Sunday, September 19, 2010

Achieving balance

I am finding myself frustrated off and on as I am trying to juggle all of the comings and goings in our house with keeping the house clean and stocked with necessities. I am so tired by the end of the day that I walk but the laundry basket that is in dire need of folding and then returned to its rightful owner because I know they won't come to collect the clean laundry. I have stressed enough about it that I get headaches. I know it is possible to achieve the much needed balance in our lives that I desire. I know this because I know the Lord wants us to have balance in all things. Sometimes it is hard for me to say no to helping others because so many have helped and continue to help us at this point in our lives. I also know that we must pick and choose what we can and should do. With that said, here are some small things that I have done to start on the path to achieving not only balance in my life but for our whole household.

1. Get rid of things that we are not using. Give them to someone who needs them now. If I should need it in the future, then someone will have one that I can borrow or have.
2. Make my children responsible in helping keep the house clean. We now have a bag that has 4 daily chores in it and another that has 4 weekly chores in it. Everyday when we get home from school, each child draws a daily chore and does that chore before they change or snack. The dailies are: sweep the floor, rotate the laundry, take out the trash and unload the dishwasher. Weekly chores are: mop the floor, vacuum the living room, put all the shoes in their cubbies, and wash dirty hand prints off the walls. The dailies literally take only 3 minutes each while the weeklies take about twice as long. This is one of the best things we have done and I still don't know why we didn't think of it sooner. BTW, the kids are the ones who chose to draw rather than me assign the tasks.
3. No friends can come over during the week. We have too much going on and homework doesn't get done. They are allowed to come on Friday and Saturday if chores are done and rooms are clean.
4. Not feel guilty about telling my kids and friends no. Still very hard for me to do, but learning it is okay to tell someone that I don't have time to do something right now.
5. Play the scriptures on CD in my house while we are doing chores. It really helps keep the peace.
6. Pray often. Some days I have an all day conversation with the Lord. I know he hears me because on those really hard days, he sends me some love through a friend.
7. Be grateful by saying thank you often to the Lord and those who lighten my load. Say thank you to my kids for not fighting, for getting their homework done, for being a good example, for helping someone in need.
8. Not sweating the small stuff. The laundry will wait. It may get wrinkled in the meantime, but my kids lives won't wait. Them wanting my time and attention seems to get less every year. The 12 year old doesn't need me as much as the 5 year old, but I make sure I put down whatever I am doing and look into her eyes as she speaks to me. I do the same with all of my kids. If I happen to be busy in the kitchen, I have them come sit at the counter and talk while I do what needs to be done, making sure that I make eye contact every few seconds so they know I am paying attention. Sometimes I even make them help me while we visit.

My list is still growing and I am still trying to achieve balance in my life. It is an everyday struggle for me as I am not perfect and do not claim to be even close to perfection. I am still looking for an elusive cleaning fairy to take care of my house so that I can spend more time doing other things so if any of you has one that you will lend or give me, I promise that I will give it a good home.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Are we there yet?

Ever have one of those moments, or maybe days when you just wish you knew where life was leading you? Not mad at your current situation, just wish you knew what the plan was? I have been having a lot of those days lately. I am a planner. I don't like to leave things until the last minute or to chance. In fact I already have started Christmas lists for my kids. I really have a hard time being spontaneous or flying by the seat of my pants. Last minute schedule changes really frustrate me.
So in our current state of household affairs, I am really struggling with not know what is coming next. I actually feel very calm and know that the Lord is in control, that my husband is doing everything he can for the family and grateful that our kids are old enough for me to have the opportunity to work during the hours that they are at school. I am not angry at all or at anyone. In fact this has given us a great opportunity to draw closer to the Lord and each other, to teach our kids the difference between a want and a need and to really live by the promptings of the spirit.
Yet here I am, the planner, struggling with living in the moment and rolling with the waves of life. I don't know what tomorrow will bring because all of the plans that I made yesterday were put aside out of necessity. I don't know where I will be next month let alone next year.
It has been very interesting to be in this place where life is all up in the air, but be calm and at ease, knowing that the Lord has something in store for us, but the time for Him to let us know has not yet come to pass. We love our ward family and at the moment are content to be here and serve where we are needed.
I am so grateful for prayer and scripture that provides peace in a time of turmoil, for kids who are trying to understand and be patient, for leaders and friends who are a constant boon in this time of our life. I am grateful for obedience to principles that have been taught and for the privilege of being able to go to the temple whenever I need or want. I am especially grateful for the tender mercies that the Lord sees fit to send my way when I feel like I am about to give up and give in.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Girls Camp 2010!

The first day of camp was mainly setting up our camp. We were in tents so a lot of the girls had to be taught how to set up a tent properly. After tents were up, those who wanted to went down to the field for games. We started out with the human knot, then played missionary tag, then a water balloon fight broke out thanks to the priesthood. The girls had lots of fun.

After breakfast the next day, we were off to the confidence course. There were 4 things to do so we broke up into 4 groups. Three of the things were almost ridiculously easy, but the climbing wall was not. I think that it was the hardest thing that anyone did. It was a flat 12 foot wall with a knotted rope to climb up. With Steve at the top and Mike at the bottom, each person that tried made it up the wall with the rest of the group cheering them on. It was very intimidating, but very satisfying when you could stand at the top. It really started the bonding process. Our theme was "Be strong and have courage, for you are not alone". With all the help and cheering going on you knew that you were not alone and it definitely took courage to attempt this. I loved that the leaders did it too. We all did what we were asking the girls to do and I think that made a difference to them.

This little monkey went up this wall 4 times. I thought once was enough. I still can't believe that my daughter is old enough to go to camp.

This young lady is afraid of heights. She made it to the top. Here she is just hanging upside down to have her picture taken. It was fun to get to know her.

This is one of our girls getting off the zip line. We did this after lunch. The girls loved it. So did I. You slide down a line that is about 30 feet over the parking lot going about 100 miles per hour. All of our girls that could go on it did. I don't think that some of them would have had the courage to do it if they hadn't done the wall first. The leaders ran the zip line and it was fun to see the girls faces as they came down to the end of the line.

My daughter on the zip line. We tried to get her to flip upside down, but she couldn't quite figure out how to flip over. She went 4 times and loved it. I went 6 and have the bruises from the harness because it has to be very tight. I took a running jump off the platform and I did hang upside down every time. I loved it! We finished the evening with the bishopric bringing up Panda Express. It was so tasty. We had a testimony meeting afterwards around the camp fire. Then there were camp songs. This was my favorite day because the girls let down their walls and I got to know them better. I really started to feel connected to them.

The third day we went canoeing and hiking. I forgot how much I like to be out on the water in the canoe. There was a game of dead fish boat tag started by one of the leaders that the girls loved. Someone hit Steve in the face with it. It left fish guts on his face and when he got back to shore, one of the leaders asked him why his face was bleeding. As he was washing it off, one of the girls splashed him in the face with a huge oar full of water. He promptly grabbed her life jacket and tossed her in the water thinking that she would only land in ankle deep water. She did, but she tripped while trying to get her balance and went all in. She thought that it was pretty funny. We ate lunch and then went back to camp to get dry clothes so that we could go on our hike. Our hike was supposed to be an easy 5 mile hike. It was moderate and we found out later that it is supposed to be a day hike. We went up the mountain in 2 hours and 10 minutes and came down in 1 hour and 5 minutes. It was a beautiful hike that I would love to do again without kids. When we got back to camp, dinner was ready. I was so tired that I could hardly eat. We had crafts that night and I sat around the camp fire with my new friends until after midnight. It was a very nice evening. Every time I would think about going to bed, one of the girls would start talking to me so I stayed a little bit longer.
Now that camp is over, I feel connected to the girls and want to spend more time with them. One of the girls asked me on the way home if I still got to come to young women's with them. I told her I wasn't sure. She told me she hoped so because she liked having me around. It made me feel good and like camp was a success. There were a couple of girls who I wasn't sure if camp made any dent in their tough armor, but according to their mothers, they had a lot of fun. They have already posted pictures on facebook too. It was fun to go to Y.W. yesterday. The atmosphere was very different than it has been before when I have been in there. There was no segregation of classes, everyone was mixed together and didn't seem to want to leave each other when it was time to go to their separate classes. It felt good to see the love that they were expressing for each other. I guess that means that camp was a success.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Stay away from the dark side!

My boys recently discovered that my in laws owned all of the Star Wars movies. They have been playing Lego Star Wars on the Wii so they wanted to watch them. Saturday night we finished the 6Th movie, which for us was Attack of the Clones. We talked through the whole movie about good and evil, The Force vs. The Dark Side. The kids without much prompting from me pointed out that fear, anger and revenge lead to the dark side. We talked for about 15 minutes on the subject after the movie was over. Yesterday as we were leaving church, my 2ND child was complaining because she wanted to stay there and come home with her dad. I made her come with me anyway. She started whining and complaining on the way out and I was not in the mood to deal with it. I just turned to her and said, "don't go to the dark side! Stay away from it young Jedi!" She started telling me that I was not funny even though she had a huge grin on her face. I kept at it until she was laughing and of course it spurred another conversation on good and evil and Satan's influence that can pull us to His side, or now in our house, The Dark Side! I love it when movies can help inspire conversations and encourage teaching opportunities.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

14 years!

Sunday was our 14 year anniversary. Part of me can hardly believe that we have been married that long and the rest of me feels like it seems a lot longer. We have had a lot of ups and downs, laughs and fights, but we have made it this far and keep on going. I see in the news almost every day that some famous couple is getting a divorce. Some have been married just a few years some for decades, but they all seem to act as if marriage is something to just throw away if it doesn't suit you anymore. I know that there are some real justifications for ending a marriage, but most just let go because it takes too much "work". I went into marriage knowing that it would be a lot of work, but if I gave it my all and so did my husband that the good would far out weigh the bad. I remember when I was still single that a friend of my Dad's told me to stop waiting for the knight in shining armor or the house with the white picket fence because they just didn't exist. I told him that I knew that I could have what I wanted because I had faith and knew that I was willing to work for the life that I wanted for my husband and family. I am glad to say that fourteen years later, I still believe that and that I still am working on it. We both are working on it. Life has changed recently for us and that change has made me appreciate the things that Steve has sacrificed to provide for our family. I think that he has learned to appreciate my role in our family as well. It has been humbling for both of us but a good building block for our marriage. You truly can not appreciate what someone else does until you really walk a mile in their shoes. I think that we have come to appreciate those quiet moments that are a rare occurrence more too. Life has been good to us because we have the same goals and the same desires and that is to be together through it all, to spend quality and quantity time with our children and to work hard for the future that we want. It has been a great fourteen years and here's to many times that!


14 years and 4 kids later.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Summer's Here!

I have been on the count down for school to be out so that I could have the freedom to do what I want, when I want. Don't get me wrong, I feel that it was a blessing to be able to work while Steve has been trying to get his business going. I have loved working with the teenagers at Lakeview and I will miss them during the summer. I was also blessed to be asked to go back to the school this fall to work. I must admit though that I missed my little Piggy. Missed picking him up from preschool and having him talk my ear off about all the things he learned that day. Grateful that his Dad got to share in that and enjoy time with his son. Grateful that Steve got to go on field trips with his kids. I am glad that now I can pay attention to my garden, weed my strawberry bed and yes, even fold laundry and do dishes. I am anxious to have some flexibility in my schedule again. The thing that I am most excited for is to be able to cook. I have missed cooking. That is my stress release and I have really been missing it. So bring on summer!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

A change!

I have been wanting to do something different with my hair. I have had long layers in it for a couple of years now and I always do the same thing with it which is nothing. It always gets pulled back in a ponytail or a clip. When I was in Oregon this past week, I thought that my sister in law's hair was cute. Steve agreed with me which I thought was funny because he generally does not like shorter haircuts on women and hers was only to about her chin. So since he agreed with me and said it would be okay if I cut mine off, I started looking at shorter hair styles. Now you need to keep in mind that I have very thick, coarse hair that has a lot of wave in it. I knew I wanted layers but also know that if it isn't done just right I can tend to look like I have a ball on my shoulders. I contacted a friend, told her what I wanted and we set an appointment. I was really nervous last night and today, but so ready for a change. I spent about 2 hours online yesterday looking at medium length hair styles, but most of the ones that I liked said that they were suited for fine and thin hair. For me that means that I would end up looking like a puff ball on steroids! I finally found a style I liked and posted it on facebook. I had a friend request a before and after picture. Following are the results of that request.


Can you believe the mop that I have been carrying around. It went to the middle of my back.

After Tessa cut off 10 inches to donate to Locks of Love. Something that I always wanted to do and finally got the chance. Don't think that I was noble and planned the haircut for when my hair was long enough, it was totally by coincidence and I wouldn't have thought about it if she hadn't suggested.

Ready to get down to business. Can you see the wave in the back of my hair?

The After!
I think it is so cute and that I might just want a few more layers in it. I am going to give it a week and see if I still want more layers after I wash it and play with it myself.

Thanks to Tessa who made my day and to Karen for the inspiration and my dad who told me I was starting to look like a grandma for giving me the nerve to make such a change!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Count Your Blessings!

To try and be positive about this jobless situation going on in our home I decided to start writing doworagen the tender mercies that happen every day in our lives. It has really helped and the more I look, the more I find. Some of the blessings that I am grateful for are:
1. my family
2. my religion
3. my friends
4. others who help my children feel important too
5. vehicles that run well
6. my health
7. a roof over my head
8. a severance package
9. being able to work
10. Food storage

So when life gets you down, start counting your blessings instead of your wishes and it will lighten your load!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Now which way is up?

I am currently feeling a little upside down and backwards. We have had a major change in the last couple of days and I am feeling like I am grasping at air and been turned on my head. Steve on the other hand seems to be very calm. I, however, am having a hard time remembering who is in ultimate control of my life and this universe. I always run at full speed trying to take care of everything and everyone. I don't deal well with situations that are out of my control. I have a hard time letting others, including the Lord be in control, especially when it is my life involved.

On Thursday I was sitting on my bed folding laundry and watching a movie. Sidnee and Jaxon were home. I heard the garage door open which was really odd because I thought the kids were playing on the computer. My first thought was that Jaxon got mad at Sidnee so he was running away. (He runs away more often then I care to admit) I peeked out to see what was going on and Steve was home. Strange to say the least. I went out to see what was up and he pointed to his eyes because he was talking on his phone. He quickly got off and informed me that he had been laid off! I thought he was joking. He had been to the eye doctor and had his eyes dilated. I was thinking that they had sent him home because he couldn't see to read. When I saw all the stuff from his desk in some boxes in his car I was pretty sure that he was not joking now! My world came crumbling down on the top of my head! How were we going to pay for our home, let alone food, and all the necessities that you need to sustain life as you know it? So many things ran through my brain in a short matter of time. We really didn't get much time to talk as his phone kept ringing off the hook. Apparently the decision was made outside of Utah by someone who was just looking at numbers. His company made 7 layoffs that day across their offices in the country, so it was not like someone had it out for Steve. He got laid off, not fired, so they gave him a severance package that should last us through the end of June. What amazes me the most is how calm and sure Steve is about the whole thing. He is very positive where I am the one usually reassuring him. He is sure that there is a better job out there that he would not have found if he was still at E-Trade. I on the other hand am a bundle of stress. I am wondering what is going to happen if he doesn't find a job in this market before we run out of money. There are so many people losing jobs right now that I am really struggling with this. I know that I need to stop climbing the walls and just do what I can about the things that I can. I can clean my house. I can paint the walls. I can get ready to plant my garden. I can put more food in our food storage in case it takes longer than June to get a job. I can continue fulfilling my calling and being a part of my community. Hopefully I can figure out in the mean time, and I will emphasize the word MEAN, how to turn myself right side up!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


I love the little moments that you get once in a while with your children that just make your day. I got one tonight when everyone was complaining about dinner. Jaxon was the only one who was not complaining. Our conversation went like this.
Jaxon: "Mom this chicken is fantastic! That means really good, right?"
Me: " Yes Jaxon, fantastic means really good."
Jaxon: "Well I think this chicken is fantastic and they are all wrong. It is so fantastic that I would like some more please."
Me: "I am glad that you think it is fantastic and I would love to give you more."
Jaxon: "Thanks for the fantastic chicken Mom! I really like it because I am a hungry boy!"

Don't you just love it when they make your day like that. Of course by this time the other kids were giggling and decided to eat the "Fantastic Chicken" which is what I think we will call this dish from now on!