Thursday, October 23, 2014

Bloggin, schnogging...

I am finding a hard time being motivated in blogging. Part of it is, there is a big blog post I need and want to write, but I want to do it right and I'm nervous about communicating it well, so I sit in front of the computer and start writing and get writer's block.  I think I have about 5 drafts of it.   This is not that post.  Here is my attempt to get back into it. Don't expect much because I'm getting back into it sloooooowly.

I have lived away from a real Autumn season for 13 years.  (I know I have Vegas friends who claim Vegas has fall, you need to come to Utah for September and October and experience it for reals).  I.AM.IN.LOVE.  Wow it's beautiful.  Love the vibrant yellows, oranges and REDS (reds are my favorite). I love the smell of fall,  love the slight chill in the air, love the crunchy leaves on the ground.  I have always claimed that spring was my favorite season...I think fall is tied for the favorite now.  We have been to the mountains a few times recently, we have gone on drives and on a hike.  Absolutely breathtaking!


Since we moved here I have been looking for a part time job to supplement the family budget.  A friend of mine started selling Younique makeup and encouraged me to look into.  I blew it off for a bit because I did NOT want to do direct sales.  It's not really me, but the more I looked into it and the more I prayed about it, the more I knew it was just what I was looking for.  I do it all from my computer or phone on my time and schedule.  The investment was minimal and Younique is a great company based on great values.  So I took the plunge and did it.  It has been a huge blessing for our family, plus it is fun!  

Here are my before and after photos, top is with my regular mascara, bottom is with the Younique 3D mascara.  It is a product that says what it will do.  The other cosmetics they sell are fantastic too.   I promise I won't get all sales pitchy on here, but it is a big part of what I'm doing these days.  If you want to host an online party or want to check out the products my website it:


Does anyone else get overwhelmed when watching all the scary stuff on the internet?  ISIS, Ebola etc etc.  I have been having horrible dreams lately and I'm sure it's from hearing about all this negative.  How do you combat it?  How do you stay informed without being consumed with worry?  

These 6 people along with our extended family mean the world to me and their well being, safety and healthy is so important to me, so I can't help myself sometimes.  

However when I immerse myself in God's word and put my trust in Him it helps my anxiety greatly.  Here's a recent scripture I came across in my study recently in Doctrine and Covenants chapter 6 verses 34 and 36.  I need to plaster it everywhere, so I remember it!

 Therefore, fear not, little flock; do good; let earth and hell combine against you, for if ye are built upon my rock, they cannot prevail.

Look unto me in every thoughtdoubt not, fear not.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Come on Mom..

My kids start school on Wednesday. We have had a great summer, but today I wanted to do one more big "hurrah". We have passes to a couple of local water parks and so this afternoon we drove to one we hadn't been to all summer. It was so much fun to play together as a family.

To be perfectly frank I really do not like the water park. I don't like donning a swimsuit, I don't like the crowds, I'm not a fan of the big huge fast slides. BUT....I really really love my kids. They love going to these parks A LOT, so I go and I do have fun once we are there. You know, I don't really even think of myself in the swimsuit once we are there because guess what? This isn't about me, this is about them.

I spent much of my time in the kiddie area today with my 6 and 4 year old while my husband was with my older boys on the big slides, which is just fine by me.  I was having fun watching them go down some small slides when my daughter said, "Come on Mom and go with us!" I hesitated because not many parents were going. But I went and my two littles couldn't have been more delighted, their faces just lit up when I went down after them.  We went over and over again and laughed and laughed.

Playing and laughing with them and with my older kids and husband (as we did venture on some of the bigger slides with them) was medicine for my soul.  I need to play and laugh more with them.  There was no bickering, no impatience, it was just plain fun.  It's an investment into our relationship account so when things are tough there is enough invested when a withdrawal happens. I need to remember that having FUN is a secret ingredient to a happy Mom and happy kids.  And I need to just get in the water and go down the slides...figuratively speaking.  

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Mini retreat

This post will be a bit boring because I forgot to take any pictures during this mini retreat.  This was my first retreat where I was in charge of all the details, and I forgot the picture detail.  I think I covered the rest of the details, so that's pretty good for my first time right?  I wasn't super nervous for teaching, I was nervous that I had all the details taken care of (that isn't necessarily my strength), but it worked out.

I had a great co-presenter in Lacy Anderson, this was her first retreat being a presenter.  She did amazing and is a natural teacher.  Thanks Lacy, you made it easy to do this with you!

We had a small group for the retreat, 13 total.  But it was actually really nice that it was small.  Lots of participation and we could talk about specific questions and be more personal.  The group we had was a really wonderful group of Moms who gave fantastic insights and participated so much.  Thank you ladies for being so great!

Some of my favorite insights from the retreat were:

  • You will always have people who disagree with the choices you make in parenting.  You must get to the point where you are at peace with your choices and who you are and just thank them for input and let it go.
  • What is unique about you?  Write it down, come up with POSITIVE unique things about yourself and celebrate and develop those.  Develop YOU so you have more to give to your kids.
  • Find out what your "motherhood identity" is. Create your own "brand" of motherhood and become comfortable with that.  What do you think of when you think of Nike or Coke?  That is their brand, develop that for yourself.
  • Write a motherhood "mantra".  If someone were to ask what you believe about motherhood or something you believe in, you could "sell" your brand in a couple of short sentences.
  • Write a mantra about how you want to mother, one participant's mantra is, "Be kind, cherish the moments and love them."  Simple, yet a good reminder of what she wants to be as a Mother.
  • Validate yourself, when you do something well pat yourself on the back (or the tush like athletes) and say, "Good job me! or Good game!"  Heaven knows our kids don't validate us, we need to do it for ourselves.  Write it down, give yourself kudos for doing a great job!
  • Avoid the compare snare, be careful of social media.  Your children want you!
  • Balance can be an unattainable goal, learn to "tilt" instead.  Sometimes you are tilting toward a newborn baby, sometimes you are tilting toward sick children or a difficult teen or a school carnival you are in charge of.  The goal is balance for a lifetime, not balance for a day or a week.
I love these retreats, no matter if I'm an attendee or a presenter, I learn so much and get so recharged.  It was a great night with amazing Moms.  We figured there were 45+ kids represented there with these Moms and the ripple effect can be huge if even one thing these women learn is implemented and makes them better Moms.  I'm so grateful for the Power of Moms organization and all they are doing to strengthen families.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

You are invited....

Back in this post I talked about fulfilling my dream as a Power of Moms trainer.  I went to Albuquerque (even learned how to spell it) in March and had a fantastic opportunity to present at a retreat.  I loved  every minute of it.  You can read here about how these retreats have impacted our family greatly.

Me with Tiffany Sowby as a presenter in ABQ

Me with April Perry, co-founder of Power of Moms and Tiffany 
at the Vegas retreat in 2013

Some photos of an all day retreat.  A lot of interaction and discussion happens
at these events.

Now I am excited to begin holding "mini retreats" with the same information presented in all day retreats just broken down into 2-3 hour evening or Saturday morning classes.  Many Moms have a hard time taking an entire day away from their families.  This will perhaps allow more women to attend and get this valuable information and experience of gathering with other like minded, deliberate Mothers.  

The first mini retreat I will be presenting at (with another POM trainer) will be held on August 1st in the Salt Lake area. We will be talking about finding peace, purpose and joy in Motherhood.  I promise there will be much support, interaction and discussion.  You will come away feeling uplifted and empowered.  If you are interested in attending, or hosting one of these events, please let me know.  I would love to have you attend or teach one in your home with your friends/family.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Summer lovin

Summer vacation has been in full swing for several weeks now. I have conflicted feelings about summertime. I love having my kids around and the slower pace, but it is also hard to get my stuff done and I also want to help my kids be productive and content. In the past I have stressed about that. 

The past couple of weeks though I have decided to relax about it a bit. Yes we have days that have a lot of this going on:

But we also have lots of things like this: 

And this: 

Once or twice a week we have a Mommy adventure where we get out and explore and go to museums or hikes or swimming or the water park. I enjoy these days and love spending time with my kids. My oldest is 15 and in THREE short years he will be off to college or on a mission. I'm lucky he still likes to go on these adventures with us. The other days are spent at home or closer to home so I can get things done. My kids can find friends or do other things. I don't think it is my job to entertain them. 

I remember as a kid that most days I was riding my purple banana seat bike in my swim suit with a towel around my neck, to the local swim club (pictured above). I was meeting friends there and spending the day. My Mom didn't entertain me or plan grand adventures. My Mom certainly spent time with me and a couple of times during the summer we would do something big like an amusement park. Life is so different now, we feel like we have to have grand plans for our kids in the summer or we feel like a bad parent. I have seen online where people are saying their kids said the "B" word...bored. I don't think it's bad for kids to be bored. They need to learn to find things to do and be creative.

We aren't going on a big summer vacation. We are going up to a family cabin in August for a few days, and maybe a camping trip, but mostly we will be at home. 

Here are our summer job charts, we have a rule of no screens until after lunch. They have a few jobs that include practicing piano, for the younger kids they do some reading and math practice, their daily kitchen job, a couple of jobs that take about 10-15 minutes, their bedroom, working on scouting etc. My two older boys are doing their own laundry and helping plan and prepare a meal once a week. 

My older kids have had several opportunities to work for other people and earn some money which has been so great. I love that they are learning the value of work and money and learning to work for another boss besides me and my husband. 

Our family project this summer is this garden. The garden deserves a post of it's own, but suffice it to say it is a way to teach work and unity. It's not always pretty when we go and the kids are weeding and irrigating, almost always there is heavy complaining. However, that doesn't mean it isn't still teaching them and it's still worth it. 

So if my kids have a day here and there when they play screens for a few hours at a time I'm not going to stress. We are having a lot of fun together. They are learning to work hard and accomplishing good things daily. They are learning life skills that will serve them well in the future. 

Still to do this  summer:

Lemonade stand
Liberty park
Hiking and fishing
Fourth of July!! (My favorite holiday next to Christmas)
Natural history museum

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Fitted sheets and lullabies

Last night was filled with multiple awakenings by a sad, sick 4 year old child and empty of any quality sleep. Every 15 minutes I was desperately needed by this boy who was scared to death at  the intensity of his illness.


The morning after a night like that always tests me and pushes my body to its limits. Of course there were multiple loads of sheets and towels and pajamas to launder. As I yawned and folded yet another fitted sheet I realized that my skills at folding fitted sheets are subpar.


My Mother certainly tried to teach me how to fold them neatly; hospital corners were expected in the making of a bed in my growing up home. My Mother is an amazing organizer and has neatness woven into her character. I missed out on that gene somehow. . The skill of somehow managing to control those rounded corners into a tidy pile of linen to be properly placed on a closet shelf was not something that transferred from my mother’s skill set into my own.


Last night when my sweet boy was wracked with illness and I held him and kissed his sweaty brow and rocked him and rubbed his back,  I sang to him and gently put him back to sleep. Neat sheets were low on the priority list last night.


In addition to her skills with hospital corners and fitted sheets, my Mother also taught me about nurturing a sick child in the night. I remember being very young and getting horrible ear infections and sore throats. One of my earliest memories (probably the same age as my son), is of her, rocking me in the wee hours of the morning in the creaky old rocker, while singing “Bye-O" to me (our family lullaby). My Mom sings off key and always has, but I remember as a child thinking her voice was like an angel’s. I can almost picture this night in my mind’s eye, it is one of my very earliest memories.


I'm quite certain the skill of folding a fitted sheet pales in comparison to the most important lessons she taught me that night almost 40 years ago. Thank you Mom for all the life skills you taught me, but most of all thank you for teaching me through example that my children are worth sacrificing for, staying up for, and staying home for. I know through watching you that Motherhood is a noble and worthy calling and the best choice for my life. Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Survive or thrive?

(Image found here

I remember going to my first power of moms retreat and April Perry talking  about not just surviving but thriving in this journey of motherhood. That really resonated with me because I had already years before decided that I do not want to spend a good chunk of my life in survival mode. I've been doing this parenting thing for 15 years and have at least that long until my youngest leaves home. That's 30 years that I don't want to white knuckle it through life, but I want to thrive and become who I am supposed to become. I want my kids to know that I loved life and adored being their Mom, that I was always trying to learn and grow and be better. My Mom is such a great example of always learning, growing and bettering herself.  Of course there are days that I white knuckle it and barely get through but I don't want that to be my life.  It's about making a conscious choice to love this life I've chosen and that has been given to me. It's about waking up every morning and to start out with the question, "What is this day going to bring and what am I going to get out of it? What am I going to learn and what adventure are we going to have? I am going to be an amazing Mom and person today!" 

This wasn't always the case. I remember some days waking up and sort of dreading getting out of bed, I remember even occasionally vocalizing that I hated my life. I had sort of let life happen to me and hadn't made the choice to choose happiness and deliberately make my life happy. It's not about circumstance, it's about mindset. I for sure still have days where I have a hard time getting out of bed and where I feel down, but those are much fewer and farther between than they used to be because I have made the choice to intentionally be happy no matter what. 

So what is your choice? 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Giveaway winner

Sorry I haven't gotten to this until now but the Motherhood Realized books I ordered just barely came today! Sorry they aren't signed by the authors like I said they would be, that just didn't happen at the book launch like I thought it would. 

So the winner is Amy Hughes! I had Drew choose either 1,2 or 3, so this was highly scientific. Amy email me your address and I will send you the book in the next week, you will love it! 

Friday, April 18, 2014

Because of Him

This painting is by Carl Bloch and is depicting the angel who comforted the Savior in Gethsemane. It is one of my very favorites. I know we have angels who comfort is in our darkest hours as well.

I absolutely love this new video my church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) has put out for Easter. It is touching and beautiful no matter your religious beliefs. 

Because I am blogging from my phone I can't embed the video, but here's the link. I promise it is worth your time. #becauseofHim

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Easter week

I love the week of Easter. This year we are using this book for our Easter week celebrations. It gives great ideas that you can make as simple or as complex as you like. We are doing a daily devotional where we read scriptures about what happened that particular day leading up to the crucifixion and we have chosen an Atonement hymn (I Stand All Amazed) and a Resurrection hymn (Did Jesus Really Live Again from  the Children's songbook) that we are learning in our devotionals. We are doing some week long activities about loving and serving each other (because we desperately need that). 

We will do a regular egg hunt on Saturday with our family and the Easter bunny will bring baskets on Sunday with a few simple fun things. 

We will also do our spiritual egg hunt on Sunday (link found here 

We will make resurrection rolls for breakfast. (Link here:

Our Easter dinner will consist of some symbolic foods such as fish (fishers of men, Jesus ate fish after his resurrection), bread (bread of life), grape juice (water to wine, sacrament). I will probably come up with some other ideas as I read more about the Savior this week. 

This is the first year we have done this much to celebrate. My kids are ready for this and can handle it,  we have always done a few things to learn about the real meaning of Easter, but now we are adding in more. If your kids are little, one or two simple things are perfect to teach the kids. Using pictures to tell them about the Savior is perfect, talking about spring and the new growth and rebirth is also a way to teach them. The bible videos from are fantastic as well.  

I know that My Savior came to earth to live among men and that he willingly suffered in Gethsemane for our sins, weaknesses and struggles. I know that he willingly gave up His life for each one of us and because of His glorious Resurrection we will live again.

What do you do to celebrate Easter?

*my computer is on the fritz and I am blogging on my phone, so my blog posts may be shorter and less frequent until it's fixed.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

GIVEAWAY...and my favorite parenting book ideas

You could say one of my hobbies is reading Parenting books.  I like reading different philosophies and ideas and then incorporating some of the ideas into our family.  I don't totally subscribe to one philosophy, I take bits and pieces and use what feels best to me to use in our family.

There are thousands of parenting books and it is easy to get totally overwhelmed with information and ideas.  Honestly sometimes reading these books can be detrimental because you think they are the "experts" and start listening to them instead of your own intuition.  You are the real expert on your child and you should look at parenting books as a supplement to your own information and ideas about your child.  Don't totally take their word for it, but you can get new ideas and strategies from books about parenting.

One of my new favorites is  the new book "Motherhood Realized: An inspiring anthology for the hardest job you'll ever love."  It is a beautiful, real look at the role of Motherhood and the ups and downs but ultimately the joys of it.  I am on the "book launch team" (sorry if you are sick of hearing about it from me). This has been very exciting because this book is #65 on ALL of and has a real shot of making it to the NY times bestseller list.  We are making a big push for this week to try and get it on that list so that media opportunities will be more available.  This isn't to pad any one person's pocket, this is to promote the importance of motherhood and to join women together to help each other.  It would make wonderful Mother's Day gifts, baby shower gifts, birthday gifts for friends etc.... Consider buying one or two or ten.  You can buy it here  If you buy this week, there are some additional gifts from Power of Moms, read about those here

I have read an advance copy and it is beautiful.  It made me laugh out loud and made me cry. The best part for me was that these are short essays that I can read in 5 minutes and I can read in the carpool lane or while my kids are playing.  It's an easy way to get a bit of an uplift in a short time.   I will give a signed copy away if you comment on this post.  I will give it out (or mail it out) next week after I attend the book launch and get a few of the authors to sign it.   Who wants to attend the book launch with me??

Comment below with your favorite parenting book. 

So here are a few parenting book ideas:

Here are a few of my favorites:

How to talk so kids will listen, and listen so kids will talk by Adele Faber

I didn't plan to be a Witch and a Joyful Mother of Children by Linda Eyre

Raising a Spirited Child by Mary Kurcinka (has fantastic ideas for raising any child)

Mitten Strings for God and The Gift of an Ordinary Day by Katrina Kenison

Parenting with Love and Logic  by Jim and Charles Fay (don't love everything in it, but lots of great ideas in this one 

Deliberate Motherhood

If I Have to tell you one more time by Amy McCready (reading this right good)

The 5 Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman

Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Books I have not read, but have come highly recommended
Celebrate Calm (this is actually CD's and a website to subscribe to

The Game of Work by Charles Coonradt

Healing the Shame that Binds You by John Bradshaw

Hold on to your Kids: why parents need to matter more than peers

The Secrets of Happy Families by Bruce Feiler

Parenting books for the LDS Community:
Not every one who reads my blog is LDS, so I put this in a different category because of that.  Here are some of my favorites with an LDS perspective:

The Book of Mormon (seriously the best book to learn about parenting, it is all about families, it is all about imperfect families.)

The Power of Positive Parenting by Glenn Latham

Christlike Parenting by Glenn Latham (one of my very favorites)

Raising up a family to the Lord by Gene R Cook

Mothering with Spiritual Power: Book of Mormon inspirations for raising a righteous family by Debra Woods

I am a Mother by Jane Clayson Johnson

Sunday, March 23, 2014

ABQ retreat

I had a fantastic weekend in Albuquerque with Tiffany Sowby. We flew out at the crack of dawn, literally.  Our flight left at 6 a.m, it was crazy early but gave us a whole day in ABQ which was great, I hadn't ever spent any time there. We met up with Angela Brown who's husband is cousins with my husband and we have bonded through both having 5 kids and a totally crazy life and thanks to Facebook.

We met up with Angela (in the light blue sweater) for lunch, we had such a good time we decided to make it a girls night and get a hotel (we were previously going to stay at someone's house).  We had some therapy sessions, lots of good discussions about life and we laughed.....A.LOT.

The next morning we went to a beautiful home and met up with some amazing, deliberate Mothers.  We had amazing discussions and I learned so much from them.  I'll put my insights at the end of the post.  I was a bit nervous to present as it was my 1st retreat as one of the main presenters, but once I started it was SO FUN.  I really loved it so much.  I hope to be able to teach in this format more often.  

This is Tiffany, she is awesome.  She is the director of trainers for Power of Moms and I'm grateful she gave me this opportunity to do my first (hopefully of many) retreat.  Before we left, Dave asked me if I was nervous to spend so much time with her because we haven't spent much time together other than the two Las Vegas retreats, but I told him I thought we would get along and I was right.  I felt like we have known each other for a long time. We have a lot in common and had some enlightening, interesting talks.  We have plans to go to lunch together and dinner with our husbands in the future.

Here's some photos of the day, including one of me presenting :)

We had 4 babies there (the other had left already when we thought to take this picture).  They were SO good and so cute!   My babies would never have done that well, I was amazed.

 This is the team who made this day happen.  Jen  and Emily on the left were the ones who wanted to bring a retreat to ABQ and worked so hard to make it a go.  Registration was slow to happen so Jen, Emily and Angela worked their magic  and spent hours working on getting more people there.  Thanks ladies, you are awesome!
There is a real phenomenon called Post Retreat Letdown Syndrome.  It happens to everyone.  My youngest was a monster this morning.  He did not want to go to church, this is a picture of him in the car waiting in the parking lot until he calmed down (it took a LONG time).

It's an interesting thing to teach, because I always learn SO much from teaching others.  It was great to be able to participate in the discussions and learn from the people who attended.  Here are a few of my insights:
  • From our host who has grown children, when it comes to teens remember 3 things: don't take it personally, have a sense of humor and this is temporary!
  • Another insight is totally avoid getting into a discussion until you have a calm face, voice and body.  Otherwise it is just an argument and nothing productive happens.
  • Clear, communicated expectations are essential
  • Teaching kids to work, isn't just about hard physical labor.  Music lessons, sports and school can also teach important principles of hard work and persistence.
  • Life is long, you can have it all, just not all at once.
  • Comparison is the thief of joy...Theodore Roosevelt
  • How do we teach our kids that progressing and learning new things is a good thing if we aren't doing that?
  • How do we teach our kids to love themselves and not compare to others if we are constantly comparing ourselves to others?
  • My favorite insight.  I am so far from a perfect Mom, but I am a GOOD MOM because I am trying my best daily and I am 100% committed to my kids and I love them fiercely!
I am looking to hopefully teach some smaller workshops on this material locally. I am looking into teaching through community education or in people's homes with groups of women (if you want to host a workshop I would love to teach one).

A big HUGE shout out to my husband.  He is amazing, before I even asked him he took Friday off so he could be with the kids.  I came home to a fairly clean house and pansies planted in my front yard.  I LOVE flowers so he definitely spoke my love language.  He is wonderfully supportive, I'm so blessed.

I have attended 4 retreats which equates to interacting with 120+ women.  There are SO many wonderful, deliberate mothers out there who want to do their best.  It gives me hope that our society will be just fine.  This particular weekend these 22 mothers represented 88 children.  The ripple effects with be huge.  Even if they only implement one thing they learned it will strengthen their family and they will be better Moms.  

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Shine on...

Have you ever found something that you were passionate about?  That makes you light up and "shine"? And then have you ever let your own self doubt and insecurities or others opinions stop you from pursuing that?

I have been thinking about quite a bit lately.  So many times I find something I love to do and then the thoughts come into my head such as..."you aren't good enough", "who are you to accomplish that?", "you are selfish to pursue something outside of your family."   I have turned from several opportunities or interests because of those thoughts.  I have a firm belief in God, but also a belief on the flip side of the good that comes from God, that there is also a darker power named Satan who does NOT want us to live up to our potential and puts those thoughts there.  He wants us to live in fear and insecurity because then it blocks us from fulfilling our God give potential.

It's not just with dreams or passions that it happens.  It happens every day in our lives, especially as Moms.  We never feel like we are enough.

An example of this is, I wrote a couple of articles, submitted them and was published on the Power of Moms website.  I have submitted a few more articles that were rejected and I haven't written and submitted anything since.  It deflated me a bit because that thought came, "See you don't have what it takes."  But seriously how many writers are rejected multiple times?  I am going to get back on that horse and write and submit again.

Tomorrow I am flying to Albuquerque with my friend Tiffany to be one of  two presenters at a Motherhood retreat on Saturday.  I wrote before how this was one of my dreams to do this, but this week those doubts have crept in and made me wonder if I can really do this.  Not to mention it's been a less than stellar Mothering week. Who am I to be telling other Moms how to be better when I cannot get my nearly 4 year old potty trained, or inspire my child to do better in school, or get my older boys to quite fighting with each other?

However, I do know that it is the principles I will be teaching are powerful and empowering.  It isn't me, it is the material we will be teaching.  Plus I am a real Mom in the trenches and I won't sugar coat that it is hard and can be mundane and frustrating.  But I also have found great joy and purpose in my Mothering by using these principles.

So I will hold on to that purpose I have felt with this opportunity and I will replace those negative thoughts with thoughts like this quote at the top from Nelson Mandela.

Do you have thoughts of fear and/or insecurity?  How do you battle those?

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Lessons learned....

I have learned so many life lessons lately from various are just a few.
  • Go to the funeral or viewing.  It doesn't matter if you knew the person who died, if you love their family just go.  It means so much.
  • does a mind good.  I have  completely different day when I exercise than when I don't, even my kids notice.
  • Go outside, dig in the dirt, play with kids, get that natural vitamin D.  It makes such a difference in my mentality when I spend time outside daily.
  • When someone's name pops into your head randomly, call them or go see them or write them a note.  It's not a coincidence you thought of them.
  • Snuggle with  kids in the morning, even if you think you don't have the time, do it.  It can change your whole morning.
  • Play freeze tag in the front yard when your 6 year old asks (even if the neighbors stare), you will have a blast and she will talk about it for days after...
  • Preserve the relationship at all costs, relationships are forever, schoolwork and scouts are temporary
  • Make sure your kids know you are on their team, that you are their #1 ally.
  • Raise the praise, minimize the criticize.  I have to learn this one over and over again.  I think I so much want for my kids to be their best selves that I focus on the things that they aren't doing, when in reality they are absolutely fantastic kids and I need to let them know I believe that about them.

Friday, February 28, 2014


Do you think about what your dreams are? I admit I hadn't thought about my dreams much until last year when I attended a Power of Moms retreat (you can read about that here) and we had a "dream night" where we talked about our dreams and passions. We talked about how often as Moms we put ourselves totally on the back burner because we are taking care of everyone else's needs.  Being a Mom is one of my lifelong dreams and I love it (most of the time). In fact when asked what my dreams are, it took me a while to be able to answer anything other than being a Mom. 

I'm not talking about being selfish,  I'm talking about dreaming in a very balanced way, not in a neglect our families for our own interests type of thing, but in filling our own reservoirs so we can be a more fulfilled person for our family.  Taking care of the person inside the Mommy is essential!

For years and years I have loved studying family dynamics.  I have a degree in Marriage and Family studies with an emphasis on early childhood.  I love reading books about family structure, disciplining kids etc.  It is fascinating to me. For a couple of years when Dave was at BYU I taught some child development and preschool administration classes at what was then UVSC.  Another of my passions is teaching, I love it.  

So when I went to my first Power of Moms retreat nearly two years ago and had a major paradigm shift in my Mothering I knew I needed to be a part of this organization.  Their philosophies align with my beliefs.  Then I found out that I could become one of their "trainers" and teach these things myself.  I knew that was one of my dreams and passions.

It has taken a while due to life circumstances, but I am about to fulfill that dream!  I am going to Albuquerque next month as one of the presenters at a Power of Moms retreat!  I will be teaching with Tiffany Sowby who is the director of trainers.  This will be my "apprentice" retreat and then I will be looking to do some "mini retreats" locally.  I am nervous, but so excited.  I have an awesome husband who is so supportive of me and keeps saying, "Go for it!"

If you know of anyone in the ABQ area, please encourage them to attend this retreat.  They are life changing and empowering!  You can get more information here.

Me with April Perry (left) co-founder of Power of Moms and Tiffany Sowby (middle) at the Vegas retreat last spring.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Meal planning

Do you ever feel like this?   I have so many times.  I have so many times stood at the refrigerator at 4:30 p.m. hoping a dinner idea or ingredients would magically appear so I could make dinner. Lots of times we have resorted to having cereal, quesadillas or nachos when I didn't have anything planned.  It really stresses me out and  $$ for going out to eat regularly isn't plentiful (taking 7 people out to eat is PRICEY, no matter where you go).

So here is what I have done to help with my sanity.  I have made a list on my computer of dinner ideas that my family likes, along with new recipes and ideas I have found on Pinterest those have a (p) after them.  From this I create a menu for the  month and create my shopping list from that.  I do  a BIG shopping trip for the month and then try to only go to the store for fresh produce.  It saves me so much time, quite a bit of money and simplifies my life so much to do it this way.  

In February I didn't star until mid month and I am so glad I am back doing this, it works for me.  It takes quite a bit of time to make the plans, create the shopping list etc, but once it is done I dont' have to think about it again for several weeks!  How I write the menu on the calendar isn't set in stone.  Sometimes we have a crazy night and so I switch it up and fix a more simple dinner that night.  None of my dinners are gourmet by any means, but some take more time than others.

What do you to plan your meals?  Any great recipes you would like to share?

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Going for Gold

We are big time Olympic junkies at our house.  We are letting the kids stay up far too late, but we all love watching together.  

My boys were most excited about the half pipe snowboard competition.  They think Shaun White is one cool dude.  I have to agree with them.  I knew the results before we watched last night, but I didn't tell them.  The anxiety was high in our house as he fell on his first run in the finals.  During the second run when it became obvious that he wasn't going to win gold, they were disappointed.  When he didn't even get on the podium, they were even more disappointed.   I was as well.

But then we saw this....

Shaun White is one classy guy.  He was obviously disappointed with his performances.  He was obviously upset he didn't medal.  But he congratuled and shared in the joy of the winner.  He was positive in his interviews and was graceful in defeat. Here is a great article about all of this

It made me actually more grateful he didn't medal because he taught my kids a great lesson.  Even if you are prepared and the best in the world and train and work hard, life doesn't always work out how you hope.  You can either get angry and bitter about it.  Or you can hold your head high, put on your best smile and show what your true character is like.

UPDATE:  Just read the article and saw a special on the Today show about the little boy and girl cancer survivor's who he jumped over the barrier so he could meet them.  Double points for that Shaun, double points.

Shaun White is golden in my book. 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Ordinary days...

Back in this post I talked about doing Ordinary Days posts on a regular basis....well that didn't happen then, but it is going to now.   I love thinking about my everyday life and writing about it because that is what makes up our life stories.  I need to be better at documenting our lives.  I'm not a scrapbooker so my blogs are my family history.

We are getting settled.  We have a few boxes left to unpack, but not necessities so they are slow in getting unpacked.  We are finally hanging pictures and making this house feel like our home.  I would love to paint this living room as all the white is blinding me.  We are in a rental so I don't know if that is frowned upon...I may ask forgiveness rather than permission :)

I took my two older boys on a date to their Uncle Paul's piano concert with Josh Wright.  Both are amazing pianists and it was a very uplifting evening.  Both of my boys enjoy playing the piano so they liked this, plus I'm always looking for ways to expose them to a bit of culture. We went to dinner before and we had a good time together.  I am constantly trying to figure out things to help me connect more with my teens.  I have figured out how to connect with my younger kids, that is pretty easy, but it's harder as they get older.  What do you do to connect with your teens?

This is the view out my front door.  It lifts my spirits every time I walk out the door.  It is magnificent!  I love the Wasatch mountains with all my soul.  After living away from them for 13 years, I marvel at their beauty on a daily basis.  My kids (and my instagram friends) are probably sick of it, but I don't know that I'll ever tire of this view.

This guy is in between napping/not napping.  He still desperately needs one most days, but fights me like crazy.  He likes to fall asleep at really convenient times in the car like 4:00 in the afternoon or when we have to get out of the car to go do something.  This particular nap was on the way to pay for lunches on my kids was about 10:00 in the morning.

My sweet girlie has dreamed for a very long time about doing snow angels.  We used to do sand angels when we lived in Las Vegas because that's all we had.  One time we put cotton balls on the floor and did snow angels that way.  So when we got a storm with soft, fluffy snow she couldn't wait to do these angels.  She did several, and so did her Mom.

Love this planner.  I have not been a planner person in the past, but as my kids get older and we get more and more busy, I was double booking myself and forgetting things (I'm sure my age has nothing to do with it).  I was using my phone, but there is something about writing things down that helps to cement things in my mind.   This is the website you can order them from.  This particular one has everything a Mormon Mom  might need.  They also have one for Mormon women who aren't Moms and a great planner for Moms who aren't Mormon. 

My 3rd boy LOVES the snow.  Today we are getting rain and he said, "Rain is soooo boring, snow is where the fun is at!"  He has spent hours outside with shovels, brooms and buckets.  The more snow the better.  He also loves that we have multiple boys on our street to play with.  He tells me he never, ever wants to move from this house.  

That is our week in a glimpse.  It's been a great week in spite of our truck needing a costly repair among other fun "mortal life" things.  Those things are just temporary nuisances, what really matters are these relationships we are working on daily.

How was your week??

Friday, January 31, 2014

Building a new life

Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of - throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”  C.S. Lewis

This is one of my very favorite quotes of all time.  I feel very much like I have been remodeled the last year or so, lots of walls knocked out and sometimes that construction is painful. I am certain that remodeling isn't complete yet.  However, being shaped into the palace He wants me to be will be worth it for sure.

This quote has come to life as we moved into this home.  We are renting it for a couple of years and so we can't remodel it how we would like to.  There are definitely things we would change if we could, but we just have to make the best of it for now.  It is a great house that fits our family and it is a great neighborhood, it just isn't perfect.

There are things about our family, my marriage and my own self that need some remodeling.  Moving to a new place and home is a great place to start that.   My one little word for 2014 is CHOOSE, and so with this move and fresh start I have chosen one thing in 4 areas that I am choosing to change.  Good changes happen one building block at a time.

One of the best changes we have made is we now are able to have a little family devotional before my kids leave for school and before my husband leaves for work. Previously my husband left too early for work to do this and my oldest son left home around 5:40 a.m.  for early morning seminary.  We sing a hymn, read scriptures or other inspirational words and have a family prayer.  Sometimes my husband or I lead it, and sometimes we let our older kids share things they have learned or read. I can't begin to tell you the difference it has made in our home.   It really only takes about 10-15 minutes, but that short time is one of my favorite parts of my day.

No matter what your religious beliefs are, taking some time in the morning to be together as a family talking about things that really matter is a great way to draw you closer and teach your children what is important.  It really is the small things that matter.

What are the simple traditions that have brought your family closer?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A ship in a port is safe, but that's not what ships are built for....

Remember our "plot twist"?  Well our twist has been resolved and we have landed back "home" near where we both grew up.  We moved our family of 7 twice in 7 months, this last one being across state that was fun! NOT!  But we are here, boxes still aren't all unpacked, house isn't organized to my satisfaction, but we have a home that fits our family and my husband has a job that provides for us.  What a blessing!  To add to that blessing our kids are so HAPPY here.  Our family, neighborhood and ward (church congregation) have been so good to us.  We have all been welcomed with open arms by such wonderful, welcoming people.

That being said, it was really painful and hard to leave our dear friends who are like family.  Here are a few pictures of my kids with only a few of our dear friends who we left.  It was heartbreaking to see my kids sadness and heartache in leaving these amazing people we love like cousins, they have known many of these friends for most of their lives, some from birth.  When you live in a place for almost 13 years and create strong bonds with people it is so hard to leave.  In fact I still tear up when I think about being separated from these friends.  I still have a hard time talking to them on the phone, it's still painful.  However like one of my kids said, "It's good that it's so hard to say goodbye, it just means we have lots of people that we love so much."  Amen to that.

I guess it's a good lesson to me and to my kids, just because something is right to do,  doesn't mean it's necessarily easy.  We know this move is right for us, everything has fallen into place, we couldn't feel better about where we are living, we love being close to family, but it still hasn't been easy.

We have so much to be grateful for and I thank God daily for his guidance in the last year of our lives.  Looking back we can see His guiding hand in so many decisions and happenings.  We are so very blessed.