Monday, May 24, 2010

I think I'm going back to bed . . .

I refuse to get up when this is what we get to wake up to this morning:

With the crazy, cold, wet spring we've been having Caroline predicted just the other day that it would probably SNOW on her birthday . . . well, her birthday is tomorrow and we already have about an inch of the white stuff on our lawn and it's showing absolutely no signs of slowing down.  What happened to spring this year??

The poor birds - they're outside chirping madly trying to figure this all out . . . especially when the snow didn't melt until after 2pm - I don't ever recall a day in May when I had to use my 4-wheel drive and wear my ski coat to a soccer game!

We ended up with 4" fresh snow - that's got to be a record for this late in the season.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

What do we do?

I ran across this article in from the Washington Post the other day and thought I would share.  I found it very insightful, especially considering the insanity of my own particular brand of motherhood the past two weeks, which translates into no blog posts . . .

The author's words about the daily influence we have on our children really struck me, and I'm learning as my kids get older that it's our example and ongoing conversation with these little creatures that is ever so important.  Here is the following unforeseen "mom duties" I have been attending to the past couple weeks (this is the short list of everything that didn't include the daily feeding, washing, clothing, and driving my children require):

  • A dead pet.  Yes, Miffy, our little bunny who thought it was a dog, bit the dust a couple weeks ago.  I received a call from our neighbor (who found Miffy dead on her lawn) while picking out a birthday party gift with three of the kids.  I told her to put the bunny in a bag and we'd come get it when we get home.  Sophie, unfortunately got off the bus alone, discovered our dead pet on our porch, and seemed to handle the trauma surprising well until I could make it home.  My duty:  keep calm, dole out long hugs to those who loved Miffy (everyone but Liza - she was thrilled the pest was gone), explain the purpose of life and death, and oversee the digging of Miffy's grave and funeral service (where Liza happily decorated the headstone).

  • Disappointments.  Later that evening, Caroline competed in her first G14 (girls age 13-15) tennis tournament where she was defeated quickly by an East HS varsity player.  My Duty:  offer as much encouragement as possible that she is a good tennis player, tell her she played great (while at the same time she tells me she played horrible), and continue to encourage her never to give up and try again.

  • Agency.  Learning a few days later that our children have their agency.  We can teach, direct, listen, offer advice, encourage, love, sacrifice, etc., but the hard part is realizing that our children will at times ignore our wise counsel and make their own decisions.  My Duty:  Continue to love, despite disappointment.  Forgive without bringing up the past.  Move forward without blaming myself, or even worse, thinking I've failed as a parent.

  • When the world crashes down on a 12-year old.  Realizing that it's not "just 7th grade" or "just dance company," but when making the Jr. High School Dance Company means everything to your daughter, and when her two best friends made it and she was cut, it was the end of the world.  Tears, tears, and more tears.  I've never seen Caroline so distraught, but I've also never seen her so resilient.  My Duty:  Stay positive, be her greatest supporter and cheerleader, continue to tell her she is a beautiful dancer and there just must have been a mistake made in the judging ;-).  And most important, let her know that life goes on and sometimes life just doesn't seem fair, but she'll be a stronger person for the experience.

  • Injuries:  Mine.  I don't function well if I am incapacitated and I can't be the mother my kids need.  On Wednesday this week I woke up to terrible pain in my foot after a long tennis match the night before.  I had been feeling slight pain for a few weeks, but refusing to rest and stay off my foot, I continued to run (even participated in a 5k race), hike, and play tennis.  Now I was done for, thought I had a stress fracture by the way my toes were swelling and how the slightest painful touch about did me in, and believed I had no hope now to train for my first marathon this fall.  My Duty:  REST (impossible) and stay off my feet and try my hardest not to be a grouch around the kids and anyone else . . . stay positive (ya, right), oh, and make a dr. appt. ASAP!  The one bright spot of my week - it's just inflamed joints, refraining from any weight bearing exercise for two weeks and some meds should heal my foot . . . phew, I can be a mom again :-).

  • Attention.  Something my little girls were going without considering everyone else's struggles of the week, as well as the ongoing process of trying to sell the home.  Homework assignments, spelling lists, and book reports were forgotten, one on one time was non-existent, and they had to rely on each other for company during these weeks that also included Caroline's spring dance performance, Ryan's end of season LAX stuff, school fundraisers, etc.  My Duty:  Try to make time, and we did.  Yesterday we took off for a movie ("How to Train your Dragon" - if you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it) and lunch, then a relaxing Sunday and time together as a family - a nice weekend and the girls once again felt important.
So, in answer to the writer's question of what we do all day: well, it goes beyond anything I could have ever imagined even 10 years ago.  It is constant nurturing, teaching, loving, forgiving, protecting, reassuring, and many hugs and kisses thrown in for good measure.  It requires an amazing amount of patience, humility, faith, and hope . . . which many days I'm not sure I have enough, but somehow I do and realize that motherhood molds women into pillars of strength that cannot be found in any other occupation, and I am eternally grateful for that opportunity.

Monday, May 10, 2010


I just posted my Mother's Day post, but wanted to share this video with you all about an extraordinary woman and mother whose unbelievable story of strength and humility is a beautiful reminder of God's deep, powerful love, and the comfort he offers to each of us.  He truly knows us personally, and especially our struggles and heartaches.  If this amazing young woman can continue to find joy and happiness each day despite her setbacks, how much more do we have to be grateful . . .

To follow Stephanie's blog, click here.  You'll be inspired!

After I watched Stephanie's video, I stumbled upon another message about overcoming the afflictions and challenges of mortality.  This talk by Elder Cook is just so reassuring, and I hope it brings each of you more peace, understanding, and light . . .

Mom's Day

"If you bungle raising your children, I don't think whatever else you do well matters very much."
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

Great, no pressure!  I'm hoping "bungle" here means getting them all to the age of 18 and out of the house with as few emotional scars as possible and with enough common sense to make life decisions on their own . . . yikes, scary.

Well, another Mother's Day has passed, another weekend to remember how blessed I am to have the opportunity to raise these kids and reflect on the divine gift of motherhood.  It was also one of the greatest Mother's Days on record!

For me, I love celebrating this holiday with my family . . . forget time alone, time getting a massage or pedicure, and forget any gifts that come from a store.  This year was just special.  In the past I think Chris was unsure about how to go tackle this holiday, and therefore at times just pretend it didn't exist, which was quite hurtful.  However, this year, he asked what I would like to do for Mother's Day, what would make me happy.  It was very sweet and I know he is making an effort to help me feel acknowledged on this day.  Of course, he always seems so surprised when my requests are so simple - in his words, "you are so easy to please - that's it?" 

One of the many cards made by Liza - this was my favorite.

Here is the rundown of my ideal Mom's Day weekend . . . 

an outing: dinner (Greek) and movie ("Oceans") with Chris and the kids which even included a stop for ice-cream on our way home (check), thoughtful homemade gifts and cards, and Ryan's sweet words during FHE (check), plenty of hugs and kisses (check), Chris taking over my church calling as primary pianist so I could attend the other meetings (check), a long phone conversation with my mom (check), Chris' grilled steak for Sunday dinner and his help in the kitchen (check), time outside in the sun watching the kids play and Chris work with Liza on her bike (check), and finally, the sweet acknowledgement from my dear husband of my contributions to our family and how much it means to them that I am their mother (aahhh, check). 

I ended the day snuggling on the couch listening to Liza read, then just holding her with her little arms wrapped tightly around my neck while gently rubbing her warm back under her pjs, and thinking how truly wonderful it is to be a mom, how blessed I've been to spend every day in the presence of these children, and how much I'll miss them dearly when they're gone.

This was the watercolor Sophie created for me - I LOVE it!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

BYU Women's Conference 2010

I came home brimming with renewed energy and filled with more . . .

Truth, Hope, Understanding, Testimony, Righteousness, Courage, Love, Faith, Mercy, Light, Goodness, Humility, Strength, Comfort, Forgiveness, Power, Wisdom, Obedience, Guidance, Peace, Compassion, Gratitude, Trust, Diligence.

Women's conference is truly a time to strengthen my testimony and feel the energy of so many righteous, faithful women in one place.  I come home rededicated to keeping my priorities aligned with the Lord's and more committed to having the spirit in my heart and home each day.  I feel completely rejuvenated and I am so grateful for the many volunteers, and especially the inspired speakers that made the conference possible.  It was such a treat to attend BOTH days this year and I'm already looking forward to next year's spiritual feast.