Wednesday, January 30, 2013


Mornings are not my favorite.

I am more of a stay up late, get up late kind of person.

But even more so than waking myself up, I have a hard time waking my kids up.

They seemed to have inherited my love of staying up and sleeping in. So when I walk in their rooms, and they are all snuggled up, warm and toasty and happy, it is really hard for me to whisper those dreaded words,

 "Time to get up for school."

What I really want to do is crawl in with them, listen to their breathing and fall back asleep myself.

My mother used to be dressed and ready, breakfast made for us and kitchen tidy by the time we came down the stairs.

Me? Not so much.

I'm more of a "drive them to the bus stop in my pajamas kind of a person".

And then I come home and stare at the breakfast dishes hoping they will disappear all on their own.

It's not that I don't value things being tidy and my day having some semblance of order and schedule to it.

I just don't like being in charge of that order and schedule:)

Well, until I do.

It depends on the day. I'm sure my kids dread when I get in my cleaning and organizing mode.

I live my life a little randomly. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

But every day is a happy one, and I am so grateful.

Friday, January 25, 2013

What isn't missing.

This is a long post. Sorry ;)

Normally there is a big, black box sitting on this table.

A big, black, boob tube ready to fill the minds of inquiring children with nothing.

Well, after I redid the living room,which I will show you pictures of below, I decided that something was out of place.

And I noticed that whenever the tv was on, whether it was to watch a show or play the Wii, that there was an inordinate amount of fighting.

"It's MY turn to pick the show!!!! You've been playing for a LONG time!!!! Why do you get to hold the remote?!!!!!"

So I made a brave decision, and Jeff agreed. So I took the tv, the Wii, and the DVD player and put them in another room. Not hooked up, not usable-just out of the way.

That was two weeks ago.

And may I just say, it was the best decision I have made for our family in a long time.

Last week I asked Charlie and Anne Marie if they didn't love not having the tv as much as I did.

Charlie replied, "No. I miss it."

"Really?" I asked. "You miss fighting over who has the remote and who gets to pick next? You miss the constant loud din of the tv in the background of everything we do? You miss me constantly telling everyone to turn it off?"

"Huh." He said. "You're right, I'm glad it's gone. "

True story folks.

Only once has Nora asked to watch a show. And I just told her we don't have a tv. So she did something else. And no one else has said a word about it.

Yesterday I remarked to Jeff how great it was to hear Henry and Nora play all morning. To hear them go outside and play pirates instead of being babysat by the TV.

Right now I have 2 kids home sick, plus Nora. What do you do with kids when they're home sick besides watch tv? Well, Jeff got a book on cd from the library and right now as I type this Charlie, Anne Marie and Nora are all listening to Bunnicula. Of course Charlie tried to hook up the tv when I wasn't looking. But it was his first sick day without it, so I'm not exactly surprised either:)

They still get time on the computer. I don't mind that. But we have blocked Netflix so that they can just play games. They each get a half an hour. That's it. And as time goes on, everyone surprisingly gets off when their turn is over without all the normal wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Some of this came easily because we already only had Netflix. And Jeff and I hardly ever watch tv. We don't have time, and when we do, we're too tired.

So that was step one.

Step two was removing it from use.

The next step is to sell the tv. Seriously, I don't care about it anymore. Yet I am still hesitant to actually get rid of it. It has become such a fixture, that even if we aren't using it, it would be weird to not have it in the house.

Baby steps.

But truly, it has been WONDERFUL!!! We sit and talk. The kids play Legos, marbles, they read, they interact, they do their homework!!!! They play games together and the best part? Fighting has been cut in half. No joke. Not that my children fought very much before. They just don't in general. But any fighting is too much. So to have it cut in half is miraculous.

I highly recommend it. Although it is not for the feint of heart. It would be a much bigger adjustment for most families simply because tv and video games are such huge fixtures in some homes. And that is fine. No judgement. I just couldn't stand the noise and the intrusion it was even one more day.

I just am amazed at how quickly my children have adjusted without it. How quickly I learned to not use it as a babysitter when I was tired, wanted to get things done, or just needed a break.

I have no plans of bringing it back. I would truly be insane to trade the calmer, more peaceful, serene home we have just to be entertained by stuff that really doesn't improve our lives one bit.

And I love my living room without it. It was such a blight on an otherwise lovely room. I only wish I had gotten rid of it sooner.

What, you may ask, will we do when we DO want to watch something as a family? Well, we have two laptops and a computer with screens that were big enough ten years ago. I think we will manage:)

And for your perusal, pictures of my "new" living room. New because I actually don't mind the black couches now.

And I currently have a thing with antlers, if you couldn't tell. Thanks to Michele for the real ones!!! And thanks to Jeff for the metal Antelope in the top picture, that I have been coveting. You both know me so well!

Always, the dirty windows.

I loved these pillows, but they didn't have the one color I needed them to have. So I painted them. A little blue paint and I had the blue birds I so desired.

These curtains were on a whim. I bought more drop cloth from Home Depot, just like I did for my master bedroom redo. And then, because I had zero money, I used a bunch of kitchen towels I had left over from my boutique, and I cut, sewed and ruffled them and then sewed them onto some fabric I bought on clearance at Ikea. It gives the room some nice texture and tones down the black couches.

Those shelves are pallets. Used to bring lovely stones for my friends back yard makeover. I cleaned them, tore off the back boards. Then I sanded the heck out of them and Jeff hung them up. Free and awesome if I do say so myself. Then I shopped my house and used money my aunt gave me for Christmas to fill in some gaps and I am pleased as punch. Yes I am.

A little switcherooing on the mantel was in order as well.

And pre-metal Antelope.

And my sister, who also knows me so well, got me this metal bird for my birthday.

I might have squealed when I saw it. And not pictured, because it's in the kitchen, is a lovely new cake stand that my friend Amber gave me. Do I have people that know and love me or what?

So there you go. A TV free, soothing, lovely place to talk and be together. No more movies lying around. No more Wii remotes hidden in the couch cushions. I am content, and so is my family. There have and probably will be a few more bumps in the road.

But it's been totally worth it. And now, it feels like nothing is missing at all.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Being here

I turned 39 yesterday.

Yes, I know there are only 6 candles. I seriously don't think I have the lung capacity to blow out 39 candles.

I'm not really sure I'm ready to be 39.

While driving in the car with my dad the day before, I said, "Can you believe I'm going to be 29?"

Obviously even I don't think I'm mature enough to be 39.

And for some reason, both 29 and 39 are annoying. I didn't mind turning 30, and I won't mind turning 40. I say, get it over already.

It's more annoying to spend the year hearing, "Ahhh, next years the big one!"

Not it's not. Every year that I'm alive makes that birthday big.

You see folks, I had an epiphany a little while ago.

Are you ready for it?

I get to be here.

That's it.


No really, that's all.

I get to live, love, watch my kids grow, enjoy every moment with my husband, see sunshine, smell ocean air, feel cool breezes, hear belly laughs from my babies.

It doesn't matter if my back hurts, if I lose a foot, am in a wheelchair, or can't lose that last 30 pounds. (that's a joke cuz no one ever says the last 30. Except for me:)

The fact is that I am here. I get to experience this gift of life with all of it's ups and downs. Trials, joys, tribulations, heart stopping happiness and everything in between.

There is a blog I read, the nienie dialogues. She lived through a horrific plane crash. She was burned on over 80 percent of her body. She has daily pain, she looks nothing like her former self. But you know what? She is happy. Truly happy.

She talks about it all the time, how happy and blessed she is. And I used to wonder, how is she so happy when she faces so much in the way of trials?

But I get it now. And no, I don't equate my back issues with her being burned on her whole body. What I go through is so small compared to her. But I still get it.

I just had a realization, a true gift from God that happiness and appreciation for this life is not dependent on our physical state. The house we have, the clothes we wear, the aches and pains we feel, the money in our bank account. And I know people say that, maybe you say that. Because we're supposed to say that. And we want to believe it. But do you truly?

Those things for sure can make life simpler, but happier? No. And now, well,  I truly believe it now.

I am just so grateful to be here. Something at a cellular level has changed in me. I don't even know how to express it adequately. I just know that I have every reason in the world to feel happy and blessed.

I wish this feeling had washed over me and become part of me years ago. It's not that I walked around moping and crying about how hard life was. But I did not feel the joy of breathing. The sheer magnitude of my gifts. Of my family, my Savior, my life, my marriage. I was thankful for sure. I knew logically that I had a ton to be thankful for.

But I finally know it. My faith has become knowledge. Faith is the essence of things hoped for but not seen. So I had the faith that my life was blessed, but now I know it is.

It only took me 39 years and one very honest conversation with God. Please, when you read what comes next, don't think I'm crazy. Well, ok, I'm a little crazy, but in a good way:)

You see, I was convinced I was going to die. I was convinced I was going to leave this earth sooner than later and leave my family behind. My family who still needs me. Jeff had a dream about me that freaked me out, then I had a dream that freaked me out. Then I started to fixate on those dreams, worry, worry, and worry some more.

So I pleaded with my Heavenly Father one night. I begged him to let me live, that I would face any physical pain or trial, just let me live. I cried and sorrowed, and pleaded.

This plea was answered by a still, quiet voice that reassured me I was not going to die. But that in all my worry, complaining(mostly in my head) and fixation on what was wrong, that I had missed what was right.

It hit me very hard. And then immediately I was flooded with peace and understanding of what my life really means.

It means I get to be here. And even when it's hard, I am here. When it's great I am here. And when it is finally my time to return home, that will be ok. Because I lived the life I had on this earth, being here.

With this realization has come something I didn't expect; when my back hurts now, I don't mind. And just so you know, I'm not talking about a little soreness or tweak, I'm talking degeneration and bone spurs.

But I'm fine with it now. I honestly think, oh well, I'm still here. Oh well, look how pretty my daughters are. Oh well, look how much my boys like to be together. Oh well, isn't it amazing how much Jeff loves me.

Sure it's still annoying when I physically can't do the same things I used to simply because I forget I can't and then I'm unpleasantly surprised. But truly I don't mind, I don't complain in my head anymore, and I experience so much joy because of it.

And this new found peace is spreading.

Of all the things that are possible to complain about,  none of it trumps the truth I now know:

Life is good.

I get to be here.

I hope you get to be here, too.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Birthday boy.

I have learned, in my short (ha!)almost 39 years, that there are few things as important as the person you marry.

I, fortunately, hit the jackpot. I know that may be something that people just say, but I really did.

When I first met Jeff, I asked him why he was so nice to me. And he replied, "Don't you know I will always treat you this way?"

Well, almost 17 years later, he has been true to his word. I am constantly amazed by him, his love for me and our family and the quite unbelievable way that he treats me.

When we were first married, well, the first 5 years or so, I used to grumble to myself because he didn't clean like I did, or would walk past things without noticing that they needed to be picked up or tidied. Then I realized something, I just had to ask him and he would do anything.

Noticing the chores that need to be done is not a natural talent of Jeff's, but being willing to help me with whatever I ask? He's as talented as they come.

Case in point: I recently redid a few things around here, and with some gentle nagging prodding, he did some things for me that made me so happy.

Installing pallet shelves. Check.

Getting my distressed door ready to hang above another door. Check. (pictures of the finished product to follow this week)

Well, yesterday was his birthday. And for one week me and the love of my life are the same age.

Jeff is the wittiest, funniest, kindest and most genuine person I know. It is a privilege to be his wife and the mother of his children.

I try to be real on this blog. To not represent my life in any way just to make it look better than it really is.

And that includes the good things. I am madly in love with Jeff. Marriage just continues to get better and I thank my Heavenly Father every day for blessing me with Jeff.

Happy Birthday Jeffy! You truly are the best!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh, but don't forget that I will always be older, so that makes me the boss! :)

Friday, January 4, 2013

Christmas was lovely around these parts.

I hope my children all felt loved and understood that Christmas is a time to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, not just opening presents.

I'm not sure though. I felt a little off this year, and worried that the Christmas spirit was lost a little in the hustle and bustle.

But I do know that my two oldest were especially excited about one of their gifts.

They had each asked for working vintage typewriters. After looking for said gifts, I saw that on this side of the mountains, there were in the 100 dollar range. When I told them I would be happy to get those for them, but that it would be there only gift, they were disappointed but decided to forgo the expensive gifts.

Well, I enlisted the help of my "find anything" in laws, and they miraculously found two working, 1940's typewriters. One for 10 bucks, and one for 20. Yup, I did a happy dance.

They were the last gift to be unveiled. Only because we almost forgot about them hidden under a blanket.

The girls were both really happy, but confused when the saw the cases. Kate thought they were just neat old suitcases. I wish I had a picture of their faces when I opened the cases. It was pretty priceless honestly.

They sat at those babies typing away most of Christmas.

And it's been fun hearing the ticking of them typing away in their bedrooms. They both love the 40's, thank you very much Captain America, and they have an awesome Grandpa who worked a miracle this Christmas.

How was your Christmas?

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Back to school blues

I am not a mother who gets excited about my kids going back to school.

I love them home with me.

So as Christmas break came to an end, I found myself melancholy. But instead of being sad that they are all back at school, instead I'm going to share joyful pictures of our time together as a family.

 For a few days we escaped to Long Beach.

And blessedly, gloriously, we had a whole day of gorgeous weather.

A day of sunshine somehow rejuvenates and soothes the soul.

And because some of my family are crazy, they actually took their shoes and socks off and went in the water.

Jeff was busy taking some of these pictures, so you can't see that he is also insane.

Suffice it to say that there may have been some crying as the now soaking wet children realized that they had to walk a half a mile back to our time share, sandy, wet and very cold.

Yeah, we're good parents like that.

And I discovered that my oldest children will still hold my hand.


As Julia would say, "I want to know who invented school. Cuz I hate them."

I miss my children. It was a wonderful two weeks with them home. And having Jeff home for almost a week was simply heavenly.

I love my family. And I will try and not begrudge the school system for the required 180 days a year. Jerks:)

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