Monday, December 29, 2014

Another Christmas Past

Ellie was the lucky finder of the quarter in the trifle on Christmas Eve. She spent all of Christmas Eve day announcing, "I just know I'm going to win the $5.00 bill tonight. I just know it." Not sure how much of it was clairvoyance versus sheer luck, but she was one happy girl.
(Apparently Megan was struggling with a little envy.)

One of my favorite days in December is "Christmas Sunday." The Sunday before Christmas always finds my children in new Christmas ties and dresses and of course a photo in front of the tree. I was as shocked as Megan's response was when she asked me that morning, "Did anyone get any new clothes to wear?"

No new clothes.
No photo.
Maybe ext year.

Each Christmas Eve day as I spend hours in the kitchn, I ask my children, "Do you really love this formal Christmas Eve dinner tradition?" They always ask with a resounding yes, and every year it continues. Apparently, it is lots of peoples' favorites. Not necessarily mine.
A few of the siblings may or may not have taken issue with the fact Drew was allowed to wear his new pajamas for dinner instead of the *required* best-dress.

Speaking of pajamas. The Pajama Fairy did much better in remembering her yearly responsibility of delivering pajamas on Christmas Eve morning than I did remembering new church clothes. And the traditional photo by the tree with stockings on Christmas Eve night was not forgotten.

One of my favorite Christmas traditions are the sibling gifts they give to each other. In late November, they draw names and each child buys a gift for another. It really is quite tender as a parent to see the excitement on the giver's face, every bit as much as the recipient's face. 
Drew was pretty excited to give Ellie some clothes for her American Girl doll clothes. His instructions to me before we purchased them were, "Just a pretty dress or something that probably will touch the doll's legs."
Joshua was pretty proud of the football necklace and Green Bay Packers chapstick he purchased for Megan. Megan's squeals of surprise and made the long waiting to give it to her worth it.

Joshua was beyond excited to get some football cards and a Pez dispenser from Ellie.
Fortunately, Luke purchased football cards for Drew too. It was a little tense there for a few minutes when Drew saw Joshua open his present up first.
Luke was pretty thrilled with his new socks from Megan, that make a "scene" when both legs are together. Quite over-priced really, for a pair of socks, but the giver and the receiver were both pretty excited about them. 

It was much easier than I had anticipated getting the kids to bed on Christmas Eve. Those two little boys were CONVINCED they could see Santa's sleigh in the distance and on one last panicked run into our room, one of them announced, "We have to go to sleep right now. Santa's on his way."

Christmas Day started earlier than usual. I think it was about 5am when the children first woke up. Santa leaves their stockings their bedroom doors, which was perfect to keep them entertained for a while before they ventured into wake us up. Mike wasn't happy to be woken so early, but it is Christmas after-all, and I think it was about 6:15am when we were taking this traditional photo on the stairs before heading down.

I always have the job of going downstairs first to check if Santa came, and to turn on the Christmas lights. Typically, I pose myself with the camera and attempt to capture all sorts of smiles and squeals with either the still camera or video camera. I'm no photographer anyway, and rarely do I ever get a decent photo. So this year, after taking this one photo,  I opted to just enjoy the smiles and squeals with my own eyes and my own memory instead.
Santa doesn't wrap presents at our house, he instead places the 3 gifts he gives to each child in these bags the children carefully set out the night before. There is typically a very small 4th gift sitting on top to tell which child and which bag go together. (The children claim to each have a specific bag, but sometimes Santa isn't very good at remembering.)

By the end of Christmas day, I did have a few slight regrets that I hadn't pulled the camera out more, so I grabbed who was nearby for one final capture of the day.

And that's how we'll remember Christmas Day 2014.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Things I Love/Don't Love About December This Year

1. I love my children's excitement each morning to run into the dining room and get a piece of candy from the Advent House.

 I do not love that often Megan and Luke don't get their candy until after school and by then it is gone...and then the 5 year old gets yelled at as the culprit, and he cries out of guilt.

2. I love the children's excitement each morning about finding the d*$# elf that my sister-in-law gifted us years ago.

 I do not love that Luke was so enthusiastic that the elf come back this year and promised he'd help make the magic happen. I think he's forgotten about that promise.

3. I love this ceramic nativity set that my children painted. I'm quite certain I will treasure it even more 15 years from now.

I don't love that Luke didn't paint anything. It wasn't so much that he was too cool for it, he was acquiescing to Drew's whiny complaints of not being able to paint it all by himself.

4. I love our Christmas Tree. It's a memory we'll always have.

I don't especially love our tree this year. It's big, over-sized and I let the kids decorate it. As such, the decorations are heavy in some areas, sparse in others.
(This section obviously screams 'Joshua did this part of the tree.')

5. I love that we have a big box of shortbread under the tree! I've always wanted to have something under the tree as a treat each evening. (We had a big tin of Quality Street under ours as a child.) And haven't done it because I always had a young child that would get into it at wrong times.

There's nothing I don't love about this tradition. Well, except for maybe the I-don't-really-need-a-cookie-every-day part.

6. I love our tradition of driving around finding our favorite houses with Christmas lights and the children taking turns doorbell ditching a little gift to them.

I don't love that every year someone gets car-sick and Mike says, "This happens every year. Why do we do this?" (He's not big on traditions. Or Christmas. Or all 7 of us in one car.)

7. I love the lights on my garland and Christmas tree. Especially in the evening, when it's dark and the lights shine out.

I don't love that no one but me seems to be able to unplug them when its time for bed.

8. I love the holiday baking day tradition with my mom and Melanie.

I don't love that I taste-tested one too many treats by the time we were finished.

9. I love dinner parties with some of our favorite friends.

I don't love that I didn't take a picture of the fun evening.

10. I love the Live Nativity that a local church puts on each year. Hardly anyone attends, and so it is very calm and quiet and seems a perfect portrayal of that first Christmas Night.

I don't love that this year WWIII ensued at our house right before we went. Which left me not having the nicest feelings towards 1-2  members of the family.

I love December.

I don't love the long to-do list it causes.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Just a Typical Sunday

Our Sunday afternoons are quite often slow-paced. But let me clarify what I mean by slow-paced... we have little (if anything) scheduled or planned. It doesn't mean everyone walks around in slow motion, or that our voices and tones are slower and more controlled.

It simply means, there isn't a lot of things that have to get done, and for some questionable reason, we all seem to end up for hours in the SAME ROOM!

Mike and I have tried to question our children for years, "What is so cool about Mom and Dad that you want/have to be right here with us?" They don't ever really give us an answer.

We don't have a huge house, but we have bedrooms children could go in, an upstairs "loft/family room" that children could play/entertain themselves in, and we even have a spare bedroom that is often used as a craft room/toy room/school room, etc.

But not on Sundays. For some reason on Sundays, everyone likes to gather in the same room, and as rosy and peachy as that sounds. It usually isn't. Mike lays on the couch, I sit in the chair with my feet up on the ottoman and the children fit themselves (and projects and toys) in there around us.

Lately, the attention is focused on the television screen for NFL football games. So NOT what I want my family to be doing on the Sabbath, but I have relaxed even more since THESE DAYS.

Except no one watches the game quietly. There's Hot Wheels being vrmmed somewhere in the room. Megan is trying to tell us story on top of story as well as random NFL facts that I DON'T CARE ABOUT. Luke is throwing a football to Joshua, Ellie is typically fitting in cartwheels whilst dodging Hot Wheels and footballs.

Someone always yells at Drew to stop making so much noise. Someone yells because they got hit (or near miss) with the football, someone yells at Megan to stop talking so much, someone yells at Ellie to go cartwheel where there is more space, and I too often yell at Mike, who is calmly and quietly laying on the couch and ask, "How do you SLEEP THROUGH IT ALL? It's NOT FAIR!"

On a recent Sunday, the football toss escalated into a chaotic, wild game of sibling football. Obviously knowing how these types of events escalate, I was quite happy when I looked over and saw that Joshua had ON HIS OWN ACCORD separated himself from the chaos and sat in the corner of the family room reading a book. I was so proud (and shocked) of his little move to avoid the inevitable trouble, that I Instagrammed this photo with this comment: "Once in a blue moon, while absolute chaos ensues with all the other children, one child will choose to separate themselves and make a better choice. #hemaybemyfavoriterightnow #sundaysarenotmyfavorite"

(bad, bad photo I know, but I've never claimed to be a photographer...I'm a memory recorder.)

He remained my favorite child for a while...

This particular Sunday evening, we had somewhere we needed to be. So amid this typical Sunday evening, we interrupted the children to get on their church clothes so we could have our annual tithing settlement with our bishop. (Personal, short, family meeting with the clergy of our ward.)

Mass chaos began again as children argued, negotiated, fought, etc. about the task at hand, but within a few moments everyone came back ready to go, only for us to realize we had forgotten it was 10 minutes later than we originally thought.

So...Megan scattered into the front room to practice her harp, and Joshua was told to quit throwing a football and to leave the family room we were all in.

Joshua obeyed.
Unbeknownst to us, he took a soft "globe" and decided to use it as a soccer ball and entertain himself in the hall by himself.

Just as our 10 extra minutes were up, and we were to walk out the door to leave, we heard a sound that we knew wasn't a good sound. We didn't know quite what it was until we saw that it was 200+ pieces of Candy Corn and a large, tall glass jar hitting the hard tile floor.

First we saw this:
And then I noticed this:
(shelf where the fall decoration once stood- it was a tall glass jar filled with lots of Candy Corn and fall decor)

We all followed the sound.

Mike said nothing except, "We've got to go to the church. Megan, be careful not to step in the glass." I stood there, not knowing whether to laugh or cry at the horrible mess scattered into the dining room, living room and hall. Joshua promptly burst into tears, I think most likely at the perplexity that NO ONE RAISED THEIR VOICE at him.

The sound of the crash and subsequent spilling candy and breaking glass was enough punishment for Joshua. He knew what he had done was wrong, there was no need to remind him. (Nice example that once in a while Mike and I do okay at parenting.)

The next morning at breakfast, Joshua expressed his surprise that nobody yelled at him when the decoration fell to the floor. Just as I was about to commend myself aloud to him and remind him that Mom and Dad are capable of having calm, controlled reactions, Joshua surmised,

"It was probably because the decoration was almost 'expired.' It's almost time for Christmas decorations anyway."

I wanted to argue with him about his surmising, but I'm trying to set an example of disagreeing and arguing less with each other. (A frequent big problem around here.)

So, I'll leave it for you to decide instead...

Mike and I remained calm, cool and collected because:

a. sometimes, simply put, we have pretty stellar parenting skills
b. likely we were too worn out and exhausted to care
c. if it's almost the end of a particular season we don't care if seasonal decorations get broken
d. a and b
e. all of the above

Hint, the answer isn't c or e.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

I Miss This

I was just glancing back at old posts in an effort to find the specifics of an earlier blog post, and I found myself lost in past memories and write-ups of life around here. Despite other computer tabs open, anxiously awaiting my return to the task at hand, I couldn't help but "waste some time" reading and remembering.

I miss blogging frequently.

When I think about it, I feel mild anxiety about all that I haven't written on here.

But then again, sometimes I feel free that what I'm experiencing, thinking and feeling, isn't being written in my head while it happens. (I think that's when one knows they're a writer...when they are writing a sentence in their head while experiencing the event.)

I have a lot to write about, but I also have a lot to keep quiet about.

I know I can't go too long without writing, but I keep debating whether or not to just close off my blog to anyone but myself and write away to my hearts content.

We shall see.
For now, enjoy this little blurry glimpse of a recent family carnefel. This was Luke's game of "Who can reach the front door without touching any of the strings."
(And yes, for the record, I'd be mad if there was a picture of me in this position posted on the world wide web, but I'm optimistic Mike won't feel the same.)

This picture makes it look far more idyllic, peaceful, and kumbaya-ish than the carnefel really was. In reality, it was our first family carnefel in months, Mike and I really wanted to not follow through with it, somebody cried during it, correction, I think three people actually cried during it, Drew won his own drawing contest game that he was judging, Ellie's game was confusing to understand, and nobody got to the front door without touching the strings. (Actually, Mike claims he did but it wasn't worth arguing about.)

Those last few sentences sum up a few of our family's personalities perfectly.

The end.
I may or may not be back soon.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Mornings With Drew

It crosses my mind at least once a day how quickly time passes, and how little time remaining I have with someone home with me during the day. I LOVE having Drew home with me each morning. Despite his too frequent pleas for a snack, his forgetfulness to do his jobs, or his "youngest child syndrome" antics, I absolutely adore the time he and I spend together doing all sorts of things each morning before he heads off to kindergarten after lunch.

The other day, while Drew sat at the counter eating the exact same lunch he eats every day (a half peanut butter sandwich, and either applesauce, apple slices or carrots), I stood across from him "chatting." He had my complete attention, and it was a moment I willed my mind to remember forever. So much so, that I decided to grab a paper and pencil and record Drew's answers to some of my questions.

Me: What is your favorite thing about school?
Drew: "Math. Wait, what is math?"

Me: What do you like best about mornings with mom?
Drew: "Playing games and I forgot what else."

Me: What are you going to be when you grow up?
Drew: "A football player"

Me: What does it feel like being 5 years old?
Drew: "You mean AND A HALF?"
Yes: What does it feel like being FIVE AND A HALF?
Drew: "The same as 5."

Me: If you could do anything you wanted right now, what would you do?
Drew: "I would cook 100 pieces of toast and eat them all."

I love mornings with Drew.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Why I...

(Photo somewhat unrelated, but I did LOVE seeing Drew take it upon himself to clean the bathroom one morning.)

Why I love being a mom lately...

Because I see the progress my youngest has been making with reading, and as much as I credit the public school system for his continued learning, I credit myself just a titch more. Do you know how many games of "Sight Word Match" and "Sight Word Go Fish" and "Sight Word Snap" I play every morning? Far more than any kindergartener or 40 year old could possibly even count.

Because I love that my children are at ages where they can actually play together for long stretches of time with minimal arguing and fighting. (Depending on which children are involved in the playing together.)

Because I love reading the texts between a couple of my children and seeing their relationship develop into something more than an irritating intolerance of each other.

Because I love hearing my children in their different shared bedrooms some nights laughing and talking, and I realize that dealing with each other's messes, and the fighting, and "Turn off the light" yells really will end up resulting in something positive and good.

Because some evenings, when no one is really doing anything, yet we're all at home doing nothing, but interacting with each other amid minimal distractions, I believe in those moments we are doing everything we should be. (I will continue to fight to preserve those evenings with every fiber of my being--a post for another day...)

Why I don't love being a mom lately...

Because sometimes my eldest daughter passes her driver's test, but then while driving with her just a few hours later she stops at a stop sign then proceeds to go, and would have hit a car unless I hadn't yelled STOP 34 times. Because sometimes one can pass their driver's test but still be under the (incorrect) belief that as long as one has STOPPED they then have the right of way??????????? Don't get me started. I need a therapist to deal with the driving teenager and I'm not kidding.

Because sometimes one child hits another child and when I ask, "Why did you do that?" They respond, "What's wrong with hitting?" That child has been alive for a decade and is just barely questioning what is wrong with hitting another person?

Because sometimes when I'm 35 miles away at a fancy wedding, I get a phone call telling me my youngest son was hurt and I couldn't do anything about it for a while. But then big brother claims it's just a tiny scratch and we're satisfied until we get home and realize it was much worse than a little scratch.

Because sometimes I get requests from a child at school demanding to be picked up immediately because they have diarrhea. When I clarify with them that the aforementioned diarrhea and early departure from school will result in staying inside the house all afternoon and not playing outside or with animals and friends, on a balmy, late autumn day, the diarrhea is suddenly not really much of a reality.

Because sometimes I have a child who helps out by feeding the goats before school because older brother didn't have time, and they return into the house with hay stuck in their hair, on their sweatshirt, clinging to their socks and any other exposed clothing. With no time to pick hay off of clothing or hair, I make the child rush out the door to the bus-stop, hoping that the hay will fly off while running and will be gone by the time he arrives at school.

Motherhood is filled with the good, and the not so good...I'm finding the secret is to do my best to enjoy it all.

At least that's what I attempt to do...some days I do better than others.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Me in a Picture

For several years now, there were a couple of things I anticipated doing for my 40th birthday.

One of them is still "in the works", and will not be shared publicly, although there are a few of you that know what I'm talking about...

The other one, was... (prepare to laugh out loud!) have a portrait drawn of myself. Yes! You read that right. My claim is that anyone of any importance has a portrait drawn of them, and why can't I join those ranks of people who have portraits commissioned and hanging for all to see?

A few years ago I read a great novel about a portrait artist that fascinated me, plus having had a portrait drawn of myself when I was 11 years old, that is somewhat outdated now, I figured why not mark my 40th birthday with a portrait.

Except, then I started thinking about how I would really go about finding an artist, and was that really self-centered, and plus, WHERE WOULD I HANG IT? So, as my 40th birthday approached, and other to-dos took center stage, it didn't really enter the forefront of my mind as I anticipated it would.

Until two days before my 40th birthday, when Mike, Megan, Ellie and I walked into Central Park in NYC and saw an artist drawing a portrait of a couple that was VERY good and realistic. Immediately, Mike and Megan turned to me and said, "Here you go!!! Here's your chance, right here in NYC!"

All my dreams of a portrait for my 40th birthday suddenly were replaced with, "Seriously? I'm going to sit here in Central Park amid all this foot traffic and be drawn?" "What if I start laughing hysterically?" "What if he draws a completely unflattering version of me." "What if... What if... What if..."

We sat on a nearby bench and observed the artist finishing up with the couple, and politely declined the invitation of a nearby artist to be his next customer. (We didn't see any "proof" that he was as good as the one we were watching.) Mike, Megan and Ellie kept bugging me to be the next customer, but I was VERY skeptical. I'd talked about it for years, yet here was a perfect, unique opportunity to have it done and I was second guessing myself! Mike assured me I would regret it, and with that, I stood up and promptly became the focus of Central Park foot traffic.

It was actually quite embarrassing. My family sat across on a nearby bench laughing at me, while I was trying not to laugh. I wondered what the nice Filipino man was thinking about me as he stared intently into my eyes and face. (That novel I read about a portrait artist, left me convinced this artist was also a mind-reader and was reading every thought and feeling I have ever felt/thought.) People would walk by, stop and stare at the paper, and then at me. Some would give me a big smile, some a thumbs up, and some would avoid any eye contact with me. I could hear some whisper to others in their group, "Wow!" or "He's good." or "Very realistic!" All I could do was sit still (which is VERY hard for me to do), and keep quiet (another VERY hard thing for me to do.)

While I was sitting still, having a Filipino artist analyze every piece of hair on my head, and wrinkle on my face, I could tell across the path that Mike and the girls were suddenly in a state of near-panic. I wasn't sure what was going on, until Mike came up to me with my debit card and asked for my pin number. Apparently, there was a slight complication in the price interpretation of the artist's sign, and Megan, upon realizing we did not have enough cash to pay when the portrait was complete, caused Mike to trek off in search of an ATM in Central Park. (At the Central Park Zoo in case you ever need one.)

(Right before going into the park, we considered finding an ATM as we figured we'd want to buy some ice cream or something from a vendor, but we added up all the cash we had, and realized it would suffice our Central Park stroll.)

Until the portrait man caught our eye.

And so now, I present to all of its beauty? humor? flaws? realism? the portrait MIKE had commissioned of me for my 40th birthday in New York City's Central Park.

I refuse to point out my criticisms of the photo, lest you only notice those flaws. (Which unfortunately are likely flaws with MY FACE not flaws with the artistic abilities.)

This portrait was UPS'ed home from NYC to prevent any damage being done to it squished into a suitcase. It was quite humorous to watch how protective Mike was of this silly thing and its safety for the duration of that day's travels.

A week after returning home from our NYC trip, the portrait arrived home and has yet to be framed or decided where to hang. Mike now regrets not getting one of himself. Yes! That's right. I was as shocked for him to say that, as you may be for reading it.

Interpret it all as you wish.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Luke is 13

While pregnant with Luke, before I knew he was a boy, I wanted a boy soooo badly! So badly.

At my ultrasound with him, I warned the technician not to just blurt out what *he was*, but to tell me when she knew and I would then tell her when I was ready to be told. When she did finally say the word "boy", without giving any response, I simply burst into tears.

Very timidly, the technician looked at Mike and almost in a whisper asked, "Was that the right answer, or the wrong answer?" He assured her it was the right answer. Those were tears of pure joy, and I have loved, loved, loved that I have had the joy of both sons and daughters in my life ever since.

Today that baby boy of mine turned 13!

Anyone that has read this blog for very long knows what a unique child Luke is. There are SOOOO many things I love about that boy. So many.

I love Luke.
Happy Birthday!

(He claims he can't breathe when smiling. Thus the funny face he is pulling.)

Monday, October 27, 2014

Great Moms in Davis County

I spent Saturday with some wonderful mothers in Davis County, UT! I've been to more Power of Moms Retreats than I can count, but I have to say, this one was one of my favorites! Those mothers!!!!

These ones were some of the best.

I know I say it after every Power of Moms Retreat, but there is nothing like being in a room full of deliberate mothers. There is always so much focus, energy, and optimism about the role of motherhood, and I love it.

In the week leading up to the retreat, I spent a lot of time vacillating about whether or not this was possibly one of my last Power of Moms Retreat. There are some other opportunities I'm feeling drawn to right now too. But the fact will always remain...that I have a strong passion for motherhood and mothers in general. We are a mighty powerful force, together shaping the future of society. I feel blessed that for over 4 years, I have had so many opportunities to rub shoulders with some truly great mothers.

I so wish I had thought to take a picture of Lori Conger and me together! She was my co-presenter and a great mother! This is our second event to present together...boy do I love her! I have much to learn from her.

One of my favorite parts of the retreats is listening to the small group discussions, and looking at mothers' faces as they speak of things so dear to them.
 Motherhood is hard. But it is also so beautiful and joyous. I love that these mothers feel the same.
I wish we had thought to take the group photo at lunch time. A few people had to leave at different times during the afternoon, but this group still represents the fabulous group we had at the retreat.
As always, my thoughts return to the quote by Helen Keller that I know I think about after every retreat,
"Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much."

I'm quite certain, that if circumstances allowed for mothers to meet together in groups like this weekly, we could quite possibly, solve every mothering problem out there. That many deliberate mothers together, supporting and encouraging each other is a powerful thing.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

My Day

There are so many things I need to catch up on, on this blog. But first things, first...

One can not neglect for family history purposes to remember my 40th birthday. We wouldn't want generations from now to have no recollection or knowledge of the love I have for October 22nd.

My birthday.

Despite this birthday being my 40th, and stereotypically a much celebrated birthday, mine was very low key. Probably the lowest key birthday I've had in years and years, due to the timing of our NYC trip. (We returned home last night and some parts of real life today couldn't be neglected.)

It was still a wonderful day. Ellie took this hilarious photo of me. It looks like it was posed and planned, but really I was laying on the couch doing nothing for a portion of the afternoon (it was my birthday remember!), and we started talking about birthday photos and lo and behold a photo op ensued.
Oh! And check out that new birthday shirt added to my closet this year! Loved wearing that and the hat for most of the day.

Of course, I couldn't neglect getting flowers for my mother...after all, she is the reason this wonderful day of the year even exists.

Happy Birthday TO ME.

Why yes, my birthday cake does have a hole in it you wonder. Why? Because upon my arrival home from NYC last night, my mother had kindly left the cake on my kitchen counter with a card stuck in it. I removed the card, and someone (who shall remain nameless, but is the only person older than me in this house) thought he should "fix the hole a bit," Which in cake-talk translates to "eat a little bite."
Like I said, my birthday was low-key and cake and ice cream was served for dinner. Yep! You read that right. FOR DINNER. I had a big lunch with Mike earlier in the day and wasn't hungry for dinner, Ellie had gymnastics, and time was running out. So... when the children queried what was for dinner I replied, "Cake and ice cream!" Drew yelped, "This is the best dinner ever."

I'm a good mother like that.
But I will add, an apple was cut up and served on the side.

Hooray for turning 40.
Having a birthday is THE BEST.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Megan and Drew

Though there is some definite musical talent with each of our children, the first and the last have a love for music that goes far beyond talent alone.

Megan and Drew will often be found in the piano room singing, playing the piano, playing the harp, conducting music, etc.

This little duet they did yesterday afternoon made me teary for so many reasons.

I don't think you have to be LDS and/or recognize the song to appreciate the tenderness of the singing. Megan will be less than thrilled that her singing has to be heard first, but Drew's part and then the duet part is too tender not to share.

And I know I'm biased, but seriously, take the almost two minutes of your day to enjoy it.

PS-And who can't love almost 13 year old Luke's enthusiasm for his little brother's performance at the end of the video?!

Sunday, October 12, 2014


I can remember the morning of October 12th, 1998 like it was yesterday. I was laying on the couch reading a Time magazine (was I ever really interested in that sort of thing?!?), and Mike sat in the office a few feet away working. I was wearing black leggings and a black and white striped t-shirt (the good old-fashioned baggy maternity type shirt) and as I got up to go to the bathroom, I questioned aloud, "Do you think this baby will ever really come?" (At my appointment the Friday before, the doctor had suggested I wouldn't make it through the weekend.)

My somewhat rhetorical question (Mike wasn't really listening to me anyway) ended up being a premonitory question, as my water broke just moments later and I suddenly went into a bout of denial that the baby really was coming, and told Mike it wasn't really a big deal, and we could just wait before doing anything about the issue at hand.

I remember every detail of the hours that followed but I'll spare you the details. And now, in what seems like the blink of an eye, sixteen years have passed since that Monday morning when I wondered if Megan would ever really come.

Sixteen years!!
Megan Eliza is 16!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Brief Blurb

I have all sorts of blog post ideas written down on my writing list, but realistically, they just aren't getting written right now. Life has been very busy lately. A good busy, but busy. I have decided to take a much more active role within our company, and I have found myself capable of contributing some of my strengths to the business as a whole. There are some really exciting opportunities for me on the horizon, and I look forward to it. I am stretching myself beyond my comfort zone, and it feels good.

I also have found myself focused on my mornings with Drew. He wants to be outside playing most of the time with his friends, but I have made a very deliberate effort to really live each morning to the fullest with him. Next year he'll be in 1st grade all day. It is no longer a day I anxiously anticipate, as I always thought I would.

I'm also trying my hardest to be really, really present with my children after school. Some days it is hard. Too often five children talk to me at once, there is far too much homework cluttering our time, our kitchen table and our moods, and the fall weather is beckoning my children to be outside after school rather than working on their spreadsheets (chores/responsibilities). I'd be lying if I said that I never second guess my decision to let them be children first and foremost. But that's what I'm trying to do. There's still so much responsibility to teach them, chores for them to do, lessons they need to learn, homework that must get done, program guidelines they need to follow, etc. etc. etc.

But the stark realization that they are only young once rings through my head constantly, and that makes it easy to prioritize things far easier than it was, say, 3-5 years ago.

As a result of all of these things, some things (like writing) are getting a little neglected.
And that is OK.
(Repeat that three times in your head Tiffany. It is OK.)

As I've said before, I love Instagram for this very purpose. It provides a quick, snippet of a day or a moment and I'm hoping that years from now that simple photo and comment will be enough to recall a wonderful memory.

My life is full of so many moments worth remembering, and I'm realizing more and more I can't write essays about them all. Instead, I have found myself stopping what I am doing and basking in the moment with my child(ren). I've found myself looking in their eyes more, and letting distractions get in the way less. My children still make me crazier than crazy. But I shouldn't complain.

The messes, homework, scattered laundry, meal preparations, fingerprints, discarded socks, sand everywhere but the sandbox, garbage left in the car, cupboard doors left open, wet towels on the floor and hairdryers in the sink will not last forever.

This blurry photo is a prime example of what I'm trying to do more of...weeks ago Megan asked me to buy a few jars of baby food (some "okay" tasting ones, some disgusting ones"). I bought them and they've sat in the pantry since a couple weeks ago on a rainy Sunday afternoon, the children perched themselves up to the counter and begged Mike and me to administer the "tasting game."

It wasn't anything that memorable, but we all took turns laughing and it was a perfect example that a "nothing", really was an "everything." I love that I don't even have a decent photo to capture the memory...that isn't what it's about.


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