fought like all siblings do, but we were taught that our family mattered more than anyone else and we were taught to have forgiving hearts toward one another.

When I was young, I had a deep love for BYU football. I knew all the stats and I probably knew more about football than many boys my age.(I also had big time crushes on several players...Steve Young, Mark and Matt Bellini to name a few) My goal was to become a sportscaster when I grew up (that obviously changed, but I still do love sports). My Dad and I loved to watch together, I begged to be the one taken to the BYU football games. So in 1986 my Dad and I took a trip to Colorado Springs, CO to watch BYU play the Air Force Academy. We flew to Colorado and took the train home. I don't remember who won the game, but I do remember spending time with my Dad and am so grateful he and I have that memory and both had the love of BYU sports to share together.

My Dad is a man of great integrity. He taught me that sacrifice means giving up something good for something better. He taught me that being obedient to God's commandments brings happiness and serving in the church brings blessings. He taught me through his example that my Father in Heaven is loving and kind but has high expectations and knows my potential. He didn't put up with laziness or second best. He is such a good example of taking good care of his physical body through diet and exercise. He taught me to work hard but he also taught me that playing hard is good too. We used to go to Lake Powell every year where we had a houseboat and ski boat. We then bought a cabin at Brighton ski resort in Utah. We spent lots of time in the mountains hiking and skiing. In fact both of my parents STILL hike and they STILL ski! They are amazing.

I am so blessed to have such a Father, he is such a blessing in my life and because of him and my Mom I had such a great foundation for a happy, healthy life. I love you Dad!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

I can run 100 miles....

I just saw this challenge on another blog. I am doing it! It is to run/walk/exercise 100 miles in 3 months. It started April 1st so I am a bit behind.

It means going on average 8 miles a week. If you don't run/walk, every 15 minutes of exercise counts as a mile.

I need some motivation as my exercise has waned a bit recently. I am excited to do this and am wondering if anyone wants to join me?

Thursday, March 29, 2012


Here is a great post about attending a Power of Moms Retreat...worried about attending, too pricey?? Read this article.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Professional Development

*After some feedback I am adding this disclaimer...this is about my choice for my family and my life. It is in no way being judgemental about your choices and your family. If you have made the choice to work outside the home that is your prerogative and I have no problems with others choices.

I am a stay at home Mom. This is not by default. This is a choice I made many years ago before I ever had a baby. Even as a young girl and as a teenager I knew I wanted to go to and graduate from college and get an education, but I knew I wanted to be a full time Mom.

When I was dating, one thing I was looking for in the guys I dated as prospective husbands was someone who shared my philosophy. Someone who felt as strongly as I did that the best thing for our family was for Mom to be in the home full time with the kids. My husband said that is one thing that attracted him to me was that I felt so strongly about that.

I graduated with a degree in early childhood education. You see I wanted my education to assist with my chosen career path. I worked as a preschool director for a few years before children and on a very part time basis as an instructor at a junior college after we had our first baby. But for most of the past 12 years my career path has been Motherhood. It was a deliberate choice.

It is not easy, it is exhausting and draining and I am certain I have lost brain cells and my sanity along the say. It has involved time, my body, material things, my own ambitions and desires to some extent. However it is also the most fun, most joyful career I could have chosen. I wouldn't give it up for anything as I consider it to be the "ultimate career".

However along with the path I have chosen it can feel isolating and difficult as there is not a lot of opportunity for "professional development". There are very few opportunities to get together in an organized manner to visit with other Moms and learn together.

I am so excited to announce that there is a wonderful opportunity coming up soon onApril 20-21st in Las Vegas. It is a Motherhood Retreat put on by the Power of Moms website. I love the Power of Moms, it gives mothers a place to gather and connect with each other. You can read essays from other Moms as well as learn and grow through their various programs. I have been wanting for a long time to attend one of their Motherhood retreats as the ones I have read about look wonderfully uplifting and chock full of information and ideas. Plus you get to hang out with other like minded Moms and make new friends. Please consider attending as I know it will be great. I will be there, and if you want to go together that would be great! Here is the registration info. You may think it seems pricey, but if you look at any other professional or motivational training and the costs involved, this is a bargain!

Let me know if you decide to go!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


I am certain you have seen these stickers on peoples cars. It indicates they have completed a marathon. Running 26.2 miles is quite the accomplishment and they have earned bragging rights as far as I am concerned.

I just went on a fabulous cruise with my parents, siblings/spouses. It was so fun, but the best part was being together. One day my brother pulled out his 26.2 sticker which he has earned by running a marathon, but he also pulled out a sticker he had altered that said 2.62. His lesson in all of this was to strive for our best no matter what that might be. For some of us, 26.2 is our goal, but for some 2.62 is what we can do right now.

For me to run 2.62 miles would be AWESOME and would feel like a huge accomplishment. 26.2 is absolutely out of my reach currently. I am proud of myself for working hard over the last couple of months. I can now run over a mile without stopping, that is huge considering when I started I couldn't run a block. My goal is to run a 5K, but 2.62 sounds pretty great too.

A blog post I read today really struck me. You can find it here. It talks about being enough. That we need to strive for our personal best, but not compare ourselves to others. We need to realize when we are doing our best and not beat ourselves up when we aren't perfect.

I work hard on keeping a clean house. But it never is. I could walk into other's clean homes and feel bad about myself for having a cluttered home. But I choose not too. I work hard at it, I do my best and it is good enough.

I could feel bad about all my friends who literally run miles around me, but I choose not too because I am working my hardest and I have improved greatly from where I was.

When we compare ourselves to others, or when we don't give ourselves credit for what we are doing well and what we have improved upon we rob ourselves of JOY. Feeling badly about ourselves, feeling guilt and never giving ourselves the benefit of the doubt rob us of true happiness.

What are you doing well? What have you improved upon?

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Random thoughts...

I have started 4 blog posts. I get about halfway done with them and decide I don't want to publish them. My brain has shut down on blogging. I must get going again especially on my family blog to document our lives.

So here are some thoughts that have been kicking around in this brain of mine.....

One of the posts I started was close to Valentine's Day/Whitney Houston's death. I think I couldn't finish it because I was in mourning...haha. I.Love. Whitney (even if she was a crackhead). What a tragedy to have such a bright light extinguished because of drugs. Addiction is a terrbile thing.

Her music is much of the soundtrack of my high school/college years. I listened to her nonstop for a week after her death. When you have these words"Didn't we almost have it all when we wanted to dance with somebody all at once." going through your brain constantly you can't help but become a romantic sap! I waxed poetic about my handsome husband, I gave a little history of my lack of romance in my teen years. But then I read it a few days later and scrapped it.

I haven't really talked about this on this blog but I am passionate about fighting against pornography. This blog post is amazing about this subject. Another blog post by my bloggy friend also named Cheryl sparked many of my thoughts.

I have a wonderful husband, 4 amazing sons and a sweet daughter that I am fighting for. The fact of the matter is, it is not IF they will encounter it but WHEN they will. I must arm them with the tools to deal with it when it happens. It is an open discussion in our home. Satan is extremely blatant and bold with his agenda I feel parents must be equally bold to protect their children. Pornography addiction is real, the studies show it is as powerful (or more so) than a drug addiction. It takes away the humanity of people and turns them into objects. It alters the mind so human relationships aren't healthy.

I was at the BYU Women's Conference a few years ago and Julie Beck (RS General President) was talking. She was talking about pornography and paused for a minute. She then said (I think she even pounded the pulpit a little), "Sisters...FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT against this evil!!" I literally felt a call to action at that moment. It was powerful, I still get chills when I think about it. So I have gotten involved a bit, but I want to do more. I get newsletters and emails from various groups who fight against filth on television and in the community. I wish I could fight against the filth on our billboards here in Vegas. They are horrible and I hate to drive on our freeways for that very reason. We don't go to the strip. I don't need my children exposed to that garbage and to have those images in their minds. I would like to get more involved in the fight against it with an organization so I could really make a difference especially locally.

PLEASE be aware of what your children are doing on the computer, what they are doing with friends and what they have on their cell phones. Their privacy is much less important than their safety and protecting their minds. It is everywhere, we must be vigilant.

Well I didn't start this post intending to go on about pornography but I did. What are you passionate about? Do you know of any organizations that are involved in the fight against pornography?

My friend Cindy just led me to this's fabulous. Go check it out.

Monday, February 13, 2012

My loves....

Husband of 15 1/2 years:
Hard working, kind, funny, happy, romantic, my support, my cheerleader

Boy #1:
Tender hearted, funny, smart, academically and musically gifted, confident

Boy #2:
Creative, sweet, affectionate, smart, great help with little siblings, plays music by ear

Boy #3
Enthusiastic, athletically gifted, energetic, feels deeply, affectionate, happy

Girl #1 (child #4)
Sweet, loving, nurturing, beautiful, animated, friendly, concerned with everyone elses needs

Boy #4 (child #5)
Growing too fast, animated, happiest child I know, whole body smiles, sweet, smart

There are the 6 loves of my life in a nutshell. I am so very blessed to have each one of them!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Mountain climbing....

Last week I read this article and although I related to much of it, something didn't sit right with me. Today I read this blog post in response to the previous article and it resonated with me because that is what I want to focus on as a Mom. (If you have time, read them both, they are both well written and have good points.)

That being said Being a Mom is hard work. Many days I am overwhelmed and discouraged. Many days I get very frustrated with my kids. Many days I want to pull my hair out due to the mess and chaos that seems to reign in my house. I say this because I don't think we talk about it enough, we put on the happy face and everyone thinks we do everything well. Well I don't do everything well. Stop by spontaneously to see me and you will see that organization and housekeeping are not my strong suits. In fact today is a rough day and I feel like my laundry and cleaning are my Mount Everests.

Most of the time I'm not frustrated with being a Mom, I'm frustrated with all the other things I need to do. I love being a Mom with everything I have. It's what I've always wanted to do, I get frustrated with not having the time to do what I want to as a Mom because the house is calling and the laundry is piling up etc.. If I had unlimited resources I would pay for someone to do my daily chores so I could focus on my kids and being a Mom. I don't have depression but some days I feel discouraged and down on myself and life in general.

There are lots of things that help me overcome some of these feelings. Going to the temple, reading my scriptures, prayers etc..... But there is one tool that I have not utilized enough in the past that is helping me immensely lately.


It not only helps me be physically healthy, it also helps me be emotionally healthy. It relieves stress, it gives me added energy. My kids and husband can tell the days I exercise and the days I don't. It's dang hard to find time to do with with 5 children. It's extremely inconvenient with a husband who leaves for work before 6 most days. But it is worth the inconvenience to get the pay off. I only get to do it for about 30 minutes 3-5 days a week. But that 30 minutes of investing in me is paying huge dividends. You wouldn't look at my body and think I'm a woman who loves to exercise. I'm not doing it to lose weight, I'm doing it for my health in all aspects. I am happier and healthier than I have been in years. I'm a convert and it's a habit that is going to stick around for a long time.