Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Definitely Tough and Hard, But...

You've probably seen the video that went viral about the "world's toughest job." It's heartwarming to watch, and I really quite enjoyed it. I know there are also on the flip-side a lot of critics that didn't enjoy it either for a variety of reasons. I liked it for what it was--a nice, sentimental message that motherhood is hard, often thankless, and on-going. I looked at it as motherhood in general, whether one does other things away from the home or not. Motherhood still requires a mother to show up day in and day out regardless of other employment, interests, pursuits or activities.

Of course I am a big cheerleader of motherhood, and I think it deserves high praise for the often thankless hours, weeks, months and years we put into raising children. However, I sometimes cringe at the high accolades always extolled to motherhood, when there are a lot of wonderful fathers out there, and of course a fair number of shabby mothers.

There are a lot of valuable, much-needed "jobs" in the world, that could definitely be classified as "tough." There are "jobs" that I would NEVER want even if I were to be paid a high salary with fabulous benefits. I will also say, motherhood is a tough job, but the toughest? I'm not sure about that. Hard? Yes. Difficult? Yes. Tough? Yes. But putting the "est" on any of those, raises it to a level that I don't think is fair for so many reasons.

With that being said, I think the sentiments behind this video are wonderful, and there is certainly a fair amount of truth to the "job" descriptions...

Well worth the watch.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Sick or Not, A Birthday Must Go On!

We were having a funny discussion last night about birthdays, and Mike declared, "Tiffany, you are not normal in this area." Megan on the other hand sided more with me about birthdays being important and that they should be a big deal. Obviously not everyone feels the same way as I do about the importance of celebrating birthdays. (Meaning, I will likely never be out of town on a child's birthday, nor will we ever not have presents and festivities to celebrate.)

That being said, you can imagine how I felt last Thursday morning, Joshua's 7th birthday, when he woke up sick. It was a sad day. I'm not sure which one of us shed more tears.
Although Joshua spent a good chunk of his day on the couch, it was interspersed with some play time, arguments with Drew, and questioning of how much longer till his party.

The football party did go on! It was too difficult to reschedule, and as it was an outside party I wasn't too concerned about the sharing of germs. (I'm a good mother like that.)
Joshua request a Green Bay Packers cake and so I put my mediocre cake skills to the test once again. One of these days, I'm going to have a beautiful, custom STORE-bought cake of the child's choosing, instead of thinking my own creations will satisfy me. However, upon Joshua seeing the finished product he declared, "Wo! That's awesome." So then again, maybe I'll skip the beautiful, custom STORE bought cakes, and provide this labor of love each birthday.

(just try to ignore the thoughts of all those sick germs being blown across the cake...)

Also to be noted, Grandpa Peter sat atop a horse for the first time in his life. He lasted mere seconds longer than my first (and last) time upon a horse 7 years ago. We're each confident in many areas of our lives, but sitting on top of a potentially moving animal is not one of those areas in which we display confidence.
(In my dad's defense of only lasting mere seconds atop the horse, he (my dad, not the horse) does have a bad cough, and I think he was concerned his cough would startle the horse. It was just as a cough was coming on that he declared he must get off. Although I think he was thankful for the cough, I don't think he would have lasted much longer on top of that thing, cough or not.)

By evening Joshua perked up and it was almost as though he hadn't been sick. Except, it didn't last too Friday afternoon Joshua was back on the couch, and by Friday evening Joshua was at Insta-care being told he had Strep throat.

Like I said, I'm a good mom like that to spread Strep throat germs around children at a birthday party, and children in his classroom on Friday. Oops.

Strep or not, this boy of mine is seven, and he's pretty swell to have around.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Motherhood Realized...

It was no less exciting to open the package with the second book I'm a part of, as it was the first. Although, we have yet to make it to Baskin Robins as a family to celebrate like we did the first time around. (And believe me, one of my children keeps reminding me of that fact!)
The week of the book launch was exciting, as I've mentioned before. Motherhood Realized made it to #27 of ALL the books sold on Amazon. It fell shy of making the NYT list the first week, but still, what an accomplishment! (It still could make the list in the upcoming weeks.) It hit bookstores on April 3rd, and I'm going to make a trip to my own Costco and Barnes and Nobles soon to see it in person on a shelf.

I'll be doing a few upcoming book signings at the Costco in West Bountiful and Lehi in the coming weeks, but will miss a book signing at Kings English (darn! it's a fabulous book shop!) in May due to being out of town.
(a few of the authors in the Motherhood Realized book)
I did however love the Book Launch event the Power of Moms put on last week in SLC. It was a wonderful evening. There was so much good food for thought, but my very favorite take-away came from a recent friend and mentor, Ingrid, who gave some wise advice. "Just keep showing up each day."

Some days it seems all I do is "show up", and there are some days I not only show up, but actually perform too!

Just yesterday someone joked that I must have "most of the answers". Of course I laughed! It coincidentally coincided with a text from a wise, wise friend and mother whom I absolutely admire, expressing her frustration with some mothering difficulties of her own. I'm a firm believer that very few (if any) mothers have most of the answers. Motherhood is difficult and challenging, yet it is mixed together with such beauty and loveliness that it comes together like a magical kaleidoscope--a beautiful result made up from a little of everything.

I love that I have friends and fellow mothers to share in the experience with. Some of my best learning and encouragement come from friends and fellow mothers. Two of these dear friends shared the Book Launch evening with me. Love them!
(Dear friends, Melanie and Kari)

The friend that text me yesterday wasn't exactly asking for any advice (she surely knows I have little to give), she was simply asking for some validation and support that she is not alone. No mother is! I hope every single mother alive knows that. That's one of my favorite things about Power of Moms events...seeing mothers faces and lives light up when they realize, there is a giant support group of women that are committed to being in this motherhood thing together and helping one another along the way.

Even if some days, the advice is simply to keep "showing up." 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Not The Best Idea I've Ever Had

I thought I'd put a little more effort than usual into encouraging my children to listen to the talks during LDS Church General Conference. (One of the 2 weekends of the year we Mormons sit around and "watch church" instead of going to church.)

I got a "Candy Bowl" idea from my friend Shannon. The idea being that when the children heard words or phrases from talks, they could choose a piece of candy from a corresponding bowl. My friend used simple words (pray, family, Jesus, temple, etc.), but I opted to do fewer choices and chose things that weren't likely to come up every few seconds. (My children eat way too much sugar as it is. I'm not exactly sure why I even opted to do this "good idea" in the first place.)

Instead of the desired result I was hoping for, all it seemed to do was encourage dishonesty, exaggeration and over-eating...

It seemed every few seconds, Drew would come up to me and whisper in my ear, "I heard them say 'families are forever' or "They just said 'the Atonement of Jesus Christ.'" Apparently Drew wasn't paying close attention enough to know that the speaker had just barely stood up at the pulpit and hadn't even greeted the audience, let alone announced his topic or said the highly favored words, "Families are forever." The poor kid did eventually hear one "Atonement of Jesus Christ" phrase all by himself and you'd have thought he won the jackpot, rather than just been granted permission to eat one Mini-Egg.

Ellie on the other hand was saying such things as, "They just said the word 'man', a man is part of a family!"

Who knows if Mike was listening or not. According to his eating of Cinnamon Bears (his favorite) you would think "any story of Jesus' life" was being talked about non-stop. Mike eventually conceded that the bowls weren't a good idea either... "I don't like that you have these sitting out. I can't stop eating them."

The bowls of candy, well, what is left of them, have now been hidden. It remains to be seen whether or not the bowls will be a part of our General Conference viewing tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Ordinary

One evening in late March, Drew ran an errand with Mike over to our office. I'm not exactly sure why Drew was wearing his swimming suit, and I'm pretty sure the temperature wasn't any higher than the 60's, but nonetheless Drew went. Turns out they made an unexpected visit to The Chief (friend in the next office over), and Mike captured this beauty of Drew deep in conversation. I think I should begin a scientific study as to why Drew's little bum crack is more often than
Unfortunately, Mike and I are not the kind of parents to laugh at all of our children's antics. Too often we're irritated about the children's poor timing and/or lack of judgement to give into the capers of youth. It seems they always attempt their comedian acts right around bedtime, when Mike and I are not typically in easily entertainable moods. However, one particular night when Ellie stalled the bedtime routine to return downstairs to show us this hairstyle, we couldn't help but laugh.
My in-laws are great to invite my children to their house to sleep-over. Apparently, Joshua and Drew put on quite the "Pirate Show" for them.

You'd think perhaps I should let this next photo be a blog post of its own, but not this time. There's getting to be too many...Meet Packer, (as in Green Bay Packers) Luke's newest goat. Which I will take 100% responsibility for adding to the family. Hank was getting to be lonely, and Luke felt badly for him, which in turn made me feel badly for both Luke and Hank. Luke kept saying he wished Hank had a friend, and I would think, "Oh dear! How lonely for Hank not to have a friend!" and Mike would roll his eyes and say Luke has enough animals and tasks to keep him busy, and then Luke would look at me and I'd think about lonely ole Hank outside all day by himself, and so I, yes, I took Luke to get this new goat. It is actually Dudley's brother from the same litter, which of course endeared him to me even more. What?? Why oh why are goats endearing themselves to me?????????????

(Mike rolled his eyes when I told him I teared up while taking this photo of Packer and Hank meeting for the first time. Or maybe he was rolling his eyes because I was tearing up about it still hours later when telling Mike about the meeting. Roll your eyes if you must, but I see the beginning of a tender goat friendship here.)

When the stomach flu went the rounds of all seven of us last week, I tried not to mentally blame Joshua for being the first to get it and thus pass it all along to us. But then I see his sad, sick face in this photo and wonder what kind of mother was I to think it was his fault?
(Yes, we use empty ice buckets as throw up buckets around here. In fact, Ellie returned from somewhere recently and was describing the ice cream they had at the event: "It was the ice cream that you get in throw-up buckets.") 

Megan thinks she is hilarious and wanted to trick everyone into thinking this was jello in the glasses. Upon the "fool" lifting up the glass it was discovered it was nothing more than colored water and we had quite the mess to clean up.
Such is life around here.

“You need to let the little things that would ordinarily bore you suddenly thrill you.” 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Being FIVE

There's something about Drew that just makes me smile. Of course all of my children make me smile, but there's just something about Drew at this stage in his little life that has all of us wrapped around his little finger. He endears himself to all of us in a way that I suppose only the youngest of a family can.

I was surprised how much I didn't tear up today thinking about my baby turning FIVE! I so love the little boy he is becoming, and maybe I'm doing better at embracing and accepting what is.

Although having said that, as I tucked him into bed tonight, and kissed his little cheeks, I did blink away a tear at how quickly FIVE years have passed. I reminded Drew that even if he was FIVE years old now, he was still my baby and always will be. I told him he'll still be my baby at 55 to which he replied, "Will I still be alive when I'm 105 after I'm dead?" The moment was over, and so I planted a kiss on his big FIVE year old cheek and wished him a final Happy Birthday greeting.

Celebrating FIVE is a lot of work. Especially when the birthday was on a Sunday and it got spread out over two days. Ugh.

Dance games and pirate games, treasure hunts with bandanas, swords and gold (and a pinata) and cake and ice cream for a group of children made up his simple "Pirate Party" that he had been anticipating for weeks. (Man have my party-doing skills gone down hill over the years...)
My cake skills on the other hand have not decreased. They really couldn't get any lower. But Drew and Joshua were mightily impressed with my efforts, and everyone else gave polite compliments.

The real birthday on Sunday brought presents, a birthday breakfast with grandparents and cousins, church (supposedly a prayer in his classroom that included him praying for, "Bless we can all be happy on our birthdays."), and a birthday dinner with grandparents.

In Drew's words, "I liked my birthday."
That's what matters.

Happy Birthday Drew!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Smiles Amid Barfs

We've had the stomach flu around here, and it hasn't been pretty. Megan is the only one that has escaped it so far. Mike and I had some kind of deranged synchronized throw-up schedule yesterday. We laid in bed together ALL day, with the exception of when we would each run to a separate bathroom/bucket. If we hadn't been so sick, I think we would have laughed at the synchronization. It was by far the most un-romantic amount of time Mike and I have ever spent together.

Things really went down hill around mid-day when Drew started throwing up too. Except Drew had it coming from both ends. Mike and I took unspoken turns helping him out. I'm not sure what made me cry more, the fact that it seems completely unfair that mothers are allowed to get sick, or the fact our little 4 year old nurse was now down for the count himself, and no longer at our beck and call.

Drew was asleep on the couch in our bedroom, and Mike and I were resting in bed when the germaphobe of the family, Megan came home from school. She promptly entered and exited our room in one motion, claiming she was closing and locking our bedroom doors and asked that we stay in our rooms. She then promptly began to Lysol the whole house. I was settling back into bed after another meeting of my head to a bucket and just beginning to think how silent and peaceful the afternoon routine would be with aforementioned germaphobe taking charge and not allowing anyone to interact with the sick parents (and Drew)...

When suddenly, I heard a loud commotion. This time it wasn't Mike and his throwing up (that can be heard from miles away), it was Luke arriving at the front door and yelling, "Ellie is throwing up on the bus RIGHT NOW."

I can't even remember if I started laughing or crying. It's kind of all a blur now. Luke started barfing a few hours later.

On the bright side to our otherwise not so bright day, I was receiving several emails and notifications about the new book I am a part of that was just released on Monday. Motherhood Realized: An inspiring anthology for the hardest job you'll ever love.  The initial success has been extraordinary! It is now #1 in "Motherhood" books on Amazon and yesterday afternoon was #122 in ALL of the books on Amazon. It was also on Amazon's Movers and Shakers List yesterday.
(Can you see it down there on the bottom right?)

Motherhood is far from glamorous. I can attest to that from personal experience yesterday and now today, as 6 out of  7 of us have dealt with the stomach flu. It seems sort of a funny twist of irony that amid the diarrhea and throw-up of the day, the book I'm an author in with the subtitle, "An inspiring anthology for the hardest job you'll ever love" was racing up the charts.

It certainly gave Mike and I something to smile about yesterday as we jointly parented together during times there wasn't much else to smile about.

Book Info:
Hop on over to Amazon HERE and buy a copy of the book! Or buy two or three or more! Buy one for the moms you know that would love it. We are focusing on generating orders THIS WEEK, by Saturday, March 29th. (That's what helps rank us high in lists and can potentially help us get on the NYT list.) Mother's Day is coming up in 6 weeks or one and save it for the moms you love.

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