Monday, July 8, 2013

Quiet-Time Enduced Migraine.

Sometimes I lose my patience.  Shocking, I know.  Nap time, quiet time, whatever you want to call it, is strictly enforced in my house for my kids health but also for my sanity.  And their safety.  Mean mommy can be kept at a distance much more often if we get in a daily quiet time.  Especially since this is the ONLY time during the day that my son goes in a different room from me, stops asking me questions, and plays on his own.  The.  Only.  Time. 

Some days are more difficult to keep mean Mommy at bay.  Right now, for example, I am in my car in the garage.....why, you ask?  Because while I was downstairs cleaning up all I could hear was Grayden right above me, alternating between running back and forth across his room and jumping on his bed....... for 30 minutes straight.  (This is as quiet as things get around here some days).  And mean Mommy was begging to come out and lose her cool.  I actually get physically exhausted just listening to him move around like that.  It makes my muscles clench.  I don't know why it affects me this way, but it does.  So sometimes the garage is my quiet time sanctuary.  Judge me if you must.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Maybe She's Born With It.....or not.

Yesterday Grayden told me in no uncertain terms that I look like a boy when I don't have any makeup on.  It was much funnier than it was offensive, but it made me start thinking about makeup.  I am a makeup wearer.  I have been since the early teen years.  I dont know exactly when I started, but I do remember my mom handing me an eyeliner and telling me to go put some on.  I applied a little bit to the under side of my eyes, and when I went back to return it to her and get the final inspection, she told me, try again.  The top, too, she said.  So, I fixed it.  My mom and sisters are all makeup wearers.  In the words of my mother, "I don't understand why someone wouldn't want to look their best all the time."

I am sure the reason why we women in my family are makeup wearers is really because of one obvious reason:  We look better when we wear it.  And we do.  In the words of my brother's wife, after joining the family and seeing us in our early morning glory, "Wow, your sisters really do clean up nicely."  This was not a comment on our after-makeup looks, but how surprised she was at what we looked like before we got ready for the day.  To give you a hint, my sisters and I would have "ugly contests" in our shared bathroom on a frequent basis.  I don't know if it is our cowlicks, our swollen eyes, our uneven skin tones and breakouts, or a combination of these or other qualities we all share, but sometimes it was hard to choose just one winner.

Let me make it clear that I admit many, many women look great without makeup.  I hate you, but I'm happy for you.  And then there are the annoyingly blessed few who look better without makeup.  I was in a play with one of these women once, and as we sat there and applied our stage makeup I starting looking better and better while it made my friend look.....odd.  I am not being rude, but it is hard to explain.  Her features were almost ruined by makeup, her perfect skin covered, her perfect coloring altered unnaturally, until by the time she was done she looked like a homely clown person trying to badly cover unseemly features as opposed to what she really of the most naturally beautiful women God ever put on this earth.  Contrast that with the last show I was in, when I got zero comments about my looks until dress rehearsal, when three of the men in the show told me I was beautiful, and one even went to far as to ask if he could have his picture taken with me....with the understanding that I be in full costume and makeup.  I am not making this up.  (wow, small pun not intended).

There is another group of women, who whether or not they actually need to, wear makeup all the time no matter the occasion.  Swimming, exercising, camping, playing sports.  They put on their face first, and these are the people you never see without makeup on, because they bring it everywhere and put it on in the wee hours before anyone sees them.  I am impressed with this dedication, but I don't share it.  I don't bring makeup on camping trips, or wear it to the beach, etc.  But I can't blame the people who do, because I know all too well the feeling that your features are a natural mess and it would only take you about five minutes to look much better than you do at the moment. 

The one time I was super dedicated to my morning beauty routine was as a missionary in Toronto.  I didn't go to some third world country or tropical rainforest where it would have been unnecessary, I was in a big city where sister missionaries already stood out like frumpy thumbs because of the clothes we wore...blazers in the summer, really? makeup was our only hope for looking normal.  I am not the only one who felt this way, the mission president's wife told me to teach my companions how to wear makeup, and when we had to start teaching the primary children and were wondering how we could get them to pay attention she told me to "use pretty".  Direct quote.  She said kids and people react better to someone who has put effort into their appearance, and there was no shame in taking time on your appearance as a missionary.  She and my mother would have gotten along swimmingly.

I wear less makeup now than I did in college, mostly because who has time to truly get ready with little kids hanging on your legs all the time?  I don't do my hair as well as I used to either, something I usually took great care to do everyday, because I just don't have naturally functioning hair.  (Hm, there seems to be a pattern developing here. I know not many people think they look great without any effort on their hairdo, but I have a couple good hair stylists to back me up when I say that I have big bald spots, uneven waviness, a double crown that causes bumps and uneven parting, and a dramatic widow's peak which is made even more prominent by my 3 cowlicks.  Just be grateful you don't have my hair.)

So, the reasons change but the decision stays the same.  I wear makeup.  This is an overgeneralization, but I guess you could say I wore makeup in high school to feel better about myself, I wore makeup in college to look my best for the dating scene, I wore makeup as a missionary because the clothes I had to wear were so frumpy that I felt it was my responsibility as a representative of the Church to not look totally horrible, and I wear it as a wife and mother because I refuse to completely give up the part of my identity that is how I look and dress and exchange it for sweats and no makeup just because it's easier.  I want to still try to look like the woman my husband married, within reason. 

And I want my son to know I'm a girl.  Sheesh.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Trying not to procrastinate.....

Planning a lesson and I liked these words quoted by a man I trust:

Our Heavenly Father rejoices for those who keep His commandments. He is concerned also for the lost child, the tardy teenager, the wayward youth, the delinquent parent. Tenderly the Master speaks to these and indeed to all: “Come back. Come up. Come in. Come home. Come unto me.”


But what of an existence beyond death? Is death the end of all? Robert Blatchford, in his book God and My Neighbor, attacked with vigor acceptedChristian beliefs such as God, Christ, prayer, and particularly immortality. He boldly asserted that death was the end of our existence and that no one could prove otherwise. Then a surprising thing happened. His wall of skepticism suddenly crumbled to dust. He was left exposed and undefended. Slowly he began to feel his way back to the faith he had ridiculed and abandoned. What had caused this profound change in his outlook? His wife died. With a broken heart he went into the room where lay all that was mortal of her. He looked again at the face he loved so well. Coming out, he said to a friend: “It is she, and yet it is not she. Everything is changed. Something that was there before is taken away. She is not the same. What can be gone if it be not the soul?”

I am feeling particularly thankful for my faith in eternity, and my hope of enjoying it with my amazing family.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Let there be light.

I have had a few revelation-caliber epiphanies recently.  Mock me if you will, but cutting pieces of pizza for Avery with kitchen scissors instead of a knife or my fingers pretty much changed my life.  Also, taking the pot of water off the burner and holding it over the sink while you put the Ramen noodles in prevents the otherwise inevitable crumbs of hard freeze dried noodles that fall over the sides and get down by the fire and then burn to a crisp.  Genius.

But the best revelation of late is about marriage.  My sister-in-law posted an article from middle aged Mormon man about mothers day.  I didn't even finish the entire article yet, because this phrase stuck out:

There is not a lot of praise from screaming kids, or awards given for changing diapers. When it comes to praise, she is dependent on what she feels inside, and what you lavish on her.

Okay, it's embarrassing to admit it, but everyone likes a little praise now and then, especially for a job well done, or for a little (or a lot) of extra effort, or for just plain old making it through the day without bursting into tears or hitting someone.  But what I had never considered is that really the only person who mothers get that from is their spouse.....because we all know that "what she feels inside" is not often praise, but stress and uncertainty and worry and guilt and other types of self flagellation.  Our poor husbands carry all that responsibility, and that is an extremly difficult and precarious position to be in....and very possibly why tension, arguements, unfulfilled expectations and all of those other wonderful aspects of most (all) marriages come into play.  I think it's possible that our subconscious knows this, so if our husband goes an entire family dinner without saying how delicious and piping hot it all is, and how amazing you are that you timed it all just right while he was driving home from work while one kid was screaming with hunger or boredom and the other kid was asking you to watch him breathe and you also managed to pick up the toys and put a new roll of toilet paper on the may irritate you.  (Wow, that sounded like it might be a personal story but it's not). Or a myriad of other scenarios where you feel frustration towards your better half.  This may be the answer!  We are dependent on his praise, because without it we get zero.  

Of course, I'm not sure what the solution is.  Maybe be better at praising oneself a little bit, and realizing that husbands can't use their every breath to tell you how fabulous you are.  And if husbands are more aware of this responsibility they might be better at mentioning your skills a bit keep often.  Either way, it made me somewhat sympathetic towards my terrific husband who some times gets in trouble with me, though neither he nor I can be sure why exactly that is.  I'm going to try to keep this concept in mind.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Freddie Kroger

I realized that blogging about my kids is pretty therapeutic.  During the day I can get frustrated, annoyed, or too focused on the task at hand that I don't appreciate them all the time, but when I remember the day and I think about them I laugh and smile and love writing about all the crazy things they do.

Take grocery shopping, for example.

First, I should say that I am a bad grocery shopper.  It may be because I never live in one city long enough to memorize the layout of the local grocery store, or I am just slow, I don't know, but I am the kind of person who has to go down every aisle more than once to get everything on my list.  I end up buying things that aren't on the list, forgetting things that are, and wandering around trying to find the day's most necessary item without success.

Note to self.....just buy lemon juice when you happen to see it, because when it is actually being searched out it evades you.

So now that I have told you my (formerly) secret shame, you might forgive me when I say that taking my kids with me to the grocery store makes grocery shopping go from annoying necessity to seventh circle of hell.  I stopped taking my blood pressure while shopping with my kids, something I am supposed to keep an eye on for multiple reasons, because it was always high when they were with me.

Today.  Hm.  Well, Avery cries the entire time.  Not just today, every time.  She is so independent me on this....claustrophobic......she can't stand being buckled into the shopping cart.
When grayden was little he was so thrilled to be face to face with me just inches away and having my close attention that he loved the shopping cart,  but not Avery.  Grayden is a different story.  He loves the grocery store, mostly because if I don't put him in the cart he runs up and down the aisles, grabs everything interesting off the shelves, and talks to all the strangers.  When I try and use discipline to get him to stay by the cart, like helping me push it, putting one hand on the side, or even riding along side it, he cries or forgets or sticks his leg out and somehow knocks things over or kicks people.  So, I put him in the cart.  Where all the food is.  Of course, his toys at home are not nearly as interesting as a shopping cart full of food.  Things get thrown.  Towers are built.  A tube of crescent rolls becomes a drumstick atop a bag of Sun Chips.  He tries to teach himself to juggle.  All while Avery is crying (still) and I can't find the dang lemon juice.

So here is what happens when I take my kids to the grocery store.  After an indeterminate amount of time, I decide that certain things on my list aren't quite so crucial, I grab things that are expensive and unnecessary in the mind set that if I don't get my shopping done then at least I can feed them this stuff (cue unhealthy items) and I run to the checkout stand.  The cashier oogles at my baby, who of course doesn't cry for the few minutes the groceries are being checked out.....I haven't figured out why this is.  Grayden strikes up any conversation that comes to his head...Avery threw up on daddy, look how many teeth I have, mammals don't lay eggs, and other fascinating subjects.....which makes the oogling and attentive cashier take forever with the groceries.  Then, they put my bagged groceries in a new cart, and once I have paid I have to transfer the kids from one cart to another...except today, when they put a few bags of groceries, out of the nine total bags, up in the child's seat.  No room for Grayden, either.  So, I hold Avery with one hand and tell Grayden to hold on to the side of the cart and we make our way out to the car,  I quickly realize that I have one of those carts that pulls very hard to the left, which I didn't have a problem with when I had two hands, but with one hand I am pushing the thing like a drunken sailor, having to stop every two step and straighten the thing out, which requires a beautiful squatting move and elbow thrust that I will demonstrate for you sometime.  The exit door is far from our car, so,we have to cross the entire store front. Which would have been easy (except for the cart's alignment problem) if they didn't have the wide sidewalk completely covered with potted plants, leaving two small aisles that are perfect for a single file line of people to walk through but ironically impossible for a shopping cart.  So, we have to go down into the parking lot to walk across to the other side.  At first Grayden is obediently staying next to the cart, but he interprets close to the cart as three feet away, and when you are in the parking lot, that isn't safe.  I grab him and put him on the other side of me, where there isn't much room so he steps up onto the curb.  No problem.  However, the potted plants only leave a small space, which gets smaller the further we walk until the leaves are hitting his shins.  At this point I am a little ahead because the plants are slowing him down, so he starts to run after me and kicks over a lovely dirt filled purple potted flower right into the street and the contents spread out beautifully.  Luckily, at that moment I saw a store employee so I went back up to the entrance and said My son just knocked over a plant, do you mind picking it up for me?  And then I just kept walking.  Ten more yards to the blasted car!  As I'm trying to ditch the store worker the cart gets away from me and pulls hard to the left, crashing into the last corner of the building.  Avery starts crying again.  When I get to my car, there is no ramp off the curb.  At this point I vow to be completely self sufficient so I never have to go grocery shopping again.  I throw the kids in the car and then ram the cart off the curb so I can get the bags into my car.  When I got home, I looked at my shopping list......and made another shopping list of forgotten items  that I went and took care of tonight after the kids were safely in their beds and I got to go blissfully alone.

You people who shop with more than two kids, I commend you.  And, could you drop some of those groceries off at my house?  Because I am never going again.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


The first thing Grayden said to me this morning was " I had a dream that Storey had pizza for breakfast.  Can I?"  I don't know if he really had that dream or if he came up with that on the spot, if so, that's pretty impressive.  He also found black spray paint and sprayed a small part of the side of our house today.  What an adorable little vandal.  He also fell while jumping on his bed and hit his eyebrow on the window ledge and it gave him a nasty black goose egg.  When I dropped an open bag of graham crackers while standing at the pantry, he ran in like a flash, grabbed a cracker off the ground, and ran away as quickly as he could...I kid you not, if I had blinked twice I would have not seen him at all, he went that fast.

Yesterday Grayden and I had a in at dinner time.  I know I let it go on too long, but he wouldn't eat while the family ate, so we all finished and left the table...which is the worst punishment for him...solitude......and instead of eating he kept leaving the sent to his room until he was ready to take some bites.....came back to the table and still wouldn't eat....until finally I was practically forcing his mouth open and sticking a forkful of food in.  Mean nasty mom.  That made me think....I would really hate to watch a video of all my bad mom moments.  When I get frustrated, or lose my temper, or my patience, or when I'm lazy, or self-involved.  And I would really not want someone else to see that movie either, because it doesn't represent who I am.  I have great mother moments, too, and on average I think I do okay, but I thinkit would be hard to convince someone of that if the knew my worst moments.  I'm actually quite glad that I don't know every detail about the lives of the people I know.  Especially the bad stuff.  It would be hard not to think about it when I see them.  It would probably be hard not to make judgements about the kind of people they are, even though I know that my worst moments don't show the real me, the good person I try hard to be.  I know the scripture says "I, The Lord, will remember them no more" when talking about our mistakes, but we humans, we remember everything.  Sometimes it works out okay, my spouse and I definitely know the good the bad and the ugly about each other and we can still be happy and in love, but I think in the vast majority of circumstances those worst moments are best filed away and forgiven and forgotten.  (This totally ties in with my last post about prophets!  Judging people on their worst mistakes!)

Speaking of the "ugly", today Nate and I took the kids to a new little grocery store, and I looked abysmal.  I hardly got ready today, and then ran around like a maniac, it was muggy and rainy, by the time dinner was made and then eaten and we had to leave for the store I was disgusting and wearing mismatched clothes and I grabbed the closest shoes to the door (striped Toms) and we were on our way.  After a quick glance in the rear view mirror I told Nate I looked like the "before" picture on a makeover special.  He didn't seem to mind being seen with me, though.  Glad he still loves me after seeing me at my worst, both in life and in appearance.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Welcome to my evening scripture study thought process. Don't say I didn't warn you.

I was reading in the Book of Mormon about Zeezrom.  If you don't remember, it's a great bad guy repents and turns good guy story, along with a little miraculous healing.  I like it.  But I had the thought that if I met Zeezrom, maybe if he knocked on my door as a missionary or was asked to give a sermon in church, would it bother me that he had been so conniving and mean and hateful towards men of God, and who knows what else he did that wasn't kept in the record?  I hope not.  I don't think so.  Anyway, it got me thinking about other "good guys" who live less than perfect lives.  Well, that's everyone.  But for some reason it bothers people a lot more if a spiritual leader sins.  (Nate was devastated when he found out Martin Luther King Jr was an adulterer).  One time my sister and I had a completely irreverent conversation that I guess I could call "what if the prophet" which started when she heard something negative about a President of the LDS Church, and we then began asking each other questions that mostly started with "would it bother you if he.." and "what if he had done....".   The conclusion?  A resounding NO, our faith is not based on the sins of the prophet, past or present.  (Besides, after our conversation we realized that most of the sinful scenarios we had come up with could be found in the scriptures, often done by the prophets themselves).  So why, then, is it so difficult to look past the wrongdoings of spiritual leaders?  I think of poor Joseph Smith.  A lot was asked of that boy.  And since most of his history is written by people who either adored him (positive stories) and those who distrusted/hated/wanted him dead (negative stories) then there are a lot of mixed messages about his life.  But the point is that even if every terrible sinful story were true, Why should it shake my faith?  If anything, the adversary would have been working overtime tempting the man, and nowhere in the scriptures does it say prophets are sinless.  The only personal choice I know he made that affects my life is the decision to pray in a grove of trees.......pretty much everything else is between him and God and the same goes for every prophet before and after him.  But it is so common for people to glorify spiritual leaders that it can be crushing to find out the possiblity that they just might spank their kids, yell at their wife, have an addiction, or a bad temper, or a deep dark secret.  Often people get so carried away by the wonderful boy Joseph refusing alcohol as a pain killer when he had to have surgery...and they think he must have been super amazing every second of his life and forget that he was human.  We all are.

Aaaannnnnyyywwwaaaayyyyy.  Now that I have ranted, here is how my day went:  Avery cried all day.  Teeth or ear infection, only time will tell.  Grayden cried all evening. (Poor thing, his loving mother cooked him a nice hot meal for dinner, so of course he had to tantrum for an hour and a half.
He has a hard life).  I spray painted the long wooden handle of a former rake to look like a light saber so we can use it to hit his birthday piƱata.  I spray painted his headboard that I am going to decorate with a vinyl Star Wars logo.  I went to visit teach a girl in my ward who I had never met and who is moving tomorrow.   I.....fed my kids.  Remember how I said Avery cried all stinking day?  There wasn't much time for anything else.  Grayden learned how to skip and snap.  But not at the same time.  I ordered a ridiculously overpriced light saber ice pop contraption for the birthday.  (But seriously it is so cool, I got it at  Now it is all of 9pm and I am exhausted.  So as soon as I clean my house, I'm going to bed :)