Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Proud Mamma

Remember how I told you about my super shy kid who had to go to the first ever shy kids class at her school when she was in first grade...this is the same kid who I lost sleep over starting junior high because     I thought she would get eaten alive. Well, I'm so happy to tell you that I have completely and totally underestimated her.

She has completely blossomed as a sixth grader. She has been nailing her classes and she just finished running cross country. She went from running the mile in 9:20 to 7:42! The best part of all is that she got nominated as Student of the Month!!!! Teachers and faculty vote on who gets it. She was one of six sixth graders that got it.

I am so proud of this kid...So. Stinking. Proud.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

What Doesn't Kill Us Makes Us Stronger

About a month ago, I was asked by my neighbor to be a guest speaker in one of her classes that she teaches at a downtown Jr. High. She wanted me to talk about my book and how I decided to become an author.  I accepted the invitation but made sure she new I wasn't a "real" author. Let's face it, I'm no Stephanie Meyers and I wanted to make sure she realized that I wasn't anything special. She still really wanted me to come so we set a date.

I was under the impression that there was going to be another speaker that day so I didn't have a ton prepared. The night before I ran into my neighbor at Home Depot where she told me that I was the only speaker planned for that day. I had the whole time! Yikes!

As we discussed in my last post, I am a talker. But I still didn't know how I was going to take up a whole 50 minutes just talking about my tiny little book. My neighbor had explained that most of the kids in her class are kids who are what you might call "at risk".  Most come from broken homes where parents are lucky if they have a high school diploma. She really wants to motivate them to stay in school and have the goal now to go to college.

Now at this point I am going to stop this part of my story and move on to the back story...this is when I might get a little "too real".

I come from a pretty dysfunctional background. It looks a little something like this...

- born to teenage mom
- bio-dad (whom I like to refer to as Sperm Donor) takes off when I'm a baby never to return, leaving my mom pregnant with a toddler and a baby.
- raised by a mean, abusive step dad
- watched that marriage disintegrate
- got married too young to a guy that had serious issues
- divorced by age 21

Who wouldn't be screwed up coming from that! (And that was the short version) Thankfully my mom was strong and chose to rise above the tragedies that plagued her own life. At the age of eighteen she found the gospel of Jesus Christ and joined the LDS Church. She did her best to raise her children according to his teachings.

I was blessed that those teachings stuck with me and helped me rise above the trials that came into my life. I was blessed to find Aric and we have created a wonderful life together. But our "happily ever after" has had some rough patches. Infertility, adoption, my mother in law's cancer...those have given us some pretty dark times. Our faith and love has gotten us through those times but boy do I have some scars.

So every now and then (like maybe once a year) I get frustrated about where I came from. I see people in my life who seem to have had it so easy. They grow up in a family that is intact. They grow up, go to college, meet a great person and get married. They decide to start a family and ta da! They have how ever many babies they want, when they want them. Not that they haven't had their struggles but when I compare them to what I have gone through it seems like I was dealt a way more crappy hand.

I found myself really feeling bad and mad. I was distancing myself from God because I was mad at him for giving me such a hard life. I just couldn't understand why he would make my path so thorny and give someone else such an easy one. I was jealous of my friends. I just couldn't shake the self pity feelings. I finally started to pray about it. I asked for some specific things and I just wasn't feeling heard. About eight weeks went by and I was getting really worried that I wasn't going to be able to shake it. That is when my neighbor had asked me to speak in her class.

Back to the other part of this story...

So as I sat there thinking about what to share with this classroom full of at risk teenagers my mind started racing. I totally felt the spirit guide my thoughts. My great grandma came to my mind, how she left everything in Honduras to come to the United States to provide a better life for her only son and his family. She sacrificed so much. Her life was hard. My grandparents lives were hard. My mom's life was hard. But every generation got a little better. Everything they did was to ensure that my life (and the lives of their other children) was better than theirs. And though my life was challenging it has brought me to this moment. This moment where I am married to a great guy. I am a mom with three beautiful children, who are growing up in a loving home. They have parents who are committed to each other and God. My children are growing up with the life I always wanted. I made the choice to rise above my circumstances. And ultimately that is why I wrote my book.

My book was not written for the world, it was written for my cousin. I wrote it for her, in hopes that she would learn from my mistakes and keep her on a life path that would allow her to look back with little or no regrets. That she too, would learn how to rise above what ever difficult times she would be faced with.

That is why I wrote the book. That is why I became an author.

I nailed my presentation. I showed them pictures of my family. I showed them pictures of me at their age, through high school, college days and now. I talked to them about my book but mostly I told them about me. They had lots of questions and I thoroughly enjoyed my time with them. The time flew by.

It didn't hit me until I was driving home, when a voice came into my mind and hit my heart like a ton of bricks...

"This is why I gave you the struggles. This is why it was so hard. So you can go and do what you just did. This is who I need you to be, and you are who you are because of what you've overcome."

The dark, ugly feelings that I had been feeling for all those weeks literally poured out of me through the tears. It was such a clear revelation. It was what I had been praying for and waiting for. I knew my answer had come. What I didn't realize was how much I just wanted to know that Heavenly Father was aware of me. I'm so dang needy that even though He has shown me his love over and over, sometimes I just need it spelled out for me and in this moment he totally delivered.

The other interesting thing that happened was how much compassion I instantly felt for everyone around me. It's like I was so blinded by my feelings of self pity that I could not see the needs of those around me. I felt so guilty for being so self absorbed. Of course everyone has faced their own battles. No one's life is free from trials and pain. There are people with way harder lives and challenges. I just let Satan get into my heart and mess with my head. There are many ways to destroy a person's soul, attacking their self worth is the first step.

I am so grateful for this experience. I learned so much from it, which is why I wanted it documented. It may be a little too personal. In fact I've waited a few weeks to write about it. I thought about writing it in my real journal but I feel compelled to put it out here, maybe someone else needs to hear this too.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Somebody Talks Too Much...

So the other day Aric and I were having a conversation. I'm not sure what prompted his openness and honesty but he told me that sometimes I talk too much and I tend to tell more information than necessary.

What?? Who me???

Like this was shocking information. The only shocking thing was that I didn't punch him in the gut for saying it to me!

It's got me thinking a lot though. I know that I am a talker. I quite enjoy a good conversation. I don't even mind a good debate from time to time. The part that got me was that I might possibly share too much.

So I've had something I've wanted to blog about, but now I'm afraid that it will fall in the category of "telling more than is necessary".

What is necessary? I mean I definitely have a thermometer of what is appropriate or not, because I know when someone crosses that line I feel weird...I think it more has to do with sharing too much of myself or my feelings. 

I haven't always been that way. For the first 23 years of my life I was very cautious about what I shared, how I shared it, and who I shared it with. I would go as far as being dishonest about something just to avoid sharing too much. It was a horrible way to live. Don't get me wrong, I was always feisty and if I saw an injustice being done or was in anyway being wronged, I had no problem saying something about it. In fact I was kind of known for my loud mouth, but that is different. It was more the deep feelings stuff. The stuff that might get people judging me, and where I came from.

At some point I decided that living that way was just too exhausting and it was way healthier for me to put myself out there and deal with the judgements and whatever else might come my way because of opening my big mouth.

What I have learned along the way is that I like being real. I like real people, who have real feelings. I like to think that because I am willing to put myself out there, other people are willing to put themselves out there too. There is always the fear of judgement or mockery, but in the end the love and support that comes from being so real makes it worth the risk. Just the idea that my openness might actually help someone else is also a huge part of me being willing to share so much.

In the end, this little blog of mine is for me and my posterity. The books that I make out of my blog are for my peeps to read. My hope is that they will get to know me, learn from my life's lessons and maybe even be inspired.

So if I talk too much...or share too much...well, I'm not going to apologize for it. It's who I am. Aric's comment does make me pause to make sure I'm not embarrassing him or my family too much, but honestly, he had a pretty darn good idea about who he was marrying when he married me. He just didn't realize my big mouth would have such a large audience one day!

Geez, now that I have talked so much about talking so much, I am going to have to wait to do that post another time...

*Let me give a little shout out to John Mayer for pretty much writing this song just for me...Don't worry John, I always say what I need to say...

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Take a Peek

I have come to the conclusion that every season of life is busy. Things never seem to slow down. I keep waiting for the magical month that things will calm down but I have finally accepted that it will never happen so here is a peek into our crazy busy life...


I went to Utah by myself to meet with BYU again about my book and go to the General Woman's Broadcast. (I will do a post on it) Then I surprised Aric with a trip to Utah by himself the very next
weekend! (I will post that one too)

Grandma Kathy Visit

We were so excited to have her come for a visit last month. It was so great because she didn't have to get chemo so she wasn't sick! We loved every minute we had with her.

Camden Starting Play Group

As soon as Camden was born, I knew I would be starting a play group co-op for him the fall he turned three. How we got here so freaking fast is a mystery...but here is my little play group guy. He absolutely loves his Wednesday mornings. There are five of us in the group. We have a theme and a schedule and we take turns doing it at our homes. It's so weird to have 2 1/2 hours alone every week. It makes errand running so much more enjoyable!

Chicken Cutting

This is so gross but I want it documented. I get a great deal on chicken breast but we have to buy it in bulk...40lbs worth. I split it with my friend Cami, it's only $1.49 and comes fresh from local farms. So we suck it up and spend an hour-ish cutting up nasty chicken. It's so worth it when I get to put all of this in my freezer.

Home Improving

Yes we are at it again. This time we are tackling our master bathroom and the kids bathroom. I spent Friday demo-ing, and Saturday installing four sink faucets. Only four trips to Home Depot and Lowe's...I hate plumbing! Especially when I've spent hours under these four sinks and on the last one, I drop a stinking wrench on my ear!

Mom Celebrating

We celebrated my Mom's birthday while she was here for a visit. She likes carrot cake but no one else does so I got her, her own special mini cake.

Middle School Adjusting

It didn't take Maya long to become an independent middle schooler. I walked her to the bus stop twice. The third day she had me walk with her until the bus stop was in sight and then she stopped and told me that was good enough. Then the next day she had found a walking buddy and she didn't want me at all. I cried...both tears of joy and sadness. Ahhhh...growing pains. We just got Maya's B+ and the rest A's! She even got an A in math, she has never gotten an A in math! We are so proud of her...

Soccer Saturdays

Both girls are playing this year.  It's been so busy! They each have two practices a week plus games on Saturday. The past three weekends we have had 3-4 games each Saturday! Maya decided that after a two year break that she wanted to play again. She has become quite the player. It is so fun to watch her, she is aggressive and she really understands the game.

Eden has also grown so much. This year she has discovered that she loves playing goalie and defender. This is her fourth season with her coach, the team has changed some over the years but this year has been the best so far because she has three of her buddies on her team. I absolutely love watching them play. It does make for a busy eight weeks but as long as the weather cooperates I wouldn't want to be doing anything else.

Trying New Things...Roll Making

So tonight I decided to tap into my inner Domestic Goddess and make rolls for the first time ever in my whole life. They turned out pretty good. Aric was so proud of me, this is so not my thing. I would love to say that I felt all euphoric as I served up my homemade rolls with my homemade chicken noodle soup but it wasn't really like that. I felt satisfied for sure, but I am so not Betty Crocker. I did pull out Aric's grandma's Kitchenaid, I'm sure Grandma Audrey would have been proud of me too.

There is so much more I still need to document and I will try to do better about it getting up on here. For now this little peek will have to do.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Life Lessons Learned While Potty Training

Back story...I started potty training the second week in September. The girls had just started school and I decided to dedicate all my attention to it. Well the first two days pretty much sucked like I expected they would, we had some success but Camden pretty much decided he wanted to be in control of the situation. He totally knew what he was doing it was so frustrating!

Well my dear friend, Cami, who has the patience of Job, and loves C, and wanted him to live to see his birthday next month, decided to offer the service of all service and take him for two days to re-jump start our potty training. She worked so hard with him and it paid off. I took over on day three and it was still hairy for the next four days, but here we are a week later and my kid is in undies! We have only had two days accident free, but we have entered the Only-Diapers-At-Night phase of life...WHOO HOO! It truly is a miracle. One more experience that has strengthened my kids' testimony of prayer.

So here is what I learned while potty training...

1. Embrace the inevitable...there are times in life that you know that something hard is coming. You see it, you hear it, you feel it deep in your bones. You pretend it isn't going happen, you hope that if you just don't think about it or talk about it, it will just go away. But eventually you have to acknowledge that it is happening and you just have to face it head on.

2. Having high expectations is the fastest way to get disappointed...keep expectations low people.

3. Recognize when you need help, and accept it when it's offered...I hate realizing that I need help, even more I hate asking for help. But sometimes it is necessary to humble ourselves and accept the loving service when it is offered.

4. Accidents happen...things we don't expect or want to happen, will happen without our control. Getting mad just makes people sad and uncomfortable. Learn to go with the flow.

5. Let yourself not just enjoy the little moments but celebrate them...dancing and singing at the top of your lungs is a great way to make an ordinary day pretty awesome.

6. When you make a mess clean it up right away...u have to take responsibility for your mess and don't just do a half way job cleaning it up. Do a thorough, deep clean.

7. Acknowledge your's so easy to go through an entire day and feel like you have done nothing of real worth, but there are so many little triumphs everyday that are so easily overlooked.

8. Find what motivates you...we all lack motivation from time to time. It's important to find out what will push you and keep you moving forward. From exercise to scripture study, I need motivation. It changes depending on what is going on in my life. (Found out today that Aric and I are taking a trip to Hawaii next month so that will be motivating my exercise!)

9. Patience is a virtue worth developing...this will be a life long quest for me. For me being patient means I am giving up control over something. I like having control of my life and relationships. I don't like waiting for things. What I have learned is that being patient will always be hard for me, but when I can be it is so much better.

10. Don't ever give up!...It's so easy to throw in the towel and say "FORGET IT!" But you have to remember all the hard work you've done and the waste that it would be to let it all go. Just the idea of starting over should be enough to stay focused on the goal.

(One of C's prizes for going potty were these "super hero" wrist bands. Thank you Dollar Store for having such fantastic treasures!) 

I am beyond happy that my boy is potty trained. When Aric and I decided to adopt, one of the first things that went through my mind was "Oh Crap! I have to potty train another human!" To say I have been dreading this task is an understatement. But now it is done. It truly is a bittersweet moment. I am grateful that I won't have to do this again, but in the exact same moment there is a sadness realizing that I will never have a baby again...until C poops his pants and then I remember that it really is a good thing.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


It's amazing what you can find on TV these days. One of my guilty pleasures is Hoarders. It's a show about people who hoard animals, food and other stuff. It's actually kind of disturbing and puts my OCD in overdrive, but I can't help myself. The best part is that my cousins enjoy it as much as I do, so when they were here for a visit we made sure to bond over Hoarders and dip.

Here is a good shot of us being disgusted/disturbed. 

I have to admit it's hard to eat when watching that show. I have to close my eyes sometimes, but it's like a car wreck, you have to look, you just can't help yourself! I do feel really bad for those people. Clearly they have an illness. I have actually made Eden watch an episode or two to show her what her house will look like someday if she keeps everything she ever makes, draws or writes. This year she gave more stuff to Goodwill than she ever has before. See Hoarders is changing people's lives one mini hoarder at a time.

*This song is hilarious. How could I NOT use it!