Tuesday, June 10, 2008

How do I know I picked a winner?

Because he always takes time to read his children a book, give them a cuddle, jump with them on the tramp.

Because he loves to hear our funny story in the middle of his busy day.

Because when he’s at a dinner conference, he remembers to bring me home a dessert and tells me he wishes I were there.

Because he would rather be with his family than anyone else.

Because he shows his children that above all, he loves and respects their mother.

Because he makes up his own strange bedtime stories for the boys that seem to have a surprising moral twist in the end.

Because when he makes a return, he usually gives me the store credit because he knows I’ll like it.

Because he teaches his sons how to do things and how to work.

Because he always backs me. We are a united front.

Because he lets me read aloud to him on long road trips.

Because when I’ve had enough, he supports me going for a drive.

Because he always encourages me in anything I want to learn to do.

Because he plants beautiful flowers in our backyard and tells me that he plants them for me.

Because he can fix things.

Because he makes each of his children feel special and has a great relationship with each of them.

Because he works so hard, yet never looses sight of who he is doing it all for and what is truly important.

Because he knows me better than I know myself, and that still catches me off guard.

Because he can fall asleep in the middle of a sentence.

Because he includes me in all important decisions and respects my input.

Because he is the only man I know that will join in during a silly song or dance with no shame.

Because he is the king of pun, always clever with his mocking word play.

Because he loves politics more than sports, though he can hold his own during any sports game. The guy is very coordinated.

Because he loves to share entrees with me when we go out to dinner.

Because he would promise me the moon if he thought he could deliver.

Because he is just adorable in every possible manly way.

Because sometimes it seems like our day never truly begins until he is home.

Because he is ours and we could never have another.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Minsky, Minn, Minnie, Malynn

About a week ago I had the pleasure of having my first date alone with you while our boys were up in the mountains. You have always been such joy to me. But this particular night while we shared our fancy gelato, and you said hello to all the passersby, taking our own sweet time as the moon rose, I felt something special. Perhaps I caught a glimpse of the many memories that we are going to make together.

You and me, girl. This was a first of many.
I love you, my sweetheart.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

and our summer begins...

swim lessons... my saving grace this summer.

Monday, May 12, 2008

the entrepreneur

advertising expenses.... 0 dollars

salesmanship training.... 0 dollars

product to be sold.... 0 dollars

being entertained for three solid hours outside?.... priceless

and somehow he came inside with $4.50 in his pocket.

a little quick math tells me that selling rocks is very profitable.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Because it's Mother's Day

Thirty two reasons why I love you, one for every year that you've been my mother.

1. Because you sniff your pillow every time you make your bed and you pack it in your suitcase everywhere you go.

2. Because for years you came on every backpacking trip with us, even though for you it probably wasn't fun since you did all the cooking.

3. Because you tucked me in at night, even sometimes as a teenager and always told me that I was special and truly loved while you scratched my back.

4. Because you let me drop out of pep club after only one month of hating it even though we had just paid for the whole year.

5. Because you took me out of school to get our haircuts together and go to lunch afterward. I felt so lucky.

6. Because in third grade, you started 'brown bagging' for my class. Every Wednesday if kids had finished a book, they could bring a lunch and eat in the classroom and tell the others about the book. I was able to come every Wednesday because I was your daughter and I felt very privileged.

7. Because you let me have sleepovers with Liz anytime we asked.

8. Because you rewarded me for being honest by not punishing me when I carved deep holes into our brand new wooden deck with my younger brothers.

9. Because you let me call you every week while I was in Jerusalem because I was homesick and needed to hear your voice. We would talk for over an hour and I know the bill was awful.

10. Because you always talked me through the dating dramas convincing me that I didn't realize how incredible I was and that I worthy of someone that was out there preparing himself for me.

11. Because you always kept the mentality that anything is possible. Your vision helped me get to Europe, UCLA, Jerusalem, and my MA degree.

12. Because you never made me turn out the light when I was reading into the wee hours of the morning.

13. Because you always let me sleep in your bed whenever Dad was gone for military or a conference.

14. Because you've always been my best shopping partner, lunch date, and phone call.

15. Because you didn't think I was completely insane when I knew I was in love, in the for real and for forever sense, after only three dates with Jamie.

16. Because you drove all the way to LA with me one afternoon to look at wedding dresses when I wasn't even officially engaged yet.

17. Because you share your most personal thoughts and feelings with me and know that they are safe.

18. Because you have taught me what being a great wife looks like, how to support your husband and put your marriage above all else. It's amazing how in love you and Dad still are after all these years.

19. Because of all the nights I could hear you giggling in your room as Dad walked around berating and making fun of himself. Oh, Dad. You're the best.

20. Because you came to every drill competition and dance performance I ever did.

21. Because when it came to high school romances, you knew I could do better.

22. Because you cried when my little family moved, but were so proud at the same time.

23. Because for every one of my children's birthdays you call to remind me of the special day that I gave birth to this child.

24. Because you love my children and love to hear every minute detail that I can remember to tell you about them.

25. Because you stay up till midnight watching cheesy movies like Pollyanna with me and cry at the same parts.

26. Because you've shown me how to serve others selflessly. When anything good happens to me, I want to call you and tell you about it because of how encouraging and giving you are. You make everyone feel good.

27. Because you drag yourself to the gym everday not because you think your ever going to obtain a model figure, but because you want to be healthy and feel good.

28. Because you never complained about Dad when we were kids and he was at the hospital. You would tell us at the dinner table how hard our Dad was working for us so that we could do our soccer/ballet/ski lessons. You taught us that he was a hero.

29. Because when you come to my house, you roll up your sleeves and dig in to the diaper-changing, meal-planning, laundry-sorting madness that is ours.

30. Because of how lovingly you cared for your parents these last ten years as they were aging and slowly unable to care for themselves.

31. Because you taught me about prayer. Even as a young girl, I remember the prayer I said every night. "Please bless that we can sell our lot so we can go to Disneyland." I didn't even know what the 'lot' was, just knew it needed to go.

32. Because to this day you are my mom and my best friend rolled into one perfect, 5'5" person. I'm so lucky to have you.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom

Friday, May 9, 2008

Flowers Schmowers

About two weeks ago while Jamie and I were lying in bed I confessed my wish for mother's day this year. I told him no chocolates, no flowers, not even a card; all I wanted was an afternoon off to do whatever I wanted by myself. "you got it, babe." was all he said, and boy did he deliver. From 10:00 on I had the whole day to myself to go anywhere and I didn't have to take anyone with me! I tell you, I felt like a sixteen year-old driving across town for the first time behind the wheel. The freedom was so exhilirating! I even claimed my own theme song for the day- New Soul by Yael Naim- and drove with my windows down and a dopey grin on my face. Aaaah. I'm not going to spend any energy justifying and defending how I do love my kids and being a mother and whatever. Everyone who knows me knows how devoted a mother I am, but once in a while a girl's gotta have a break. And I for one have especially always needed some alone time. It's how I refuel.

So how did I spend my time, you ask? I thought about shopping, pedicure, seeing a movie, and even taking my bood gookie (anyone ever read The River Why?) to Barnes and Noble to find a quiet corner to myself and spend the afternoon reading. It all sounded divine. Believe it or not, I mustered up the courage to call some ladies to meet me for lunch. To make the calls I had to wait until all my children were napping so I didn't have any background noise to distract. The turnout was amazing! So instead of eating alone, I had a delightful lunch full of fun conversation with some wonderful women. This may sound ridiculous, but I was surprised at how happy everyone seemed to be invited. Here I was nervous to ask them and playing the whatif game in my head, and as it turned out everyone was glad to be included in the plan. Big step for me! ... and of course I threw a little shopping in before and after lunch too! At the end of the day I was very happy to see my babies again. And he got me flowers anyway.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

all over but the shoutin'

I took a nap this afternoon (loved it) and had this strangely real dream. It felt so real that I woke up feeling all uncomfortable and sick to my stomach a little bit. All I really remember is that I'm driving in my car with my three kids (who sounded more like a gaggle of hyped up geese in my ear). The next thing I know is that I'm deciding to drive down this super nice pier over some body of water and in my mind I know that it leads to this amazingly quaint little boutique/cafe/hangout area to which I must be crazy to bring my gaggle. I reach the end of the pier and realize with horror that I need to reverse back and almost kill us by driving backwards like an overly medicated senior with a led foot. Rather than driving us into the deep blue, instead I plow into a statue. Next thing I know, I'm explaining my actions to an authority figure of some sort, apologizing and promising that I will pay for the damages. The anxiety is flowing through my veins while realizing that a) I don't have the money to pay for the damages, and b) my children have somehow climbed out of the car and are whoopin' and hollerin' like it's nobodies business while extremely white and well-ironed people are shaking their heads and waggling their manicured fingers and mumbling to each other who is their mother and why does she obviously not care that they are a-whoopin' and a-hollerin' so dangerously close to the waters edge. (I love run-on sentences.) In the back of my mind I think it would serve them right to fall right off the edge, I'm so mad they can't ever just sit there like other people's kids, while I'm stuck in this painful conversation. I woke up with the panic lingering as well as a little frustration with my kids and the fear that maybe I really don't know how to drive worth crap. Ugh.

I don't need a psychiatrist or a hypnotist or a well-meaning elderly woman to tell me that the themes in this dream are obviously the themes that are intricately woven into my normal every day. The themes: CONTROL and FEAR

The control part I do have a shaky handle on. I can usually maintain control of my gaggle and get them to fly in formation with only a raise of my voice and a loud clap or two. It's not a pretty picture and makes me look like a real jerk to the ever-present onlookers. It's all a part of the circus act that we get to perform any time we've flown the nest. Happy to entertain you. I try not to maintain eye contact with the audience. I'm too nervous to look the critics in the eye. I've always been a wimp, which leads to...

Fear. What, you say? Aren't you, like, in your mid-thirties? No. guffaw. Not yet, I'm only 32! I can still be nervous, anxious and preoccupied with what other people think for at least another three years, right? I've always been this way. I don't know if it's a kind of shy or not. I feel fine when I talk to people, meet new people, speak in front of a group. My fear comes after I have put myself out there. I'm just not comfortable in my own skin yet. I really think I inherited this trait from my dad. He's the sweetest, most lovable guy in the world (not that part) but he's plagued with this same sort of social discomfort (that part). It terrifies me to ask some girls to go to lunch with me. This really hinders my ability to move past the acquaintance stage. And I hate that. Yesterday I was moving some of my old scanned photos from recently impaired computer to new, shiny, fast computer (thank you, love) and stopped to glance at a few high school pics. I was surprised that although all of the photos were snapped during happy moments, that sense of nervousness that I felt daily came back in my gut. I don't get it. I had a great time in high school. Of course, everyone feels a sense of insecurity during adolescence, but why would this continue to emerge even now that I'm a bonafide, verified, dignified adult! I'm not ashamed to admit that I've used my kids as pawns to make friends. It's easier to ask another mother if she wants to bring her kids to the park. Somehow it's not so scary. But the day is soon coming when I will need to grow up enough to look someone in the eye and ask them to get to know ME, for a change, (I'll have to come up with better words). Someday soon my kids will not need my help to make friends and arrange playdates. I need to get the nerve and follow their lead.

This so affectionately reminds me of one of my favorite posts of all times. My dear friend Amanda, many of you know, wrote this awesome description of the challenges of making girlfriends. Read it and you're guaranteed a laugh and an epiphany.

And my gosling #2. Ethan, who had a birthday last month, who makes me laugh, who's become surprisingly snugly with me lately, who loved his first swimming lesson, who seems grumpy to everyone that he doesn't know, who has a different character name everyday, who never has to be asked twice to do a job, who drinks like there's no tomorrow, who loves to sing under his breathe when he thinks no one is listening, who is smack dab between Mr. Personality and Miss Sweetie Pie, but nonetheless could never be overlooked because of his own ultra-coolness and mega-watt endearingness. I am so glad you are mine.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Not Enough

Today has started out on a sobering note. A phone call, not a long one, not as long as it should have been. Just a quick summary. There is a woman I have become acquainted with at my church. It's hard for me to put in words how I feel about her. We are not particularly close. I don't know why: different stage of life, different ages of kids, just haven't had the right set of circumstances to get to spend much time together.

Regardless, from the moment I met her, I felt this admiration for her. She has this something about her, in her face, in the way she talks, in how she lives her life. She emanates this sort of light, I kid you not. She is calming. She seems to be without judgment. Her face exudes kindness. And she has it together... I don't mean her house, appearance, talents. I mean she so has her priorities in the right place. I have watched seemingly insignificant things that she does and says and have thought, wow, she is so someone I want to be like.

And today this woman on the phone confesses her sadness over a son. As every mother does, she worries for her children. She says flat out that she doesn't know what she's done wrong, what mistake she's made with him. And even jokingly adds that the poor kid even got her DNA. I try to tell her that its not her. I inadequately try to tell her what I believe- that the Lord knows her. He knows her heart, her talents, her abilities, and who's to say there isn't a reason why this particular child was chosen to come to her home, because of who she is. Frustratingly, she says, well you're a good friend. She changes the subject as she always does when anything is being said about her. She's not a look-at-me, talk-about-my-life, kind of person. So respectfully, I let the conversation close and we hang up.

Then I cry. In my laundry room, I'm crying. Why? Because I don't have the words to tell her. Because I'm not a good friend. I didn't get my message across. But mostly I'm crying because this woman that I love doesn't see herself for who she really is. She doesn't see all of the things that the rest of us see. She doesn't think she's enough.

I wonder how many times our Father in Heaven feels this same way. How often his heart hurts when we are hard on ourselves, discouraged with who we are, don't think we are enough. How he must want to scream sometimes, don't you see! Won't you see what I see when I look at you?

As mothers, we do this. Everything our kids do from the sandbox to the classroom, we internalize, peronalize, think it is a reflection of us. The saying, 'You are only as happy as your saddest child' is true because we feel such responsibility. And it can make us discouraged. And this doesn't stop when our kids become adults, as I have learned from my family. As a mother you continue to worry and feel responsible for the lives of your children.

So what do we do with this? I haven't a clue. But I marvel at how much we learn from existing with our families. How we love, rejoice, and mourn about our children teaches us how our own Father must feel about us. Of course we must do our best. We must listen, stay in tune, and do our very best. And when that falls short, we can't carry that burden. That's just too much. I believe the atonement took care of these human mistakes too. The ones we don't mean to make, don't recognize, can't help. They can be healed too.

One thing's for sure, from being a mom I have learned that I can't do it alone. I can't. It's too big, too heavy a responsibility. I feel so small and inadequate when considering the task at hand. I fall short daily, I really do. When i say I need divine help, I mean it. I need the small whisperings to teach me how to teach my little ones- what to say, how to say it, and when the opportunity sneaks up and they are really listening. I need the reminders to tell them the most important things, that I fiercely love them, that their Father in Heaven knows them and also loves them, that because they have so much love, they can reach out and help, share and love others. I need help to reign in my impatience and fight for calm. I need the nudge to put away my own selfish pursuits to focus on them and the fleeting time that I have an influence. So, yes I realize that I'm not enough. But I can be with a little help. And that is the way it was meant to be. Hope.

Happy Mother's Day this week

Thursday, April 10, 2008

two of my projects, as of late...



This bathroom has been a work in progress for a very long time now. Still deciding on if this is the right color or not, which explains the tags. I still want to hang a colorful pretty dish/dishes on the wall. I also cleaned out and reorganized my way too tiny closet that I share with my husband. Just loved the feeling of hauling those bags to the Goodwill. Aaah. More space.

Also, a little evening torture.

Ethan calls it 'wesso-ing', but looks like torture to me.

They all enjoy this a little too much. The boys try to get at me during the day, and its all I can do to swat them away. By the time their dad gets home, its so pent up, they are ready to blow.

I just don't get it.

But, isn't he cute?

And a fat lip.

The boys decided on Sunday evening that it would be a great idea to pile as many pillows as they could find in the house at the bottom of the stairs, and then leap onto them from the top stair. Malynn, tragically thought it looked fun, and took her leap a fraction of a second after Dallin, bringing her teeth through her lip. She's a tough girl.

And what is the fascination with my toiletries? And my shoes?