Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Quick Hello


Just popping in for a minute with a hello.  Hello!  Hope your Christmas was all that you wanted it to be.  I wanted to share a quick Christmas recap before it seems like way too far after the event.

Christmas Eve was full of fun.  We turned on White Christmas and ended up watching the second half the next day.  The kids had their first experience playing "Secret Santa" and thought it was the best thing ever.  We read Christmas Day in the Morning and since I started crying on page 2 while trying to read (not unlike this year's reading of The Gift of the Magi or The Three Trees or any other Christmas book we pulled out), the husband quickly took over.  We recounted the events recorded in Luke 2 with the kids and reflected together on the birth of our Savior.

Christmas Day was lovely.  The morning started out when we finally woke everyone up(!) at 8 and did a quick unwrapping/soaking it all in.  Then off to the in-laws for Christmas breakfast and more present opening and enjoying the kids having fun with their cousins.  We hurried home from breakfast to bathe everyone and head out the door to church.  My kids actually looked happy and sang the words when the primary went up to perform (Christmas miracle).  The husband dropped the boys and I off at home so the muffin could go down for his nap while he headed south to pick up my dad for the afternoon festivities.  A visit was had, dinner was eaten, and the kids did a whole lot of playing.  And then we went to bed.

In the days leading up to Christmas, the husband spent about two days straight working to get my shelving done for Christmas Day.  It looks fantastic and has given me quite the organizing/decorating bug.  Shelving aside, the amount of time spent and his thorough approach to get things right were selfless gifts.  Another favorite gift? A gorgeous painting of our home done by a dear friend- I need to scan it in so I can show you the beauty. It is a priceless treasure and I can't wait for it to find a home on a new gallery wall in my entry.  

Hope everyone is enjoying the down time this week with family and friends.  I'm sure I'll be scarce, but I'll definitely be back in time for the New Year.  This blog is about becoming better and I can't pass up the chance to talk resolutions.  :)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Last Few Days

gorgeous wreath found via pinterest

I'm at that stage before Christmas of trying to soak up all that is left of these last few days before the big day.  Not that the days after Christmas aren't also enjoyable, but there is just something special about the days before.

There is a crazy amount of hustle-bustle to be found as I look at my lists of things left to do.  But there is also part of me that wants to just cozy in and forget about any to-do lists.  I did a marathon of errands this morning in less than an hour thanks to my father-in-law who came and played with the kids so I could go unencumbered.  I need one more big trip to Target for the customary toothbrushes/toothpaste and a few other stocking odds and ends, and I have 2 or 3 other small trips to various stores, but I'm starting to get to the finish line of the preparations.  Neighbor gifts line the counters waiting to be passed out after 4 double batches of granola (and honestly, I probably still have about 2 more to go).  My house is still torn apart mid-shelving project.  I haven't wrapped a single gift (although not unusual for me considering my undesirable tradition of Christmas Eve wrapping).  I still have a few straggler Christmas cards to send.

But really, none of this Christmas preparation progress report really matters.  Somehow, it will all get done in between Miss A's big piano recital tomorrow night and the muffin's 2-year check-up in the morning and all of the other life happenings.  The biggest things to me right now are that the husband is home until after Christmas and I couldn't be more thrilled. We're still giving our best efforts to the gifts we've chosen to give the Savior.  The kids are filled with excitement regarding the presents they're making for each other.  I have menu planning to do which always makes me happy to feed my family delicious food.  Things are good.  I'm not sure I can say all is calm, but all is most definitely bright.

Hoping to check in again before Sunday, but in case I don't make it, Merry Christmas, friends.  Be back soon.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Miss A at 5 weeks
Today I'm setting aside my Christmas preparations to celebrate my girl. 
Miss A somewhere between 10-13 months

Today she is 7.  Time flies.  
Miss A around 18 months

I could never have imagined the joy I would find in being her mother.  
Miss A around 2 1/2

She couldn't be more helpful or creative or fun or clever.  
Miss A age 3

She was elated with every gift this morning with shouts of "I love it!".  
Miss A age 4

I'm so glad to know her, to know her likes and dislikes and what makes her tick, to love her more than I ever knew possible.  
Miss A age 5

She has changed me for the better.  
Miss A age 6

Happy Birthday, Miss A.  

Friday, December 16, 2011

Five on Friday

free printable via 
1.  My week has been spent cutting and gluing (along with the weeks of my friends in Primary).  I'm taking a quick break (although I shouldn't be) to write this post.  I'm hoping to make it to the copy place before they close at 6 to get the laminating order in.  And then I will give the Primary kids candy canes next year instead of biting off more than I can chew.

2.  Last night we went to the Tabernacle Choir Christmas Concert.  I had two other extremely tempting invitations, but the concert won.  It was lovely as always, but the best part was the drive back and forth and being able to talk to the husband without interruption.  We don't get nearly enough time together lately.

3.  I'm more behind than I think I've ever been in the Christmas realm.  In the big picture I know that's not what matters, but I'm looking forward to a week without running kids all over the place next week so I can (hopefully) get things done.

4.  I'm guest posting over at Someone in Mind today as part of the Finding Christ in Christmas series.  Click over, and then check out Erin's great blog while you're there, and then say a prayer for her while she's recovering from massive surgery the week before Christmas.

5.  This weekend will be full of family in town, birthday celebrations starting early, more shopping, and hopefully some relaxing.  If I'm really ambitious I'll start neighbor gifts, but I'm pretty sure those will be happening Monday.

Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

11 days

adorable free(!) printable gift tags via

Don't mind the silence around here, just in the middle of one of the busiest weeks of the year.  Hope to be back soon!

Friday, December 9, 2011

A Quick Friday Night List

14 week photo from Instagram (beebetter in case you want to follow me)

-I'm 14 weeks today.  I look like I'm a lot more than 14 weeks, but there's nothing I can really do about it, so I may as well just embrace it.  Things were good at my appointment today, and in a short 5 weeks we'll be headed to see what this baby might be.  Everyone in the family is hoping girl, but I have a slight feeling it's a boy.  I hope I'm wrong just because if not I'll have 4 slightly disappointed people on my hands.

-My house currently looks like a mixture of holiday cheer and complete chaos.  We decided to get some new shelving/media solutions going, and things are in total disarray with the current armoire/tv/entertainment stuff spread out everywhere as well as what's going to be taking its place.  I'm hopeful that by the end of tomorrow night things might be put back together, but considering the husband will be gone form 7-4 tomorrow the odds are not good.

-This past week was spent being sick and making lists.  Obviously blogging didn't really fit in- sorry about that.  I'm feeling probably 95% better, but the muffin has quite a hacking cough going thanks to his asthma that makes a little cold sound a whole lot worse.  The almost two weeks until Christmas thing also has me feeling a little frantic, especially with several birthdays between now and then and so much to do.  It will all get done, I'm sure.  I just need to get myself more organized and keep my family healthy.

-Amazon packages currently arrive almost daily.  Thank you Amazon mom for my Amazon Prime trial.  Bless you.

-Clementine consumption is at an all time high.  I can easily eat half a dozen daily.  I suppose there are worse things I could be eating.  Don't worry, they are definitely eaten as well.  Really all I want to eat right now is veggies and dip, cheese and crackers, and party appetizers.  Instead I have attempted to make dinner.  Pioneer Woman's mac and cheese is the best  in case you're needing a recipe (I added broccoli, cauliflower, and chicken and my family gobbled it up).

-Not that I want to reveal all my secrets, but if you're needing seriously amazing Christmas card deals check out  (Thanks to my awesome friend Candis for the tip off.) These people do discount codes for 60% off- who does that?!?  I ordered all my cards with return addresses and mailing addresses printed on the already stamped envelopes for not much more than I would've paid for the postage alone.  Amazing, I say.  They have made a believer out of me.  Anything that helps me avoid the post office makes a believer out of me.  I'm pretty sure I'll be using them for any of my "send something cute" needs.

-In the midst of the busy-ness I ordered some new Christmas books and sat down to read them this week before we read them as a family.  Not sure how I'm going to make it through them without crying when we read them over the next few weeks.  They're good ones.  I'll have to share some favorite titles soon.

-Time to get back to list making/gift ordering/house cleaning.  These things don't finish themselves.

Hope all of you busy elves out there are checking things off your lists and finding time to enjoy the season!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Bare Bones

via pinterest via frufly-a beautiful blog that I can't read a word of!

Ugh, friends.  I am under the weather (again) as seems to be fairly typical this time of year.  Sunday night was bad.  From 10-3 I rotated between coughing and throwing up (with several tests of bladder control while coughing thrown in for good measure, and since I'm pregnant and have already had 3 kids, I lost).  I woke up at 7 and begged the husband to stay home so he could help with the off-to-school rush, but he was already late and had a busy day ahead (busy enough that he didn't get home until 3:30 this morning).  I rescheduled piano lessons and cleared my schedule and we did the bare minimum to survive.

Around 1 I realized I really needed to use the meat in the fridge, so I threw together a beef stew knowing that it could simmer all afternoon and I'd be thrilled that I didn't have to make dinner later.  I called my in-laws and they picked up Addie from school while Sam watched a show and Charlie and I napped.  Well, I napped for an hour, I'm pretty sure the muffin never really fell asleep.  After that I was counting the minutes until bedtime, but somehow we managed to have a really nice family night.  The kids and I spent some time watching a few of these gorgeous videos depicting the birth of the Savior.  We listened to one of my favorite Christmas songs (In the Bleak Midwinter sung by Mindy Gledhill, lyrics from the poem by Christina Rosetti) and I asked them to pay attention to the last verse.

What can I give Him
Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd
I would bring a lamb,
If I were a wise man
I would do my part,
Yet what can I give Him
Give my heart.  

Then we sat by the Christmas tree and talked about gifts.  Why do we give gifts at Christmas?  What are the most important gifts we can give?  What are the best gifts we've received?  Is it more important to give gifts or to think about what we want to get?  How do we give our hearts? Their answers were sweet and humbling as they already seemed to know that Christ gave us the best gift when He came to earth and eventually gave His life for us.  We had already discussed something we want to give to Him as a family, but they talked about individual gifts they hope to give to Jesus this year.  I was grateful for such a sweet time together with my little chicks.  It was a bare bones day.  Everyone was fed physically and spiritually, and that was about all that happened.  But it was enough.  Small efforts were blessed and magnified, and it was enough.  Sometimes less is more.  


Hope you're finding time to enjoy the beauty and wonder of this season.  Check out the amazing series at Someone in Mind on Finding Christ in Christmas.  It's been fantastic!  

Friday, December 2, 2011


where he spent last summer, photo by Melissa

Today I'm celebrating this boy.  Two!  Can you believe it?!?  His first year was a complete blur, so we've spent a lot of time this past year making up for lost cuddles/babyhood.  But he's not much of a baby anymore.  One of the biggest lessons I've learned from him is the amazing timing that the Lord has in our lives.  He came to our family at the perfect time.  I realized it shortly after his arrival, and I've said thankful prayers for that timing a hundred times since.  Oh, I love him.  Happy Birthday, sweet boy!


Today I'm enjoying the nice words about Bee from Simply Utah.  Such a kind feature!  And if you're new here, welcome- I hope you'll stay a while.


Today I'm looking forward to a productive weekend.  Aside from birthday celebrating I'm hoping to finish decking our halls, check off some more shopping, catch up on some primary projects, and spend some time with the husband.  All of that in between large doses of sitting by the Christmas tree and remaining indoors as much as possible to avoid the cold/wind that showed up this week.  Happy weekend!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

A Love Note


Dear December-

Welcome back.  Although the weather you bring is not my favorite, you still manage to make me pretty happy.   You've brought two of my kids along with birthdays for several other family members.  You make my house look better than it does most of the year (except not right now, so please no one come over in this half-decorated state).  You bring some of my favorite foods and my favorite songs and my favorite movies and my favorite books and it's actually acceptable to eat/sing/watch/read instead of looking crazy for partaking of those things in the wrong season.  You bring gatherings of my favorite people.  The twinkly lights on our tree help me to take a minute to relax every night, happy to find some quiet time amidst the busy pace that tends to happen.  You put a spring in my step as I excitedly find the perfect gifts.  You fill my heart with an extra dose of compassion for those around me.  You always feel like the fastest month, but somehow it's just perfect.  I'm excited to enjoy our time together this year.


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Late night minutes

bedtime shots from Melissa

Last night I returned home from a meeting to a clean kitchen (thank you, husband) and a quiet house.  Well, a mostly quiet house.  The muffin frequently has late night crib parties, and last night was no exception.  There is very rarely crying, but instead he jumps on his crib mattress and talks and laughs and sings and eventually he goes back to sleep.  While I puttered around and spent some time decompressing, I waited for him to go back to sleep.  But after an hour and a half of listening I was ready to head to bed myself and I decided I'd sneak in a quick cuddle with my boy to see if I could get him back to sleep.
As soon as I opened his door I realized he wouldn't be going to sleep anytime soon without a diaper change.  Then I remembered I needed to bring more diapers up from the basement, so lights that I'd just turned off were turned back on again all over the house as I grabbed the supplies and returned to his room. The minute I picked him up he planted a big open mouth kiss on my cheek.  While I worked on his diaper he laid peacefully with his hands over his eyes to block the light from the hallway.  Freshly diapered, jammies zipped, we settled back into the glider and I wrapped him up tight in a blanket.  He nestled his head in my neck, and seconds later he was back to sleep.  I sat there for a while just soaking it in.
He's much too big these days.  He fairly coherently communicates what he wants, with his most frequent requests being "reag-a-book-a-me" said with various intonations, or "pease drink-a-wat-ah" or "crack-ah" or "outside-ride-a-bike".  His personality is getting bigger and funnier all the time, and I'm not sure if it's a new days-away-from-two stage or if this is really part of who he is, but he's constantly out to amuse us all.  Although usually on the go, he regularly settles in for some cuddles and gives hugs and kisses and apologies freely.  It's getting harder for me to hold his 30-pound frame for long stretches, and I'm usually looking for somewhere to sit down if he's seeming to want to be held.
He is sweetness.  I remember with Miss A and de-Man holding them in the blue chair and realizing our days there together were numbered and soaking in those minutes at bedtime, knowing they'd be gone much too soon as a new baby would take over the spot in the chair.  Last night was that feeling all over again.  I love that chair just for the times it's given me with each of my babies.  And I'm grateful for the late night minutes I stole with my muffin last night.  In two days he'll be two.  His golden birthday this year- 2 on the 2nd.  This growing up thing happens way too fast.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


image via tumblr via pinterest
Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!  We enjoyed back-to-back celebrations- Wednesday with my dad and brother/sister-in-law, and Thursday with the husband's parents, brother/sister-in-law, and my sister-in-law's sisters and their families.  The rolls were plentiful (sign of a successful Thanksgiving, I think) and in addition to everything being delicious both days, it was just plain fun.

As nice as it was to enjoy good meals and a lot of down time, the best thing over the whole long weekend was the people.  I had the opportunities to visit with a lot of people over the break- visits with people from church, visits with family, and visits with friends filled much of last week/weekend.  It was perfect.  I loved learning from those around me as I saw examples of tireless service, quiet thoughtful acts, generosity of time and talents, and sweet conversations lifting and comforting and communicating love.  I could write about 100 acts of service witnessed over the weekend, but two in particular stand out to me.

For the past several months I have watched my sister-in-law work on a quilt for her sister's birthday.  Hours of planning and cutting and sewing fulfilled their purpose as the quilt was opened this weekend by her very surprised sister.  I can't think about that moment when she opened the box without getting teary-eyes.  Surprise was coupled with gratitude and deep appreciation for the hours sacrificed to create such a beautiful gift.  The moment between giver and receiver was beautiful- almost sacred- and love was an unspoken backdrop to the occasion.

The second lesson came from an interaction the husband had with my dad after he took him home from dinner at our home on Wednesday.  While he was here we were all on pins and needles as we watched my dad try to get around.  Every time he stood up we were sure he was going to fall.  He hadn't seemed so unsteady since his first days at our house almost two years ago.  Despite the nerves we felt and the demands of his visit, the husband is very open with my dad in sharing his love and kindness.  He told my dad how glad we were that he could come, how much we enjoy spending time with him, and communicated an open invitation for him to come any time.  My dad was grateful for his kindness but also added that he really only feels at home when he's at his assisted living center.  I've thought about this interaction a lot over the past few days.  I feel a pang of sadness for my dad, but also gratitude that he does feel at home in his current circumstances.  I feel great love for my husband at being able to communicate things with my dad that are often too difficult for me to do.  I feel an increase of love for both of these men in my life.

Mentioning these examples is not to diminish the gracious invitations we received over the weekend, or the aunts helping with kids, or the kids who helped each other, or the dozens of other acts of kindness.  I truly feel overwhelmed as somehow over the weekend my view has enlarged to see each of these things for the love they communicate instead of overlooking their true value as I have for a long time.  

I am always inspired by the amazing amounts of goodness that people have.  There is a tremendous capacity for love and service that each one of us contain.  This time of year always seems to bring out the good in people, and I'm grateful I can witness those examples around me.  I have always felt that people are part of your life for a reason, and I am blessed to be surrounded by truly good people.    

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Happy Days- A Few Final Thoughts

printable via Honeybear Lane

I wanted to take a minute to link-up with Life Rearranged and Joy's Hope and post a quick recap of my experience with the Happy Days Project.

I shared before about how excited I get about these kinds of challenges, but the hard part is always in the doing, and this time was no different.

Day 1 I was feeling really good.  I planned ahead and got the filling for my pumpkin muffins in the freezer while I was in the middle of making chicken and dumplings for dinner.  Time started speeding up, but I put the muffins in the oven just as we were sitting down to dinner.  The husband came home late from work, always a curveball, but I was still determined to follow through and sent him and the big kids out to deliver our treats to a few neighbors when the kids should have been going to bed.  The highlight of the whole experience was probably the discussion we shared while the husband was eating his dinner before heading out the door.  We talked about all of the things our neighbors do for us and why it's important for us to serve them.

When we moved into our home 6 years ago, it was quickly apparent that we would have a very different experience than we'd planned on.  We thought our quiet cul-de-sac seemed charming, and I imagined the kids playing with friends and the neighborhood gatherings we were sure to enjoy with other families.  As we began meeting our neighbors, we noticed the details that we couldn't have planned for- there were no kids.  The majority of our neighbors had bought their home as the one they wanted to grow old in- their retirement home for lack of a better term.  There are two kids next door, but one is going away to college next year, and the other will be entering high school.  They're not exactly playmates.  Although it's been difficult to miss the realization of those dreams for our home of a neighborhood full of kids, there have been great blessings from these neighbors in such a different season of life.

They drag our garbage cans back up our driveway when they know I'm sick and pregnant. They are patient with our slow progress in our yard, and offer advice as well as physical help.  Two of the neighbors showed up over the summer with tape measures and helped engineer and construct a roof for our deck.  They are patient and kind to our kids as they stop on their many bike rides around the circle to ask about one neighbor's chickens or to see the horses that back up to another neighbor's fence or to ask about whatever fascinating project they might be in the middle of.  They share their produce from their abundant and beautiful gardens.  They are generous with their time and talents in the ways it's hard to be with a busy home full of young children.

I was glad to have a chance to share these feelings for our neighbors with my kids.  They need to know that although it's a bummer to not have neighbors to play with, we are still very blessed to have good neighbors.

Day 2 of the project left notes still waiting to be sent/delivered, and the rest of the days quickly got away from me, although the challenges have continued to play in my mind with plans to carry them out eventually.  

Although I could look at the project as a fail considering I didn't complete every task, I count it as a great success.  Any time I can share valuable lessons with my kids and help them think of others, I really can't ask for more.  I'm hoping we can take the long weekend and do a little more planning for some service this season.  There are few things I'd rather do with our family this weekend, especially while counting our blessings.

Happy Tuesday!
I'm busy today making preparations for Thanksgiving round 1 tomorrow and round 2 on Thursday.  Hope you're enjoying the family and friends and food this week.  Be back soon.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Grateful Heart

via homegrown hospitality

I would consider myself an optimist.  I'm a generally happy person and usually have no problem looking for the good or seeing the glass as half full.  Lately I've found myself a bit unsettled- a bit of anxiety, lack of optimism, and lack of faith all rolled into one.
Almost two years ago my life turned upside down after my dad's stroke.  Although I can look back and see the little things whispering to me of such a big change to come, it still felt like something I was completely unprepared for- a total sucker punch.  We made it through and I learned amazing lessons and came out better on the other side and am truly better because of it, but I've realized it's also left me a bit more doubting (totally ironic considering the increase of faith I experienced at the same time).  The more time that passes since that event, the more I find myself feeling anxious waiting for the next big thing.  Every small challenge is suddenly multiplied in my head into the worst possible scenarios.  I am constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop, certain that life can't remain good for this long without another personal tragedy surfacing.  
Writing this makes me even more aware of how crazy I sound.  I know a million responses I'd give to a friend who was experiencing those feelings.  So in case you may be experiencing any or all of the above, here's my pep talk to myself.
The answer to overcome all of this stress is gratitude.  If I can focus on my blessings, it will help me to see the good and to feel the love of God.  If I can feel His love, I can feel peace and overcome the doubt and anxiety that so readily creeps in.  There is such a paradox here for me.  I know that adversity is a blessing.  I don't doubt the gifts that come when we endure great suffering, and I feel grateful for those opportunities, as difficult as they've been, which have drawn me closer to my Savior and to my Heavenly Father.  But in my current state of waiting for those trials, I am neglecting to be grateful for the sunshine They give, as well as the rain.  It feels so silly and ironic and just plain sad that I can't seem to embrace the good days and be grateful for them. and instead I waste time worrying about the bad that I assume must be coming.  Trials are sure to come at some point- we all endure them- but sitting around waiting for them isn't going to change the outcome when they arrive.  The only thing I'm wasting is my time and energy and plenty of perfectly great days to be grateful for. 

I've got work to do.  I've got to increase my faith to replace this fear that comes so easily right now.  I've got to nurture my feelings of gratitude to crowd out the craziness.  

Tonight I turned on one of my favorite Thanksgiving messages created a couple of years ago (take a minute to watch it below).  I've watched it probably 100 times with my kids or by myself.  My favorite part?  The part when Dallin Oaks says, "Let us give thanks for what we are and for the circumstances God has given us for our personal journey through mortality."

There are times when my circumstances are bleak, and there are times when my circumstances are beautiful, but always they are given to me from God.  They are always just what I need for my journey, and they are always a blessing.  I am grateful for that knowledge of the involvement of God in my life.  I am grateful for the current challenge that is helping me to focus on my blessings.  I can always use an extra helping of gratitude.  It makes everything so much better.  

Friday, November 18, 2011

A few Friday lists

Charming Things Recently Said by My 1-year-old
1.  Chubby face (while pinching my cheeks)
2.  Stop it
3.  Uh-wock a door- NOW (translation: unlock the door- NOW)

Fun Things Accomplished This Week
1.  Craft night with friends where I made a great cornhusk wreath
2.  Testing for some of the students in Miss A's class- 1st graders are pretty cute
3.  Online shopping, helping me once again stay home when the thought of retail shopping with kids is more than I can handle
4.  Spent time with local family hanging out and eating pizza while the husband helped his brother with some highly nerdy computer/wiring project

Not Fun Things Accomplished This Week
1.  Successfully caught the cold I've been trying to fight for over a week, just in time for a meeting tonight I can't really miss
2.  Took a visit to the doctor and then to the local children's hospital for ultrasound and labs to see about the lump on de-Man's neck that hasn't gone away for the last 6 weeks.  Luckily all tests are coming back normal.  Unluckily we still don't know what it is, but hopefully it will go away soon.
3.  Vacuumed the family room 20 times due to the trail of cereal that seems to never end  
4.  Burned out the motor on my blender this morning while making a smoothie, sticking to my one blender a year average

Things I'm Grateful for Today
1.  PBS kids (not my favorite mode of entertainment, but I'm glad it's there when I need it)
2.  Quiet, unexpected promptings
3.  Good friends
4.  Supportive family
5.  Stretchy pants
6.  Popsicles (currently this pregnancy is brought to you by Dreyer's whole fruit bars)

Hope you have a great weekend!  Two family birthdays on the agenda, so hoping I feel better fast.

Monday, November 14, 2011


image via pinterest

Today was a bit of a much needed wake-up call, and I need to write it down to hopefully avoid repeating this one {again}.

My patience has been thin lately when it comes to the kids accomplishing tasks set before them.  I'm sure de-Man's extra early wake-up call this morning didn't help matters, not to mention hormones, but I'm taking responsibility for my actions regardless of hormones and sleep-deprivation.  By the time we all piled in the car to take Miss A to school I was not exactly chipper and started into a discourse on how much I need their help and need them to meet the expectations I have for them.  I'm pretty sure de-Man was upset because he refused to put on his seat belt, a task he knows how to do but frequently prefers not to.  Finally he interrupted me and burst out, "But Mom, I'm trying my best," and exploded into tears.  His words hit me.  Although I wasn't sure that it was his best, after all I've seen him fasten his seat belt a hundred times, he said that it was.  I realized that maybe for today, it really was his best.  Maybe his early wake up wasn't giving him the energy he needed.  The fact that he felt it was his best and that I wasn't accepting that was hurtful to him.

Instead of clueing in at the beginning of the day, parts of this lesson came again tonight.  The witching hour (aka 5:00) was particularly bad today as I worked on dinner and tried to prod the kids to help get their toys/papers/art supplies/belongings picked up.  I remembered the instructions the husband gave them last night about expectations when he returned home today, and I wanted them to meet them.  Feet were dragging and gentle prodding turned to harsh demands and suddenly everyone was in tears.  I tried to gather them and discuss gratitude and the principles of how taking care of what we have shows our gratitude.  I think my earlier harshness caused it to fall on ears that weren't very willing to listen.

By the time we had Family Home Evening, I knew I had some apologizing to do.  I read a story about using kind words and then asked for forgiveness for the unkind words that have surfaced so readily lately.  I am blessed to have a patient and forgiving family.  We all admitted a need to try harder to speak kindly (myself being the one primarily at fault, no doubt), and we even came up with a code word to remind each other if we forget.

Sometimes I forget that one of the blessings of motherhood is to learn from my children.  I get so wrapped up in being the mom and being in charge that I neglect the valuable lessons my kids share with me daily if I open my eyes to see them.  Today they have taught me important lessons.

Yesterday I became aware of the sorrow felt by a sweet girl in primary.  With all of her youthful enthusiasm she was so excited for her dad to see her participation in the primary program.  It wasn't long before her enthusiasm turned to disappointment.  She turned to the leader next to her and lamented, "He didn't even see me do my part.  He slept through the whole thing."  The leader tried to soften the blow, telling the girl that maybe his eyes were just closed.  But children are perceptive.  She knew he was asleep and insisted upon the fact of the matter.  My heart broke for her and the lack of validation she received from someone so important to her.

Thoughts of her, and of my own children, have weighed heavily on me tonight.  I feel so blessed to have my own children, and indirectly many others currently entrusted in my care.  I've been freshly reminded that encouraging words, validation, praise, kindness, and gentleness can make all the difference.  It brought to mind one of my favorite quotes shared a few years ago by Jeffrey R. Holland:

We must be so careful in speaking to a child. What we say or don’t say, how we say it and when is so very, very important in shaping a child’s view of himself or herself. But it is even more important in shaping that child’s faith in us and their faith in God. Be constructive in your comments to a child—always. Never tell them, even in whimsy, that they are fat or dumb or lazy or homely. You would never do that maliciously, but they remember and may struggle for years trying to forget—and to forgive. And try not to compare your children, even if you think you are skillful at it. You may say most positively that “Susan is pretty and Sandra is bright,” but all Susan will remember is that she isn’t bright and Sandra that she isn’t pretty. Praise each child individually for what that child is, and help him or her escape our culture’s obsession with comparing, competing, and never feeling we are “enough.”

What wise words- I especially love the thoughts on comparing, something I've shared a lot recently with my kids.  I also love the reminder on the image above.  There is no time to leave important words unsaid.  Tonight I said two of those most important words, I'm sorry.  I followed them up with three more, I love you.  And I hope that I can maintain an awareness of how I speak to those around me, leaving them feeling uplifted and encouraged and happy and loved after every interaction.  There is always much to improve on.  

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Current Events

I love this thought via this etsy shop via pinterest

I am currently:
-wrapping up Sunday preparations.  Tomorrow is the primary program, the day when the primary children do the program for the whole congregation during sacrament meeting.  I am so excited for the kids to show what they've been working on.  And I am also so excited for it to be done.

-fighting the tickle in my throat that's been coming around nightly for the past three days.  Luckily it goes away the next morning (so far), I'm just hoping I can keep it that way. Come on, Emergen-C!

-happy after a day full of good news at doctor appointments yesterday.  Baby looks good at the 10 week mark.  The  muffin did not react to tree nuts or eggs, so he seems to be outgrowing some of his allergies!  Hooray!  And there were no cavities for the big kids at the dentist yesterday.  High fives all the way around.

-feeling a little guilty about skipping out on the blog all week.  Life just happens.  I've still been trying to play along on the happy day challenges.  Some days are easier than others, but I always feel better when I make a deliberate effort to think about others, and sometimes it's nice to have the service already thought out for me.

-thankful for good friends.  I received happy mail this week from an old friend I worked with during college.  She sent me an envelope full of comics all pertaining to pregnancy just to lighten my mood and distract me from the blahs.  It was so thoughtful and unexpected- the perfect pick-me-up.  I have some pretty amazing women in my life and I am grateful for their influence for good.

-satisfied with my dinner performance this week.  It wasn't perfect, but 4 out of 7 dinners being thought out, well-balanced, and planned ahead was definite improvement from where we have been lately.

-warming up to the holiday season.  I suppose I've started to realize that summer is indeed over and I should embrace this time of year.  This week was a flurry of email activity with Thanksgiving menu planning.  This year we're doing Thanksgiving two days in a row with different sides of the family, and I'm excited to be a part of double feasting/cooking/planning.  It's one of the best holidays, I must say.

-grateful for the designated day to honor our veterans yesterday.  What amazing sacrifices by so many.  I am humbled by their service.

-a total cryer.  I'm pretty sure by the time the primary program is over tomorrow any ounce of make-up I put on in the morning will be gone.  I'm trying to be tough, but really there is no fighting it right now.

Hope to be back soon!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Happy Days: Day 1 Update

adorable printable accompanying day 1 of The Happy Day Project

Thought I'd give a quick update before heading to bed.  Tonight as a family we talked about serving others, especially our neighbors.  We talked about things we were grateful for and reasons why we're grateful for good neighbors.  The big kids (accompanied by the husband) chose which neighbors to take our delicious pumpkin muffins to while I put the Muffin to bed.  Mission accomplished.  By the way, do yourself a favor and make those pumpkin muffins.  The cream-cheese filling is completely brilliant.  I haven't made them for a while, but I have a feeling they're going to be in heavy rotation around here this fall/winter.

Happy Days

Looking for a way to make your week super happy?  You're in luck.  Today is the beginning of The Happy Day Project.  Daily challenges all week will inspire you to spread kindness to others, and I'm pretty sure it will put a spring in your step as well.  Check in with Julie and/or Jeannett for the daily tasks plus printables and other inspiring things happening around the web.  You know this kind of thing is right up my alley- I love a little feel good challenge, and I think it's just the kick in the pants I need to get out of my rut.  I'll be playing along and updating my progress among my posts this week.  Hope you'll join the fun!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Internal Dialogues (or proof that I'm crazy)

image via this shop via pinterest

Tonight I'm in one of those places I seem to get myself into far too often.  I feel like I'm in a rut and I should be doing/being more/better, but the motivation to make it happen isn't exactly there.  Then begins the current internal dialogue:

Pregnant Christina: "Take it easy.  You're growing a person.  You're in survival mode.  Cut yourself a break." (don't worry, when I'm not pregnant Christina I still find excuses to take it easy and maintain this amazing dialogue- this is not solely a pregnant thing)
Type-A Christina: "You're pregnant, not diseased.  Step it up.  This is not an excuse to quit life.  Don't take the easy road.  It won't be any easier later, so start now!  Get to work.  You can do it!"

And so it goes.  Usually the type-A half is humbled quickly by the pregnancy half (or other excuses half) and we meet somewhere in the middle, but somehow the middle-ground eventually leads to the rut.

This weekend was highly productive.  I suppose by highly productive I mean that the husband did amazing amounts of work winterizing outdoor things and somehow cramming our garage tightly of all bikes/scooters/ride on toys/garden gadgets/hoses/kitchen sinks so we could again both park inside (usually his car moves outside for the summer so the bikes/scooters/ride on toys can have their own more accessible parking spot).  Inspired by his productivity, I decided to get my act together.  I scrubbed kitchen counters and cleaned out some things.  The blahs subsided and I made a run to Costco, came home, and made a quadruple batch of meatballs (hello 3 dinners in the freezer) and two loaves of french bread.  Our dinner of spaghetti+meatballs+salad+bread was quickly devoured and I realized how desperate we all were for some home-cooked deliciousness.  I've taken it easy regarding meals for too long.

Goal 1: Step up the real cooking around here.  Breakfast burritos, grilled cheese sandwiches, waffles, and quesadillas mixed in with plentiful local drive-throughs have run their course.

Last week I was on my game one morning while getting Miss A ready for school.  By the time we all got in the car, she finally said, "Mom, what's wrong?   You're just so happy this morning!"  I then realized that it's a sad commentary if my child thinks something's wrong because I'm happy in the morning.  The stresses of our daily routine are often taxing and leave me feeling like a taskmaster, but it has me rethinking the routines in general to make some improvements.  It also has me rethinking my attitudes.  I don't want everyone's days to start so poorly just because I may not be feeling well.  It's ok for my kids to learn to be sensitive to my needs as a person, but I also need to be more aware of the role I play in setting the mood in our home.

Goal 2: Improve my attitude.  Think before I react.  Put the needs of others before my own.  (and maybe this is why I get overwhelmed- is this really 3 goals?  We'll call it 1 for now.)

My spiritual habits have such a great effect on my day.  If I start my day in the scriptures and take time for meaningful prayer, it is always a million times better.  For these things to happen, I've got to get to bed on time.  To get to bed on time, I need to plan ahead and accomplish the things I need to get done in a more organized way.  It's all part of a giant cycle, but I know the bottom line is if it's important to me I'll make it happen.  I just need to remember how important it really is.

Goal 3: Make spiritual nourishment a non-negotiable part of my day- everyday.

So there you have it.  Lofty?  Probably.  But needed?  Most definitely.  I loved the print above.  I may or may not accomplish all of what I've set out to do.  Somedays I'll still feel exhausted and barf-y.  Other days will hopefully have bursts of productivity.  But I need to just keep on keeping on, doing my best everyday, and hopefully it will be a little better than the day before.

Press on, brave soul.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Week's End

This week has been another blur.  Halloween feels like a hundred years ago, so it's weird to think that it was just on Monday.  I'm so glad it's the weekend!  Although I always have a long list of things I hope to accomplish/errands I need to run, there are very few concrete plans- just the way I like it.

The list making has begun for the coming holidays.  Thanksgiving menus ideas are swirling together with Christmas gift ideas, and my kids all happen to have birthdays within 3 weeks of Christmas (hooray for my first non-winter baby on the way), so birthday planning is also thrown in the mix.  I'm hoping I can spend some of the weekend getting the house in order to feel better prepared for the next few busy months.

Speaking of lists, I've recently come across a few links worth sharing:
-these ham and cheese sliders were enjoyed during a lunch with friends this week and were delicious.
-the coolest kid's duvet cover I've seen in a long time- a project full of patience.
-emergency car kits may just be on my weekend to do list, and this post has some great ideas.  This has been on my mind a lot lately.
-this post on holiday gluttony had a lot of great food for thought, especially in the comment section.

In the midst of relaxation and productivity, I'm also hoping the "extra" hour of sleep this weekend leaves me feeling magically rested.  Don't forget to set your clocks back Saturday night.  Happy weekend!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween Rewind

For the sake of documentation, I give you Word Girl and Captain Huggy Face.  Forgive the horrific i-phone pictures.

Chuck the Evil Sandwich Making Guy refused to wear his hat that turned his head into a sandwich shape and was not photographed amidst the chaos.  After two class parties and a 250 person party at church that I just happened to be in charge of, I am grateful that Halloween is over.  I'm really not much of a fan.

But now that it's November, I can start getting excited for the real holidays.  Thanksgiving, here we come!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Catching Up

via this site via pinterest

Hopefully my last post will explain a little bit of the infrequent posting around here.  Surprisingly, I have not thrown up yet (jinxed myself with this post), but I am feeling like I could at any moment pretty much all day everyday.  Cooking hasn't happened much over the past while, and I've entered my typical first trimester reclusiveness accompanied by extreme moodiness/irritation.  My poor kids.  The muffin has learned new requests like "watch a show, mom", and good nutrition for everyone has hit an all time low. The current influx of candy isn't helping matters.

Despite the hard things and inconveniences, there is so much good.  I feel blessed that I have this opportunity again.

Today I was helping out at Miss A's classroom party and was a little stunned with a comment by another mom there.  She observed that I have a lot of kids in a short time when I told her I have two at home and one on the way.  My kids are all between 2 and 3 years apart (the muffin will be 2 1/2 exactly when our new arrival comes) and I feel like I've had time to recover and regain functioning and even relax a little between each baby.  And although I was slightly surprised by the comment, I've kind of been preparing myself for that very thing.  I've felt hesitation in sharing our news this time, even with some of my dearest friends, for diving into the waters of what may seem to some a "large family".

The weekend we found out was the same weekend as general conference, and one of the messages that confirmed the promptings I'd felt months before and reiterated this blessing was entitled "Children" by Neil L. Andersen.  One of the greatest lessons I took away was that, "we should not be judgmental with one another in this sacred and private responsibility."  I couldn't agree more, and I admit that I have work to do in this area.  I have friends who passed the 4 kid mark long ago and are currently busy caring for large families with amazing dedication.  I also have friends with empty arms who wish the path to children wasn't such a difficult one for them.  Growing up and thinking about the future I never thought about the stresses that accompany family planning.  In my naivete I assumed that marriage and kids was just the way things went, never foreseeing the amount of prayers said or tears shed when growing a family.  It's been eye-opening and humbling to be in the child-baring years with my friends and seeing all of the struggles that accompany the journey to motherhood.  I have gained a new perspective and a softer heart for all who are on this path in any stage of their journey.

Rachel Jankovic, a Christian blogger, was also quoted in Elder Andersen's talk, and her words were extremely validating to my current feelings.

“[Growing] up in this culture, it is very hard to get a biblical perspective on motherhood. … Children rank way below college. Below world travel for sure. Below the ability to go out at night at your leisure. Below honing your body at the gym. Below any job you may have or hope to get.” She then adds: “Motherhood is not a hobby, it is a calling. You do not collect children because you find them cuter than stamps. It is not something to do if you can squeeze the time in. It is what God gave you time for.”

Right now, I feel grateful for this perspective.  There will be more curious souls who feel the need to comment on our family planning, I'm quite sure.  But the opinions of others don't really matter when it comes to matters of the heart.  

Thank you for all your well-wishes and congratulations.  You're the best!  

Thursday, October 27, 2011

An Announcement




June 2012

Monday, October 24, 2011


inspiring words+design via Danielle Kroll

This week is craziness.  I just finished up a to-do list with approximately 475 items to complete before Friday.  Ha!  Really, many of these are non-negotiable, must get done things.  I have some items for my dad that need to be done, both for him personally as well as the behind-the-scenes of managing his affairs.  I have several major church things happening this week, including a brief speaking assignment at one of them (and although it's brief, preparation is still required).  The primary is in charge of the ward Halloween party Saturday night, so this week is the time to pull together all the details and follow-up on assignments.  Speaking of Halloween, this week is the start of parties and for some ridiculous reason I, the non-crafty/not-so-much-a-seamstress/cheap mom decided to put together my kids costumes myself.  But now the deadline for said costumes is looming and I've still got to finish things up.  Every year I say I won't do this to myself again, and every year here I am.  Too cheap to buy the costume they desire ($30?!? I somehow think I can always do it for less), but kicking my own butt when I'm reaching for crafty genes I just don't possess to complete projects that I usually don't have time for.  I've been working on pieces of the costumes all month, so I'm also slightly surprised that I still have so much to do- I thought I was on it this time!

And then I set the to-do list aside for a minute and thought about my kids.  Miss A has had a wide range of emotions lately, letting me know how much she really needs me right now.  De-Man was bored to tears today while I checked off some to-do list items, and bored to tears with him equates to naughtiness. Somehow I need to up the fun factor while I'm trying to get things done.  Really, he just wants me to sit down and play legos and watch him do his "math problems" (which translates to him asking what 16 plus 16 is and then writing down fairly illegibly 16+16=32 in his journal).  The muffin is needy in his own way right now and probably needs a visit to the doctor.  We've been re-introducing dairy which was going fairly well until I think I went too far- yogurt may have been slightly more than he was ready for.  He's got the worst diaper rash to date from any of my kids, and so far nothing is touching it (product recommendations welcome).

Thinking about my kids and my to-do list makes the week feel impossible.  But I know that somehow things will get done.  There is help to be found all around me, and particularly help from above.  My goal for the week at this point is to keep myself focused enough to not let things get done at the expense of my kids.  Sometimes they have to be patient with me as things must get done- I think it's part of family life and ok for them to learn that part of sacrifice/helping out.  But sometimes my ever-present to-do list needs to get shelved so I can be there for  them.  I have to make sacrifices, too.  And I'm so grateful that I have the opportunity every day to sacrifice for them.  I sure love these three.

For a few more thoughts on priorities, this talk is one of my favorites. This quote is one that comes to mind frequently for me: "When we put God first, all other things fall into their proper place or drop out of our lives. Our love of the Lord will govern the claims for our affection, the demands on our time, the interests we pursue, and the order of our priorities."  

Sunday, October 23, 2011


print via Persimmon and Pink, one of my faves currently hanging in blue in my kitchen

Last week I gave a little lesson during primary.  One of the suggested parts of the lesson was to share various ways prayers are answered and give examples from the scriptures or from my own life.  It was a blessing to reflect on the many answers to prayers that have come over the years.  There were big blessings, like when my dad began walking again after his stroke.  There were smaller blessings, like Miss A's first experience with an answered prayer when she prayed for her primary teacher to find a missing part of her lesson, and when her teacher pulled the manual from the bag there was the lesson.  There were answered prayers that guided paths about jobs and homes and family planning.  Many times the answers I thought about did not come immediately, and sometimes they did not come the way that I'd hoped for.  But I can look back and recognize that answers did come.  It's almost impossible to look back at a week, or even a day, without seeing answered prayers.

I was reminded while preparing for this lesson of a simple but profound truth: there are blessings that Heavenly Father is ready to give us, but they are conditional upon our asking for them.  I have thought of this often this month- how many blessings am I missing out on because I relax with my prayers and don't ask for the blessings that are waiting for me?  It's made for some great reflection as well as an increased effort towards prayer.

The best part of my lesson last week was when I asked all the kids to look at me as I made them a promise.  I promised each of them that Heavenly Father knows who they are, and He will answer their prayers.  I know it.  I know it because my prayers have been answered.  The prayers of those I love have been answered.  And I know that Heavenly Father loves all of us and desires to bless us as He answers our prayers.  I know it.  If you don't know it, put it to the test.  I promise your prayers will be answered, too.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Currently Making Me Happy

via pinterest

I feel like I'm in a good place right now.  There's good (funny kids, fabulous weather) and bad (more antibiotics, flat tire/$225 unexpected expense), but I feel content.  Thought I'd share a few things making me extra happy today.

-A Blog About Love found yesterday via Kelly.  Oh my, I went back and started at the beginning reading past posts, and this is instantly in the top 5 of most inspiring blogs I read.  So real and amazing.  I dare you not to become hooked.  (I can't figure out why I can't subscribe to this blog-only the comments- so let me know if you have any tips)

-Mel's Kitchen Cafe.  I have beef stroganoff in the slow cooker.  Last night I made the most perfect french bread, which was not surprisingly gone this morning (the husband used to buy loaf after loaf in his single days when he didn't feel like cooking). There are many fantastic cooking blogs I love, but this one suits me well.  I love that it's reliable+mainstream(no trips to the store for ingredients I've never heard of)+oh so delicious.  And don't think I won't continue linking to the tried+true favorites I make from this site.

-Helpful in-laws.  Yesterday they watched my boys so I could take my dad to the doctor.  Today they picked me up after my flat tire incident (so tired of the road construction!) and proceeded to help with school pick-ups and car pick-up and anything else I needed. Hoping the rest of the week stays quiet so I can give them a break, but even if I had an emergency every single day they'd still help.  Everyone needs good back-up, and I'm so grateful for them and the service they provide for my little family.

-Good weekends.  Ours was semi-productive (we almost finished staining the swing-set), we picked more of the tomatoes off the tired vines (and now they're waiting for me to do something with them), and I caught up on a few things around the house (laundry+meal planning+bathroom cleaning).  Church was just what I needed Sunday, and I'm grateful I could hear great messages despite the chaos taking place on our row (the muffin clocked Miss A with a metal car, causing a small head injury early in the meeting).  And although there are still things to iron out in Primary, I am really loving it.  I love that we end up just where we're supposed to be exactly when we're supposed to be there, and right now Primary is exactly right for me.

Hope you're having a lovely week!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Thursday Thoughts

via pinterest

1.  This week the muffin abandoned mama and started calling me mom.  He sounds way too grown up for my liking.  He's also repeating pretty much anything I ask him to say, along with many things I don't ask him to say.  "Hello, stinky poo-poo" is one of those often repeated phrases that I don't ask him to say.

2. I shouldn't post late at night when I'm feeling particularly exhausted, or things like Monday's post happen.  Yes, my house is currently in disarray and I'm feeling tired, but I may have gotten a bit carried away in my exhausted state when I brought up hibernation.  Oy.

3.  Despite the lack of motivation mentioned Monday, I do still desire to be better.  I've had conference talks bouncing around in my head and thoughts sorting themselves out as to where my focus needs to be.  I love the planning that comes along with improvement.  But after the planning is done, I really just need to get down to work, and I'm ok with that, too.

4.  I have found better cooking success recently if I can get the majority of my dinner prep ready before Miss A comes home from school.  Those after-school hours are craziness and have left me feeling flustered about dinner regularly, often resorting to breakfast for dinner as a fast/easy/no-brainer meal.  But I'm tired of pancakes and waffles and ready for dinner that feels a little more put together.  Tonight I'm making a family fave.  I received this recipe from my aunt several years ago and have made it more times than I can count since then.  I've shared the recipe dozens of times, and it's my go to for a new-mom meal.  Homemade taste+a few shortcuts along the way=dinner success.

Chicken Pot Pie

1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
2/3 cup milk
2 cups cut-up cooked chicken
1 package frozen vegetables
pie crusts for top and bottom (I use the Pillsbury crust to save time)

Heat butter over low heat until melted.  Blend in flour, onion, salt and pepper.  Cook over medium-low heat stirring constantly until mixture is smooth and bubbly; remove from heat.  Stir in broth and milk.  Heat to boiling, stirring constantly.  Boil and stir 1 min.  Stir in chicken and frozen vegetables.  

Place bottom crust in at least 9" pie dish.  Pour chicken mixture in and put the other crust on top.  Close crusts together and poke a few holes in top crust before baking (I usually make a heart shape because I'm just sappy).  Bake at 425 for 30 to 35 minutes or until crust is brown.  

There you have it.  You know the drill.  I'll be back soon.  I need to empty a few posts out of my brain.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Settling In

image via pinterest
It's the time of year when I start settling in. Fall/Winter brings out the recluse in me.  Getting out of the house becomes much less than desirable.  Motivation becomes a thing of the past.  We've had a stretch of cool, rainy days, and it's left me wanting to finish up the chores and batten down the hatches.  My freezers, inside and out, are both full to the brim, but it's not stopping me from still double-batching things every time I have the desire to cook, because I'm not sure when it will strike again.  I'm pretty sure I'm the kind of creature who could easily hibernate.  Usually, I don't start thinking about it until November.  The fact that the urge for long naps and laze is striking so soon definitely points to a long, long winter.  Hoping that it really does warm up a little this week so I can be good for something, and so maybe I can come back and write again soon.  It's been far too long since I've written about the dad story.  In fact, a year ago this week is when he moved out.  I need to get back to recording this piece of my history.  And of course, many other thoughts to share.  Hope your week is off to a great start.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Boy, oh boy

self-portrait of de-Man in his converse.  he's got places to go...

There are days (weeks? months?) when motherhood feels overwhelming, especially in regards to various stages my kids may be going through.  The oldest boy has been in a funk for a long time, and there are days when I think it might do me in.

Not that I want to blame his behavior on any particular time, but really, almost two years ago things turned upside down in his world and I don't think he's been the same since.  First, he got a baby brother.  Six weeks later he turned three.  A week later he had a grandpa move in, and he often had a hard time getting along with him.  He's been on an emotional roller-coaster ever since.  I'm not quite sure how to get him off.

This boy is really a fun kid.  He's happy and silly, always making jokes and trying to lighten the mood.  He can be really sweet to others when he decides to be.  Oh, is he sensitive.  But he has also been quick to anger lately, frequently yelling about how rude everyone/thing is over the simplest requests.  His moods change quickly and are rather unpredictable.  Getting him to accomplish a task, no matter how pleasant or unpleasant the task may be, regularly turns into a show-down.  His current desires revolve around screen time and sugar, things that would be gone if I had my way, leaving him always wanting more.

I know he is bound for great things.  I've felt it since he was tiny.  But I think he's at a point where I've tried to let things slide and coax him along as much as possible.  I'm needing some serious parental inspiration.

I'm grateful that I can find answers from an eternal source with much more parental wisdom than I currently possess.  I'll be digging deep for answers for just what this boy needs.

Any 4-year-old boy wisdom is definitely welcome.

Monday, October 3, 2011

And now for something good

print via The I Am Project

Unintentionally, there has been a lot of blah on the blog lately.  Sometimes that's just what life gives you, and I try to let my writing be a reflection of what's going on.  While mentioning the low points of the weekend I left out the good, knowing that I wanted to come back and focus on the good things that happened over the weekend.

This weekend was one of my favorites of the whole year.  It was general conference for our church, one of two opportunities a year to hear counsel from church leaders.  It was just as wonderful as usual.  Saturday afternoon session found all the kids asleep and the husband and I looking at each other with disbelief as we actually had about an hour of uninterrupted listening.  There was much chaos during the rest of the conference watching, particularly on Sunday, so the chance to really focus was a welcome break from the norm.  The chance to snack on chocolate chip cookies from my mother-in-law didn't hurt matters.

Here's my favorite thing.  Conference is full of talks meant to instruct, uplift, and inspire.  As it ends every year I'm left wanting to be better, and you all know how excited that makes me.  But the really amazing part to me is that all of this counsel comes with love and understanding.  There is no, "you'd better improve or else...", but instead the tone is more "you're doing a great job, and keep doing your best."  All post-conference motivation to change comes from each individual as they internalize the messages and decide for themselves with the guidance of the Holy Ghost what is most needful to work on.  I love it!  And I wish I could be more that way with my own kids, somehow communicating my love and support for them and motivating them to make changes on their own.  (I can dream try, right?)

A few parting links of my favorite weekend messages:
-this talk by Dieter F. Uchtdorf was amazing and full of things to ponder regarding the worth of a soul
-this talk by Ian S. Ardern on time management was both entertaining and 100% accurate- loved it
-this talk by Elaine S. Dalton on how father's can raise daughters was incredibly sweet

While I'm sharing inspiring links, The I Am Project has launched a shop with their prints, many of which I share here.  Thought you might like to know.