Monday, August 31, 2015

Sunday FUN List!

Yesterday, we had a lesson in church about keeping the Sabbath Day holy. We were promised that making changes to our Sunday to make it more Christ and family centered would give our family the added strength it needs to hold to our standards and help our children live IN the world, but not OF the world. Sometimes we get SO focused on telling our kids what they can't do on Sunday, we forget to remind them of all of the things they can do on Sunday to set it apart from any other day and dedicate it to the Lord.

Today, during quiet time/nap time, I decided to start a "Sunday FUN List!" that we can look to on Sunday for fun things we can do as a family. Enjoy!

Sunday FUN List!

Take a nap

Write a letter/draw a picture, send it!

Play a board game

Take a walk

Play with toys

Take a drive

Bake something (best CCC here!)

Read a book

Read scripture stories

Do something nice for another family

Drive to the temple

Visit family members

FaceTime/call family

Feed the missionaries

Drive around giving water or food to the homeless

Invite friends to dinner

Sing, play church music

Learn about family history/tell family stories

Use one of these resources 

I need more! What do you guys do on Sunday to set it apart from all the other days of the week? 

Monday, April 20, 2015

"Boy, you've got YOUR hands full!"

It happened, you guys, it really happened! I was in the parking lot of our local grocery store. I had my baby in his carseat on one arm (oh, p.s. I had a baby), I had J standing every so obediently to my side, and I was grabbing my grocery bags from my trunk (oh, p.p.s. I live in Austin now--sort of hippie, don't forget your reusable shopping bags or you will regret it!). Anyways, I was standing there, with all of this going on around me, and an older man, maybe 75 years old, walked by and he said IT!!!!!

"Boy, you've got YOUR hands full!"

I couldn't believe it! I had always heard other moms talk about people making those comments and, of course, I believed them! BUT THEN, it happened to ME!

I was so proud of myself! Do you want to know why? I remembered! I remembered what I wanted to do when someone said that to me. I have this theory, if someone wants to make an awkward comment, you've got two choices--(1) smile, be polite, move on with life; or (2) make.them.feel.awkward.back! OF COURSE, I chose option 2! How could I not!?

My kids were being so good! J could have been yelling, tugging at my jeans, and running into the street--barely dodging a car coming straight for her (which DOES happen). Yet, she wasn't! She was standing there, just like I taught her--right next to my leg, very still, chatting about the mysteries of her three year old life.  And H, he's not even 9 months old yet. The possibilities of annoying things he could have been doing is remarkable! On that day though, he was strapped into his carseat (which to him is either the greatest or most awful contraption ever invented--luckily, that day it was the latter), he was watching me with the most serious and focused eyes, pondering the possibilities of which brightly colored shopping bag he could reach next and shove directly into his mouth, babbling his incoherent language that only I can understand.

So when that stranger said those words, that honestly, he meant ZERO harm in, I couldn't help it! I had to stand up for my kids. To be 100% real, I had to stand up for myself and my husband. It's not easy setting standards and remaining consistent with your kids, but we really really really try to raise well mannered kids who are pleasant to be around.

"Boy, you've got YOUR hands full!"

"No, actually, I don't! They're great kids!"
*continues figuring out which bag will serve as Mary Poppins bag reincarnated*

I promise I wasn't trying to make him feel bad about himself, like I said, I know he meant no harm in it. However, guess what I heard next? It wasn't from him, he was well on his way. No, it was from J!

"Why did that guy say that?"

I was so happy she asked! I ALWAYS am in a position where I can point out the mistakes she makes and how she can fix them. Now, this stranger had given me the chance to point out something good she had done in an unforced, authentic, and sincere way.

"Because he's used to kids that aren't making good choices, but not you! You were doing just what I asked you to do and being safe, standing right by me watching out for cars. I have great kids, you and H are awesome!"

So while it was totally harmless, but still kind of annoying, I ended up being happy that someone said IT to me! Sometimes those moments are just what I need to help me be the type of person I want to be. Plus, I felt like a legit mom--and now I'm too legit to quit (What! What!)

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Blame Your Mom

I'll be honest, I've started several blog posts concerning the current frenzy in the Mormon Church, but I can't get any of them to convey my true feelings. However, there is one part of this whole process that keeps coming back to me again and again and again and I just can't let it fester inside of me any longer--it must be released!

In an attempt to get to the heart of what I want to sort out, I'm going to link to another blog that gave a synopsis of what is going on. I don't want to over simplify a situation that is already so heated and emotional for everyone involved, but I also want to get to the root of how I'm feeling.

I've seen many LDS women talking about how Young Women's (the organization for girls ages 12-18) or the LDS church is to blame for many of the strange views girls have on who they should be as women. Truthfully, there are many aspects of the YW program that have always bothered me and I completely agree with some of the sentiments that are being shared. HOWEVER! I also think that people are forgetting that YW is supposed to be an additional support to what is being taught in the home. It is not, and should never have been, the ultimate end all be all of where girls make goals and learn what kind of woman they should strive to become. 

Let me explain. I grew up in a house with a very strong mother! I don't know if she would label herself a feminist? So I won't put that label on her. All I will say, is that, as a result of how she grew up, she learned from an early age that it is important--no, no, imperative--to stand up for what is right, be able to provide for yourself, have opinions, and be confident in defending those opinions. She raised her three daughters to feel the same way.

An example: we used to drive the AlCan (Alaska Canadian Highway) every summer of my childhood. We would go from my home town in Alaska to where my mom grew up in Southern California. Usually my dad couldn't leave work for the whole summer like my mom could as a teacher, so she would load up her five kids and take off. That in itself is awesome, but there's more. One time we stopped at a hot springs in Canada. My oldest sister was a teenager at the time and, as we walked on the boardwalk leading from the hot springs back to our car, some older boys walked by. They looked at my sister (I have very pretty sisters) and she, probably out of normal teenage insecurities, looked down at her feet as she walked by them. What my mom said next has always stuck with me. She said, "Don't ever look down at your feet when you pass by men or anyone. Be confident in who you are and hold your head up high, looking straight ahead." 

We were taught to never, for a moment, think we were anything but equal (cough cough, or even better) than any man who entered out lives. So I've never considered anything different. (Although I've tried to back off a bit on being better than man...they're alright. :))

When I was 14, I was sitting in my Mia Maid class when the subject of rape came up. Being 14, and having a fairly open dialogue with my parents about the realities of life, my mom and I had just barely had a conversation about what would ever happen if I were raped. Among other things, she explained that if I was ever raped I could come to her right away and we could go to the doctor and they would "clean me out" so that I wouldn't have to worry about becoming pregnant or anything like that. (Sorry if that's a little graphic for anyone.) "Obviously," she explained, "it would not be your fault and your dad and I would do whatever needed to be done to make sure that you were able to heal mentally, physically, and emotionally from such a horrific event."

Back to my Mia Maid class, our well-meaning (I'm assuming) teacher made a comment about how if one of her daughters ever got pregnant because of a rape, she would make them keep the baby because it was "God's will." HOLD THE PHONE, THIS IS NOT A DRILL! Not only is that so messed up, it's not even the official standpoint of the LDS church on rape. I raised my hand, "Well my mom said if that ever happened then you can just go to the doctor and they'll clean you out so you wouldn't have to even worry about getting pregnant." My teacher stood her ground on her position. I was an outspoken kid, but I was also taught to be respectful. I simply shook my head in disagreement and said to myself, "She's wrong, I know she's wrong."

The point is, my mother's voice and teachings had always been such an important part of my life that it didn't matter what my YW teacher was teaching me. I knew what was the truth because of what was taught in my home. My YW teacher was a secondary opinion to be considered, not the end all be all of the decisions I should make. 

Conversely, I had many other experiences in YW where what had been taught in my home was reinforced by my teachers and helped me to understand its importance. For example, I've never once doubted the love that God has for me. It was taught in my home and at church that God would always love me, no matter what I did or the choices I made, He would always be there for me to turn to.

What I'm trying to get at is this, there are weird things in the YW program that I feel like are beginning to change. I know in our congregation our Bishop has a desire for all girls to be prepared to serve missions. Of course getting married in the temple is important, but you have to be the best you that you can be before that can happen. Preparing for a mission is a great way to focus on being the best you, looking outside of yourself to help others. Marriage is an important part of this life, but we will all survive and be just as good of people whether we are married or not. 

But if a girl feels like all she can do is become a wife and mother, that's not right. Even as a SAHM I know that there has to be more to me than my role as a wife and mother. My mom taught me that, which is why I am always reading and researching what's important to me.  Yes, YW needs to change, but even with the way it was 15 years ago, my mothers voice was strong enough to let me know that there was more to life than that. I took the good from YW and added it to the good that was being taught in my home, and that is what set the foundation for who I am and who I am becoming as a woman. If someone's view of their role as a woman was completely distorted because of YW, then blame your mom. 

Friday, December 13, 2013

Marriage is like a fine wine...

It gets better with time. Jay Kay, I'm Mormon, I don't know anything about wine. But this morning I began to realize marriage really does get better with time. 

I'll set the scene: K is in the bathroom getting ready for work when he asks me, "What would you rather have--a fancy restaurant with not as good food, or a place with really good food but not as fancy." Our big Five year anniversary is next week, we both know there's no need to play coy with what he's talking about; instead, I just consider my options. The woman in me loves to get my fancy on every now and then. But the fat kid in me is much louder than the woman in me! Why be bashful, he knows me better than anyone. We've been together seven years now, I try to talk him into going out to eat on almost a daily basis. I may be cheap, but let's not forget how loud that fat kid is, restaurant food usually tastes better than home cooked food. If you don't believe that---you're lying to yourself! 

So I respond, "Honestly, I think I'd rather go to the place with better food." A smirk goes across K's face, "Okay good, because that's where I made the reservation."


Love that guy. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013


I've mentioned before how I am a little new to relishing in womanhood. I grew up with a "Girl Power" mom, who raised us to know that we could ALWAYS do whatever a boy/man could do. Sometimes I think I took that lesson a little too far and began to look down at the female sex--like most women were so weak, they didn't understand they could do anything a man could do.

The older I get, the more I start to take pride in being a woman! In our church, we have a woman's organization called Relief Society. We meet together for an hour on Sunday's to learn about the gospel of Jesus Christ together. I love learning and being able to share with one another from a woman's unique perspective.

Our particular Relief Society group meets once a month on Wednesday nights, in addition to Sundays, to have a "Mother Education Classes." Last night the class was on infertility, adoption, and family planning. Three ladies spoke about their various struggles with infertility and the paths that struggle has taken them down. Something that hit me was how varied each of their particular situations were. Each was caused by health problems, but each was extremely unique and different from one another. It's a wonder that anyone is ever able to have a baby!

I don't think it'd be my place to share each of their specific stories, since it is obviously such a personal struggle. However, I did want to share what I took away from last night. The biggest lesson was that we NEVER have any idea what other people are going through. If you looked at these ladies, you would see good-looking, well put together, successful, kind, service-oriented people. Your first thought would never come to the battle they have fought for multiple years, if not decades. My uncle always says, "If you go into a room with your problems in a bag, you'll look around that room and see what's in everyone else's bag, and you'll always walk out of that room with your own bag." It gave me a stronger resolve to be a little kinder to everyone I come in contact with. You never know the battle they are fighting and the struggle it took for that person to be standing in front of you at that moment.

Last night reminded me to slow down. This is something I am always trying to overcome. I often react to situations, instead of taking a step back and seeing the bigger picture or thinking about the repercussions of my actions. In this scenario, that means I often ask questions that are none of my business--"Do you guys know when you want to have another baby?" I shudder at how many times I have asked that in the last 6 months alone. It honestly was coming from a place of goodness and eagerness to make bonds with all of the new people I've been meeting. However, when held up to the experiences of these ladies, I obviously see the error in my ways. After their presentation I was talking with a few of the ladies and I realized that the best possible reaction to have when someone reveals their struggles is to have respectful honesty. What I mean by that is, you don't have to have some grand statement to get them through their struggle, a simple, "I'm so sorry" really does suffice. I find myself not wanting the other person to feel awkward and so I just. can't. stop. talking!

A few of them gave examples of off the cuff remarks they have received--"At least you won't gain weight" because of adoption, or "You're so lucky you get to sleep-in on Saturdays" because they have no kids. It's hard because, I can see how someone would say that without realize the repercussions of their statement, but I'm reminded of one of my very first post(read at your own risk! That was a venting post from a very dark time in my life..yikes!) from long long ago--try to help the person in the situation, not yourself. What would they like to hear, what would help them? It goes against our natural being and it's hard! But obviously the right thing to do.

Lastly, one of the ladies shared something that I hope I will always remember. (I wish I could have just recorded how she said it, but here's the best I can do from memory!) She said that she used to always say, "This isn't fair, life isn't fair, why is this happening to me?" A friend of hers that dealt with infertility said to her, "Life isn't fair, and that is a miracle. It is because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ that life isn't fair. If it weren't for him, we would all have had to suffer on the cross for our sins, but he did it for  us. Thank goodness life isn't fair!"

This whole post was to tell you that I love being a woman! There is a bond with woman that cannot be described or duplicated by men. Sometimes I see women judging one another or battling over breastfeeding/bottlefeeding, co-sleeping, etc. and it makes me so sad! There's no need to compete with each other when we could all just use this bond to build one another up. The emotional bond we have is unreal and makes me so proud of who I am.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Christmas on my mind

I've got Christmas on my mind. Not the good 'Christian' in me type of Christmas, but the 'what do I want to give my child for Christmas' type of Christmas. J is way into copying me and everything I do. A typical conversation with us:

Me: Should we put our coats on?
J: No.
Me: Ohhh, I can't wait to put my coat on
J: Me too, Mom!

Don't let this scenario fool you, we still have plenty of running away when I want her to do something, but we do get our fair share of her wanting to be just like me. (She knows what's good for her, keeping her inheritance in check ;)

Anyways, I think her big "Santa Gift" this year will be one of those play kitchens with food and dishes to go along with it. We live in a small apartment and I wasn't sure if I wanted one, especially because we would most likely keep it in our kitchen so her room isn't too cramped. I don't know about you, but I feel myself hovering over a blurry line between wanting my house to look nice and wanting my kid to have fun. Those play kitchens are sooooooo ugly! I saw one similar to this one on sale at Costco the other day:

While it's definitely not as bad as the giant honkin' plastic ones I've seen, I'm still not crazy about the multicolored look. Also, on big items like this, we've always tried to not buy things that are too girly. Odds are that at some point we would have a little boy. Do boys care? Probably not, but K does :) That being said, I couldn't help but find myself getting excited over all of the sweet accessories!

I've also had my eye on Ikea's play kitchen for quite some time:

Definitely a nicer look, but again, I'm hovering that line between what I want my house to look like and what J would like more. I know I probably should just give up the dream, but it's so hard! In all reality, she would be happy with either, especially because she wouldn't know what she'd be missing out on with whichever one I choose. This definitely falls under the category of "First World Problems!"

What is everyone thinking for their little ones for Christmas?

Anyone have any opinions on these kitchens?

Anyone else still holding on to the dream of a nice looking house? When does that die? :)

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

I Need Thee O I Need Thee

I need thee ev'ry hour,
Most gracious Lord.
No tender voice like thine
Can peace afford.

I need thee, oh, I need thee;
Ev'ry hour I need thee!
Oh, bless me now, my Savior;
I come to thee!

I need thee ev'ry hour;
Stay thou nearby.
Temptations lose their pow'r
When thou art nigh.

I need thee ev'ry hour,
In joy or pain.
Come quickly and abide,
Or life is vain.

I need thee ev'ry hour,
Most holy One.
Oh, make me thine indeed,
Thou blessed Son!

Text: Annie S. Hawks, 1835-1918