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.