Wednesday, December 5, 2012


It has been a couple of weeks since I last wrote anything. Lots of things have been going on, my grandfather finally passed away probably being one of the most notable. He suffered from ALS for four years and I was so happy to hear he had finally passed. But isn't it sort of strange to be happy that a person has died? So there I was happy but sad.

Then it was Thanksgiving and I had to deal with the mental hardship of going home for the holidays. It always seems to be a good idea but then I get there and realize it is exhausting on my part. I always wonder if that exhaustion is preventable and so while I am there I try all sorts of experiments like drowning myself in a book or trying not to care too much how things turn out.

Basically life has been kind of like a roller coaster lately, except a mirror fun house is probably more accurate. A roller coaster is full of ups and downs and really isn't all of it sort of thrilling? The suspense of the fall, the fast turns and even the flips upside down can be sort of exhilarating, if not in a jarring manner. But imagine a room full of crazy mirrors. You know the ones that are all disjointed and emphasize some part of yourself that makes you groan or giggle.

That is my life lately. I feel as if I keep noticing these enlarged weaknesses around me and the mirror just blows them up into epic proportions. Sometimes I laugh, sometimes it seems just so overwhelming that I collapse and then turn to another mirror that focuses on something else.

But every now and then I catch a glimpse in a regular mirror. No distortions, no funny engorged body parts or super long legs. Just reality. Sometimes I like what I see, sometimes reality can be just as jarring as the crazy mirrors. How sweet it is though, when you see yourself for who you truly are.

Those crazy images can stick in your mind and alter your perception of yourself, but you have to focus and remember the images you like.

Like the other week when Max and I shared a clementine. He was sitting on the table and we peeled it together and separated each slice. He would feed me and I would feed him and it made us laugh. It was simple but I saw a glimpse of myself in that moment and I liked who I was.

I have been looking for that girl woman since.

I see her a lot more than I suspected. She is there to tickle necks of sore throats and she is there reading "Anne of green gables" for the first time (I know...I can hardly believe it either) and smiling all the while.

She is finding herself more and more as a mother and as a wife and ultimately as woman. She also has a knack for speaking in third person.

I still see those fun house mirrors around me but I understand that the parts of me they are stretching and enlarging is just that---they are enlarged only in my perception. Reality is that they are there, but they are in their proper size and in proportion to everything else.

And I can definitely handle that.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Thoughts on perfection

My imagination runs wild with images of perfection. I see myself dressed adorably, playing cheerfully, food simmering away on the stove. My home bright with light and laughter, there is a slight mess akin to a strand  of hair out of place.

Obviously that is not my reality. When I look around I see blocks dumped out, board books littering the floor like a game of hopscotch, we pulled the cushions off the couch to teach Max how to jump off things and I have zero desire to put them back in their place.

I sit here on the floor in front of the heater listening to my husband clean the dishes and wipe down the counters. Every now and then he asks for me to bring him something and my inner diva sighs with annoyance from being disturbed from my web browsing.

It's funny when we compare our imagination to our reality, we realize how short it falls. It can  be exhausting as a mother to attempt perfection every day but I feel like we are all trying in the best way to we know how.

A little push and pull and finding the right balance between investing in ourselves so we don't want to pull our hair out and investing in our home, our children, our husband who are all silently asking for time and attention and a little tender love and care.

I struggle with this, I really do.

In my attempt toward  perfection something always gets the short end of the deal. At the end of the day, when I realize who got the worst of it I feel awful. I didn't spend enough one on one time with Max, I chose to catch up on tv rather than talk to Kyle, I completely ignored the growing pile of dishes and crumbs that litter the counter in my kitchen. Often multiple things get slighted as I claim rights for myself to completely veg out and try to forget about all those nagging things.

So where do you find the balance? Time and time again I try to look for it in investing in myself because I know that that is necessary. But how do I go about investing in myself. I watch television, go on the hunt for a new pair of jeans, buy some lipstick, google ways to clear up adult acne and swear that I will buy whatever it is at whatever cost to cure myself from feeling less than gorgeous. It seems as if I am investing in myself but really I am just investing in the empty promise that is always out of my reach.

So what should we invest in?

Invest your time in a good book, the scriptures or something else that lifts and enlightens. I am not talking about smutty romance novels or whatever else is easy for you to read. Choose words that challenge the mind. The scriptures are a great place to start especially because they help you develop a relationship with God which is CRUCIAL for personal sanity a midst pretty much every circumstance ever.

Pray, write in your journal, go for a walk, go for a walk while listening to India.Arie, develop a skill (sew! knit! cook! learn how to shoot a gun!), invite friends over, but most of all...

stop trying so hard to be perfect by investing everything in that which doesn't last.

But do try to reach toward perfection. Try to find that which is good and then call upon support from higher sources, for when we do try in all the right ways leaning upon assistance, we will eventually gain the right kind of perfection.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


I have mixed feelings about Halloween. My inner drama nerd LOVES dressing up and I love candy but I never was particularly fond of walking around and knocking on people's doors for it.

This year I was at a loss of what to dress Max up as (because really this show is all about him) and then I found this sweet suit at Value Village for $6. Initially I bought it because the outfit was too good to pass up. Then I realized I didn't want to put a whole lot of effort into making him a costume (we were thinking pirate for awhile) and so we just kinda decided on this. So we all dressed up at as a Blast From the Past. However, on the way to our church Trunk-or-Treat I had an idea. We could be the Romneys! So we told everyone Max was Mitt and we were....whatever his parent's names are....Marion? and.....whatever. You get the idea.

So Happy Halloween to all you Halloween lovers. Here is to hoping the wind doesn't blow too strong, the rain fall too hard and that neighbors will be generous with their fun sized goodies.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Big shoes to fill

Every day Max will grab a pair of mine or Kyle's shoes on his own and slip his feet in and walk around as best he can. It is quite entertaining but also incredibly endearing. This little boy has brought so much joy into our lives it's hard to imagine someday he will actually be filling these shoes and will be bringing joy to a lot more people. 

Lately I have been feeling out of sorts as a mom. It can be hard to grasp the reality that you are in fact in charge of another human life. It is sobering each night as I lay down my head to think back over my accomplishments and failures over the day. Did I give him enough attention, enough interaction, enough outside air? The list can go on and on and often I focus on my failures and weaknesses and by golly that just makes you feel all warm and fuzzy at the end of the day.

I am trying to remain positive and to find and focus upon the funny moments. Moments like this, where my silly boy thinks it is the coolest thing in the world to wear Daddy's shoes. He also thinks farting is HILARIOUS. I love when he starts talking to my in what must be some form of Klingon or Elven and I can't help but smile. I love that he has a sweet tooth like his Momma but is all about structure and being super active like his Dad. He is obsessed with giving open mouthed kisses and after requesting a high-five he will also give you a fist pound. 

It's the little things.

While Max has a ways to go to fill those shoes, I am currently in a personal quest to fill the shoes 
of the mother's who have gone before me. My own mother who is the epitome of sacrifice and optimism amidst all trials, my mother-in-law who is an extreme example of faith and selflessness, my mother's mother who remained classy, educated, and loving throughout her whole life and my father's mother whose strong opinions are rooted in a deep love for her family. I hope and pray that I can fill these shoes and be an example to those who come after me.

Friday, October 19, 2012

I'm sorry to have to do this...

I don't know if you read as many blogs as I do, but basically the blogging world is swallowed up in pictures of pumpkins and pumpkin patches. We too went to the pumpkin patch...BUT! There's a but! We also went apple picking. Doesn't that make this that much more exciting and diverse.


Well then you must endure yet another shiny, happy family post, but at least these people are attractive. HA!

In all honesty it was a blast doing this, Max enjoyed it far more than expected. He was all..."DUDE THERE ARE APPLES EVERYWHERE!" Then he would proceed to eat practically everyone he saw. He had a lot of apples that day and filled his fiber quota for the week.

 Kyle is thinking, will those apples taste good?

  I love putting my head through small places! This place rocks!

 You've probably had an apple, but have you had a dirt covered apple? No? Well you should try one. Delicious.
 I am so glad you took me to this orange chair store. These are all my size!

Behold the glory of a dirty child! 

Sometimes it can be hard to think of wholesome family activities besides going to the park or for a bike ride but I am grateful for when the seasons change and bring a whole new slew of ideas and traditions waiting to be formed. Kyle and I kept remarking at the end of the day how wonderful it was to wander around as a family, no pressures besides attempting a decent self-portrait of the three of us.

In conclusion:
Hooray for fall!
Sorry you had to stare at more photos of pumpkins.

Monday, October 15, 2012


I woke up today with a case of seriousness. The sky was cloudy and dismal and all those heavy thoughts were ready to jump into my brain as soon as a I reached an adequate level of consciousness to realize they even existed.

They are serious thoughts about all sorts of things, like the coming election, my wifely duties, my friendship duties, my convert duties and so forth. They have been building up and I keep getting reminders of more and more of them. So I turn to my good friend the internet to drown out all the chaos because boy does it get loud in my head.

So eventually I had to feed Max breakfast (why did this child wake up at 5am today and decide to stay awake I will NEVER know!) and the cupboard was kinda empty so it was the rest of some cereal, a banana, and a corn muffin. He chattered away at me about important things like the fact that he wants something besides corn muffins! I nodded along like I understood him.

But boy those serious thoughts would not kick the bucket. Not that they should but I kinda wished they would. So then we went to the gym so Max would have some other child to babble with who would actually understand him for a change and it was just turning out to be a somber day.

Then by noon when Max was sleeping I had had enough! How was I going to battle the severity of the seriousness? I brainstormed some rather extreme ideas like dressing up like a clown and walking around the grocery store or eating a cupcake. Light, fluffy things was my plan. But I worried for Max and that CPS might get called if I was dressed as a clown with a baby. So that a was a no go.

I took some goofy pictures on my phone which I will spare you because they are far too goofy for anyone's good.

Then I decided that I would discuss all this seriousness with Kyle and boy it turned out to be a pretty serious talk.

Who knew I had become so serious lately.

There is just so much to think about and do and accomplish and I feel as if I have to prove to the world that I am "grown-up" enough to have a child, whatever that means. It is basically nonsense I have come to realize.

So how do you battle the seriousness? What do you do to keep life light and fluffy and downright silly?

Oh...I guess I will show you that ridiculous picture so that if you are having a case of seriousness you can be released from its grasp.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

From Scratch

I feel so edified and full this weekend. It was our Church's semi-annual General Conference where we hear wonderful messages from inspired leaders. I can't help but love General Conference with a fiery passion, it reminds me of my journey in joining the church. Six years ago I was invited to go by someone I had just met, it made a big impact in my life and I am grateful for it.

Before this weekend began we were having lunch with friends who are also members and I asked them if they were headed to their parent's for the weekend. They responded, "yes," and I quickly shot back, "OF COURSE YOU ARE!" in a semi-spiteful manner. This took them aback a bit and I tried to cover my tracks as best as possible saying something like, "oh, well you always go home for conference....I just figured as much."

But that wasn't completely honest. The truth is I often have a hard time with those who grew up within the church and have strong families and traditions to rely on. As a convert, I don't have the option to go home to watch conference for the weekend and the obvious joy others have from doing so is sometimes a point of jealously for me.

I was feeling somewhat bitter about it over the weekend and Kyle could tell, but he usually knows that I will figure it out on my own. Well it didn't take long for the spirit that General Conference brings to help me understand and sort out my feelings.

While others may have great family recipes to draw from for coming together for General Conference, or helping to teach their kids reverence or about the birth and sacrifice of our savior, I am largely starting from scratch.

I am creating my own recipe. I have the same ingredients as everyone else, but I also have the opportunity to figure out quantities and order for myself.

Recipes and from scratch often produce the same outcome, they are just different ways of getting there. Some recipes involve boxed batches that stand the test of time and sometimes recipes don't always work out perfectly either. Sometimes scratch tastes better and sometimes it can be a huge mess but you learn a lot in the process.

Either way, I know that my Father in Heaven has a plan for me and it is not by accident that I am living the life I am. I am grateful for the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ and for wonderful messages that lift my heart and help me to see the joy that my life holds, though it might be different from others.

And to end this post on an even better note, some pictures of my precious boy, who is gaining curly hair slowly but surely.

If you want to check out General Conference click here.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Natural Creativity

One of the things that I imagined I would do when I was a mother was create with my child. Unrestricted, without lines or rules art. Just exploring colors and texture and shapes. I love the therapeutic process art can be and I want my children to know that it is a great way to deal with emotions, but ya gotta start 'em young.

I was fortunate enough to come across a great natural paint set at a local store and I have been really happy with them. They are naturally non-toxic and I can understand all the ingredient on the label. Max likes them too. Especially in his mouth. 

This was the first time I really sat down with him to create and I loved every minute of it. I love how curious he was about the paint and watching him discover how he could manipulate it. Art is extremely important to me. I have found so much joy and peace from it. Music has touched my heart, painting have inspired my soul, and musicals have brought me so much joy and laughter over the years. 

Our world needs art. Where science and knowledge are the mind and logic of the earth, art is the soul. It gives life and breath to us. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

On Little Boys

I am the mother of a little boy. I am not sure what I expected from having a son but my heart certainly cried for lost frilly dresses and tea parts and princess dress up clothes. What was I to do with a boy? Now to be honest, baby boys are pretty much identical to baby girls in smiles and burps and crawling. But the secret no one tells you is that baby boys threaten to steal your heart from your husband. 

Once we were having  brunch with some friends and Max had a spill and he cried a bit as someone helped him to his feet, this friend consoled him by saying, "That's okay, your a tough boy, it's alright." She then quickly caught herself and interjected, "BUT you are also sensitive and gentle too!" 

How often do we demand "toughness" from our boys, which can often cripple them emotionally. While Max is tough (dude, this kid hardly cried when a pine cone was thrown straight into his forehead), he is also very tender. He loves to cuddle and nuzzle into me before bed. He is over the moon about his father and is gentle towards newborn babies. He knows to softly pet dogs and he gives the best surprise kisses.

I love having a little boy to play hide and seek with or chase around. I love watching him explore, whether it is the pages of a book, a piece of fruit, or the contents of my bag. I was given a boy and it has rocked my world in the best possible way. He has changed who I am not only by making me a mother but by giving me the charge to raise a gentleman. 

When I imagine his future it is not whether he will be a fireman, doctor, teacher, or CEO. I imagine him as a husband. Being sweet and loving towards his wife. I strive to have him understand what this world is like for women and to do all in his power to support and praise his wife. I see him as a father, with that same enthusiasm he has now playing with his children. Loving them and giving them the attention he received. I see him living a gospel centered life with a firm faith in his Savior. Not because his parents share the same faith but because he developed it on his own. He discovered for himself the joy that putting your trust in the Savior can bring. The healing power, the sweet relief, the peace through trials. I see him standing as a pillar of truth, but also looking towards his community for continual knowledge and understanding of what this world asks of him versus what his Heavenly Father asks of him. I see him striving righteously to know the difference.

I couldn't possibly fathom what life would be like having Maxwell in my life. Oh what a blessing it has been. What a challenge, what a joy, what an utter delight.

Thursday, September 13, 2012


It's like another world, Yellowstone. Full of springs and geysers bubbling away. Melting the stone before your very eyes, steaming and spouting and reaching towards the sky. I'm not really sure what I was expecting when we got here but certainly not the wonder that is bubbling, acidic mud. Not the rainbow colored pools of water creating sulfuric steam that I had to walk through.

 To be honest... I loved it. I loved looking at the trees and flowers that were growing so close to hostile territory.

 At one point we were staring out at the grand canyon of Yellowstone and there was this poor tree, alone on top of a rock at the edge of an abyss. Kyle wondered aloud, "Do you think the tree ever wishes it were somewhere else?" and I responded, "Probably, but he's also like,'well, I can't really move, guess I'll just grow anyway.'"

 So instead the tree twists to fight gravity creating a gnarled appearance and pretty soon it will grow so tall that it will fall. Maybe only a few hundred feet before it get's caught on a rock but it will fall either way. But it doesn't really have a choice, so it grows despite it's circumstances. And so the small flowers grow a midst bacteria and trees and shrubs are showered with muddy mists.

 I think about how we sometimes find ourselves in undesirable circumstances and we think, How the heck did I get here! But there we are.

We don't always get to choose where we grow, but we do get to choose to grow. Perhaps we should take note from nature and grow despite our surroundings, reaching heavenward always.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Change begets gratitude

Change isn't so bad. It can promise beautiful things but a lot of times it is unpredictable and that can be scary.

This week we have been looking for a place to live. Yep in one week we needed to find a place, sign a lease and move by friday.

It seems doable at the beginning, and then we realized it was Labor day. Then we realized background checks can sometimes take forever. As the days passed the reality that we might have to crash at one of our friend's house started becoming more apparent.

I of course am wonderful during times of stress and uncertainty. Not.

I start to panic internally and my anger fuse is a little shorter than it usually is. This change was starting to freak me out a bit. Especially since I didn't know what I was changing towards, just that my home was going to change.

My prayers became increasingly sincere and full of pleas for guidance, support, help. But, I also noticed that they also became increasingly full of thanks.

When life throws you loopholes there is a tendency to focus on the problem, to analyze and scrutinize until everything is fixed. But I found that the only thing that reduced my anxiety towards finding a place to live was to offer thanks.

Gratitude for the fact that my family can be together forever, gratitude for gospel truths, gratitude for a healthy child, gratitude for wonderful friends, gratitude.... the list would go on and on. Gratitude is what brought me peace and comfort. Knowing that even though I might not have a permanent residence by Friday that I have people who will take care of me. People who will let me sleep in their own bed.

At lunch today we decided we seriously needed to discuss our options for tomorrow if our background check hadn't made it through the system yet. We finalized things and then, miraculously, the phone rang. We were cleared and the lease will be signed tonight. We immediately looked at each other and at our child covered in cheese and decided to offer a prayer of thanks.

Change can scare us away from God, can push us from His loving embrace with thoughts of, "why me?" But it doesn't have to. Change can also drive us towards the only true place of peace and comfort and stability. In the comfort of His love we can recognize all that we have and are because of Him and what a beautiful journey that can be.

If we let it happen.  

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


We are drifting currently. In a perpetual state of suitcases and beds that aren't our own. We are buying half gallons of milk rather than whole gallons because we are never in a place long enough to finish an entire gallon. All of our stuff is packed up ready for a move to an unknown location.

We are drifting because Kyle's internship is over and we had places to go and things to do before routine starts back up at the end of September. So when there is a 75th Anniversary at Camp Dudley...we go. Packing up our apartment? Back up to Spokane. Family vacation in Yellowstone. It's been planned. My suitcase feels routine now. My makeup jumbled up in a bag. This whole summer I had to decide what few outfits I would wear. Enough to last me a week but who are we kidding I am a compulsive overpacker.

What if scenarios play in my mind. Rain, hiking, swimming, camping, fancy dinners, exercising....I like to dabble in various activities. Quite frankly, as much as I love the stability of staying in place there is something alluring about drifting around.

You have to adapt, go with the flow, and be creative. I feel like I am working full force trying to figure out how to get my child to take consistent naps when every day looks different and often we are moving.

But my little boy is a champ and has taken to drifting about like a star. He reads to himself in the car sometimes but mostly stares out the window. I like to imagine he is taking it all in, this earth that has been created for us. Imagining climbing those trees, scaling rocks, and swimming in lakes and rivers. He is a dreamer. I can tell.

Currently we are in Yellowstone and have just been amazed at what is here. Bison on the side of the road, geysers and hotsprings bubbling, releasing sulfuric steam. It's pretty wild, literally. On Saturday we will make the drive home and attempt to find a place to live for the next year. Originally we had a place lined up, practically perfect with a backyard and everything. But it fell through, with the owner wanting to make updates so that we can't move in until October. We were  hoping for September. So the great search for an awesome place is on. I have dreams of course of woodwork, hardwood floors, and a backyard for Max. But hey, I am dreamer, always imagining the possibility of the wishes of my heart coming true. It keeps me going, especially when we are nomads moving from place to place. My dreams ground me, create a foundation for me to build my life upon, even when I myself can't stop moving.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


I think I have a problem, I think I think too much.     -Maria Mena

That is one of my favorite songs of all time. It jumps into my head when I realize I have been mulling over something far too long to the point where I have lost perspective. It's like I am too close to a Monet painting and all I see is the brush strokes.

I have a hard time feeling successful. I used to depend on teacher's compliments, grades, and awards for feelings of success but now I look around and pray that I can feel Heavenly Father's approval which I know is there.

I love to write, I like to draw, I can read like a racehorse and analyze like...a good analyzer. I love to sing and dance and boy do a love to sit down and watch a good movie. I love working with children, building their confidence and reminding them so much of the love this world has for them.

I can recognize what I am good at and what I need to work on but sometimes I need that immediate gratification.

My mom is a rock climber.

She started when I was about 3 years old and I used to dread it when she would head out on a Saturday and be gone ALL day climbing away in the mountains. I even hid her keys in a vaccum bag once. I never understood the draw of climbing for her.

A couple of years ago, before I got married I finally got to go up with her. The sun was unapologetic but my mother was her optimistic self and encouraged my ability to climb the column of rock before me. I trusted her belief in my ability and so I climbed up.

I have gone occasionally during the summer but it was always just a fun activity to do with my mother. Last summer I didn't go at all being pregnant and then a new mother. But this past Saturday I went up, without my mother. She watched Max so I could just climb and not think about all that motherhood stuff that can get so messy like a Monet painting.

Turns out I am pretty good at climbing. I mean, it's just climbing up rocks but it can get hard at spots and your arms are aching and you can either decide to just go down and try another time or you can continue to go up.

Climbing rock, real rock, is a beautiful experience. There is no music, only the chatter of friends. Nothing to focus on except the rock in front of you and even though you are close up, the rock is straightforward. Sometimes there is a puzzle to find within the grip of your fingers but it is ultimately that pull to get to the top that clears your mind.

One goal. A mix of adrenaline and peaceful clarity and moving up. Then the sweet sigh of success.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Ode to a Nectarine

Great for teething.
 Delicious to mothers and babies alike.
Nectarines are a divine gift of the summer.