Friday, September 30, 2011

October Can't Get Here Fast Enough

I think the thing I like the least about motherhood is having sick kids. Especially when they have the stomach flu. Lola's barely 18 months old and she can't exactly communicate, so for the last 2 days we've been playing a little game of "What's Wrong With Lola". The poor girl has been attached to my body, crying to be held literally day and night. Once last night she let Mike pick her up and as soon as she looked back around and saw that she wasn't with me (even though she's the one who reached out to him) she started sobbing and diving toward me. 

It seems like September does this to my family. When the weather changes, we all get sick. We had the healthiest summer, allergies were our only ailment. I was feeling blessed, so fortunate and then I tore the August page out of my calendar and the word "SEPTEMBER" in big bold black letters hit me square in the face.  I love September for many reasons. It signals the end of a super hot summer, one in which it was too hot to take my new little Oskar out in for very long. September means the leaves will be changing colors. September means the kids are back in school. September means 3 holidays in the next 3 months are coming up! I truly love September except for the dang sickness we all get.


I don't know if there's something to it, like if it's a real thing or if we're alone in this. Does this happen to your family too?  I also find that I am more worried, more depressed, more sad in September. Sometimes for no good reason at all. I'll lay in bed and tell myself "Why are you so sad?" Then I'll list all the things I have in my head, all the gifts I have, and then it always ends with me rolling over to my sweet sleeping husband and I'll put my arms around him and curl up to his back and he always, and I mean ALWAYS, will pull my arms around tighter and make a little "hmmm" sound, and it lets me know he's happy with "us". 

Fall means baking in my house. I'm trying to be good, trying not to eat garbage but really, how can I resist making cookies, or apple pies, or pumpkin bars?  Fall means General Conference for us LDS folks (and for everyone else in the world too!  It's free!  Tune in here!)  and I look forward to the Fall session the most. We have conference twice a year, once in April, once in October of every year. I love the spring one because the winter's almost over and there are flowers surrounding the conference center and the camera men always show a wide shot of all the gardens. But I think I like the one in the fall the best. We stay in our jammies all day on Saturday, doing our cleaning duties at our leisure. We make a big breakfast both on Saturday and on Sunday and I burn candles that smell like cinnamon or pumpkin bread. The kids seem to get along better and the ones who will watch with us will usually snuggle up to us on the couch or wherever we are. Most of the time we'll all end up taking short naps, but that's part of the charm. Thankfully, if we miss a talk, we can always watch it again on the DVR, and then it's also published online in a text version the week after it's broadcast. 

This last week, Mike and I decided to make a big move in our marriage. It's something that's very personal to us and it's actually a "re-attempt" at something we tried to do the winter of 2008. We were going to try again the winter of 2009 but there were some things that we felt we needed to wait for. This week we made a move toward that goal again. I'm nervous and I don't want to get my hopes up this time but I'm excited that Mike's finally ready to try again. We only had Harper last time, and this time we've got Lola and Oskar as well. It's's time to try once more.  Hopefully by the time we know if it's a yes or a no, the world around us will look like this...

We made it through September and all I can say is "Hey October...bring it on!"

P.S., the thing that Mike and I are trying to do has nothing to do with having a baby. Just to clarify. ;)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Hi, I'm Allison and I'm Addicted to Guilt

"Sisters, wherever you are, whatever the circumstances may be, you are not forgotten. No matter how dark your days may seem, no matter how insignificant you may feel, no matter how overshadowed you think you may be, your Heavenly Father has not forgotten you. In fact, He loves you, with an infinite love."

President Uchtdorf quoted this at the Women's Broadcast last week and can I tell you, it couldn't have come at a better time? I missed it because of my health, but I read as much as I could as soon as I could about it. It was truly inspired.

It seems like life truly does follow that old cliché of the "roller coaster" description. Two Sundays ago, the day was so full of answers. Peace and serenity wrapped around me and I had the energy to have another go at one more week. Monday came and I had great intentions. Then a car breaks. And then a client bounces a check to me. I begin to panic and I drop to my knees in prayer. Tuesday we got news of a bill we have to pay immediately because the kids' dad won't pay for it. Wednesday I spent most of the day in prayer. About my health, about my finances, about the kids, about friends who are in desperate need of help of their own. I cried way too many tears to count. It felt good and I slept like a baby that night. Thursday we got great news from our accountant about our taxes and we consider many prayers answered!  Friday we find out all that tax money will be spent fixing said bills and cars above, leaving none for the things our kids still need, like school clothes. Saturday dragged along and by the time Sunday came back around I was practically crawling to church, but I got there and I was uplifted again.

There's something to say for struggling in life. I'm not a fan of it but it seems to be how it works. For a really long time, (and I do mean a really really long time)I thought that the reasons for our struggles in life had to do with our obedience to God's commandments. I know there are blessings from being obedient, but that's not exactly what I mean. Let me try to explain a bit better.

For example, when I was first married in 1993 to my ex-husband, money was tight as is the norm in young marriages, and I would pinch every penny we had to pay our bills. I made sure my 2 young girls had clothes and food and I was careful to save a bit of money on the side for things that our counselor said to save for like "date night" or whatever. Anyway, I called my dad and told him once that I was just at my wits end, that I'd been stressing all night because I didn't know how we were going to pay the astronomical power bill (thanks Nevada Power) that month to keep our lights on. First thing he asked me?  Are you paying your tithing?  Are you being obedient?  OF COURSE WE WERE. I took offense to this but because I was 20, because it was my dad, and it stuck in my brain that we were being punished because I wasn't being obedient enough somehow. Maybe I had a mean thought about the neighbor who kept their music on til 4 am while I had sleeping babies above him.  Maybe I'd cut someone off on the road and didn't know it. Either way, I developed a guilt over it. Whenever I would struggle, I would immediately turn to myself and think "I'm doing something bad that is causing my children to suffer."  Enter the guilt cycle...

It's taken me many many years to figure out that this wasn't how it worked. We struggle because that's "life", that's how we grow. I mean, look at Job!  Look at the life of the Savior! We struggle because life is inconsistent, life is up and downs, life is peace, and strife, and pain, and death, and joy, and tragedy, and unfairness, and miracles and on and on and on.

I am constantly reminded of others in my close circle of friends who have struggles FAR worse than I can even imagine. I look at their strength in awe. I thank God every day that I'm not in their shoes while also begging Him to relieve them from their pain.

There's no way to know why things happen, there's no way to know when they're going to happen. I can't live in fear of bad things happening. I can't live a life where I'm constantly feeling guilty for causing my husband's job to cut hours. I can't live where I feel guilty when we have to spend yet again our entire savings on one of the kids dental work. I want to enjoy the high times in the middle of the low times, and to do that, I have to be grateful for everything I have. Guilt is one of those things that I've had to learn to release from my life. It's no where near gone, and I don't know if it ever will be but I can tell you this. I have felt some sort of guilt since I can remember. Literally since I was probably 4 or 5. And it's just compounded til just a few years ago when my health took a drastic turn for the worse. I'll probably always struggle with it but it's nice to tell myself that everyone struggles, even the best people do.

In other news, I'm overwhelmed by work. But I have amazing clients!  So it's good!  I have some who are absolutely honest in their dealings with me, who treat me with absolute kindness!  But every once in a while I get the one, the one who just can't figure out how to be a good person. I have learned so much by being self employed. Sadly, it's always the ones who I'm bending over backwards for, losing money for, basically working for free for,  that come back and punch me in the face. The ones who pay me what I'm worth, the ones who know from the start that they're hiring a mom of 7 who's giving them a deal so they'll be patient, those are the ones who I do my best work for. Those are the people who come back to me because we have great experiences together. These are the people I can really call my "friends". I'm so blessed to be able to do this so I can work from home and to get to do it at the pace that it takes to get things done when I have such a huge, young family. 

Oh and Mike is 34, by the way. Men get better with age I think and last night I saw that so clearly. We were at the Mascot Bowl at Lehi High School and it is a huge Statewide affair!  There were thousands of people there and I was seated in the top of the bleachers at the farthest end of the field. Mike was meeting us there from work and I kept my eyes open, watching every direction to see him when he got there. At one point I'd about given up and I happened to glance down to the bottom of the bleachers and there he was, looking around for us. My stomach was full of butterflies and my stupid hand shot up and I waved my arm around and was yelling "MIKE! MICHAEL!  WE'RE RIGHT HERE!!!" at the top of my obnoxious lungs, apologies to the people sitting in front of me. He saw my arm and his eyes reached up to mine and he smiled the biggest smile and I mmmmelted, people. Melted like a popcicle on the 4th of July. I feel like I'm the luckiest girl in the whole wide world sometimes. Trés sigh...

P.S. I'm in no way trying to blame my dad for my guilt complex. He said it out of love and didn't mean for me to take it like that. I have a habit of taking things too hard. That's just me. Take it or leave it, I say.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

And a Beach House, Definitely a Beach House

I’m in my late 30’s, guys. I’m starting to panic. I remember back in 2003 when I met Mike I was 29 and (full of ideals? Did you think I was going to say full of ideals? I wasn’t. Ok so I was but I’m not going to now, happy?) FULL OF IDEAS (not ideals) and trying to get out of a horrible marriage and I’d just moved back to Vegas from Washington State. I thought I was old then, but boy oh boy do I feel old now.

My body just isn’t what it used to be. I exercise, I drink water and I watch what I eat but it’s just not as healthy as it could be. True, I’ve had 2 babies in the last year and 4 moths but that’s not going to keep me down. I’m determined. I’m losing this weight once and for all. If I have to cut it off myself, I will. (ok so no I’m not cutting it off myself but I’d like to for sure)

Now, I live in a state where it snows. A LOT. This is bad because a) I like to run/walk outside b) I don’t like slipping. That means I can’t go outside to exercise from like Nov-April here. That’s a long damn time.

My hair is long, my skin is tan and getting wrinkly and I’m catching little glimpses of myself all the time in the mirror of myself wondering “who is that chick!?” I remember thinking that by the time I was 40 I wanted to be settled in a house on the beach with my kids in high school and college and my days freed up with reading books and long walks and lunch with friends and I’ll tell you what....I’m no where close to that. I’m still a mom of babies. I live in the Rocky Mountains. I have lunch with friends but only a few times a year. I’m ok with this though. Well, ok with everything but the beach house. That haunts me. How could it not though?

I’ll sign up for a gym in town if I have to, but I’m determined to be healthy. I want to live to see grandbabies, and great grandbabies and if I’m so lucky to have them, GREAT GREAT GRANDBABIES.

Now, to figure out how to get that beach house. Anybody wanna throw one our way? Thanks.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

While They'll Still Have Me

There's something that happens to me when the calendar flips to September. I find myself looking at the sky wondering when I'll get to wear a sweater. Those tights that have been in my drawer since April find themselves flung over the big deep arm chair in my bedroom. I start to burn more scents around my house that have to do with fall, like pumpkin or apple spice or cinnamon.

The end of the summer is bitter sweet and the kids go back to school, new clothes and backpacks, a moment of happiness all over their faces while they're still excited to be there. (ask them again in a month though. They'll want school to be over then, I assure you)

I took my oldest 3 boys to the beach this summer, in August as a matter of fact. I was asked to shoot quite a few families in Vegas and a few in California and if you know me, you know I can't resist the beach. It's where I feel healthy, where I feel happy, where I realize the beauty of this big rock we live on, where I feel like me. 

Driving through the Utah, Nevada and California desert with the boys, heat pounding on the outside of the windows was long but on the way down at least it didn't bother us a bit. We knew we had real fun ahead. We sang loudly, rapped outloud, danced too big for the space we were crammed into but we didn't care. This was a trip with "mom" and these boys who can be found arguing with each other so many hours per week just loved each other. There's something about a trip, and a trip to the Pacific Ocean that heals all wounds.  I can't wait to do it again.

September, I'm so glad you're here but just for a minute, could you just let me relive the month of August? I promise I won't be long.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Guess what...I have a huge forehead. I got it from my mom who got it from her mom and so on and so forth. Most of my children also got said forehead as well and well, let's just say there's a cowlick that is at the top of the forehead that makes it almost impossible for me to have bangs that lie down.

Oh how I've been so jealous of my sister Eliza who can have cute straight-across-the-eyebrows bangs. I have tried and tried, but my dumb cowlick makes it so I always get the side swoopy thing.

Anyway, I have long hair right now. It's about to my waist in the back and I'm starting to feel like Crystal Gayle. Not good. I need a change. I think I need bangs. (oh and by the way, I pronounce it like "bongs" in case you were wondering. Sounds way fancier)

So tell bangs or not to bangs??  That REALLY is the question..

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Well Whaddya Know...

This thing is still here?  Awesome.

In the last what, 4 months(?) I've done a ton of things. The best one of those things is new baby Oskar. Another one of those thing is court. Some of these things were good, and some were bad, but for the most part, I'm still here and breathing.

I've come to realize a few things about myself. I am one of those people who comes off as an extrovert, which I am. I am always talking to people, when in a crowd I seem to have a way of making myself around it and meeting everyone there. I can't go to the store without leaving as a best friend to the check out girl/boy. I'm a talker. I was blessed with the gift of gab. I am not shy.

When I stress out though, when situations cause me to fall to my knees, hands clasped and knuckles white pressed against my forehead, I turn into a hobbit. My neighbors can attest to this. I think they've figured out my moods just by watching my door.

Lately, and I mean the last 4 months, it's been bad. I've had to force myself out to the store, to the post office. I'm on my knees in prayer, pleading for a moment of relief for sometimes hours every day. I pray in the car, I'm praying when I stare outside at the mountains from my room, I'm what you might call "introverted by stress".

I've taken to running through my blessings when I find myself unable to get out of bed. My kids keep me on my toes and it's all I can do just to keep up with them. And then I have to work! It's almost impossible for me to get everything done and I get so overwhelmed.

Know what I need?  Really, do you know what I really need?  A trip to Hawaii?  A billion dollars? A new car?  Sure, all of this would be nice but let's keep it real. I just want all my laundry done and my house cleaned all the way. Not just picked up like my kids and I do every day, but CLEANED. It's impossible I think. So I fret.

School starts in 2 weeks.  Let's see if that helps.

Oh Oskar...thank goodness you're here. I sure love this baby.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

At the Bottom of the Hill on the Roller Coaster I Call "My Life"

The days are so redundant lately. Thank goodness we have our routines, I feel like I'm on auto-pilot. My friend Leslie that I grew up with in Vegas called me and left me a message telling me that it was ok that I don't answer my phone...and that she loved me. I'm so lucky to have good friends.

Mike has the flu, Harper feels terrible, Lola wears squeaky shoes now and runs around singing songs, the other kids are on spring break and I haven't even seen 3 of them. Kenzie's with friends all the time, Jonah's out with his buddies riding bikes and Casey's with his bestie, looking at everything they can see with the new telescope he got for his birthday.

I haven't talked to my sister Eliza in a month. Ashley keeps in touch with me through twitter because she knows I can handle 140 characters at a time and my brother is handling some of my legal issues in Vegas, so he gets to hear from me when I call to get updates.

When it pours. I'm in love with the last conference we just had. It keeps me going. I can barely walk, this sweet baby boy is just about to come out and I'll tell you what, it gives me an excuse to why I don't get out of bed.  Thank goodness for books. A few of my friends have sent me passages of inspiration, some scripture, some quotes from famous people...and they keep me going. I have a little notebook that has one of the monsters from Where the Wild Things Are on the front and it's full of thoughts and messages that I've written down that will help me to be better when I'm feeling the weight of life right now.

7 kids, I'm so grateful for. Legal stuff that's more annoying than worrisome but just dealing with it makes me anxious. I wish I could expound but you know...I try to keep it here in our home so our words don't get twisted like they sometimes are. Let's just say we're not worried because we are the very people who've been taking care of our kids 100%, ONE HUNDRED PERCENT, of the time. 1 car down, a car with 5 seats is all we've got. Mike works 110 miles roundtrip from our home and it costs us about $350 per month just for gasoline in this economy. Sickening. Do we move?  Do we find me a job that is 9-5 after the baby comes?  Should Mike get a second job?  Mike's mom's heart is failing. She's only got his sister with her down in California and she works so much it's really hard for her to balance work and their mom. She's so fantastic, I hope she gets better soon. 

There, I had to get some of it out. The rest, well that's just stuff we don't need to talk about. Let's just say having teenagers and a big family is hard work. Mike and I are working our tails off to keep our home balanced and safe and free from outside attackers. Being REAL parents takes 24/7 work. I'm lucky to have this man of mine next to me. And I'm so glad this pregnancy is almost over. It's made a mess of my head.  Hopefully this babe will be as cute as I think he is. How can he not be? He's ours...and I think my babies are the cutest kids in the world.  That's what moms do right?

How'd  you like that post?  Let's see if Wednesday brings me something good. Like a Coke slurpee. Cross your fingers...the sun's almost up. Is it too early to drink? (a slurpee, that is. Pshh, I'm not that terrible)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Pirates and Big Ol' Bellies

I have to tell you, there's been a little bit of everything going on over in the Easley house. First off, my mother in law and sister in law came all last weekend and stayed til Tuesday. I think I already told you that but it was so exciting so...I had to tell you again!  Anyway...

Then, on Monday, I found out how dilated I was and then Dr. Menendez said "so you'll be having this baby before next week!  But let's just make another appointment for next Monday just in case you don't..."  Well...I didn't.

I won't.

My body is holding onto this baby for dear life. I swear he's about to fall out, gross I know, but still that's how it feels!  And I'm contracting like...constantly. In 7-11 the other day I had to do that stupid thing you see women on TV do when they're in labor. I've never experienced this pain outside of the hospital, but I had to stop where I was and grab onto the nearest sturdy structure, which happened to be a huge display of baseball cards with gum, gummi peach rings and Granny B's pink frosted cookies. I stood there holding onto the rack with one hand and my other hand was on my lower stomach as I leaned forward and said "oohhhhhhhhh my gosh, ohhhh holy night..." over and over. Hey, it's better than the F word I figure.

Anyway, came home, been home for days, no baby.

I did however get some amazing maternity pictures done with the fantastic gals at Pure Photography and Design. (click!) They're really good friends of mine and just as sweet as they are talented.  I love them.

Never have I ever had pictures done of me while pregnant, and never have I loved a photo of myself like I do some of these.

This is our last baby, for sure, and I just wanted to get some shots of me when I was juuuuuust about due, and this is what happened. Typically, I shoot maternity shots for women when they're about 32 weeks along so they don't feel too big and gross, but really, I wanted to capture the true size and look of me with this last sweet baby we're being blessed with.

We laughed our way through the shoot and halfway through we saw this couple who was so bizarre. He had a fedora on and was about 100 lbs and 5'11" and she was about 5' tall and as round as she was tall. Oh and she was older than his 25'ish years old. I figure she was about 40 but either way, they walked around with a point and shoot, following us, and following everyone else at the amphitheater. We saw them leave around 7:30 pm and about 8ish we wrapped up our shoot because it was getting dark.

We stood at the trunk of my car chatting for about 20 minutes til an older gentlemen came up to us and asked us if we'd been broken into. Our cars, you know?  And I checked my car...nope.  Crystal checked her truck...nope. Rachel checked her minivan...YEP!  She'd had her purse stolen and all of her id's and credit cards and some checks. The poor guy was a scout leader leading his boys on a clean up the park activity, and while they were cleaning up the area, they broke into his minivan too and stole his wife's purse that he'd accidentally brought with him!

So sad and scary, so we called the police and of course he thought we were nuts when we told him that we thought a pirate lady with a patch and a young skinny man with a fedora had been seen in the area right when the stuff was stolen. Reports were filled out and we all left and went home. The cop said they'd had reports all over American Fork that night and that the purses and wallets were being stolen and then the cards were being used in as little as 15 minutes. Can you believe some people?

Anyway, I seem to attract the weirdos in the world and I'm so glad I do. I live a pretty darn fun life. I'm not complainin'!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A Good, Solid Weekend

My mother in law and sister in law came to visit us last weekend. They arrived on Saturday night and left early before the sun came up on Tuesday. Driving that 10 hour trek from Utah to Southern California is never me...I did it no less than 10 times last year.

The kids had the best time with them; shopping, watching movies, going to movies, eating birthday cake, playing "Just Dance 2" know..."fun aunt Amy" and "Awesome Grandma Easley" kind of stuff. The trip was short and we wish we could have kept them here for the next month, but Amy has to be back to work and Grandma has doctor's appointments.

Speaking of, I'm dilated to a 3-4 and 80-90% effaced. Now, the baby isn't supposed to be here til the end of April but we'll see. My body is just done I think. Having 7 kids, 2 of which will only be 13 months apart is good stuff and all but I don't think 37 year old bodies like doing it so much.

The weather is weird as is normal here in Utah. Last Saturday we had 78° weather and the next morning woke to snow. Then Monday it was warm again and yesterday it blew freezing wind and rain all over us!  I love it but we all seem to get sick when it does this!

Lola's got a new habit of waking up in the middle of the night; just screaming and crying and even if we rock her or put her in bed with us, she's inconsolable!  I remember Harper doing this just before Lola was born. I truly think there's some science whether it's physical or Godly to it. Like, are they doing this to prepare me for a new baby who'll wake every couple hours with a sweet cry?  Either way, Sesame Street is her only solace. I swear, that girl cracks me up.


Lola turned 1 last month, Tiff turned 19 last month, Casey turned 12 two months ago and Jonah turns 14 in three days. We waited to have the candle ceremony til the California family came to visit.

Lola was impressed with the fire. Who wouldn't be? 1 candle For The Win!!!

Tiff, Casey and Jonah decided they still wanted to blow out candles but really didn't want photographic proof. Tough crap kids. Your mom takes pictures. Get over it.

And of course, we can't leave the 4 year old even though his birthday isn't til July. That kid likes to party, what can I say?


General Conference was also last weekend. If you didn't watch, you should have. What an inspirational weekend. I got tons of quotes out of it because if you know me, you know I loves me some quotes.

Here are a couple of my faves:

Success in marriage is not so much marrying the right person, but being the right person - Pres. Thomas S. Monson

Choose the one you love and love the one you choose

The gospel is built to "comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable"

Tomorrow the text from conference is available on the conference site and I can't tell you how excited I am!  There were 2 specific talks from the Saturday morning session that I can't seem to get out of my head. They both had everything to do with mothers and fathers, and wives and husbands. You know when you hear a speaker or a teacher or a quote and you think "that was spoken just for me"? Well, that happens often with General Conference for many, but these particular talks spoke directly to my sore and inquisitive soul. So many things are happening in our life and we're trudging through with our heads high while we secretly want to sit right down on the floor and cry. I know everyone's going through these kinds of things right now but last weekend couldn't have come at a better time.

I'm so grateful for words of comfort, whether they be from church or friends who stop by with sweet and simple gifts or a tweet in my general direction asking me how I'm feeling today. Now if I can just get my sorry butt to put on some pants today we'll be heading toward a really really good day.  Oh and thanks for reading guys. It's nice to know we're all in this together! (now I hope you sing this all day because I said that:)

Friday, April 1, 2011

Don't Give Up, Don't You Quit

I'm one of those girls who loves the rain. When it rains I burn candles that smell like apple or pumpkin, I bake, I open all my windows and blinds. My kids know that when it rains they're in for treats because rain just makes me feel...I dunno...alive?  Yes.

But today the sun is out and it's a fantastic 70°. Lola's napping after a morning of running around in her new little shoes on the grass in the back yard and Harper's begging to go to the park. If only I could walk down there right now, I sure would.

This weekend my mother in law and sister in law are coming to stay with us. With me being in this state where I'm not doing much cleaning or working at all, I hope they can stand the mess of my house. You know, having 6 kids and a very pregnant lady doesn't make for a very good homemaker.

This weekend is also General Conference. For those of you who aren't Mormon, this is when the leaders of our church speak to the entire congregation of people who believe in our faith and also to whomever decides to listen in. It happens twice a year and it goes for 2 hour sessions, 2 on Saturday for everyone and a meeting on Saturday night for the men, and then on Sunday for 2 sessions that last 2 hours each.

Typically, there are stories told, memories shared and it's to say the least...INSPIRING. You can tune in online or on tv if it's offered where you are. Some people even go to church buildings to hear the messages broadcast and in other countries of the world, this is how they tune in.  It's for every one!  You don't have to be LDS to watch or listen. (go here to tune in online!)

You may remember me posting a video a month or so ago by one of our leaders called Come What May and Love It.  Today I opened up my Facebook to see that my sweet brother had sent me a link to another talk that has to be one of my most favorites. It's by a man we respect and love called Elder Jeffrey R. Holland. It's called "...Good Things to Come" and honestly, it's what I needed to hear today. My brother sent it to me last Friday and I just got it today and it's a good thing because in spite of all the sunshine outside, the last few days  have really taken me to some of the lowest places you can be. I needed to get this message late because I needed it NOW.

Lately, my spirit has felt broken. I feel like I'm scraping the bottom of the barrel right now. Financially, we're struggling, emotionally we're struggling and even though I'm surrounded by my kids and Mike, I often feel so alone. Last night I kept myself awake reading and tidying up my house because I didn't want to go to bed because I knew that when I would go to bed, the morning would inevitably be here in the blink of an eye. Waking up seems so sad because it's just another day where I'm searching for creative ways to take care of my family.

This little video is amazing. Watch it. Just do it. It's 5 minutes out of your life and even if you don't have the same beliefs as I do you'll know that we just need to tell ourselves the same thing.

“Don’t give up. Don’t you quit. You keep walking. You keep trying. There is help and happiness ahead—a lot of it—30 years of it now, and still counting. You keep your chin up. It will be all right in the end. Trust God and believe in good things to come.”

Welcoming Spring is lifting my spirits!  Hearing the words of men who understand life and it's trials, men who've seen more than I have who've gone down roads that I've yet to travel, these things bring me happiness today. I'm searching for ways to keep light and happiness in my home and I hope you all can do the same!  Let's all go plant some flowers...whadd'ya say?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


check out my sweet new ride, the "Emotional Roller Coaster"
My goal for today is to get pants on. Here's to reaching for the stars, right?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Post Wherein I List Stupid Stuff

Since I'm almost 36 weeks pregnant and trying to keep this baby in here til 40, I've been spending Lola's nap time sitting on my bed. And after making dinner time. And after Lola's bedtime but way before my own real bedtime. Seeing as I can't read without getting a headache (my eyes are all jacked up as is normal with pregnant women (click!)), this has left me only a few options of what to do while I'm there. I'm going to list a few of them now but not in any particular order since none is really any more awesome than the other:

  • watch the open window of my bedrooms carefully as we have no working screens on them waiting for The Deadly Spider of 2011 to come creeping through, trying to bite the back of my thighs when I'm not looking. This may sound unrealistic but you don't live in my neighborhood along a path that winds around Utah Lake, aka Deadly Bug Lake. (named by us, because we're really the only ones who count here)
  • think of all the frivolous food I want to eat. This can be damaging but in my present state wherein I'm trying to GROW A HUMAN BEING I'm not too concerned about it. Especially since none of them are actually going to make it to my face/stomach/baby mostly because of the next thing on my list.
  •  fret over money. This may not seem like the most fun thing to think about but guess what. You're right. It's not. It's panic inducing. We have a big family. We've made the choice to have me stay home with the children for many reasons, many really important reasons. So here I sit, counting the bills in my head, adding up the money coming in and occasionally I get to plan something out with the extra dough we're bringing in. Something fun like buying everyone a gumball at the quarter machine next time we're at the grocery store. Hey Big Spendaaaaaaaaaah....
  • watch ID on Discovery. If you haven't already found this channel, find it. I assure you it's worth your time. If we weren't in a huge contract with Directv, we'd have cancelled cable, but we are. So I watch shows and Harper hates them. He says "mom, are you watching one of 'your shows'?" and I say "it's a show about a lady yes" and he says "does she get killed?" and I say "yes, probably" and he says "Oh mom" and I say "isn't it nap time?  Mama needs to watch her stories" and he goes to lay down. I'm glad we have this understanding. Oh and before you call child protective services, please do understand that when he goes to "lay down" that actually means he gets to play the Wii uninterrupted for as long as Lola sleeps. He still gets his daily spankins in though, don't you fret.
  • think about holidays that aren't even remotely close. I will sometimes sit here and think about Christmas time and wish that they made Peeps in the shape of wreaths, or trees. Or maybe we can just bring Peep Ghosts to Christmas and reinact a scene from A Christmas Carol. Jacob Marley never tasted so squishy delicious!
  • make plans to clean the garage, but then I'm soon deterred because of what could be creeping in there. (see item #1)
I could go on and on here but really, do you come to my blog to read about my craziness? Probably not but if you do, let me give you one last item on my list so you can see just how crazy I am. I present to you, Fantastic Number 7 (whatever that means) (actually, I'm about to have Lucky Number 7! so it may actually make more sense than I had intended it to)

  • nap. Can you believe it?  A mother of 6 who gets to nap. Now, keep in mind, this will be during Lola's nap and often Harper is next to me playing his DSi for "quiet time". But really, a nap. For a mom of 6. Told ya it was crazy.

Friday, March 25, 2011


Yesterday it rained and sort of hailed, we had a million errands to run and it was just Lola and Harper and I. Lola's been in a "big girl" car seat that we have had in our garage for almost a year. It's my sister Eliza's and I keep meaning to take it back to her but I'm the worst return-er in the history of ever. Anyway, we figured that the baby coming would need a clean and shiny car seat and Lola was hanging out of the infant seat so we took everything apart and there you go. Lola's sitting in Liza's car seat aka the big girl car seat until payday when we'll be honest people and give it back and buy another one just for her. I can't even believe she's that big already. Where did the time go?

Watching those two, Harper (4) and Lola (1) in the rear view mirror is the best entertainment in the world. It's probably dangerous for me to tilt the mirror down, using each side mirror on the outside of the car as my tool to view behind me, watching them giggle at each other, make faces at one another and hold hands. Really, they hold hands. 

My heart breaks!  They love each other so much. When Harper goes to Kindergarten in the fall she's going to have the hardest time I think. Hopefully this new baby boy will be sitting up and playing with little toys so she will have something to focus her social butterfly personality on.

Today it's raining and snowing too. This morning I felt myself sort of slip into a familiar routine, cutting fruit on Lola's high chair tray and making cereal with bananas cut up into it for Harper.  It's one of those days, we probably won't even get shoes on today. I have to get dressed, my sweet neighbor Jackie (the one who made that bread and jam!) is coming over later this afternoon to see me. She knows that by the end of the week I need another girl to talk to who isn't my child and she's so good at putting in a call or an email or a visit to me.  (or some bread and jam, heaven love her)

The other night I didn't sleep at all. Well no, I take that back, I slept from midnight til about 1:15 when Lola woke up because her teeth hurt. As I tend to do when it's the middle of the night and dark I started to think. Thinking led to worrying about money/kids/relationships/etc. and before I knew it Mike's 7:00 alarm was going off and I hadn't slept a bit. The rest of the day was miserable and I was tired and cranky and that night I had a billion things to do so I couldn't go to bed til almost midnight again and the next day was no better. This pattern happens more than I'd like to admit. Things are beating me down, beating us down and every time we think one challenge is over we realize it's just changed.  You might think that because I'm a "talker" and that because I "blog" etc, I spill my guts but that's not me. I'm really good at making up a super quick excuse when people ask me what's wrong because getting into the meat of what's really happening with us wouldn't solve anything. Right now, Mike and I and also our bishop are truly the only people on the earth who know what's going on here. I keep busy during the days but at night, man...

Night times are painful and exhausting and you all know how it can make the coming day seem like a punishment, so this morning I got up, said my morning prayers, got our lives started and while I was waiting for something to come to my mind that would help me feel like I could personally handle the 3 different unrelated things that are going on right now, I got two pieces of inspiration. One was to make brownies. Lots of them. Which I will do when these babes take a nap in a sec (after Elmo's World is over in 3 minutes) and the second little piece of inspiration was a quote I heard once before by Lucille Ball that I remember loving. Within a few minutes of searching I found it. (Thank you to The Foundation For A Better Life's website, which is another topic I'll cover at a later time) .

One of the things I learned the hard way was that it doesn't pay to get discouraged. Keeping busy and making optimism a way of life can restore your faith in yourself. - Lucille Ball 

I love this picture of them. I was going to put up a
picture of just Lucy, but when I saw this one, I chose it because
being a strong woman doesn't mean you have to do it alone.

Rad quote, huh.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Update's Getting Shorter

I'm getting fatter, Tiffany's getting smaller, Lola's walking faster, Harper's sleeping longer, Kenzie's studying harder, Casey's getting stronger, Jonah's singing louder, Mike's working later.

How's that working out for ya?

Oh and I have the most amazing neighbors. Jeanne-Marie brought Osc/kar an outfit today because she's going on an awesome vacation in a week and she didn't want me to go giftless if she wasn't back here for the birth. Um...awesome. Oh and Jackie?  She brought me hot bread and homemade raspberry (omgmyfavorite) jam. I DIED.  (which was honest-to-goodness gone in 2 days, thanks to me.)

I am blessed.

Monday, March 21, 2011

We're All Together Again!!!

This weekend was pretty epic as weekends go. We didn't have a fantastic trip to a new place, we didn't go anywhere at all as a matter of fact. Our weekend was full of milestones.

Lola turned 1. She's a fireball, that little girl. She's started to play pretend, taking an empty bowl or cup and stirring it with a little spoon. She walks around feeding us all her imaginary concoction and we all are required to respond with a nod of the head and a big "mmmmmmmm!!!" or else she'd keep feeding us the imaginary food.

The weather was gloomy, rain hitting our windows as we did our "saturday" chores. I love the smell of clean laundry and so does Lola. I'd bring load after load into the family room to fold straight out of the dryer and she'd run over (yes "run"...she's running now. Crazy) and stick her little hands in the basket and grab the first thing her little grubby mitts could find and hold it to her nose and inhale so loud you'd think it was her very first breath. "Mmmmmm" she'd say. I agree Lola, fresh laundry smells so good. (thank you, Downy)

We had cake with purple and blue icing. I was afraid her little face would be permanently stained, especially since the blue and purple dye made her look like her cheeks and nose and chin were bruised. You know, from the Annual Birthday Beatdown. It's a favorite tradition in our family. ;)  A bath miraculously washed her clean!  Gotta love good ol' soap and water. Happy First Birthday, my sweet baby girl...

Sunday morning brought more rain and even though you'd think we'd be upset, rain means No Snow, and No Snow means SPRING! IS! HERE!  It also means Summer is on it's way!  Harper can talk of almost nothing else. He can't wait to be able to go to the park to swing without having to run home after 20 minutes to soak in a warm tub so his fingers and toes have feeling again.

Tiffany came home that night. We had my cousin Audrey over and she kept us company while we made and ate stuffed manicotti for dinner. Tiffany's been gone for a little over 2 months in Las Vegas. We talked on the phone often, and while she was having a good time with my sister Ashley and my parents, she wanted to come home.  It stinks to be so torn between so much fun with Grandparents and an Aunt and your brothers and sisters!  Lucky girl.

When we saw her pull up Lola and Harper peeked out the open door and when she came in the house, Harper could hardly contain himself!  He went buck wild. He loves Tiff, they're best buddies. Lola on the other hand was terrified of her. She tried to eat some paper 10 minutes after Tiff got home, so Tiffany said "no Lola, don't eat that" causing Lola to grab onto Mackenzie like a baby spider monkey, big elephant tears streaming down her cheeks. Her little heart was broken, even until today at around 2. She finally remembers Tiff. It's good to have her home.

You know, there are different ways families can react to situations like Tiffany's. I know this first hand, a couple times over. If you don't know my story, I'll save it for another time. Long story.  Anyway, it was fantastic to see how a situation can change lives. I knew from the second I found out she was expecting that I had to show her the blessing of adoption. I'd show her blogs by other birth mothers and she'd roll her eyes and cry and say "It's MY choice. I'm an adult, I can do this on my own".  I took her to see an amazing therapist one day, sneaking her into the office. See, the office is attached to the Deseret Industries store in the town next to ours. We browsed old dresses, furniture and old dishes all the while I knew I had to encourage her to go next door. As we left the store, I said "let's just go in and see what it takes to see somebody here".  Reluctantly, she went in.  The rest is history.

Even until the last day before she signed relinquishment papers, she had doubts. Mike and I brought her home from Primary Children's Hospital where the baby was being watched in the NICU and we invited her into our bedroom. I told her that we would support her either way but that she needed to think of the two options she had in front of her. So many tears were shed. She wanted so badly to keep that baby, and even if she had, we'd still love her. I couldn't let her do this alone. Any of it. She wanted to leave last summer but through it all, we never judged her, we tried every day to tell her we loved her, I read so many things about how to do this but at the end of the day, we just made ourselves part of her life and set ourselves under her like a raft. She made the right decision and we know it was hers to make. She told us last night that our talk that night helped her to really think about the reality of it all. That's what parents are supposed to do...right?

After Maya was placed, she knew she had to go somewhere. My parents generously offered to keep her for 2 months. When she came back last night, she looked like the Tiffany we knew a year ago. The Tiffany who would come home from church in her cute pencil skirt with her binders and lesson handouts, smiling and looking brilliant.

Unconditionally, we're here for her. She told us late last night that the reason she feels like she can be a productive and happy person even after so many mistakes is because she knows that  our home is always her home. She knows that we'll always have a place for her with no judgement put on her. We have to let her make mistakes, but we will never ever put her out or send her away somewhere she doesn't want to be. Feeling like you have a "home" is the key here I've found.

When we made the decision for me to always be at home with our kids, we knew that we'd hear it from people about how I should work and help out my family. My job is here in my home. My job is to make sure these kids become generous, independent, loving, educated and spiritual people. Soon we'll have 7 and you know what, I don't regret one single moment I spend here with these kids. The photography, the writing, the dreams of being something for myself, those take a back seat because right now, I just want to be a Mom.

Our bishop came over on Friday to help us out with some things. He is very aware of our situation and it's nice when he can look at what we're doing and at our choices for who works and who works at home and he  reminded Mike that his job is how to Preside, Provide and Protect. I like the way we've set up our family dynamic. It's amazing to see how the family seems to just click into place when we set our goals and then follow through with them.

See, there's this thing I have. I was raised in a really great family. Soon after leaving my home after some really bumpy teenage years I found myself the mother of a young baby and single. I started dating the first person I thought my parents liked (true story) after only knowing him for a few weeks, and really, after just a couple weeks he proposed. Later I found out he'd been engaged like 5 times before me but that's another story I'll never tell because really, who gives a crap. Anyway, I went from a normal home to a few years of being alone and feeling alone and having a baby alone to a dysfunctional marriage and family life. So when I was divorced and eventually remarried to Mike, we knew from the start we should get these kids into a normal life.

That's when this (right click and open in a new tab!) came into our life as a guide. Just reading through it with Mike caused me so much grief and sadness all the while feeling like I needed to really change some things. I was sad because I realized that the10 years I was living through The Mistake (marrying my first husband) put my kids into a home that was almost the exact opposite of what The Proclamation stated a family should really be.

This part really stood out to me the most:

"By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners."

See, it doesn't say mom's HAVE to stay home, but really, we're blessed as women with gifts to raise our children and men are natural protectors and providers. This has worked in our marriage. Almost 6 years of marriage to Michael and it's sad that I had to be over the age of 30 to know what love is.

I tend to ramble don't I?  I know. I'm sorry. I'm a yappity yap sometimes.

Anyway, Tiff came home. We stayed up really really late just talking, Mike, Tiff and I. She said it felt so good to be home. She said she feels safe where we are. That's when I realized...I might just be doing ok here at this "mom" thing... I slept better than I have in months. It feels so good to have us all together again.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Corned Beef and Cabbage!!! Not This Year

Since I was little, we'd always have this. My mom would boil up a big pot of corned beef and cabbage and to this day, it's one of my most favorite meals. I could eat it every week, seriously. (Maybe I'll have to buy a couple and freeze them tomorrow. The corned beef, not the cabbage) This year though, the kids asked me "what else do they eat in Ireland?"

Hm... good question. I know they make soda bread. I know they use potatoes a lot. So I set out to discover what else those darn people eat!  After checking many many blogs and recipe sites, I've narrowed this year down to 2 things. Why only 2?  Because I'm lazy and 9 months pregnant and guess what, this stuff is plenty.

We're having potato leek soup. Thankfully, I've already got a good recipe for this so the only real problem might be finding healthy leeks. Green onion can do in a pinch though so I'm not worried. Also?  Duh, shepherds pie. My kids love this so we're also having that.  A "green" salad and ginger ale should top it off nicely, don't you think? I'm the most boring mom ever, I don't tip furniture over, I don't put little green footprints all over the house, I just cook good food and we leave it with that. 

What do YOU do on St. Patrick's Day?  Anything fun and delicious?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

All That Chatter

Lately I've been torn when it comes to how much of an internet presence we should have.  I find so many of my good friends in photography, in motherhood, in our experience with the adoption through Facebook. I keep up with old childhood friends, I post pictures and I even talk to our family members who live out of state through Facebook. It's a good thing to have for the kids because many of their teachers are on there and even a couple of them on there link to things like due dates for assignments, particularly for Mackenzie.

But more and more often, it seems like having the immediate details of our lives online is only causing problems. For example, I may post about being sick, and then you know how time goes...1 month feels like just a day when you're in your 30's. So imagine I post 2 months later that I'm sick again, the comments NEVER seem to quit that say things like "wow you guys are sick all the time" and "jeez, didn't you guys just get over that?!"  In reality, no, we didn't just get over that. Months ago we may have but really, what family of 8 is completely sniffle free for many months at a time?  Not many, I can assure you.

That example isn't something I'm listing specifically because it causes me grief, not at all, but it's a perfect way to illustrate how our fluffy and light status updates can open a small window that others can use to see into our lives. Sadly, this window only shows 1 room in our house! Maybe 2?

Likewise, it allows us to be short and opinionated with others with almost no recourse. We can say what we think about a status update by quipping a response to others, and while I admit that most of the time it's positive, how many times do we say things we shouldn't because really, what are our words?  They're black lines and circles on a screen.  Right? 

Having kids of all ages in our home, we have to teach using many methods. We find that laughter and visual aids work for everyone. A few years ago when Harper was small and we were trying to teach a lesson to the kids about carefully choosing the words we speak to others, I found a little way to do this so that everyone could understand and also so that we could keep their attention.

Enter lesson called "Make Your Words Soft and Sweet".  In the lesson plan I found online, it suggested glueing mini marshmallows on a board for "Soft" and sugar cubes for the "Sweet" part. We thought it might be better illustrated through an activity. Which activity?  Um, throwing stuff. Seriously, is there anything better than throwing stuff at each other and not getting in trouble for it?  I vote "no".

I went outside to the neighbor's yard and got some small gravel and rocks and put them in a bucket. Then I put marshmallows in the same bucket.  Then I put a single marshmallow in a small cup and a 1/2 cup or so of vinegar in another one. You can imagine where it went from here right?  Words need to be soft so they don't hurt, and sweet not bitter because one day you might have to eat them. Got it.

I try to explain to my kids sometimes when they get offended by something someone said that maybe we should look at the words we said to them just before they said it to us. Were they careful to listen to how they said something? Even within my own home this is an issue.  Mackenzie will come up and say that Jonah called her something really mean, and then I'll say "well what did you say to him before that?" and she'll repeat it and it's ALWAYS something really gently said with a sweet smile. Puh-lease. Ok, so how about we go over it exactly how it was said?  Were there words that cause hurt? Point blame? Seriously kids, let's learn this lesson again shall we?  Looks like we might have to do the marshmallow and vinegar lesson again.

The internet is a big playground. It can be used for good!  There are so many things on there that I love, yet so many things I don't love.  Just now I saw Casey playing a game online with buddies that were put into a group to play with him I heard many of his cute friends from school!  Their talk was innocent and sweet, and then that particular round ended. The "lobby" in between the last game and the next came on and immediately I heard some new, stranger of a young boy's voice calling them all "Faggots".  He wasn't someone from their school or even this state but that's how it works. This is the internet people.

Whether it's a blog, or Facebook or whatever, we need to guard ourselves. Email, texting, instant messaging, these all fall into the same category for me. As if the world wasn't hard enough to live in, always dealing with people at work or school, church and the store, now we're ALL in the face of everyone who wants to step in our online "door".

Words are hard enough to block in the real word let alone on the computer monitor. Next time you're saying something online ask yourself, would you really say that to this person's face? There's the real question.

Now I have to go put Harper to bed and while I'm at it, I get to explain to him why it's ok to pinch people tomorrow but not every other day of the year. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Riley's Birthday and some Rambling

It was 64° out today. So different from what we've had over the last 5 months. I got Lola and Harper into clothes that weren't too warm or too cold and went and picked Casey up from school today a bit early. He had an appointment. Afterwards, we went and got food to take to the park for lunch.

Lola hates swings but today for some reason, she was ok in the weirdly shaped, hard rubber baby swing. I started her out slow, sitting myself down on the wood chips in front of her and sang to her as I slowly increased the speed of her sway. Eventually she was staring off into her own little tiny girl land, singing songs from Yo Gabba Gabba to herself. You know, the one about Babies. (click!)

It got me thinking. My life seems so complicated sometimes and really, all the stress and distraction of the legal stuff going on keeps me from being a mommy, a lot more often than I should probably admit. My littles get planted in front of the toy box while I make phone call after phone call to lawyers and friends who are helping in this.  I don't even know how to open the door to neighbors when I'm on the phone because I can't miss a single word. This is legal stuff!  It takes priority!!!! Right?

Today while Lola was swinging in front of me, her little cold toes brushing against my face as I leaned under her while she was on the forward part of her swing and she'd giggle. The best sound ever. Harper was laughing as Casey pushed him "under dog" and he even learned how to count to 3 and then JUMP! off the swing. I worried he'd break his ankles but then that thought came again. We all did that!  We all learned how to jump off the swing at some point. The euphoria of floating through the air in what seemed like the highest arc and then landing, your ankles stinging a bit when you hit the playground floor.  That's kid stuff, but it teaches you to leap with faith that you'll land and be ok.

Faith that we'll be ok when we leap.

Faith that what's going on in other parts of the world has a purpose. Painful as it seems, it's so true. Everything has a purpose. Faith that it will all come together is what I'm learning today.

Either way, we're going to wake up tomorrow, or we're not!  What we can do is our very best every single day.

Today's my nephew's birthday. Riley C. turned 13. That kid is so awesome. He's a year younger than my Jonah and they've been buddies for their whole lives. I had Jonah, a year later Riley came along, then my Casey a year after that then Riley's brother Jackson a year later. Every year for 4 years a boy cousin was born. To see these boys together is to make you almost cry. I remember when they were like Lola on the swing. Literally. We were at a blessing picnic here in Utah and cute Jonah was on the baby swing, and he'd hold his breath too as I pushed, but slowly he grew to know it would be ok.

I'm lucky to have my fam!  What an amazing group I get to be part of.

Riley, you're a fantastic example of how to be obedient. You're always gentle and you play with ALL of my boys and even little Lola thinks you're funny...when you're not being "scary" like your dad. ;)  Juuuuuuust kidding.

So all this rambling does have a purpose. I wanted to capture and remember the feeling I had today. I'm not sure we're going to get through a few really crazy things that are happening in our lives unscathed, but I'm sure we'll get through somehow. Right now we're just looking to our friends and family and jumping off at the forward arc of our swing.  Just how we'll land, I don't know yet. We'll see.

If you can make sense of any of this, congratulations. That means you're awesome.



Monday, March 14, 2011

Baaaoooow. Baaaoooow. Baaaoooow. Baaaoooow. Baaaoooow.

Well look at what the cat dragged in:

(Please do forgive me for the mess in my bedroom. And the black curtain over the window. I was watching a movie earlier and the glare...oh the GLARE! Also, as you can see, this was shot from floor level because as you know, Saturday is a Special Day, it's the day we clean the crap out of our bedrooms. This means piling clothes onto my bed since all of my laundry baskets seem to be full of things that are wintry since Spring! Is! Here! and we're putting away hot stuff and getting out cooler clothes. We don't have the closet space for both. As a matter of fact, wanna know how big my closet is?  And I do NOT exaggerate here. No for real, this is the truth. Hold your arm straight out in front of you. Yes. Arm. Just one. Now imagine your fingers are touching the back of my closet. K, now imagine your armpit is my closet door. Ok good that's how deep it is. Wanna know how wide?  Same thing. Yep. My closet is less than 2 feet across and 2 feet deep. For a woman. In the MASTER BEDROOM OF A HOUSE.  


That was a really long description of the above video of Lola meowing. Oh and see that hair on her?  Yep, we like to call that the "one pony out and one pony in" or the "maniac" since that's basically what she is)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Come What May And Love It

You know, the roller-coaster of emotions that a woman (and her husband and children and friends and family and neighbors who lie downwind) goes through while she's pregnant is enormous. It probably shouldn't be ridden by anyone with back problems or heart problems or by young children...I said probably. It's scary. Even when we're not pregnant, we're so up and down it makes my sweet husband sometimes stop me at night and just rub my back saying "it's hard to be a girl, huh". Yes babe, it is. Sometimes it is.

But the blessings of it are also great. We are able to love our littles when they're hurt, or listen to our teenagers with different ears than dad might. When the boy breaks her heart, or the kids are mean on the playground we mothers can do things that dad can't sometimes.

Dad has his own job, his own purpose, and I don't envy it one bit. Being a dad to these kids is hard. When those teenage hormones and feminine spurts of monthly psychosis kick in it's only the dad who can ignore the "I HATE YOU!" and "LEAVE ME ALONE!" comments.  He can go quietly to his room and pray for those kids to soften, or come into the bedroom where mom is frequently pulling her hair out with frustration and laugh and say "Give him/her 20 minutes" and he's right. Every time. Instead of fighting, or screaming mean or spiteful and hurtful words at the kids, or without retreating and saying "well I tried!" after only yelling back at and participating in the "teenage angst", he can step aside and wait, knowing it will all be ok if he just loves with authority and gentle words. Not all men can and will do this, but mine sure does. He's one of the best men I know.

One of the things that has been hard for me this week has been my ability to think outside of the immediate.  When we've done things for our kids for years, and I do mean years, and then all of the work we've done, time spent, money applied to keeping these kids happy and our family peaceful is called into question, and all the other side who extends near to zero help can do is ask for moremoremore...well, it struck me as so appalling and ungrateful, I really couldn't take another thing. I shut down. The "fear" they were trying to instill in us didn't even cause us one bit of it, but moreso it caused me to feel so bad for my kids. Instead of actually DOING what they're supposed to do, they want to force the kids into what they want from them.  We all know who's "plan" that sounds like, now don't we? *insert biggest wink and eye roll you can muster about now*

What with my hormones as they are, I almost stopped functioning. I could have laid in my bed crying and being frustrated at the gall of the other party but every time I stopped and let my mind get to a point where I could fall weak, I would remember one of my most favorite talks by sweet Elder Wirthlin called Come What May and Love It. (click!)  Now, whether or not you're a Mormon, or even a Christian this talk can help you. It's an inspired moment in time where simple words and simple jokes can lighten a heart, mood and load. It minimizes the pain I sometimes feel with just a few simple paragraphs.

It's funny that this week seemed to be focused around so many terrible things while at the same time leaning toward the blessings I have in my life.  Last week I started doing one daily thing extra for one of my kids, or a friend and the first few days I had to really think hard about what to do. I realized on about day 3 that if I just got to work around my house, the person who would need my help would just slip into my mind and I knew that I had to act on it.

I wanted it to be some grand idea, some person I hadn't thought of in a long time, but often, it would be one of my own kids who I didn't know was suffering, or something simple like making a phone call to someone I'd just talked to a day or two before on the phone.

Then I saw my sister on Facebook saying things like "Day 2 of losing myself (in service)" and then this morning, my friend Crystal posted this on Facebook:

Yep. It's a shortened version of some of the more important parts of the same talk I mentioned above. Love it!

Now, I know you don't come here for preaching, or to hear me talk about my troubles, but often that's what I write about. I write because it's therapeutic. I could just post fluff and pictures of my lawn starting to get green again, but that's not who I am. I could post youtube videos of me tap dancing and singing Britney Spears "Toxic" complete with auto-tune but we all know I don't want to scare you away, am I right? Anyway, I do this because it's my way to clear my mind out, to talk to friends and to get your perspectives on things. You guys are one of the main reasons I do this.  You reading along with me makes me feel less alone, and every little comment is a bit of service you provide for me. I mean that with all of my heart. It's true!

So today, when I get to fold acres of laundry and lift 25 lb. Lola up and down the stairs a hundred times and cheer for Harper as he defeats Dr. Eggman for the 435,215th time, I can smile a little bit knowing that when I come on here and see your comments, there are other people out there...whether you're a mom or a dad or none of the above, and you still read what I say and give a hoot enough to come back and see what I've got to  expose share about myself and my poor family today even though I like to abuse The Comma. Just so you know, this helps and it lightens my load!

Oh and one more thing:

IT'S FRIDAY and it's my sister-in-law's birthday!!! 


Mandy is the most patient mom, best sister, most amazing wife and her laugh makes me laugh!  We also had their Dylan and my Harper  4 days apart and they're due with their next baby Lucas 4 days before we're due with baby Osc/kar!!!

Her blog is here  read it but I warned you, she may or may not make you feel bad about yourself, she's ridiculously efficient. Trés sigh...


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

What a Difference a Night Makes

I hope you know how much I love sleeping. I do. I do love sleeping and I do hope you know, I mean. Almost as much as I love dancing around my house while people aren't looking in my windows.

Guess what, I have to tell you a secret. Ok, maybe I've talked about this before I'm not sure but actually, now that I think about it, I think I've talked about this with my cousin Kjersten.

(L to R:  Ashley Oblad (my baby sister) Eliza (my sister who's a year younger than me) Eric (my cousin) Ryan (his brother, also my cousin) Taylor, (top right looking like a cholo of which he's not) and finally, Kjersten 

Isn't she lovely?  Look at that pose...that stare of confidence...(she's on the bottom right in the awesome tan vest) See the bangs in the next photo?

Cousin Rachel Christensen and of course, Kjersten with awesome bangs

I have to show the picture with the bangs because I bet that picture was taken around the same time I'd sit in my bathroom with her when we were younger and I'd curl her hair and sometimes I'd burn the skin off of her forehead. Like, a real burn. Probably needed to be treated at the hospital but whatever, this was the 80's. We were tougher. Oh and sometimes we'd make Kjersten sleep in our closet growing up but it was one of those closets that had sliding mirrored doors and we'd build her a bed on the floor with blankets and pillows then shut the doors almost all the way during a sleepover. I realize now it sounds really mean but it was pretty awesome I thought. No? Just me?  Whoops. But really, here's what she looks like in real life now. She's stunning:

Kjersten and her daughter Olivia

See??? No burn scars on her forehead from me and my crazy curling iron!  ANYWAY!  So Kjersten and I frequently talk about things in our lives that are weird. She's funny and makes me laugh like no other and at some point I don't remember which, I confessed to her that I talk to myself in my car. Not constantly. It will be a glance out the window and I will say something like "well that idiot needs a ticket" or something to that effect. Not because I'm really trying to talk to myself but because I always and I mean ALWAYS feel like I'm being watched in my car. Like there's a camera crew who's planted tiny FBI-type cameras in my rear view mirror, and then that there are 10 other ones somewhere hidden in my car somewhere. What I'm trying to tell you is that I feel like I'm being watched in my car. All the time. I do realize that some of you are going to google "Crazy Person Who Thinks People Are Watching Her In Her Car" (there, I did it for you) and see that the first hit is for "paranoia". Pshh. Whatevs. It's not a bad thing. I'm serious though. I don't enjoy doing it per se, and I don't always wear shoes in my car, but you can be sure I always make sure I have lipstick on. True story.

Anyway, one of the best things about talking to the "camera people" in the car about traffic or whatever, is that I pretty much always have kids in my car. Almost always. And often they'll be like "who are you talking to?" and instead of replying with something about "duh. camera people" I say "oh!  I'm singing. It's a song!" and then I have to pretend there's a real song about the stupid idiot woman who drives slow in the fast lane. You get the idea.

So I keep music on in the car all the time.

Ok where was I going with this story?  Kjersten closets, singing in the car, camera crews...ah yes!  I remember. K so last night there was this crazy wind and snow storm. It was insane. Mike and I had to go clear up to Salt Lake in it which wouldn't normally be a big deal, that's like 20 minutes, but because of the weather it took like an hour. And this idiot freakin semi truck kept passing me, then slowing down, then getting in my lane, then passing me again all the while splashing wet snow soooooooo hard on my windshield so we couldn't see at ALL, and I have to tell you, not only do I talk to the camera crew about the bad drivers, I kind of have Driving Tourettes. Which should not be confused with Christmas Tourettes wherein you say really bad words in front of your kids because Christmas is so stinkin' frustrating! Incidentally, I also have Laundry Tourettes which only affects me when I'm pregnant because wet clothes are heavy and I have a hard time bending down and over and up and down etc. with a baby on the hip and a baby in the belly.  Anyway, Driving Tourettes. I do say bad words sometimes (as Harper likes to say to people, especially people at church or the store or neighbors or whomever is within earshot "my mom sometimes says 'the shuh-shuh word.'") (get it? It starts with the "sh" sound. Use your imagination folks)

Anyway, it was Mike and I in the car and no kids so that's when the threats typically turn on. I grit my teeth and make really terrible threats against people who drive crazy. I'm one of "those". They're not yelling or screaming threats (hello, screaming on camera isn't sexy, my people) but gritting my teeth and informing them of the smackdown I wanna put on 'em is more my style.

Anyway me, threatening the truck driver. And look, I realize I won't ever hurt them, but in my mind I pull them over and it will be over. They'll be scared and I'll make them understand how stupid they've been. In my imagination I'm no pregnant mother of 6. I'm a b'dass who pulls the trigga, I don't press people button. It works out something like that in my mind, oh and then there's some sort of apology and then I get a key to the city and I get to wear something pretty and filmy to the ceremony they'll have for me.

Ok, I'm a bit delusional and what all of this has to do with the title of today's blog is...yesterday was terrible. Still is, but that's the thing. It was yesterday. Today I'm better, not great, but I'm not crying into my rear view window (now with more lipstick!) Instead I'm listening to music with my kids trying to teach Harper and Lola the importance of keepin' it real.