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.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Keep Moving Forward...

Never has the title of my blog meant more to me than it does today. Things have been piling up around here emotionally and I've been trying to avoid the breakdown that comes with doing that whilst pregnant by doing things for others. I've sneaked little love notes into my kids backpacks, I've shared small gifts with people, I've tried to make a phone call a day to someone I've been inspired to call through my morning meditation and prayer.  I count my blessings. I do. I count them so often it's almost like reciting lyrics to a song I've known for 20 years. My blessings are great. I'm truly fortunate to have what I have.  

I'm trying. I'm really trying. I have to keep repeating that to myself. I have been reading stories of friends of mine who have lost health in their life. I've sobbed over blogs by young mothers who are losing their children to cancer, sickness and accidents. 

Just look at those people in that picture with me.  They're my family. MY FAMILY. How awesome is that?  Now here's where the big "but" comes in. (not MY big butt, obviously, although it's always there, following me around and stuff)  Some days things come up in your life that takes that delicate dance you do to keep yourself afloat and dumps a big bucket of wet cement over it. Today was one of those days. I'd love to say I'm being dramatic, I'd love to say that there was a good way around this, but there's not. Today Mike and I had an experience that we can't discuss (to protect our sweet kids) that just blows all other "you've got to be kidding me!" situations in the past out of the water. There's no way to ignore this either and although I am positive our family will eventually come out on top of this situation, there's no way to avoid being thrown into the lion's den right now by some terribly dishonest and evil people. Good thing I like lions so much.

Friday, March 4, 2011

It's About Keeping a Good Feeling in Your Heart

There's this thing I've learned over the last few years. See, I'm quick to be defensive. I've always been like that, it's one of the things I dislike about myself.  I've got many faults and one of the ones that bothers me the most is that I take things personally, and I get defensive. See, I'm not a contentious person. I don't like to fight, I don't like to argue, and sometimes a healthy discussion becomes even too heated for my liking.

So a few years ago I had an amazing bishop, Bishop Brown from our church in California. We'd just left Vegas to escape the constant arguing that occurred when my ex would see the kids for his visitation. When I moved, I was damaged. Defensive. Angry. A person who held things in and then blew up later on people who didn't deserve it, my sweet husband and kids. It was killing me, it was hurting them. I couldn't lose weight, I couldn't sleep, I had no energy, I stayed up nightly just stewing about things that were truly so trivial. I had to ask for help.

So I learned over time and many visits how to just turn it off. How to say "ok, I don't want to do this" and then literally walk out of the situation. Stewing on something was like a cancer. for real. I was sick. Physically ill and doctors were puzzled at what was the cause of my many, many symptoms. It was something that just kept me in a hole that was dark and angry and really, who wants to be there?

I began to meditate. Yes, meditate. It sounds wonky or new agey, but really, it's not. It's peaceful. Prayer is meditation. Taking long walks and thinking about positive things is meditation. I LOVE meditating, love it so much.

Lately, there have been a lot of situations that have caused me to become defensive or angry again.  I've had to remove myself from these situations. I always start out with my take on all of these situations, I think of calling people when they're hurting my kids, or when someone's made comments on my situation or statuses on Facebook etc. and then I realize after my blood boils for a minute that waiiiiit a minute here...I'm putting MYSELF in this situation. I can walk out. And that's what I try to do.

I find myself on Facebook often, watching what my friends do, reading their updates and that's fantastic and I love it all, but really, I spend an awful lot of time feeling like I'm having to defend what I say. Why would I want to do that? Sure, it took MONTHS of prodding to get my husband to talk to someone about our fitness, and then I excitedly commented about it, and within minutes, it was being criticized and called into question. This was so damaging, it had to be removed before he saw it. As a matter of fact, if he reads this particular blog, it might just still be damaging, but not as defeating as it would have been for him to read other people's contradicting arguments and "expert" advice that differed GREATLY from what we had just learned...from a REAL expert who understood our unique and individual levels of diet and personal exercise goals. I had to remove it. I had to. This is Facebook though, everyone can weigh in with their ideas and that's awesome! and I love it! Really, I love the interaction. I'm a social butterfly, for hells sake. But if anyone knows the struggle I've had over the last 4-5 years to get my health, AND MIKE to do something about our/HIS overall health (not his weight!  Seriously!) you might just understand a bit more why it had to be removed.

Now sure, a healthy discussion is one thing. I'm ALL for that. As a matter of fact, I love it. I love talking about things that enhance my personal knowledge, but when it takes that turn where it becomes contentious or damaging, I have to walk out. I choose to.

Having teenagers is the same way. I feel like when they start to argue with me, I have to mentally back out and just be peace. And that's what I do. I find peace somewhere other than where I am. It's healthy for me, and that's how it works. It makes me feel better.

Mike and I are on the healthy train once this baby comes. I realize it is easier for us to do it together, and he does it better when I'm doing it with him and encouraging him to do it. We'll be back on our walks and runs, and I'll be cooking again for our weight loss diet. We consult with people who know what they're talking about and we've carefully gone over our personal weight, our personal goals, and our personal plan for intensities and times for our workouts. I can't wait to get started.

I trust this person. He's got a 4 year degree in what he does.  I know what is possible for us, and I don't plan on arguing about it with anyone. It's what we're doing, and it's what our bodies can do and what they can burn.  We're not going on the ranch for Biggest Loser working out 8 hours per day and I'm certainly not 350+ lbs. I will not burn 1000 calories in 1.5-2 hours of walking and running, I can guarantee you that. I'm lucky to get to 300 calories, maybe 350 calories if I run. In an hour+. With 5 lb. weights in my hands.

I love meditating, I love walking and I actually enjoy a run thrown in there, especially if I have good music. I love being to the point in my life where I can walk away from things I PERSONALLY FIND UNCOMFORTABLE and really, that's what works for me. There's a fine line between a "discussion" and a "fight". I avoid the latter. It's all part of me being healthy. I seriously don't take offense...truly!...I just walk off!  I don't like the feeling I get when I feel defensive. It's not a "good" feeling, and really, who WANTS to feel like that? "Not I" said the fly.

For now I don't really have the time to check Facebook all the time and we're not in a position where I can spend money on a phone that updates me all the time on people's doings and goings on there. My kids who've earned phones need them more than I do, and I have almost 7  kids. I can't and won't be in front of a computer all day. Me leaving Facebook for the most part is because I have other priorities, and those start with me. I am a happier mom, wife, friend, sister, daughter and neighbor when I'm doing what's important, and the internet for an hour or more per day isn't that. that's a different animal. For example, all of my kids are in bed and Mike's finishing some work on his laptop, so I'm writing this and then (magic! pshh...old news) I can schedule for this to be published at a later date!  That's how I find the time to blog. I write the night before when I have the time, then the next day when I've slept on what I have to say (and maybe even hurry on before it's published and edit stuff super quick!) I let it get published. Now, this will still update to Facebook via NetworkedBlogs, but that's also automatic!  Gotta love the internet. Thank heavens Al Gore invented it. What a GENIUS. ;)

Now, back to the health topic really quick,  if I could look like this by Christmas, then I'll tell you what, that might be the best present I could have...EVER. (Oh and Mike too. He might enjoy that a little bit too...hehe)

(PS guys, COMMENT ON THIS!  I'm interested in what you think. And if you don't feel like you have anything to say to me, don't!  I can talk to silent faces, no worries. But this is my main interaction with you guys anymore, and I am not angry with anyone, and you can comment even if you don't have a blog!  Just click on "say what" down below and where you can put your name and URL, enter your name...and you don't even have to have a stinkin URL! Just let me know how you feel about stuff. I really do appreciate all of my friends and family and associates and strangers alike weighing in (get it...weigh? pun totally unintended here) and I'm inviting you to let me know how you feel about anything, about any topic I plan on writing about here. Share stories about your personal weight loss, about your personal thoughts about what I've said here, about your personal love for Heidi Klum. Hell, I don't care. I'm just not doing this on FB anymore. Feel welcomed here. It's like coming over for a little talk in my family room, except instead of sucking down a 42 oz. coke slurpee with you I'm going to go ahead and be munching on carrots and stuff getting ready for my ride on the healthy train again soon)

(oh and I do reserve the right to delete a hateful comment. It is MY blog, you know)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Product Review!

I am in NO way paid to endorse or test anything, but everyone knows that I have lots of kids and have lots of things to buy for myself and my husband and my kids, so there you go. I'm a huuuuuuuuuge consumer in this world and I thought I'd review something every week or so, who knows, it may be every day if I get excited about something or some place off the bat. We'll see.

Today, I'm obsessed with Spin Pins. Actually, Good Housekeeping has given Goody and the Spin Pin the VIP Very Innovative Award for 2010.  (click!) It's well deserved.

See, I have super fine hair. This in no way means I have thin hair. Thin hair means your follicles aren't many on your head, giving you thin hair. As a matter of fact, you can have thick hair per strand, even coarse hair per strand but still have thin hair. Likewise, you can have super fine hair per strand but tons and tons of it. The latter is me. As a matter of fact, my aunt Dawn back in the day used to color my hair and for real, every time she'd sit me down in the chair she'd start coloring my hair and say "why do I always forget that you have tons of hair?!?" and have to remix another batch or three of color because really, I have tons of hair. My sisters do too. It runs in our family. Anyway, here's my dilemma (and I'm sure many of you can understand's really common) I have a lot of hair and I have really LONG hair right now. (Long for me...right past the middle of my back) With 6+ kids I don't always have time to curl my flowing locks into a beautifully placed do like our friend Carrie Underwood. (mine's longer though. Ha, Carrie. I win)

(How cute is she?)

So on those days (almost every day) when I don't have time to do my hair like Carrie Underwood (time?  What's time?) I pull my hair up. My neighbor friends can attest to this. My hair is in a pony tail pretty much every day. And because I have a BILLION hairs (but fine per strand, like kitten hair soft) I can't use things like bobby pins (slip out unless I use forty ninety eleven of them) and other kinds of simple hair puller-uppers. I have to either put it in a pony tail or nothin.  So when I saw the commercial for Spin Pins last year, I immediately dismissed the thought of using them because really, what do 2 spinny things have to offer me?  Really. What?

I'll freakin tell you what. THEY ARE A MIRACLE FROM HEAVEN.

No really. They are shockingly amazing. I put Kenzie's hair into them last night and she about passed out. She isn't one to get really excited about something but she ran upstairs to see if I'd pulled some magic trickery on her. It's that easy and remarkable.

Let me give you the steps to making my hair into a bun before:

  1. rat the crap out of my hair
  2. smooth the "visible" parts of hair so that it doesn't look like orangutans live in it (please pronounce it "orr-ann'-goo-tans" if you will)
  3. put hair into an elastic band (the kind that aren't rubber. That hurts people. Plus I don't get the newspaper so why would I have rubber bands anyway?)
  4. twirl hair into a tight twist
  5. wrap into a bun shape
  6. pin the crap out of it with (and I'm not joking) 20-30 bobby pins
  7. put my arms down because they've been up for 5 minutes and this ain't The Biggest Loser and my arms aren't buff even though the rest of my body is. (ha!)
Pony tail?  Yes please.  That's the only way I can think of doing my hair that doesn't cause massive shaking of my arms. See, I'm preventing earthquakes here.

So I open the Spin Pins and I read the directions. There are 2 things on the list. TWO.  So here's how I made my hair into a bun yesterday:

  1. Twist hair into a bun
  2. Spin 1 Spin Pin in from the top and 1 Spin pin in from the bottom making sure not to get them twisted into each other.
That's it. 

And it worked.

IT WORKED, PEOPLE!!!  I even did a huge head bang not unlike one you'd do if you were listening to Enter Sandman by Metallica. (right click and open in a new tab because when it gets to about 55 seconds'll understand. Oh and my sister Eliza and I who are mostly hip-hoppers loooooooooooove this song and this entire album. Sorry mom and dad. True story)

MY HAIR DIDN'T MOVE FOR THE REST OF THE DAY/NIGHT!  Guys, these things are a miracle. They're a treasure. I want to make out with them.

They're not super cheap, about $6 for 2, but they're cheap enough for me to justify. Messy bun?  No problem!  Side bun so I can look effortless yet still hip?  Pshh, no big whoop! Bun for church that looks cute but still like I wake up this gorgeous?  Oh yeah, no big deal at all.

Go get some. Oh and they come in dark ones for brunettes and light ones for blondes. I don't think they make them for redheads, so sorry to all my ginger friends. You're outta luck. ;)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Blogger Etiquette Post (aka The One Wherein I Ramble Again)

Ok, I'm going to do something here. I've noticed a few things since Facebook started getting huge and it bothers me to no end. See, the blogging world has been around longer than Facebook and I was one of the first people to discover it. As a matter of fact, I was going through a terribly bitter separation and divorce and had to keep all of the horrible details to myself for many many reasons, and my only outlet was blogging. I was so embarrassed of having a failed marriage, I couldn't share anything with my family and friends. It was terrible. I felt so alone, and I put myself into a really dark place. I remember one day my dad gave me an "intervention" of sorts because the only thing they would believe about my massive trauma going down in my abusive home was that a) I was addicted to the internet (told to my parents by the crazy liar of an ex) and that b) I had a boyfriend who I was having babies with (hahaha! anyone know Mike? yeaaaah...that's exactly who he is, let alone who I AM)  who was destroying my Perfect Little American Family. Crazy. True, I knew Mike, but we were seriously just really amazing frineds. But to address the first one, the internet addiction. At night, when my kids would go to bed or while they were at school, I would blog. I was new to blogging and blogging was new to the world. I remember being a "Beta Tester" for blogger as a matter of fact. 

The format was crude (you can't believe how un-user-friendly it was) and it was really hard to manage, but it was exactly what I needed. My bishop suggested I keep a journal of my feelings and frustrations since I wasn't really "venting" to anyone, and this was the way to do it. I could keep it anonymous and open and really talk about my truthful feelings. It was my literal saving grace for about 2 years while my separation order ran out not once, but twice due to a certain someone who refused to mediate the divorce and also refused to do any kind of therapy. My blog was my therapy.

Before I knew it, I had followers. People tuned in to read my frank account of a 30 year old LDS woman going through a terrible divorce. I wrote about every gory detail (anonymous, remember?) and talked about my feelings, my fears, my frustrations, and to tell the truth, the comments made me feel less alone. When my (now) ex-husband would go to my parents house to spout unbelievable lies about me, I couldn't defend myself. So I cried about it, wrote a draft, then published it in the morning after I'd slept on it.  It worked miracles. Miracles people. I found myself in my writing. How could I not? I was faced with my harsh truth, the reality of who I really was...all in my blog. 

Back to the intervention. My dad called me and told me to suck it up and work it out with my husband. I understand exactly why he did it, he was only hearing one side of it and I was too hurt to defend myself over and over to him, so I just kept quiet. He'd had a talk with the ex, and had come to understand that I was a crazy person, my ex threw my past (like seriously 15 years in the past) in my face and guess what, it worked. It was easier to believe that I was suddenly crazy and just losing my mind for no reason to leave my family for some crazy black man. He told them that Mike was a sex predator talking to Tiffany, he even showed them some crazy email online from Mike (totally fake) and had Tiffany crying and saying that it was true. She came home that night and broke down and told me what happened, and my incredibly "in tune" mom suddenly saw the light that night. She said she looked over at the ex while she was supposed to be reading the "email" from "Mike" and saw him smirking. It was then that they realized that he was and had always been full of crap. Time, thankfully, has shown his true nature. He doesn't see the kids, he pays child support about 1/10th of the time  (I'm being generous here) and through the last 6 years, they, and everyone in my life, has seen who he is and always was.  And it wasn't because of my smack talk or my blog, it was because of his actions. (remember, actions speak louder than words?)

So back to the blog. The only way to vent my frustration without breaking every window in every neighborhood in Vegas was to blog. My dad, remember, the intervention, he told me that they thought I was addicted to the internet. Of course, they were going by what the ex said, but was blogging that I was doing. Instead of being harassed by my ex at night, I'd lock my door to avoid the verbal and emotional abuse and hole kicking in walls and punching of walls and things and breaking in of doors that splintered into pieces, I'd lock the door and blog. Blog. My dad told me he thought I was addicted and what I said to him was "But I'm blogging". Blogging was so new and foreign to everyone still, he told me "I don't really know what that means, but we do know that it's a chat room. Chat rooms are dangerous and can be pornographic and people have affairs and do bad things in chat rooms." Bless his heart, but he didn't know. I WAS BLOGGING. I have about 20 followers still who can attest to this. I was blogging. They've been here the whole time. (I'm looking at you Deja, Dima, Sherri, Melanie, Leslie, Kristen, Brooks and Bethany to name a few)

So back to blogging. Now it's accepted. It's actually encouraged finally by the First Presidency of my church. Heck, the church has a blog or six!  

But here's where I hate what's happened to blogging. BLOGGING IS NO LONGER INTERACTIVE. It makes me want to quit. Seriously. I want to quit, or just go private to everyone but me. People don't react, they don't make comments, they don't share their stories in comments, they don't say anything. Now, I don't feed off of the comments, but I sure miss the friendship building that comes out of it. 8 years ago, I met some of my best friends through blogging. It was me sharing my life, and others sharing their thoughts about it. Facebook has made it so everyone can be lazy. They can click on my link and read, and then be like "cool. whatever." 

Life's so impersonal as it is...and the internet is so amazing, I've met people from all over the world. LITERALLY ALL OVER THE WORLD. Can I name the countries and states in which I have friends?  I could, but it would be boring for all of you.

Anyway, I came across a blog that I love a few weeks ago and she had a link to blogging etiquette. She's so spot on. There are many more rules to blogging, and I'd love to list them out but she did such a great job, I've copied and pasted the rules here for you. I give FULL credit for these for the amazingly talented Kristan from "Confessions of a Cookbook Queen" and while you're clicking that link back there, please go visit her blog. Seriously, if I could make cakes like that I'd give my right and left pinkies. For realsies.

Now on with the list:

1. Be yourself.

One thing I've learned since I began blogging is that people will love you no matter what, as long as you're honest. Are you a neat freak? Is your house a mess? Do you REALLY like bacon, or are you just a self professed "bacon addict" because it seems cool? In the blogging world, cool is being who you are and loving yourself, perfections AND imperfections included.

2. Be good to your readers. You were one once, too.

I was a blog reader WAY before I was a blog writer, and honestly, I still spend more time on OTHER blogs than I do my own. I cannot stress how important it is to never forget that fact. When my blog was barely a month old (and I had NO CLUE how to take a picture) I sent an email to Bakerella. And she replied!! I cannot even express what that did for my morale. It was like meeting a celebrity, in a way. These days, I get quite a few emails myself and I can only imagine how full her inbox must have been. It makes the fact that she took the time to reply mean that much more.

3. Leave a comment.

Let's face it. Bloggers thrive on comments. Our posts and pictures are the sunshine and water, but comments are the beautiful flowers that sprout up as the result of our hard work. If you have a blog, you know this better than anyone else. So when you visit a blog, do as you would have done unto you and leave a comment. I am very guilty of popping on various blogs and not commenting because I think that the blogger is so fabulous, they don't need to hear from me. But I should know better, and I am making a conscious effort to leave a comment after every visit.

4. Give proper credit.

If you see something on another blog and love it so much that you decide to spend hours of your time recreating, photographing,and writing about it, it deserves more than a footnote at the end of your post and you know it. We all feed off of each other's ideas and inspire one another and that's fine. But when you downright copy something from another blog, repay them for the fabulous idea by throwing a little praise and maybe a new reader or two their way. 

5. Do not namedrop.

Just like in the real world, we all have some people we are closer to or relate to more than others. But to use that friendship as a way of impressing people is just tacky. This isn't high school and you weren't invited to hang out with the head cheerleader. We're all adults here, and when you name drop simply for selfish reasons, it's completely obvious to everyone, name drop-ee included.

6. Do not correct a fellow blogger's spelling or grammar in a comment.

For real. If I was talking to you in front of a huge group of people and noticed your fly was down, I wouldn't loudly point it out in front of everyone. I'd find a way to pull you aside and tell you quietly. Same thing here. Send a friendly email, and let them know so they can fix it before anyone else catches it. It's the right thing to do.

7. Never say anything on your blog that you wouldn't say in person.

The only exception to this rule is "LOL" because I realize that no one, (besides my 12 year old stepdaughter and her friends) says that in real life. The Internet is not an invincibility shield. What we say is in print, and can be forwarded and printed out and saved for all eternity. So mean what you say and be willing to stand behind your words. 

8. If you feature someone on your blog, let them know.

I can't tell you how many times I've noticed a spike in my traffic, only to find out that I was featured on a blog and not notified. It's like throwing a party in someone's honor and not inviting them. Let them know so they can stop by and read your kind words and all the comments your readers left in response. It really means a lot and can totally make a blogger's day.

9.  Promote a blog you like.

Don't be a lurker. If you love a blog, visit it frequently, and know that they could benefit from you letting your readers know, do it. I have gained so many readers from bloggers like Cheryl (TidyMom) and Bridget (Bake at 350) taking the time to retweet my posts and letting their readers know that they like what I'm doing. We could all learn a lesson or two from ladies like them, and they are who I look up to and use as my own example.

10. Never, ever plagiarize.

Our words and pictures are our heart and soul. To steal them is to steal the small piece of our world that says, "this is who I am." Don't do that. It's really unforgivable.

K, so I know this was long and rambly, but really, the Facebook has made it so people can just look into your life and just know what you're doing and then there's no true interaction. A "like" or a comment on my Facebook link to my blog just makes me sad. I kind of take offense!  (Remember, I'm pregnant and emotional, and you can just mock me now...but do it in my comments)

My sweet cousin Rachel who's young and sweet and an amazing hair dresser made a post about this same thing the other day, and it inspired me to write this. I have been trying to figure out how to post this, and I've actually lost sleep over it but I realized that if I just explained how important blogging is to me, and how it literally and I do mean LITERALLY saved my life during those dark years of my divorce, it might just explain why blogging is such an important part of my life. I think I might even cancel my Facebook just because it's so two-thousand-and-late and I'm over it. Who knows. 

Anyway, you don't have to comment here, but I wanted to tell you how I felt about it. I will continue to comment on your blogs, because really...commenting is nice to do!

K, so don't take offense, and guess what we made for dinner. French Bread Pizzas. I know you care and that's why I told you.

That's  a picture of Harper being "Harper" and Lola being all "Wtf dude, step off. Mom wants to take pictures of me ...not YOU...mmm'kay?"

Remember, it takes time and effort to blog. The least you can do is say "Amen". ;) (Oh church, you make me laugh some times...)