Vlog Vednesday: Testimony

Joe's on vacation this week, so while he's home with the littles, I seized the opportunity to visit one of my favorite places on earth, the temple.

I really love being in the temple, for so many reasons, if not that the crowd there (notoriously, little old ladies and little old men) makes me feel like a spring chicken. And these days...I'll take any chance I get to feel young again.

While I was there, I realized it was Wednesday, Vlog Vednesday to be exact. A little heart-to-heart on the lawn of the temple? Why not?


(If you have any questions about some of the terminology I'm using or about the LDS faith, visit Mormon.org.)


Love One Another

On a day where there is a lot of red to be seen and a lot of talk about equality, politics, love, marriage, definitions, and more, this simple quote made the most sense to me:

Our culture has accepted two huge lies.
The first is that if you disagree with someone's lifestyle, you must fear or hate them.
The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do.
Both are nonsense.
You don't have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.
~Rick Warren


Excuses, Excuses

"I was potty training."

It's a legitimate excuse for the way my house looks today, the fact that dinner was late and not very balanced or healthy, and why my patience is worn thread-bare thin.

If you've ever potty trained a toddler, you get it.

If you haven't...you're seriously missing out.

Because it is just so much darn fun.

In other news...I don't know how to say this without sounding like a weirdo, but I think one of the cutest things you will ever see in this world is little plump, bare, two-year old bum cheeks running around the house.

A close second is little plump, two-year old bum cheeks in teeny-tiny, brand-new, "big girl" panties running around the house.



Mommy Paydays

Over the last couple of days, I have been catching glimpses of the future. And it looks pretty bright.

For the past eight years I have been mired down in the muck of young motherhood. While it hasn't been totally horrible...it's had its moments.

Being a young mom is hard.

I imagine being an old mom is hard too. I don't know yet. I'm not there...yet. When I walk in those shoes, I'll let you know how it is.

For now, I only know mountains of laundry and potty training and sleep deprivation and senseless, needless messes everywhere I look and sticky fingerprints and snotty noses and four year old interrogation and whining and two year old tantrums and Disney movies on repeat and nighttime anxiety and boxes of diapers and Cheerios smashed into car seats and an eight year old who is never full.

There is joy to balance out all that goo and grindstone. But, let's be honest. Sometimes those moments dim in comparison to the daily, monotonous, melancholy, messy routine.

But as mothers, we always have hope. The hope that our never-ending efforts will one day be rewarded with children who are self-sufficient, happy, well-adjusted individuals who contribute as much, if not more, than they take.

We hang on to the hope for Mommy Paydays. That the "check won't be in the mail" forever and that we will start to reap some of the fruit from the seeds we have so diligently been sowing day after day. That we will know we are making some difference little by little.

The last couple of days I've made a few deposits...

Last night as Jeigh got on stage, stood proudly on a chair beside me, and sang her little heart out...


Today as I watched both of my older children--voluntarily!--get up in Primary and bear their precious, sweet, little testimonies for the first time ever...


When Dee sat down in his chair afterwards and announced to the primary room, "I'm so happy! I love church now!" and I knew that that happy feeling he was feeling was the Spirit...


As I watch Elle growing and changing every single day, learning how to write letters, drawing and coloring for hours, being proactive about her gluten free diet, talking about how Jesus loves her...


While I struggle with Cee keeping her diaper on, I have hope that potty training is right around the corner and that very soon we will be done with diapers forever...


Every time I walk down the hall at bedtime to find these placed on the floor, waiting for me...


It dawned on me today, that young motherhood really won't last forever, even when it seems like it will. I can't wait for the future, the freedom, and all the Mommy Paydays that are there. But I'm enjoying my little paychecks now too. I really do love being a mom. Best. job. ever.


I Love You a Bushel and a Peck!

My six year old daughter, Jeigh, and I performed in our church talent show tonight! I just can't stop grinning about it! She was absolutely brilliant! She had no fear as she sang her part beautifully. Me on the other hand...I was shaking in my boots. Literally! I always get the worst stage fright, but having her on stage with me was comforting and inspiring. And it was just so much darn fun!

This is a dream that I've had for years. I've always loved to sing and always hoped that my children would share that same love and would want to sing--privately or publicly--with me. Two of my three older kids are rather shy about public displays, but Jeigh...she's always been a "performer". She loves an audience.

I was shocked at how good she was about preparing and practicing for her first public vocal performance. I suggested the song, "A Bushel and a Peck" from Guys and Dolls, a song I used to sing with my sister and some friends when we were in college. The kids and I sing bits and pieces of it around the house from time to time. I even have "I love you a bushel and a peck" in vinyl lettering on the wall. It was such a cute little song for our first mother/daughter duet.

She approved my suggestion and we began to practice. I assumed it was going to be a little rough and she would need some coaxing, if not full out bribery. But right from the get-go, she knew what she was doing. In fact, she was hardly going to let me sing as she claimed the first, second, and most of the third verse. "Mom, you can come in at the end," she said. I redirected her a bit, claiming the second verse as my own. I mean, what mom can resist the line "You make my heart a wreck and you make my life a mess. Yes, a mess of happiness!"?

As we went over the song with our accompanist, she followed the piano so well, naturally knowing when to come in and out. She constantly directed our practice with, "Let's go over that part again" or "One more time" or "We need dance moves!" I was awe-struck at her. She hardly needed my guidance. She's a total natural at this!

When the performance arrived, she picked our outfits and asked if she could wear a little makeup. It was so much fun just getting ready for the show. And then we did it and it went marvelously! We already have our next "gig". It's just singing in our church sacrament meeting in a couple of weeks, but this is the stuff that my dreams are made of. This is one of those "mommy paydays" that balances out the sleepless nights and potty training messes. And it is totally worth it!


A Happy to Be Gluten Free Recipe: Chicken Taco Soup

This week we discovered that my four year old niece has Celiac Disease and Type I Diabetes. I really can only half way imagine what her parents are feeling right now. I remember when my little four year old was diagnosed with Celiac. It was devastating.

While not immediately life threatening, Celiac can lead to a plethora of problems in the future, including infertility, cancer, osteoporosis, diabetes, depression, etc. It was terrifying to hear these things could be in my little daughter's future. Plus, it was just so overwhelming to learn I could no longer feed her gluten. Gluten...which is in...everything.

There definitely was a steep learning curve and mountains to climb as we have learned how to live with Celiac. And that was only one major health issue. My poor little niece has diabetes to contend with on top of all that. We really have had her in her hearts and prayers this week.

I have posted a few gluten free recipes on my blog. I want to help however I can, so I plan to post more in the future...starting now...

Here's what we had for dinner tonight...Chicken Taco Soup!

Delicious, healthy, easy to throw together, and gluten- and dairy-free. There are lots of beans in this soup which makes it a great source of non-animal protein. I'm running a half marathon (plus three miles) tomorrow morning so I'm hoping this will power me through. Even if it's "gas-power". ;)

Love my little helper!

Chicken Taco Soup (adapted from a friend's vegetarian taco soup)

Olive oil
1 or 2 cans chopped green chilies
1 medium onion, chopped
3 TBSPs homemade GF taco seasoning (or 1 pkg taco seasoning)
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 can Great Northern white beans, drained and rinsed
2 (14 ounce) cans of peeled, cut tomatoes (or 1 qt canned stewed tomatoes)
1 can yellow hominy (or corn)
1 can white hominy (or corn)
1 pound chicken, shredded (My canned chicken breast works perfectly for this!)
2 TBSP salsa (optional)
2 to 3 cups of water
1 to 2 tsps chicken bouillon, to taste
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, sauté onion and chilies in oil for about 3 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Serve with tortilla chips, grated cheddar cheese, and sour cream.

A few notes...This can very easily be a vegetarian meal; just leave out the chicken and bouillon!

If you are using chicken, a rotisserie chicken, such as the ones they sell at Costco, works very well for this recipe. Or you can just prepare some chicken breasts and shred them.

The beans are flexible, in that, you could put in whatever beans you have on hand. Black beans, kidney beans, navy beans, etc.

This recipe was my first encounter with hominy. If you've never had it, you've got to give it a try! Hominy is a form of corn, but it's just not the same. It has a fantastic, almost chewy texture which I love. It can be found near the canned beans in your grocery store or in the ethnic food aisle.

I love this recipe because it is a "dump it all in and simmer for a bit" kind of recipe. Whether you eat gluten free or not...this is a yummy meal. Hope you like it as much as we do.


Vlog Vednesday #4: Interview with an 8 Year Old

Cee put herself down for a nap.
Elle is gone to preschool.
The house is clean.
The laundry and dishes are done.
The treadmill's not working out today.
And Dee's home from school with pink eye.

Mwahahaha! Fresh meat for the Vednesday Vlog!

If you can't embarrass your kids, at least a little bit, really, what good are you as a parent?


Tuesdays with Evie

...and Dee, Jeigh, Elle, and Cee of course.

Oh, and Joe! He's home and balance has once again been restored to the universe.

Pink eye has claimed its third victim, but somehow it doesn't seem as tragic now that Joe is back. Everything's better when Daddy is home. Dee will be staying home from school tomorrow so as not to spread The Pink Plague; something he is not incredibly broken up about.

It is Tuesday, which means it's "Clean the Toy Room Tuesday", which means I was cleaning up toys and other random things --as it so happens in the toy room-- as Cee watched. Eventually she got tired of watching and fell asleep like this...

And like the good parent I am...I left her there to go find the camera and capture the moment before I scooped her up and put her in bed. Because moments like these are what makes parenthood so worth it.

Moments like those and moments like when I skipped out on the workout I had planned to sit down with my four year old in her little kitchen and chat with her about recipes, chocolate, her unstable relationship with peanut butter, tigers, her friends at school, the difference between "friends" and "cousins", and how my hair is going "blond". I can't even remember the last time we had such a good talk. She positively glowed with the individual attention she was getting from Mommy. Note to self: Those chats really must happen more often.

Don't worry! I didn't skip that workout completely. After our chat, Elle took it upon herself to pick the workout of the day and we did Zumba together. Well, we did Zumba together for about 5 minutes. Then she just sat on the fireplace step, watching and intermittently yelling, "FASTER, MAMA!", "WHY ARE YOU SO SWEATY?", and "WE'RE GOING TO HAVE LUNCH SOON, RIGHT?"

Four year olds are hilarious. Like when they come running to tell you that the baby is drawing on herself again.
Is that a stick figure the two year old has drawn upon her own back?

In other news, Cee suddenly doesn't like Muddy Buddies. I think she may have been switched at birth.

I can't watch "Lost" while I fold laundry. Too many subtitles. And too many kids walking in on too many scary parts.

The two older kids figured out how to do flips on the trampoline tonight.

Today, I voluntarily offered to run a half marathon race on Saturday. That's in--ahem--four days.

My poor little four year old niece just found out she has Type I Diabetes AND Celiac disease. My heart is breaking for her, but I'm feeling grateful that maybe Elle and I can help her a little bit.

One of my videos on YouTube is going "viral"-ish and it's kind of freaking me out that people are making comments on it, "thumbs-upping" it, and subscribing to my YouTube account.

And I found this lurking in the kitchen sink disposal...

Just another Tuesday at our house.


Death by Sleep Deprivation

My birthday is in exactly one month. I've been pondering on how I can use this one special day of the year devoted to me to my advantage. What goodie or favor or item have I been desperately wanting, but denying myself because of the sacrificial nature of being a mom?

It didn't take me long to figure it out.

A nap.

All I want is a stupid nap. Two, maybe three, hours of uninterrupted sleep. No children, no sunlight, no fighting, no phone calls, no requests, no demands, no noise. No nothing.

Just me. My pillow. And the back of my eyelids.

Is that really too much to ask for? Do I really have to wait until April 18th to get what I most want--nay, NEED?! I can't even remember what it feels like to be "well-rested". Isn't sleep one of those unalienable rights or something? Air, water, love, food, SLEEP.

Taking a nap when I'm on single parent duty is just...impossible. But even when Joe's around...it's still somehow impossible. My mom sense never shuts off. I am on high alert all the time. Not by choice. I try to set it on auto-pilot as I prop my children in front of the TV, make my way to my bedroom, shut my eyes, and just chill out. Willing myself to sleep. Just struggling to relax enough to drift into unconsciousness.

Most of the time it doesn't happen. And then on the rare occasion it does...Well, you can imagine what happens. Someone gets hungry or hurt or bored and comes looking for mom. Even if Dad is sitting right there! Or more usually, laying on the couch beside the children, sleeping peacefully, absolutely unaware of the world. Eventually I just give up, get up, and try not to be worked up about it.

Night time isn't any better. In fact, it's worse. We don't have a newborn in the house. Heck! We don't even have a baby anymore! Yet a full night of rest has never seemed further from my clutches.

Every night plays out the same.

Around 11 pm, the six year old begins wandering around the house in a sleep-dazed stupor, not awake enough to make any audible sense, yet not asleep enough to be immobile.

After taking her to the bathroom and leading her back to bed, we make our way to bed. When my husband is around, he can fall asleep in 0.003 seconds flat. You think I exaggerate. No. I've actually timed it before. He can barely get the words "good night" out before the snoring begins.

And oh, good grief, the snoring.

There is this movie from the 1980s called "War of the Roses". I only saw one scene when I was a teenager. A feuding husband and wife are laying in bed. The man is snoring, the woman is glaring at him with murder in her eyes. Suddenly, she crams her fingers up his nostrils in a last ditch attempt to make the snoring stop.

I can't help but think of that scene so vividly every single night as I listen to my husband snoring.


Eventually, I'm able to fall asleep, in spite of the ear- and nerve-shattering reverberation.

And just as soon as I've settled into a good sleep pattern, the two year old stirs. Not enough to be truly awake. Just enough to truly wake me up. I lay in bed and listen as she squirms and moans, settling back into a peaceful slumber.

And again I'm left to myself. And the snoring.

Finally, I prod and will myself back to sleep. And then the six year old wanders in shivering with terror from nighttime anxiety. It is no easy feat to calm her down. It can take hours.

By then, I'm out of patience, if not just out of my mind with exhaustion. And I am not a good mom at this unearthly hour. I say and do stupid things in a last ditch effort to just get some bloody sleep. Last night's gem: "If you don't stop crying right now and go to sleep, I will make you sleep in the basement all by yourself. I'm totally serious!" (And I'm totally not.)  Stupid.

This goes on all night. The snoring husband, the restless toddler, the four year old with the occasional bed wetting accident, the anxiety ridden six year old. And just when it all winds down...It is nearly 5 am and the early bird eight year old springs out of bed, ready to take on the day, convinced everyone else is as eager to do the same.

Those teen pregnancy PSA ads should say this: "Sex lasts a moment. Sleep deprivation lasts your whole life."

If only I'd known. If only I had known.


The Ides of March

Thanks to my high school English teacher I will forever remember March 15th as "The Ides of March" or...the day Julius Caesar was assassinated. Now if only I could remember my own children's birthdays as well...

We're spending the day trying to recoup from this crazy week. I'm feeling pretty drained, physically and emotionally, after being up every night with Cee (I can't remember the last time I slept more than an hour at a time) and speaking at a church meeting last night about my weight loss journey.

I was asked to speak AND sing last night, which I was very happy to do. I've just felt great anxiety about it, especially as my children have been getting sick and the chaos has been thick. (Hey! That rhymes!) I prayed many times, for many things, but especially that I would be well enough to deliver on Thursday. Being sleep-deprived and surrounded by pink eye and various other viruses, I felt doomed.

My prayers were most certainly answered and I could feel many times that we were blessed this last week even as I questioned why Heavenly Father wasn't helping out the way I wanted Him to. (Oh, stupid mortal.) So I promised that if I woke up this morning with the plague, I would not complain one little bit.

No plague for me. It looks like the blessings are still coming. (yay!)

After school and naps, I took the kids to the park. The weather is getting beautiful. Spring is here and we are so ready for it!

That's one lucky kid.

Then we did a little grocery shopping at Costco, stopped for hot dogs and pizza on the way out, and rushed home to make a Taco Pie and some Muddy Buddies for my brother-in-law, Jordan, who is celebrating his birthday today and has been living with us for 6 months while he works and tries to find a home of his own. I stuck a few candles in his taco pie and the kids and I sang "Happy Birthday" to him and then left him to his birthday dinner.

Later that night, as the kids were going to bed, I gathered my two oldest children together. We had saved a wishbone from a chicken earlier that week and it was dry enough to "wish upon". I told the kids to make a wish and then pull on the wishbone. Jeigh got the bigger piece and therefore earned her wish.

Dee burst into tears...followed quickly by Jeigh. Dee's emotion I could understand (kind of), but Jeigh's? Upon inquiry, she confessed that her wish had been that her birthday would not be like Uncle Jordan's.

She explained through sobs, "It was a terrible birthday! No friends and family. Just a couple of kids sitting around watching him eat, all alone. No excitement or presents. It's just sad! I don't want my birthday to be like that! I want excitement and lots of friends and family eating WITH me and being happy!"

I really had to work not to laugh because she was so sincere and sweet as only a six year old can be. Not to mention worried that she might end up with "no excitement" too.

Sorry, dear Jeigh, but after this week, I'm fresh out of "excitement".


Ain't No Sunshine When He's Gone

We miss our Daddy/husband.

Sure, we're grateful for a good job that supports our household and that he is doing well in his career and that he gets to do all this traveling and learning and developing.

But sometimes this job stinks. It gets pretty old not having him around. And Skype hugs and kisses are a poor substitute for the real thing.

While I feel that I'm more of the optimist in our relationship, he definitely brings the sunshine into our life. He is our comic relief and sometimes we go a little too long without a good laugh when he's gone on these long trips.

Today, I stumbled on a video clip I took awhile back that is a perfect example of his joviality.

To preface...We had just finished watching the episode of "The Office" where the character, Michael Scott, keeps saying "I do declare!"

We turned off the TV. Joe headed back to our bedroom and I walked around the house turning off lights and locking doors. When I made my way to the bedroom I heard Joe, who was sitting in the bathroom, giggling.

And giggling and giggling and giggling. It went on and on, long enough for me to go find the camera, come back, and record a few minutes.

He had no idea I was standing by the door, much less recording.

Later he explained, that "I do declare!" line set him off and he just could not stop laughing. We've all had those moments.

I'm so glad I have this recorded. It's the best sound in the world. I can't help laughing so hard every time I watch it. Especially when my big, burly husband says things like "Oh, my tummy!" and "Shut up!" to...himself.


Vlog Vednesday #3: Happiness is a Choice

Ugh. Ugh. UGH!

I have been whining so much. Are you sick of me? Because I'm sick of me.

Sure, life has been a struggle for us lately, but isn't life a struggle for everyone? I really need to break out of this whiny rut I'm in. I was thinking today how much I have to be thankful for. We have so much. Why does a little episode of sickness make me feel like the world is falling apart?

Sigh. One of these days I will learn to be more dignified and handle my trials with a little more grace. There's something to be said for "suffering in silence".


Croup Happens. As Does Pink Eye.

So Cee has croup.

Elle has a lingering cough that keeps her and Jeigh awake at night.

Dee has a tooth growing in on top of a baby tooth that has decided it's staying put.

And Jeigh has a black eye.

Oh wait. Make that a black eye AND a pink eye.

Pink eye. Awesome.

I thought this week was starting to get kind of crazy. And then last night happened.

It. was. horrific.

Cee in her croupy discomfort tossed and turned and wheezed and cried with every cough. She didn't want to sleep in her bed. She didn't want to sleep in my bed. Or in the recliner. Or in her bed with me beside her. In fact she didn't/couldn't really sleep at all.

She would sleep for about twenty minutes at a time and then wake up upset and in pain or struggling to breathe. That or one of her restless siblings would turn on a light or come looking for her or me and wake her up again.

I couldn't do anything for her. I would try to cuddle her, but she'd wriggle away or kick me. I'd try to give her medicine and she'd bat it away. I'd try to leave her be and she would get even more upset.

By 2:30 am, I couldn't take it anymore. We had already been through a couple of restless nights. Multiple children were crying at once. Every time Cee would cough and cry, her roommate, Dee, would start crying, convinced she was going to die. I felt so powerless and short-fused. I'll admit it. I am not a good mom after 1 am and on so little sleep. I was quickly loosing my cool. After many frustrated prayers, I had no idea what to do or who to ask what to do.

So I called my husband. Who was sleeping peacefully in a motel five hours away.

Poor man.

Can you imagine being woken at 2:30 am by a hysterical wife with four crying children in the background?

He did his best talking to the kids over the phone trying to calm them down and allay their fears. He let me cry and vent to him too. He never complained. He didn't even try to end the conversation quickly. He gave us what he could from where he was.

And I sure love him for that.

The rest of the night was just as restless. The older kids finally fell asleep, but Cee never did sleep longer than 20 to 30 minutes at a time. But at least I was able to endure it without going crazy.

Today I feel like a character from The Walking Dead, although I can't decide if I'm a Walker or someone who is just hanging on, trying to survive.

Later in the day I discovered the Pink Eye Plague had claimed its second victim. Poor Cee.

We're dropping like flies around here. Stay away if you want to live.


Ahhh Croup!

On Saturday evening, right before dinner, the 6 year old, Jeigh, threw a shoe up in the air (???). What goes up, must come down. On her face. A nice big bruise immediately began to form on her left cheek. Ouch!

Not twenty minutes later, child #3, Elle, was sitting in the bathtub and sprung a leak. A bloody nose! Just from sitting in the tub.

Not five minutes later, I lifted the baby of the bunch, Cee, from the tub and began to dry her off. As I did she began to wheeze and cough that croupy, barky cough.

What the--?! Ten minutes before I had put a perfectly healthy two year old in the tub and pulled out a toddler with croup? Is that even possible?!

So within a half hour time period, all three of my girls were crying or bleeding or both. What is going on here?

Fortunately, the bloody nose dried up, and the bump is gone leaving behind a nice little shiner, but the croup remains. And I know it's croup because I took Cee to the doctor today. Fever, coughing, crying with pain, complaining of everything hurting, no sleep. I could take all that, but that heavy, labored breathing was freaking me out. Even if it was a "waste" of twenty dollars for a co-pay, I needed to make sure she was okay. Which she is. It's just one of those darn "wait it out" things.

You know you're a mom of multiple children (I would even boldly say three or more children) when you can't remember just which of your children had what in the past.

The doctor asked me if Cee had had croup before.


I can remember when Elle had it. But that's only because it was our first bout with croup ever. It was Thanksgiving night. I rushed her to the ER in Arizona convinced she was dying. I left the ER at 3 in the morning and as I drove home I saw lines of Black Friday shoppers waiting outside of all the department stores. And I miscarried the next day. Black Friday. It was pretty memorable.

I know we've had several episodes of croup and Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease and penicillin allergic reactions and dairy anaphylactic reactions and pneumonia and roseola and staph infection and H1N1 and rounds of diarrhea and snotty noses and gastric bugs and sleepless nights and loads of laundry and jugs of Gatorade and pots of chicken noodle soup before and since then.

I just can't for the life of me remember who and when. I blame it on all the sleepless nights.

Sheesh! My kids' immune systems are going to be made of titanium by the time they reach adolescence.


What She Said

Most of my day has been consumed with taxiing children around, washing dishes, and starting THIS project up.

Aaaand I'm done for the day.

I'm not getting into the nitty gritty of it, even if it is kind of exciting and all. Just head on over to The Jolly Green Giant for the details.



Debbie Downer Meets "Happiness Is..."

It's been a rough week.

I'm not really sure what sparked it.

Unless...it was this really glorious moment on Monday night when during our family scripture study, one of my prayers was answered, the Spirit filled our home, we grew closer as a family, and love abounded from every corner.

And then the Adversary decided to move in and set up camp and declared,

"There will be no happiness here."

Because he likes to do that when he's losing.

He's pretty smart because the last couple of days, he's winning. He knows exactly what pressure points to squeeze to defeat us. In our family, it's sleep, or the lack of. It's Mommy. It's food. It's irritability and over-sensitivity. It's making mountains out of molehills.

I keep trying to dig my way out of it with all the usual tactics.

Giving up and just giving in to the bad mood for a day.

But prayers get constantly interrupted by little voices with big needs.
But the work is never ending and undone as soon as I turn around.
But there just hasn't been time for exercise. Or energy. Or desire. Or something.
But I feel so empty that I feel like I have nothing to give someone else.
But a day wriggles into two. Then stretches into three. And before you know it you haven't showered in a few days, and eaten a bag of Cadbury eggs and watched the entire third season of Modern Family while your kids get way too comfortable with Netflix on the iPad.

It's a downward spiral. A sharp and severe free fall. And it's over.


Time for a "Happiness is..." post.

Happiness is...

...a secret bag of Cadbury eggs.

...seeing more and more brown grass every day as the snow disappears.

...having hope that brown will magically brighten into green.

...little baby Chiclet teeth.

...your son earning his first Scout award.

...little sisters cuddling.

...a warm shower dance and song.

...figuring out that extra chores is the answer to motivating the kids to do all kinds of things.

...finally, after literally years of talking about it, learning how to make charts on the computer.

...running 14 miles.

...popcorn and Icees with my favorite blond.

...children dragging the scriptures over to you each night instead of you having to drag the children to the scriptures.

..."no root canal necessary".

...sticking to your budget.

...watching your 4 year old change right before your eyes.

...getting your library books turned in before the due date.

...duct tape on diapers preserving your sanity.

There is a lot to be happy about. Time to shut up, get up, straighten up, and look up and onward.


Vlog Vednesday #2: Old, New, Borrowed, Blue

Yikes. It's kind of Debbie Downer today, but life isn't always puppies and rainbows. Especially when sleep deprivation is involved. I have realized I can be a really patient, loving, gentle parent...as long as it's not 3:00 am. How on earth did I ever take care of newborns?


Two Tough

I was feeling rather guilty about missing my Monday run. The weather was warm. Weeelll...warm-ER. And my two little ones were constantly bickering. Over toys. Over food. Over personal spaces.

That's it! We're going outside for a walk!

So I piled the two of them into our double stroller and off we went to the library, two miles away. It was chillier than I had expected, but at least the sun was out. My girls aren't as light as they used to be, but at least it was all down hill.

By the time we were at the library, Elle, who has not been feeling well, took a turn for the worse, and just wanted to curl up in the stroller. And Cee reminded me just why we stay home so much and wanted least to be strapped in some stupid stroller.

And then I realized we had two miles yet to walk back home. All uphill. And it was past lunch time and moving into dangerous territory...Nap time.

Hoping to help the situation, we stopped at Taco Bell on the walk home. Just one more bad decision in a line of many bad decisions. Elle didn't feel good and didn't want to eat anything. I shouldn't have been eating anything. And Cee...she just seemed bound and determined to scream about everything. We left the restaurant in a red-faced hurry with one hand clamped over Cee's open mouth and the other clenching a Pepsi that I planned to medicate my embarrassment with once we were home. (Tsk, tsk. Using soda as a coping mechanism? Yes. Live and let live.)

As we walked the last 0.7 miles home, I pondered the paradox that is a two-year old. (That is, I worked very hard to remember that she is only two years old and therefore, not purposefully trying to drive me insane, and should therefore be allowed to live.)

The two-year old. Gleefully happy one second and miserably frustrated the next. Delightful and demonic. They want to use the potty, but still aren't sure if it's to go to the bathroom or to play sailboats. Some days it's constant cuddling, others it's increasing independence. Two naps is too much; one isn't nearly enough. One minute I want to squeeze her, the next, I want to "squeeze" her.

It's bipolar meets foreign language meets stuck in between a crib and a hard place.

It's just so darn hard being two. Though for whom depends on the da--moment.

And then I remembered.

There's still age three.



It is Monday. And this is my life.

Watching "The Walking Dead" makes me want to beef up on my food storage. And guns. Lots and lots of guns.

On Friday my four year old daughter let out a huge belch in the Costco food court. Before I could melt with shame an old man walked by and congratulated her. I might have congratulated her myself. Had we been at home. 


 I left my crown and pearls at home, but other than that...TWINNERS!


In a fit of familial fixing I decided we should declare Sundays "screen free". My husband whimpered a bit and settled into negotiations. "Screen-Free Sunday Evening" it is! On Sunday evening, we turned off the TV, the iPad, and the phones. And then we stared at each other wondering, "Well, what do we do now?" The kids decided we should play the game of Life. Little do they know, Joe and I "play life" every day and sometimes it doesn't feel so "gamey". But it was fun...until we pulled the lid off the box. And then it got very, very frustrating. Two and four year olds are not so big on Life. Six and eight year olds are, but they aren't so big on getting married or paying taxes or playing by the rules. Our first Screen-Free Sunday Evening didn't last long. But at least it happened.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY MOM!!! I don't know if you read my blog anymore, but I love you and am so grateful for the influence you have been in my life. You are one of the biggest reasons I am what I am today. Thank you for teaching me about hard work and testimonies. Thank you for passing on your love of mountains and pioneers. Thank you for showing by example that anything is possible if you work hard enough and never give up.


A couple of weeks ago, I posted this status on Facebook:

Waaaay back in high school, I was supposed to read "Heart of Darkness" by Joseph Conrad. But I didn't. I faked my way through the unit, probably because I was too busy being social or sleeping or something. I've felt guilty ever since, so today...today I will read "Heart of Darkness".

You are welcome, Mrs. Fleishchman.

And I STILL haven't been able to get through the first chapter.

I also posted this on Facebook...

...And somehow I have once again managed to simultaneously feel incredible pride and humiliation. Kind of like when the four-year old belched in Costco.


And this...while not posted on Facebook...makes me really not in the mood to make dinner.

I ran out of dishwasher detergent so I had to wash all of these...BY HAND! Oh the horror! Those are clean dishes. Why dirty them up now?


On Sunday I seized the opportunity to bear my testimony in Fast and Testimony meeting as I had not been able to the month before, thanks to a woman who took the better part of 25 minutes relating to the church congregation just exactly what kind of medications she can and cannot take when traveling out of town. I had really wanted the chance to publicly express my heart-felt sentiments about my beloved religion to my son, who was recently baptized a member of our faith. As I did this on Sunday, I looked down to the bench where he was sitting to look into his eyes, which were bound to be tear-filled as I declared my cherished convictions...only to see him using his little sister's wooden dress-up doll to repeatedly bonk himself in the head.

Maybe I ought to find out what meds that other lady is on.


Great Americans?

For the last couple of months, my second grade son, Dee, has been working on a Great American project. His teacher presented him with a list of Great Americans and he chose Christopher Columbus. While not a true American, Columbus did "discover" the Americas, becoming a key figure in American history. Dee has been reading books, building a time-line, writing a paper, and constructing a visual presentation all about Columbus for his project.

Today we had the chance to go to the school to see all of the second graders present their Great Americans. The mayor was invited along with several present day Great Americans: local firefighters, policemen, and military. The second graders had set up rows of desks in the gym, placing each part of their project on their desk and sitting in a chair next to it, ready to answer questions about their Great American. The program ended with the children singing a couple of patriotic songs. (Servicemen and women in uniform with little voices singing patriotic songs? Of course I cried. Like the red-blooded American mommy I am.)

The children were given the option to dress like their Great American or at least dress nicely. I had no idea how to make a Christopher Columbus costume and I couldn't bear to spend $30 on a costume that would be used once, so Dee dressed in his Sunday suit. He looked handsome and knew his stuff about good ol' Christopher Columbus. (Stuff I've been learning too as I've been helping him with this project. By the way, Columbus was "great" for "discovering" the Americas, but also wasn't so great in that he couldn't admit that he messed up and these new islands were not the Indies. Not to mention, he was rather nasty to his crew and the natives. At one point he was even arrested and brought back to Spain for being such a jerk. Hmm.)

As we walked around the rows of desks today, we saw lots of cute little Amelia Earharts, Abraham Lincolns, Thomas Edisons, and Eleanor Roosevelts. There was even a darling little Laura Ingalls Wilder (a personal favorite). 

But imagine my surprise when we happened upon not one, but several Katy Perrys.

I'm all for making education fun and relevant, but since when is a cupcake-bra wearing chick like Katy Perry categorized with the likes of Sacajawea, Rosa Parks, and George Washington?! What has she contributed to our country? Besides a lot of trashy, provocative music and costumes that is. When did voicing a Smurf cartoon equate to dying as a martyr?

Unfortunately my little girls wouldn't hold still long enough to let me read the Katy Perry presentation or ask the Mini-Katys just what on earth made them "great" Americans. It was probably for the best because I probably couldn't have held back my laughter/disgust and would have tromped on some poor, little misguided second grader's self-esteem. A self-esteem that might be even more fragile since they are looking to the likes of Katy Perry as role models.

Pardon my geriatric rage but....WHAT IS THIS WORLD COMING TO?!?

P.S. At least Lady GaGa wasn't there. *whew*


Related Posts with Thumbnails