Sunday, October 22, 2017

Sunday Night Chat

It's Sunday night and the kids are in bed (not asleep, but that'll come) and the Double B is asleep, of course, and I'm just feeling lonely, as you sometimes do.
I wasn't really going to blog because I don't have much to add, but I decided you can be my friend and I'll just visit with you.
First, a documentation of sins: I get so frustrated with my kids sometimes and am not nearly as nice or patient as I should be, and then I'm frustrated with myself, then I repent, take the sacrament, and by Sunday night I'm back to crazy and it starts all over again. No one is more annoyed by this then Marie. The two main reasons I lose my cool are the mess and the fighting. I think many parents relate. Unfortunately I have a hair trigger, which I do think is related to my high-strungness, but still. No excuse. It's like logically I know messes/fighting comes with parenthood, emotionally I'm done with it. I do not think I'm the most fit parent. I don't think any organization will be giving me any awards. But honestly, I do love my kids. And I'm blessed with the most forgiving kids in the land, who hopefully will just look back fondly on their wacky Mom.
I'll try again tomorrow.
KJ found out that the honor orchestra took 8 violas and he was number 9. Sooo many kids auditioned! He is not disappointed at all by this, he is just thrilled (and so is his orchestra teacher) that he made it in the top ten. He is excited to try again next year. I'm happy with his attitude.
Olivia is working on another major book report. She always includes some artwork and I love that. The math and science middle school for smarties wants her to come there next year, but she's saying no thanks. She wants to stay with her friends and just take the accelerated classes. I'm fine with that. She is whip smart but still so social and steady. She is not a tortured artist.
Katelyn is whip smart and a little bit of a tortured artist. She has always been my angel that struggles with her confidence and in finding her place. She is so sweet and shy in public that she really struggles to communicate and I think that is a big part of her frustration at home. I would feel the same way if I could not find a way to express myself. She is so good at so many things, tonight I am thinking that maybe we need to find something that she loves that is all her own! She is so precious to me.
Benson continues to be the most hilarious, adorable, crazy guy around. He is ALMOST out of the terribles and Battle Benson is waining. He is talking like a grown up so much of the time. He is almost all the way there -- he will often rephrase what he's said to make it a more complete sentence. It's darn cute. Not too long ago he told me "I love you, Mom" for the first time after I'd told him that I love him. Those are the best milestones! He's still not interested in potty training, though he's gone about 10-12 times when he feels like it. He still loooves his blankie and loooves nursery, and his nursery leaders love him.
The Double B is good. Work is a little crazy right now and the Cubs just lost to the Dodgers in the National League championship, so that's a trial. But he keeps going like the winner he is.
I think about what I'm going to do when Benson goes to school often. I am ner-cited about that.
I went with my friend Debbie last Thursday to Zumba. I LOVE Zumba but haven't been in about seven years! I forgot how much I love to dance. And it totally kicked my bum! We're going to be Zumba partners, so I am very excited about that.
And I'm giving up Diet Coke. Sniff.
That's all for today. Love you, one and all. Thanks for talking to me. I don't feel so lonely now.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

KJ Correspondence

I got this email today from KJ. He is discussing the orchestra Disneyland trip he has to save the money for himself (He wants to use the money he's been saving at the book fair) and luncheon for being student of the month in orchestra (hurray!). I just wanted to document it because it is so HIM. He makes me smile.

"I decided I will not go on the Disneyland trip. They lunch tingey is today the time is on the fridge. I got a cool wand pen at the book fair and the new Magnus Chase book is out already (So this is a must. Christmas or birthday). I might buy this cool Harry Potter key chain wand thing tomorrow with my save money(I won't go on the disney trip).

Sincerely your eldest,


Postscript: Just got back from KJ's luncheon. So proud of that kid I could cry. Mr Truitt told me so many wonderful things about him -- that he is just an outstanding kid and an outstanding student, that kids like KJ are the reason he teaches. And that the sky is the limit for him with the viola, that it is the #1 scholarship instrument and if we get him in lessons he'll be all set. Really just went on and on about the great young man he is. Made me happy and proud.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017


The best antidote I know for my Worst Case Scenario Syndrome. I spent some time tonight reading peaceable things and feeling like maybe I can be still and trust the One who really has it all together (since He sure knows I don't! And I know He doesn't mind that I don't, because He loves me, and He gets it!). I am so thankful for the scriptures. I love their calming influence on me and I love the way they turn me to the Savior. Still working towards that mighty change of heart. Still believing that He can make so much more out of me then I can make  out of myself. 
I believe that He can heal me of all that needs to be healed.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Willy Wonka

Tonight I was asked to speak at our ward Relief Society activity. The theme was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and they asked me to incorporate that theme into my talk.
So I'm going to put my talk on here, because I feel like that would be a good thing. Not that I anticipate ever giving a talk on Charlie again, but I try to listen to those thoughts. Maybe you'll just enjoy it. Either way, here it is:

I have always really identified with Augustus Glute. How, I ask you, can you be presented with a giant chocolate river and not put your grubby little hands in it? I don't know if I could resist!
I was thinking last night about how we all have different struggles but we can all relate to each other.  We're all trying to do our best but we have issues along the way. Maybe you're like me and you're an Augustus.
Maybe you're the kid who struggles with impulse control and falls into the chocolate river and gets stuck in the pipe.
Maybe you're the kid that struggles with being honest and following instructions and you turn into a giant blueberry.
Maybe you're the kid who has a hard time being nice to others and you get declared a bad egg and get sent to the incinerator.
Maybe you're the kid who struggles with selfishness. So you get atomized, miniaturized, and sent home in your mom's purse.
Or maybe you're the kid who is a really great kid but you just have to try that fizzy lifting drink just one time and then you almost get chopped up in a giant ceiling fan.
We're all somewhere in there, hoping for someone like a nice Mr Wonka who will give us the reward, even though we didn't follow all the rules and we don't deserve it. Happily for us, there is someone. And he's so much better and kinder then Willy Wonka, and the reward is so much greater then a lifetime supply of chocolate. It is, of course, our Savior, Jesus Christ.
I have been studying the scriptures about the Savior in the topical guide of the Bible since April conference, when the Spirit let me know that was something that I needed to do. It has changed me. He is so much greater, so much kinder, so much bigger and more wonderful then I ever knew.
He understands how much we want to be good, how hard we try, how often we fail -- and why. He understands our sorrow, our joy, our pain, the things we worry about -- and He compensates for it all. He is the PROMISED MESSIAH. As we make and keep our covenants, He fills in the gaps. Think about this quote from Elder Oaks as you take the sacrament this Sunday:

"Because it is broken and torn, each piece of bread is unique, just as the individuals who partake of it are unique. We all have different sins to repent of. We all have different needs to be strengthened through the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ, whom we remember in this ordinance.”

He WILL strengthen us.
A week or two ago in my personal scripture study I was reading in 3rd Nephi Chapter 11 (Woot! Woot! Everybody's favorite). I noticed something I've never noticed in quite this way before. When the Savior appeared to those gathered in Bountiful, they thought He was an angel. But when He told them who He actually was, they all fell to their knees. They had been told all of their lives that He would come, but here He was. The PROMISED MESSIAH. He said to them:

"14 Arise and come forth unto me, that ye may thrust your hands into my side, and also that ye may feel the prints of the nails in my hands and in my feet, that ye may know that I am the God of Israel, and the God of the whole earth, and have been slain for the sins of the world.
15 And it came to pass that the multitude went forth, and thrust their hands into his side, and did feel the prints of the nails in his hands and in his feet; and this they did do, going forth one by one until they had all gone forth, and did see with their eyes and did feel with their hands, and did know of a surety and did bear record, that it was he, of whom it was written by the prophets, that should come.
16 And when they had all gone forth and had witnessed for themselves, they did cry out with one accord, saying:
17 Hosanna! Blessed be the name of the Most High God! And they did fall down at the feet of Jesus, and did worship him."

I felt the Spirit witness to me that this was a real event, but I was also taught something else: they went forward as a multitude, but they got to experience their Savior as individuals -- one by one. The atonement is for individuals. We all get to be blessed by it, but it is for each one of us separately. It is for you and it is for me.
When we realize that, when we truly accept it, when we embrace it and let it charge our lives, we can move forward like Elder Rasband suggests (his was my favorite conference talk, so I had to get him in here!):

"What should you be looking for in your own life? What are God’s miracles that remind you that He is close, saying, “I am right here”? Think of those times, some daily, when the Lord has acted in your life—and then acted again. Treasure them as moments the Lord has shown confidence in you and in your choices. But allow Him to make more of you than you can make of yourself on your own. Treasure His involvement. Sometimes we consider changes in our plans as missteps on our journey. Think of them more as first steps to being “on the Lord’s errand.”

He can save us when we are stuck in the tube of the chocolate river. He can press us and relieve the pressure when we've turned ourselves into a giant blueberry. He can help us to change -- and to become a good egg. When we make ourselves small, He can take what is small inside of us and make it mighty and great. He can save us when we are in danger from what would chop us up and destroy us.
All we have to do is choose HIM.

"28 And now, my sons [and daughters], I would that ye should look to the great Mediator, and hearken unto his great commandments; and be faithful unto his words, and choose eternal life, according to the will of his Holy Spirit." (2nd Nephi 2:28)

All we have to do is choose.

I have a testimony of our Savior, Jesus Christ. I feel deep within my heart that He lives and that He so deeply loves us, and that He is truly "mighty to save."


One of my new young women seems to be under the impression that I am a serial killer. I kind of am enjoying having someone be sooo suspicious of me, because suspicion on this level is not something that I encounter that often. I am an actual softy.
I GET that change is hard, and I understand she still needs to get to know me, but the bummer for youth is that they can't yet understand (simply because they don't have enough experience) that the people called to work with them are really just there to SERVE them. And we do that service and offer that friendship and support because we love the Lord. That's it. The end.
She is not a happy person so she finds my happiness off-putting. She also told the Mia Maid advisor that I am trying to force her to be exactly like me (umm...) and told her old leader that I just don't understand her sense of humor and might not have one myself.
Oh, teenagers. I may not ever win her over, but I am sure going to try to love her and help her in any way I can.
So far we've talked maybe ten minutes tops and spent about three hours in the same room. Clearly we know each other well. Funny, funny, funny.
I do try to be a happy, cheerful person, and I can see how that might be annoying to other people... but personally I like happy people. They're the ones I gravitate towards. And I do try to build people up and have a positive attitude around them because that's how I feel I live my best life.
But I also don't think I'd put all that much thought into these things when I was 15 years old.
I'll keep praying and working and continue to be myself around her and maybe she'll build up some kind of immunity!
Bless her heart and bless the hearts of every person that voluntarily serves in their church or their community, because we need each other. I think especially the ones who  are standoffish and insist they don't want it --  they are the ones that need our love the most.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017


Today is my favorite cousin Mary Dawn's birthday. Happy birthday, FC! Here's a memory for you, because I know of your childhood amnesia:

When we were tweens, we got asked to be "servers" for our cousin Ambra's wedding. This seemed very magical and like a great honor to me. It was Christmas time in a fancy reception hall and you should have seen our aprons -- top notch. There was dancing, and also a very cute boy there named Tim. He was the nephew of the groom. He asked Mary Dawn to dance! (Proof that she was a babe magnet from the beginning.) I just thought this was too great. Then, he asked me to dance! I was flustered, and said "hold on, let me check with Dawnie." She gave the go ahead, held my fancy apron, and honestly I'm amazed that Tim and I aren't married today, because I just really felt sparks were flying. When I went back to report to my FC, she got a little hung up on one detail: "You called me DAWNIE?!? You told him my name was DAWNIE!??" I guess Tim wasn't the guy for either one of us.

Sorry, Dawnie. I don't use that name much anymore, so that's got to be some comfort.

I love my FC. She is a gifted, kind, adorable individual, and her cleaning skills are the best I've ever seen. Which may seem like a strange compliment, but if you know our Grandma, you'll know that is the best compliment I could ever give. My life wouldn't have nearly as many awesome memories without you. Thanks for being born, FC.

Pig Poop.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Teen Angel

Sorry. I've really struggled to be a consistent blogger lately. I have several half finished posts waiting to be finished. I think I'm going to try to make more  frequent short posts and try to stay more current rather then frustrated and paralyzed by the fact that I'm behind.
This post is about Teenager KJ.
Saturday he had the opportunity to audition for the district Honor Orchestra. It was cool to see all the kids there with the same passion he has. It was exciting to see him walking back with his viola. Make it or not make it doesn't matter at all, what matters is he tried! Even though it was scary and he doubted if he could do it; he did it and he was awesome. We're proud parents.
Grandma and Grandpa came down for the day with Addie and Leighna, so he had quite the cheering squad.
Teenager KJ has also spent the last three days doing pretty much nothing but make-up work for his online health class, which his mother has asked about every day all semester and he always said he was totally doing every assignment, until Mother got an email saying that Teenager KJ was failing said class and had three days to make up the work. Hostility! Hostility everywhere! Dad lectured, Mom burned, KJ felt sorry for himself. Mom does not feel sorry for Teenager KJ. Not at all! Not even a little bit. As we have lovingly informed him, you dug yourself into this hole, only you can dig yourself out. In the words of Zen, my son, "Dig a hole, fill it up."
Parenting a teenager is so wild. As I talked to my parents about our frustration and bafflement, my Dad had a nice little chuckle. "You're just beginning!" So true, Dad. Sniff.
We did parent Mariah, so that's gotta count for something. She had the hard task of being our guinea pig! KJ owes her. 
Look at the support system this guy had for his audition. And this isn't even a fraction of the people that love him! He is a lucky guy.
And we are so lucky to have him. Please note that he's on his way to becoming an actual giant.
He is a GREAT kid. And I get it. I was a teenager not that long ago! It's just one thing to understand the concept of teenagers and hormones and everything else, and another thing for it to happen to your baby. 
Dear Grown-Up KJ,
Hope you don't mind that I wrote this journey down. If I didn't write it, you'd never remember it! I think you are silly, delightful, and you are the morning sun in my life.
I love you big time.
Your friend,

Benson fell asleep while Grandma pushed him in the cart at Hobby Lobby. She must really be a talented driver! It was SO CUTE.
He seriously did not move a muscle, wipe clutched in his hand. He also insisted on taking a Book of Mormon in with him, so he's a sleeping missionary here. I noticed several older gentleman in the store looking at him with envy. It was a pretty sweet arrangement!
See? I can't write short posts. That's part of the problem. I have the gift of gab.