happy halloween!

Have a spooky filled night with lots of fun!

*the girls and friend elise at the Old Gym carnival.


finally fall

There is something about the halloween fall traditions that always take me back to being little. Maybe because my birthday is around this time of year, but everything about it is fun for me.  Carving pumpkins, falling leaves, cold nights, footed pj's, cheesy window decals, costumes, candy...candy. candy. Sheesh! The candy! These are the things I remember from my childhood. And it pleases me to be passing on the tradition to our own children. 
 Rodney has an early bedtime, so all of this was done after he was down. No loss, he would have just destroyed those pumpkin guts in a second.
 The girls and their pumpkins, all picked at Grandpa Leavitt's garden.
Standing on our porch, taking the annual "pumpkin" pictures,  an immense feeling of gratitude washed over me. I would be very ungrateful if I didn't state how much I have and feel blessed to have. I love my children, my husband, our home, our neighborhood, our families, our friends, our kids' schoolteachers, music teacher, dance teacher. And it's this kind of warm fuzzy feeling, that lasts for only a split second, that makes all of the other hard work worth it.

*ty does all the jack o' lantern carving around these parts. that boy gots skillz.

And I have to share this quote, because I find I am immensely happy when I stop thinking, stop comparing, and just live my days to their fullest:

 "There is no one perfect way to be a good mother... Each mother has different challenges, different skills and abilities, and certainly different children... What matters is that a mother loves her children deeply and, in keeping with the devotion she has for God and her husband, prioritizes them above all else." Elder M. Russell Ballard


i've been busy

Seriously, my internet time has taken a drastic nose dive...and I've never been more pleased.  Something has clicked about taking care of my house, and it's almost like when I click about taking care of my body. For months and years! I will just beat myself up about everything I'm not doing, and things will just pile and pile and pile and swear that the next day, (why is it always tomorrow?) I will clean it all up in one fail swoop.  And guess what happens....

nothing. I just rinse and repeat the self loathing and procrastination.

But I literally wrote down and took notes on habits that highly effective organizing friends and moms have and do, and put them to work. And I know it's still a little early to report, but you guys! Just like with healthy eating and exercise, it's all about the little things. Picking up something everytime you walk through a room. Cleaning here and there, sweeping up the pomegranate right after rodney throws it.  Vacuuming,sweeping and wiping down surfaces really quickly *every single day, in *every room. It honestly doesn't take that long and makes a huge difference.  Kathryn gave me a really great tip, which of course I had heard before but wasn't ready to put into practice, and that is "Touch everything once".  So the dish of breakfast? Don't put it into the sink to put into the dishwasher later, just scrub for 2 seconds and put into the dishwasher. VOILA. It's like freaking magic.

So anyways, it's starting to make a difference in our home. And a peace is spreading like wildfire. The kids are happy, Ty is happy, I am happy. We can find things, clothes are clean, jackets on the hooks. It is pure awesome and I love it.

In other news, here are some photos from Taryn's wedding. It was a wonderful day,  the kids stayed clean and no one got stitches! Watching the sealing, a flood of emotions washed over me. If I was a cryer, I would have been bawling.  I was blissfully happy for  the beautiful couple, but so many emotions over our marriage. How much has happened since that day for us, and all of our children. What advice I would give a newly married couple (if they asked of course : ) and what we would have done differently.  An Everest amount of retrospect over our last 9 1/2 years of marriage.

 ari and phoebe
 getting studley dudley dressed
we are family
 great grandma and grandpa Leavitt

 Lucy and Taryn
 Admiring the dress
 Grandpa and Pahobes
 Leavitt family
 All of the Leavitts
What advice would you give, or do you give to Newlyweds?
Mine? Never get a credit card....EVER. : )


just wait, just you wait

The day we blessed Lucy, our firstborn child, my brother Russ leaned over and whispered, "Just wait, tomorrow she'll be getting baptized."  I just brushed it off, and secretly wondered if it really would "fly" by as people say it does. And I can testify that yes, time flies when you have little kids. How did 8 years go by in the blink of an eye? I have no idea, but they surely did. And yes, I'm one of those moms that talks more about herself than her kids on their birthday posts. Sue me.
Bed head girl couldn't wait to open presents in the morning.
All she wanted for her birthday was a guinea pig. I KNOW. 
Ty is a sucker for pets, and now we have a hairy rat that we purposefully feed and water. Go us.
Thanks to Frostie, Lucy had a wonderful cake that fed everyone and there were no leftovers! (my weakness is leftovers)
I can't believe it, but everyone loves that stupid thing.
Opening presents
Not a baby anymore. 
And after this picture I dropped the cake onto the computer keyboard. 
Icing side down.
I can't believe how old she looks in this picture. How can she be 8? 


A break

I could write about how Rodney dived off the slide onto our concrete porch, and got the largest knot known to mankind. Or how essential oils magically healed him. (no joke)

I could write about Lucy's birthday, and how great it was. And how we gave her a guinea pig. Ugh ugh ugh. Oh yes we did. 

Or how everything else...but I have more important things to do right now. Sorry, don't miss me too much. But I'm taking an Internet break until my house is clean. Fingers crossed it won't take a month.


That one summer I fel in love with a german

I was 15. His name was Benjamin (pronounced Benyamin).  He was from Berlin. He wore spandex, we was a ballet dancer...

And his cheap european cologne made me swoon.

Don't worry, nothing happened other than a few extra pas de deux rehearsals than were necessary.

I don't know why I just wrote this.


but it feels like so much more

8 years ago today, right this very minute, i was in labor with our first child.

I have no words.

lucy ann 2004


seen and heard

last night, according to abby:

"phoebe, there are 4 stages to becoming a mommy and daddy"
i'm not even kidding you, this is word for word. at this point i thought, oh baby what is coming up next. i silently dress phoebe while abby talks.

"first, you wear diapers."
"next, you wear pull ups. everyone wears pull ups! i wore them! lucy wore them!"
"third, (she really used "third"), is underwear!"
"and then you wear daddy mommy underwear."

"you mean, my garments?" i asked.

"yeah!" abby says, looking at me.

and then under her breath, all The Middle style, she whispers, "i'm only one step away from mommy daddy underwear!"

today we went to the Fall Fiesta for St. John's church. Abby and Lucy tagged along while Ty and the babies did much needed yard work (we are preparing for Lucy's baptism!).  While there I ran into an old high school friend Aris and her family. It was such a pleasure to talk and catch up and watch our girls just become best friends in a matter of nanoseconds. Aris actually saved my bacon because I did a short Zumba presentation (i died, why do i sign up for these things?) and the girls wanted nothing to do with it!  Anyways, girls running around, having a blast and they keep winning prizes from the kids' games. Well....nearing the end of our visit Aris's baby girl (that is phoebe's twin) runs up with the happiest grin, and the ugliest, naked, dirty, anatomically correct baby i have ever seen in my entire life.  All the adults were just laughing. The kids were going, "there's a hole!" "what's that hole?" and i'm just dying inside. Luckily it was tossed in the trash by Deyanira before it scarred some other little kid's retnas.

*read this article today about being in more pictures for my kids. amen sista. i am horrible at this.
how was your weekend?


a major league mom

 You want to know what’s been on my mind for the past few months? I want to be a better mom. I started crawling out of my cave of suffocation that is spelled babyrodney, and noticed that I want more. I want more for my kids, more from me, more for our family.

One day I even googled, “professional stay-at-home mom” and you know what showed up? Just lawyers, doctors, PhD’s that stay at home with their kids. None of it had anything to do with being a “professional” stay at-home mom. Meaning, the best of the best. Because there are “dancers” and then there are “professional dancers” which equals= a big difference. Kind of like someone who plays triple A baseball, or those who are in the big show.  What’s the difference between them? Well, a lot is talent, but 90% of it is effort. Both mental and physical effort and preparation put into their jobs.

Most days I’m behind, I don’t wake up to an alarm anymore; I just sleep in till a warm body pokes me in the eye asking for nutrition. Can you imagine waking up at work? Starting out work in your pajamas? Squeezing in a shower while you distract your coworkers with a YouTube video? How do you think your day would go? I’m guessing pretty darn crappy.   What about if your work schedule was empty, meaning, you had written absolutely nothing down for the month, let alone planned out your weeks or days. What’s to eat? I don’t know, go chew on a stale veggie straw. This is the state of our household.

But again, I want more. I’ve been taking mental notes of Mom’s that I am lucky to know or live by (these are not blog friends, because I have no idea what their “real life” is) and what makes them successful stay at home moms (and by all means, this is not limited to sahms). And what do they all have in common? Well, let’s take a looksie shall we?  I would say each mom has at least 3 of these habits, but I have yet to meet one that has them all. Heaven bless her!

1. Wakes up before her kids, gets ready before the kids are up. Even if that means you’ve exercised and are in exercise clothes. You can rock those spandex to the bank and back for all I care. Anything other than pj’s is dressed!

2. Has a clutter free and clean home. Yes, that’s right, they have an orderly and simple home.  No piles of papers, no dusty knick knacks- things are clean here people. These moms either clean in the mornings or late at nights, because let’s face it, cleaning with Rodney and Phoebe around is like a one legged man in a butt kicking contest. Not really going to win at that one buddy.  But seriously, I know moms that really get it done! Is it perfect all the time? Absolutely not. But they get pretty darn close. I even know a Mom that had never lost a sock mate. Valerie Draper, there is a special spot in heaven waiting for you.

3. Has a schedule. These mom’s have a calendar, at it is up to date. They know where their kids need to be, when and who is picking up or dropping off.  These moms’s know when there is school, and when there isn’t school. They don’t think they’ve missed the bus, drive like a bat out of hell to school just to remember when they are running their kid in, “oh crap! Parent teacher conferences today!” 

4. Plans their meals, and actually makes them. Please tell me I’m not the only one who’s had that cabbage go moldy from never making those wraps.

5. Is loving, shows their love often. Each kid is so different, and each one needs different kinds of love. I would say a “calm” demeanor is my main goal to be productive in showing more love. Come about 5:30pm and I’m ready to snap. Fyi- not a good idea to call me during dinnertime, I'm trying to get a 3 year old to eat her zucchini. Yikes.

6. Teaches their kids, makes sure their homework is done, piano worked on, takes them to museums, cultural exhibits. Tries to nurture growth in athletics, cultural, arts, etc. etc. etc. But not in a Tiger mom sort of way mmkay?

7. Has strong family connections. I would say all of the moms that I consider my role models, have extremely loyal and strong family ties. Their vacations? Spent with family and cousins. Holidays? Family.  If not possible in person, most definitely in spirit.

8.Have a hobby, an outlet, something just for them. Some of the best advice I received was to make sure I do something creative every day. Bake something fun, paint a picture, read a book, create a new outfit, decorate a shelf, knit, quilt, write an essay, sing, play the piano, run 5 miles, try new makeup techniques, whatever floats your boat. 

This is just what I could come up for tonight while Ty’s at scouts and before I go to bed leaving dirty dishes and crumbs on the floor.  I’ve been taking it “easy” trying to get better. No exercise, no heavy cleaning (so sad! Ha!), just lying around listening to General Conference talks. Even too much talking has irritated my cough up again, poor ty! I have to talk less!

But, is there such a thing as a perfect mom? Probably not, but I know the Lord has blessed me to meet all of these wonderful mothers that take their job seriously. These are major league moms.  They research, practice and prepare for their job. Mother’s that put their kids needs first, their husband’s needs first (hehehe), their home’s needs first. They know who they are and why they are here, and then they get to work. They don’t say, “Oh, I don’t want to do that!” and put it off. They just do it because it’s their job. And then do it again. No rewards, no paychecks, just the satisfaction of knowing they are doing their best for their families.  I often catch myself whining and complaining that I’m not good enough, which most certainly will mean that I won’t be. I just read an entire book on sports psychology that affirms it.  Focus on negative, you will reap negative. Focus on positive? You got it. Positive.  So when I say "ah, my house will never be organized". It's the equivalent of the player who says he can't hit a curve, which means he never will. But a major leaguer, has to hit a curve, so they give all of their extra time and effort at learning how to hit that stinking curve ball. They don't give up, or settle for less.

 I don’t know what this all means for my goal as a better mother, and I'm sitll sorting it out.  But I most certainly am going to try a little harder to take this awesome job that I have more seriously. It's time to suck it up and not hit snooze…once I feel better of course.

 guess what? those shoes? not a single clue where there are. anyone? anyone? Bueller? Bueller?


there is something about that 3rd child

friday morning i was freaking out. trying to get the kids ready for school, clean the house, get some clean clothes for the kids on the weekend (ty is seriously challenged when it comes to picking out outfits for the babies).  things were just crazy...and then i couldn't find phoebe.

she's a wanderer, so of course i started to worry. and the ditch was full of water, another worry i have with the babies. 
i start calling through the house phoebe! phoebe! phoebe!  
i here a small cry, "what?!" 
 i ask, "are you ok?"  
she walks around the corner and replies, ever so seriously, 
"I'm not Kay, I'm PHOEBE!!!!!"
joshlyn, if you couldn't already tell, she LOVED the graham crackers


i left my kids for 48 hours

do you feel guilty leaving your kids? sometimes i do, and sometimes i don't.  The first time I left my kids I almost chewed my arm off with anxiety. This weekend, I most definitely did not fee guilty. It was one of those, "if I don't get out of the house there will be dead bodies by Sunday" kind of months.  I know all you moms are feeling me right now.

Seeing as I'm not pregnant or breast feeding (and don't plan on either happening anytime soon) I've been doing a little bit more for my work. Yes, I work, although, it doesn't really feel like work. I still teach Zumba 3 times a week and it's awesome. But I wanted to get some more training under my belt. So to San Diego I go! Danna graciously went with me, and held my hand as I was numb most of the time.  It is such a strange feeling having little bodies all over and around and on top of you 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and then...nothing. No little bodies, grubby hands, bums to wipe. It was just me. It was so quiet I was freaking out like monkeys at the zoo when it's feeding time. Jumping everywhere I was.  Every baby or little kid I saw made me think of my own. And I was so happy to tell people that yes, I have kids! They would ask, how many? And I would gladly say "I have 4!"  And you know what, their eyes would completely bug out of their heads. You're not in Utah anymore Toto. I might as well have said I have snakes for hair. Probably would have elicited the same reaction.

But I digress, I took my camera, and took no pictures. Nada. None. We had a fun and quick time together (minus the migraine-poor danna banana). I slept like a log both nights-and even slept in till 8am today. HOLY SLEEPING IN BATMAN. I can't remember the last time I slept in that long.  At the training I had a great time learning and I've got a lot of work cut out for me in these next few months. Plus, I can't wait to go back to San Diego with Ty and the kids. Beautiful, even though I only saw about 16 square miles of it from the hotel to the training.  Can I tell you though, almost everyone had tattoos. Seriously, almost every girl age 20-30 had tattoos on them. I really felt left out of the club.  Ok, not really, but still. I couldn't stop staring at this mermaid one. Mermaids, roses and horses. Mmmhmmm, totally get it. PSYCH.

In other words, I'm home, it's Sunday night and I can't wait to make out with Ty tonight. Did you know, absence really DOES make the heart grow fonder?  Too legit to quit.
*the week after the wedding i had the most gorgeous flowers and roses all over mi casa. i love fresh flowers.
**i'm trying to not be lazy in my typing anymore and capitalize. Dudes, it is hard to remember!
***my nephew dj is 18! and driving! and voting!  i can't believe how old they are all getting.


seen and heard

driving home in the car, (ty's driving so he gets music controls).

ty: this song reminds me of high school
me: yeah, freshman year.
ty: yeah, freshman year. must have come out that year.
me: yeah, i think so.

silence for a few seconds...

me: it's not a very good song is it?
ty: hahaha, no it kind of sucks huh?
me:  let's just copy and past the same two lines of lyrics over and over ok?
ty: hahahahaha, weren't all the songs like this?
me: yes, and we liked them. listen, i totally would sing this part right here...
ty: hahaha, dumb.
me: i know, and these people made millions of dollars playing this all over the country.
ty: dumb.

and that my friends, is the height of our philosophical marital discussions.  try to beat us.
ty and me in high school, not freshman year.


the only thing constant is change

phoebe is wearing underwear on more days than she is diapers. i keep telling ty, "i think she is close". if you know me you know that i despise, hate, loather entirely the concept of potty "training". you can read more about that here. some mornings she wates till around 11 to ask for underwear, other days she comes in at 6am asking for underwear and to go potty.

my fingers aren't crossed as to how soon it will be safe enough to stop buying her diapers. she definitely didn't pull an abby and just be done in one day. if phoebe gets distracted, or more recently, sick, she's had a few accidents (but just #1, thank you very much phoebe!).  considering her and rodney wear the same size, it's not that huge of a deal. and if i've learned anything about parenting, it is that nothing is permanent.  but it has been interesting to sit back and watch. she's proving to be different than both of her sisters, who resisted #2 in the potty like it was the plague. this girl drops off her friends in the pool like it's her job.  

our mornings are pretty regimented these days. i am starting to crave summers (despite the heat) more and more the older they get. we have to have breakfast, check homework, practice piano, do hair, brush teeth and make beds before getting to the bus. with the two little ones in the mix there it can get pretty hairy sometimes. if i could get rodney to stop throwing his stinking breakfast bowl. ugh! the oatmeal just flings like mud. runs in the morning after the bus are still a little too warm for my liking. maybe another few days it will be cool enough.

speaking of cool weather, i can open my windows at night again.
 blessed day, i've been waiting for this for months!


and a happy birthday to you too!

happy birthday bill!

i hope you have a great day.

because even though you told me santa wasn't real,
and even though you convinced me i was adopted,
and even, even though i had to wait for you in the reno high school parking lot and endure norman's flirtations.

i still really like you.

*billy's inspiring post here.

billy, sarah and me with grandma and grandpa gold.
 kamas, utah. august 1989.
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