Wednesday, December 24, 2014

10 Reasons Why Christmas Is Not For The Weak

Christmas can be filled with joy and excitement but it can also be filled with stress!  Especially for moms.  Here is my ode to the Christmas stresses of my season.  It's all in fun!

The following is a true story.  The names and circumstances have NOT been changed to protect the innocence or add dramatic impact. Tis the season!  :)

Twas the month before Christmas and everything had gone wrong.
Instead of Christmas carols, we were singing our swan song.
The 6 stockings were hung doubled up on 3 hooks.
The other hooks and seventh stocking must have been stolen by crooks.
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
Until Lillie's came crashing down.  Her feet landed over her head.
The dishwasher had died and the dished piled up.
Now three kids were due for shots and doctor check ups.
When out of no where the telephone rang.
Our Christmas client had cancelled.  No Christmas cash came.
A cancelled family party, and big family fight.
Now the Tree has gone dark, so we re-string the lights.
A broken car windshield, a broken candy dish and there's more.
I still haven received Mila's present at my door.
"THAT'S IT!"  I shout out and throw my hands in the air
"This Christmas is cursed!  I don't even know why I care!"
"The presents, I've wrapped twenty times thanks to Grif
Everyone knows what their getting and I feel a bit miffed!"
Everything I've spent these past few weeks have put me in debt.
All I want is a break, and a KitKat would help I would bet.
So I ran to my room with my hands in my face,
And that's when I felt, all the love in this place.
So things had gone wrong but my family was great.
They did everything to remind me of what was truly on my plate.
Holiday traditions and childhood joy.
Love and excitement as we celebrate the birth of a boy.
Not just a boy but the Everlasting Prince of Peace.
The King of All whose love will not cease.
This year I will focus on the fact that "All is calm, All is bright."
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Haha!  It's been one for the champions but I know I"m not alone.  Merry Christmas to all the mom's stressing during this Christmas season.  I feel you and I got your back!  Go ahead and throw that fit you have been wanting to throw.  It's okay.  You'll still be on the nice list!  I love you!

And honestly, I love this time to be able to focus on the Savior and Family!  The two most important things in my life!  Life is good!

Merry Christmas everyone!  I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas season!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

If It Scares You It Might Be A Good Thing To Try

I had the wonderful and frightening opportunity of doing something new this week.   At the beginning of this year, as we sipped our Christmas mugs filled with sparkling cider, I challenged myself to take advantage of any opportunity I get, to do something new and out of the ordinary.  As a stay at home mom of five, I can sometimes feel like a prisoner in a jail of my own making, guarded by a little army that I created myself.  Its good most days, but it gets really hard to deal with when I see other people growing and changing and I feel like I'm withering without the light of a new idea, experience, or thought even.

The majority of my new experiences thus far have been along the lines of trying hot peppers with my Habit Burger or slacklining in the front yard, but this week I actually did something that pushed my limits.  Due to scheduling, I was coerced into covering a bridal photoshoot for one of our clients.  I know it doesn't sound too scary but for someone that has only shot as a second shooter or for family and friends, the idea of doing a shoot for a real paying client without even an assistant scared the pants off of me.

I wasn't so much worried about my ability to take photos (if I had I wouldn't have done it) but I knew I would have to put on the whole "photographer" show and that so isn't me.  I am not a showboat and I'm not terribly confidant about being in charge, but I knew I had to fake all that to build trust between me and the bride so that we could get the best photos possible.  Ahh!  Pressure.

I prepared as much as I could have before the day of the shoot and was feeling pretty good about it despite that forecast of rain and lightening storms (Did I mention that the photo shoot was on top of a mountain ski resort?  Ahh!  More pressure.).  Still the anxiety wanted to creep in like a cold breeze against a door.  I knew it was there but I tried not to pay any attention to it.  That would only feed it and give it power.  I started to think about positive things as I traveled up the winding mountain road.  A friend of mine had paid me a compliment that week and it had really affected me.  It wasn't much but just what I needed that day.  "You are so beautiful," she had said, "I don't think you even realize how beautiful you are and when you smile, the world is yours."

The world is mine!  I could do anything.  The smallest thought of that compliment filled me with confidence.  But then I noticed that I subconsciously wouldn't give that beautiful idea more than a seconds thought.  "Why?"  I wondered.  It was a great thought.  Why don't I just focus on those words and take them in and let the words fill me with what I need.  I started to do just that and then quickly realized why I wouldn't allow it before.

Have you ever wondered why brains work the way they do?  Like why my brain would take such a lovely thought and start tearing it apart and doubting every stitch of it?  That is what my subconscious was protecting me from.  From my own degrading self.  As I started to contemplate what my friend had stated, I quickly thought of all the reasons why it didn't hold water.  "She doesn't know me that well."  "She has no idea if the world bows to me just because I smile."  "Most of the time, people think I'm just a pretty face that doesn't have anything else to offer."  "I'm pretty sure I'm the most boring person in the world and I only smile simply because I have nothing else to offer."

I had to push those thoughts quickly from my mind as I started to notice the anxiety building up and my heart beating faster.  I reset my brain and focused again, just for a moment, on the positive words, and then left it at that and went to work.

And the shoot was flawless!  The clouds came and went with out leaving a drop of rain.  The bride was the best person to work with and I had done something new.  Something that proved that I was more than just a mother of five, but that I could create beautiful new art all by myself.


But now that it's over I go back to my subconscious mind and wonder why would we be wired like that.  To distrust even the best parts of us.  I recently found out a friend of mine has been battling bulimia for years and has only now started a blog to help her fight the battle.  As I read her entries describing the hurtful inner voice that tells her she's ugly and fat, it sounds too familiar.   Why must we as women carry around such a hurtful inner voice.  Even the most positive of people (me included) have it there somewhere.  We just push it away so that it doesn't control us, but it's there just the same.    Please let's just be nice to each other and know that even the nice things we do can be twisted and turned ugly.  And absolutely, lets please not put anymore mean thoughts out there guys.

Be strong and try to trust the good!  We really are awesome!  We just need to believe in ourselves.
 That's all!  Oh and try new things!  It's invigorating!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Make Today Amazing!

So it's weird to sit down at my keyboard and not know at all about what I'm about to write.  The blog has been pulling at my fingers like a dog wanting to be petted, but I'm afraid that I'm not sure what to say.

Our summer has rocked so far, filled with new outings, water parks, swim parties, trips to lakes, hikes and awesome shaved ice.

And let's not forget the Fourth.  This Fourth of July was one of the best I have had in the last few years.  I was so happy to be able to share it with my sister Amy and her family who have been across the country in the land of Washington DC for the last 4 years.  And I especially loved the time that I got to share with the Hubby.  Brenden was the perfect date for the Fourth.  To be able to see this man relax and play when usually he works so hard is a joy to see!  It made my day!

Since the Fourth though I have been kind of in a funk.  I think it's because Independence Day has always marked the mid point of summer for me and that's a bit depressing.  I know, I know... I complained about the first week of summer in the last post, but I think we got into the groove of it since then and I hate to see it go so fast.  

So I have been watching old seasons of The Amazing Race this summer.  Oh how I love this show!!  If you've read my first post you know how I feel about travel and in a perfect world I would be the girl that dominates the whole race and wins the million dollars.  I'm not sure though, that the mom of five, who occasionally exercises and doesn't ever want to be dropped or dangled off the edge of something extremely high would be that dominator, but who knows.  There were those goat farmers who surprised us all, right?

Anyway, I've been watching it with the kids and there will be times when the teams are in some dirty third world city, sludging through filth to complete a road block that is just emulating what the people of that country do all the time.  Sometimes, the kids will state how they would never be able to do that and I of course chime in with words of wisdom that I hope will fill their heads with ideals of adventure, open-mindedness, and exploration. "Oh yes you can!"  "Can you imagine how it would be to live like this every day?  This is their life and it would be awesome to experience it!"  "It might seem hard to you, but these people do it all the time and look how happy they look!"

Soon I was actually imparting wisdom upon myself.  As I have been watching the show I find myself wishing I could experience all of that.  That's why people like us travel right?  To be able to see all the beautiful differences of this world and to experience how one place can be so differently defined...the good the bad and the ugly.  As I sit on my comfy red sectional, in my air conditioned house, watching my big (really not that big, but I'm trying to make a point here) screen TV,  I long for the chance to be in a hot, smelly village somewhere learning how they gather water for their people.  Why?  Because of  the knowledge I would gain, the experience, and the hidden joys that come from the adventure.  So why can't it be like that in our own life?

I know this is going to take you by surprise, but the life of a mom is not full of nights on the town and fancy clothes, and 5 star hotels.  There are a good number of days where you are sludging through filth, picking up food off the ground and sometimes serving it back to your kids (haha), and abandoning all attempts to look good as you set out to help and serve the locals, constantly learning new techniques (sometimes from the locals, sometimes to help the locals) and hopefully somewhere along the way finding the hidden joys that comes from this way of life.  So I should be jumping up and down with excitement!  I'm living the dream right?  Yes!

Chances are I will never be on The Amazing Race, but I think this month I have learned that this life is my amazing race.  I hope we can always find joy in it's ups and downs, road blocks and detours and be thankful for the opportunity even if we don't leave the race a millionaire.  So go out and try new foods, do new things and love every minute of the time you have.    After all, every adventure is worth while.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Happy Fourth of July Chalkboard

Time for my absolute favorite holiday ever.  That's right folks she even beats Christmas.  I am a little cuckoo over it but its the BEST time of the year hands down. 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Just being honest

As I take a personal time out and sit and listen to the chaos around my home I wonder what I was thinking celebrating this time of year.  Screams echo through the home... some happy, some angry, some sad.  The fridge opens and shuts at least six times in the 10 minutes I've been sitting here.  One child clings to my leg like shes hanging onto a rope, dangling above a tank of sharks complaining about how awful this summer is compared to others.   All the while holding a fake blood capsule in her hands pretending to pop it in my all white room, just trying to get my attention.  And then let's not forget the all too familiar, "Mom, I'm bored."  Ahh, the sweet sounds of summer.

As the last day of school approached I can promise you that I was more excited than the kids, but by lunchtime Monday my mind had changed.  I forgot how helpless my children are at finding their own fun!  When I was a kid, summer was a time when you were overjoyed just by the freedom it gave you!  Freedom to do whatever you wanted.  Play outside all day, read a book for hours, run through sprinklers, make forts, imagine.  Now all I get are complaints about how we haven't plan an extravagant expensive field trip every single day and heaven forbid if mom might have some responsibilities to take care of.  When did this happen!?  When did kids get this sense that their parents were responsible for anything more than a trip to the park or an occasional shaved ice if they were lucky?!

I have to confess that I totally fell into it this first week of summer and we did a lot of fun things. I had originally thought this post would highlight all those fun things, but it occurred to me that the reason my kids want to do all these crazy things (and me as well), is because we have seen all the creative summer posts on facebook and read all the blogs from the super moms and feel like some how we aren't doing summer justice if we don't.  So this is not going to be one of those posts.

Instead this post is dedicated to the "crazy" behind the amazing photos we all share.

Here are the cute photos I shared from the outing we took to Farmington trail last Tuesday.  So pretty. Everyone looks so happy.  That's because just hours before this mom was at the end of her rope and after yelling at the kids about how she was not going to do anything else fun for them this week, shipping one of the kids off to a friends house, and stressing through an orthodontists appointment with  4 crazy kids, she just needed them out of the car.  Kids are happy because they are not stuck in their rooms like I had threatened earlier. And what you didn't see in these photos is how our cute five year old decided she just couldn't walk anymore and how I pulled her behind me the entire way back to the car.  See, doesn't that inspire you to walk that same trail!?

Here are the photos of our amazing trip to Carver Cove petting farm.  It really was a ton of fun, but what you don't see is our 18 month old being pulled off their tractor a dozen times, all the sneezing from the cotton flying around (that was at the trail as well), and lets not forget jack throwing up the next day from what all we can guess is a case of not washing his hands well enough before eating lunch.  Yuck!

And this ones for the moms.

 Let's not forget the cute selflies that make us all want to get our hair done, put on make up and pretend to causally take photos that look like we just woke up perfectly put together.

 "Yeah, we just happened to be wasting time, so we snapped a random shot, looked beautiful, and shared it with the world."


Lets not hide the fact that there are a dozen bad selfies...

for every one...

that we share.

haha  :)

So this summer lets set a good example to all our kids and be grateful and happy with who we are and what's in front of us.

And absolutely go out and have fun but don't do it because you feel like you have to.

Let's do it for ourselves...

 and let's try to cut out some of the "crazy" this summer!

Friday, May 9, 2014

A picture is worth a thousand words but this one is worth so much more

Ahh... It's amazing what a good vacation can do for the mind.  It's as if you have been struggling to see out this clouded window and then someone comes along with windex and voila!  It all becomes clear.

The sunshine has cleared my foggy window!  This last week I was able to spend a few days in beautiful Southern California with our fabulous nine year old Lillie, our uncontrollably cute 18month old Griffin and my wonderful, amazing mom.  (All because of my mom I must add.)  My mom has been more than generous to our kids this year and has given each of them a trip for their birthdays.  Not only has this been an awesome gift for the kids but its been great for me as well.  Finding one on one time with each of my five kids is almost impossible and to be able to spend a couple days with just one beautiful baby is a real blessing to have.

This last trip was packed full of memories!  Amazing swimming pool, fun modern hotel, cute little rental car, unforgettable beach fun, Hollywood, Sea World, Cinco de Mayo in Old Town San Diego.  SO much fun and priceless opportunities with my sweet Lillie.

But lets talk a little about our time at the beach. Sunday morning bright and early we arrived at my all time favorite Cali beach, The Montage.  Gorgeous.  The bright hibiscuses and birds of paradise steadily growing along the rocky edge of the sea cliffs.  Framed ever so perfectly by the towering waving palm trees, the seascape is flawless right down to its picturesque sea arch.  One of the reasons I love this place so much is because of how clean and naturally beautiful it is.  The rocks that jet from the sandy beach create tiny little worlds full of crabs and sea urchins that my kids adore.  Especially Lillie.

We were so excited to show our secret place to my mom.  I agreed to let Lillie guide her through the rocks and crevices as I stayed on the sand with rambunctious little Griffin.

I secretly enjoyed watching as my baby discovered the beach, knowing that Lillie would be fine with my mom.  After awhile of discovering the rocks nearby, Lillie wanted us all to check what kind of wildlife was on the neighboring rocks.  She was afraid that I was missing out.

We all set off to the next outpost of sea cliffs.  I struggled to walk on the uneven ground in my wedge sandals  (yeah i know, what was I thinking) and being pulled by a stumbling 18 month old didn't help.  We came to a crevice in the rock that lead down to the ocean.  It wasn't that big, but large enough that I needed to pick up Griffin to carry him over the opening.  As I crossed the gap I noticed how beautiful it was.  A line of oval openings,like a beaded necklace that lead to the open sea.  What an amazing photo this would be.  With Griffin still in hand, I fished out my phone to capture the sight.  I got a pretty good picture but needed to try again.  It just wasn't good enough.

As I readjusted the phone, Griffin decided to struggle in my arms.  He hit my arm and just like that the phone fell to the hard rocky ground.  Upset by the fact that I would have to bend over and pick it up with him in my arms as I balanced in my high heels, I didn't foresee what was about to happen.  That is until the man next to me began to yell, "Oh your phone!  Grab it!"  As I looked down I saw the final living moments of my phone as it slowly slid into the last opening on the beaded necklace, onto the sandy ocean floor.

 At first there was hope (because there always is with us optimists). The wave had not yet come in.  The sand was dry.   But just seconds later the water crashed into the cave below, taking my phone with it.  The phone crashed up against the rough edges of the stone over and over again as a crowd gathered above, hoping to catch a glimpse and looking for some way to save it.  It was no use.  And it was weird really.  I didn't actually understand the magnitude of what had happened.  I felt like a child that had broke something expensive and didn't realize, until others were yelling at her, what a mistake she had made.

And then the understanding came and it came in layers.  I was hundreds of miles away from home with no lifeline.  Lillie's Seaworld ticket was stored on my phone.  All the pictures that I had taken were gone.  No more contacts.  Lost text messages with important information.  No extra money to get a new one because I had spent all my extra money on this trip.

The weight started to get heavy.  Really heavy and I had to take a step back and try to bring myself to a happy place so we could enjoy the rest of our vacation.  We all were feeling the pain of loss, but we were also all feeling something else.  Gratitude that is wasn't Griffin that had fallen.  It very well could have been.  No one realized what an unobtainable hole it was until the phone was there and we had no way to get it without ourselves being put in extreme danger.  The gratitude from those thoughts helped.

As we walked along the sandy beach that holds those jagged cliffs, a memorable moment occurred.  Out of nowhere my mom called out, "Your phone!" and headed straight off into the water before I could even realize what was happening.  Leaving behind her a trail of flipflops, personal belongings, and a purse, she ran towards the bright green spot on the sandy ocean bottom.  Watching my mom as she darted out into more danger, fully clothed and about to take on a wave and unforgiving rocks, my heart was filled to the brim with love and appreciation for this crazy woman.  She dove down into the water just microseconds before a wave came that surely would have slammed her into the rocks and all I could do was watch in awe.  So this is what motherly love is.  You risk your life for a piece of worthless metal, not because you thought about it before hand, not because it made sense, but just because you knew it would make your child feel better.  That moment resonated throughout the rest of the trip and I feel so much gratitude for my mom.  I could never doubt that my mom wouldn't do anything for the happiness of her children.

Besides the craziness of that day, our trip was flawless.  Everything was perfect and I will remember it always.  That one moment will be shared throughout the years and I feel so lucky to have been able to live through it!  This blog post is dedicate to my sweet mom.  Not just for this one moment but for all the times when she has put us kids first to guarantee our happiness!  I love you mom and I am so grateful for you!  Happy Mother's Day!

(These pictures, by the way, are from the memory card that was in the camera.  We wouldn't have any of them if it wasn't for you mom!)

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Things do get better with age

So it was my birthday last week. Not the best birthday (35 ugh) but I did get a bunch of birthday cash (money, yay).  So this week I've been spending it all up on a variety of home projects.   I know I know.  Some girls buy shoes. Some girls get their hair done. I buy spray paint and staples.

The first thing on my list was our rusty old swing set that came with the house.  As much as I would LOVE to tear it down, cement over the entire sandbox and put in a killer hot tub, my kids still enjoy it.  So I pulled myself out of my imaginary tub, soaking in the toasty water, breathing in the misty night air, fingers still wrinkled like a raisin and took some money, bought some spray paint and went to town.

It didn't actually turn out as fabulous as I had planned but at least the rust is now covered up.

So on to the next thing on the list:  Kitchen Curtains.

Let me preface this by saying my house has fifty shades of gray in it.  No... not the book, but actual gray.  And I do realize that I need to add some color. So I researched it as much as I could handle on Pinterest and decided that I wanted orange curtains.  They're gorgeous.  If you don't believe me just look it up.  Seriously.  But to find a pair of perfect orange curtains is hard.  Like really hard.  I had decided that the only way to get what I want is to buy the fabric and make them myself.  Yay fun project!  So I wrestled my little 18 month old into the car seat, threw a ponytail on my sweet 5 year olds head and set out for Hobby Lobby.

Well we got there and they didn't have just what I was looking for.  Bummer.  I had come to the conclusion that I would have to take the orange fabric and the neutral fabric I found and sew them together in stripes to get close to the look I was hoping for.  As I'm planning this it starts seeming like a bigger and bigger project as I'm exhausting myself just trying to contain my children into those insanely small blue shopping carts.  Kate is filling up the cart with every kind of fabric bolt she can find and Griffin is constantly fighting me to leave the confinement of the seatbelt.  AHH!

So I drag my cart off to the side, trying to remove our circus act from the fabric area and I turned down the closest aisle, and low and behold (choir singing)...curtains.  Pre-made, stress-free, and 50 percent off curtains.  Now were they orange?  No.  Were they any color?  Not unless you count beige and gray as a color.  But without the right mind to take a step back and contemplate what I really want, I tried to make a rational decision while dealing with the chaos of my children crying and yelling and starting a fire under our cart. (only kidding)

So what did I decide?  I bought the curtains.  I came up with the lovely idea that I could use the money I saved to get fabric for a chair I have been meaning to reupholster.  Just to let you know, I've been meaning to reupholster it for about 6 years now and I've never done it before so...maybe not the best decision.

Anyway, when I got home and could let the natives run free, I started to feel buyers remorse.  WHY DIDN'T I GO ORANGE!?  I really really wanted the orange.  And I might have even ended up in the corner of my kitchen crying because when I asked the hubs about the purchased curtains he said they looked like zebra print.  Zebra print?!  Really?!  Ahh!  And I possibly might have started freaking out because I spent the majority of my money on a re upholstery project that I had no idea what I was doing.  Yeah it was a good time.

Well, long story short...Everything turned out great.

My amazing hubby helped me hang the zebra print curtains and completely made it possible for me to start and finish the  overwhelming chair re upholstery.  He spent hours helping me pull all the stupid staples out of the chair, took pictures of the process so I could reference it when I put it back together and when my staples wouldn't work in my staple gun, he ran down to Home Depot, ten minutes before it was closing and bought me a new gun and about a million staples.  He is THE BEST!!!  My Hero!

And here it is... It's not perfect, but I survived.  I kept thinking if other women can do this then I can do this.  It started out kind of rough, but the truth is that once the staples are removed the rest is cake and so rewarding.  Anyone can definitely do this.  This week I am grateful for a patient, understanding, and helpful husband and I am also grateful for everyone that was able to celebrate my birthday with me and help me have an overall great week.

Love you guys!

Spring Chalkboard

 Easters over.  Time for a quirky spring chalkboard.  Thanks for the help Kate!