Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Teachers are amazing!

Tonight we went to Parent Teacher conferences for my middle schooler.   This boy of mine is talented, awesome and super smart.  School isn't necessarily his thing because it requires sitting still for long periods of time and he's a mover and a shaker.  He's also funny and loud and super social.  He can be a bit disruptive in class sometimes due to those things.

Those teachers are so gifted at seeing past the behaviors and seeing him for who he is.  Every single teacher said how much they enjoy him and think he's so great and funny.  One thing that made me happy is they said he's never disrespectful to them even when he's being corrected.  I'm so proud of him, he's such a good kid. They were totally willing to work with him and find ways to motivate him.

Sad to say that sometimes as a mom I need reminders of how awesome my kid is.  It's always nice to hear other adults say good things about my kids and give me that little reminder of what a great kid I have.

Teachers are undervalued and underpaid and deserve to be compensated for shaping our future society.  Thank you times a million for your patience, perspective and talents!

Monday, September 24, 2018

In the trenches featuring Kay

Today I am featuring my Instagram friend Kay West.  We started following each other in the past few months and I have really come to enjoy her content and what light she puts into the world.  Her Instagram account is threetoquesandtiara, go follow her!

Kay and her husband Brad have been married for 20 years. They have two children Isaac and Eden, ages 14 and 15.  Her perspective on life and motherhood is inspiring.  They live in Utah but are Canadian by birth. She has been through so much, yet has such faith and optimism.

Tell me about your journey to motherhood.

I went through years of infertility.  It was painful and so difficult.  However I  know that the children you are meant to have in your family are supposed to be there and they come to you in various ways. I have two children who we adopted from birth.  We also had another little foster daughter who we had from birth until age 1 and then the adoption failed.  It was very difficult to lose her, however I know she is with the family she is supposed to be with.

My daughter has many special needs, some came from her biological moms choices when she was pregnant and some are just because Eden is who she is.  She has Fetal Alcohol syndrome, brain damage, autism, scoliosis and serious allergies.   She was severely bullied by some boys  in 7th grade to the point I had to pull her out and home school her for a couple of years.  She really only has one friend.  We are now trying to integrate her into some mainstream and special needs programs through the schools.

My son is so compassionate and kind, I'm sure a lot of that has to do with his sister.  He looks out for those who don't have friends and is such a nice kid.

What advice would you give to have kids and adults interact with those with special needs?

Sometimes adults make it worse.  Kids are naturally curious and kind, but adults tell them not to stare or walk away.  Let the kids be curious and ask questions in kind ways.  Don't label the kids, just let them become friends without telling them, "That child has autism or down syndrome etc". Just let them love them and be kind.

What advice would you give other moms?

Motherhood was never meant to be picture perfect.  It never goes as planned and that's okay.  It's okay not to have it all together.  Don't worry about perfection.  As long as your kids know they are loved at the end of the day, that's what matters.

How do you keep yourself healthy emotionally through these challenges?

I turn to Heavenly Father even when I don't want to.  My husband is so kind and patient with me and helped me see during a particularly difficult time that I was turning away from God, and if I turned to him it would help me so much.  He was right!

I put my phone away at 9:30 at night and I don't pick it up again until the morning after I've read scriptures and prayed.  I also put my phone away Saturday night and don't do any social media on Sundays.  It's a good time for me to focus on my family and worshipping God without distraction.

What brings your joy as a mom?

Watching them become independent and making good choices.  Watching them learn they are children of God and knowing who they are.

Our family has started a little business/campaign.  It's called Quietly being kind campaign.  My daughter is an artist and draws little creatures/animals.  We have made them into postcards and sell them and a portion of the proceeds goes towards a charity of our choice that benefits special needs kids.  We have an Instagram account and website called

How have you kept your marriage strong in the midst of challenges?

Much of it is my husband.  He is kind and sweet and patient. We have learned to work together and trust and support one another.  We don't ever speak ill of each other in front of anyone.  God is our partner in everything we do.

How has motherhood changed you?

I'm more patient for sure.  I understand how to apply the Atonement of Jesus Christ in my life.  He always makes up the difference of my shortcomings!

Thank you Kay, you are truly inspiring!  

Monday, September 17, 2018

In the trenches featuring Marjorie

Today I am featuring a dear friend of mine.  I have learned so much about raising fantastic, responsible, hard working kids from my friend Marjorie.  She has 6 children ages 8-22, 3 boys, 3 girls.   She is a runner and biker and one of the most determined people I've ever met. She also happens to be a Grandma (a VERY young one) to one little cutie.  She and her husband Jason have been married for 23 years.  I have spent so much time with this family that my kids call their kids their "Vegas cousins."   I know them well and you won't find better people anywhere!

What surprised you the most about motherhood?

The sheer exhaustion.  I wasn't expecting that.  I knew it would be hard and I would be tired, but I wasn't expecting it to be so exhausting.

I also was surprised by the fierce love I had for this child.  I felt so strongly about this tiny helpless creature.

What is the best advice you've gotten?  

My mom and dad are amazing powerhouse parents and I have learned much from them.  My dad has been in education for many years and is so good with kids.  He especially loves the "knucklehead" kids .  He taught me that the hardest kids to love need it the most.  As an adult you have to keep your cool.  Also keep your word to your kids, if you promise to do something do it.  To go along with that, choose your words and battles carefully.  If you threaten a consequence you'd better follow through.

What do you remember about your mom growing up and what did you learn from her?

My mom was so patient and kind.  She never complained about my crafting or kitchen messes.  She was so patient in teaching me how to sew and cook and clean and do laundry.  She was so willing to teach me no matter what I wanted to learn.  I never remember her getting impatient with me or frustrated.  She was great about slipping her testimony about spiritual things into everyday situations and she told great stories.

What advice would you give to other moms?

Forget about being perfect!  You're not ever going to be perfect, let it go!  It allows both of you to make mistakes and try again tomorrow.  Let the little things that don't really matter go.  The relationship with you kids is the most important, focus on that.

What is hard for you in motherhood?  

EVERYTHING!!  Watching my kids fight with each other, disrespectful behavior, letting them fail when I know that I could solve it, but I shouldn't

What brings you joy?

Watching my kids laugh and play together and build relationships, watching my kids learn and discover the world, my kids unconditional love for me, big hugs from my teenage boys, seeing therm excel and find things they love to do.

How do you have fun as a family?

We play a lot of card games.  We are very active, we love to play soccer at the park, throw the football, play frisbee golf.   We love the outdoors and love to camp and hike.  I love to be in the kitchen with my kids.  Right now my 16 year old son is learning how to cook and it's been fun hanging out in the kitchen with him.

In 30 years what do you want them to remember about their childhood?

I want them to remember that I loved them no matter what. I want them to know I loved them enough to correct them, that  I loved and served all of God's children no matter their circumstances or appearances.  I want them to remember I played with them, read to them, made time for them and listened to them.