Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Truly, Madly, Deeply

We bought these chairs  year and a half ago. I loved the look and scale of them but I just didn't love the fabric. They went well with the sofa that we had and I knew that I could reupholster them "someday".

Well when I found the couch of my dreams I knew that "someday" had come. Aric couldn't believe that I was going to mess with these chairs. He was actually going to let me sell them on craigslist and buy new ones. I was game but I still couldn't find any chairs that I loved and in the end it just felt like a waste of money. So I went and found some fabulous houndstooth fabric and took on these beasts.

Forty dollars and about ten hours later I now had the chairs of my dreams to match the couch of my dreams....

I am so happy to finally have this room put together. Yay!

Sunday, August 21, 2011


What I love about the gospel of Jesus Christ is that it is NEVER changing. His law, is THE law. Obeying God's commandments is the only way to have real joy and peace in this life. And when we do what he asks the blessings we get are so far greater than we ever deserve...

Clearly I'm not so great at being perfect. (just go read my post from a couple of weeks ago...btw, thanks for all the love on that one:p) Thankfully God doesn't expect us to be. He just wants us to be making our best efforts to do his will by keeping his commandments. (see I am learning)
One of the commandments that I work really hard at is keeping the Sabbath Day holy. Besides going to church, I make every effort to treat this day differently from any other day of the week. I don't go shopping. I work on family history. I watch programs that are geared towards Christ and family (thank you BYU channel for making this easy for me and my kids). I try to read only material that is focused on Christ and His teachings. I also will only play music that is uplifting and Christ centered. These things aren't hard for me (unless the Red Sox are playing and then I will sneak a peek at the score after the kids are in bed). The sweet spirit that comes into my home because I make those efforts is worth the worldly sacrifices.
I don't judge anyone else who doesn't do these things, I just know that this works for me. I need this day every week to really check in with my Heavenly Father. The other six days are so busy that just getting my daily prayers and scripture study in takes a huge amount of effort. So Sunday I give it to Him.
Most Sundays aren't super reverent by any means. Getting three kids ready for church and then sitting with them for an hour during our family service can be anything but reverent. Then after that service I get to teach the 18mos to 3yr olds for two hours. (I am the Nursery Leader in my ward. I have 30 children and 3 classes with 9 adults that I am responsible for) This is not play time people. This is teaching time. It is work and requires lots of love and patience. Not a ton of reverence but lots of blessings.
So here is where this post is going...
This Sunday I am all alone. Aric is in Oregon with the kids at my mom's for "Grandparents Week O' Fun" (aka: "fun for kids and that's about it" week). I was supposed to go but I was really feeling overwhelmed with life (tutoring all summer, lots of company, two big trips back to back, school starting two days after we get back, Maya going to middle school, Camden...need I say more...actually yes, I do need to say more, but I am saving that for the next post, Eden being swallowed up by the middle child syndrome, my lack of acceptance that I really am in the next stage of life...parent of pre-teenager, etc...)So Aric lovingly rearranged his schedule and took my place (my sister and I take turns staying there for half the week to keep the chaos somewhat in control).
When he first told me he would go I was in shock. I was in the middle of loading the washer when he casually said he would do it. I literally started to cry over my agitating washer. I was a little startled by my own reaction. Why in the world was I crying about this? 
At first it was because I was so happy and then it was because I felt so guilty for feeling so happy. Then I felt so loved by Aric for doing this for me that all of the sudden I felt totally undeserving. Then I was scared because maybe he wasn't being serious and I was still going to have to go!
He told me this the night before I was supposed to leave. After the kids went to bed I sat him down and asked him if he was really being serious and he told me that he could rearrange his schedule and that he knew I needed this so it wasn't a big deal.
This was a dream come true for me! The greatest Mother's Day, Birthday, Christmas, Anniversary gift he could ever give me. Six days in my house without the kids. 
*Not because I don't adore each of my children. They literally are my life...24/7...12 months a year. No day care to take them to. No office to escape to. My home is my office. I mean no disrespect to working mom's, that is a whole different kind of stress. I'm only trying to paint a nice picture of why this break was so precious to me.*
Aric and I have gone on vacations and I have a weekend every year that I get away for a little retreat, but to be in my house to get all the things done that I can never get around to doing is awesome! But even more than that is that, I have some serious time to reflect and get myself back on track. I had been running on fumes and now my tank is full and it's only been two days alone! My house is eerily still and a little too quiet for my liking, but I am using every moment thoughtfully. In fact right after they left on Friday afternoon I made a list of all the things I wanted to do while I had the house to myself (BTW..Aric gets home Monday night). 
Here is a sampling of that list:
Organize Guest Closet
Revamp the basement playing area
Paint kids bathroom and vanity
Reupholster two chairs
Get school shopping done
Organize my closet
Make garage functional again
Organize junk drawer #2 that used to hold Camden's bottles and such
Go through kids clothes
Make Maya a new scripture bag
Mend the stuff in the "mend pile"
You get the picture. Lots of random stuff that I just can't find the time to do on any given day. Well, I have to admit it was tempting to use today as a "get-a-ton-of-stuff-accomplished" day. But then I realized how many "soul projects" I could do instead. And being that it is the Sabbath and all, I decided to use today as the perfect opportunity to dejunk my soul and really have a reverent Sunday.
I had already made arrangements for a sub for my class so I went to my sister's church service. I got up listened to my church music, watched a morning devotional on the BYU channel, got ready for church, got to church early, and sat there in peace. As I watched the families filing in, I missed Aric and my kids. Although, it was amazing how much I got out of the meeting since I wasn't refereeing the girl's or dealing with C. 
Afterwards I went to the adult Sunday School class which was awesome. The lesson was on tithing and it made me think about all the blessings I have in my life because Aric and I tithe. I got to bear my testimony of it with grown ups and it felt great. Then I went to the women's class which was interesting. I liked the subject (temples), but I have to admit I was missing my crazy little class. 

My nursery class may not be the optimal place you would want to be to ponder or meditate, but I can promise you that the Spirit of God is in that class in abundance! He loves those little people and he wants them to be taught his gospel. Even if our lessons are only five minutes long those children are feeling the spirit and they are being taught. Our music time is my favorite and I feel the spirit every week when I teach the children songs about Heavenly Father and Jesus. Today I missed that :(
When I got home I did some family history research and then checked in with A and the kids. Which brings me to this moment, to this post. 
I needed this pause in my daily grind for many reasons, but the most important reason was that I need some alone time with God. I needed to spend some quality time with reacquainting myself with my Savior. I needed to keep the Sabbath Day holy and not give into my projecting impulse. Because I chose to honor the Sabbath...I have been shown my weaknesses. I have been called to repentance. I have been shown who to serve and how to serve them. I have been shown a better way to run my household. I have felt forgiveness and love. I know I wouldn't have had this experience, to this magnitude, had I not been observing the Sabbath so fully.
I know this feeling won't last. I will have to push the un-pause button in a few days, but I know how better to find it when I start losing it again. I'm so grateful for Aric recognizing how desperately I needed this. I know the spirit nudged him and thankfully he responded to the prompting. This is the first time I have ever been alone in my house for any real length of time. I know that this is not something I can ask for every year. But I do know now that I do need this, and even if it's for only a day or two I will ask for it and I will use that time wisely and make sure to give a chunk of it to God.
So now I am going to go for a walk, do some more reflecting and get myself geared up for tomorrow and all the projects that await me.

I had to post a picture of this dress I got yesterday for $12 at Macy's! I hate taking a picture of myself with a self timer so this is as good as it gets.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Don't Mess With My Kid

A few weeks ago we went to Manito Park while we had family in town for Eden's Baptism. I love this park, it's one of my favorite places to go with my kids.

We started out with a picnic lunch. Here are Aric and Leah bonding over Mello Yello.

The Japanese Garden

Monica was a great tour guide for Camden. She was even more excited about the koi pond then he was!

My step-dad Joe was showing off and jumping over the koi fish. Thank heavens he didn't fall and get us kicked out!

The Rose Garden

We took a couple of grandma pictures while we were there...the girls and my mom.

Here is one with Grandma Kathy, Aric's mom.

The best part about the rose garden was Leah telling the girls what would happen if you smelled each variety of rose...ex: if you smelled the Carribean rose you would someday go on a cruise. If you smelled the Spanish rose you would start speaking Spanish. Oh I wish I could remember them all, she was hilarious!

The English Garden

It was so hot! It felt good to sit by the spray.

The Splash Pad

This was the last stop on our park adventure. This is my cute little cousin Aby. She got to stay an extra day and hang out with us. She had no fear, she loved getting sprayed.

My girls got a little wet but they were more interested in the swings.

Camden loved running around watching everybody else get wet but he didn't like getting sprayed.

This is C, just standing there staring at the big kid waiting for the bucket to fall...

There were two water guns. The red one was lame, but the blue one could spray far and hard. There were two little boys who hogged it the whole time and they would spray anyone who would get close to them. They even sprayed my mom!

I was so annoyed because they kept spraying C. He wanted it so bad. I was waiting for some parents to intervene but no one stepped up. So after a while I took matters into my own hands.

I kindly asked them to let C have a turn. They weren't super excited at first but I strongly/nicely suggested that they give someone else a turn since they had been monopolizing it the whole time. They very reluctantly agreed that C should have a turn. As soon as I got my hands on that gun I let them have it!

I didn't realize that Aric was taking pictures! I love that he captured us giving those little turkey's a taste of their own medicine.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Confessions of an imperfect perfectionist

Being a perfectionist while being totally imperfect sucks. I hate being a perfectionist. I'm not sure when I became one. All I know is that I have been trying to let go of this part of my personality and it is not easy. I'm not even sure it is possible.

I don't expect other people to be perfect, just myself. Certain people in my life I do have high expectations of, but in the end I am forgiving of their short comings. I'm not so kind with myself.

(Just to keep things real. Here is a very imperfect picture of me. I didn't even do a mother's day post because all the pictures of me were hideous. But since I'm working on overcoming my perfectionism, I am throwing this one out there.)

My house is not perfect. There is always something that needs to be cleaned or organized. I go to sleep every night thinking about what I didn't get done that day and what I need to do the next day. I hate that it takes my kids 30 seconds to destroy a days worth of work for me. Everyday I struggle with letting go of my anger about the piano books on the floor and the milk being left out on the counter.

My body is not perfect. This is a battle that I have been waging since I was in seventh grade. SEVENTH GRADE! I am so over letting my body issues dictate my mood. Some days I am great at accepting this body of mine. Thick thighs and all. Other days not so much and I have to work very hard to be at peace with it. Being swim suit season is making it harder than usual.

My parenting is not perfect. Sometimes I'm too hard and sometimes I'm too lenient. Everyday I am seeking a balance. Each child is at a different developmental stage so the expectations have to be different. Keeping up with their needs is exhausting.

My wife skills are lacking. I expect a lot from Aric and I try not to get annoyed with his lack of cleaning and organizing skills but he is great at so many other things I need to chill. He is the only one that is allowed to see all of my imperfections and yet I have a hard time looking over his weaknesses.

My personal relationship with God is a roller coaster. I get lazy and don't do my scripture study everyday. My morning prayers are hit and miss. I try to serve others but sometimes I'm picky about who and what I do.

My projects, painting, sewing, upholstering, jewelry making, writing, etc...take longer than necessary because they have to be perfect. Even when I feel like I have done my best it is still so hard to look at the finished product and be satisfied. I know where a seam is crooked, or where a brush stroke isn't straight and it drives me nuts!

Literally, every conversation, weighs on me because I want to make sure it is "perfect". I want to make sure my words truthfully match how I feel. I want to be authentic. I hate being fake. I truly can't do it. It's tricky because in some situations it would be better if I could be fake. I worry that this makes me a bad friend sometimes because my close friends hear my thoughts and opinions unfiltered.

It's so ridiculous because on one hand I want the world to know that I am imperfect. I don't want anyone to think bad about themselves because they are comparing themselves to me. I hate feeling less than perfect and I don't want anyone to beat themselves up the way I do.

I've already seen these perfectionist tendencies in Eden and it worries me. I'm trying my best to teach her how to let things go. How to do her best and be happy with that. There will always be someone smarter, more talented, prettier, skinner, more organized, etc...if I can get her to realize that, then she will be a much happier person the rest of her life.

Great advice huh. So now I am trying to practice what I preach. It's Not Easy. I had a moment last week that gave me some perspective.

Eden and I were clashing...seriously clashing. Like bumper cars crashing. My patience was already thin due to the messy house and company that was coming. I erupted and yelled...I felt the spirit try to hold me back. I literally heard the words in my mind, "don't leave this room" (I was in the laundry room, Eden was on the stairs complaining and fitting), I chose to ignore them and went after her. She got a talking to like no other. No swearing or name calling just yelling. Ugly face yelling.

When it was over she was in her room crying. I stormed back to the laundry room and started to cry myself. I went up and talked to her. I told her I was sorry and explained why I was so angry, part of it was her but mostly it was me. We had a good talk and she quickly forgave me.

Later that night I had a conversation with Heavenly Father. I told him about how I hate failing as a parent and that I am not cut out for this job. It was just one more thing that I wasn't perfect at.

The next day while I was running, I heard Him speak to my heart through the spirit. I know that this may sound strange to some people but I know that God speaks to us. We can receive personal revelation. We just have to be open to hear His voice. I poured out my heart and he answered. He told me that he gave me the children I was supposed to have. As badly as I wanted more children and have my children closer in age, he knew me better. He knew that he didn't give the skills and patience needed to have more children and that was okay. My skills lie elsewhere.

This revelation was bittersweet for me. Yay that Heavenly Father knows me and took time to speak to me. Nay that I don't have the skills that other women have to mother more children. Yay that Heavenly Father accepts and loves me and doesn't expect me to be perfect. He knew what he made when he made me.

The spirit also helped me realize that being imperfect doesn't mean that I am failing. There are a few grades between A and F, and thankfully we are graded on overall performance.

Today's grades looked like this...

House...B-. I was going to give myself an A because it's the Sabbath so I don't stress about it as long as the dishes get done it's all good. But then I remembered getting after my girls because there were SIX wet towels on the floor in their bathroom. SIX. I was firm but not mean.

Body...A. I didn't even wear my spanx. I just wanted to be comfortable.

Parenting...B-. I made sure we were all ready for church in plenty of time so there was no stress. We had enough time that we could leisurely walk to the chapel instead of speed walk. We had good conversation and everyone was good at church. I took Eden with me to take dinner to a family who just had a baby and we had got lost but enjoyed our time together. I didn't watch shark week with them instead I worked on this blog post. That wasn't so good.

Wifey Responsibilities...C. I started dinner but Aric did most of it. We haven't had a chance to talk much today. I had him get up and get C breakfast so I could stay in bed. I am still working on this post instead of hanging out with him.

Spiritual Stuff...B. I didn't do my morning prayers but I made sure to listen to hymns as I got ready. I gave my lesson about how Heavenly Father has a plan for each of us to my nursery kiddos. I will read my scriptures and pray before I go to bed.

So all in all, today I give myself a B- and I'm okay with that.

I could pick my day apart even more and find the little things that I could have done better but I'm not. Instead I am going to end this post and go help Aric with the dishes.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Eden's Baptism

Eden has been waiting for this day for three years. Ever since Maya got baptized, Eden has be anxiously waiting her special day. She got to wear the dress I made for Maya, we just changed the sash to Eden's favorite color and added a flower.

Getting baptized is a big deal. Something we don't take lightly in our family. It's so important for my children to understand what it means to be baptized and make sure they are making the decision because of their own testimony of Christ not just because it's what you do when you turn eight.

I like to think that we have been preparing Eden her whole life by going to church, reading scriptures, praying and teaching her the doctrines of Christ's church. The past couple of months we have focused our scripture study and Family Home Evenings around preparing Eden for the covenants she was going to make.

I have no doubt that she was ready to make the commitment to become a follower of Christ.

One of the things I love about these special moments in life, is that is when our family really comes together.

My grandma isn't a member of my church but she won't miss a baptism or baby blessing. This means the world to me.

We decided to take this opportunity to take a four generation picture.

Tia Ines, Felipe and Manuel drove three hours to be here for only 24 hours! Yeah, they are awesome.

My brother Eric flew out from Portland.

Aric's parents and brother came out from North Dakota. It was the first time we got to meet baby Kohen.

Mom and Joe are always present at these special occasions. My mom made the dress Eden was baptized in. My niece Olivia also wore it.

Edee with my sister and her family. 

My cousins Monica and Leah came out from Utah. They actually stayed for almost a week. I LOVE THESE GIRLS!!!

My niece Zoe, flew out from Portland.

My Tio Marco and his family got off a plane from Argentina and then less than 24 hours later they were  here with us. 

Eden has been blessed with some very sweet friends. I was only able to get pictures with two of her friends that came...

Eden and Kate 

Eden and Kaylee

This was the program...

 Eden and I have been clashing a lot lately. Her eight year old complaining ways have been driving me crazy! It was so good for me to stop and focus on all of the reasons why I love her. She has such a compassionate heart. She wants to do the right things. I never catch her deliberately disobeying, in fact she is such a rule keeper she honestly doesn't know how to be sneaky. If we could just get the complaining thing under control she would be the perfect kid.

Eden loves Jesus. She believes that Jesus Christ is the son of God. She knows that she is a child of God. She knows that Heavenly Father and Jesus love her. She knows that keeping God's commandments will keep her safe and bring her peace and happiness. She knows that she can repent and live with God again.

Her testimony is simple, but it is hers. As the years go on she will understand more fully what the gospel of Jesus Christ means to her and she will have experiences that will strengthen her testimony even more. This is just the beginning of her spiritual journey. I am excited for her. I hope she remembers the spirit she felt that day. I hope she remembers the special moment we shared right before she went into the font. I know I will cherish it always.

I am so proud of you Eden Elisabeth!