Monday, December 19, 2011


Remember when I said I was lacking Christmas Spirit? I found the remedy. (I know this blog has been kinda "churchy" lately. Well, I am a Mormon. It can't be helped. ;-))

I was in charge of teaching the Christmas lesson to the kids at church this year. I didn't do anything elaborate. We just discussed the Christmas Story.

I brought this picture:Painting by Liz Lemon Swindle She owns the rights to this. Not me.

Something about the beauty of this image, the simplicity and wonder of the birth of our Savior, my daughter playing the best star a nativity has ever seen, and teaching a room brimming with excitement and pure faith of innocent children eagerly anticipating Christmas hit me. I left church feel incredibly blessed and, dare I say it, happy. I am part of something more grand in life and my role, no matter how small, is needed.

My Christmas cards were sent this morning. I am planning to wrap presents tonight and we are going to bake tomorrow.

Yet another tender Christmas mercy this year thanks to the true meaning of Christmas.

Elisabeth as the Christmas star.

Side note: Lance claims the camera on the iPhone is just as good as our regular camera and almost as good as a DSLR. Ha ha ha ha ha. That is funny. Nice try, Lance. I am still keeping a DSLR camera on my wish list and I am sure that even though I am not trained in the professional art of persuasion, I will win this battle and that camera will be under the tree in a year or two.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas Spirit

Putting up lights outside our house? Just exhausted even thinking about it. Wrapping my presents (my most favorite thing in the world to do during the holidays) A necessary evil this year. Baking the usual goodies? Not wanting to take the time for me to either A) Eat them and ruin all my hard work on losing weight B) Throw them away so I won't eat them or C) Give them away to others who will most likely throw them away. Sending out Christmas cards? Procrastinating it more than anything.

Buying gifts? Well, that is something that still thrills me. I love to give gifts immensely and no matter how I feel, there isn't anything that can't be smoothed over (even temporarily) by a little retail therapy.

We are in need of some serious Christmas Spirit here. Luckily, we got the tree up the day after Thanksgiving and the house mostly decorated, visited Santa twice already, and attended our ward Christmas party. For my little girl and baby boy, I am trying. I really am.

Elisabeth is going to be the star in the Senior Nursery's nativity this Sunday. She is thrilled beyond words and keeps talking about dressing up in her costume and being the star that led the shepherds to the baby Jesus. Now if that doesn't warm your heart, I don't know what will.

The good news is that Elisabeth doesn't realize she is missing the usual "traditions" and is so enchanted with the holidays. Simplicity is all we can do this year as we are learning to juggle new responsibilities and I try to get out of my fog I am in. Luckily, simplicity still holds wonder and awe for her.

A Christmas mercy, I suppose.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

It's better to look up.

Last week I was one worship service at my church away from . . . Well, I don't know what. But it wasn't good whatever it was. The two words that were constantly going through my head were "I quit." I quit serving in my calling at church, I quit going to church and sitting alone with my kids, I quit being a wife and a mother whose husband is gone as much as mine. Now - I don't really want to quit any of these things. But, I am smart enough to know something had to change because I couldn't keep doing what I was doing.

A friend came over, prompted or not I do not know, and talked about this talk that was given during General Conference, an bi-annual meeting our church has. The basic message: It is better to look up.

So I did. I got on my knees and prayed. I needed help and it was time to ask. And ask I did. I asked my husband for advice on what to do. I asked a friend from book club to take Carsten during Sunday school so I could teach without having to chase him around. I asked two women with either grown kids or teenagers to see if my family could join them in their pew on Sundays.

This Sunday we sat with a family of two of the kindest adults I have ever known and four of the most helpful teenage boys I have ever met.

My kids were entertained the full hour and a half without one person crying or having to be taken out. I actually was able to listen to the speakers. I was able to teach the kids during Primary (Sunday school for the kiddos) without any anxiety. And I didn't cry.

Well, I didn't cry until I called my friend to thank her for letting me sit with her family. Those were tears of immense gratitude.

I know there are people out there with bigger problems than mine. People are homeless. People are starving. People are losing loved ones. People are sick and dying. I realize someone may read this and say "Really woman? You are wasting my time whining about this?"

Today these things didn't matter, though. My problems are real to me. And, I have a Father in Heaven who heard my pleas, guided me to answers, and reminded me once more that I am His daughter and He loves me. All I had to do was ask.

Things are starting to look up.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Open Letter: Dear Costco

Dear Costco:
May I make a suggestion? When someone orders a toy from you to be shipped between Thanksgiving and Christmas can you please ship it in a brown, plain box? Especially if you are going to deliver it after naptime and the cover of the box shows a picture of what is inside?

I would like to avoid having to concoct a story why the castle my daughter has requested from Santa showed up on our doorstep a month before Christmas eve. Luckily she believed it was delivered to the wrong house. Also, lucky for me our Jewish neighbor does have a little girl AND they celebrate Hanukkah so my story was plausible.

My sincere thanks,

Xanax, anyone?

Who would have ever guessed sitting alone with my kids at church would create so much anxiety. I guess when one has a 3 1/2 year old who is a spitfire and a 13 month old who has just realized he has not only places to go but a voice he wants to exercise quite loudly, sitting for an hour and 1/2 by myself, trying to keep these kids semi-quiet is nerve wracking to say the least.

I half jokingly and half seriously say to Lance every Sunday "Got any Xanax?" - like I would ask for a piece of gum. When people ask how my day was Sunday night my reply has been "Well, we survived."

For my LDS friends out there who have had their significant others sit on the stand during sacrament meeting (our worship service), how did you survive? How did you keep going every Sunday to that hour and a half knowing you would leave either in tears or ready to have a nervous breakdown?

What kills me is I am a strong woman. I have done many hard and amazing things in life (with the help of the Lord, of course.). I joined my church without support from my family. Went to a college in another state not knowing a single soul. Worked to pay for a 18 month mission for my church. Lived in Finland for 18 months and spoke one of the hardest languages there is. Went through six years of infertility treatments and losses. Managed to graduate from grad school while doing three infertility treatments, having one baby, miscarrying another and being pregnant with my second without any family around to help.

So tell me why something as simple as taking care of my kids every week in sacrament meeting is about to be the end of me?

*Sigh.* At least I know I can some day add this to my list of "amazing and hard things" I did in life.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Location, location, location

We have finally decided that it is time for us to buy a house. Can we hear a WHOO HOO?!? I can't even begin to express my excitement. This mama needs to plant some serious roots. Come on now - I am 32 years old. About time to establish ourselves, right?

I spend at least an hour on and each day scoping out our possibilities. We probably won't take the plunge until this spring but that doesn't stop me from seeing what is available and getting a good idea of prices. And location.

Which brings me to the next question. Where should we buy? As a geographer, I know location is everything.

I have my heart set on the community we live in now. I refuse to move further away from where my husband works. I will happily have a smaller house that is a little more expensive if that means we see him more.

I want to live in a community with amenities and without Mello-roos. I want to be within walking distance to a pool and a park. I want to live in a good school district.

I want to stay in our ward. I have grown to love our ward and though I know other wards will be just as nice, I feel like this is where we belong. Unfortunately, that limits our options. Basically, it leaves us with one large gated community or half of the neighborhood we live in now. There are a few other neighborhoods but I already know they aren't what we are looking for.

So, do we just look at any available real estate in our city? Or do I stick to the ward boundaries? Do we even consider moving further away to get a bigger house? I just keep hearing my BYU geography professor's voice resounding in my head "Location, location, location."

Seriously thrilled to embark upon this new adventure! Right now, the only real location I care about is one that is completely and utterly ours. . . Well, ours and the bank that will provide us a mortgage.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


How can you not LOVE this kid???? Geez. I keep thinking maybe we should stop with him because I am not sure how any child after him could be as sweet or cute or funny or as lovable as this love bug.

Just over the past month this boy has been learning to speak. Below are the following words he says daily:
  • Book
  • Ball
  • Done done
  • Mama
  • Beh (for Beth or Elisabeth.)
  • Dada
  • Nana (for banana)
  • Mo (for more)
  • Meh (for milk)
He doesn't always pronounce the end of the words but there is no mistaking what he is saying.

He is not walking yet but can crawl faster than any baby I have ever seen. I am secretly happy. I want him to be my baby as long as possible. Church is getting increasingly hard and I spend most of sacrament meeting chasing after him down the aisles or out in the foyer. During sacrament meeting I am almost in tears but on Monday, I can retrospectively laugh.

Life has been really tough lately with my hubby's work/church schedule. I often find myself stressed out and overwhelmed as I do things solo. Which is why taking time to write posts like this help me realize that I want to cherish and enjoy every minute of my babies before they are grown and out of my house. You can never get that time back.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Parenting Tips from the Horse Whisperer

If you haven't seen Buck, the Sundance documentary on Buck Brannaman, a bonafide horse whisperer, you should.

Now, I wouldn't call myself a horse person. Nothing against them - just haven't had much exposure over my life. In fact, the only reason I went to see the movie is because it came highly recommended by a good friend. In the end, I was mesmerized and inspired.

Synopsis: Buck Brannaman - a man whose abuse as a child will bring you to tears - overcame the abuse and is now one of the most well-known horse trainers in the business. He can take any almost any challenging horse and within a matter of a day, have them obeying orders without any force whatsoever. As interesting as his work was with the horses, what sold me on this film was his wisdom and insight into parenting and human beings.

Thanks to good ol' Netflix, I have watched it two more times since the theater and actually took copious notes. See, I have a little wild stallion of my own under my roof and I am always searching for better ways to cultivate my beautiful yet stubborn little creature as opposed to breaking her spirit. I have inserted in "children" below wherever Buck referred to "horses" in the film.

Parenting Tips & Life Lessons I learned from Buck
  1. Kids don't need you to be their best friend. They need you to be a parent first.
  2. Everybody has a burden to bear of some sort.
  3. There is a difference between being firm and hard. Firm requires obedience with a soft hand - hardness requires obedience with harshness and instills fear.
  4. You should always treat your children with humanity and a gentleness of spirit.
  5. Children just need a job to do.
  6. Children need to know what is expected of them.
  7. Bribery doesn't work - it will create contemptuous children.
  8. Parents need to control their emotions when disciplining their children.
  9. Children learn from mistakes. They shouldn't dread making mistakes so they fear what happens if they do.
  10. You need to discipline and encourage. Not discipline and discourage.
  11. Build your children up. Make them feel good about themselves.
  12. Live in the moment.
  13. Children are a mirror to your soul. Sometimes you may not like what you see. . . Sometimes you will!
Talk about an eye-opener for me. Lots to think about and work on.

Inspired yet to watch this film? You will thank me.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Darndest Things

Kids sure say and do the darndest things sometimes.

EB: (as I am trying to put on a pair of jeans on her that were a perfect fit, I might add.): Ouch, ouch, ouch!!! Mama these are HURTING me.


Me: Elisabeth, please don't chew your finger nails.
Elisabeth: Mama, can you please not talk to me anymore about that?


EB: (playing in her room with her princesses) Can you please give me privacy Mom? The princesses need some privacy.


EB: (after seeing her BFF wearing the same dress as her) Oh Mama. Taylor looks so beautiful!


My all time favorite Elisabeth act as of late was when Lance and I were trying to stall getting out of bed in the morning. She was her usually bubbly self at 6:30 a.m. and grew tired of begging for us to "Come on. Let's go get breffest."

We heard her downstairs and some dishes clinking. We assumed she was just playing with her play kitchen. I called down to see what she was doing. Her reply "Just getting breffest Mama."

When we got downstairs we saw she had set the table for breakfast - complete with real cereal bowls, cups, spoons and even a sippy for Carsten. She had pulled out the kitchen drawers to make a staircase up to the cupboard where we keep our dishes.

My heart still smiles when I think of her "helping" us get ready for breakfast because in her words "You were just too sleepy so I helped."

This girl challenges me every day with her spunky and strong-willed personality. She is known in our church's nursery to be one of the "party girls" and I am sure her nursery leaders go home from church exhausted every week - Heck. I barely make it to church and through sacrament meeting with her. (There happens to be five of the "party girls." Ironically, three of the five are daughters of the Primary presidency members. Go figure.) Her whining and tantrums try my patience like nothing other in this life and often bring me to tears. Overwhelmed is an understatement of how I feel as of late as most of the parenting falls on my shoulders.

But I can't help but adore her love of life, friendly personality and witty things she says. She has such a kind and tender heart. All she really wants in this life is to love and be loved. I sometimes get a quick vision for who she will become. She will be successful at whatever she puts her mind to. When I think of these things, I am so proud that she is MY daughter.

Maybe because she sounds like me!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

We met online

I have a love / hate relationship with technology.

How things like Facebook and blogs are time wasters.
How people are addicted to their smart phones.
How it prevents people from spending time with each other.

Catching up with people on Facebook that I wouldn't otherwise know what is going on in their lives.
The people I have met "online."

So, I guess the pros outweight the cons. . . Here are a few friends I can thank technology for our introductions.

Tai of TaiDyed

My online grad school buddy. We were put in the same group my first semester back after my maternity leave and instantly hit it off. We started calling, Skyping, texting and/or chatting with each other daily. Soon we started to watching Law and Order together while we were chatting online/doing homework/discussing my secret desire to be Amish simultaneously. We finally scheduled a meet-up for lunch and I remember wanting to throw up as I sat parked in my car. What if she didn't like me? I mean, I am pretty cool online but what would she think of me in person?

Needless to say, it didn't matter. Thanks to the Internet, a Foo Fighter-loving, concert-going, Long Beach ghetto-living woman became this Latter-day Saint-church-going, Amish-loving, Gone With the Wind-reading, diaper-changing, innocent-looking woman's friend.

Lindsay of Lindsay and Company

OK. This isn't 100% accurate. I met Lindsay when I think she was 14 or so years old when I first went to college. Her mom kind of adopted me into her family when I was a newbie to both the LDS church, UT and BYU. I didn't interact with Lindsay much, however. I was busy being a coed and preparing for a mission while she was having fun as a teenager. She grew up and got married sometime while I was going on a mission, getting married and moving to MN for law school. On a visit to UT a few years ago, her mom passed along her blog address to me. I started reading it religiously and before long, I felt like we were friends. We both love to read, have kids similar ages and love to write. I can't tell you how many times I have said to others "Oh, my friend who lives in Brooklyn. . ." If it wasn't for her blog, I doubt I would have ever discovered how cool this chickie is!

Ree of The Pioneer Woman

I have mentioned her before. This is definitely a one-sided relationship since I have never met her face-to-face (though our paths almost did cross when I visited the Mall of America last year.) I highly doubt she even knows who I am, unless she remembers some of my witty postings I leave on her give-away blog posts (Not highly plausible since she has 2 million other followers.) But, I look forward to reading what she has to write. We both have smelly, lazy hound dogs that we talk about as though they are human members of our family. She makes me laugh and want to cook more and take up photography. And if it wasn't for her blog, I would not be able to say I know a fab cook who lives on a cattle ranch in OK.

(Image of Ree taken from this Woman's Day article on some recipes. All rights reserved to Woman's Day, I am sure.)

Friday, October 21, 2011

You just gotta laugh

Yesterday was one of those days. Let me back up. WEEKS. The kind where you don't know whether to laugh or cry. Every other day this week - I cried. But today, I just decided I had to laugh at the following:
  • As I was rounding the bend to pick up my in-laws at the airport, Elisabeth's carseat tipped over with her in it.
  • Elisabeth, deathly afraid of everything at the La Brea Tar Pits, threw a tantrum on the way home because she decided she liked the "Tar Pets" after all.
  • Drove home at 2 pm in LA traffic with a 3 yr old who was desperately overtired. SHOOT ME NOW. PLEASE.
  • About to leave for an evening walk to the neighborhood ice cream shop, one of the little boys we were watching last night thought we had left him. We found him a sobbing mess on the floor of our living room.
  • Carsten's diaper fell off him after he pooped outside said ice cream shop. Imagine the following: no change of clothes, poop all over him, only a handful of wipes, a size 1 diaper and a naked 1 year trying to crawl off in the sand as 20 people walked past us on the way to the dollar theater. NICE.
  • Lance taking three preschoolers to the public bathroom by himself. No explanation needed here.
  • Two girls pouring half the bathtub water out onto the floor. One kindergartner slipping and scraping up a knee pretty bad. Said boy crying the whole time he was taking his bath. Can someone say traumatized?
We finally got all four kids down for bed (which deserves a post of its own) and then proceeded to eat a bowl of homemade popcorn and watch The Office. We talked about our day and laughed so hard we cried.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


I am really and truly ready to plant some permanent roots. Establish ourselves.

Buy one of these:

So I can have counter space to get one of these:

So we can get one of these:

(if you can't tell, this is a king-sized bed. With a dog and two kids, the few minutes when everyone piles into our queen sized bed at daybreak is short-lived and usually leaves a child in tears or a crabby mom.)

Get rid of the mismatched, chipped, cheap-o dishes that we have had since we got married 9+ years ago so I can have 8 matching place settings like these:

Because if I have to hear one more time from my husband "Well, let's wait on that until we buy a house" I think I may scream or break down crying. I am so tired of the "wait and see" part of life. I want to be able to say this is our home, this is where my kids will go to school, this is our ward. I want to say (gulp.) "I am from _________, CA." Okay, maybe not. I will always say I am from MN but I want to really believe this is our stopping place for at least the next 10 or more years.

I know nothing is certain in life but death and taxes BUT this is a woman who lived in the same house her whole life until she was 18 talking. I am craving stability and the comfort that comes with painting the walls in a house that is truly ours.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Angels round about you

I guess light heartedness is definitely not the tone of this blog lately. The Pioneer Woman, my dear blogging friend who does not know I exist but I adore her anyway, once wrote that the key to blogging is to be yourself.

Write in your own voice.

Write as if you are talking to your sister.

There you have it. I am just being my intense, emotional, passionate, sentimental self here on my blog. I don't have a sister but I do have some dear, dear friends who are pretty close to what I imagine a sister is like - minus the fighting over clothes. I feel I owe them a little time in my blogosphere.

Like Ms. A - my sassy, spiritual, ultra-fashionable friend who truly believes I am amazing and values what I have to say. To whom I can tell how I really feel about cheerleaders, despite the fact that she used to be one. The best thing is she laughs when I constantly stick my foot in my mouth. She makes me want to be a better person and I look up to like she is my big sister.

Or Mrs. R - Who calls me every day and we talk about EVERYTHING together. From our kids, to our jobs, to our insecurities, to what we are making for dinner, to late-night-sleepover-girl-kinda talk. She is as laid back as I am uptight yet somehow it works wonderfully. We grew up in similar families, joined our church as adults, and we just "get" one another. Now if that isn't a sister, I don't know what one is.

Or Miss M - My peaceful doula friend who is different from me in parenting styles but would do anything for me or my children. She loves my kiddos as much as I do. She instinctively knows when I need a friend and has weathered my emotions with class and ease. She is constantly serving others and never takes offense. EVER. I would do anything for her. She is family.

Or RACH - She tells me I am crazy town. She goes on late night runs to Dairy Queen with me. Has no qualms about sharing how she feels about me - or anyone else for that matter. She embarrasses me in movie theaters with her theatrics. Yet she makes me laugh. Constantly. She accepts others for who they are and we share a lot in common. Who else will text you at midnight to see if you have seen the latest episode of Downton Abbey so she can discuss the newest scandal? She is a kindred spirit.

Or Auntie M, Auntie J & Gramma B - Three women I met scrapbooking who instantly put their arms around this mid-western native, invited me into their homes for holidays and adopted my children as their own. We have bickered over who takes up the most space on the scrapbook table, suffered through someone's snoring at weekend retreats (not to name names but you know who are you are!!!), seen many a chick flick together, and even crashed a wedding dance once. They have accompanied me along every good and bad turn in my journey of life and I have always known I have had family in SoCal as long as they are here. I sometimes forget that they aren't my sister/aunt/mother. I feel like I have known them forever.

I have other dear friends who did not make this list but are just as special - like Schloopy, Luci, Bea, KT, Sparkey . . . I just need to get to my laundry and don't want to lose the attention of all ten of my blog followers.

Bottom line - I truly believe God meant His promise that he would be on our right hand and on our left and that His angels round about to bear us up. That is why He gave us sisters - or in my case - friends. I hope that I bear these ladies up as much as they do me.

But if the while I think on thee, dear friend,

All losses are restored and sorrows end.

~William Shakespeare

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Rising Above

When we were at the beach this summer, a little 4 year old girl approached Elisabeth and her BFF. The little girl wanted to only play with EB's friend, and not Elisabeth. The conversation went something like this:

Mean Girl to my daughter: "We don't want to play with YOU."
Mean Girl to Elisabeth's BFF: "Come ________. Let's not play with THAT girl."

Then the two girls went off, leaving EB alone.

Elisabeth was absolutely heartbroken. She sobbed her heart out after she was unsuccessful at getting the other girls to play with her.

I was heartbroken myself. I know things like this happen in grade school and with teenagers but with preschoolers??? Already??? I am guessing this was traumatic for her because she has brought it up two or three times afterwards. . . "Remember when that girl wouldn't play with me?"

The sad thing is I know this won't be the last time. Experiences I have had this year have proved that people will do and say things that may be hurtful well into adulthood. With her heart being just as tender as mine, I have been pondering how I can teach her to let things like this roll of her back without affecting her. I am still learning this and though I can't protect her from heart break, I am hoping to at least give her tools to rise above.

Here are three lessons I hope I can teach:

Lesson #1: Rise Above. No matter how others treat us, we need to always treat each others kindly.

Lesson #2: Friendly vs. Friends. We should be friendly to everyone. That doesn't mean that everyone needs to be our friend. And there will be people out there who will not like us, for whatever reason. Just a fact of life.

Lesson #3. Leave it Alone. I have re-read this talk over and over and over these past few months. Forgiveness is a beautiful, liberating thing.

Elisabeth and me on her first day of preschool - Sept. 12, 2011.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


My baby boy is now ONE.

Like everything in my life lately, I am very emotional over the fact that he is one year old. I want him to grow, mature and experience all life has to offer. They only get better the older they get (especially when they are potty trained.) But I look back on this last year with having him as part of our family and I can't help but wish I could re-live this year over and over. I must admit there is the part of me that always wonders if I will ever have another tiny baby to hold. Did I cherish his infancy as much as I could? Will those late nights of lost sleep and baby's firsts be my last as a mother?

The way he entered the world was the most amazing experience I have had in my life. Hands down. In fact, I have wanted to have another baby from the time he was about 2 hours old. Luckily, God and Mother Nature know better but I can't WAIT to have another baby. If they are like him, I will take about five more, please.

He really brings such a gentle and sweet spirit to our home. Sure, he can pick on his sister like any other pesky brother and he has gotten a little attitude as of late (Let's face it, you need it a little spunk survive in this house. Glad he found his voice.) and boy does he get into EVERYTHING he shouldn't. But he has made the last year of our lives so much happier and full of love then we could have ever imagined.

Classic Carsten face lately. The sass is finally starting to emerge. He has a great teacher!

When we tried for 6 years to have babies, I always felt that there was this little blond boy with a kind and gentle heart that was going to join our family. Carsten is that baby. So honored to be his mother. I can already tell he is here to teach me a lot of things in life!

One word to describe him: Heaven.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Worth the money

I gave myself permission to go out and buy some new clothes once I lost ____ amount of weight.

On a whim, I decided to bypass my usual haunts - TJ Max, Downeast Basics and Old Navy, and head to the expensive mall in the area. For some reason I just wanted to not really think about how much something cost and buy it because it was stylish, made well, and fit me properly. (Which really goes against our family's frame of mind. I buy 98% of my kids clothes from 2nd hand stores or on clearance and I plan my meals around what is on sale at the grocery store.) But seriously. Don't I deserve a major treat for all my hard work? I am not talking about Armani or any of the designer labels I know nothing about but know the rich and famous wear. I just wanted to check out stores like Nordstroms, Ann Taylor Loft and JCrew. Expensive but not outrageous.

Call it a little experiment - Are expensive clothing really worth the extra cost?

I ended up coming home with this:

and this cardigan:

and this necklace:

and these hot-to-trot, you make me feel beautiful, I HEART you shoes:

I did bite my nails for a few days, dreading the reaction my husband would give when he saw the bill. So what if this one outfit drained my clothing budget for the next few months? I fell in love the moment I tried all of them on in the dressing room and there was no going back.

Let me tell you this. Nothing can compare to wearing modest, well-made clothes that are not only stylish but flattering to your body type. There is a MAJOR difference. I felt beautiful when I wore them (especially when I saw the look on my husband's face.). I know these clothes are classic and are going to last longer than one season. And more importantly, I am motivated to continue to eat right and exercise so I can always fit into these clothes. I better be able to wear them forever with the money I spent on them!

Unfortunately, I am in love with that difference. I wouldn't mind having less clothes in my closet if I could have only a few outfits that fit me this well and made me feel this good. Not that I will give up my frugal stores. I think I just want to adopt the "less is more" mantra and take my time finding clothes that fit and flatter me. Especially if I can find them on clearance.

Am I turning vain? Hmmm. . . I don't think so. I don't think I need these things to be happy or that what I wear determines who I am as a person. I rarely wear make-up, straighten my hair or get my nails done. I just like making the outside of me look like how I feel on the inside occasionally.

That is worth the money.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Weight Loss Secrets

30 lbs down, 10 more to go. Below my pre-pregnancy weight and slowly working off the last bit of weight I gained during my infertility treatments. People have asked me what my secrets are. Nothing revolutionary here. I have been consuming less and exercising more. Shocking, I know.

I focus on making lifestyle changes, eating high-protein foods and not depriving myself. I run three times a week and go to the gym twice a week. Bottom line - I make time to lose weight. I get up early to exercise and I attend Weight Watchers meetings. I think I deserve it!

Here are a few of my new food staples:

Try it with carrots and other crudites. Perfect snack.

I am not a breakfast eater but these hit the spot.

My friend Megan gave me the best tortilla soup recipe ever, chock full of veggies and topped with avocado. I don't know about you but everything tastes better with avocado. I make it almost every week. Filling. Tasty and even the kids like it.

Protein and calcium all in one little easy to eat stick. Score!

The coolest thing for me is that I am feeling GREAT. I have more energy, can get up earlier in the morning and don't really crave unhealthy food anymore.

Don't get me wrong. I still have a serious love affair with these two things:

And I do eat them. Sometimes every week. I love to treat myself when we go out to eat. The key is I just watch what I eat the rest of the week.

Forward I roll. Crossing my fingers I can drop the last of my weight by Christmas!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Simple Answers

Two of my favorite weekends of the year are General Conference weekend when we have two full days of having Lance all to ourselves, aromas of homemade caramel rolls and soup wafting through our house, and enjoying eight hours of listening to talks from the Prophet and leaders of our church that comfort my soul and inspire me to be a better person.

For reasons I can not explain, I have felt quite lost the last two weeks, plagued with self-doubt in my ability to mother my children, serve in my church, and in who I am as a person.

This weekend did not disappoint and I received simple answers to my prayers. Here are just a few:

Patience: Elder Hale talked about rising up and choose to wait upon on the Lord, saying "Thy Will be Done." He said "too often we pay for patience but we want it right now."

How ironic yet so true for me! Waiting patiently for patience. Now that is a concept! It is no wonder my three year old has frequently said the following prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father: Please bless Mama with patience.

My Path: The intermediate hymn was "I Will Go Where You Want Me to Go." The words of this song helped me to realize how to vanish my insecurities.

But if by a still, small voice He calls to paths I do not know,
I’ll answer, dear Lord, with my hand in Yours,
I’ll go where You want me to go.

I’ll go where You want me to go, dear Lord,
O’er mountain, or plain, or sea;
I’ll say what You want me to say, dear Lord,
I’ll be what You want me to be.

Here I have been so discouraged, unsure of who I need to be and how to be a better parent and the answer has been plain and simple. So plain, I can't believe it didn't occur to me earlier.

There is no question on how I should be as a mother or as a person. So many people have told me that they just follow their own morale compass. I always wonder how they determine what is moral and what is not. I struggle to decide for myself. I am so grateful to have the Savior to look for to my compass. I know if I follow Him I will not be led astray.

This gives me peace. The type of peace that I wish I could give to all those I love. Nothing can compare to the feeling that no matter what happens in life, you are being taken care, watched over and given a clear path that you can follow to happiness.

Friday, September 30, 2011


Two Sundays ago, Lance had a meeting with our Stake President. We didn't think much of it - we just assumed he was going to be released from his calling. When he came walking toward me after his meeting, his face ashen and sweaty, I became a little worried. We were both shocked to find out he had been called to be a counselor in our ward's bishopric. (The best way to describe that is a volunteer associate pastor over a congregation.) NOT what we were expecting at all especially since Lance is relatively young and there are so many qualified and righteous men in our ward.

I find it hard to describe how we have felt over these past few weeks. Humbled. A little nervous. Honored that the Lord has that kind of trust in Lance. This calling is a much bigger responsibility than his previous one and will require more of Lance's time, including more time away from our family.

More than anything, I am amazed at the Lord's hand in our lives. As we talked about his new calling and what it would mean for our family, I could not deny how the Lord has prepared our family, and specifically me, for this. Like in March when I was prompted to stop working. Or when we decided that we needed to really work on our family's spirituality in June - making sure Lance came home every Monday for FHE and that we read scriptures and prayed together every single day as a family without fail. Or when I decided just this month I really needed to eliminate unnecessary distractions in my life so I could be a better mother to my children. Or how just this month I have, after five years of my husband working, come to peace with the demanding schedule a lawyer must keep.

This is just another confirmation on how the Lord is all knowing and will never forget us. He knows us and what we will need. Whom He calls, He prepares. What a sacred and beautiful experience this has been for our family.

Now for me to survive sacrament meetings (our worship service) alone in the pew with my kids. I must publicly apologize now to our ward members. It may not be pretty but most likely entertaining.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Eleven at Eleven

Our baby will be a year in two weeks.  TWO WEEKS.  Where did the time go?  I have been putting off this post because writing 11 things that are unique to him this month was a little overwhelming, especially with the changes that happened in our family these past two weeks (post on that to follow).  I figure these pictures I took on his 11 month birthday speak volumes.  These pictures were all taken in about a minute.

Here are eleven things that give you insight into our Carsten:

1.  Busy, busy, busy.
2.  Obsessed with the toilet.  All water for that matter.
3.  Vocal.  VERY vocal. (especially if he doesn't get what he wants.)
4.  Dog tormentor and impersonator.
5.  Very well adept in hair-pulling.  Oh, sibling rivalry begins early.
6.  Obedient.  An eleven month old who listens when you tell him no?  Unbelievable!
7.  Over baby food.  Bring on the steak!
8.  Contagious laugh.
9.  Speedy crawler, beginning to stand on his own.  Take your time, buddy.  Walking can wait a few months.
10.  Gives open mouth kisses and real, bona-fide, arms-encircling hugs.
11.  Seeks out danger still.  On a daily basis.

Still completely smitten and adoring of this boy.  Can't even remember what life was like before him.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Sometimes it just hits you hard

I was searching through some of my fashionable friends' blogs last night, trying to get ideas for our Christmas cards this year (Lame, right?). One such blog had numerous posts about the blogger's mother. Posts of how special this mother was to her grandchildren. How this mother took girl's weekend trips with her daughters. How she is so much a part of her grown daughter's everyday life. What started as a exciting evening of clothes- browsing ended with me in tears.

I really miss this woman.

I miss her spunkiness. I miss her long-winded phone conversations. I miss knowing that she would always be on the other end of the phone if I needed to talk. I miss her giving heart. I miss her soft hugs and contagious laughter. I miss her arguing with me. Boy, did she ever argue with me.

I then think of this girl.

And how we are reading this together just like my mom read it with me.

How I can't wait for her to be old enough to watch this with me just like I did with my mom.

How she crawls into bed with me early each morning just like I did with my mom. How she says her favorite thing to do with me is make dinner just like how I loved to bake with my mom.

And the tears keep coming.

Along with the resolve that I am going to do everything in my power to stay healthy so I can grow old and be a grandmother to her children. I want Elisabeth to be able to call me up and say "Mom! I need your advice. . . ." and I will be there to give it and to tell her I love her.

Monday, September 12, 2011


I was thinking I was doing pretty good with my weight loss and was looking good. In fact, I had a dream last night I went to this store and bought a sexy black pencil skirt as a "reward" for being so good with my exercising and weight loss.  (Tangent:  Not that dream will come a reality anytime soon as I can't spend that much money on a skirt but it was a pleasant dream nonetheless.)

Then I looked at some pictures that were taken of me over the last month and I changed my mind.  I still have a ways to go. 

I am not discounting the fact that I have worked hard to lose 10% of my body weight these last 11 months AND I am back to my pre-pregnancy weight.  I also believe in the campaign of beauty - that all types of body shapes are beautiful.  I am a mother of two babies and will never be pencil thin.   My Nordic body is not built that way.  I also LOVE to eat.  I don't want to live a deprived life and want to be able to enjoy really good, tasty foods that I love most from time to time.

But I do know that I can still bridle my eating habits (eating a whole lb of Peanut Butter M&Ms is NOT exactly healthy) and make a more concerted effort to exercise on a regular basis.  I want to be healthy and have a healthy BMI and more importantly,  I want my children to form good eating habits and embrace an active lifestyle.

Nothing like seeing a documented picture of oneself to springboard yourself into 100% committment.  I even gave my beloved peanut butter M & Ms that I used as an object lesson in Primary yesterday to a friend.

Patting myself on the back right now.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Proof that social media has become an addiction for me. I decided Wed. I was going to take a two week hiatus from Facebook. In the last three days I have discovered the following about myself:
  • I have not made it one day without "secretly" logging into Facebook to see what is going on. I don't post or respond to other's postings so I am not really there, right?
  • I am DYING that I can't post to everyone that I scored at the Children's Orchard used costume sale, that we can stream BYU football games through the Internet for FREE, and that I had a fun double date eating Bundt cakes and losing at Hand and Foot with our friends Mara and Kurt. Because you all really want to know, right????
  • I feel a little isolated not knowing everyone's business.
Do they have Web 2.0 Addiction Anonymous? Because I need to join!

Ok. Tomorrow is a new day. Let's see if I can discipline myself.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Mothers Who Know

Copyright Beatta Bosworth
I received an inspiring "back to school" email from a friend tonight addressed to fellow mothers who would be sending their kids off to school tomorrow. It got me to thinking about this talk by Julie B. Beck - one of the leaders in my church. I remember vividly being only two months or so pregnant with Elisabeth and being brought to tears when I heard this talk. This is the mother I wanted to be to my little miracle baby growing inside of me.

I re-read it again tonight and promptly re-evaluated my life. The part that stood most out to me was "Mothers who know do less. . . They allow less media in their homes, less distraction, less activity that draws their children away from their home. . .These mothers choose carefully and do not try to choose it all."

I thought of how much time I spend every week doing things that take me away from my children and may be considered distractions: Checking Facebook, reading blogs, reading books, watching movies. Smart phones make being connected so easy. Not that any of these things are bad but I wonder how much time I allow them to take up in my life.

I am going to take a temporary hiatus from Facebook and also make an concerted effort to put my phone up whenever I am with my children. I am sure I will return . . . Just after I figure out how to be on a social network without it becoming too much a part of my life. I want to be a mother who "stand[s] strong and immovable for that which is correct and proper under the plan of the Lord" and does not miss out on important teaching moments in my children's lives. I want to choose carefully and try not to choose it all.

Post Script:
After posting this message I found the following articles online that may also be interesting reading:
Distracted Parenting - CNN
The New Distracted Parenting - The Huffington Post

Monday, August 29, 2011


I was IMing a friend on Facebook tonight who recently confided in me that she was struggling with infertility. As we were chatting about her recent visit to a RESOLVE peer-led support group, some funny and tough memories of the past came rushing back.

Like of how the summer after my first ectopic pregnancy I would come home from work, grab a bite to eat, shut off all the lights in my house and hide out in my walk-in closet watching episodes of Friends. I was avoiding people from church (who all had children of their own) who kept trying to visit me as I was heartbroken and didn't want to see anyone or hear their words of encouragement. Phoebe and Ross made me laugh and I could identify with the struggle Chandler and Monica were going through. That was probably the lowest point in my life. Ever.

I laugh at it now, though.

Then, after my second ectopic pregnancy, I was surrounded by young moms at church who talked about breastfeeding, epidurals, preschools, and about how they planned their pregnancies and I was literally about to break out my Friends DVDs again. (This time I only had a regular-sized closet so I considered using my tub.)

Not wanting to return to that dark, broken part of my life, I was inspired during a sobbed-filled prayer that I needed to find people who knew what it was like to want children desperately and not be able to have them. I googled "infertility support groups" and came across the RESOLVE site.

I joined a therapist-led support group and proceeded to meet a group of women who knew EXACTLY how I felt. We shared stories of heartbreak, horror stories of invasive doctor visits and treatments and our loathing of baby showers. We cried and laughed together. We supported each other and cheered each other on. No one understood the aching of our empty arms like we did. These women, and the many resources RESOLVE offers (peer support groups, adoption conferences, educational meetings, online resources), helped heal my broken heart.

I have nothing but the deepest gratitude to each of my RESOLVE friends. One has had a baby of her own. Four have adopted. Three others are finding peace in their lives - whether they live childfree or adopt is to be seen. Never again will I watch Friends in my closet. I will call them instead.

A few of my RESOLVE friends: Julie, Natasha & Michelle.
Not the most flattering picture of me, I might add. Taken December 2008.

Saturday, August 27, 2011


These pictures were taken in May for Elisabeth's 3rd birthday and Carsten's 7 month photos. I wanted to put them on my blog for all to enjoy because I can't help from looking at them all the time. My permanent motto in life now that I am a mom - Better late than never!

What beautiful faces! What personality! Am always amazed that I had a part in creating these gorgeous children. And it so fun to dress them! My poor baby boy is going to probably some day be embarrassed that I dressed him in such girly, vintage outfits. But they are VINTAGE and oh-so-sweet. And in my opinion, not in the least bit feminine. That is the truth and I am sticking to it.

(Special thanks to our talented photographer Beatta B. of BmB Photography. All of these images are copyrighted. Please do not use them without permission.)