Tuesday, December 31, 2013

On the Eve of My 30th Birthday

I made it back to the blogging world with a few hours to spare before my birthday. I know you thought I'd return as a super mature (and ultra wise) 30 year old, because that is what I promised, but you're going to have to deal with my 29 year-old-ness for one more day.

Hang in there.

So, 30.

I have no qualms over entering this new decade of life. I'm ready for it. My only hang-up is that I feel like something slightly momentous should happen around my birthday - because of the whole new decade thing. Like, I should be 30 pounds lighter or have a dance party or take a red-eye to Anaheim and spend the day in Disneyland.

The only slightly momentous thing that is on the schedule is that Scotty and I have a babysitter, and we're going to go see two movies back to back.

Two movies.

In a row.

It's going to be WILD...

If we can actually stay awake...

I also feel like my 30th should be marked by a momentous blog post - should I not be saying something totally awesome right now?

Then again, I'm not officially 30, so I can't expect the awesomeness to flow just yet. While I'm waiting for it, please enjoy the last moments of my twenties with this token of immaturity:

December 2013

Monday, December 9, 2013

Adieu

Do you ever get nervous when you read a post with a title like "Adieu?"

I do.

That's because I've stayed loyal to most of my original blogging community from eight years ago, and every time there's a post with a title like, "Adieu," that means another blogger is officially calling it quits.

So, speaking of calling it quits...

Just kidding.

I am, however, bidding you adieu for the rest of this year. I'm going to take a break and enjoy the Christmas season with a little less online influence.

Have a Merry Christmas! I'll see you in 2014... when I will be 30, so look forward to a lot more maturity for the New Year.

Wah ha ha!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Currently {December 2013 Edition}

Reading: The Work and the Glory. I'm still in a reading rut, but I decided to give The Work and the Glory a shot now that the LDS based series is completely old school.

Watching: Once Upon a Time - just started season one over the weekend. The Paradise - except not really. I watched season one on the Masterpiece Theatre site, then I started watching season two on YouTube and had to stop half-way through the third episode. When I came back to finish it, all the episodes had been taken off YouTube. Boo to that!

Procrastinating: wrapping Christmas presents. I know that there is still plenty of time for that, but I loathe wrapping presents and am dreading it! I think I'm going to hit up some after-Christmas clearance this year to buy a bazillion gift bags so I never have to wrap presents again!

Wanting: an ivory cardigan-sort-of-thing. I'm weird with cardigans, so it might not be a "cardigan" in the end, but I need something sleevey that matches lots of outfits for layering purposes that is light enough that I won't want to tear it off the second I'm indoors.

Craving: Milk Duds.

Wearing: black stretchy pants and a t-shirt for autism awareness.

Stressing about: oh, you know. Just a little bit of everything. 

Relieved by: being done with the primary program. What a relief!!! The problem is, plenty of other stressors have taken its place.

Missing: Thanksgiving weekend. Real life isn't very fun.

Excited for: Zoe to walk. I think her mood will be much improved when she can walk. She is my first baby to not walk by her first birthday. 

Neglecting: exercise. I just want to watch TV and eat those Milk Duds I've been craving.

Thankful for: spray paint.

Looking forward to: bed time for a certain baby who cries ALL DAY LONG.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

21 Weekend Highlights

Around here, we had a very Happy Thanksgiving. There are no pictures to prove it (oops!), but here are 21 highlights from our weekend:

1. Saw Frozen (I don't know how it happened, but I never even saw a preview for this movie. I only knew it existed because I started seeing the toys at Target).

2. Saw The Book Thief (the beginning was kind of boring, but by the end I really liked it. I won't watch it over and over again, but it was good for a one-time viewing).

3. Ate turkey and pie for breakfast.

4. Stayed up until 10:00 late every night drinking Martinelli's and watching Once Upon a Time.

5. Attended a baptism.

6. Ate pizza.

7. Went to Zupa's.

8. Took the kids out for breakfast.

9. Went to the zoo.

10. Took Zoe to InstaCare for an ear infection.

11. Played in the church gym.

12. Ran 10 miles (five at a time).

13. Got a sore throat (thus skipping the run I had planned for Saturday morning).

14. Cleaned the entire house and kept it that way.

15. Spray painted some picture frames.

16. Put up the Christmas tree - the baby proof edition, which is two trees on the sofa table behind the couch.

17. Played board games.

18. Went to Tucano's for my brothers' birthdays.

19. Started our advent chain.

20. Hung the stockings.

21. Purchased, cooked, shredded, and froze 30 lbs of chicken.

In summary, we saw more movies in 48 hours than we have seen in the past year, we ate out... a lot (which is why our house stayed clean), we had our fair share of the sickies, and we are ready for Christmas. Thanksgiving weekend was, hands down, the best weekend I've had all year - even with a sore throat, achey body, and chills. It had a good balance of fun and productivity, which, to me, means that we mostly did fun things, but we did enough productive things to not feel guilty.

Now we are spending our Sunday praying and fasting for blessings we need from our Heavenly Father - a perfect way to thank Him for the things he has given us while simultaneously resetting our over-stretched Thanksgiving bellies.


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The problem with running is...

...you increase your chances of stumbling across a dead body.

I was thinking about this a few weeks ago while I was running along a waterway near my home. Isn't it often an innocent runner who catches a glimpse of a body in the river? The thought was startling enough that I decided to avert my eyes.

Within a few days, it happened.

A body.

Face down.

In the water.

Phone Pics


Phone Pics

Luckily, it was not exactly "dead," just "unliving."

Friday, November 22, 2013

I sliced my finger and ate diaper rash cream


Story #1: Wherein I Cut My Finger

The other night, I was in my basement getting a jar of beans when suddenly, I made some random upward movement with my hand. I don't really know what happened, but I hit my hand on a shelf and cut my finger.

It was a little cut, or so I thought.

When I got upstairs, I looked down and realized it was actually a flap of skin under which blood was pooling quite heavily.

Dinner was on the stove, and I had :08 left on the timer, so I had to ignore the blood and do some stirring. I held my finger in the air while maneuvering the spoon around the pan, and then I started wondering if I was in shock. I glimpsed at my kids, pondering who would be capable of administering a blanch test, but then I realized that if I was thinking about blanch tests, I probably wasn't in shock.

That's always a plus.

ID-10090402

Story #2: Wherein My Baby Has a Diaper Rash

The night before I cut my finger, Zoe had pooped herself in her crib. Being the mean mom that I am, I let her cry herself back to sleep, completely oblivious to "the situation." It took about an hour for her to stop crying and fall asleep, and she did this about three times.

In the morning, when I figured out she was poopy, I felt horrible. This, of course, resulted in a nasty diaper rash.

Bad mommy!

I know!

(Horrible)

We were out of diaper rash cream, so I went and bought a brand spankin' new tube of Butt Paste.


Story #3: Wherein Two Stories Become One

So there I was with a recently cut finger. The Bandaid I had eventually put on was full of blood, but the bleeding had stopped, so I took it off. I had just bathed Zoe and lathered her up in Aveeno to help with her eczema.

I grabbed the new tube of Butt Paste and took off the lid. There was foil covering the opening of the tube, so I gripped the tab with my slippery Aveeno fingers and tried to remove it. No luck. Being the problem solver that I am, I immediately positioned the foil tab between my teeth and pulled.

You know how hindsight is 20/20?

Now I can see perfectly that the tube was going to explode in my mouth.

Needless to say, I had to apply the cream to my baby's bum while trying very hard to not taste the portion that was caked on the inside of my lips.

After the application, I needed to get the excess cream off my fingers so I could finish fastening the diaper, so I used the bath towel to give my fingers a firm swipe.

Remember how hindsight is 20/20?

Now I can see perfectly that running my cut finger through a towel would remove the skin flap and cause blood to gush everywhere.

This?

Is an allegory of my life right now - one chaotic moment leading to another then overlapping with exploding Butt Paste and gushing blood.

Open jar of mayo falling off the counter, son putting fist through big screen TV while playing Wii, baby emptying utensil drawer...

Blood.

Guts.

Messes galore.

I live in fear that my life will never have smooth moments again.



Wednesday, November 20, 2013

My Pants Almost Fell Off at Costco Today* (and ten other random facts)

Fact #1: I mentioned a few posts ago that I've been suffering from a reading aversion. I can't read. I pick up a book, a book I should love, and I just can't do it!

I...

Am broken.

Fact #2: Lately I've been vegging on the couch, watching The Paradise. It's a cute show, but has one of those slowly unfolding love stories that makes you want to jump up and yell, "JUST MAKE OUT ALREADY!!!" Ever watched North and South? Same thing there. I'm just as wary of slow love stories as I am of quick ones. Remember how long it took Matthew and Mary to get together? By the time that happened, I didn't even care that they existed anymore.

And then...

Well...

You-know-what happened. DARN IT, BBC!

(Actually, DARN IT, DAN STEVENS!)

Fact #3: I have two toenails that are turning black from running. I guess I let my toenails get a little long this week. Can I just say that running does some really disgusting things to the body?

Fact #4: Sometimes after I do an ab workout, I feel like I'm having ovary pain. It takes me a while to realize that it's actually my obliques. I find it funny that the sensation is so similar. Today, though, it really is my ovaries.

Fact #5: This pre-winter is off to an interesting start. We've had three cases of hand, foot, and mouth; two cases of pink eye; two vomiting episodes; and a double ear infection since Halloween. Now we're on to croup. I hope we're just getting it all out of our systems early so we can have a healthy winter.

Doubt it.

Fact #6: A couple of weeks ago, we bought a new furnace.

Um... yay?

Anyway, the company that we bought it from gave us a free air duct cleaning, so the other day, a stranger came to my house with a bunch of hoses and tinkered with all of our vents for a few hours. I was kind of disappointed because all of the mysterious filth in our air ducts went straight into a huge canister, and I didn't get to see any of it. I wanna know what was in there! There are some things that are just so gross that you have to see them.

Plus, I'd like to confirm that there was nothing dead in there.

Fact #7: I went to see the new Thor movie last weekend. I feel dirty now because I am a loyal X-Men fan, and I didn't see The Wolverine in theater, but I saw Thor. I cheated on the X-Men, and I am ashamed.

Fact #8: My general thoughts of Thor (the story, the movie, the character, the actor) are Meh which is one more reason I feel so guilty.

Fact #9: The other night I had a dream that I was fighting werewolves by throwing bean bags at their faces. I was quite fatigued when I woke up. It was a lot of work.

Fact #10: One of my New years resolutions was to have all of our Christmas shopping done by Thanksgiving. I'm happy to report that it is DONE except for a few family members for a drawing that will take place on Thanksgiving. I'm excited to enjoy the Christmas season for what it should be rather than stressing over gifts and money through it all.

*Because I was desperate and had to use the bathroom with my baby on my lap, and I could only use one arm to pull up my pants, thus leaving the drawstring untied, so as I pushed my cart out (while still holding the very fussy baby in one arm), I had to clench my thighs together to keep my pants on.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Flickr Revisited

Does anyone still use Flickr? I do. I have to because my computer AND my external hard drive went kaput, so there are thousands of lost photos that I can only get back if I pay thousands of dollars. Luckily I have a history with using Flickr to post photos to my blog. It saved me!

Anyway, I was going through an old photo set on Flickr today (looking for my Christmas banner), and I came across some very interesting photos. Most of them had blogging significance at one point, but if you were to see them now, without the back story accompany them, you might find them odd.

Here are ten of my most random Flickr photos. I hope my lack of explanation allows your imagination to go wild:

1. Raoul is a pansy!

Phantom


2. The Prophet Called...

The Prophet Called


3. Kenny

Creepy Doll


4. Cutting the Cheese

cheese


5. Uncle Brett's Legs

brett2


6. I don't Remember Owning This

February 2009 007


7. Constipation Greeting Card

June 2009 009


8. How I Casted Twilight

Saved by the Bella


9. That Was a Bad Day

August 2010 351


10. Just Bill & Ted

Pages from my Book of Mormon

Monday, November 18, 2013

Practical Advent-ing

For a long time, I struggled with traditions. I don't always like to do the same thing year after year, so as I started my own family, I just winged it for a long time. Now that I have three kids, I'm a little more apt to form traditions. I, myself, still don't care to do the same things over and over year after year, but my kids are starting to remember events past, and with those memories come anticipation and expectation. I was surprised in October when Nicky asked me if he got to eat a Lunchable during General Conference because that's what he did "last time." I felt horrible when I had to explain to him that I didn't buy him a Lunchable for General Conference (then I hurried and whipped up a Conference Bingo card for him to make amends because I knew that's what he would ask for next). I know that traditions are important and that they mean a lot to my children, so I'm trying to be more consistent with having them (even accidental ones like Lunchables during General Conference).

About three years ago, I was mulling over holiday traditions and trying to figure out what - if anything - I could do with my children during the days leading up to Christmas. I saw a lot of neat ideas online (this was back in the days before Pinterest, but the internet was no less daunting), but all of them were way to over-the-top and elaborate for my taste, not to mention time-consuming and expensive.

I saw things like, "Buy 25 Christmas books, wrap them, then let your kids pick one each evening to read together next to the Christmas tree." I thought about doing the library/thrift store/books-I-already-have version of that, but my desire to follow through was minimal.

There was the whole, "Elf on a Shelf" deal, which was cute for a minute, but again, too time-consuming. Our Elf would probably sit in one place for the entire season, and my kids would just think it was dead and start poking it with a stick.

There were all sorts of advent activities and countdowns and crafts that my brain just about went kaput. Even the spiritual activities seemed way too showy and complicated to me.

My pre-Christmas tradition needed to be simple, inexpensive, and easy to execute.

That year I decided to make a good, old, paper chain with a link for each day until Christmas starting with the day after Thanksgiving. I wrote an activity on each link, and my kids removed a link each day and did the activity.

Chain 
{Hello, pre-cut chain links purchased from Walmart for 97¢}

I know, this is nothing new or exciting. Lots of people do something similar.

But wait...

The activities were fast and easy. Things like, "Sing Frosty the Snowman." None of this "Go to Temple Square" or "Bake Cookies" nonsense (because I can't handle things like that). I took full advantage of our calendar and used Christmas parties, TV movies, and even birthdays to our advantage. The link for December 14 said, "It's Grandma's birthday! Take a present to her house!" because guess what! We were going to do that anyway! So there was no extra work on my part (short of writing it on the chain). Then my kids were totally excited because THE CHAIN HAD SPOKEN.

Now the tradition holds firm; we've done it for three years. Some of the usual activities are:

-Attending Christmas parties (we get about five days out of this one)
-Watching Holiday movies on TV (about once a week)
-Singing Christmas songs
-Adding pieces to the Nativity (so our Nativity builds over time - Jesus being the final piece added on Christmas Eve)
-Going to birthday parties (we usually have about three in December)
-Having Family Home Evening (once a week)
-Drinking hot chocolate
-Making a Christmas craft (purchased from the $1 bins at Target - no cutting or planning necessary)

My children LOVE this tradition. It just goes to show that you don't have to sew, bake, buy pretty things, or overwhelm yourself to give your children wonderful memories. There is room in traditions for practicality, and children appreciate simple things.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Candidate for Runner

I never thought I'd become a runner. I still don't know at what point I'm supposed to take on that title officially, but with or without the title... I run.

Back in May, I ran a mile for the first time in my life. It was really hard, and it took months of training. For just one mile. 

In August I ran an entire 5k for the first time (I had previously "walked fast" in a few 5k's). It was hard, and it didn't help that the first mile was on that hill that goes up to Primary Children's Hospital AND it was 100 ° outside. I visualized myself collapsing on the side of the road at least a dozen times, and as Scotty and I approached the finish line, my thoughts were along the lines of I #&% HATE THIS!!! I didn't think I could ever do it again. But then...

In September, I went to Colorado and ran three 5-mile legs in Ragnar.

Two weeks later I ran with one of my best friend in her first 5k:

Color Me Rad

Last week I did a five-mile run with the same friend (her first five miles! So proud of her!)

1012489_10201598072606229_669417826_n

I never thought I'd see the day when I could run five miles. I can run more than five miles now, but I usually only have enough time to get five in. I've worked really hard, and I've had to really push myself out of my comfort zone. I'm pleased with my efforts and wish I could see the look on the faces of Britts Past had they heard the news that in 2013 I'd be a candidate for the title of "Runner."

(Britts Past never would have believed it).

Even more unbelievable is the fact that I actually like it. I never thought I would enjoy running - it's something I forced myself into - and here I am declaring that I like running.

Seriously, who is this person? What's next... yoga?

(I HATE yoga!!! Boo to that!)

Time Well-Wasted

Kid #1 is at school. Kid #2 is at a friend's house. Kid #3 is asleep.

So let's make an assessment of how I use my time when I am "kid-free."


Here are the things I should be doing:

~ Getting caught up on laundry (there are piles and piles of clean clothes to put away - we have been living out of laundry baskets for the past week).

~ Sweeping the masses of food off my kitchen floor.

~ Vacuuming (oh, but that would require picking up the bazillion puzzle pieces in the living room).

~ Exercising.


Instead I've:

~ Combed through new recipes I want to try - do you ever pick up on a theme when you start looking at recipes? Last time I copied down a series of recipes, I ended up with several things that go on top of rice. This time I printed off a bunch of black bean recipes.

~ Snooped around for a good vegetarian recipe blog (no luck - too much fancy food with expensive ingredients that I've never heard of).

~ Sat on the couch and stared at a wall... just because I could, and no one was there to cling to my legs or whine at me, or ask me for food.

~ Written down a few ideas for New Year's resolutions (perhaps I am jumping the gun a bit? And you thought is was bad to listen to Christmas music this early!)

~ Piddled around with this blog post.


But to earn myself a little credit, I:

~ Started a load of dishes

~ Threw some baked potatoes in the oven for dinner (which is six hours away. Look at me being all productive and what not!)

~ Got my SDBBE book ready to mail

AND

~ Paid the bills (which I actually think is fun to do - I find it rewarding to plan a budget and see it used as planned).


So there you have it; my round-about confession that I might not be using my time as well as I should. Now please excuse me, I'm going to go stare at the wall a little more.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

My Passions as Films

Two of my favorite books are The Book Thief by Markus Zusak and The Giver by Lois Lowry.

Both of these books are being made into films, and I have mixed feelings. I don't mind when other people's favorite books hit the big screen, but I get a little fidgety when Hollywood starts messing with my own. There's always the concern that the cast and the story line will be all wrong or that something will be portrayed *not quite* how I have spent years visualizing it. At the same time, there is something exciting about getting to experience a book in a new way.

Pros and cons, folks.

Pros and cons.

When I heard about The Book Thief, the first thing I did was look up the cast. I was pleasantly surprised - for the most part, they are right. Rosa is a little bit older in my head and Hans is a little bit... uh... fatter, but they casted them well. Max is pretty darn close to what I have always imagined, and for some reason, I've never put a face to Leisl. I've always had a hard time imagining Rudy as a blonde, even though he is described as such in the book (probably because of the Jesse Owens incident), but I can change my ways.

After I became familiar with the cast, I waited for the trailer. When I saw that it was up on Youtube, I had a "this is it" moment where I sat down, held my breathe, and clicked play. My reaction wasn't positive or negative - it was just "huh." Like acceptance, I guess.


But then I worried.

I worried because the narrator in the trailer was Leisl.

Leisl can't be the narrator.

I knew that if the narrator was different from the book, everything that is beautiful about the story would be sabotaged.

I waited on pins and needles to hear news about the narrator, and I leapt out of my seat when I read that the narrator in the movie is the same as in the book.



Hallelujah.

So now I wait another week, and then I see it. I am thrilled and nervous and excited.

As for The Giver, we'll have to wait until next year. There are some red flags in the cast: Taylor Swift? Katie Holmes? Hmmm..... I just don't know about that. Also, Jonas is going to be played by a 23 year old heart throb, and that always ruins things a bit. Jonas is supposed to be twelve. I'm worried that the depth of the story will be lost (which is how I feel about the film adaption of The Hunger Games).

Time will tell.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Rocking and Stinking

I rock at meal planning.

I stink at eating lunch at home.

I rock at finding cute dresses for my daughters at the thrift store.

I stink at keeping my house tidy.

I rock at getting my family to church on time.

I stink at keeping track of library materials.

I rock at remembering names and things about people.

I stink at portion control.

I rock at doing laundry.

I stink at putting it away.

I rock at getting rid of stuff.

I stink at making my bed.

I rock at flossing daily.

I stink at trying new things.

I rock at saying morning and evening prayers with my kids.

I stink at saying personal prayers.

I rock at planting a garden every summer.

I stink at weeding.

I rock at avoiding condensed soups.

I stink at avoiding sugar.

Anything you want to confess rocking or stinking at?

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Currently {November 2013 Edition}

Reading: nothing. I'm experiencing a case of reading aversion right now.

Watching: Downton Abbey season 4. It is something I do to wind down on Thursday nights. Like most TV shows, it's not as good as it once was, but I can't quit it just yet.

Procrastinating: nothing. I'm at a point in life where I don't "put things off," I just forget. 

Wanting: a big waffle iron, a double toaster, these, and some new running shoes.

Craving: ice water in my Camelbak water bottle. Sometimes I crave specific water bottles. That's normal, right?

Wearing: a fuzzy, purple robe (it's 6:02 on a Saturday morning) (or at least it was when I started this post. Now it's 5:06 on a Sunday morning).

Stressing about: everything. Here's a little sample from the past 48 hours: handling Halloween by myself while Scotty was at school; having family pictures at 8:00 in the morning the next day; dealing with very fussy baby during pictures; baby breaking out in red sores all over body, baby having hand, foot and mouth disease; baby's 1st birthday; and furnace going out. 

That's just a snippet. There is a lot going on right now, and each individual thing is no big deal, but when stacked one on top of the other, it is crazy pull-out-my-hair kind of stuff. I'm kind of FREAKING OUT over here. 

Relieved by: NOTHING. I am so stressed out. In about a week, when it's all over, I'm anticipating the biggest sigh of relief of my life! 

Missing: sleeping past 5:00 a.m. I used to think waking up at 6:00 to get ready for work was a bit of a burden. Now I cry with joy if I get to sleep that late. My little early risers are slowly sucking the soul out of me. And hearing all of these people say we get an "extra hour of sleep" this week just makes me angry. All it means for me is that the clock says 4:00 when my kids wake up instead of 5:00. 

Excited to: see The Book Thief. I don't even care if I hate the show; I just want to go to a movie! It feels like the biggest luxury to me.

Neglecting: getting my crying baby out of her crib. I just need three more minutes to finish this post that I've been working on for three days.

Thankful for: a warm house.

Looking forward to: a date night with Scotty. We don't get nearly enough date nights, but we're trying to start going once a month. Last month we got to go twice. What?!? Crazy, right?

Monday, October 28, 2013

Family Service Project

From now until Christmas, my family is working on a service project. We are collecting items to donate to women's shelters. These items are used to put together "welcome kits" to help the women and children who are displaced from their homes feel a little more comfortable. If any of our local friends and family are willing to donate any of the following items, my children and I would be happy to come pick them up from you. We will be making our final collection on Saturday, December 21:


Bath towels, washcloths

Soap, razors, combs, body wash, deodorant, hairspray, cosmetics, shaving gel

Toothpaste and toothbrushes

Shampoo and conditioner

Books, coloring books, activity books, etc (new or gently used)

Hair accessories for girls

Crayons, markers, pens, pencils, glue, etc.

Toys, games, puzzles, etc (new or gently used - for all ages)

Baby toys, bottles, binkies, baby shampoo, etc.

Burp cloths, bibs, clothes (0-4T), diaper bags

Crib size quilts, blankets

Fleece blankets

Yarn

Ribbon

Fabric

Crocheted hats, scarves, afghans, baby blankets


Those who would like to help may contact me at fluentbrittish {at} gmail {dot} com or by phone or facebook.

My Daughter, Zoe

And now I get to tell you about my third (or my Ender) (though that term doesn't really work, since she won't be my last) (but "third" is accurate).

Zoe is a few short weeks away from her first birthday. The past year has flown, but at the same time, I can't imagine a time when Zoe wasn't with us. She has always been ours - it's so strange to think there was a time when I didn't know her.

Zoe weighs 20 pounds, she has eight teeth, she has squishy thigh rolls, and she uses her fingernails like death claws. Her hair is super short in the back and very long on the sides. She has a little bit of a Red Skelton thing going on.

red3 

(I refer to her side hair as her "wisps").

Zoe was born with dark hair, but it has since turned blonde, and there is a slight hint of strawberry in it. Her hair has always her dominant feature - it is crazy.

Zoe has been crawling for a while. She is cruising and pushing things around while standing, so it won't be long before our little one is running around the house.

Her first word was 'Mom,' but she isn't saying it much these days because she has moved on to 'thank you' (which sounds nothing like 'thank you'). I only know that's what she is saying because I always say 'thank you' when she hands me something, and after hearing her say it several times, I realized she was mimicking me (it comes out 'dit').

Zoe is yet another early riser. It isn't uncommon for her to start her day, wide awake, at 4:30, much to this sleep-deprived mother's dismay. She hasn't been a good sleeper at all. In fact, she has only slept through the night twice...ish. We are currently letting her "cry it out" at night because we're at our wit's end. The first night she screamed for about an hour and a half, but now she only cries for a few minutes at a time off and on throughout the night.

Zoe is in a phase of discontentment right now. She is fighting sleep like a ninja day after day, and she wants to be held constantly - but never on my lap! I have to be standing up, carrying her around the house like she's the Queen of Sheba. She's always doing that back arching thing where I put her on the ground and she arches her back and screams so I pick her up and she arches her back and screams so I put her back on the ground and she slams her head into the wall to teach me a lesson.

Gotta love baby logic.

Suffice it to say that I have no idea what this child wants from me right now.

She is a hoot, though. She loves to play in the bath tub, and she folds her arms for prayer. One of our favorite things is to say, "Yay, Zoe!" and she will clap her hands. Her latest habits aren't very desirable, however. This week, alone, she has discovered the joy of emptying the kitchen drawers. She has also figured out how to wriggle out of her seat belt so she can stand up in her high chair (you should see the grin on her face when I catch her standing up - it is a look of pure mischief. And then, of course, when I try to sit her back down, she does the back arching thing). She has also learned to throw toys down the stairs, courtesy of Daisy. It's amazing how hard she works, ascending the stairs, dragging toys out of her bedroom, and chucking them down into the living room. You won't be surprised to hear that she hates her car seat, shopping carts, and the stroller, so I am forever holding her on my hip while trying to maneuver various things on wheels around various over-crowded public places.

When Zoe was born, she had a birthmark on her right eyelid. It is mostly faded now, but it occasionally reappears when she is upset or not feeling well. I kind of miss it.

Zoe can be very loving to other people. She reaches for people and crawls to them excitedly (as long as she has been around them a few times - but overall, she takes the least amount of time to warm up to people out of all of my children).

Daisy has surprised me so much over the past four years that I expect no less from Zoe. I anticipate many years of plot twists ahead. I am so happy to have Zoe - to be a mother of sisters is a daunting task, but I am up for the challenge.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

My Daughter, Daisy

Today I am writing about Daisy, and this is where things get complicated. How to I find the words to adequately describe this child?

Daisy is a big spirit trapped in a tiny body. My life with her is equal parts beautiful and terrifying. She scares me and amazes me all at once.

2011 06 09_1794 copy 
{Peace, Love, and Cheerios}

Daisy just turned four years old. She started preschool and dance class this year. She loathes preschool but can't give me a clear explanation of why. I suspect that it is because she isn't the center of attention there. Daisy has always needed to be in control, and when she isn't, she becomes hostile. I remember when she was a year old and my cousin came to a family party with a newborn daughter. Daisy seethed with jealousy at the attention the baby was getting. I had never seen that in a child so young.

Daisy is stubborn and strong-willed. Everything needs to be done on her terms or there will be a steep price to pay. She wants everyone to obey her every command and worship the ground she walks on. She can be very sweet at times, but she can equally sour. There is opposition in all things - Daisy is no exception.

Oh, but she is beautiful. She has the kind of hair every woman dreams of. It is thick, long, and healthy. It has perfect, natural highlights and is a shade of blonde that people pay good money to have. But she won't let me near it with a comb, so it hangs down her back in matted knots, often hosting broken bits of lollipop or globs of syrup from breakfast.

Her little nose has a very slight spattering of freckles. They are so light that you would likely never notice them, but they are there, and I love them.

She is solid. Not overweight, but not fragile like a bird, either. She is pigeon-toed and trips over her feet at least three times a day.

The things she says are baffling. Sometimes she is so funny that I'm afraid I'll pull a muscle from laughing. But she can also be very cruel. She knows how to hurt others with words, and that is something I need to help her tame. She can also be very loud. We say she got her voice from Grandma Jackie (Scotty's mom, who can definitely project). Daisy is a yeller - happy or sad. All of her emotions are deafening.

Daisy loves most of the things that are common among little girls. Princesses, Dora, dress-up clothes, Barbies, and the like, but she has saved room in her heart for super heroes and Lego. She loves watching sports with her dad and will often be heard saying, "Come on, Daddy. Let's go watch football!" She has been known to run around the house dressed as Spiderman or Wolverine one minute and as Ariel or a fairy the next.

Daisy has a junk food problem. When we do our "family store" on Monday nights, she will always spend her marbles on candy or treats (I've been keeping the selection limited for this reason). She needs immediate gratification and will always eat all of her treats right away. She is this way with everything, she is a child who does not wait.

Daisy's favorite song is "What Makes You Beautiful," by One Direction. She always asks for me to turn on "the boys with the curly hair" so she can dance. There are some other songs she likes, but none as much as "the boys with the curly hair." She loves "Radioactive" by Imagine Dragons and "True Love" by Pink and Lily Allen. It is hilarious to listen to her sing because she makes up her own words. Here's a little clip of her serenading us from the shower:

video

A lot of people have a hard time understanding Daisy when she talks. She has some interesting voice inflections, and she makes some sounds that are unique to her, so unique, that to spell her pronunciations phonetically is beyond my ability. Grandpa is something like, "Kwawmpa."

Like her brother, Daisy loves her blankies. Her favorite one is blue and yellow with ducks on it. She calls it her "duckie blankie," and let's keep this between us, it's actually Nicky's blanket. Somehow Daisy got attached to it a couple years ago, but as long as neither of them know the truth, things are good.

Daisy has never been a good sleeper. When we put her to bed at night, she will often sit up in her bed for an hour talking to herself. She wakes up very early, and she refuses to be alone, so when Daisy wakes up, the first thing she does is march around the house waking up everyone else. She has caused many "Angry Momma Mornings." It has been really hard trying to help Daisy and a baby coexist.

Daisy is not at all the daughter I imagined. I don't mean that in a negative way, it's just a matter of fact that Daisy has thrown me for a loop. I am continually baffled by her, and I'm not really sure how to raise her. I always thought my first baby would be the Pancake Child (you know how you always mess up the first pancake?), but for now, I feel like my second child is a lot more experimental. I dare say that I will learn a lot from being Daisy's mother - I only hope that she will forgive me for years of errors.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

My Son, Nicklaus

A few weeks ago, I met up with a friend I hadn't seen in over a year. She mentioned that ever since I stopped posting pictures of my kids, she had lost track of them. I realized I don't write about them in as much detail as I used to. So, just for fun (and for those of you who are wondering about the munchkins these days), I'm going to post a little about each of my children over the next few days. If nothing else, it will give me something fun to look back on over the years. I'll start with my firstborn, Nicklaus.

About Nicky

Nicky is almost seven and is in first grade. He does well in class, learns easily, and doesn't put up a huge fight about getting to school in the morning. He is a little resistant to do homework, but not to the extent that I'm overly flustered by it.

He is taking piano lessons and loves to learn familiar tunes (it may come as no surprise that he is a little resistant to practicing - as children are).

He is an early riser - often when I get up around 6:00, he is already out of bed. He loves doing art projects and making up games. Sometimes when I call him to the table for dinner, he will say, "But I just have one more level!" and he is talking about some random game he has made up (something like shooting a water gun at an empty pastry box that he has placed on the window sill). I always refer to Nicky as our little party planner - he is full of big ideas for social events and celebrations. Several times a week he tells me about his latest birthday party plan. He plans parties with all sorts of themes involving anything from Angry Birds to cheese (yes, he asked me once if he could have a cheese party).

Nicky has a weird obsession with chickens. It started at his preschool graduation where he stood at the microphone and told everyone he wants to be a chicken farmer when he grows up. We all got a good laugh, and two years later, he is still holding fast to that dream. When he does his spelling tests at school, he always writes 'chicken' at the end of the list. I'm waiting to see if his teacher has something to say about it - so far she hasn't commented.

Nicky is very good with money. He works hard to spend his allowance wisely. He's good at saving up for things he really wants. The only financial flaw he has so far is that he keeps offering to buy iPads for his friends (it's been hard explaining to him why he needs to stop making such offers). He has a kind heart and often thinks of others. We give our children marbles sometimes when we see them making good choices which they can use to buy things from our "family store" after Family Home Evening. Nicky once used his marbles to buy a can of root beer for his friend.

Nicky doesn't get along very well with Daisy right now, but he gets along fabulously with the baby. He is very helpful with taking care of Zoe, and he loves to play with her and look out for her.

Lately, Nicky has loved throwing the football. He throws it at about the same ability I do, so it's fun for me to play with him. If he follows in his father's footsteps, he'll soon out-throw me (Scotty has always had a very impressive arm - at least by my standards).

Nicky has some issues with anxiety. He struggles in unfamiliar situations, and he worries a lot. The other day I had to take some Angry Bird decals off his bedroom walls because everyday he would tell me that someone came in the house and moved them. This went on for months, and finally I said, "We need to take them down because they are making you worry too much." It breaks my heart, especially since I know exactly what he is going through.

Even though he is getting so big, Nicky still loves his blankies and stuffed animals. His favorite blanket has always been a simple piece of fleece with Thomas the Train on it (we call it his "Thomas). One time my mom tried finishing the edges of his Thomas, and he threw a fit so we had to buy him a new piece of fabric and leave it untouched. He has a shelf next to his bed just for his stuffed animals. He has Buzz, Woody, Mike & Sulley, 2 Angry Birds, a pirate troll, a sock monkey, and a Pikachu. He also has a stuffed skunk that he treasures - he got it from Primary Children's Hospital when the ENT had to cauterize his nose.

Speaking of his nose, Nicky suffered from chronic nose bleeds for a few years. They were horrific, often gushing for 40 minutes several times a day. After seeing an ENT, we decided to keep ointment in his nose and see if he would grow out of it. He didn't have one for about nine months. Then one day they started back up again, so we went back to the ENT. Nicky has an abnormally large vessel in his nostril, large enough that the ENT wasn't sure cauterizing it would fix the problem. We tried it, though, and Nicky hasn't had a nose bleed for about four months. My instinct was that it would work. Fingers crossed for the future!

Nicky is very sincere in his prayers, and he always looks forward to Family Home Evening. On rare occasions when we aren't able to have FHE on Monday nights, he is devastated. Sometimes he prepares and teaches the lessons, and he is always up for being in charge of the game. He loves traditions and is always the one to remind us how we did things last year.

Oh, how I love my boy. I couldn't ask for a son more fit for our family.




Thursday, October 17, 2013

Things on a Thursday

Let me tell you something about Thursdays: I hate them. They are no good, dirty, rotten scoundrels of a day!

ID-100154265 

Here are a few things about today to support that statement:

I went to Dunkin' Donuts to get a gift card for my sister-in-law who shall remain nameless. I decided that since I had three kids with me, I would do the entire population a favor and use the drive-thru. I asked for two gift cards and did the whole "pull forward thing." There was one car in front of me. ONE CAR. And we've all been in this situation, so I don't need to go into details. Suffice it to say that there was some kind of hold up, and I sat there for a really long time. Then it was my turn at the window, and Girl Employee asked me something about egg whites, and I was all, "Huh? Gift card!" So Girl Employee got working on my gift card and time went on and on and on. I was in the van going, "Patience, Britt. Patience, Britt," while Daisy practiced her haunted house scream in the back seat (she wasn't throwing a tantrum, she was just screaming as she is wont to do).  Finally the manager came to the window and said, "Oh, hey. Our internet isn't working so no gift cards."

Britt: 0
Thursday: 1

Then I was off to Target to buy a few snacks for an outing I'm going on tomorrow. I just needed some Pringles and some sliced apples, but that couldn't happen without taking my kids to the bathroom twice.

Britt: 0
Thursday: 2

I should have just given up and gone home at that point, but instead I went to the gas station - one that I don't usually go to - and bought a car wash. Then when I drove around the building to use the car wash, I discovered that THERE WAS NO CAR WASH. I left the gas station and drove up the street, made a u-turn, and came back to circle the perimeter of the gas station one last time just to make sure I wasn't crazy.

There really was no car wash.

I pulled out my receipt and saw that there was an address for another location on it, so I drove to the other location and entered my code. The machine just stared back at me, unresponsive. Apparently I needed a six digit code, and I only had a four digit code. So, naturally, I started making up codes, and none of them worked.

Well-played, Thursday. Well-played.

Britt: 0
Thursday: 3

On Thursdays I make dinner for my neighbors (this makes no sense, right? Thursdays are awful, so I should make them dinner on a different night, shouldn't I?) Tonight's dinner involved cooking sliced tortillas for 15 minutes. I had to do two batches due to lack of oven space. Batch one came out great, and I used them to assemble my neighbor's casserole. Dish two...burned. Same temperature, same amount of time, and they BURNED! So I had no dinner.

Britt: 0
Thursday: 4

Upon having no dinner, I decided to splurge and buy dinner. Daisy was asleep, so I was kind of stranded, and I started considering delivery options. Contrary to the norm, I was not in the mood for pizza, so I started to order Jimmy John's online. Guess what! The Jimmy John's that is 1.2 miles away won't deliver to my house. Out of desperation, I checked the Burger King that is .6 miles from my house. They won't deliver to my house, either. So obviously the fast food industry hates me.

Britt: 0
Thursday: 5

I'll stop there because I'm sure this makes for some really boring reading. I'll leave out the part where Daisy woke up from her nap and screamed for an hour, and then we went to Cracker Barrel and created a syrup waterfall from our table to the chair to the floor. It's a boring story, really. Especially when I get to the part where we have to leave our table twice to go potty.

I'll also leave out the part where my husband called me from school and told me he needed to go back to work after class (that's when I pulled out a candy bar and put my kids in front of the TV for the night).

Nothing defeats me quite like a Thursday.

Britt: 0
Thursday: 1,314


Update: Immediately after I published this post, Daisy spilled water on my cook book. You couldn't just leave it be, could you, Thursday?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Getting My Sisyphus On

Lately I've been letting life weigh me down. I feel like Sisyphus - destined to push a boulder up a mountain only to have it roll back to the bottom over and over again.

sisyphus

Here are some of the weighty boulders I've been pushing lately:

The accessibility and addictive nature of pornography. I don't want it in my life or the lives of my family members, and yet, it is being thrown at us left and right. Scotty got a new phone number recently, and within one day, he was receiving pornographic phone calls and text messages. You do not have to go looking for pornography - it finds you. The issue strikes home again and again. Just last week, a young man from our area was arrested for possession of child pornography. It broke my heart because he is practically a child, himself, and he has fallen prey to a horrendous addiction for which the resources for recovery are far too limited. I am greatly concerned with who else has this problem and how they are going to get real help. My concerns are amplified when I read things like this and this.

Controversy everywhere. Women and the priesthood, the government shut-down, vaccinations, gender, modesty, gay rights... and on and on and on. I can't even eat without accidentally putting myself in the middle of a battlefield. I enjoy a Pop Tart once or twice a year, and I feel like need to write a defensive essay explaining my dietary choices. Except that a defensive essay would result in a million critical comments and a few hundred published rebuttals when all I really want it to occasionally devour a hot toaster pastry in my jammies.

That person. The one who, no matter how hard I try or how much praying and repenting I do, I just can not be friends with.

This semester. Scotty is taking his heaviest load of classes ever while I'm trying to play a certain character: the wife and mother who has it all together and doesn't complain. I am trying to support Scotty and get him through this because I know that it's just as hard for him as it is for me. Meanwhile I am having a complete, private breakdown.

Being a stay-at-home mom. I made the choice, and I continue to stand by it - it is what is right for my family right now, but part of me aches to be somewhere else. Last week I was unexpectedly approached about a part-time job - a job that I had whispered to my husband a few weeks ago that I would apply for, "if" I were in a position to be working. I don't usually throw this out there because I don't want any critical backlash, but I am not a natural nurturer. I'm not a "kid person." I am a square peg, and motherhood is a round hole. So when there is something along the lines of a job offer dangling in my face, I go through a brief period of mourning when I walk away from it.

Depression. This is another thing I never talk about, and this is the paragraph of this post that I am most likely to delete later. There are approximately 2.5 people in my life with whom I've ever discussed my experiences with depression. It is there. That's all I will say.

I think most of us are feeling the weight of the world right now.

It's heavy.

And I have to admit, I don't always feel up to pushing the boulder up the mountain. Sometimes I just want to let it roll over the top of me.

I keep thinking of this saying:

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Sometimes "doing it anyway" is the only things that pulls me through.


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Bye Bye Dragonfly

Last weekend Daisy had been playing in the backyard when she suddenly came running in the house in a frenzy. There was a dragonfly in the raspberry bush - a big, huge, scary one! I did that "Oh, hush, child!" thing that mothers sometimes do, but Daisy wouldn't relent. She needed me to come in the backyard to see the big, huge, scary dragonfly and save her life and stuff.

So I went out there, and to my surprise, there was a dragonfly on the raspberry bush, and it really was huge.

Dragonfly

It was almost 6" long. I'm pretty sure it flew here from the Amazon or something.

I ran in the house and got the camera, not expecting the dragonfly to be there when I got back, but it was.

Then a few hours later it was still there, completely unmoving.

And a few hours after that? Yep. Still there.

I thought maybe it was hibernating or had been cryogenically frozen or something. But my 30 seconds of extensive google research showed that adult dragonflies don't hibernate, so uhh... I guess I've found a new hobby of photographing dead things.


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Do tell: Personality Types

A conversation from last night:

Britt: I have a "Type A" personality.

Scotty: I have a "Type White" personality.

Britt: That's the wrong personality assessment. You have a "Type B" personality.

Scotty: Whatever you say. You're the boss!

Question
{via}

What type of personality do you have? A? B?

Type white?*

Have you ever wanted to punch a Type A in the face?

(I sure have).

Do tell!

*I score evenly between red, yellow, and white with almost no blue.




Friday, September 27, 2013

Friday, September 20, 2013

Collectors Anonymous

Let me tell you a little somethin' about  my son, Nicky.

He is a collector.

This is a pretty common habit of children - they have to pick up anything and everything they see, bring it home, and treasure it for a lifetime. In Nicky's case, he brings stuff home (or digs it out of the garbage can) and wants to make it into art or home decor. Anything that looks remotely discarded is, in his eyes, free game.

(That's how he ended up with a stolen copy of Guns and Ammo magazine a few weeks ago).

(Gosh, wouldn't it be cool if the merchandise on the floor really was free? Just think of how much crap you could get from Ross!)

(Seriously, Ross. Why do you even bother to have shelves and racks? By 10:00 a.m. your entire inventory is being trampled by shopping carts. You know, those shopping carts that we're not allowed to take out of the store? Pshhht!)

Anyway.

Nicky.

Collector.

The poor boy gets offended if I throw anything away without consulting him. Just today he flipped his lid over an empty package of baby wipes I had tossed in the trash.

"I need this!" he said.

"FOR WHAT?" I asked.

"To put water in!" he declared in his best "duh-MOM!" manner.

(Okay, so not everything he does is "art;" a lot of it is just plain destructive and/or messy).

I have a love/hate relationship with this trait. On one hand, I love that Nicky is creative, but on the other, my house is full of random junk. There are times when I put my foot down and tell him, "No, you can not keep that!" but most of the time, I feel like I am squashing his hopes and dreams by telling him that he can't bring home the shards of broken CD he finds on the side of the road and hopes to make a mosaic from.

Now, all of this is not to ask for advice on the matter or to complain. I just wanted to present a written explanation as to why I have had this stupid goose head in my house for the past year.

Goose

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Getting "Purse"-onal*

I don't remember the last time I packed a purse - just a purse - for just me.

There are so many stages once you have kids that affect what you take when you go places. For example, in my own experience, newborns require the most thoughtful packing. You have to have diapers, wipes, spare clothes, blankets, and so on and so forth even for a short, half-hour excursion. Then once baby gets a little older, you can get away with less and maybe even just keep a few essentials in the car. Then there is the potty training phase where you're back to packing spare clothes. Then there is the school-age phase where you don't have to haul around baby equipment anymore, but you somehow end up with a purse full of spare toy cars, tongue depressors your kid stole from the doctor's office for an art project, and suckers you have accumulated from the bank and intend to use for bribery.

Since I currently have a 10-month-old, a four-year-old who frequently soils herself just for fun, and a six-year-old who steals from the pediatrician, I'm going through a phase where, no matter how little I pack, I am always loaded down with diapers, wet undies in a grocery bag, and random stolen goods.

Last weekend, I went with my mother-in-law and a few of my sisters-in-law to Logan to attend Time Out For Women.

Setpember 2013

As I was getting my bag packed for the overnight stay, I realized that I could pack a purse, just for me! With my stuff!

This was so exciting... and intimidating!

First, I picked my purse. I'm a fan of the cross-body bag because I like having free hands. 

I put together a few things to put in my purse: a phone charger (which didn't really have to be in my purse, but whatever...), lip gloss and chapstick (because I didn't know which my lips would crave), gum, hand sanitizer (not a personal essential, but I had some, so I packed some), and my wallet (a must).

Setpember 2013

I put my things in the bag, and it was just... so... EMPTY!

So I added a notebook, some pens, and my phone (how did I forget my phone?):

Setpember 2013

But I still had all this "free space" going on, so I grabbed a book even though I knew I wouldn't have any time to read:

Setpember 2013

And then, just for fun, I threw in a water bottle:

Setpember 2013

After I realized that photographing my purse contents is kind of lame, I swapped out The Book Thief for The Thirteenth Tale and added a green polka-dot umbrella. 

And after that, I took the book out and put it in the backpack with my clothes and toiletries and called it good (really, there would not be time for reading, but I still needed to have a book somewhere as not to feel naked).

In the end, I did not read. I did not charge my phone. I did not need my umbrella.

But I lip-glossed, chewed some gum, and drank eighteen gallons of water, and let me tell you, it was AWESOME!!!


*Oh yes. I went there.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Do Tell - Sunrise, Sunset

The other day Amy posted this on facebook:

"Everyone's asleep, the house is quiet, 
the laundry is in the dryer, 
and the kitchen is clean. (Plus it smells like cake). 
This peacefulness is why I'm a night owl."

Just a few days prior to Amy's status update, I had pushed my baby in the stroller up the street to my mother-in-law's house at 7:00 a.m. for breakfast, and I spent the entire time thinking about how fond I am of mornings. I love the empty streets, the slight coolness of the air, and the silence. The world is slower-paced and more still in the early hours.

That peacefulness is why I'm a morning person.

I guess Amy and I crave the same things but find them in different hours of the day.

San Clemente Sunset II
{sunset at San Clemente 2009}

So today I am wondering if you're a night owl, a morning person, or something in between. Do tell!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Mothering and the Book of Mormon: Shaking the Very Powers of Hell

Over a year ago, I met up with Apryl and Jeanette from my book exchange for lunch. Our conversations covered many topics, but the one I remember the most was "things we never want to speak about in Sacrament Meeting."

Apryl and I both agreed that we don't do "motherhood." We both love being moms, but we don't want to get up in front of a congregation and try to speak appropriately about it. After all, you can't say "poop" at the pulpit, and you shouldn't really swear, either.

Last year, a lady from church asked me to speak for a few minutes at our weeknight Relief Society meeting. The topic was "nurturing young children," and I had to laugh because that falls under the category of "motherhood." I agreed to speak, knowing that it would be okay if I said "poop" outside of the chapel (I ended up not mentioning poop, just throw up).

When I got to the activity, I was surprised when all of the other speakers started talking about family traditions. Never, in all of the conversations I had leading up to the event, was the word "tradition" mentioned, so I had prepared something entirely different. I was second-to-last of seven speakers, so I spent the entire time trying to decide if I should abandon what I prepared and talk about traditions. In the end, I decided to stand by what I had prepared because I had prayed about it and felt good about it.

While I was studied the Book of Mormon from a mothering perspective last year, the message I shared that night came back to me, so I decided I would share it with you.

As I thought about raising young children, I pondered some of the lessons I have learned that will continue to carry me through all stages of nurturing.

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{via}

The first lesson is that sometimes we just need to laugh it off.

Being a mom is really really hard, and I can't imagine how much harder it would be if we didn't have some comic relief. Marjorie Pay Hinckley said, "If we can't laugh at life, we are in big trouble!"

One night, early in my pregnancy with Zoe, I wasn't feeling well. Scotty was gone, and it was getting close to bed time, so I told the kids that if they got their pajamas on and brushed their teeth, I would let them watch Qubo for a little while. I ended up having to run to the bathroom to throw up (sorry... it is what it is), and when I was done, I found Nicky dressed in his pajamas, as requested, but Daisy has disappeared.

I called out, "Daisy, where are you?" to which she replied, "I'm in your bed!"

I walked in my room, and there she was...

Completely naked...

Wrapped in my quilt...

Laying on my pillow...

Eating a bratwurst.

There was an undiapered bum on my sheet, and there were little greasy finger prints all over the place. I felt a hint of frustration, but I was also overcome with laughter.

What else could I do? It was one of those situations where I could either chuckle or sob, so I let myself laugh.

The second lesson is the importance of recognizing the Lord's tender mercies in our daily lives.

We have the sacred responsibility of raising Heavenly Father's children, and He isn't going to leave us to do that alone. We are given special individualized blessings, assurances, spiritual gifts, and guidance to help us along the way.

When I had pertussis last year, I woke up one day at 4:00 in the morning having a coughing fit. Around 6:00, my kids came wandering downstairs. I was tired and wanted to go back to sleep for a while, so I gave the kids granola bars and chocolate milk and parked them in front of PBS. I went back upstairs to lay down. About 45 minutes later, I woke up laying on my side and was about to roll onto my back when suddenly I got the impression that I shouldn't move. I reached behind my back and was shocked to discover that my entire torso was lined with grapes (courtesy of Daisy).

If I had rolled over, I would have made wine!

I can't imagine what a horrible sensation it would have been to feel those grapes crushing under my back at 6:45 in the morning. It may sound silly, but I truly believe that that was a tender mercy from my Heavenly Father.

Elder David A. Bednar said that "...The tender mercies of the Lord are real and... they do not occur randomly or merely by coincidence. Often, the Lord's timing of His tender mercies helps us to both discern and acknowledge them."

What a comfort it is to know that we can have a companionship with our Heavenly Father when we are raising children.

The third lesson is that, perhaps, we mothers are not as terrible as we think.

As women and mothers, we are so prone to feelings of inadequacy. We compare ourselves to others, and we tend to be really hard on ourselves. It's so easy to feel like we aren't good enough, strong enough, or capable enough, especially when the standards are set so high. Young mothers tend to fear that they're doing everything wrong. Older mothers tend to look back and think they should have done things differently.

Quite a while ago I was having "one of those days." I felt horrible about myself, and I spent a significant amount of time stewing over all of my weaknesses. I couldn't figure out how I would ever succeed at raising my children.

As I sat on the couch, mid-mommy-tantrum, a scripture from the Book of Mormon came to mind:

"...If all men had been, and were, and ever would be like unto Moroni, behold the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever; yea, the devil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men." (Alma 48:17)

Then the Spirit posed a question: If all mothers were like unto you, how would that be?

And my immediate response was Are you kidding me?!? That would be horrible!!! 

But then I realized that I take pretty good care of my kids. I keep them fed and clothed. I read to them and sing to them. I tell them I love them. I hug and kiss them. I don't abuse them. I do everything I can to watch our for their well-being. I make a lot of mistakes, and I'm nowhere near perfect, but if I were the worst-case scenario - meaning that all other mothers were the same or better than me - this world might be a pretty decent place.

Sure, there would be a lot of food in everyone's beds, but that's just comic relief, right?

So, think about it: if every mother were like you, what would that be like?

Would every mother have a testimony of Jesus Christ?

Communicate to God through prayer?

Teach her kids to be honest and kind?

Would every mother know the importance of home and family?

Those are the small and simple things that can shake the very powers of hell, and a mother who can do that can't be all that bad.

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This post is the final installment of my series, "Mothering and the Book of Mormon." Other posts from this series can be found here:

Cast Your Eyes About (by Cheyenne)

To learn more about why I wrote this series, please read this. To learn more about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, check out Mormon.org or LDS.org.

Did you know you can request a Book of Mormon for free? No joke! See here.

I'll even send you one if you want. Marginalia included.

You can e-mail me: 

{fluentbrittish [at] gmail [dot] com}

I won't even try to baptize you!