Thursday, June 30, 2016

Are manners becoming obsolete?

I am upset. I am disappointed in humanity. I am feeling sad about the state of manners being practiced in our world today. I feel like I just can't participate in this society anymore if this is how people are going to be. Good manners are essential to how we interact with people and the world around us, and frankly, I'm tired of trying to do my absolute best only to have everyone else flake out around me. I admit I'm not perfect at my manners but I am continually trying to be better. Sometimes I forget things, and sometimes I let things fall through the cracks when I'm just too busy, but there's always an apology to follow. Apologies are also good manners. 
Lately there's been too many incidences in my personal life of people not following through when I expect them to, and I'm feeling real disappointment today.  I finally understand why doctor's offices charge fees for "no shows." if I charged a fee for all the no shows in my life lately, I'd be buying myself a trip to Hawaii to help heal my pain.

So, here's a few tips of how to practise good manners from my  heart to the rest of the world:

1.If someone invites you to a party, or a play date, or to meet them at the park for popsicles, RSVP! It doesn't matter if the response is YES or NO. No is a legitimate response. It means you can't come but you care enough about the person to let them know you won't be there. It also helped them to know how many popscicles to buy.

2.If someone invites you on a date and wants to spend time with you, remember about it. Put it on your calendar. Schedule it into your smartphone. Not remembering and having to reschedule tells the person you don't care that much about them or their feelings.

3. If you commit to attending something that someone else paid for, go to it!  Rearrange your schedule so you can attend, even if it's a sacrifice. Cancelling is rude and a waste of  money.

4. If you commit to helping with an organization, do your part and follow through with your assignments. People are depending on you. Children are depending on you. Your commitments are not optional, they are something you said you would do and those around you expect you to do your share. 

4. If you receive an email, respond to it. if you can't get to it right away, let the person know that you will be back with a more lengthy response in due time.

5. If you receive a phone call that needs a response, call the person back.
Same goes with text messages.

6. If someone sends you a gift, acknowledge you received it. Say "thank you." Say "I got the gift." Say something or anything so the person knows it was received or even appreciated. By not acknowledging gifts received you are communicating that you either didn't like the gift nor do you want any gifts in the future. 

7. "Please", thank you, "no thank you", "You're welcome" "excuse me", and "May I", are still phrases we use today to communicate grace and courtesy in our interactions with others. Use them.

Rant over. 

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Just another busy mom day

"Wakey, wakey!" is the first happy thing I hear in the morning when my eldest comes in to wake me up. He always has a big smile on his face as he jumps onto my bed to rouse me. "Mommy, it's wakey wakey time!!" I yawn and rub my eyes and force myself out of bed.
My three oldest boys wake up at 6am, but me? I don't open my eyes til 7:30am, a half hour past when my husband has already left for work. I don't particularly like sleeping later than my family; I have big dreams of waking up before the sun rises, running five miles, making breakfast, and having a shower before anyone ever notices that I'm even gone! 
Yet, I sleep in every morning til 7:30am because I have a breastfeeding toddler who wakes me up around 1am, 3am, and 5am to nurse and snuggle. Waking up to nurse makes me tired and I need extra sleep.
Yes, we need to night wean him--he wakes up way too much and he doesn't need the calories milk provides right now, but we keep putting it off because frankly-- night weaning sucks! And getting woken up to nurse 3x a night doesn't suck as much, so night after night I choose the lesser of two evils.  (This makes sense, I promise.)
Luckily we co-sleep, which makes waking up to nurse as easy as rolling over towards the direction of my child and then going back to sleep. Yet for some reason that 5am wake-up-call forces me back into an even deeper sleep where I can't move my exhausted body or wake my tired mind up until I hear those two little words in my ears,"Wakey, wakey!"
So that is how I start my day. And that is how I started my day this past Thursday, which was possibly one of the busiest days of my mothering life! In fact it was so busy that I promised myself to write it all down so that someday when I'm an old lady and I have no small children to watch over, I can remember for the sake of remembering. So here it is:

Zadok woke me up at 7:30am. I had been nursing Malachi who had fallen back to sleep. Micah had already left for work, so it was me and the four boys as usual in the morning. I left Malachi to sleep on our downstairs bed, while I hurried upstairs to make breakfast. All 3  boys were whining from starvation because for some reason they were especially hungry this morning. I plugged in the waffle maker and whipped up some waffles from scratch. I have my recipe memorized: 1 cup whole wheat flour, one cup white flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt, 2 cups milk, 1/4 cup applesauce, 2 eggs. Mix it all together, wait for the green light. Throw it in the waffle pan. Ignore incessant whining. Throw plates and forks and cups and syrup on the table.
Today was the last day for me to collect Scout expo fundraiser money. I quickly sat down to text scout moms about turning in their money. I made quick texting plans to either pick up money from people's houses or arrange to have them drop it off.
 Texting is over, first batch of waffles are done.
Jonah needs me to cut his waffles a certain way with the pizza cutter. "Cut them in squares, with a pile of maple syrup next to it." If I do it the wrong way he won't eat. Feeding 5 year old  Jonah is one of the greatest challenges of my life. So I cut the waffles the right way, thank goodness, and continue with the other boys. Then Odin suddenly remembers he forgot to do his homework so he's hurrying to finish it up in the living room. He says he'll just eat breakfast at school instead. "It's Sausage Pizza, mom. I can pull off the gross sausages." he says.
Zadok has already devoured two waffles and is waiting for more. Little Malachi is still asleep so no waffles for him. It's 8:20am and we have to leave at 8:30am to get there on time. It only takes 2 minutes to get there but Odin likes to be there early to read in his class, and eat sausage breakfast pizza with no sausages on it. 
It's 8:30am and Jonah still isn't done eating, hasn't brushed his teeth, put on shoes, and is complaining that his toe hurts, and Malachi is still asleep. How did it get so late so fast? I have no idea! I make some quick decisions and decide to keep Jonah home from Kindergarten school and then quickly rush Odin over in the van. Zadok the oldest stays home to watch everyone. I quickly drop Odin off until I pick him back up again at 3:25pm. He runs happily into the school and that is that.
I rush home to my 3 little ones. I don't like leaving toddlers home alone, even if their older brother is mature enough to handle it. It just doesn't feel right to me. I unlock the front door and walk in to hear,"Mom!! Come quick, Malachi is dumping alcohol on stuff!" What the?? I rush into the kitchen to find Malachi dumping a bottle of rubbing alcohol that my husband had left on the table, all over onto the pile of waffles I had just cooked, with a big smile on his face, of course. I quickly grabbed the alcohol from him, threw out the waffles, and cooked him some oatmeal for his breakfast. I now had an hour to feed toddler, clean up the breakfast mess, throw in a couple loads of laundry, and get myself ready for the day. 
I quickly got ready. NO shower, but I instead threw on some workout clothes in case I got a chance to go jogging at some point in the day.
At 10am I dropped Malachi off at my neighbors house who said she would watch him during my orthodontist appointment at 10:30am. Chasing Malachi down to get his hair brushed and teeth brushed took several minutes of protesting, yelling, and running away (him, not me), but I finally got it done! I dropped him off at 10am and took Jonah and Zadok with me to the appt. They sat in the waiting room playing Nintendo 3DS's until I was done. While in the appointment my doctor tugged and pulled and yanked at my teeth until they were nice and sore. Then he sent me home with colorful elastics to stretch between my braces. Yay! 
On the way home from the Orthodontist we stopped at the thrift store to buy T-shirts for Malachi. He has gotten so big and has grown out of most of his clothes. I scored big time, finding really cute shirts just his size. One of them even has a truck on it with googly eyes! However, we couldn't leave the store without picking out some other junk we didn't need like a plastic dinosaur grabber, a slap bracelet, a blood pressure kit for Zadok to mess around with and a stuffed Orca for Jonah (which he named Orcy). 
By this time Zadok was starving for lunch. I quickly dropped them off at home with instructions to make some sandwiches, then went and picked up Malachi from Hannah's house. He was happy as usual but ready for lunch and a nap, too. 
We hurried home to make eat sandwiches, chicken patties, mango smoothies, and have milkies. I got Malachi to sleep pretty quickly then hurried back upstairs to finish helping clean up lunch. During Malachi's nap I had to catch up on LLL breastfeeding-help emails from the day before as well as catch up on a few emails in my inbox. I also had to organize the number of boys that would be going to Cub Scout camp this year by calling moms, and reminding them to fill out health forms, because I am Cub Master and that's my job. I also had to count all the money that came in from the scout expo coupons. I also made invitations to hand out for our end-of-season soccer party coming up Saturday. I am the Team Mom for Odin's team thus decided to throw a party this coming Saturday after their final game.

The boys played while I worked. We have a waterbed in the backyard that they were rolling on as well as jumping on the trampoline, with intermittent stops to play Nintendo.
Malachi woke up around 2pm. We read books, played outside, and had a snack. We picked up Odin and his friend Bradley from school at 3:25pm. Bradley comes home with us on Thursdays to go to scouts with Odin. We got home and I made them food. I heard Odin yelling in the kitchen about how his water tasted disgusting and he swallowed something gross. After some investigation we concluded that Malachi must've dumped alcohol in his cup earlier in the day.We then hurried off to Cub Scouts which started at 4:15pm today for a special fieldtrip. We met the other 14 scouts at the church and Leaders, and carpooled to the Southwest Wildlife Foundation. For the next hour 1/2 we walked around the Canyon with a tour of the nature center, and got to pet some cool looking snakes. Did you know it's illegal to kill a snake in the state of Utah? I didn't!
After scouts got over at 5:30pm, we rushed to the soccer fields  for Zadok's soccer game, which started at 5:30pm also. Micah was already there. I quickly dropped off Odin, Bradley, Jonah, and rushed over to the the downtown Rock church to turn in the Scouting  fundraiser money by 6pm. Our pack raised $605, which wasn't too bad!
Next  I grabbed 2 large pizzas and a bread sticks from Little Caesars while I was out, then hurried back to the soccer fields. Zadok's game got over at 5:30 and Odin's game started at 6:30pm. Everyone ate pizza on the grass. Micah went home to build some bee thingy for his beehives before he picks up his next bee colony on Saturday morning.
I watched Odin's soccer game, meanwhile starving because I don't like pizza that much and wanted to eat something healthier so I was waiting til I got home.
At 7pm I realized I was missing the Relief Society activity I had wanted to go to, which started at 7pm. I was supposed to meet my friend there whom I had invited from another ward. 
Odin's game got over at 7:15pm. I rushed the boys home and dropped them off. I quickly texted Bradley's mom to come over and pick up Bradley. I took Malachi with me to the Relief Society meeting as they had childcare provided. I rushed in, dropped off Malachi in the nursery then went into my meeting. To my delight they had veggies and dips and chips and salsa. I happily stuffed my face with yummy food while listening to an amazing Marriage and Family therapist speaker talk about love and marriage and how to get along as families. 
It was a really great meeting and I went home feeling enriched and inspired, instead of exhausted, which was good.
I got home at 8:30pm to find that Micah had gotten Jonah to bed like he does every night. Yay! But the older boys still hadn't taken showers from after their soccer games. I asked them to please shower, then I tucked them in and did my bedtime stories for each of them. Odin likes me to tell him one story every night from my childhood. Zadok likes me to tell him anything funny. 
Now it's 9:15pm and Malachi is still awake and not tired. He usually winds down about 10pm.
I threw him in the bath, brushed his teeth and we lied in bed reading books until he got tired and wanted milkies and sleep. I turned off the light.
At 10:15pm Micah crawled into bed. We were both too tired to talk to each other and both barely muttered goodnight before we conked out. Micah (a high school teacher) had to wake up at 4am the night morning to go on a class fieldtrip  to an amusement park 3 hours north of here.
And that was my Thursday. Somewhere in there I'm sure I used the bathroom, brushed my teeth, and did my hair, but that's about it. I never got that run or shower  but on a positive note I saved those exciting activities for Friday!


Tuesday, May 10, 2016

You can take the girl out of the islands......

I told myself all the way to the fabric store, 
"Sally, it's time to expand your tastes. You don't live in the tropics anymore. So today, when you pick out your new tablecloth fabric you must go for something more "mainland." How about some cacti, or western flowers, or barn animals?" #fail

Monday, May 9, 2016

Brothers and Dragons

Our ten year old "Z" is downstairs right now telling our 5 year old "J" bedtime stories. Meanwhile I'm up here with my heart melting through the floor. 
About a month ago I sat down and had a heart to heart talk with my Z-boy about his relationship with his brother whom he doesn't always get along with. It seems like out of all 4 of our little boys, those two are always butting heads and arguing about this and that. Unfortunately, the older brother is often belittling and criticizing the little brother. And to retaliate the little brother is often physically attacking and whining at the big brother. Both of these behaviours had to stop. 
I sat Z down and explained that the family relationships in our lives are more important than anything else. I needed Z to know that having 3 brothers to be your lifelong best friends is just about the coolest thing you could ever have in life. "You don't want to ruin that, or jeopardize it in any way, I explained. "The way you treat your brother right now, will likely effect both of your relationships the rest of your lives."
We sat down and wrote down some goals to work on concerning how he treats his little brother. (Well, mostly I wrote them down and hoped he was absorbing it all.)
Things like: 
1. If you're not interested in what he's saying just smile and nod your head. Please refrain from correcting or criticizing.
2. If he's being annoying, go into another room, instead of being annoying back.
3. If he physically attacks you, don't punch back.
4. Try to find something you have in common and build on that commonality.

Now I don't know if this little talk worked on him, but I do know that over the past month we have seen a huge change in these two boy's relationship. It has been really awesome! 
Z has turned into this overly-dedicated, nurturing, loving big brother, and J has turned into this completely kind, adoring little brother who admires everything Z says and does. 

They play on the trampoline the minute J comes home from school. (Z homeschools and J goes to Kindergarten) They spend all their time together making up stories about dragons. In fact, J has taken on the character of Z's pet dragon named Flare. Z takes care of Flare and trains him to do all sorts of cool tricks. Z helps flare care for his stuffed red dragon named Crescent. Crescent is Flare's favorite toy, so Z watches Crescent while Flare is at school. Z also helps Flare when he has a hard time. For instance, when Flare won't eat his chicken dinner, Z reminds him that he's an omnivore and can eat chicken! (This has been hugely helpful to me!). When Flare is slow getting into the car, Z helps him get his shoes on and helps him get ready. (Also hugely helpful to ME!) Z has been playing games with Flare,reading dragon books to Flare, and teaching him the arts and secrets to training dragons. And now lately, Z has been coming downstairs and telling Flare bedtime stories about dragons. 

Z definitely found a common denominator to build upon- the love for all things magical, make-believe, and fantasy! I think these two have more in common than they realize and have really been building on these similarities this past month. I love to see them bonding like this, especially since Z started homeschooling again since this past February. Bonding with his 5 year old brother is a great thing to do since his 8 year old little brother is gone all day in school whom has always been his closest buddy.

I am so grateful for Z and his mature response to a real problem. He has gone over and beyond what I expected. I suspect dragons and magic will be a common theme throughout their lives as they grow up together as friends......or dragon and trainer.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The Bee Man

My husband has taken up a new hobby: beekeeping. This past April 23rd was the big day where he picked up his first colony of bees to bring home to the hive. There were over 10,000 of them locked in a wooden bee box. The queen was inside an itty bitty cage within the bee box because she carries the pheromones that attract all the other bees and make them stay together.
I don't know much about beekeeping, but have learned so much from watching my husband these past weeks.
He is a dedicated, careful beekeeper who is taking pride in his hives.
He built these beehive condos from scratch following a pattern he researched online. He has been teaching our children (and their friends) all about the inner workings of beehives and the honey-making process. It is fascinating!

Here he is placing the wooden bars in the hive. This is where the honeycombs will hang down.

Here is the bee box full of 10.000 + bees that Micah picked up from the bee seller:
 Here is Micah extracting the queen from the box of bees.
The Queen bee in her little cage.
Here he is dumping the swarm into their new home. The Queen will stay in her little cage until she eats her way out. Micah stopped up the exit with a marshmallow.

This is on Day 8. Micah went to go check on the bees and found that they had made combs.

This is Day 11. The bees have been busily making many combs in the hive. Jonah and his friend were excited to see so many bees!

 This is really fun for our family! I'm excited for when Micah will begin stealing harvesting the honey from the honeycombs. We will soon have all the local, delicious, honey of our dreams. Mmmmmmm

**Several years ago I purchased a children's book called The Bee Man which talks all about the process of harvesting honey from bees. We've been reading it to our kids all this time as a favorite bedtime story, but I never thought we'd have a Bee Man of our very own!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

More Spiritual, Less Material

After every General Conference, I go back and slowly re-read all of the talks before the next General Conference six months later. Well, actually I blast them on my blue-tooth speaker in the kitchen while I'm doing dishes. My family knows that when mom is scrubbing pots and pans and listening to prophetic council, they don't bother me. It is my special time to listen, reflect, ponder, absorb the spirit, plus get my kitchen shiny and clean. I am a multitasker by nature, so this works for me!
This past week I listened to the April 2016 talk by Elder Hallstrom called "I am a Child of God," and I haven't stopped thinking about it. I wanted to share a few things that have touched my soul from this talk.
In his talk, Elder Hallstrom tells about a recent trip he took with Elder Bednar to Liberia to visit with the African Latter-Day-Saints. Liberia was the sixth country they visited and one that has been plagued with poverty, political instability, and civil wars. They got to meet with 4100 members on a hot a humid Sunday afternoon in the city of Monrovia. Their intent was to teach and testify of Jesus Christ and to sing and worship with the people that met there. During the meeting Elder Hallstrom and Elder Bednar were blown away by the dedication and spiritual nature of the Saints they met with! These Saints would recite scriptures word for word! That is amazing to me!! These Saints also knew the hymns by heart, verse for verse. In fact, he said, "When a speaker quoted a scripture, the members would say the verse aloud. It did not matter-short scripture or long; the entire congregation responded in unison." When Elder Bednar asked the Saints if they knew the seventh verse of "How Firm a Foundation" they roared in unison, "YES!" I mean, who knows the seventh verse of How Firm a Foundation by heart?? I certainly don't and I've been singing that hymn for years! He said that there was a level of conviction he had never heard before as all 4100 voices sang in unison on that day!
I wish I could've been there! I wish I could've seen those people's faces and heard those beautiful voices. I can feel their love for Christ and dedication to Christ all the way over here, and I am grateful for all of them for this example to me.
Elder Hallstrom then says,
"In one of the most remarkable spiritual events of my life, I was taught a profound lesson that day. We live in a world that can cause us to forget who we really are. The more distractions that surround us, the easier it is to treat casually, then ignore, and then forget our connection with God. The Saints in Liberia have little materially, and yet they seem to have everything spiritually. What we witnessed that day in Monrovia was a group of sons and daughters of God who knew it!"
This made me think about how distracted I get in my own life, and how these distractions can so easily disconnect me with my Heavenly Father. There are so many times I sit down to relax on the couch, or nurse my baby, or even sit down with intentions to read scriptures, but end up scrolling through facebook, or watching the next episode of the latest TV show I'm addicted to. I miss out on so many moments where I could be spiritually edified and uplifted. I know this weakness about myself very well, yet I refuse to do anything about it! Day after day I let myself get distracted. I know that I can do so much better. Not for anyone else, but for myself. I could do so much better for the welfare of my own sanity, happiness, and blessings.
The Saints in Liberia don't have a lot of material things, yet they are rich in spiritual things because they are less distracted. They spend their time pondering and memorizing the words of the Lord, singing hymns and learning the songs by heart. This is a powerful lesson I have taken away from this talk. I need to be more mindful of my daily distractions so I can keep my connection with God as strong as it needs to be..
My goal this week is to fill my spiritual cup FIRST, before I become distracted by other things.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Pray+God+People= all the answers I need

My life is super busy, as it should be with four kids.....but lately my husband and I have both been feeling so drained and burnt out that getting up in the morning to meet the days demands has been a real struggle. --Lots of tears and feelings of resistance to the normal everyday events like washing the sheets every morning for a child that wets the bed, or making special meals each day for the child that just won't eat, or making extra time for the child that needs more attention....and on and on.
So I do what I know best and I pray for help: Help in any form will do. And guess what? help comes in the form of people who feel inspired to do a little extra, to show up, give a little more, and make things happen. I.e... the La Leche Leaders who are helping on my breastfeeding Facebook page, the breastfeeding moms who are helping each other, my Cub Scout Leaders that are doing their jobs, the neighbor girls that come walk our dogs just for fun, the soccer parents who stepped up last minute to coach my son's team, the Kindergarten teacher who loves my son even though we always forget to do the weekly homework, and the kind lady at Great Harvest Bread Company who gave my picky picky son an extra free slice of cinnamon chip bread because he loved it so much. 

All these blessings add up; some big, some small, but they've made my burdens feel lighter this week. 

God is amazing. Prayer is amazing. People are amazing. I can do this!

He loves the cat but does the cat love him?
My Cedar City drift-wood and California seashells Mobile
It's officially skirt-season
never too old for an airplane ride

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Saints and Sisters...A Tribe for LDS Women

want to share something that is very special to me— even sacred to my heart.
A couple months ago my friend Wendy started a new group for LDS Sisters on a new social media platform called Tribalry. She invited me to join. At first I wasn't interested nor excited about it. I'm already on Facebook and that's all the social media I have time for, I thought. But this felt different. As I looked into it more I not only knew in my heart that I wanted to join, but I knew in my heart that I needed to join.
So I did.

Saints and Sisters has become a place where I can share my true self as an LDS woman and dedicated disciple of Christ, in a loving and deeply personal environment. As I've gotten to know many of the other sisters on the forum, I can't help but feel a deep connection with them, something I've never felt on any other spiritually-related-online group! I also feel that Saints and Sisters is a refuge from the world; it is a place where I can safely share my gospel views and opinions without the bombardment of haters or negative naysayers, which are so prevalent on other platforms out there. (There are no Facebook trolls on this group, waiting to pounce and denounce the beliefs I hold so dear to my heart.)

Saints and Sisters shares weekly posts with uplifting spiritual content. The content is created from the genuine thoughts, experiences, and insights of a diverse group of LDS sisters. (I am a bi-monthly contributor, which has been a huge blessing in my life!)
To me, this forum is much like being in a Relief Society meeting with all your favorite, most inspiring friends, whilst discussing the things that mean the most to our hearts. 
The spirit is radiating! The content is inspirational! The feelings I get when I read these heartfelt stories of  hope, happiness, perseverance, and faith from women who share my faith helps me feel my own confidence and worth in this world. 
Lastly, I can feel God's hand in this online group. It was created from the humble and thoughtful desires of one woman's hope to connect LDS women across the world, in unity and purpose of Christ.

I am so grateful to be a part of Saints and Sisters. I eagerly invite all my LDS Sisters to join, participate, belong, and feel the love wherever you may be in your spiritual journey.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Snowboarding Self-Care

I took myself snowboarding two Saturdays ago on one of the best selfie dates I've had in a long time! I spent 6 glorious hours in the mountains carving turns, bombing down big hills, and launching myself off of ski-lifts to my own hearts content! Just me, myself, and I. No one whatsoever to stop me or slow me down!
I spent the entire day moving tirelessly as I explored every run and every inch of that mountain. My heart was exploding with happiness! By one o'clock I didn't want to even stop for lunch, yet I had to because my body needed nourishment to keep going, then I was back up on the mountain again to explore and carve and smile and just be me.

I needed a date with myself! I enjoy hanging out with myself! I don't get to hang out with me too often as I live with 5 other people, 4 of them who are like little appendages. Most of my days are spent feeding them, cleaning them, wiping them, teaching them, and worrying about them.
But up on the mountain it was just me. 
My arms were free, my mind was free, and my spirit was soaring!

I learned to snowboard as a teenager. One spring break I flew to California with my best friend and her family. They took me snowboarding up in Mammoth Mountain for my first time and even paid for me to take lessons. I loved it so much and couldn't wait for the next day to bomb down that mountain with all my new found skills! Unfortunately, my friend didn't love it. In fact the next day she took the money her dad gave her for snowboarding, found some guys selling weed, and smoked marijuana all day with the local potheads. I, on the other hand, spent one of the most exhilarating and rewarding days of my life navigating through the runs and lifts of Mammoth! Sure I was all alone, but I didn't care one bit. I found snowboarding to be just the right amount of challenge and excitement to keep me busy and happy all day. 
Having grown up with the solitary sport of surfing and spending many days out in the ocean alone, I was used to the peace and quiet that often accompanies me on my adventures. 
I picked up snowboarding again in college when I moved to Utah in 2002. My student loans helped pay for a season pass to Sundance, as well as new snowboarding equipment. I spent many Saturdays alone (or with my friend Reo) carving and sweeping down the slopes of Sundance! 

The only problem I discovered with snowboarding is that although it's wonderful in it's own regard, it can't replace surfing. Surfing is...surfing. 
To quote one of my favorite bumper stickers: "Only a surfer knows the feeling"
But, that doesn't negate the fact that I sure had some really fun adventures snowboarding in Utah in my college years! There was Powder Mountain with Shannon and her family, BrianHead with Pepper and Ricki, Brighton with those girls that I forgot all their names, and of course Sundance with myself or Reo.

The last time I went snowboarding was right after Micah and I were married. We thought it would be fun to go to Sundance together, but after several runs Micah sprained his ankle. It was  a sad day. :(  Micah spent many weeks on crutches and unemployed. It was not the brightest beginning to our marriage, either, which led to me selling my snowboarding gear and moving on from that sport.
That was eleven years ago and the last time I went snowboarding, until 2 weeks ago.

I'm so glad I got the opportunity to get back out there. Getting alone time to recharge as a busy mother is absolutely essential. Usually I get an hour or two here or there, so this six hour stretch was pretty unusual, but very much needed. I came back recharged, inspired, relaxed, excited, exhilirated, happier, and armed with some new perspectives on life. All that time to think to myself helped me think these following things:
--Good, wholesome recreation is absolutely crucial to my sanity and well-being.
--I want to share my love for the outdoors with my children always.
--I want my kids to learn to snowboard (ski-lessons next winter?)
--This cold, snowy place we live isn't so awful in the winter, afterall.
--There is a pretty fun and lively sub-culture of ski-people here that I never knew existed. 
--If I can't surf, at least I've got snowboarding.
--I want to ensure I'm always this active and healthy in my life.
--I am a mom, but I am still me.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Haha Just kidding. I'm still here.

Don't you just LOVE big, dramatic exits followed by "ahhhh, nevermind." I've decided that changing our minds, our hearts, and our directions is just part of life. It's the flexible, open-minded part of life that isn't black and white, but instead a colorful, brilliant opening, willing to accept whatever comes our way. Even if it means going back a little..... and changing our minds.

I had been feeling pretty confident all week long that my LLL Leader retirement date was set in stone.......
until I had a mom reach out to me asking to help her complete her training
...until I sat in a room full of breastfeeding women and babies and my heart melted all over again
...until I realized that giving up something you love isn't always the answer
...until I saw that by keeping my heart in LLL, I could also make room for other life missions
....until I realized that the group I had worked so hard to create was going to need my continued support until I could pass that support to another's hands.

All of these things are feeling right to me.
Therefore, I am taking back that last marching forth post as I March forth (or tenth, he he) to continuing to be the breastfeeding support advocate I feel strongly is still running through my veins. 
For as long as I need to be.
And here's more nursing photos, just because:

Photo credit goes to Raydean Whipple of HeyRay Photography. This is me nursing my 19 month old Malachi, just a week ago. :) 

Friday, March 4, 2016

Marching Forth, 2016

March 4, 2016

Today is one of my favorite and most meaningful days of the year! Maybe because I've already decided this,that fate always has a way of bringing about forward movement and change on this day each year. Today I "March forth" to new horizons and new adventures. After 8 years of service, today is my last day as a La Leche League breastfeeding Leader in my community. I am retiring and making room for other important things in my life. It has been an amazing journey working with this organization. The influence LLL has had on my mothering experience has been huge and unforgettable! I attribute so much knowledge, happiness, understanding, and joy raising and nurturing my four babies, to the concepts and philosophies I've learned from LLL. This is a bittersweet day for me, yet I continue to March forth and let the winds of change carry me to my next adventure. Thank you God for leading me always.

Here's to "Marching Forth!"

Photo credit goes to Raydean Whipple of HeyRay Photography. This is me nursing my 19 month old Malachi, just a few days ago. :) 

Friday, February 19, 2016

My Motherhood

Last night when I tucked my 9 year old into bed I got under the covers and snuggled up right next to him like I often do. He's always been the most cuddly of my 4 children and I can always tell when he needs an extra cuddle before he falls asleep. It was warm and cozy in his twin bed, with 3 layers of blankets to keep us warm. He wrapped his big boy arms around me tightly, just like he started doing when he was two years old.
He would wrap his little arms around my head and say,"Hold me tighter, mommy!" And then I'd respond,"I am!" Even though he was the one holding me. Then we'd giggle and talk until he fell asleep. Last night we snuggled not quite as tightly, as he began to drift asleep. He woke up briefly to tell me that NASA created a spaceship with twelve thrusters on it to assist the astronauts in working outside the spacecraft, and then he was out like a light. That's my Z-boy: his brain always actively buzzing with a million thoughts and ideas, even until the last flutter of his eyelids close for the night.
I lied there next to him for several more minutes just looking over at his quiet, tender, sweet face. I felt the power of a mother's love surge through me a gazillion times over as I thought about what a gift he is to my life. And also about what a gift each one of my children is to me as well. I thought about how much I love being a mother and how each day I get to be their mother is another day I am blessed beyond words. I never imagined that so much love could exist in a person until I had my own children. It is infinite, eternal, and very real, and I am so grateful each day that I get to do this.

I thought about how much satisfaction it gives me to teach them and care for them. Often times I find myself standing over my children while serving them pancakes for breakfast, or picking out an outfit for my toddler for the day, or discussing with my 7 year old about being kind to the kids at school who are having a hard time, or dropping off my son at Scouts, and I think in my head gratefully, how much I love doing all of this! Being a mother, a nurturer, a teacher, a little-person-organizer, a home manager and an overall example to my kids is the best job in the world. It's the greatest thing I have ever done and the truth is that I find great INTRINSIC JOY in doing it.
I learned that word intrinsic in a recreation leadership college class  and I've loved that word ever since! I learned at the time about the effect of doing things in our lives that bring us pure joy because that is naturally and organically the feelings we feel when we do them!
I believe that motherhood is one of those naturally intrinsic joys in life because that is what it was designed to do: bring us inherent JOY! God designed motherhood to bring us the ultimate feelings of happiness, joy, and satisfaction in our lives. God gave me motherhood because he knew that I would love it beyond anything else I have ever done and will ever do and that is a beautiful gift.

I've looked to other sources of satisfaction over the last 9 (almost 10) years of motherhood. I've found joy in filling my time with other worthy endeavors that seemed useful or important at the time. But those things fade away. I will always be a mother, first. In fact most of the other busy things I have done over the years have only helped enhance my role as mother!
I've also often struggled with feeling adequate enough or appreciated enough in my role as mom. But time and time again I always come back to knowing in my heart that this is what I was born to do. Other responsibilities and opportunities will come and go, and with those things will come other forms of growth and happiness, but being a mother always will be my number one priority in life.

I have four little boys who love and adore me. They need my love. They need my nurturing. They need a mother who is present and aware of all their little concerns and needs as they are learning and navigating through this life. I want to be someone they can depend on, trust, respect, and look up to for as long as they need me. I envision four very independent grown men someday who will go off in the world and do great things....Get educations, serve missions, go on adventures, have careers, meet spouses, have children, and create homes for themselves someday. I want my boys to grow up and find joy and happiness in their lives, too. I want them to know that not once EVER did they inconvenience me in raising them nor did I EVER regret being pregnant, giving birth to them, changing my whole life for them, and being their mother. Sure they will look back and see my weaknesses: the things I struggled with as I was growing along with them, yet they will know for certain that the tears and worries and uncomfortable stretching I experienced in raising them was worth it all in getting to be their mother.

On a side note, my philosophy on little children is that they truly only know as much as you teach them. I mean, they were just recently born into this world, and gosh-- they haven't been here very long at all! Nearly everything they learn and know is picked up from their own family environment. If one of my children is acting badly or misbehaving I believe it is my job to help teach them and correct their behavior. When I heard another mom call one of her small children a selfish jerk my immediate thought was,"Well, then teach them differently and change it! They are only going to know what you tell them, so tell them what they need to know!" Some issues take a long time to learn and change. Don't give up! That "selfish jerk" is watching , learning, and living by your example. (We actually have a child that could be called a selfish jerk from time to time. He is my biggest challenge right now in teaching and re-directing his behaviour. Calling him names isn't going to change anything, however, but more patience,  more love, more together-time, and some behavior modification is!

Anyways, these are just some thoughts I have on being mommy today! I went to a My Motherhood Matters Discussion Group last night in my community which was designed to help strengthen the importance of motherhood in our society. I came home feeling even more validated and happy in what I am doing.
Others might think that being a stay-at-home-mom is lame or boring. Others might not find it as satisfying as I do. That's okay! All that really matters is that I DO, because I am the mama! And I happen to find mothering to be very intrinsically satisfying. ;)

Friday, February 12, 2016

Mother of four wakes up from anesthesia, sleep deprived

I am sharing the video footage my 9 year old took yesterday of me coming back from the anasthesia state-of-mind. Yesterday morning  I underwent dental surgery for my wonky tooth problem.  We are waiting in the car while my husband ran into the store. 
This was the very first time I've ever been put to sleep in my 37 years of living! It sure was a trip! I've heard that people say silly things while they are coming back from their anesthesia sleep, yet I wasn't anticipating the extreme disappointment I'd feel upon being woken back up! : "Why did she have to wake me up?" You should never wake up a sleeping person!" 
Perhaps my subconscious-sleep-deprived and drug-induced-mind is speaking the truth for every mother of little ones out there! You should never wake a sleeping mother, even if they are laying  in a facility bed, their time is up, and they are ready to go home after dental surgery. Never.

I shared this video on facebook. The reactions of my friends were priceless. Some laughed with me, some cried with me, but most complimented on how sweet and thoughtful my son was in validating my feelings every step of the way. He really is the best most caring kid. I am so blessed to have him. 

The second video is much shorter where he catches me rambling about people's hair in the parking lot. 


Sunday, January 24, 2016

PUMPKIN Luxury and a Pumpkin Muffin Recipe

It still blows my mind that I can ask my Smart phone questions and it answers them! I got my first ever Smart phone in August and after accidentally dropping it into the toilet right away and soaking it in rice for 24 hours, I have been enjoying it's high tech-features ever since! 
One of the cool things I can do is locate the recipes on my blog in seconds. I pick up my phone and say"OK Google", which activates the listening function. Then once my phone starts listening I tell it what recipe I want such as,"Sallyseashell lentil coconut curry." Or "Sallyseashell protein balls." Within seconds my phone has located the recipes on my blog and they appear on my screen. Lastly, I prop my phone up somewhere in my kitchen (I know, I need to make one of these fabric stands!) and cook my heart out! So obviously my goal is to post more of my favorite recipes on my blog for easy access!

This past summer Micah planted a different variety of pumpkins called Winter Luxury pumpkins. They have been so delicious! They are thick, meaty, and a beautiful bright orange color! I have really enjoyed harvesting them, processing them, and turning them into all my favorite pumpkin foods. (So grateful for my husband's thoughtfullness in growing these pumpkins for me.)

First I slice them in half and scoop out the seeds. I wear my Christmas apron year-round.
Next I quarter them and boil them in a large pot for 45 minutes to 1 hour. If I can slide my fork through the meat easily, I call them done.
 After the pumpkin has cooled down, my little guy likes to help scrape the orange meat off the skin.  Pantsless, of course. I collect the puree "mush" in a large bowl to get it ready for bagging.
 Next I measure the pumpkin mush into 1 cup portions and divide them up into ziplock bags for the freezer. Since I use the pumpkin puree for so many different recipes, I've found that keeping one-cup portions is easiest. i.e... A big pumpkin pie takes 2 cups. 24 pumpkin muffins take 3 cups. My morning pumpkin smoothie takes 1 cup. Pumpkin pancakes takes 1 cup, and so on. 
And that's it! I always make sure to have plenty of pumpkin pie spice mixes on hand so I never run out because pumpkin pie spice makes pumpkin......pumpkin! I either buy pumpkin pie spice mix on sale or make my own. If you have powdered ginger, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, and cloves, you can make your own easily. (I never use mace. What IS mace??)
 My boys love these pumpkin muffins! We make them whenever we get the craving!

Pumpkin Muffin Recipe:
6 Tablespoons melted butter
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups white flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
4 eggs
1 1/3 Cups brown sugar
3 Cups Pumpkin Puree

1. Heat oven to 375 F (191 C)
2. Put 24 cupcake papers into two muffin pans.
3. melt butter in microwave or in small pan on the stove on low heat.
4. Put the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl
5. In another bowl, mix the eggs and brown sugar. Then add the pumpkin puree and butter.
6. Add the pumpkin mixture to the flour mixture and stir until mixed. 
7. Use a small scoop to fill the muffin cups about 2/3 full.
8. Bake for about 20 minutes or until knife comes out clean.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Utah or Bust!

Our theme for this upcoming summer is UTAH or Bust! We're basically not making any travel plans other than exploring the beautiful, dynamic, and  natural outdoor resources right here in our own backyard! Last summer we were so busy roadtripping to California and flying to Hawaii  that we didn't do a lot of fun things right here in our very own neighborhood. This summer will be different!
Utah is one of the most gorgeous places I have ever been. People come here from all over the world to see for themselves the canyons and mountains and rivers and peaks and hoodoos and lakes that make this place so amazing. We haven't even touched the surface of all that is amazingly Utah!
Just recently we took our kids to Snow Canyon to hike around just for a couple hours on New Year's Day. We live just an hour from here! This place is fantastic for little kids who loves to run and climb all over the rocks! The kids can't wait to come back and camp in the Spring.

A couple of weeks ago Micah and I went out on a hiking date. We like to occasionally hire our favorite babysitter and go hiking up in the hills, just the two of us. This time we went hiking in the hills up behind our neighborhood. I had never been back there before! It was so gorgeous! The white snow on the red rocks really takes my breath away every time. I love it!
We took our two dogs walking with us. They went crazy running all over the place. We even lost one of them for a portion of the hike as he took off running up the mountain and never came back. We finally found him back at the beginning of the trail. Phew!
Anyways, it was a fun, romantic hike with my favorite husband and hiking companion.

I took the three older boys up in the red hills a week later to hike after church on Sunday. We had so much fun! They were making me laugh so hard the entire time. They were all  in these incredibly goofy, laughing moods that contagiously made each other and myself goofy and laughy all over again. There was this one moment where my five year old Jonah was trying to scramble up a steep incline. So I told my nine year old Zadok who was at the top of the incline to grab his hand and pull him up. My nine year old grabbed his hand, which was inside of a glove and pulled the glove right off! They started laughing hysterically. I got serious and told them to consider how dangerous it would've been if Zadok was pulling Jonah up from falling off a cliff. Imagine if you grabbed his hand but it was really his glove and it came right off and you had to watch Jonah fall to his death! I scolded. Zadok thought about this for a second then replied,"Well, at least I'd have something to remember him by."
Then they all started laughing again.
Boys, boys, boys.
After that we found a rock that looked like The Grinch. We decided this is where Whoeville is, but the Whos are too small to see so we might have been accidentally stepping all over them. 
In other exciting news, we turned our minivan in for a tour van. Yes, it's an actual 15-seater tour bus complete with beautiful western landscapes painted on the side doors. At first I scoffed at my husband for wanting to buy such a huge, extravagant van, but after thinking about it, it all made perfect sense. This will become our adventure wagon for all our camping and exploring needs! We can take out the 2 back seats and make room for all our camping gear, plethroa of children, and even our dogs! This van will go everywhere we go, checking off our Utah bucket list one canyon, one mountain, one river as we go!

Last but certainly not least, my baby turned 18 months old today. sniff sniff.  I don't know what to say--the time is going too fast! I want to bottle him up and save him forever like this. He's too darn cute. And that curly hair reminds me of a little cherub. I don't want to cut it, but I know eventually I'll have to. It's starting to get in his eyes. I tried a headband but he doesn't like wearing it. He also doesn't like it when I spray the detangler and brush the bedhead out of his hair. So, we shall see. Right now my favorite thing in the world is kissing those little cheeks and rubbing my fingers through those springy curls!
Here's my little buddy with his new boots that he hasn't taken off for three days because he loves them so much:
Utah Summer Bucket List:
Coyote Gulch
Mystic Hot Springs
Kanarraville Falls
Zion National Park (again and again)
Capitol Reef
Navajo Lake
Duck Creek
Yankee Meadows
Uintahs-Kings peak (Micah and Z-boy)