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!)




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.


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.


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.


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 or

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!

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Thing I Swore I Would Never Do

Remember when I promised you I would post about something I did that I swore I would never do?

Well, my friends...


I just ran the Colorado Ragnar.

(That picture depicts the exact moment when Scotty snuck up on me in the van and poked my butt with a muscle roller stick).

(Judo CHOP!)

I never had any intention - not a single ounce of desire - to run in Ragnar. Then one day, three weeks ago, Scotty came home and somewhat jokingly said we should go with his brother to Colorado to do Ragnar. Something overcame me, and I was like, "Okay. Let's do it."

It was one of those higher power sorta things because the money, which we didn't have, showed up in the form of a tuition refund check that very day, and the coordination for four days of childcare took less than five minutes to arrange.

Meant to be? I think so.

As Ragnar approached, I set some goals for myself:

1. To run at least one entire leg
2. To not swear


I don't really swear like a sailor, but I do throw out some mild profanity occasionally, and I warned my team mates that running might bring out the worst in me. I can say, with complete confidence, that I did not swear one single time.

Also? I ran the entirety of my first two legs and half of my third, so I pretty much rocked my goals.

(Can I get a woot, woot?)

I had two five-mile legs, and a 4.4 mile leg on mostly flat terrain. I'd never ran more than four miles, and I was able to run the two five-mile legs on the first day. I don't know what got into me!

Here I am during my first leg trying to get away from my brother-in-law who was trying to shove water and bananas in my face:


 Here is Van 1 right after our last runner came in:


And here we are at the finish line:


On our way to Colorado, we all received an e-mail saying that our medals hadn't arrived in time. I wasn't expecting anything at the finish line, but they had some generic medals with Ragnar stickers on them.

I felt like an outsider the entire time, but I had fun. I can't tell you how nice it was to be able to use a public bathroom after frequenting porta potties for two straight days. Oh, the wonder of a metal stall with a porcelain throne! I don't care how many tooshies have made contact, it is a beautiful thing!

(May I interject that I opened the porta potty door on a guy peeing? That was fun).

(Lock the door, folks!)

We made it home safely, and now I'm trying to remember how to live real life again. I thought I would come home with a renewed sense of responsibility for my home and family, but mostly I just want to lay on the couch and sip ice water while the children go WWE on each other.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Jeep: Resurrected

Scotty's grandma passed away from Leukemia when he was a child. I never had the chance to meet Cleora, but I have heard endless stories of her wit and good humor. She was a spunky woman, and I believe that our daughter, Daisy Cleora, is very appropriately named, as she shows many of the attributes of her great-grandma.

For as long as Scotty and I have been together, I've heard stories about Cleora's Jeep. Apparently Grandma's Jeep was the COOLEST! THING! EVER! and she would haul the grandchildren around the farm on it, wreaking all sorts of mayhem.

A few weeks ago, Scotty's mom and aunt frantically tried to get a hold of him to share some exciting news: Grandma's Jeep was up and running again after 20+ years of disrepair.

This was momentous.

Like, all caps sort of stuff!

The following day, we took a ride in Cleora's infamous Jeep with Scotty's moderately crazy aunt behind the wheel. We were piled in the back with our children and a few cousins, and we cruised through the corn fields in a way that very much resembled the Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland.

(Remember when the Jeep on the Indiana Jones ride suddenly stops running and then you hear it turn over a few times before the engine starts running, and it takes off again? That is Grandma's Jeep, and it is awesome!!!)

It has been so fun to see Scotty's family relive their memories of Cleora.

A few weekends ago, Scotty and his brother took a ride in the Jeep together for the first time since they were children.

Grandma's Jeep

If their laughter could be bottled, I could have distributed it and solved all the world's problems. I've never seen a couple of men so happy to wind up stuck in a ditch.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Triumphant Return of the Computer

I got my computer back the other day, and boy, is it nice to have again! I got used to having it gone, but now that it's back, I feel like I live a life of luxury. I have really slow unlimited internet on my phone, so I get by in a bind, but it takes about half an hour to send a simple e-mail.

With having my computer gone, I accumulated a few hundred photos on my camera, so this morning I uploaded them and found these little gems:

Aug-Sept 2013

Aug-Sept 2013

They were taken by Nicky along with 50+ other pictures of random things like the backs of chairs, the blinds, and his own book, Stink: The Incredible Shrinking Kid.


While my computer was gone, I had all these great ideas of things I wanted to write about when it came back. I knew I should have written them down! In the meantime, please enjoy this self portrait of my little first grader:

Aug-Sept 2013

It makes me smile!