Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Cherry Blossoms

I'll just come out and say it.......I have a cherry blossom crush.

I know that sounds absurd, but....... if you were to experience their sweet blushing petals and intoxicating perfume, I think you'd be smitten too!

When I was 26 years old, I was given the opportunity to work in Japan! Yes, Japan!!! Oh the dreaminess, the independence...the adventure! But it wasn't to be.

Somewhere inside I knew the desire to frolic in my carefree singleness beneath those Japanese cherry trees was not going to happen. Life had something bigger and even more adventurous in store. The closer it got, the more certain I became. I needed to stay home.

A few months later I was engaged!

Someday I will introduce my true love to my crush. Perhaps we'll grow cherry trees in our yard, and every spring I will fill vases with their blooms and fill our home with their glorious aroma. Maybe we'll take an exotic trip to Japan and frolic in our togetherness beneath the Japanese cherry trees. Or.... perhaps both.

If you love cherry blossoms as I do, you must check THIS out! won't be sorry!

Color Splash

I am longing for spring! We caught a short glimpse of it during this last week, but woke up to a few inches of snow again this morning!


I know it will return soon though, and I am anxiously looking forward to the leisurely walks with my babies, and camp-outs on the lawn. I'm dreaming of lazy afternoon picnics and warm starlit nights.

I have a gazillion projects up my sleeve that I am itching to start and hope for a few consecutive days of warmth so I can work on them outside!

A couple of weeks ago, I enjoyed a long ride with my Mother-in-law and three of my Sisters-in-law! We were traveling up for another sister's bridal shower, and the trip was filled with the most inspiring and uplifting conversation! It is so easy for me to fall back into my ruts....those ruts I have worn into my soul through years of laziness and bad habits. Even when I feel inspired to improve and change, I always seem to fall back into my rut. But on this day, we talked and discussed and validated each other in that wonderful way only women can do for each other. It was beautiful and meaningful and I really really appreciate and love the family I have married into!

My Mother-in-law made a suggestion to solve one of my problems. She suggested that I keep my kitchen table set with dishes all of the time. I should always have it ready to use for a meal, that way it will be so much harder to cover it up with mail, paperwork, coats, diaper bags, this, that and the other....pretty much rendering it useless for what it was intended for.....meals with family!

I loved her idea, and while I was at Wal-Mart, I found these cheap, but darling plastic dishes that were just perfect, so....I bought them, and yes, they have made all the difference. Not only have they added a splash of color, but a feeling of order....a much needed order. And they have lifted me out of my rut!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Swifter, Higher, Stronger

Several times in the last two years, I have taken a long long look at the beauty that surrounds me! I feel a great sense of gratitude and peace when I contemplate my life and all that it has become, but there are also moments where I wonder what I have gotten myself into. Let's be honest.....being a mom is hard.

Motherhood is a race that I am winning time and time again. By winning, I don't mean that it is always accomplished gracefully or that it is even how I intend it to be....I mean that at the end of the day, be it long and tiring, or filled with light and happiness, I get to stand on the winner's platform with my hard earned metal proudly resting near my heart. I get to close my eyes and hear the anthem of my home play in the laughter of my children. These kinds of metals are hard earned....they are fought for in the battles of daily life. Motherhood is far more magnificent than we realize.

It is heart breaking and heart building.

Making it through another day of messes, whining, near choking disasters, spills, crying, messes, short naps, teething, sticky fingers, bad dreams, messes, tantrums etc......makes me a winner! We can't hang our heads in shame when we come out of it with our heart's still in tact and our homes still standing. We get to create lives, mold lives.....and sometimes even save lives!

We are hero's.....all of us.

Tomorrow will be another starting line....another stretch....another wait for another chance.....another win.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Not Pretty Folks

Am I alone here?

Really....I'm starting to feel like the only one who can't figure out how to function on night after night of 2 or 3 hours of sleep. I know Mothers have been experiencing this for decades....centuries even, but I feel wimpy and handicapped. I feel myself wilting.

It isn't pretty.

Lately it has been a constant line up of sleepless nights. Getting up in the night over and over and over, and with each howling cry of a child in a distant room, sleep scurries off to a dark corner leaving me awake, confused, and disoriented once again. Being pulled out of sleep over and over feels like the worst form of torture. I don't know whether to feel pity for myself or burst out laughing at the insanity of it all!! It feels like one of those tragically funny movies where someone keeps getting hit between the legs or running into doors! You think that sooner or later it will end, but nope.....just another fall, face first in a mud puddle.

The other morning I was so frazzled and exhausted that I yelled at my baby who was crying on the bed. I yelled at her! This poor little adorable girl, with unmet needs got yelled at, simply because I felt tired and couldn't handle one more minute of crying, at least not her crying......because when Tyler came running in, I too burst into tears.

It wasn't pretty.

Thank goodness last night was a little better, and I got a few consecutive hours of uninterrupted sleep! It did help, but unfortunately not enough. The babies are asleep now, which means I need to hit my knees with a plea for rest and then jump directly into bed.

Wish me sleep....I so desperately need it!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Baby Whisperer

My mom was born to be a grandma! Of course she was born to be my mother as well, and there is no doubt that the many hours spent loving and nurturing her own babies paved the way for her new love.....grand-motherhood!

My mom has a gift. She has become known in our family as "The Baby Whisperer". It is a hallowed and revered title.

Somewhere in the mix of her patient gentle way is a key....a golden key. The key that unlocks the secrets to soothing, lulling and loving a baby into the most peaceful sleep known to man. She places them on her chest and they nestle into that soft, warm, perfect place to dream.....and dream they do!

My babies have experienced her beautiful magical ways through countless expressions of love.

Each of her grandchildren feel exceptional in her presence! They clamor for her love and attention.....they know that grandma loves them, because from the day they were born, love has been whispered into their tiny ears, it has been pressed into their soft warm cheeks and burned into their tiny trusting hearts.

I am realizing now, that it is from HER that I have learned love.....every snuggle, kiss, and gentle word I give to my babies was once given to me....from her.

Mom, thank you for working your magic in our lives! Your love and gentle influence is a greater gift than you realize...a gift that is growing in me now, and will someday be whispered in the tiny ears of my grandbabies as they peacefully sleep in my arms.

Thank you!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Good Reminder

My friend Heather had this posted on her blog today. It is a timely reminder for me. I so easily get confused and forgetful about what I should REALLY be doing. Hopefully it will help you to read it as well!

"When we put God first, all other things fall into their proper place or drop out of our lives. Our love of the Lord will govern the claims for our affection, the demands of our time, the interests we pursue, and the order of our priorities."

-President Ezra Taft Benson

United State of Pop 2009

There is this guy....DJ Earworm, and for the past few years he has put together a mashup of the previous years top 25 hits!! Emilee and I discovered the 2009 mashup early in the year and have been groovin' to it ever since!

We suggest you check it out. Let you your hair down and dance!! It's good for the soul!!

It really is amazing how he combines all the different songs into one cohesive mix! We usually just listen to the audio, as there are some images on the video I don't really care for, but I must say DJ Earworm has provided hours of fun and excitement at our house....thanks man!

You can go HERE to see ones from previous years. The 2009 is our favorite!!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

March Mother of the Month

This month I am featuring my friend Andrea Middleton!

Tyler met Andrea years ago while attending EFY and has maintained a friendship with her ever since. She and I became friends on Facebook, and have developed a friendship through sending messages and reading each others blogs.

Andrea! I can tell you are an awesome mother to your incredibly gorgeous girls. You carry a light that is visible even from a distance and I feel fortunate to be among your friends. Your supportive thoughts and comments have meant a lot to me over the last year, and I look forward to getting together in the future!

1. Age - I am 33

2. Number of children - I have 2 beautiful daughters; Jinger is 3 and Avery is 2.

3. Your secret weapon (a good tip for raising children) - My secret weapon… I’m not sure I have a secret weapon but when I get frustrated I try to step back and remind myself that my girls are a gift and a blessing and that it’s my job as their mother to raise them up in love. It immediately calms me down and allows me to take things moment by moment.

4. Your favorite go-to recipe - Check HERE

5. Personal thoughts on Motherhood - Motherhood is the best thing that has ever happened to me. It is truly a miracle to wake up each day and know that I have 2 girls waiting for me. Every smile, hug or laugh is a reward. It’s defiantly a work that is always in progress. And it’s easier when you don’t expect perfection and you take it one day at a time.

6. Favorite Movie - I don’t have a favorite. I usually enjoy romantic comedies. Princess Bride, Lost in Yonkers and Anne of Green Gables are up there too.

7. Favorite children's book - I have been collecting children’s books for years and I love them all. I have over 200 (probably way too many =0) I don’t think I could narrow it down to just one. I guess my favorites are ones with beautiful illustrations and great messages. Max Lucados books come to mind.

8. Your definition of happiness - My definition of happiness; laughing with my family, watching my children discover new things, night time prayers, fresh air, long walks and holding hands, good friends, working hard and reaching your goals, being loved and loving back, watching the sunrise/sunset, sitting in front of a camp fire, a good book and sweats on a gray day, making pancakes together as a family.

9. Your favorite quote - "Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take,
but by the moments that take our breath away."


"I can't change the direction of the wind,
but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination."
Jimmy Dean

10. Something you learned from your mother - Something I learned from my mother is to reach beyond your comfort zone. By doing this you will find your hidden talents, do more than you ever thought you would, and grow into the person you were meant to be.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Cadiz Mugs

I am aching for these mugs from Anthropologie! They come in four different colors, and I want one of each. I love the surprise waiting at the bottom of the mug! And the little bloom on the handle....just sweet.

I picture my family on lazy Saturday mornings, laughing and chasing through the halls with tickles and squeals. Bacon and pancakes wrapping us in their comforting aromas. We will be drinking our orange juice out of these cheerful mugs and toasting to things like health, wealth, sunshine and....of course.....bacon!

The Par-tay!

On Saturday my sweet husband let me sleep in, which was very very much appreciated, but when I awoke and saw that it was nearly 10:00am, I was a tad bit shocked and a wee bit stressed knowing that in only 3 short hours the guests would be arriving for Emilee's birthday party!

I jumped out of bed, threw on the clothes I wore the day before, and got to work finishing up decorations along with Mikey's help (thanks Mikey), baking, chopping, cleaning, and setting up!!

In case you weren't aware......I love parties!

It was fun having family all jam-packed into our cozy little house, and as we all snacked on "kid friendly" foods, we laughed and loved and celebrated our little Emmy-boo! The menu included mini pigs in a blanket, peppers and hummus, bananas and apples, tater tots and daddy's "special tot sauce", and yummy yummy red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting!

She loved her cupcake and insisted on blowing out the candles before we could finish singing to her!

She and the other children were covered in Kool-aid stains....oops! Sorry Mothers!

Here are some of the decorations! So fun!

She wanted to play with each of her gifts as they were opened, making it a long torturous process for all of the anxious cousins waiting and watching!

Everyone was so generous! Thank you all for coming and making the party fun and special!


It's Monday! We had a wonderful weekend full of family and celebration! I'll post more about that soon!

I'm really excited for a new opportunity that I've been given to be a Contributing Editor over at! I will be contributing to their "Honoring Womanhood" section.

You can check me out HERE!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Spoiler Alert

I've been thinking a lot about my behavior as a mother. I've been pondering and wondering about the whole idea of "spoiling" a child.

When my sister's baby girl was born, she brought her out to the desert(where I live),and for a couple of days I got to hold her and love her and breath in her glorious freshness. She was perfect and so dependent on those of us who adored her and held her fragile, little roly-poly body.

One of our well meaning relatives kept saying we needed to stop holding her so much. We were warned that holding her all of the time was spoiling her, and soon she would expect to be held all of the time!

Something about that didn't settle well with me. I couldn't figure it out. I had heard things like that all of my life, and for the most part, I agreed. Nobody likes a "spoiled child", and I certainly didn't want my precious niece labeled in that way, but, somewhere inside of myself I knew that there was no way to "spoil" a child with love. It just wasn't possible.

In order to spoil, or ruin a person I think neglect has to be involved. If we are neglecting our responsibility to teach our children morals, manners, boundaries, rules, common sense....things like that, then we are spoiling them.

In our home we bounce on beds, jump on couches, take long abundant bubble baths! We make big messes! We sing and play and make lots of noise. Treats are handed out almost daily! Silly, frivolous requests are granted. Baby cheeks are kissed until they are chappy and because of this.....happiness abounds!

To those gasping in horror, I do recognize that there is a balance required. I am teaching Emilee that while we may jump on couches at home, grandma or the neighbor may not allow the same behavior and that must always be respected. Sometimes I fear we don't realize how capable they are of learning the difference. They ARE children, so of course they will test boundaries, but that is where the teaching comes in. When I consider giving my girls something, or allowing a certain behavior I try to weigh whether or not it will really harm them, if not, then I usually allow it. I am learning when to say no.....and trying a lot harder to say yes!

Life is an opportunity to experience things.....why limit the experiences just because we don't want children to demand or expect more of them? Besides, I don't see anything wrong with expecting the things we want out of life!!

When I think about the generosity of my Heavenly Father, I realize that giving our children things that make them happy is a good thing! He knows all about my favorite things and has given me many great opportunities that mean a lot to me and enrich my life! Because of this, I feel taken care of and loved.....I trust him to care and listen and grant me my righteous and sometimes even frivolous desires. His generosity brings great happiness and contentment to my life and my spirit!

These are just MY thoughts.....every mother gets the opportunity to chose the way they will mother their children. I just don't want to promote the idea that creating happiness and love, is spoiling a child. As long as giving is accompanied with teaching we are enriching children....not spoiling them.

I love this quote by Marjorie Hinkley:

"My mother taught me some basic philosophies of rearing children. One is that you have to trust children. I tried hard never to say "no" if I could possibly say "yes." I think that worked well because it gave my children the feeling that I trusted them and they were responsible to do the best they could."

As the cliche goes....Life is short! Don't spoil your children....enrich them! Just say YES!

Sweet Life In the Valley

One of my favorite blogs, Sweet Life in the Valley, is having some domain issues. If you are a follower and are wondering what happened to the website, they are now found at

Go check them out! They are having an awesome giveaway!