Monday, March 31, 2014

Dive (5 minute post)


For today, you get to read an embarrassing story featuring....ME!  It was circa 1993 or so. I was swimming at my friend Katie Mill's pool.  It was a perfectly sunny day in Las Vegas.  Hot enough to fry an egg and then some.  I have never been a great swimmer. I have never been a good swimmer.  In short, I was very insecure about my swimming abilities.  Everyone was diving into the pool with ease and grace.  I swam around in the water, then decided I would attempt the dive.  I came to the side of the pool. I tried once. I failed.  I was too afraid to let my arms be my guide.  I tried again.  I was determined.  I held my arms above my head, prepared to dive in head first and imagined a graceful dolphinesque dive.  Slicing through the water with beauty and poise.  Instead, I pulled my arms in at the last second and smacked my head on the bottom of the pool with a resounding thud.  I can still feel that pain.  The pain of my head and the pain of my ego.  I came to the surface and I am not sure anybody saw, but I felt like the whole world did.  I felt the pain of adolescence.  The awkward feelings of failure and attempting again and still another failure.  I never attempted to dive again.  I am now 33 years old.  I can swim well.  I have taught my kids to swim.  I have swum in the ocean and lakes and deep water, in which I didn't know the depths.  But I have never tried to dive again.  I think this summer, I will have my daughter Hailey teach me.  She is 9 and has the confidence of an Olympic swimmer.  She can do every stroke with ease and seemingly no effort.  I will sidle up next to her on a sunny day and she will help me through my fear.  I am sure my first attempt will be a kneeling attempt, just as the teach the little kids.  But sometimes it takes the instruction meant for children to get adults over their fears.  And I am ok with that.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

A to Z writing theme

In this wonderful world of writers, sometimes you come across some great writing ideas that encourage and inspire you. 
Kristin from Swords and Stilettos came across my blog and informed me about an A to Z theme for the month of April.  Write every day starting with the letter A.  Choose a theme and off you go.  I really thought about the theme because I didn't want to get bored. 
So, naturally I chose Blake, my husband to be my theme. I have always had a hard time writing about him because I LOVE him!! And I didn't want to not do my feelings justice or have inadequate words.  So, here is the chance for me to face my fear and create a keepsake for my family.  (And to embarrass him a little bit.)  I hope you enjoy!
If you are interested, the A to Z button is on the right.  Anybody can join up!

Here is my wonderful husband Blake.

Cherished (5 minute prompt)


Everyone says cherish the time with your little kids. Remember these days. Soak them up, because they will pass so quickly that you will look back and wonder where the time went.  Here is my opinion on these words of wisdom:

I won't cherish the fighting, the mean words, the crying fits and tantrums...

But I will cherish the hugs, kisses (sometimes a little too wet for my liking) and snuggles.

I won't cherish the all night puke a thons, runny green noses or continual doctor visits.....

But I will cherish the chubby little hands, the sparkling eyes full of love and the little wet footprints running across the pavement on a summer's day.

I won't cherish the giant messes of toys, books, papers, clothes, shoes, puzzles, and every other thing that children love.

But I will cherish the games we have played, the crafts we have made, the books we have read and the projects we have done.

I won't cherish the early morning wake ups, sometimes before the sun wakes up.

But I will cherish the chilly morning snuggles, the "mom, scoot over so I can lay in bed", the bedhead and the love.

I will cherish these children.  Their faults and their qualities and their adventures and their accomplishments.  I will be their biggest champion.  I will cherish all that they are now and all that they will become.  Because mothering doesn't end when the children grow older and leave the house.  Mothering will continue throughout life.  My kids will always need me.  They will need me in different ways, but they will need me.  I will mother my grandchildren.  I will babysit. I will hug. I will hold and play and hope to give them everything I missed with my own children.  I will cherish these grandbabies because they will be a shadow of my own sweet children.  And I am sure I will see my children in my grandchildren and remember a time back when.  Back when life was different.  When I was an exhausted mom and wife and sometimes showers happened and sometimes they didn't and dinner wasn't fancy and life was busier than I thought I could handle.  But I will have my cherished memories and those will never leave me.  My children will move on, but my memories will remain.

Mighty (5 minute prompt)

Spencer had a rough day one day at lunch.  Some of his "friends" at the kindergarten table read his little note from me. I had written "You are a smart boy." Since they are all beginning readers, they read "You are a silly boy." and they laughed at him.  This was heartbreaking to hear.  I wanted to go beat each and every one of those meanie boys.  Instead, I encouraged Spencer.  I told him to stand up for himself. .Be strong. Don't let other people bother you.  Be kind and be firm. We prayed and he was still hesitant to go to school, especially since Hailey was home sick and he would be going to school alone.  I saw a teacher standing up by the entrance of the school and I told him to feel better, you can make someone feel happy.  I told him to go up to the teacher and say, "I hope you have a great day!" and see what she does.  He got out of the car, hitched up his backpack and sauntered over in his Spencer way.  He got the teacher's attention and said the words.  She looked down at him and smiled.  He told me later that she said, "You made my day."  He felt mighty. He felt the power of good words.  That good words will change a day, a life, or a moment.  That good words are better spoken in frustration instead of angry words.  That good words will improve a mood and most especially your own mood.  Spencer was mighty that day and his power came because of his sweet words. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Again (5 minute prompt)

I was in Las Vegas last year staying with one of my favorite friends, Laurie.  She is about the most hilarious person you will meet.  Honest, truthful, loyal and an open Dr. Pepper addict.  She is a mother of five and has been through trying times.  First, the death of her brother-in-law, then miscarriages and a stillborn baby at 38 weeks, Elle.  While I was at her house, we had a great time.  Her husband was out of town for part of the time and she was getting the kids in the shower.  As a mom, you must know the showering "fun".  The mess, explosion of bubbles, "I don't want to get in.", "I don't want to get out."  And as I watched the organized chaos, I was in admiration of her.  With all she has going on and all that has happened to her, she continued to live. She continued to care for her family.  She might have been frustrated with her efforts but continued life with her family, pushing forward whens she didn't want to.  When she was so utterly taken with grief.  Many times, I'll be getting my kids into the bath again.  My husband will be working late or out doing church stuff and I will think, Man, I don't want to do this. I want to skip bath!  But then the image of Laurie and her wonderful children comes to my mind and I think, "If she can do it, I can do it."  I will bathe the kids again. Fight them again.  Love them again.  Because I watched a dear friend enter the trenches of life and come out stronger than ever before. 

Laurie has a wonderful blog that tells her story. She is now doing a self-portrait a week about her journey.  And you would be remiss to miss out on it.  She is an inspiration!

Three Blogs I love

I love getting people together.  I love helping promote people and their talents.  It is nice to have someone pat you on the "virtual" back and say, "Well done!"  So, I am going to give a pat and I hope you will enjoy these like I do.
First: My friend Jonelle's blog, The Meridan of Time.  She writes about motherhood, homeschooling, hard stuff, funny stuff.  She is an amazing story teller.  She and 2 other wonderful friends, Desiree and Heidi invited me into their writing group three years ago.  This reignited my writing flame.  I am so grateful that I ran into (not into) Heidi one day while taking the kids to school. 
Second: Real Imprints.  My friend, Lindsey, from college began this site a few months back.  There are service opportunities.  There are inspiring stories, options for books, music and movies.  There are so many great and useful resources on here. There is even a section for kids to send in their "imprints" or something in their lives that have made them grow.  Hailey is working on one right now! 
Third: Unicorn Bell. I came across her one day, somehow. And I am so glad I did!  A variety of information.  Last week, it was about self publishing.  This week, it is stories for a writing contest.  Next week begins an A to Z blog posting.  I am planning on doing it as well.  A sweet girl with a great mission!

Afraid (5 minute prompt)

Afraid was Sunday, when I realized that Blake speaking in church would have me sitting alone with the four kids.
We picked the second to the last row, closest to the door. Just in case.
The meeting started.  It is 1 hour and 10 minutes.  No easy feat for children to sit still for that period of time.  Even some adults have issues sitting still for that long! 
William had a meltdown.  I took him out in the hall. He calmed down.
We went back inside.  A few louder moments with the children.  Hushing them. Reminding them to think about Jesus. To sit still. To read a book quietly.  Draw a picture. Color. Anything that would distract them.
William had another meltdown.  I took him out in the hall. He calmed down.  I waited a few minutes.
I was a little afraid I would come back to my children's shenanigans. 
Instead, I came back to pretty well behaved kids. 
And at that moment, I prayed. I prayed my little heart out that the kids would be calm, still, peaceful.  That we would not be a distraction.  That everything would go well.
And it did.  Everything was fine.  I was calm.  They were calm.  We had a good meeting.  I learned things. I listened to one speaker talk about patience. I listened to my husband talk about peace. I fell in love with him all over again. 
For his candor. For his witty humor.  For his laugh, the one I have always loved.
And I knew that I need to depend on Heavenly Father more.  I need to pray to him in times of happiness and times of struggle, because I don't want to be afraid.
And fear is not faith.
I choose faith.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Overcoming the Sludge of Mothering

                Recently I found myself in the sludge of mothering.  I was waking up, getting the kids off to school, playing with the little ones, making snacks, doing crafts, reading books and repeat.  But I wasn’t feeling it.  I was doing it out of obligation rather than desire.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my children.  They are my life.  I am a bit lost when they aren’t around.  And that is when I realized my problem.  I was starting to give up on my dreams.

                You know those moments when you are trying to accomplish something or reach a goal and you are continually interrupted?  Well, my life was becoming a series of interruptions.  And I felt bad about that. I felt bad that I looked at my children as interrupting.  I wasn’t irritated with them for interrupting. I would just help them with what they needed and try to get back to what I was doing.  But eventually I stopped trying to get back to what I was doing.  “What’s the use?” I thought, “They are just going to need something else.  This project will take months or years longer than I want it to.”  So, I didn’t have goals like I needed.  I would work on writing a bit, but that was it.  I did my morning 20 minute exercises and would shower, but get back into clean comfy clothes after.  When my son came home from school one day and I was dressed in “real” clothes, he was surprised and said I looked really nice.  I was shocked because I didn’t consider myself frumpy, but I was becoming lazy when it came to myself. 

                I hadn’t been out by myself in a long time. I partially blame the winter, because it is really hard to stay motivated when it is -30 degrees.  It is hard to want to get dressed because it is really cold!!  Instead I would just do what the kids wanted to do every day.  And I found myself resenting mothering because I wasn’t an individual anymore. I had made it so I was losing myself in mothering, but losing my identity.  When my mom came out, I asked her how she managed to sew and read with all the other responsibilities.  And she said, “I just didn’t do the important things.”  That made me think.  What things had I been forgetting to do because I was so caught up in the day to day tasks?  Because my routine had become my life and I had forgotten that spontaneity and surprises were good things. 

                Blake took over the kids for most of today so I could get out and focus a bit.  It has been heavenly. I went to the library and wrote.  I went to Panera and had broccoli cheese soup and finished The Bridges of Madison County.  I will probably go walk around a few stores and get a treat.  Just because I can.  Because I am alone.  After I finished at the library, I was missing the family and was thinking of going home, but I couldn’t.  I knew that I would have little time for myself this week and wanted to be fully recharged. 

                I also realized that I have used my kids as excuses to not do things.  We can’t go camping until the kids are older.  Shopping is a nightmare.  Bedtime has to be right on or they are grumpy the next day. Trying to paint or sew or complete a project is near impossible.  But it isn’t completely impossible.  I am going to involve my kids more in what I am doing.  I am good at having them help cook and clean with me.  But if I need to write, I am going to get them paper and crayons to write with.  If I want to read, I am going to have books ready for them to read.  If I want to sew, Brooke can push the foot down (until my patience runs out).  Ever since I have become a mom, I have struggled with this. I have struggled with leading my life and also letting the kids lead their own lives. If I wasn’t playing and interacting with them all the time, I felt guilty.  I felt like I should do more, because time moves so quickly.  I felt like I would miss important things if we were doing things together all the time.  But the more I work on this, the more I see that my kids will always come to me.  They will always need me.  They will always want to play a game or read or wrestle with me.  But they also need to be their own selves.  They don’t need me trying to hang out with them all the time in an effort to suck up every possible moment.  Because as I am trying to suck up every moment, I am losing my own moments. I am losing the times when I can have a few minutes of respite. 

                We will continue to do quiet time in the afternoon, because goodness knows, we need it!  But maybe the schedule will be less rigid because I won’t be desperate for quiet time because I have spent too much time on the kid activities.  Maybe our times together will be more special because I will take them as they come instead of trying to fill every second of every day with productive activities that we can do together.  I have grown to love mothering. I feel like a mom. I feel like I know a lot of answers about mothering.  But for once, I am going to find out how I can mother the kids and mother myself.  And I hope that I can find a balance. If not a balance, then at least a mutual understanding.


Real People who have done real things

                With all the hype over Frozen and what is or isn’t the secret meanings behind the movie, it has got me thinking.  I am not against children’s movies. I am not against good fun and dressing up as princesses or other characters.  I do think, though, that we can encourage our daughters to look up to real people.  I know of many women, dead and alive, who are exemplary role models.  Women who exemplify goodness, love, selflessness and sacrifice.  They have done real things and these things should be shared. 

My grandmother was a nurse who helped provide for her family.  She also managed to keep a clean house and to love and discipline her children.  My other grandmother was a war bride who worked for the war effort.  Her husband died when she was 55 and she went to work to provide for the family.  She raised six wonderful children who have confidence and grace and have raised families of their own.  I know of pioneer women who stood for the right and helped their children to learn to work, sew, clean, read and write and have fun!  I know of modern women who shuttle their children to activities, fight for them at parent teacher conferences, homeschool, and provide learning experiences and teachings of God. 

We have so many examples of wonderful women who have produced even more successful children.  I am encouraging my children with examples of these women who have done real things and provided real experiences.  Nothing beats telling your kids about something their relatives did and they are blown away because they are related to those people.  And maybe, just maybe, they could do something just as great or greater.  Yes, I love fictional characters!  I love the hope and the stories and the joy of learning about them.  But I am also going to include stories about Amelia Earheart, Susan B. Anthony, Marjorie Hinckley and Anne Frank. I am going to teach them about real women who have done real things.

Bare (5 minute prompt)

Bare 3/22/14

What does it mean to write?  It means to bare your soul.  To put it down on a page that neither likes nor dislikes you.  The page is merely the medium to where you want your words to go.  Sometimes the words flow.  Sometimes they are stopped up like a plugged up toothpaste container that has sat for too long.  The outside grown over with hardened toothpaste.  And you have to push just a little bit, to get something to come out.  And sometimes it is what you are looking for and sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes a few words suffice and you fill the expanse with the exact emotion that you were looking for.  Sometimes the words just aren’t enough.  You continue to write and write.  Never hitting the exact sentiment you were looking for.  Finally you give up and add some trite finishing sentence that doesn’t really complete anything.  But then you come back, a few months or years later, and see that same piece you were working on.  And you think, “I might try this again.”  So, you do and what comes out is as eye opening for you as it might be for someone else.  And you think, “That’s exactly what I was trying to say! How could I not get that out before?”  And you know it is because you didn’t have the experience.  Because you didn’t have the necessary tools to let the words flow.  And so you see that the more experience you have, the more life you have lived, the more things you have seen, the better able you are to convey your ideas.  The ideas that have become your life.  As simple as the chores that need to be done or the faces that need to be wiped.  But these things that sometimes stand out in the open are so hard to grasp onto.  You want to do them justice.  And in doing so, you have to bare your soul.  You have to accept that what you put onto the paper might hurt or heal you, but in doing so, you have been honest with yourself.  And sometimes, that is the reason to write.


Beloved (5 minute prompt)

Beloved 3/22/14

“Beloved” has always been a word I loved.  An old fashioned word that removes me to a time of parasols and Mr. Darcy’s and old England.  It is an undying love, an all-encompassing feeling of pure joy and adoration.  It is a knowledge of complete and honesty fidelity and understanding.  It is an old word, a used word, a needed word, an underestimated word.  Because how can you really describe the one you love solely for their characteristics and for their goodness?  Because no words are ever enough to truly describe them.  Because anything you write might be an understatement, might not fully reach the feelings you want to portray.  But I do want to try. 

I have a beloved.  A man who so fully understands me that he puts up with my moods, tries to understand my feelings and laughs when I laugh and cries when I cry.  Blake knows when I have had a bad day and jumps in. He goes the extra mile and doesn’t bring up past problems. I don’t know any of my faults because he doesn’t label them.  He just loves me.  Loves me through “that time of the month”. Loves me through another pan of brownies. Loves me through shows I want to watch and he doesn’t.  Loves me through my frustration with the kids and my elation with the kids. Loves me through my dreams of writing and reading and DIY projects and new recipes.  Loves me through a sweet embrace and a simple kiss and a look that says, “You can do this and you are doing this.”  And he believes in me way more than I believe in myself.  He is my beloved.

Joy (5 minute prompt)

Joy 3/22/14

It was an ordinary Saturday night.  Kids had been bathed, brushed and dressed in preparation for church the next day.  The house was picked up.  The TV was off.  It was still.  Most of our Saturday nights are not like this.  They are rowdy, loud and wild.  But this one was different.  The girls and I started painting our toe and fingernails with a variety of colors and attached some decals we had gotten from the store.  Suddenly, Blake came over and offered up his nails for painting.  This has never happened.  The girls had always teased him about it and asked him, but this was the first.  They chose yellow and painted his nails.  In the end, it looked like he had a toe disease.  But the girls loved it.  Spencer was working on addition facts at the table.  Writing and rewriting facts that he had learned at school.  He was so proud of himself for his hard work, as his little tongue stuck out of the corner of his mouth in concentration.  And I was proud of him for working on school projects all on his own.  William was in heaven, playing with his toy trains.  “choo choo” and a crawl across the floor pushing the trains he loves.  And I had the feeling of heaven and I knew that this must be what heaven is like.  It is a mish mash of people working together for the greater good.  Working together to make each other happy and to bring each other joy.  A constant barrage of love and laughter.  And this was my heaven and I smiled, knowing I would never forget it.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

What Mama Did (5 minute prompt)

What Mama Did 3/18/14

We all have our mothering mistakes.  The ones we hide in the back of our closets and never share out of embarrassment or fear or regret.  Well, my secret is coming out.  It is going to come out so I can do better.  It had been a long day.  I was getting the kids in the car when I told Hailey to get her seatbelt on.  She was working on it and in her quiet five year old voice said, “Dammit”.  I stopped and told her, “We don’t say that.”  Sadly, I knew where she had learned it.  From me.  It is my word of choice when I am pregnant. I don’t know why pregnancy brings out the “dammits” in me, but it does.  I wish it didn’t. I wish I had hormonal control, but my head goes wild.  And I thought, “Look what I have taught my child.”  She had said it so calmly, like it was a normal thing to say.  I don’t think she even knew it was a bad word.  The fear of knowing that my kids watch everything I do and listen to everything I say (even when they don’t listen) is overwhelming.  Is my example good enough?  Am I a mess?  I know that I could do a lot worse than say the occasional swear word, but the eye opening experience that I had on that day was a wakeup call to me.  And one I won’t forget.


Crowd (5 minute prompt)

Crowd 3/18/14

I used to think I wouldn’t have enough love in my heart.  Enough love for a husband plus kids.  Then I met my husband and my heart was full and happy and enough.  Then the urge for children came, slowly but insistently.  I had my first baby, sweet red headed Hailey and my heart expanded and grew in love.  It was a new love for a new baby and a new experience that I hadn’t known that I had needed.  I had the new mom fear of “What if I didn’t have enough love for another baby?”  Spencer came along.  Chubby, crying and loving.  And my heart expanded and grew in love.  He was a wonderful and trying baby but he brought so much love.  Then a third baby, Brooke, born 23 months after Spencer and I was a little worried again.  Because having three kids in four years is trying on anyone and the heart does get worn, as does the mind.  But there was room.  Dark haired, sweet and easy baby Brooke.  And my heart expanded and grew in love.  Then there was William, my fourth, born during a huge transition and move to Iowa.  He was my peaceful, my loving baby.  My gift for enduring these trials.  And my heart expanded and grew in love. I no longer fear that my heart will be too crowded to love any other children who come along.  I no longer fear that I won’t have enough room.  A heart as an interesting way of growing and expanding and stretching. 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Ordinary (5 minute prompt)

Ordinary 3/12/14

It was just a bird’s nest.  High up in a tree, well woven and proudly set between two branches.  A bird’s nest that never would have been seen except for the leaves falling off of the tree.  I saw this bird’s nest and then that nest and then another and eventually, ten bird’s nests in one tree. Ten!  Ten little families living in nests that I could hear but not see, until the fall began.  And now, here we sit in March, winter still upon us, and those bird’s nests remain.  Then I had the thought, “Sometimes we don’t see people until they are in the winters of their lives. Sometimes people don’t see us until we are in the winters of our lives.”  It made me wonder about these birds.  They are neighbors but do they consider themselves friends? Do they share worms?  Do they watch each other’s babies? Do they show each other the best way to weave a nest?  Do they fly off to the South together when the time is right?  How many times have I had neighbors and not known their story or their need?  How many times have I overlooked the needs of a friend, or worse, my husband and kids?  We all live in a world of “bird’s nests”.  Family, varied and unique in their own ways, living their lives.  Having different needs and dreams and realities.  And do we live within a community of people who look after each other?  Why or why not?  And this is what I thought as I viewed a tree of ordinary bird’s nests.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Home (5 minute prompt)

That yearning for togetherness, connection, support. 
The feeling that you are accepted no matter what.  No matter your faults.
No matter your mistakes.
No matter your flaws.
The warm baked bread aroma flows throughout the house like an enveloping hug.
When you step through the front door and you smell the smell of home.
A mix of potpourri, candles, and a bit of lemon pledge.
The wild, crazy, loud.
The quiet, tender, sacred.
The feelings and memories that are yours and yours alone.
Never to be forgotten or replaced.
Never to be duplicated.
Then you try to recreate "home" for your own.
After 11 moves and 11 homes and you realize
Home is where you are.
Home is with your family.
Home can be in a one room apartment.
A starter home with yellow walls you painted yourself.
A brown house with mice in the middle of the woods.
The adjustment comes with each new home.
But he feeling is the same.
Home is family.
Home is a husband and four kids
Who love you in spite of
your weaknesses
your mistakes.
your flaws.
Home is love.

Rest (5 minute prompt)

Rest 3/11/14

Ironically, I was having a hard time figuring out what to write about on this prompt.  Then, last night I couldn't sleep.  Like the worst kind of insomnia I have ever had.  I had no reason to be anxious or overthinking or anything!  But sleep evaded me over and over again.  I stretched and relaxed my body.  I cleared my mind.  I tried counting  sheep even!  Eventually I gave up and got a bowl of cereal thinking the food would make me warm and tired.  No.  Then I got online to mess around a little bit, in spite of everything I have read about not doing that.  It didn't help.  I slept on my side. I slept on my back. Under my pillow.  I then decided to pray for everything I was grateful for.  I just went on and on and eventually I fell asleep. I had some really strange dreams and then woke up exhausted.  The kind of exhaustion that feels like I just had a new baby, but there was no new baby as a reward. It was jus the pure exhaustion of a grumpy and overtired mom that is surely a bad mix on daylight savings week and getting kids off to school.  All I wanted for those three hours in the middle of the night was rest.  I wanted it more than anything. I was afraid of how I would be the next day without it.  I survived.  I took a little rest on the couch while Brooke watched a Disney Christmas show.  It was much needed and a great reward.  My plan tonight is to read quietly in bed before I go to sleep, lather up with some lavender oils and dress as warm as possible.  Sleep will not evade me tonight.  Or at least I think it won't.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Willing (5 minute prompt)

Willing 3/10/14

I have a confession.  I am not always willing.  You know, when someone calls and asks you if you can babysit last minute or bring a meal or help out, I don’t always feel so willing.  And that is my confession. I always feel great after I do the thing and say yes and offer the service.  But for that fleeting moment, I am not willing.  And I feel guilty for not feeling willing.  Because I know people who are always willing and they are just the most kind, generous and loving people I know.  I want to be more like them!  They are my role models.  So, in my angst about not feeling willing, I thought, you know, Jesus was willing.  He was willing to do the hardest thing ever done.  He was willing to perform and carry out the atonement.  He was willing to take on my pains, weaknesses, faults and misfortunes.  He was willing to feel my toe being stubbed, my shame, my embarrassment and sadness, my labor pains and my tears.  He was willing and able and did feel these things.  A true example of willing.  And was I deserving?  Not really.  Do I take full advantage of the atonement?  Not as often as I should, I am sure.  But he is still willing to listen to me complain and ask for help and be on my side.  Even if my side is the most unwilling and bratty side.  And thank goodness for Him, because without Him I would be lost.  Someone at church the other day said, “Service should pinch a little.”  It shouldn’t be convenient to serve.  And I am certain that the atonement wasn’t convenient but it sure has sustained me and I am ever so grateful.

Power of Moms Ambassador

I have been reading the Power of Moms site for a few years now and have really enjoyed their outlook on motherhood and the support they offer to moms of all ages. Their platform is Deliberate Mothers.  Mothers who try every day to make the moments count. They sent me an email asking if I wanted to fill out a form to be an ambassador, someone who could look over things and give opinions on future ideas, books and things like that.  So, I filled it out, thinking I wouldn't be accepted, but they did accept me.  I am looking forward to working with these ladies in this volunteer position.  I have told many moms about this site because it is full of great podcasts, advice and programs.  I hope you can use it, as well.
Support for Moms – Power of Moms

Real Imprints

I wrote a piece that was published on Real Imprints, a great inspirational website that my friend started.  There are service opportunities and many inspirational stories from kids, teens, and adults.  There are options for inspirational music, uplifting books and just a happy place.  Enjoy!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Remember (5 minute prompt)

Remember 3/8/14

Remember to buy milk and eggs.

 Remember to clean the tub.

 Remember to pick up the kids from school because it is -25 degrees out today.

 Remember to scrape the sidewalks.

 Remember to vacuum the couch and wash the covers because they are starting to look like kids live on them. 

Remember to read with Spencer, do multiplication with Hailey, numbers with Brooke, baby books with William. 

Remember to hug them X number of times a day.

 Remember to have some down time so you will want to hug them X number of times a day. 

Remember to teach them to make their beds and the right way to brush their teeth.

 Remember to teach them how to clean and fold clothes and make a sandwich. 

Remember to teach them that Heavenly Father loves them.

 Remember to take care of Blake too and that he is a person as well.

 Remember to take care of myself!

 Remember to slow down. 

Remember to hurry up because you will be late. 

Remember to say nice things and keep the bad ones out.

 Remember to clean out the car. 

Remember, remember, and remember.

 I used to write down all the stuff I needed to do so I wouldn’t forget it.  But the list was quite intimidating and honestly made me feel like a real failure.  Because in the middle of all the things I didn’t do, I had forgotten to remember the things I did do.

 I hugged when someone was hurt. 

I snuggled at naptime.

I tickled tummies.

 I had a quiet talk.

 I DID make my bed.

 I did the laundry.

 I paid the bills.

 I wrote this down.

 And because I wrote this down, I can come back to it and remember that I did do something. I can remember that today my awesome grandma neighbor wanted Brooke to come play at her house with her grandsons.  And she went even though I know she will be exhausted and overplayed after a day with friends. I remembered that I had a chance to write this down because I had some quiet.  And now I am off to get William up because too long of a nap makes for an all nighter.  I sure remember that one.

Broken (5 minute prompt)

Broken 3/8/14

I have seen many broken things.  Broken people, broken cars, broken dolls, broken pictures, broken toys.  But I have never considered myself attached to many objects.  I didn’t mind if they broke, because, well, as a mom, you can’t mind if something breaks.  Accidents happens and kids can sometimes cause the accidents.  Love the person, not the item.  I have about four things I care about: my jewelry box (broken by my daughter), my diamond earrings from Blake (been lost and refound three times), my entertainment center I spent days refinishing (Spencer broke the door of it the other day) and my snow globe I got from Blake for Christmas one year (broken by me, sigh).  The snow globe played a haunting melody by Beethoven. I can still hear it in my mind and enjoyed the twirling and dancing by the girls. I loved the Spencer would play it and lay in my bed.  There was a silver angel inside and sparkly silver dust.  On the outside it said “God couldn’t be everywhere so he created mothers.”  I loved it when he gave it to me and I still love it.  I was pulling some books off a high shelf one night and something came crashing down.  Once I realized it was the snow globe, I cried.  I couldn’t believe that I had placed it up high to keep it away from the kids one day and now it was broken.  I still find small pebbles of glass from it.  It really fell hard.  I learned a lesson about putting things up.  Though I am happy I am the one that broke it, so I would have nobody to blame but myself, I’m not happy that it didn’t get enough use.  I am not happy that it didn’t have more dances and more chances to share its beautiful music.  I partially squandered the music box because I was afraid of it breaking.  Lesson learned: items are for enjoyment, not for hiding.  I won’t make that mistake again.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

After (5 minute prompt)

After 3/4/14

The sun rises. Breakfast, dressed, hugs and kisses. Older kids out the door.

Brooke and William and I are on our own.  I am the entertainment for the day.

Exercise, clean up, shower.  Read books, run errands or go to music class or the library.

We keep busy. Then lunch and quiet time and naps. If Brooke naps, she is much happier.

She usually doesn’t nap.

Then a project or we bake or we clean.

Older kids come home.  Chaos ensues.  “Drop your school stuff in the right place. Put away your boots.”

Snacks and homework.  Reading lego books and sounding out words.

Attempt to make dinner while helping with homework, holding William and refereeing fights.

Wish for spring or summer so the kids can play outside.

Blake comes home and rescues me.

Eat dinner and try to teach manners.  Talk about our best part of the day.

Clean up. Showers. Reading. Sometimes tv show.

Bedtime routine. Teeth, potty, book, chatting. 

The day is full of chaos and sometimes quiet moments.  Fighting and laughing and arguing and hitting.

My role is to be their mom. To be their everything. To be their safe place. Their crying shoulder.

After they are asleep and it is quiet and still, I peek in on them.

William in the opposite end of the bed we put him in because he was chatting with Spencer.

Bum in air.

Spencer sprawled out, half uncovered. Peaceful boy face.

Hailey wrapped in her cheetah blanket. Wrapped like a butterfly in a cocoon.

Brooke on her back. The quietest she is during the day.  Gripping her stuffed and overloved frog.

After the crazy day comes the remembering of what my position is.

After the storm comes the peace and knowing that I can do this again tomorrow.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Here (5 minute prompt)

Here 3/3/14
Be Here.  Be here with the blue and green eyes.
Be here with the brown, black, blond and red hair.
Be here for the tickle fights, the messy faces, the bubble baths.
Be here for the books read: trucks, Fancy Nancy, chapter books, sight words.
Be here for the addition, multiplication, fractions, science projects.
Be here for the whispered feelings, the kisses, the hugs, the sad and happy tears.
Be here for the tag, races, snowmen, slides and swinging.
Be here for the bike rides, the training wheels, scooters and walks to school.
Be here for the Disney movies, the dinosaur shows, the silly reruns of America’s Funniest Home Videos.
Be here for the car races, the littlest pet shops, the barbies and the blocks.
Be here for the tantrums, the sickness, the cuddles and teething.
Be here for the potty training and the diaper blowouts and the projectile vomit.
Be here for the little ones like you have been for the older ones.
Be here though you are tired of the blocks and trains because it is new to the little ones.
Be here because it might not be an exciting day to day, but the day to day adds up to the lifetime.
Be here because if you miss the boat on today, you can’t make up for it tomorrow.
Be here because tomorrow will come and be gone before you know it and today can’t repeat itself.
No matter how you might want it to.

Cream Cheese Banana Bread

Here is the story:
I have had this amazing cream cheese banana bread recipe for years. It came from a college recipe book. I have shared it with friends and family. I have made it for Christmas treats, birthday gifts, special surprises.  They are even awesome as muffins.  They take no time and the batter is delicious (just ask my two year old!)  I have had it on my blog for awhile but I thought it needed to be shared more because it really is that amazing.  Creamy and simple and crunchy topping and healthy;)  So, I sent it to my virtual "friend" Mel at Mel's Kitchen Café.  I have loved this blog for years!  We make a lot of her recipes through the week and Mel's is the first place I stop for recipes.  She has no fail and easy, family friendly, KID friendly recipes!  The skillet macaroni and cheese is by far the best.  So, imagine my surprise to see it posted on her blog today!  I was pretty thrilled to see so many people could have access to it now.  It really is the best.  So, if you want a little modified recipe of my cream cheese banana bread, then check out her site.  And all her other great recipes.  She is a true gem.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Jump (5 minute prompt)

Jump 3/1/14

“Jump” made me think of the song by The Pointer Sisters.  Old school fun and from my childhood.  Reminds me of an exercising song and suddenly I need to bust out my leg warmers, headband and leotard.  When I found out my bishop, Ken Craig, also had an affinity for the song and wasn’t ashamed, I was inspired.  If a man with 8 children can proudly blast “Jump” on his ipod, then no shame should be had anywhere.  Then I thought of “Jump, Jump” by Kris Kros, a boy group from my junior high years.  The song was everywhere.  We listened on the school bus, at dances, on our tapes in our boom boxes.  Best dance and backwards overalls.  Brings back all sorts of feelings of fun, misfit, unsure and becoming feelings that come along with the teenage years.  Then I thought of songs that have been in my life.  My first favorite song I remember was “King of Pain” by The Police. I even remember singing it when I was young in my dad’s huge white ’78 Chevy.  When I hear it today, I remember all the words and tell my kids that this was my first favorite song.  Then “With or Without You” by U2, then “Swallowed in the Sea” by Coldplay, then “Claire de lune” by Debussy (10 years prior to Twilight “creating” the song).  And then “What a Wonderful World”, which I heard on an after school show and fell in love with the smooth sound and beautiful message.  Then, when I met Blake and he said that was his favorite song as well and I knew that it was meant to be.  Music forms us.  It can hurt, heal, excite us to all measures.  These songs bring back my memories and I am immersed in them, a feeling that cannot be duplicated.

Friend (5 minute prompt)

Friend 3/1/14

When I read this word I thought of a lot of ideas. Blake being my best friend, friends I love, qualities I want in a friend or in myself but I went back to an instance that just happened the other day and it stuck with me.

It was a regular night.  After school chores and work were completed.  Dinner had been made, devoured and put away.  We were hanging out watching some show I can’t even remember.  I was sitting next to Hailey, she was on my left side.  I just looked over at her and her long red, stringy hair after a long day of work and play and I saw a friend.  I saw a friend I had made over many years of work and fun.  I saw the baby she had been and the toddler and the small child, but when I looked at her now, I saw an older child.  A more mature person and the thought of her made me smile.  She looked at me with her sweet look and said “What?”  And I said, “We have become friends.” And she smiled and linked her skinny little arm through mine.  And my heart was just so full.  I couldn’t believe that these four kids, who have been my friends and enemies at times, had now become my lifeline.  They were people I was excited to see during the day.  People who had become examples to me.  They are each other’s best friends.  They tell it how it is.  They have fun together and they fight and they allow me to be part of their circle.  I am never “not cool enough” yet.  I am the center of their games at times.  I am so blessed to be part of their friendship.  And I never realized the friends we would become.  And I hear it gets even better.  And worse.  But bring it on.  If this is what I have to look forward to, I can’t wait.


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