Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas Magic

We have a lot of Christmas Magic happening around here.  Every time the lights go on it's like they've never seen something so great for the first time.

I love looking at the lights on our tree and thinking about how Christ is truly the light of the world, my light in the darkness, that his love can shine through any darkness.  I love thinking of the lights of the stars in the sky that filled that night so long ago at a manager.  I also think of it as the Tree of Life and the lights as the fruit or the love of God.  I'm so grateful for all of our "worldly" reminders of Christmas that aren't worldly at all when you think about it.

Merry, Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 8, 2013


I visit teach 3 different women who have so much wisdom.  They are all older women who have many children and grandchildren.  I used to think that I loved talking to other moms who are in the same stage of life as I am.  I do love that.  But I'm so grateful to the older women in my life who are so willing to give me a little piece of a bigger perspective.

My mom, my grandmas, my mother-in-law, and the wonderful women that I have the blessing of visiting teaching...these are my breaths of fresh air.  It's wonderful to hear them laughing like crazy at the things I tell them and to have them tell me with so much love that it'll all be okay.  I love hearing the stories of their mothering.

My cute grandma gets laughing so hard that she cries when she tells me about one of her daughters who was a bit, shall we say, adventurous?

I feel so, so blessed for these wonderful women who are willing to share a piece of their wisdom with me.  For those of you who don't have the blessing to learn from those older than you often, search out the opportunity!  It will bless your life.


Once upon a time (read yesterday), a woman at the store asked me if my kids were twins.  Now, I understand that Eden is not THAT much bigger than the Little Buddy, but she was walking and Brigs was sitting in his baby car seat.  #crazystorelady.

I think I could make up a whole post of things crazy ladies have said to me at the store.  Let's just recall a few of them.  Now please note that I'm sure that these ladies are all very nice and were just trying to make conversation...but that doesn't mean I can't get a good laugh from it.

1. Many, many people ask me if I die Eden's hair.  This happened even when she was 2 months old.  Yes ma'am, I strap my child down and foil her hair...crazies!

2. Telling me that I make beautiful children and need to "get busy". 

3. Asking me why I had Eden in her carseat when she was 4 months old...the lady thought she could walk.  Everyone thought Eden was older than she was because of her hair.

4. Let's not even get into all the awkward things that people say to you when you're pregnant-including people who assume you aren't married and make all kinds of awesome remarks as well as the belly rubbers.

5. I could go on, but let's not embarrass all of the ladies that make my life at the store a hilarious experience.

So thank you, Crazy Store Lady.  When I think that maybe I'll stay home, you help me get out the door just to see what you'll say next.

Family Pictures

                                 Thanks to my sister-in-law, Dani, for taking this for us! 

Friday, November 15, 2013

it's so worth it

                 You know, some days are hard, but then I wake up to this and my heart gets to sing.

Morning spit up rubbed all over by those awkward little hands

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

the rantings of a tired mother

I'm not always the most patient mother.  In fact, I'm sorry to admit that by the end of most days I'm balancing on a very thin wire.

Any mother of toddlers will understand the rush of trying to accomplish any task with a deadline while your toddler is trying to crawl between your legs and is undoubtedly calling your name every two seconds (no...really.  Every. 2. Seconds) but never responds when you ask them what they need.  Somehow you trip on the 7 different toys that they have dropped behind you, in front of you, and to the side of you as you've been working.  Often you look over just in time to see that they've pulled a chair over and are beginning to pull the knives out of the block on the counter to "help" you.  At this point, the pasta boils over on the stove, the toast is burning, and the "said child" is reaching their little hand towards the stove to once again, "help".  As you are running to save the day, the baby starts screaming.  Not crying, mind you, screaming.  As in, "I am dying".  You run in to find that their leg is caught between the slats in the crib and by this time, you figure you may as well just let the toast burn to a crisp.

If you followed all of that, you'll certainly be with me on the next point.  Forget about trying to get out the door!  I told my husband on the phone today, "well, I just need to use the restroom and get the kids in the car, so we'll be there in roughly 5-45 minutes."  Those of you without children think that I'm exaggerating.  Those of you with many children are laughing at how naive I am. (You don't need to pretend. You are all smiling, remembering that it was, indeed, hard with 2 children, but you also know that I have no idea what is coming.) What could possibly take me 45 minutes?  That could be the post that never ends, so I'll just leave it at this.

Now, for most days, this is an exagguration.  Lots of days I fly out the door with grace and organization, my temper completely in check with a huge smile on my face and lots of excitement for our task.  But not always, not today.

Sometimes I think if I trip over another toy or have my toddler chant my name one more time, Nathan is going to have to take me to the loony bin.  If I catch my daughter brushing her teeth with toilet water (true story), or reaching her hand in her dirty diaper to clean herself, or drinking all of the water that she's been using with her water color paints, or throwing blocks at the baby's head so that he can play catch with her (all so common place it shouldn't faze me at all)...I'm going to TOTALLY LOSE IT!

I think to myself so many times a day, "I'm not good at working amidst chaos.  I need order to be productive."  "If my surfaces aren't clear, I can't work"  "If I can't move, I can't be productive".  I've been thinking about how debilitating those thoughts are.  I believe the scripture that tells us that our weaknesses can become strengths (Ether 12:27).  I thought about that scripture today as I had one of these thoughts fly into my head.  I am a person who functions well with organization.  And of course, the goal is to keep my house and life as organized as possible.  But I also know that children don't fit into that mold.  If I want a house spilling with children and happiness, there will be balls flying and paper airplanes zooming.  There will ALWAYS be toys in the kitchen and dishes in the sink.  There will be laughter and tears, and fighting, and singing. And that's exactly the way I want it.

So, if I want that, then I need to start working on my weaknesses.  I want to be the mom that can function with a million different things flying around me.  I want to keep my cool when kids are screaming and I've stubbed my toe on yet another block left by the kitchen sink.  So here's to the messes that my cute little 2 give me now, so that when the 27 come (please sense sarcasm) it'll be a breeze.  (Again, sense sarcasm).

Life as a mom will never be easy, but I think that in working on things and seeing moments like this as opportunities to grow and develop new talents, it'll be easier to see the joy in the process.

Perfect on days I'm not in a hurry, frustrating when I have a mommy melt down.

Adorable. But for purposes of this post, please read, "sticky hands from sucker find a way to touch the most expensive thing in the home before I can clean them off"

Friday, November 1, 2013


Isn't my parents' yard to DIE for right now?  So many memories playing in this backyard and using these two trees as our soccer goals.  Makes my heart hurt and smile at the same time.

warming my heart

  I love watching these two interact, mostly because I know that they knew each other in the pre-earth life.  Nathan and I felt so strongly that Brigham was waiting to come down and watching these two together, I finally know why.  They are too close to have waited longer, they missed each other too much.

Sometimes I watch their little bodies trying to figure life out-they know each other's spirits, but they're still trying to get used to each other's bodies.  If Eden walks into a room, Brigham lights up like crazy.  Eden calls him "Buddy" and "D-D" depending on how she's talking to him.  When she is taking care of him or playing with him she calls him "buddy". When she's trying to get him to do something (or stop doing something) she calls him "D-D" which is "Brigham" in Eden language.

She spends lots of time each day reading to him, trying to help him stand up to dance with her, giving him toys to play with (notice the picture above....that is her VERY special kitty cat, brigs is the only one that she lets touch it), she also lays on his play mat with him and patiently teaches him how to grab his toys, she "helps" him turn over, gives him "drinks" from her sippy cup, and tries to feed him anything she is eating.  (I have to watch this girl close, she's too caring for her own good).

I'll have to get more pictures up to remember how the two of them interact, but I just want to remember how it warmed my heart every time I saw it.

Fall is Seriously Beautiful

I realize that I grew up in this area, but having lived in Rexburg for 7 years, I forgot that fall here has changing colors and very little (if any snow).  I am basking in the beauty and LOVING this weather before I'll be trapped inside.  Nathan's sister and her husband drove up from provo area to come on a double date with us (babysitters fell through, so it ended up more like a double date with a 3rd, 4th, and 5th wheel-but still lots of fun).

Perfect Chaos

I have an obsession with looking at old photographs and video recordings.  I especially love looking at my parents' old home videos.  Maybe it's because I live close and my siblings are constantly telling me about funny clips they've found.  Maybe it's because watching those old things helps me realize that the perfect home life I remember was actually much more chaotic than I thought.  Maybe it's because when I watch those videos I realize that I'm human, just like my mom was.

I love seeing those moments of my mother, treading water in the chaos of her life as a mother of eight children.  I love sneaking peaks of those moments and getting insight into how she was feeling, what she loved and how she reacted.  It helps me realize that my mother knows exactly what I'm thinking and feeling.

I watch the videos often.  In every video I've watched there is some child crying or yelling, "mom, mom, mom, mom!"  In every video, there is my mother, as cool as can be amidst balls flying around her head and babies crying.  My mom has always had a gift for tuning out other distractions and focusing on what she needs to do.  When she was giving her attention to a child, the others needed to wait.  Oh, they'd still be calling her name, but I knew that when she turned her attention to me, she was all mine for as long as I needed her (within reason of course).

I love looking at those pictures and videos because my mom wasn't trying to pretend that everything was perfect.  Life was life and it was her life.  And that's what's so fun to watch.  I giggle and giggle as I watch things my sister and I made my little brothers do.  I laugh so hard and the doors opening and closing every few seconds when another one of us ran in or out.  I love that at moments, you can see in my mom's eyes that she was losing it, I love that it's simply us.

I think of how often we pose our children in perfect outfits, hair curled and spit up wiped.  We pose next to beautiful buildings or trees that we've never seen before and we try to capture a "moment" that isn't even real.  The moment a child looks away, the picture is "ruined".  Well I'm here to say, that I feel those pictures have a time and a place, but I'd really like to focus more on the real life situations that happen.  I want beautiful pictures of my kids in their pjs with cheerios stuck to their bottoms at noon.  I want pictures of them playing catch with dad in a "every-toy-that-we-own-is-on-the-ground-and-the-laundry-is-piled-on-the-couch" living room.  I want to capture the light hitting my daughter's bed with poop smeared everywhere, I want pictures of my children's books strewn EVERYWHERE in their room because they've literally been reading every single one and dropping them as they go along.  Goodness, I want to look back and remember the moments that drove me crazy and realize in the aftermath that it was part of what made my life so perfect.

Starting now, I will not only take, but display pictures that show my life how it really is.  When visitors come, they will know that I am a mother of children who don't ALWAYS mind, who pour bowls of cereal on their heads, who start crying when I tell them they can't have more ice-cream, who leak out of their diapers onto me the second before I leave to go somewhere.  My visitors will know that with me, they don't have to pretend to be perfect.  They don't have to pretend that they didn't change out of their sweats right before they came over.  I want my walls and displays to show who I really am, and only some of what I want to become.  I want my walls to show that motherhood is hard, and challenging, and draining, and lovely, and motivating, and worthy, and fulfilling, and beautiful.

I'll always take pictures of perfect hair, but those pictures will never be as priceless as the photos showing my perfect chaos.

Thursday, October 10, 2013


As many of you know, I've been interested in photography for a long time, but I never felt confident enough to go out and really do it.  I've been thinking of taking some online courses for a few months, but then came across an add in our county paper that advertised photography and photoshop classes at the high school for a much more affordable rate.

I decided to take both photoshop and photography and boy howdy am I sure glad I did!  I feel like because I am taking the two together I'm getting products that I'm proud of.  I'm learning to take great photographs (all in manual mode, I might add) and then know how to enhance their goodness in photoshop.  I Love It.  Love It.  Love It.

Here are a few pictures from this week's classes.  Our assignment was to find everyday objects and make them art.


My Hubby's Eye

Water Fountain Reflection-I LOVE the reflection of the wall tiles in the spout.
Hope you enjoy.  More to come!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

two birthdays...of sorts

This kid is 4 months old!  Can you believe it!?  He is still the most beautiful, happy and giggly child you've ever met.  He spends his days smiling and laughing CONSTANTLY. (Well, as long as he is in the same room as other humans.)  If I have to be in the other room, I just ask Eden to play next to him and he's happy as can be as long as she'll sit next to him.

Our doctor appointment isn't until later this month, so I'll post official stats then, but he's roughly 17.5 lbs (as good a reading as I can get with having to hold him on the scale.)

He wears mostly 9 month clothes, but sometimes 12 month stuff.  His legs are chubby as can be!  I really need to get a picture of all of his rolls that I just DIE over.  Nathan accidentally put him in Eden's diapers the other night and they fit well enough to keep everything in all night long- that shows you how chubby this handsome guy is.  We are just in love with him and feel so blessed each time we hear his delighted laughter fill our home.

In other news, this lover of mine turned 26!  I am so blessed to have him in my life and am constantly amazed by all he does to show me how much he loves me.  I am one lucky girl.  This man literally gives, gives, gives all day long and gives any extra time he has to make sure that I'm taken care of and get some time to myself.  I can't believe the sacrifices that he makes for me.
We spent his birthday watching general conference and his brother came down from Idaho so that they could all go to Priesthood session together.  Nate loves being with his family so it was the perfect day for him.

The next day, we celebrated with my family and tonight we even get to use one of his presents by going out to dinner and to the Jazz game together.  Might I mention how much I love gifts that are for Nathan but that I enjoy as well?  Okay...I LOVE them!   It's like a few of his T-shirts that are officially mine now because I've worn them so many times they just end up in my drawer.  This man sure puts up with a lot.

All in all, life continuous to be so good to us.  We spend our days laughing hysterically at things that Eden says and staring in amazement at our two miracles.  We've dreamed about this for so long and sometimes we just look at each other and can't believe that we are truly living our dream.  Life isn't perfect, it never will be, but we have so many things to be thankful for. We are especially thankful for the power of prayer and the guidance that comes from the Holy Ghost as we try to figure out this parenting thing.  How grateful we are to know about the Plan of Salvation and our role as parents on this earth.

One of my new favorite songs to sing to the kids is "I Lived in Heaven" from the Primary Children's Song Book.  I don't know how I ever missed how significant that song is.  It completely outlines why we are here and how we can get back to our Father in Heaven.  I am amazed each time I sing it that I have the privilege of knowing those truths and for the direction they have given and will continue to give me in my life.  I hope that my children will sense as I sing that how much their Father in Heaven loves them and how much he wants them to return to him.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Dear Stacy and Clinton,

Picture from
 I've watched "What Not to Wear" for years.  I've watched you tell a million mothers that it's totally practical to look nice and wear expensive clothing during day to day life.  I appreciate a lot of things that you've said.  I try to make sure I look nice when I go out in public, but when I'm at home...that's my zone and no one can tell me that wearing $100 jeans and a silk top is practical.

I'm wearing my third pair of pants for the day.  Yes, the third.  Luckily, my son didn't sleep last night so we got a late start and I was still in my sweats when my daughter sat on my lap and pooped on me.  I'll tell you one thing, if I had been wearing nice clothes, that combined with no sleep might have sent me over the edge.  But, because I was in my sweats... no biggie.  I simply changed into another pair of sweats, and good thing because 2 hours later, my daughter's peanut butter hands somehow found a way to rub my pants and smear the loveliness all over.

So thank you for encouraging us mothers to care for ourselves and take time to feel and look good.  I will always appreciate that advice.  But I will also never feel bad for wearing my sweats around the house so that I can remember that my baby is more important than worrying about the spit up on my shoulder.  There may come a time when dressing a little nicer at home can work, but when sticky hands from dum-dum suckers and poop leaking diapers and throw up going everywhere but the toilet is my every day story, I'll continue to dress comfortably enough to sit Indian style on the floor reading stories and casual enough to not care when a glass of spilled milk goes directly on my lap.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

learning patience

If there is one thing I've learned being a parent, it's that kids have their own ideas about when they should learn things, and it's really in your best interest to follow their lead on that one.  If you try to force them into a new stage too quickly...good luck!  If you try to stop them from achieving a new milestone...good luck!

We're beginning to run into a "slow down!" milestone around here.  This girl has decided that trying to go potty is a great thing to try right now.
While some of you might think I'm crazy for wanting to wait, (seeing as I have two in diapers and goodness knows that's not a cheap endeavor) I can assure you that right now is not what I was planning in my mind.  (Shame on me for once again thinking I can control things like this!!!)

We live in a small rental with carpet everywhere.  Yes, everywhere.  Bathroom and kitchen included.  I ask you, where do you have your child run when they have to go potty in a house with no where that is, shall we say, "spill proof"?  I might just resort to putting her potty in the tub and making her jump in every time she has to go...hahaha. 

I had really hoped to wait until next May when we'll either be moving to a new house, or a different rental that has more child friendly features in the kitchen and bathroom.  But, when a toddler tells you they want to go potty, the worst thing you could do would be to try to dissuade them.  So, this is what our house looks like today...

So far, she hasn't gotten to the potty soon enough to make it in, but she's learning to start running there when she has to go.   Most of the time it's when #2 is half way done and she looks at me, startled, and yells..."poop!" Then she makes a beeline for the toilet.  So, she's still in a diaper, but after running to the toilet at least 5 times in 2 hours and having to deal with taking the pants on and off, we opted to make the process a little easier.

Here's to learning a little more patience and beginning to let go of my "plan, plan, plan" personality.  (I think I have learned that lesson every single day since becoming a parent almost two years ago, but it's still hard for me to swallow.)

And now, a few pictures for your enjoyment.

Every night when we get into our PJs, as she's taking off her shirt, she leaves it like this on her head and proudly declares.."hat!"  Every. Single. Night.  I can't let this stage pass without remembering it.

Ahh!  I can never get over those eyes of hers-absolutely no touch ups on this one.  That's all her.  Don't mind the rash around her mouth-little food allergy folks.  Here she is rolling her eyes because I asked her to pose for another picture.  I've been wanting to get an eye roll on camera FOR EVER!  I have no idea where she got this from because I've never seen Nate do it, and he says I don't.

Acting like a baby.   Every once in awhile, she climbs onto my lap and wants me to hold her like I hold Brigham-and of course, she has to suck on her pretend bottle. 

She has a current obsession with money.  So every once in awhile, I get some change out of my wallet and let her play with it.  Occupied her for 20 minutes.  I can get a lot of house work done in 20 minutes!

I let her pick out this treat bucket at the store the other day and she has carried it around with her EVERYWHERE since she's had it.  Every few seconds she says "trick-or-treat".  You can bet she'll be ready when the time comes.

The child is still trying to get teeth. 

She didn't want to take any more pictures, I persuaded her by telling her I wanted to get pictures of her "puppy" and treat bucket.  This is her best pose when she wants to be done.

Some people stick out their tongue when they concentrate.  Not Eden.  No, she looks really concerned and purses her lips.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Brain Teaser

I used to love when my elementary school teachers gave us little brain teasers.  Some of my favorites were little pictures that depicted well known phrases.  For instance, guess what phrase is illustrated by the following picture.

       Answer:  Read between the lines.  Okay, now that you've had a bit of practice, take a look at a teaser that yours truly created... I think it depicts my life pretty well right now.  I'm thinking of making a printable to frame with this little teaser...

That's right... 2 under 2

toddler bed phase one

This last Saturday, we set up the toddler bed for the smallish child.  I am NOT ready for her to be in the bed yet seeing as she can open doors and she won't stay in bed.  So right now it's set up in her room and we just do a lot of talking about how she'll get to sleep in her big girl bed when she gets bigger.  This will be quite a process seeing as I'll need to get her to stay in that bed, leave her crib empty for a little while and then convince her that the crib is now Brigham's-a process that will take months.  Good thing I'm not in a rush to get Brigs into the crib right now.

For now, she loves simply spending time on that wonderful thing.  The day we set it up, she literally didn't leave the bed.  She would get off to grab a toy or book and then get right back on.  A few days I've let her take a nap there but our rule is that if she gets off the bed, she has to go in her crib and she always gets off (to get a toy).  So she always get's put back in her crib.  This is fine for me.  It gives me a chance to start teaching her to stay in her big girl bed without any harm to me.  She normally gets off her bed within the first 5 minutes of going to sleep, so I just plan that in and don't start anything until she's in her crib.

She was very insistent that the picture of the temple go right there.  I'm not going to fight her on wanting the temple right where she can see it.  **Cue letting go of my OCD tendency to have things look just so in a room**

Singing Away

About 700 mosquito bites on her arm.  Mother of the year right here.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Free Baby Food: Yes Please!

As many of you know, baby food is rediculously expensive!  While it's super convenient to open a jar and shovel it in the mouth of a hungry baby, (and believe me, I'm not above that!  Sometimes it's totally worth the convenience) it can save so much money to make your own baby food. 

Now, I have two children under two and seeing as they are still on different nap schedules (working on that one folks) I don't have a lot of time to whip up tons of baby food. Enter the brilliance of my new food processor.  Nathan and I have been married for 3 years, and I finally used up the last gift card we were given in order to buy it.  It was well worth waiting that long.  I have used it SO much-and it makes whipping up baby food a BREEZE.

I also live in a small rental right now and the fridge is a small size.  Meaning, I don't have a lot of room to freeze tons of homemade baby food.  So, because I don't have a lot of room to freeze the food, and I don't have time to be making tons of brilliant recipes, I've simply made it out of some things that would have gone bad had I let them sit.

Over labor day, when we were helping my sister and brother-in-law on the farm, they sent us home with a bunch of green beans.  We ate some for dinner the next few nights and still had a bunch left that would've gone bad before we ate them.  Enter baby food idea.  I simply threw them in the food processor with a little olive oil and salt and pepper to make it delicious (babies deserve good food too, you know), poured it into ice cube trays, froze them, and put them in zip lock bags.  In about 10 minutes of work, I now have 42 meals of green beans for Briga-bud.  That's about 21 jars of baby food and roughly $10 saved.

Then, my neighbor brought over some peaches from her tree. Once again, we ate a bunch, but they were going to go bad and I already made a ton of canned peaches with my mom, so I decided to simply make some more baby food.  Using the left-over 8 peaches, I got another 38 meals for the wee one.  That's about 19 cans of baby food and another roughly $10 saved.  You don't need to add anything to peaches, but I had some applesauce that had been in the fridge for awhile, so I added that which helped it stretch a little farther and it will be more fun to eat:).

Also, as I have been teased for, I'm an obsessive label-er.  Obviously this is baby food (when was the last time you froze food for yourself in ice-cube trays), but I couldn't help writing it on the package-it's like a disease with me;)

I can't wait to bust these out in the next few months to see if Brigham loves them.  If he doesn't, I didn't spend any money, so no harm.  If he loves them, that's $20 and time running to the grocery store saved.  In my eyes, it's a win/win!

Thank you, thank you to those of you who so willingly gave me your hand grown delicious food.  We loved it and hopefully Brigs will too!

Friday, September 20, 2013

photoshoot attempt #2

While this shoot had just as many laughs as the last one, things went much better.  I followed my own advice, relaxed and simply let the kids act and pose the way they felt comfortable, and I think you'll see that we were a little closer to success.  Enjoy!

Disclaimer, this photoshoot was unplanned.  Thus, they are both in their PJ's and it's about 10 minutes before bedtime, but the lighting was beautiful and my finger had a hankering to push the capture button:)

I love getting totally unplanned things recorded.  This wrestling happens every day, but I hardly ever think to pull out my camera and capture it.  How I will treasure this picture in years to come simply because I pushed the pause button on something that happens daily.

 Couldn't you just die looking at those adorable chubby toddler hands?  I love noticing the little things and clumsy toddler hands are some of my favorite things.

This smile is reserved only for her daddy.  And what could be better than posing on a tree stump that's just her size!?  She did anything I wanted her to do as long as she could sit on that tree.  I'll take that compromise any day!

Like I said above, it's the little things for me.  I love that he's drooling out of the corner of his mouth.  I think many photographers would take that out, but it's part of who he is right now, and to me, it's endearing.  I don't want to take that away and forget how often I had to wipe that adorable mouth of his.

I love getting these two together, because sometimes I forget how big Brigs is.  I mean, hello.  Almost 2 year old and a 4 month old.  She had to try really hard to sit up so he wouldn't push her over.  That's why she's laughing so hard.  Also, don't you just melt over the super awkward placement of her hands?  She's trying to hold him, but she isn't sure how.  I LOVE IT!