Monday, October 29, 2012

Looking For Your Opinion

Okay family, friends and followers...I am having a hard time deciding on a subtitle for "Family Ever After," and am looking for your honest opinions. Below is the cover to my book and four subtitle options. Let me know which is your favorite, or if you think of something better. Thanks!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Apparently Spider Man is Important

     Friday morning, I was banging together medal bowls, with the intent of getting my kids out of bed. I could see my Daniel stirring. In hopes that my noisy breakfast preparation was working, I pressed on. Jackson was already awake and running around in his diaper.  Ella wandered in looking less than amused and made it to the cushy chair in the kitchen to lay back down. Julia followed, booking it to the bathroom...luckily she made it. Daniel however had no intention of getting out of bed, and no amount of coercion could do the trick. I began to lose patience in my children's inability to get up and get ready for school. The smell of breakfast finally convinced Daniel to end his slumber, and just as I was about to give him a piece of my mind, he began to share his dream.

     With all the wonder and excitement of a six year old he said, "Mom, I was dreaming that I was Spiderman and I just didn't want the dream to end." He threw out his arm as if to throw a web. With fascinating animation he continued, "I could climb walls, jump off buildings and throw my own web. It was so AWESOME!"

Now I understood, and I was grateful I didn't destroy his excitement in my impatience.

Somewhere in Chapter 3: Defining What's Important

     I love it when my husband helps me with my creative projects and he loves it when I go fishing with him. Neither of us in our heart of heart loves the others hobby, but we love each other. We love making each other happy and we love being together. In order to show our loved one’s what is important to them is important to us, we must actually know what is important to them. I know it is important to my four year old to read her stories. I know it is important to my 9 year old to listen, look and help her with creative projects. The only way to know what is important to our loved ones is to pay attention, listen, and inquire. Sometimes it means we have to stop doing what we are doing and refocus our attention towards our family.

*I now know how important Spiderman really is to my Daniel. I'm so glad I listened.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Got Your Ever After?

     Okay, so I know I disappeared for a while. My upcoming book, "Family Ever After" has been consuming my world. We had to push back our deadline, because I am not the oh so speedy writer I thought I was. I am however well on my way into my 10th round of editing . . . that's not a joke. Family Ever After will soon be making its debut in April 2013. My world is consumed with editing, and cleaning up the toilet water Jackson loves to play in. He totally drank it yesterday. I thought about calling poison control, but for some reason I don't think they would have been able to help. Anyway, I thought I might leave you with a tidbit of what I've been working on. Enjoy.

Family Ever After--Somewhere in chapter 1
     As the pace of life quickened, our waistlines began to fill, our hairlines began to recede, and the stress of life began to creep in. As our children joined the ride of our lives, our bed became the communal sleep fortress, and we forgot what it was like to have a solid night of rest. We would blow a kiss and holler an ‘I love you’ as we passed through the portal of our home.  It was as if there was a constant time lapse between us, and we could never land ourselves in the same place at the same time.
     My happily ever after was quickly transforming into a heap of work, and I found myself thinking, “This is not what I signed up for-this is not how I pictured my happily ever after.”  Then I realized, maybe this is what I signed up for and I just don’t know how to make my ever after happy. I began to wonder, maybe it is possible to have a happily ever after even when my white picket fence is broken, my ‘beautiful’ lawn is dead,  and my children are less than angelic.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Something Worth Working For

            I pushed the wires through while the kids pulled off the coating and threw the copper into a pile. We stashed the wire in our giant trash cans then did it over and over and over again. For hours we were sweating, our hands were dirty and we smelled like wire. Did I mention seven hours. The kids were sure they couldn’t finish but despite their complaints I maintained my faith in them. At long last we swept up the last pile and took out the final bag of trash. The kids were tired, I was tired, but we did it.  What did we do it for you ask? Wait for it . . . VACATION! We have not been on a family vacation that did not involve visiting extended family for five years.  To put that into perspective, I only had two kids then, now I have four. An opportunity arose, but we didn’t have it in the budget, so we used our stash of copper (my husband is an electrician-he often comes home with wire scraps which we strip and recycle) to fund our adventure.  
I am now writing this from our hotel room. We have been swimming, kite flying, trail walking and now relaxing. It reminds me of a paper route my family did when I was growing up. I believe our goal was Disney World. I’m sure my parents did not find it as amusing as I did, but for me it is a great memory. I believe it was Gordon B. Hinckley who said, “Life is to be enjoyed not just endured.” Here is to the memories I’m enjoying with my kids, because we endured the work. Some things are worth working for.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Shattered Windows

     Now I love sling shots just as much as the rest of us . . . okay, maybe not as much as my son
who sent a rock flying through the neighbors sliding glass door. Oh yes, you can see where I’m going
with this. There was such fear in his eyes as he raced to inform me of his blunder before the neighbors called to tell me. I think it took all the courage his small frame could muster. My first thought was…poor guy, followed by a sickening how on earth are we going to pay for this. To my surprise however this is not what came out of my mouth. I was very calm. I tried to help him understand why what he did was so wrong, even if it was just an accident. He just wanted to hit the tree but happened to be 75 ft off his target. We talked for a while and then walked to the neighbors to clean up the mess and formulate a repair plan.

     There is something incredible about a shattered window. It is so fragile yet amazing to look at. Once it does tumble down into thousands of tiny shards it takes a long time to clean up and it falls in every crevice. It is dangerous until it has been swept and tossed, and is very expensive to replace.

      Our children, like windows are fragile. Just a tiny rock or demeaning word or accusation aimed just right can shatter their confidence in themselves, in others, and especially in their parents. I can replace the window, but I cannot replace Daniel. It is far easier to buy a new window than piece together the shattered soul of my child. I hope I am teaching him wisely, and treading softly, because he is irreplaceable.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The First Camping Trip of The Season

After the first round of vomiting I was ready to pack up and go. After the third round, my husband built a fire, and I was thinking, “What . . . are you doing.”  I grew up camping and all I ever remember is loving it. We caught lizards, got lost on hikes, roasted smores and could still move upon waking. These are great family memories for me. Sadly, this camping trip was not turning into one of those sweet memories. I spent the evening chasing my one year old, imagining all of the dangers lurking about for him. Not until he was fast asleep could I enjoy the fire rather than see it as my sons demise, or hear the rolling stream without visions of him falling in and never being found. It was a long wakeful night, as I held my son trying to keep the vomit on the dirt instead of the tent and blankets. I wasn’t loving it. I finally had everyone convinced we could leave but only after tears were shed at their disappointment. When the car didn’t start at 5:45 am and Jackson was tucked safely in his seat still throwing up; Well, you can imagine the rest.
As my daughter and I were chatting this afternoon she began telling me how much she loved the camping trip. Her favorite part was sleeping in the tent.  She confided to me, she couldn’t wait to go camping again. It was at this moment I realized I would go camping over and over again, because even if this trip wasn’t what I imagined, my children loved it. We were making memories. My parents did it for me and I want to do the same for my children. I’m sure in a few days when the sickness has cleared out and my sleep recouped; I might even be excited about it. I find sometimes we do things we don’t love for the people we do love.
You should know, my husband built that fire, because he knew it would make the kids happy and warm while we broke camp.  Such wisdom.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Just Wait Until Your Dad Gets Home...Happy Fathers Day

Just wait until your Dad comes home. These are such endearing and thought provoking words. I wonder how it was I got so lucky to have such a great father. I remember how excited I was every time he came home from his business trips. I would give him a hug and breath in the very memorable, smoky, stale, airplane smell.  I reflect on the commotion created every evening when my husband comes home. Little noses pressed against the window until the door creeks, then a herd of kiddos huddle around their dad for hugs and kisses. I wonder again, how did I get so lucky to have such a great husband, who is such a great Dad to my children? I realize I’m so lucky, because his father taught him. Then I start thinking about how I have such great brothers and brothers in law, who were taught by their fathers to be amazing men and incredible Dads. Our families are history in the making, lead by great men, teaching, praying, maybe making a few mistakes, but always loving.
     I often mention to my husband in jest how he could never get along without me, but the truth is I could never get along without him. The father’s and Grandfathers in our lives are irreplaceable. If you haven’t heard it enough, we need you, we love you, and we appreciate you! Here’s to our Grandfathers who taught our fathers, who taught their sons, who teach their sons and daughters today. May lifes greatest joys manifest themselves and flow down on you this Fathers Day.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Put On Your Oxygen Mask Before Assisting Others

The most important words you’ll ever hear…Put on your oxygen mask before assisting others. This is what every flight attendant blares through the loud speaker when going over pre-flight emergency procedures.  There is a very obvious reason for this. If you try to get your child’s mask on first and pass out in the process you and your child will die. If however you take this practical and life saving advice you will save two lives. This is how it rolls in real life. When you get burned out because you always go go go, not only are you going to lose the life in yourself but so will your family.
Family life is about serving and giving your all for the good of the whole, but if you give everything without refilling your tanks you won’t have anything left to give. It’s okay to do something you love, to take a nap or read a book or whatever it is that brings out the daisies in your world. My kids are currently out with their dad catching salamanders at the pond. As much as I love them and being with them I can’t help but feel the serenity of a much needed brake.
This weeks challenge: Spend one hour doing something you love just for you. See if you can’t refill your tank. A little relaxation goes a long way.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Sweet Success

     They were shimmery and sweetly delicious; A dazzling gumball necklace success. The kids loved it, the adults enjoyed it, and the teenagers made matching sets. Thank you Bryce—my fabulous husband, for pushing a drill bit through 10 lbs of variegated pastel gumballs. This 3 a.m. ordeal was no small feat. He squeezed his construction hands into the tight rubber gloves, sanitized his itty-bitty tool and found himself swathed in gumball dust. What a man.     
     I must point out how thoughtful it was that my husband endured such a mind-numbing task. He could care less about gumball necklaces but knew this party was special to me. Instead of laying his head on a goose-feather pillow (which I must confess would have been my first instinct), or working on new apps, he drilled holes. Secretly he felt invested and proud of the outcome..., and I felt supported and extremely lucky to be so loved. Kind of makes me want to be a little more patient with his long work hours and abundant hobbies.
     I challenge you this week to find one thing that is important to your spouse and support them in it. I don’t mean just giving your stamp of approval, but really devote yourself and your time. You might just find you’re both a bit more thoughtful and increasingly grateful to one another. Once again, let me know how it goes.

My girls showing off their dads hard work

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Grape Juice Experiment

     Your friends will be arriving in one hour. You are just finishing up prep on your gourmet meal. You have set a beautiful table. You quickly vacuum the floor, fluff the couch pillows, and hide the remaining dirty dishes in the dishwasher. You dash to your room to put on a clean cuter shirt, brush your teeth, and touch up your make-up. Your guests are at the door. You graciously invite them in. You begin a delicious and lovely meal. You are happy and interested in your guests, sincerely asking about family, work, and hobbies. In the middle of an amusing story your guest bumps over his glass of grape juice. You jump up, “Let me get you a towel.” Your guest, with pink cheeks and soggy pants is apologizing profusely. You begin to assure them, “don’t worry about it, really, we have three kids and things like this happen all the time.” The mess and embarrassment is wiped away with love and some rags. Dinner resumes and is finished with cheerfulness and soggy pants. When the evening is over you are tired but satisfied with a successful night.
     Now rewind. You just got home from work, the kids are hungry and you are tired. You throw on your lounge pants and t-shirt, and whip out some cans of soup and crackers. The kids are whining and you are in deep thought over what a wreck the house is in when your child bumps his glass of grape juice. It spills everywhere. Words are flying out of your mouth at an unstoppable pace, “What were you thinking? Why did you leave your glass on the edge? We are never going to get this stain out!” You impatiently command your child to get a rag and clean it up. The frustration is building. You have a choice to make. The situation can escalate, the evening fall to shambles or love, patience and forgiveness can endure. Do they not deserve such kindness from you?
Oh the moments like these, and oh how we wish we could take them back. These moments present themselves in numerous ways everyday. Do we treat our families as if they are hindering our world, as if we are martyrs in our own homes, or do we treat them as if they are diamonds in the rough, full of spectacular and sensational potential? Do we treat them like our honored guests above?      
     Our family is our world and is deserving of our best love. They are our diamonds in the rough. How then do we show them that they are vital to us, that they are number one and more important than anything or anyone? I suggest first trying the Grape Juice Experiment. The formula is simple. It is simply the idea that when situations arise with your family, you think to yourself, “Am I treating my family better than my friends? When I act this way do they know I love them?” Then adjust your actions accordingly.     
     I remember when my sweet kiddo fell and scraped her knee. I verified she was okay and told her she would be fine. I sent her on her way and resumed my previous activity. Later on that same day the neighbor girl poked a stick under her finger. I quickly sympathized (because of course everyone knows how bad that hurts,) used my finest first aid skills, and topped it off with double band-aids just to make sure it would stay. The guilt over took me when I realized I had taken better physical and mental care of the neighbor than of my own daughter. I obviously failed the grape juice experiment.    
     I recently turned off the Wii while my son was playing and an explosion occurred. My son was very upset. I kept my cool and spoke kindly. I explained why I had turned off the wii and administered a discipline. During his discipline I called him sweetheart, and he was baffled. “Why did you call me sweetheart when I’m in trouble?” he asked. I told him, “even though you did something wrong I still love you, and still enjoy you. You have to learn that actions have consequences but even when you make mistakes I will always love you.” I would say that was a grape juice experiment success.

     Try the Grape juice experiment this week, show love to the ones you love the most and find your diamonds in the rough. Let me know how it goes! If you like what you read pass this on to your friends and family. (