Monday, December 16, 2013

What Matters Most! Merry Christmas!


Nine days until Christmas! Are you ready! Do you have presents for Mom and Dad? Presents for the kids? The Grandkids? The Aunts and Uncles? I hope you are one of those highly prepared and organized souls, just sipping hot cocoa and watching the clock click down until Christmas. I believe there are a few of you out there. Sadly, I am not one of them. 

I tell myself every year I am not going to lose focus on what matters most (Christ, Family, Service...Family, Christ, Service). I am going to be prepared and organized. And about every year around this time I have an emotional breakdown with my husband and kids. "I say things like, "Why don't you care? Are you going to get a bonus? I have all these fun things to do and projects to do and no one will help. If I'm the only one who cares, I'm only signing my name on the gift." Goodness I sound a bit like the grinch. Really I just want everyone to be happy and if everyone did what I wanted them too, I'm sure they would be happy. . . Ummm. . .

Well after my annual breakdown I did a bit of Christmas study and I found this perfect quote below, and video above to share. Maybe it will help you find joy in your family, Christ, and Christmas as it has mine!

"If we notice that planning for parties and scrambling for presents begin to detract from the peaceable message of Jesus Christ and distance us from the gospel He preached, let us take a step back, slow down a little, and reconsider what matters most.” — Dieter F. Uchtdorf 

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Christmas Wreaths: Family Fun!

Crafting always brings a bit of extra cheer to my family. Making homemade trinkets is fun family time! I call this the merry ripping wreath. It's something I learned how to do from my mom when I was young.

If you want to save time just buy a wire wreath at a craft store. If you don't want to spend the money you can make your own wire wreath using metal hangers. I used four hangers. Two for each circle. Clip off the top of the hanger with a wire cutter and set aside. Bend the two large pieces of wire and connect them to each other by twisting the wires together and then form it into a circle. One larger and one smaller. (If you want to simplify just make one circle instead of two. It will probably hold up just as well. I was going to put fabric on both rings to make it more full but I didn't have enough fabric)

Take another hanger and clip 12 -2 inch pieces and hot glue them between the two circles to hold them together. It looks kind of like a clock.

Take some thin wire and wrap it around the two circles in four areas just for extra security. We don't want your wreath falling apart.
Now for the fabric. I chose 4 different but coordinating fabrics. Each fabric is 1/2 yard. You can choose whatever colors you want. If you want just one color just get 2 yards of fabric. I did end up with a little extra. 1 1/2 yards would likely be just fine.

It's not called the ripping wreath fro nothing. It's time to start ripping your fabric.

Find the selvage end (this is the end that looks finished not fuzzy) and clip it about every 1 1/4 inches depending on how fat you want your ties to be. (If you want to put fabric on both rings buy at least 3 yards)

Then simply rip the fabric into long strips. Then cut those strips into shorter lengths. I cut my strips 8 inches long.

Then take your 8 inch strips and tie them onto the inner circle of your wire wreath. It is done by tying a square not. Then repeat in whatever order or pattern you desire. Make sure to push your fabric pieces as close together as possible. The closer the fabric knots are, the more volume your wreath will have. And here is your finished product. As with any wreath you can always embellish. Mine might end up with a big Christmas bow. 

Pretty cute, Pretty fun, pretty easy. You could have your kids help. They love ripping fabric and tying knots. While I made my ripping wreath, my kids made their own wreaths out of sparkly foam from the dollar store.
This wreath was made with sparkly foam cut into thin strips and tied in knots onto pipe cleaners that had been formed into a circle.  It is the same idea as the rip wreath. It was embellished with pom-poms and bows made from ribbon.

This wreath was made by tracing different hand signs (you're number one, I love you, peace, etc) onto sparkly dollar store foam and then cutting them out and hot glueing them onto construction paper cut in the shape of a wreath. Embellished with lots of ribbons tied together to form a bow.

Happy Wreathing!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Home for the Holidays: 7 Tips To enjoy the Holidays...With Your Family

This picture is compliments of EllaAnne and her artistic computer abilities!
 A few tips for enjoying the Holidays

1. Love your extended family just the way they are. Life isn’t about changing other people it’s about loving them.

2. Stop working. Give yourself work free time with your family…as much as you can physically and… mentally handle that is.

3. Maintain or start a new tradition. Do something that brings you closer together and something you as a family can look forward to all year.

4. Don’t eat too much! Good luck with that one! I know you can do it!

5. Write it down. Write about your holidays in your journal or on your blog. Share it with the people you love and preserve the memories at the same time.

6. Don’t overdo it. “Life is to be enjoyed not just endured.” –Gordon B. Hinckley. The same holds true for the holidays. If you need to buy rolls at the store do it. If you need to delegate the pies do it. If you don’t have the money don’t spend it.

7. Be GRATEFUL – It’s easy to be overwhelmed at the holidays. There is no need for you to be keeping up with anyone. The best cure I have found for holiday anxiety, low funds, and stress is Gratitude. When you start becoming overwhelmed start being thankful. I’ll demonstrate.

-Today I am thankful that my cold is almost cleared up!

-Today I am thankful that my first draft of my upcoming book is almost complete!

-Today I am thankful that my kids go to such a great school!

-Today I am thankful that Julia’s ear infection is clearing up!

-Today I am thankful that Ella gave me hug and told me she loved me before school started!

-Today I am thankful I had time to read Jackson stories!

-Today I am thankful for my hidden stash of Nutella!

-Today I am thankful that Daniel was excited to study for the geography bee!

-Today I am thankful that my husband took the kids to school!

-Today I am grateful for people like you who care about families, who try to do good, and who keep trying even when life is hard! Thank you!

Now you try. Today I am thankful for __________________. (Fill in the blank)

Have a very Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy the coming Holidays!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Successful Marriage Is...

I did a little experiment the last two weeks with my husband. I simply made an extra effort to strengthen our relationship by showing extra love. I did this by avoiding judgement, criticism, focusing on his positive actions and traits, and speaking kindly. I made sure to compliment him on his good looks often and made it a point to show him my gratitude. I put extra efforts into meals and making sure he could have breakfast before he left for work. I tried to do things with him he liked to do, like watch weird alien sci-fi movies. I wasn't perfect at my attempts or always super sweet but I really tried and it really made a difference in our marriage.
     We spoke more kindly to one another. We looked forward to any time we had together. We were more in love and less upset by lifes little nuasances. I was honestly suprised at what a difference my efforts made. My husband had no idea I was doing this. Success in Marriage really is, "much more than finding the right person. It's a matter of being the right person." (author unknown) I have a lot more work to do in being a better person and a better wife but I am trying. Every now and again I think we all just need a reminder. As the Thanksgiving and Christmas Holiday's approach keep this in mind. It's not about what your family or spouse is doing for you, but what you are giving and becoming for them.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Navigating The Trials Of Life

Well, I haven't forgotten my blog today--okay maybe for a bit, but all for good reasons. My sweet son has been having a major two-day allergic reaction of some sort. Two doctor trips one more pending this evening and a trip to the ER. Life as a parent is stressful. It all kind of leads into a great guest post from a good friend and incredible father, Marshall Christensen. Marshall is a special education coordinator at Provo canyon school in Utah. He loves technology, enjoys biking, makes a great Hagrid at Halloween, and considers himself a picture perfect scout--and he assures me of his humility. Here is what Marshall has to say.

Navigating The Trials Of Life
By Marshall Christensen

When we are young, all of us develop a picture of our ideal future. We imagine ourselves working the most gratifying job, being married to the most attractive, caring spouse, and having best children in the neighborhood.  We envision the ideal course our life will follow:   graduating from high school, attending college, falling madly in love and marrying our ideal spouse, landing the perfect job, moving into our dream home,  having sweet little babies and then watching them follow this same ideal path. And then, life happens...

As we journey along this path we call life, we often find obstacles that hinder our progress and detours that lead us away from what we consider to be ideal.  Many of these obstacles are small and easy to navigate:  our job may be stressful once in awhile, our spouse may annoy us from time to time, our children may misbehave every now and again. We may discover that our ideal path is riddled with bumps and covered with potholes. However, we are generally able to roll through these trials without much damage. And then, life happens...

Many, if not most, of us will face larger obstacles in the path of life.  These obstacles often serve to stop all progress on the path of life. Death and divorce, illness and injury often bring us to our knees and leave us feeling like we can't go on. It is at these times that we realize that there is no way we can go it alone. It is at these times that we reach out for help from those who can best help us:  friends, family and our Father in Heaven. It is at these times that life happens...

My life's path has traveled far from the ideal that I imagined in my youth. You see, in the year 2000, an ill-fated blessing was placed in my path.  My daughter, Jessie, was the perfect little baby girl when she was born. By the time she was one, my wife and I realized  that our lives' paths would follow a different course than either of us had imagined.  Jessie suffers from a rare form of epilepsy called Dravet (Dra-vay) Syndrome. This condition causes Jessie to have frequent seizures and has left her functioning at the three-year-old level. Now, at the age of thirteen, Jessie still sleeps with my wife and I (because of the seizures). She still needs help dressing, eating, and using the restroom. Jessie will never date, drive, or graduate from high school. She will not attend college, marry, or have children of her own. She will not follow that ideal path that we all imagined when we were young.  

The question is often asked, "If you could go back and change the course of your life, would you do it?"  I can answer that question with an emphatic "NO!"  Although moving along the path of life with Jessie in tow has been a challenge to say the least, I would not go back and change our choice to bring her into this world.  There has been too much joy in getting to know this special little girl.  I also know that I am a different person because of my opportunity to work with Jessie.  I am more patient.  I am more kind.  I am more empathetic toward the challenges of others.  Because of the trials, the pain, and the mental anguish of having a child with special needs, I have become a better person.  I would never give that up!

Yes, we all have developed a picture of our ideal path in life.  No, most of us will not remain on that ideal path throughout our lives.  We can choose to be bitter, angry or upset because we did not get exactly what we wanted.  Or we can have a good attitude, seek help from our friends, family and Heavenly Father, and learn from our trials.  I choose the latter.  I choose to sit back, enjoy the ride, and let life happen.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Time Tested Beauty Tips for Parents

"Mom, I like you better with make-up," Daniel tells me, followed by a, "Mom, why don't you ever wear your make-up?" Then I hear from Ella, "Well I like mom better without make-up." 

Some days just getting dressed, breakfast made, and kids out of the house is as good as it gets. No time for make-up, or fancy hair do's or extra exercise. In fact my appearance is often a topic of my two oldests conversations.  If I get dressed up beyond jeans, say a pair of dress pants, Daniel always says, "Mom, you look different. Why are you dressed like that?" Or, I get a "Mom you never dress up," from my Ella. Julia just gives me kisses no matter what I look like, so if I'm feeling a little down I can always count on her for a pick me up. Once, one of my kids just walked up to me while I was vacuuming and stuck me in the belly with their finger, like I was the Pillsbury dough boy, and said, "Hmm, squishy." With all of these honest opinions flying around how is a person supposed to feel good about herself? Well, I found a great poem written by American Humorist Sam Levenson that gives some great perspective for a beautiful mother (or handsome father). Its full of great beauty tips for parents everywhere.

Time-Tested Beauty Tips
For attractive lips,
speak words of kindness.
For lovely eyes,
seek out the good in people.
For a slim figure,
share your food with the hungry.
For beautiful hair,
let a child run his fingers through it once a day.
For poise,
walk with the knowledge you’ll never walk alone…
People, even more than things,
have to be restored, renewed, revived,
reclaimed and redeemed and redeemed …
Never throw out anybody. Remember, if you ever need a
helping hand, you’ll find one at the end of your arm.
As you grow older you will discover that you have two hands.
One for helping yourself, the other for helping others

Parents are beautiful for what they do not for how they look. They are beautiful for the hands they hold, the hugs they give, the tears they cry and the tears they dry. They are beautiful for the patience they muster, the child they listen to, and the love they share even at times when that love is not returned. When our children need someone to rely on it doesn't matter if we're wearing make-up, skinny as a noodle, or as muscular as the hulk. They need someone who loves them. That person is you. Remember today that you are beautiful!

Monday, October 28, 2013

7 Tips to Having Happier Kids

Thank you Jodi Hutchings Photography for this Happy Picture!
Aside from tempting my children with Oodles of Candy (which I don't believe in...okay some days I do believe in it), it's hard to help my kids be happy. There is a long list of why this is so. School is too long, too much homework, they have to have assigned seats on the bus, they never get to play with their friends, there siblings ruin all their stuff, they hate what is for dinner, they are never appreciated enough, they always need more stuff, etc. You get the picture? I wonder to myself, why does their happiness have to depend on what they feel they are entitled to. What is wrong here?What am I doing wrong? Sometimes I wonder if my children are ever happy.

We spend a lot of time-with our kids-problem solving, cheering up, helping them learn to say sorry, and basically teaching our kids that you can be happy doing almost anything. Which I believe is true, but I think there are specific things that as parents we can do to inspire that happiness. What is it that makes our kids happy?

Teach them to work and work with them-Once my kids come to terms with the unfairness of having to clean out the dishwasher or vacuum the floor, the real problem comes when they feel like they are doing it alone. I'm more of a divide and conquer person myself, that is until I'm the only one who is dividing and conquering. At which point I start mumbling under my breath about how unappreciated I am, I have to do everything, everyone else is just so selfish, or I'm just too tired to manage this on my own. This is often how our kids feel. Having to work alone makes the job seem overwhelming, but when someone is helping, suddenly things are manageable and the work can become fun.

Give them attention- I like to compare this one to how I feel when I get my husband's attention. When I feel like I have my husband's attention, I feel like I'm important to him, worth his time, and loved, which in turn makes me feel happier. Our children feel the same way. Giving them our attention gives them reassurance that they are important and it helps them be happier.

Encourage them to try new things, hard things- This is important because when children do new things or hard things and succeed they gain confidence in themselves, and that confidence brings them happiness. If they fail and sometimes they will, teach them, and encourage them to try again.

Get rid of stuff- Teach them now that happiness is not due to an accumulation of stuff. In fact often having too many things to care for can impede their happiness. Why? Because they cannot have the peace of cleanliness, they have to spend so much of their time cleaning, and because things cannot give love or lasting happiness.

Teach them the importance of being Honest- Anytime our children live in or with a lie of any sort it will eat at them. It will munch at their happiness, day and night until they rectify their wrong. Even if they try to burry it inside, it will affect them. Any time someone goes against what they know is right, it's hard for them to exist happily in their own skin.

Help them find opportunities to serve- People who give tend to have a happier and grand perspective on life. Serving others teaches people to look outside their own struggles in life and their own problems and it innately brings with it happiness.

Be the example- When you hang out with happy people it's easier to be happy. Obviously none of us are happy at every moment, but when the tough times come, show your children happiness is not a fleeting moment but a way of life. It is found in the choices you make, the people you love, and the attitude you choose. There is always hope and when there is hope there can be happiness.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Halloween fun!

I apologize for posting so late in the day, but our little activity took a little longer than I thought. We are still happily in the throws of Halloween decorations and we thought we would share again. Tonights pumpkins and cats were especially fun! My husband really got into it! He is a crafty dude!

Supplies needed:

-Lots of orange and black construction paper and whatever other colors you have or want to use for accessorizing. If you want a medium cat or pumpkin you will need 6 papers; for a large you will need 11 sheets of paper.


-Glue (we used glue sticks and Elmer's glue for minor things and the hot glue gun for the bigger stuff)

1. If you want a medium sized circle, accordion fold six pieces of paper vertically (refer to the first picture); for large sizes accordion fold 11 papers horizontally (refer to  second picture )

2. Glue all of your papers together in one long row.

3. Connect the two ends to form a circle.

4. To close and cover the center hole cut out a large circle and glue it over the hole on the back. On the front use the nose to cover the hole.

5. Add whatever facial features you would like.

Monday, October 14, 2013

A little SPOOKY fun!

We love Holidays at our house and we love to decorate with our homemade crafts! Making our silly ghosts has turned into a family tradition.

To make a ghost you will need:

-white construction paper or plain computer paper
-googley eyes (you can just color the eyes on if you want)
-accesories such as ribbon, cotton balls (for hair), stickers or whatever else you want to decorate with.

Simply trace your child's foot (or have them trace it) or your foot. Cut out the shape and you have your ghost.
Where the heel of your foot was, becomes the head of your ghost and your toes are the bottom of their swaying and frightful bodies. Stick your googly eyes on, glue on some hair, and a bow, and you have your Ghost. Sometimes we hang them at different heights from the ceiling, tape them to the windows, or tape them to construction paper or string and make a banner to to hang across our walkways.

SO easy and SO fun! Happy Ghosting!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Be The Man You Want Her To Marry

As parents we have the power to influence our children's lives more than we know. Our children will acclimate to people they are comfortable with. They will hang out with, entertain, and fall in love with what they know. Do they know loving parents who are patient and kind? Do they know parents who listen and treat them with respect? Do they know parents who cry with them and love them no matter what? Do they know parents who forgive, who serve, and who are willing to sacrifice a bit of themselves for someone they love? Be the parent you want your child to become. Be the man or woman you want your child to become. Be the man you want her to marry or the woman you want him to marry. Just a sweet thought. Not sure where this picture originated but I love it!

Monday, September 30, 2013

Lift Them Up No Matter What

Last week was a hard week for a lot of people that I know. They have had a lot of struggles with children, marriages, and finances. As I held their burdens with them I was touched by this post about reading each other's signs. Every couple, family and person has their own silent battles that we may never know about. Let's be the kind of people that pick them up and love no matter what.

Enjoy this post by Melody Ross. I did.

Monday, September 23, 2013

How To Do It All?

My friend and I were out for our morning walk with the kids discussing our overly stuffed lives. We wondered how can we be more efficient, spend more time with the kids, have more time to volunteer at the school, keep the house clean, get the laundry done, write the next chapter in our new books (she's an author too), and keep ourselves awake a bit longer so we can offer our husband's a little romance. The list doesn't end there. What about time for home improvement projects and community and religious service. The grocery shopping, the homework, the bathrooms--mine are looking questionable--and healthy food for our family. I know you can all add to my list. I think in my lifetime I can easily say I have spent days at a time trying to figure out how to do it all.

Today I think I figured it out.  You're excited aren't you?! Well I hope this next part doesn't dash your hopes. My answer--It Can't Be Done and it shouldn't be done. What?!! No, I'm not crazy and I'm not hopeless. I've simply come to understand that life is not about doing it all it's about choosing the best and getting rid of the rest. I've put together a list of things we can all do to find a happier balance in our lives.

1. Set goals based on what is most important to you. Determine what you ultimately want for you, your spouse, and your family. If you're not intentional about what you want then who knows what you will get? For example, my husband is the love of my life and I want our relationship to be strong. That is one of my goals.

2. Purge. Get rid of anything you need to in order to achieve your goal. I want a great relationship with my husband but it's not going to happen if I am too tired to spend time with him. I have started to literally get rid of things in my home so that I won't have to spend so much time and energy cleaning because it's a huge drain on me. It also helps the house to look nicer so I can focus more on my man than my house.

3. Say No. I often have to say no to my children's cries to play with friends, so that I can go on a date with my husband. Sometimes it means I don't do that extra expensive home improvement project so that I can afford dates and babysitters.

4. Accessorize. Now that you have purged, what is it that you need to add to your life to achieve your goal. (Be careful here. Accessories are the icing on the cake. The little touch that improves. The goal when accessorizing is happiness not craziness.) For me it is exercising, healthy eating and going to bed earlier because all of those things provide me with that little bit of extra energy.

5. Constantly re-evaluate. Every day provides me with new opportunities to distract myself from what is most important to me. I have to constantly purge, say no, and add a few accessories.

6. Enjoy your life.  One of my favorite quotes is by Gordon B. Hinckley. "In all of living have much fun and laughter. Life is to be enjoyed not just endured."  My friend mentioned this morning that her husband finally told her she needed to have time in her life for happiness. I found it to be wonderful counsel.

If I don't have time to do what's most important to me and enjoy my life, I am waisting my time. I'm realizing more and more that sometimes the purge must be great and often it's very difficult. Almost always it's hard to say no and accessorizing usually means creating new habits. Re-evaluating usually takes some will power and patience with ourselves and others, and enjoying life is often more simple than we think.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Are You Married To Your Husband Or Your Child?

If there is one thing I don't want to be, it's my husband's mother. He already has one and she has done a great job! Sometimes it's easy to lower the status of our husbands because they do annoying things like leave their clothes on the floor, leave their dirty dishes out and then get upset at the kids for doing the same thing, or forget to put down the toilet seat. I get it but I also get that there is more to him than that. There is a strong man who knows how to work hard and who has goals and dreams just as I do.

I really don't want another kid. I want a husband. I want someone I can confide in. I want someone to protect me. I want someone to go on dates with, and I want someone who can help me laugh (even if it's because he's a little less mature than me). Who knows, maybe I'm just too serious.

What about the flip side. Don't you ever get tired of hearing "My wife's the boss, she controls my life." I am not my husbands boss. I want a partnership not a hierarchy. I admit, I may at times tell him to take out the trash or give the kids a bath. My husband however has caught on and tries to beat me to the request, which I love! It means he knows what needs to done and that means we can do it together. No man wants another boss.

It is important to note that people usually act the way they are treated. Marriage is not an institution to take on an extra child or spend your entire life being bossed around. It is about love, service, patience, and forgiveness. It is about coming together as one to do great things. It is about achieving our dreams and goals, raising our children, and become better people--together--as a team.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Prepare Your Kids Now For Financial Success

Today I'm excited to introduce you to Steven Cooper. He is a talented entrepenuer with a degree in Construction Management. He is passionate about personal preparedness and is the owner of the web site Journey To Sustainability. He and his wife are also the master minds behind the web site How To Make Money As A Kid. He is the father of two beautiful children. This is what he has to say about preparing your children for financial success.
Money Management Skills to teach your kids

Far too many kids graduate from High School and move out without learning the skills of how to make and manage money. Unfortunately, kids are not taught these skills in school. Therefore, it is up to you as parents to teach them money skills. Teaching kids how to make and manage money teaches them responsibility.

Teach your kids how to make money-

Leaning how to make money is a vital life skill to teach your kids. Teaching them how to get a job or helping them start their own business is important skills for them to learn while still at home. By helping your kids make their own money, they will be much better off later in life. Many successful entrepreneurs like Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, started to make money through small businesses as kid. He used those skills to start small businesses in college. Later on in life, he created multiple million-dollar businesses. Needless to say, he has never struggled to provide for himself. For more information on helping your kids make money check out

6 ways to teach your kids how to budget-

1. Put their money in categories

Your kids need to understand that all the money they earn should be divided into categories. Every dollar should have a name on it. Some categories could be: savings for education, charity, cell phone bill, gas, saving for a car, insurance, etc. Using categories to organize their money will help them understand that when the money is gone in one of the categories, they either need to cut back in that category or earn more money. By doing this, they will learn to spend less than they make.

2. Save money for large purchases

Leaning how to set aside money to save up for large purchases is a great skill that sadly many adults still haven’t learned. If your son or daughter later on needs a new car or wants to buy a home, they will have the discipline to save up. The natural tendency for kids is to spend whatever money they have and then ask mom and dad for more money.

3. Pay bills on time

Kids need to learn how to pay their bills on time. Teaching them how to avoid late fees will allow them to have more money later on. An extra $50 for late rent, or interest fees can really add up. If these habits aren’t fixed before leaving home, they learn what a collections agency is the hard way. With their bad credit, they will come back to you to bail them out.

4. Dealing with credit cards

If you follow Dave Ramsey, host of a national radio program on finances, you will follow his counsel on no credit cards. Credit card companies know that if they can get a kid to spend irresponsibly while they are young, they will be in over their heads for the rest of their lives. Help them to understand how to simply throw the constant credit card mail away. The skill of avoiding credit cards can be compared to teaching your kids to say no to drugs. Say no to credit cards.

If you believe credit cards are a good thing, then teach them how to use them responsibly. Teach them to not max the cards out and paying them back to $0 before the end of each month to avoid interest.

5. Emergency fund and investments

The power to save money for emergency funds, investing or retirement is very important. The younger you start teaching this; the better off they will be later in life.

6. Charity

They need to learn to donate to charity. I have read a lot of finance books and the common thread through every book is that giving to charity will help you receive more in return and be better off. There have been studies on the returns of donating to charity and it holds true. Those who give to charity will be wealthier then if they keep all their money to themselves.

Make sure your kids are learning these skills before they leave home. That way they can live financially independent and be much happier through life.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Oh Sweet Lorain

A Letter From Fred from Green Shoe Studio on Vimeo.

My husband and I watched this sweet video together and I couldn't help but share it with you. Life is hard in families and in relationships but when we stick it out there is something so special and so wonderful that is created. Something that cannot be recreated or made up in any other way. Enjoy Sweet Lorain.

Monday, August 26, 2013

It Never Gets Easier...

Here I am, the sappy mom on the first day of school. I comfort myself knowing that at least I wasn't the only one. I saw the tears well up and trickle down your faces. The tears we all held onto until we found our way back to the car. I saw how we all sent texts to Grandmas and Grandpas and husbands and fathers.

Simply put it just never gets easier to let your kids grow up. All the anxious thoughts running through our minds. Will they make new friends, will they like their teacher, or are the other kids going to make fun of them? Will they listen, will they enjoy learning, or will it be too hard? Different concerns for different kids, but it's always hardest for me when I send a new kindergartener, which I did today.

It's not all bad. We loved school shopping...mostly, we loved buying fun foods for lunches, and we liked visiting the classrooms and meeting the teachers.  Today reminded me of a small section in my book Family Ever After. Enjoy.

"Sometimes trusting and helping our loved ones succeed and rise to the occasion means that we must take action to prepare them and then give up some control and begin to trust in their abilities. I am always teasing my children that they need to stop growing up because I will miss them too much. It is exciting for me to watch them learn new things and see their personalities and talents develop, but there is always a part of me that wants to safely hide them in bubble wrap to preserve the sweetness of their childhood. This security can be appealing, but in reality it is both impossible and absurd. I ache inside when my children make poor choices, get made fun of, or fail. But if I don’t let them go, and support them along the way, they will never rise to the occasion of life.

I have realized my children’s lives are a constant repeat of that first day I dropped them off to kindergarten. It was exciting and scary for both of us. For the first time, I had to undo the bubble wrap because if I let it remain, it would inhibit their growth. With a tear rolling down my cheek, I hoped that both my and their preparation would be enough to succeed, enough to help them fit in, and enough for them to be happy. Hopefully, the love and care we present to our families will prepare them to succeed individually and as a whole. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Today's Sweet Moments

My sick and sleeping child (who broke her arm Saturday)

In life’s crazy sometimes I find it best to focus on the sweet moments. Today is one of those days.

Sweet moment #1- Two of my kids are gone swimming and two are asleep. What?!

Sweet moment #2- I get to clean my house in peace and no one is messing it up.

Sweet moment #3- My husband took an extra round of puke clean up last night so I could sleep a wee bit longer. I’m a lucky gal.

Sweet moment #4- I got to wash my laundry in a large capacity washer and dryer and it goes so much faster than it used to.

The mountain of Laundry that didn't take all day to wash!

Sweet moment #5- I got to see my husband mid-day. We were just signing life insurance papers but it’s always a treat to see him before 6pm.

Sweet moment #6- I renewed my life insurance policy and in the case of my demise my children will be well taken care of.

Sweet moment #7- My sick child couldn’t find her shoes so her older brother took off his new school shoes and put them on her and walked barefoot. (This one was extra sweet)

Sweet moment #8- Our friends invited us to dinner this week and that is one less meal to make and round of dishes that I don’t have to clean up.

First time chocolate chip cookies (They really are pretty good)

Sweet moment #9- I took some more junk to Utah’s version of goodwill. Ahhhh! It feels like I have more room to live!

Sweet moment #10- Daniel made cookies all by himself for the first time. They were a bit gooey so we ate the chocolate chips out of the first batch and then thickened up the rest of the dough. It’s always fun when my kids try new things

Sweet moment #11- When I walk in the door my kids come running and cheering –MOM!!! I loved to be loved.

Life has been extra busy. I think it’s just that time of year. When I just stop and notice the good things it keeps me peaceful, happier, and more content. It makes me realize all the good things I have. Try it. Sit down and write down ten sweet moments from your own life today. It seems like the more I write, the more I remember. I’m pretty sure it will lift your spirits! It did mine.