in the works...

i keep meaning to write more and more and more about learning how to be a professional stay at home mom. remember this post? i had no idea it would resonate with so many moms (duh, i should have). but more good stuff about it has been in my brain swirling and twirling and i need to start letting some of it out, a little at a time as i'm learning.

some of you seasoned mom readers can laugh and giggle over my learning process, but hopefully someone else can gain some insight and confidence from what i'm trying/learning/accomplishing.

so until the first post know this, i had one new year's resolution that i REALLY wanted to accomplish. and that was waking up to an alarm before the kids get up.

confession: i have only done it once since january 1st. bah.

any tips on how to do this? i used to be really good at it when i had two kids. i would wake up at 5:45 and either get to the gym for 6am class or go for an hour run. now?......i can barely roll out of bed when the kids are stirring at 6:45ish. 7ish... 7:30ish...  blech.

i make up for it in the day by being happy go lucky and making sure their headbands are on straight.
phoebe caught me with the camera a few weeks ago


going to the gym, a story

I joined my first gym in college, with my roommates. I had grand plans of becoming a super buff and gorgeous fembot before Tyson returned home from his mission.

I think I went 10 times.


The next time i joined the gym I was more successful. What was the difference?
1. I met with a personal trainer, and signed up for a year of sessions
2. I had a consistent workout partner (my sister sarah).

When you pay that much money to work out (and it was a lot), let me tell you, you GO! We had a so-so personal trainer. She was knowledgeable to a point. After about 9 months everything ended up being the same ol' same ol', and she often stared at herself in the mirror while we finished our reps. Thinking ahead, I saved every workout she gave us and have it in a binder.

When we started up I was still in the middle of post partum depression of baby #2 and desperate for any kind of change. Sarah and I were motivated beyond motivated to get healthy. Growing up active and healthy makes being inactive and unhealthy as an adult even MORE depressing than it already is. sorry, it's true.

But guess what? We went every week, and we did our workouts 2 times a week on our own too. We were doing weights for an hour 3 times a week and cardio 4-5 times a week. I got in great shape, I got happy, I got off of my happy pills. I was running almost every morning (oh, i wish ty had that school schedule!) and enjoying it. It was my "me" time from my work. I could sweat, laugh, and get out all the negatives from the day. I came home tired and happy and ready to be a Happy Mom for 24 more hours.

And then we moved to our small little town. No gym. No time to go running in the morning, Ty's schedule with commuting is not conducive to good morning workouts on my own,
and I'm not a night runner. No problem right? I jumped right up that summer and certified to teach Zumba. I know, it's a stupid name, but it is really fun cardio. It's the jazzercise of the new millenia, and it's addicting. Growing  up a dancer and a dance major and a dance teacher, teaching zumba is perfect. I get to dance 4 times a week and get in shape at the same time. It's awesome, and not just because of the dancing, I see my friends every week! And I make new friends all the time! There is also something about working out in a group that I really crave. The energy is addicting.

Somedays I miss going to the gym, I mostly miss it because I would hang out with my sister and we would laugh and laugh and make fun of the buff steroid guys that couldn't stop looking at themselves in the mirror and the girls that showed up 20 minutes early to class to get "their" spot. One time we were lifting and a full on professional body build came in front of us in his undies to practice his poses. That is a memory I will treasure for forever.

So, here I am 2 1/2 years later from moving here, teaching zumba and making it to pilates whenever I can (which is hardly ever now that school is in full swing). I wish I could make it more often and can't wait for the summer time. I was religious with pilates after rodney. I went 3x a week until my core got back to it's norm. Don't worry, no 6 pack over here. But strong enough to get rid of all the aches and pains that come with not having a strong core.  I'm now teaching zumba toning, which is still dance cardio, but with small weights that make you really flex your muscles and keep them toned. And before you laugh, swinging around 2.5lbs for 50 minutes straight has started to make a difference in my arms too.  I was wondering how much of a difference, so I measured myself. And then I compared my measurements to when we were at the personal trainer, (yes, I kept everything).

And guess what? They are almost exactly the same, to the 1/4 inch. What? I was working out All The Time, and stressing about getting fit All The Time, and beating my body up for not looking like a supermodel All The Time. And here I am, with 2 more kids since then, dancing for 4 hours a week with no heavy weightlifting and I'm the same. No stress, no running for 8 miles on Saturdays. Just hours of fun dancing with my friends.

That is why I love Zumba. Great  results, no stress Hello!

please excuse this picture of me...i need to get a good one of my class. i love those ladies.
*i joined the iphone crowd and totally regret it. holy time suck batman.



Growing up, i never really worried about getting older. I don't know if it's because my mom was 40 when I was born pr because there was never a conversation of her "getting old" or "growing old" or "getting wrinkles/grey hair".  I remember people would ask, "How come your grandma picks you up from school?". ha! (sorry mom )

I also owe a lot to my mom because I never grew up hearing her comment on her weight or looks...ever. Sure they did the diets, exercises and fads, but I never heard her talking about it. And i'm grateful for that. Once lucy reached around 3 years old I realized that I had to really alter the way I talk around her. I had two girls, there was a lot of pressure in my mind, to be a good example about body image and the conversation we have in our home about that. I've tried (probably with no avail) to teach them that you are beautiful when you use your talents, your mind, and are a friend to everyone. That it's not what you wear, but what's in your head that really matters.

The world will always judge people by the way they look. That will never change, or at least, not for a very long time. But I truly believe that beauty (as tacky as this may sound) comes from the inside out.  Real, honest to goodness beauty. Not the kind that is applied with products or trendy clothes. Beauty that people can feel and sense and physically feel when they are around you. I feel powerful when I feel beautiful, but the catch is that I feel beautiful when i feel confident and powerful.

I haven't minded the wrinkles as they have come. I found 8 grey hairs in Taylor Hall my freshman year in college ( i was 18!). My grandmother and mother have always been my role models and mentors, and i think both of them aged gracefully and with power and beauty. I can count on my hands how many times I have seen my mom in pajamas and not ready for the day.

But...the other day, oh. I was somewhere with awful fluorescent lighting, and I saw my face up close and the wrinkles somehow have multiplied overnight my friends. Deep, deep wrinkles.  All those years of swimming and lifeguarding and hanging outside is coming back to bite me. I walked out of that bathroom feeling awful. I looked at ty and did a little pouty face. "what's wrong?" he asked.

"my wrinkles", i sighed. and he just patted me on the back and we kept walking.

So what, i have more wrinkles now. i also wear less make-up most days. i wash my hair almost every 3 days. i bought a new pair of sweatpants at Christmas time and they might just be making more of an appearance than on Sundays. But I feel comfortable, I feel powerful, I feel beautiful.

Even in sweatpants and wrinkles.

So, I don't know what the point of this was. But I am getting older, it's showing, and...I'm ok with it. All that I've experienced to get the wrinkles was worth it, I wouldn't go back for a minute.

*for some reason, my collars just pop up on their own. wink wink.

When or what makes you feel beautiful? I'd like to know.


seen and heard: january

tuesdays i rotate helping out at Abby's kindergarten class. it is the highlight of my week, i love her classmates and teacher and always come home with fun stories. yesterday they were taking "surveys" with tally marks. each kid had a question to ask to count up answers. for example, do you like "apples or oranges?", "pizza or spaghetti?".  what was abby's question?

"what do you like better, pea soup or brownies?"

guess how many kids said pea soup? ha!

*little known fact* abby actually loves pea soup, it's her favorite dinner.

yesterday lucy asked, "how many years until phoebe starts kindergarten?"
"hmm, i think 2 or 3" i answered.

"yeah, she can't start school yet, she doesn't even know what a racoon is!"

rodney is obsessed with gloves, and i mean obsessed with a capital O.  he cannot see one without going into complete body convulsions and screaming "love! love! love!" until he gets it on his hand. it was cute at first, now i'm starting to worry.

ty came home from work and phoebe was sitting on his lap. he starts singing out of nowhere, "why are all my homies dissin my girl?!"  hello? who knows what that song is? it's from the 90's he says, i swear i've never heard it before. he can crack me up sometimes.  *little known fact- ty sings lots of old songs to the girls.

(this is one of his favorites)

*update! He was singing "buddy holly" by weezer


the almost, near perfect date

Our dates have been few and far between since before the holiday season, so it has been nice to have two dates in two weeks. Last week, we almost had the best date in our 15 year history. It was almost fate that Rodney barfed all over our babysitter while we were gone, because if he hadn't, it would by far be the best date and then how do you top that you know? I always take Calvin's advice and keep low expectations, that way you're always happy.

Seeing as Ty doesn't talk in public settings, remember this?  Our dates are merely nice because we are out of the house and away from the energy sucking mess makers we call our children; but dinner and a movie ends up getting kind of boring after awhile, and we don't bond over any of that. Anyways, long story short, last week we were going to go "out" Saturday night but Ty surprised me and did all the dishes and got the kids ready so we could go on a "date hike" instead.

I'm so glad that he did.

We had the best time, despite it being a 6hr hike up and down a mountain, (the last hour was with flashlights, climbing down boulders). This was not a labeled hike my friends, so I had to follow every step he took. Luckily he has been around that place so much he knew exactly that one canyon is a dead end and the other is covered in slippery shale.

Ty and I are both in our element outdoors, and he couldn't stop talking. I was in heaven! I usually ahve to bribe him to talk with balk rubs (if he stops talking, i stop massaging).  Besides the gorgeous views of Valley of Fire and Lake Mead, we even saw 27 bighorn sheep along the way, and I was the closest to them i ever have been. The best part about the hike? Ty thought I would get tired, but I didn't get winded once (go zumba!). But my upper back was so sore from scaling down those boulders. Our dinner? Homemade jerky, nuts, apple slices and a shared power bar. Talk about fancy.

Don't mind my stolen sweatshirt from Junior year of High School- it's my go to comfort one.

Seven ewes watched us for forever
Can you see the sheep?

Don't worry, before you start thinking about how perfect our dates and lives are, we fought just this afternoon about Sunday dinners and then Ty tacked up a Babe Ruth pinto bean sack on our master bedroom wall because he thinks everything is "too girly". Yeah, we've got our issues.

*ps* this year is our 10th anniversary, and i've been feeling quite nostalgic. Something about 10 years makes it all feel very real. Doesn't that sound stupid?


A little sick, a lot tired

We've got a a small case of stomach bug here. I had grand plans to complete a project this week, so I was a little sad, but not too much.

It's been nice to just lie around and snuggle all week.

Some random photos


6 years abby!

 these balloons looked really awesome in the morning when she woke up, not so much later on...
 abby was so quiet during all of it...i hope she was happy (that middle child syndrome runs strong with her)
 aunt taryn helped her with most of the presents,
 along with the other kids
 these pictures make me really tired of my white walls
 this boy loves crowds and parties, he just wandered around all night entertaining people and mooching their food.
our babysitter jenni and abby- poor jenni, she loves those kids so much she even suffers through our crazy family parties.

i can't believe little abby leigh is six. usually it feels like it was just yesterday! that they were born. but this was the first time that six years felt like almost a century ago. we are so grateful for our special abby. more of her birthdays here:



someone left a door open

I know that I am not alone growing up with a mother who had more than 6 senses. We would all run in the house, take off our coats and huddle over the vent for warmth and you'd hear, "shut the door please". (seriously, my mom was always polite)

in the summer you'd be reading in your room (not me though, i'd be outside in the pool), "someone left a window open somewhere" as she walked through the hallway. ugh! it was extremely annoying, but only because she was always right. there would be a 10 mm crack left open on a window, or the door would barely be open and she could sense it, 1,000 feet away no less.

and now, i'm the mom, and i'm constantly yelling, "shut the door!' , "close that window!' and "someone left the door open!". and my children scoff and scorn and roll their eyes and drag their feet and PROMISE ME EVERY TIME that there is not a door left open in the entire house. so i get up, and check, and lo and behold... there is always a door ajar.

i like being right, but not all the time you know?

in other news, i lost my phone (pretty sure i threw it away). this is a first for me, permanently losing my phone.

so if you could email me your cell number (you know, if we're friends and all) that would be fantastic! or if you already have my cell, text me again with your name. i keep getting texts all week long and it's funny trying to guess who it is and text back without sounding creepy.

abby leigh turned six this weekend! crazy crazy crazy


when did you know?

Gruber Family Reunion, 1922
The thought that has been pinging around inside my empty head for months and years is this, "when do you know you are done?"

I envy the women that emphatically stated, "We are done!" and they know, and they are peaceful about it, and they can relax their uterus and sell all their maternity and baby clothes and give away the car seats and strollers and bottles and blankets.

I want to know. I want that peace. I want to relax.

Maybe because I am the seventh child out of seven, but I am strong supporter of the notion that sometimes there is just one more. It could be me! Imagine how boring my family would be without me. ha.

Nowadays, we laugh because mormons have a lot of kids (a lot!), but the new saying is that 4 is the new 10, which means 6 is the new 12, and 8 is the new 1,000.

Four kids has definitely stretched us out to our mental and physical limits and capacity. I really can't imagine having another baby...ever. Last saturday by myself all I saw was babies babies babies! And I didn't want a single one of them, and I cringed watching those poor tired mommas carry around those baby carriers and have to leave to change the diaper in the car. Oh, I forgot how much work they are.

But Rodney was a special baby. He was the baby that I knew the most that he was meant to come exactly when he did. He is a baby of obedience, a leap of faith. Having just survived 20 weeks of bedrest with Phoebe, I was surprised when my soul knew there was another. Another? How on earth could we do it again?

Well, we didn't on our own, I know that for certain. In my prayers I don't ask to know, I just say if there's another, then so be it. If I can physically and mentally handle another year of pregnancy and newborn neediness, then I will.

But oh! Those cute babies grow up, and you have to sit and help them with piano when clawing your eyeballs out would be more comfortable, and put them in timeout for touching their siblings bottom, and they get too big to sit on your lap, and they stop snuggling and grow up up up up and away from you. My heart breaks already when I remember that Rodney is only my baby for 16 more years. That's it! Sixteen short years and he'll be eighteen and out of the house and on his own. Maybe I'll keep him back a year in school, just for one more year. The girls you ask? Well, they are my baby girls for forever, and I'm so grateful for that.

But I want to know, how do you know? How do you relax? How do you not let the thought gnaw at you in the middle of the night when they are all silent and asleep and the world seems like it could never get any better?


life keeps moving

is it me, or does the time to sit down and write something never there anymore?
i'm starting to lose blogging mojo that's for sure. i feel like i've lost my voice, and then i read what i've written and overanalyze every word and sentence. blech.

in other news, i can't believe it is 2013. really, just can't.
New Year's 2011
 2012 was a good year for us, full of challenges and growing experiences, but also full of wonderful things too. like, i've slept through the night for almost a year. a YEAR. it's crazy to think i used to get up in the night and feed baby 2-3 times and then wake up at 6am and go through a day with that lack of sleep. the things we do for babies right? *i just held my friend Heather's baby girl, and oh, it is so worth it. she was just a little puff ball of perfectness and chubby cheeks.
abby leigh -january 2012

in other news, abby's birthday is this week. i'm taking Christmas down (finally) and catching up on cleaning and getting our routine back in order. Piano practice starts tomorrow and i still have to make lunches tonight. yikes!

i got a new calling teaching the 6yr olds in my primary and it is the cutest class ever. i was so proud of their parents when they all proudly told me the chores they do during the week for their family. except one kid, who said he doesn't have chores and just plays nintendo all day. ha!


a day alone...

tomorrow i am cashing in all of the daddy day passes i have been saving up and i'm taking off.

i'm going to be on my own, alone. no kids, spouse, friends, family.

after working out i am heading into town all by myself. and i have the entire day to myself.

a few gift cards will keep me busy, and i'm sure i'll call my sisters and talk to them too. a second viewing of les miserables might factor in in the evening. can i tell you how much i cried the first time? niagra falls for 2 hrs straight my friends, no joke. of course i wasn't happy with russell crowe, but i still was moved by every second of that movie. this post put it well, it is a heart string puller.  i'm not a cryer, so it felt good to let it all out.

other than those things, i don't have anything planned.

but can i admit, i'm scared of being by myself for an entire day?

it's an art you know, and the key to being alone? act mysterious.

*confession- i kind of toyed with the idea of renting a room and just sleeping and reading all day. HA!


resolutions, smesolutions

peek a boo with rodney after zumba
*for the first time in my life, i've come close to completing my resolutions. last year's was to keep up with the laundry and clean the house, and to eat better. done and done. my house, is semi clean during the day, (which is pretty good considering how much foot traffic we have) and picked up every night and my eating is 100 times better than it's ever been. i am, of course, omitting the last 2 weeks of slipping off the sugar wagon. let's just pretend that didn't happen mmkay?

*i don't like to say resolutions, but i do like to have some goals for this 2013 (which i hate odd years, by the way).  one of them is waking up to the alarm clock on weekdays, instead of Rodney's serenading squawks from his crib.

*i gifted ty Moonrise Kingdom for Christmas, and we have watched it a lot. I won't even tell you how much, but we love it more and more each time

*i love teaching zumba, dancing 3 times a week really helps me stay happy and a good mom. but sometimes i get tired of being the teacher. everyone is always watching YOU. so, yeah, if you're a little squidgy over Christmas, everyone gets to see it.  most of the time lately i've been completely content with how i am right now, my clothes fit and i feel strong and happy. and then everyone once in awhile i want the scale to say a lower number, or to look really trim and toned, and that just makes me freak out. no joke, if i start planning on getting thinner, i automatically start eating everything in sight. what is up? i did finally find some time and made it back to a pilates class tonight. my sister in law teaches it, and it's a great class, but CRAP, i hate it. in a good way of course, i love the results, hate the work!

*rodney is talking more and more all the time and it's great. we also found out what his rattle is from, (he has this weird, whistling rattle, snoring, breathing thingy) his adenoids are too large and need to come out so he can get better sleep. he gets so exhausted, his latest bed time is 5:30. no joke, he cannot handle any later than that, and he wakes up at 7am. but we pay for it in the day, he is cranky and temperamental once he gets tired.

*we have been having a great and relaxing Christmas break. I'll be sad to have school start back up and get back on the schedule train, but happy too. Summer break is only 5 months away.

What are your goals or resolutions? Anyone else abhor odd years like me?


we always start off with a bang

i loved hearing this essay about staying in (skip forward to 9:12) on New Year's Eve. It resonated with our own traditions we've adopted since having kids. Not that we were huge partiers to begin with, but things definitely change when the children outnumber you in the house. 

Since Lucy got old enough to understand what New Year's is, and also hear from her friends how they "stay up late", we've added a few more traditions. We do let them stay up late on New Year's Eve, all the way until 9 o'clock. Crazy! They took a bath, put on clean pj's and we lit off sparklers in the yard.
 Once the kids are all on bed I put out our usual spread, Martinelli's sparkling cider (ty's a lush), cheeseball and crackers, chocolates gifted to us at Christmas, chocolate cream pie, smoked sausages, veggies and dip. Shrimp was out of the budget this year, you know, fiscal cliff and all. Then Ty and I get in our pj's eat to our hearts desire (and drink!) and watch a Back to the Future marathon. We beat our record and finished all the way to the end of II! We've never made it that far before. Then we go to sleep, cuz the kids get up early and are so excited to do this:
 Crack the gingerbread houses! Phoebe was a little too handy with that hammer, it was scary.

 Then we headed out to Magnasite, and played outside all day long. just like in 2012 with our annual field trip. we hiked, ate, and shot lots of guns. i laugh when i think of where i imagined i would be at this age when i was young, but mostly because i'm perfectly happy shooting guns with my inlaws and eating soggy sandwiches under the winter desert sun.

 i shot ty's gun and couldn't tell if i was hitting a single thing, i'll just pretend i hit everything instead.
 Everyone got baths last night, and of course the tub was full of sand.
 without even realizing it, i signed my name as "MOM". apparently i've lost my identity over the years.
 when we came home we found our chrismtas butterflies had hatched! so fun.
 aunt sarah came to say goodbye, and phoebe gave her a good, "bye bye aunt sadah!"
we've been so busy, i haven't even thought about resolutions yet. but i'm proud to say i accomplished some of mine from last year.
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