Monday, October 3, 2011


I love the size of my family. For me, 4 kids is perfect. They're spaced just far enough apart, but close enough together... and I was done having kids at the age of 30. I pat myself on the back for my successful family planning and feel pretty happy with the way things are. I've really been enjoying our family dynamic lately, and things have been going smoothly. I think I've finally figured out how to make this work.
After Ezra was born Josiah and I looked at our 4 beautiful children and proclaimed our family complete. Ta da!! All done. Four beautiful children. It's a large family by most people's standards, and I really felt comfortable with were my family was. Starting potty training is not fun, but hey, pretty soon I won't have to change diapers any more!! WOO HOO!! And I only have one kid at home with me while the big kids are in school, so that makes getting stuff done and keeping the house clean so much easier.
Some days I feel guilty for loving the time that I get to myself. I really do love sending my kids off to school. Having some precious hours of peace and quiet in my home, where I can focus on what I need done- not what I have to take care of for one of my kids- is like heaven. There are precious moments with the kids when they are home, but honestly, if there are one or two precious moments each day, there are about 30 moments where mommy is cleaning up an unexpected mess, intervening in a fight, trying to teach some kind of moral lesson, or having a kid stomp off saying "You are such a MEAN MOM!" after stopping some kind of bad behavior. Those moments are not fun. They are not sweet. They are not precious. They are a necessary part of being a good parent. I'm helping my children grow into good, kind, and responsible human beings, but boy, it is not always fun.
So, having my 4 children grow up, become more independent, and spend more time on their own is something I love and look forward to. And I had made it! After 10 years, I was finally at the point where my kids were growing and spending time outside of my home and I could get some "me" time! I might even be able to have a clean-ish house, or pick up on sewing, or painting, or writing music again! Then Elder Neil L. Andersen got up and gave a wonderful talk at the Saturday afternoon session of General Conference and threw a monkey wrench in my plans.
If you don't remember, he talked about children and the blessing they are in a home. Then he talked about how we choose to have children, and the blessings we get from choosing to give one of Heavenly Father's children a body and a loving home, even if it's not easy. And it hit me- I need to have another baby. And the first thing my husband thought when he heard that talk was the same. Ummm, that's not the plan. We're done. We're happy with things the way they are. Aren't we?
Josiah and I talked that evening, after the kids were in bed. He has a pretty good job now. I don't have any health problems or complications when pregnant or in labor. We have a happy and loving home. There's an empty seat in the mini-van... So many reasons that it made sense, but didn't fit the plan we had made. We thought about it and prayed about it and talked again on Sunday after kids were in bed, and both of us felt strongly that we should have another baby.
WHAT?!! This morning I woke up and thought, "Did I really decide that I should get pregnant again?!! Am I crazy?!" All the reasons that had made me feel happy with things the way they were came flying at me. I like my quiet time with only one kid at home. I like being healthy and thin. I feel overwhelmed with 4 kids some days, what am I going to do with 5?! What would we have to pay out of pocket for the medical bills? I never even paid attention to that when we looked over the health plan at work, because, duh, we weren't having any more so it didn't matter. Am I ready to get all fat and out of shape again? What if I don't loose the baby weight this time? What if we have another boy? We can't fit 4 beds into that bedroom! We'll have to add onto the house again, and the addition we have isn't even done yet! I just threw away all of my maternity clothes. I was freaking out a little bit.
I feel like living the gospel is pretty easy. Don't get me wrong, sometimes it's difficult to do what's right. I struggle and make mistakes, but for me living the gospel is not HARD, it's just not always easy. I've never really felt like I've had to make a hard choice between what I want to do and what the Lord wants me to do. So far, the Lord and I have been on the same page most of the time. I've been lucky, or blessed, that I haven't had a trial of faith, where I really want something different from what the Lord wants. Usually when I get some inspiration I feel happy, relieved even, to have direction and a sense of doing what's right. But this time the inspiration is HARD!
I feel like I was struck by lightning... it just came out of nowhere. It's not like the idea even crossed my mind lately. Baby? Again? ME?! Are you sure? The feeling was so strong and sudden that I almost wanted to blame it on hormones, but then Josiah turned to me and said "You know, the only reason I didn't want another baby was because of diapers." Then he gives me that look. I know that look... the I'm going to be a daddy again look. I knew without a doubt that this is what the Lord wants for us. There's a spirit up there that needs our home.
So, today I'm freaking out a little. But I'm excited, too. Some time in the next year or two another little spirit will join our family. By then I'm sure that I'll be happy and ready, but for today I'm still a little nervous. I know that big blessings come from doing what the Lord asks of us- even if it totally changes our plans and throws us for a loop. I'm ready and willing, it's just going to take me a few days to get used to it, that's all.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Cancer Awareness

My dear friends and family,
So, it's still a month to go until "Breast Cancer Awareness Month," but I've already started to get those "for girls only" messages in my inbox. You know, the ones where you post the color of your bra, or where you like to keep your purse, your shoe size, or whatever. Just letting you know: I'm not participating. I'm also not going to dress in pink and pay 20% more for something because it's pink and they'll donate 5 cents to cancer research. I know... I'm a party pooper, but I really don't see how this really helps cure cancer.
It's all about awareness. And being aware is important. You can't defend yourself from something that you aren't even aware of, right?! We all need fun and friendly little reminders to do the things we know we should in order to keep ourselves healthy. I get that. What I don't get is how posting something really vague and possibly sexually suggestive will help your sisters, mothers, daughters, and friends get the exams and treatments they need to stay healthy. Because, really, a lot of those people never got the memo... They have no idea that "pink, with black polka dots!" or "I like it on the table" is actually some kind of code for "If you like your female parts, you should take care of them and get them checked out by a doctor regularly."
Awareness is good. But it's ACTION that will cure cancer. So, if I don't reply or post any of your little games or codes, don't be offended. Go for it! Have fun! Post to your heart's content all of that stuff, but please, when you're done posting your funny stuff, don't forget that being aware isn't enough. You have to DO something about it.
Pay attention to your body. Know what's normal, and what's not. Get regular check-ups and exams at the doctor's office. I know... I hate them too!! They are uncomfortable and embarrassing, but they can save your life. So, one woman to another- take care of yourself. Please. Breast cancer is a horrible disease. So is leukemia, and heart disease, and diabetes... the list goes on and on.
So, there. I'm off my soapbox now. Love to you all. Here's to hopes for a healthy year for all of us, man and woman alike, and no matter what the disease... I hope we can find a cure someday. But until we do, all we can do is fight a good fight and hope we win!
So, no code. No secret email. No memo needed to explain how something vague I posted is to remind us of cancer. This year you get a frank and open statement from me:
Cancer is nasty. It hurts, it destroys, it kills. People love you, and would be devastated if you left them. So PLEASE, no matter your age or health status, here's a friendly reminder. Make sure you're up to date with all of your checkups and screenings. If you're not, please make an appointment. Catch it early, treat it quickly, and live on for yourself and those of us who care.
Lots of love,

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Car Companies Hate Me

I think car companies hate me. Well, they don't hate just me. I think they hate all families that dare to have more than 3 kids. Really. I'm serious about this. No one must have more than 2.3 children, or you are stuck forever in your choice of a gutless mini-van or a 3 MPG tank.
So, I have a tiny Hyundai Accent that Josiah and I purchased back when we only had 1 child. It's nice, it was really cheap, it gets almost 40 MPG, it can park anywhere, and has seats for 5. Then came along child #4. I now drive a bus.
Ok, not a bus... just your average 10 year old mini-van. But still. Ick. It's old, so it didn't cost much, but new they cost twice what my little car does. It has terrible gas mileage, has the get up and go of your average little old man, makes u-turns over 4 lanes, and has seats for 7. Yay.
I'm just wondering... why is it that to add one measly seat belt we must double the size and cost, and cut the gas mileage in half? Seriously. I can go and get 2 standard no frills little cars for the same price of one vehicle that seats 6. I want 1, count 'em, just 1 more person to be able to sit in there!
Browse vehicles at a dealership and this is what you get: "Here you are, a tiny hatchback that seats 5. Or over here we have a sporty small car that seats 5. A nice standard car that also seats 5. A large sedan... very roomy. It has enough room for a body in the trunk, but alas, seatbelts for only 5. Or we have this beautiful SUV that seats, you guessed it, 5. Here we have a sporty wagon with plenty of room for a family of 5. This is our latest crossover. It's sporty, gets great gas mileage, has all wheel drive, and seats 5. Or you can drive this bus (we like to call it a "mini-van"), about like driving a stylish elephant made of jello, but it has seats for 7."
See what I'm talking about?! Car companies hate people that have kids.
Now, add to this that we live on a dirt road, and during monsoon season our road is one giant mud pit with nice sandy washes here and there for variety. So, we really need something that won't leave us stranded in the muck.
Ooooo... now we get an even better choice! Now the only option is the behemoth 4x4 that sucks down enough petrol to power a small city on a drive into the grocery store. Or if we only need seats for 5, we can get a nice little 4x4 crossover wagon that gets 27 MPG and- lookie there- it also costs $12,000 less.
Thanks. Thanks a lot.
Now I get to make a choice that I dread. When I buy our next vehicle, do I break down and buy the Ford, Chevy, or Nissan version of the behemouth 4x4 that has room for my entire family, but is the most impractical vehicle in the world for everyday driving and will literally take every last penny of my discretional money to fuel. Or, do I get a smaller, less expensive, better MPG, all around better to drive vehicle that will always leave one person at home or in another vehicle because it only has seatbelts for 5 dang people!
Anyway. My thoughts on the matter. For now I'll just drive the mini-van and be stuck in the mud every time it rains, because- let's face it- I don't have the cash for a new car anyway. But someday I will, and hopefully by then one of my kids can drive and I will make them buy their own car and I can drive whatever I want.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

30 Things

Here are 30 things about me. I'm afraid I may be a little too candid here, but anyway, here it goes. Don't judge me too harshly!

1 I love the outdoors. If I'm inside I like the shads open and letting in the light so I can "feel" the outside. Weird, huh?

2 Loving the outdoors like I do, most of my favorite things happen outside; hiking rock climbing, swimming, camping...

3 I cannot play any sport that involves a ball. Not tennis, softball, football, pool, ping-pong, basketball, the list goes on.

4 I only like to watch sports if I actually know a player or coach. If I don't personally know anyone on the team I have no desire to watch, but if I do I am such a fan and can get really wrapped up in a game!

5 I'm not afraid of anything. Things I don't want to touch or think too much about, yes. But afraid? Nope.

6 I love being alone. A quiet place with no one around is my idea of heaven. I think that's why I love the wilderness.

7 I am a terrible house keeper. I have little places that I like to always keep tidy, but the rest of my house doesn't get touched until we have company.

8 Part of me loves to get all decked out with awesome hair, make-up, clothes, and cute shoes. But when I do I always feel a little guilty, vain, and wicked, like I'm doing it for attention. Whenever I look in the mirror and think "Man, I look GOOD!" there is this little war going on in my head trying to decide if I should. So it doesn't happen often. I know- I'm crazy.

9 Although I think of myself as young, at the rip old age of 30 I have arthritis. My knee aches and makes awful sounds when I bend it, my fingers get stiff, and my shoulder is a wreck. It's the one thing that makes me feel really old sometimes.

10 I am not a hugger. I don't really like to be touched very much, the exception being my husband and little babies. I love to cuddle with Josiah or snuggle a baby, but everyone else can stay at arms length most of the time.

11 I like to exercise. And if I'm bored, or can't think of anything else to do I just randomly do some sit-ups or wall-sits until I think of something else.

12 I LOVE to read. As a child books were full of my best, and sometimes only, friends. Like movies, only the enjoyment last for days instead of minutes!

13 I love action movies. I hate swearing and gore, so I usually have to wait for TV edited versions, but I like a good action flick better than romance or comedy.

14 When I was a kid I wished I was a boy. I thought they got to have way more fun! Now I know that I can be a lady and have fun- they aren't mutually exclusive!

15 I like candy bars and my favorite is always changing. In fact, I don't have a favorite for most things... That would be way to boring!

16 I like to cook, but not at my own house. My kitchen is painfully small and then I have to cleanup after all the cooking, so although I'm a pretty fantastic cook, I don't do it very often.

17 I think furniture should be pretty, not just functional. I would rather go without a sofa than have an ugly one.

18 I love fine art. Once upon a time I did lots of artsy stuff. Now I just think fondly of a day when my life won't be filled with diapers, laundry, homework, scouts, and all the millions of other things that get priority now. Someday I'll sculpt, paint, draw and craft to my heart's content. Now I just hope that the stuff I managed to make in the past doesn't get trashed by my adorable, but hyper, kids.

19 In May my husband and I will celebrate 11 years of marriage. He is my best friend in the whole world.

20 I'm not very good at making friends. I'm shy, in a loud way, and I tend to put my foot in my mouth when I talk to people... so yeah, I'm working on that.

21 I hated High School. It was the worst 4 years of my life. Thank goodness for good people who helped me through it, and THANK GOODNESS that what you are in High School doesn't have to be who you are for the rest of your life!

22 Blue and green are my favorite colors, usually.

23 I have four adorable children. Some days are great and I think I'll have a dozen more. Others I think "What was I thinking! Can I return these?" I have no idea if we'll have more or not. Right now I'm just trying to figure out how to be a good mom to the ones I've got. Ask me again in a few years.

24 I think life is pretty hard. It's not always fun. It's lonely, and sad, and confusing sometimes. Some days you may wish you were never born. I've struggled with depression in my life, but this is what I've learned: The happy moments make it all worth while. Cling to them! Hope for them! Don't give up on them! Today is NOT forever. And dwelling on the misery will not make you feel any better! Find a happy thought and keep moving forward. It'll get better someday, I promise.

25 I think most people are basically good. I think even the ones who do things we don't like or hurt us are wither clueless, damaged, or have some misguided idea motivating them. I like to think that everyone does the best with what they've got and I hope others will be understanding when I'm a bonehead sometimes.

26 I love animals, but I'm lazy. I don't really like to take care of them all the time. I like the idea in cartoons where the animals are wild and take care of themselves, but area friendly, so you can hold them and pet them when you want. Too bad real life isn't like that. You want the cute and cuddly buddy, you got to put in the work.

27 Someday I'm going skydiving. I have no idea when. My time and money are pretty much all accounted for these days, but it will happen!

28 I love food. Italian, Mexican, Chinese, Sushi, greasy cheeseburgers with grilled onions, mushrooms, bacon and extra cheese. And brownies, and pie, and cookies... This is why I love exercising, otherwise I would weigh 300 lbs. Food is yummy.

29 I'm a Mormon, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. If you don't know that about me, well, I am! And I like to think it's a part of who I am, not just a place I go each Sunday. I believe it's made me a better person, more loving, more understanding, more helpful, more honest, more forgiving. Of course, I have days were I'm not those things as much as I should be, but it's a process. As long as I'm a little better today than yesterday, or this week than last week, I'm moving in the right direction. Thanks to my Heavenly Father for His Son, Jesus Christ, and His atonement and forgiveness. Heaven knows I need it!

30 I've run out of things to tell you. Sure, there are a lot more things about me to share, but I'll save them or another day. Also, I can't think of a good one to wrap it all up, so that's all you get. I hope you don't think I'm too crazy after you've read all of this! :-)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Mommy's Example

My kids like to talk to each other with mean voices.

I've noticed that most of their conversations are undertaken with a less than polite tone, and often end up with full blown yelling.

Here's an example from the other day:

The kids are playing in the bedroom. They haven't been there long when I start to hear some arguing about who is going to play with what. It sounds like this is going to be a fight pretty soon. I think they need a reminder of how to work out the problem.

"Use your nice voices when you talk to each other, please," I call from the other room.

It didn't work. They continue to snip at each other in a caustic manner, and I'm getting tired of it. I call again, "Use NICE VOICES when you talk, please!" only a bit louder this time, so that they can hear me down the hall and over their own voices. A few minutes later I hear that it's escalating to yelling. "Stop it kiddo's, remember- we don't yell at each other!" More yelling and angry voices, so I walk down the hall and stand in the doorway.

"Are you listening to me? Use your kind voices. We do not talk to our family that way!" Now they are yelling to me why their brother/sister is the worst ever and he/she won't play how they want, they stole a treasured toy, etc. The yelling has not stopped, in fact, it is almost to the point of screaming now.

I stomp into the bedroom. "That is it- STOP YELLING RIGHT NOW!!!"

I take a look at my two oldest kids who are facing each other. They have their hands on their hips, leaning slightly forward, faces red. At this point I glance in the full length mirror on the wall behind them and get a look at myself.

Hands on hips, leaning slightly forward, red face... and I realized I was just yelling at them to get them to stop yelling.

Ok, so my kids have a problem with using kind voices with their family members, but I think this may be a mommy problem. I have this fleeting excuse go through my brain- they did it first, I'm just yelling AFTER they've been yelling for 10 minutes without listening to me... Hmmmm.

When mommy wants to solve a problem she yells at them- that is all their little minds are going to remember. They won't remember the 3, 4, or 5 reminders and warnings before the yelling started, just the yelling at the end. Mommy needs to work on that.

So, my new goal is to always use a kind, soft voice when I talk to my kids. Even when they really do something that is making me loose my mind, or hurting each other, or yelling I'm going to speak softly. Oh, they're still busted. I just get to send them to the corner or take away TV privileges with a smile and a soft voice. Ok, maybe not a smile, but as calmly and kindly as this frazzled mommy can muster, because whether I like it or not, they will eventually follow this mommy's example.

Monday, May 10, 2010

A Cold Drink

Winter is finally gone. Here comes summer. Yep, I know I skipped spring. I don't think I have spring at my house. It went from freezing at night and having to bring my plants in each evening so they don't die- to full blown HOT in less than a week. The weather around here is getting pretty hot and dry. In some ways it's nice. The grass started growing again. My little seedlings can stay outside all the time now. The kids don't have to remember a jacket. But there are always yucky things, too. The most annoying is that it always takes about a week for my sinuses to get used to the sudden change in weather. For a few days I get lovely surprise nosebleeds. The just start out of nowhere. Ick.

Well, at least I've learned that if I stay hydrated that it helps it happen a little less. So, the other day I was driving and doing errands on a particularly hot day and started getting that dried out feeling. Uh Oh! I needed something to drink before I became an erupting volcano.

Have you ever gone to the drivethru and had them give you a drink, but no straw? I hate it when that happens. Of course I think "no problem, I don't use a straw at home. I'll just drink like normal." Well, normally I don't drink from a cup that huge. Have you ever tried to drink from a giant cup and drive at the same time? The cup is so big that all you can see is the inside of the cup. So I tried drinking sort of off to the side. Hmmmm.... not really working. So I just sort of slurp it and then quick chug a bunch at the next stoplight. That seems to be OK.

You know in the movies when a dam breaks there is always this creaking sound, then a little crack, then a big crack with some spraying water. Finally the dam crumbles and water bursts forth. I'm not sure that's the way it happens in real life. It's not the way it happened in my cup.

I didn't pay attention to the fact that the ice had formed a nice little dam in my cup. No creaking. No little crack to warn me. Just a very sudden sticky shower with ice up my nose, down my shirt, and a very wet lap. Most of all a waste of $2! Grrrrrrr!

So next time I clean out my car, instead of throwing it out, I'm going to stash a straw in my glove box for the next time I really need a cold drink and some poor kid forgets to hand me one in the drivethru. I wonder if I can fit a roll of paper towels in there, too?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Ok, it's been one of those days. I'm sure everyone feels the same sometimes. It just stinks when I have one! It's a day when I look at my life and think "why, oh why did I sign up for this?" Really.

Being a wife and a mom is not fun. Maybe if you have a super husband with no flaws (and I have yet to meet a woman with one of those). Maybe if you have one of those super perfect children with tons of friends, perfect manners, and straight A's (again, if there is one out there I doubt there is a family with 2 of them). I look at the messy house, the car needing new brakes, the dwindling funds, the pile of paperwork I've been procrastinating, one kid recently diagnosed as ADD, another is dyslexic, and another doing everything in his power to not be potty trained, and I get a bit crazy. At least the baby is good. For now.

On top of that we live next door to my husband's grandparents. I love them. They are very good to me and my family, but it's getting to be more and more work to help them out so they can stay at home- not the nursing home. I don't mind, but it is just one more thing on the endless "mommy list."

I try and take a second to breathe. In... out... in... out... I close my eyes and take a moment to get a little sanity. I take the preschooler to the potty and he doesn't fight me this time. Yay! And then the baby falls asleep. SUPER YAY!!! I'm taking my victories, as little as they may seem.

Ok... things aren't too bad. I can do this. There are brief moments of peace, like yesterday when the kids and I went for a walk. I even laughed when they all tried to ride in the stroller at the same time. I need to laugh more often. Heck, just finding a reason to smile would be a good start.

I taught a lesson to my primary kids on Sunday about priorities and perspective. Time for me to listen to my own sermon! Yes, there are a lot of immediate needs to be met, but there are more important things out there. "Step away from the dishes for a minute" I tell myself. I get 5 minutes of scripture study in before the phone rings. Not too bad. I give my 3 year old a big snugly hug and kiss. I plan another walk with the big kids tonight so we can have a nice chat without the "babies." Hmmm... and I need some time with my sweetheart, too. Maybe we'll make tonight a no TV night and actually spend time together, not just in the same room. That all will help, I think.

It's my mommy way of making sure I don't sell my birthright for a bowl of soup. As moms our lives are full of "soup." Dishes, laundry, bills, diapers, mops, homework, whiny kids, grumpy husbands, dinners to be made, cupboards to fill, closets to clean out, and for a lot of us there is a job of some kind, too. We expect ourselves to be the perfect maid, nanny, nurse, therapist, best friend, teacher, financial advisor, nutritionist, ardent lover, and so many other things for our families. Oh yeah, and we feel the need to look like a super model while we do it. I think there is something wrong with us.

"Soup" is necessary... but I'm in real need of remembering the birthright part. My kids and husband need more than a glorified, maid/nanny. A mom does all that stuff, sure. But we are more, and that is the part I forget when I'm sweating all that other stuff.

So, if you are a mom- let go of some of that "soup" for a few minutes today. It's Ok. Find your birthright and work towards it! Smile with someone you love, have a relaxing or deep conversation. Laugh at something. Find the part of being a wife and mother that makes you happy, and then do it! It makes the soup taste better anyway.