End of the year, graduation and entitlement

Confession: my negative posts get the most hits. This makes me sad, because 1. I am a pessimist, but I call myself a realist ( which comes out negatively 90% of the time) and 2. I could make a living out of negative talk.

But I don't want that, as enticing at it is. I try to be more positive every. stupid. day. Heck, I'm even reading a book all about finding joy. It's actually pretty good, by the way. All negative nelly's should check it out. 

But I have to say my thoughts on something, negative or not. Graduation. What is it? It is graduating to a next level of learning or earning a degree. Standard public education in our state is 12 years of learning and the grades are separated to different schools along the way. Elementary, middle and high school. 

Now I'm allowed to say this because I do not have any child participating, so it's easy to judge. But what is up with middle school graduation? It's not just get a flower and root beer floats anymore. It's new dresses, and new shoes, and corsages and flowers and parties. PARTIES. These are NOT accomplishments, people. It's middle school. These kids are still eating their own boogers. You are merely moving on to the next school level. What message are we sending? Not to mention that our county has the lowest high school graduation rate in the state, and almost lowest in the country. That's another post for another day that will never be written. 

We celebrated high school graduation, but not like it was the crowning achievement of your life. Of course you graduate from high school, it's standard public education. Now college graduation? Was a big deal.  There were some days that the only reason I went and took that final was I knew I'd be getting that graduation present from my parents. It is still dear to me and precious and I plan to continue the tradition with my daughters.  I don't want my children thinking they have really succeeded just by graduating from high school. What standard is that setting?  The message in the home was education is important, vital and necessary. We were put here to learn and grow as much as we personally can. Not all people's paths are for standard college but might be trade school or growing in their own chosen field. All equal accomplishments when accompanied by hard work and perseverance. I know a lot of idiotic, social misfits that graduated from college with no effort whatsoever.

One thing I agree with celebrating is good grades and other academic accomplishments from personal dedication and hard work. Now, those kids deserve some recognition and a rootbeer float. And maybe, there are kids that graduating from middle school was a hard achievement, but shouldn't we still be rooting them on to succeed even farther and not settling? These are all just my negative thoughts, and judge them as you please.

Of course, I am most positive  we will celebrate high school graduation and I'm sure Lucy will want a new dress for middle school graduation, and I'll be pulled in with all the peer pressure to have her fit in. But I just think the entitlement given to kids these days is atrocious. Today toddlers get parties for going potty and throwing away a binky. They get huge parties for turning ONE that cost thousands of dollars. Ugh, the entitlement is just oozing into every corner of a parents' life. What happens when your crowning achievement is middle school graduation? How do you top that? High school is fun and horrible and a rite of passage. But life afterwards is infinitely richer.   And I still stick with my favorite quote "if I ever refer to these as best 4 years of my life, remind me to kill myself". 

And if you know that quote than you can pat yourself on the back.
 And then we'll go out to lunch together.

*And this post was inspired mostly just because middle schoolers, thanks to social media, dress nicer and have more beautiful hair than I ever have had in my entire life.


Happy Memorial Day

One of my favorite intros to summer...memorial day! Later in the day we will visit loved ones at the cemetery, then swimming and burgers at night.

This week we had Austrie come home! It was great to see her, and went to a fun baby shower and Phoebe's first birthday party at a friend. 

Ps: countdown to my baby turning 2. TWO.


Give a little: or fundraising thoughts

I whined a little in my last post (ok, almost all of my posts lately), and for that, I apologize. I actually do serve a lot. I serve my little children every day, keeping them clean and fed and teaching them the Gospel. I serve my husband every day trying to be a loving and supportive spouse. We spend lots of time with family and serving them.

And then, I did this whole "fundraiser' thing. Yup, spearheaded by moi, with the help of some great people and friends. It turned out great! But, good heavens, it was a lot of work. Fundraising by yourself is not for the faint of heart. Especially something like a "Zumbathon" in a small town, where people don't really jump up to try something new you know? It's ok, I think they all will come around in the next few years! We also had a teacher cancel last minute, and two funerals and two weddings and another fundraiser the same night, but we still did well.

I learned a lot, especially about how many great friends I have that support me. Next year we will do another one, even bigger and even better! (famous last words) And I will get some help with my house the previous and following weeks. : ) The girls loved going to set up and playing with all the sound sensitive lights (Lots of jumping up and down to change the colors). We had a blast and spread the dancing love that we all get every week in class. Zumba (specifically dancing) has changed my life as a mother and woman and I love seeing it positively effect so many other women, moms, girls.

 Some of my favorite "regular" Zumba ladies. They keep me working hard.
 I never knew Maile and Robyn until this past year and they are amazing women with great families.
 Yeah, I'm a spaz.
Just another action shot, because I know you wanted one. 
Stephanie and Dianne were my flygirls. I've always wanted those.
*(and please tell me I'm not the only one that watched In Living Color growing up)
Becky and her cute pregnant self showing just how much fun a Zumbathon is!
 Anny Bastian is a great teacher that came and taught for us. Her routines are INTENSE.
Local teacher Wendy Jensen taught a few fun ones too.

 Dianne and her husband did all the LIGHTS, that rocked.
 Katie was my publicity guru, and Angela helped and danced.

*A special thanks to all that donated their time and talents to our fundraiser. Especially Wendy Wheeler for all of the photographs, Sage Health, Dalisay Shyface (My tupperware lady!), Vanessa Solis, Maile Montierth, Christy Brooks, and many many more.



Blogging momentum at an all time low. 
In the meantime enjoy the fact that Phoebe still tells me "Merry Christmas" every night. 
Rodney is getting even MORE cuddly. Swoon. 
Abby is friends with almost everyone in her class and is ready to move in with her teacher.
Lucy is a great mother to all of the pets in our house. Anyone want a pet quail????
And...The front lawn is getting irrigated now. huzzah! 

In other news, I am swamped with my maternal duties and work. And, then, every night proceed to beat myself up because I haven't served anyone "else" for that day, even though I haven't taken good care of my own. I need good advice from some experienced mommas here, how much can you serve others when your monkeys are little? Thanks.



I feel like we are always saying "almost" these days. 

It's almost Memorial Day.

It's almost last week of school. 

It's almost summer break. 

It's almost my baby's second birthday.

It's almost too hot.

We were almost all better, and then the stomach big smacked us all down.

Almost getting the house back to normal. Well, see above now. 

We almost have only one cat now. This is good and bad. 

We almost lost all of the quail  with another drowning incident. Seriously, not intelligent  without a mom around. 

Lucy almost has reached her reading goal. 

We almost never blog anymore. Life is busy, motherhood is kicking my trash. But... we are still beautifully blessed everyday. 

And that I am most grateful for. 


A horrible, no good day

Never have high expectations on Mother's Day. It is a plan of impending doom. Last year I was sicker than a dog and Ty took the kids to visit our moms. This year I was selfish and said "we are staying home". Namely because 1. We have 1pm church, which means Rodney and phoebe are rotten messes and 2. I just didn't want to do all the work that entails visits.

Well, karma is a mean one and the kids were horrible and screaming and fighting all day. The house is a disaster after two weeks of neglect for the fundraiser and I've been cleaning and doing dishes all day. Ty let me sleep in till 9, which was nice, but not when you can hear the chaos on the other side of the door. 

But you know what? I still had a great day because I was able to attend Relief Society and listen to a beautiful lesson. And I was refreshed and renewed to try harder, be humble and grateful and never underestimate the love of your Savior. 

My children are amazing blessings in my life, and I am very grateful for them. I'm grateful to have the privilege of learning from Lucy and watch her grow into a powerful woman, even if that process is a rocky one.  I'm grateful that Abby lives and beat the odds to stay with our family. I'm grateful there was medicine to let phoebe come into this world safe and happy. I'm grateful for the amazing blessing that Rodney is in our lives and many, many others. I'm so grateful to be a mother.

So it was still a great day, because there is always room to try again and be less selfish. Always.  


true motherhood: or what i learned from a stray cat

We had a stray show up a few months ago on our back porch. I shooed it away. We already had a cat, and  a guinea pig and a fish and we've now added 18 rescued quail eggs into the picture that should hatch any minute. So yeah, if you walk in my house and can't figure out the smell, neither can I. Grab a bucket and some gloves.

Well, the cat kept coming back (insert song). No matter how much I yelled at it and scared it away, she kept coming back, and then coming back rounder. And I'm sorry, but if you don't have a heart for a poor stray cat with a sordid past, well you just don't have one at all. As she got larger we started letting her into the house. My husband, the tough macho, cold hearted, hunter is a total softy for pets, (hello, we are a zoo) and when she looked to pop every day would call to see if she had yet. No, she just kept getting bigger and bigger and bigger. We really couldn't believe how she could keep staying this big and this pregnant. She looked miserable, and depressed and  we would exchange glances as she lapped up her whole milk and I would whisper as I scratched her ears, "Oh, I know sister...I know. Hang in there".

And then, it happened. I was sweeping off the back porch and in she sauntered, large...but different. I know new mommy belly a mile away. I dropped the broom and patted her sides, large, swollen, squishy...not hard. I immediately called Ty, "She popped". But where were the kittens? We searched everywhere outside and inside...no kittens. The weird part is the mom kept coming to me all day long. "Why are you not with your kittens?" I thought.  Well, what teenage mom does know what they are doing, I ask you?

And then Phoebe came out after nap time, "MOMMY!"  "what?" I asked. "Black and white kitty is in my room!" She squealed jumping up and down. I ran in there, and I asked, "Did you see where she was?"  "YES! In the CLOSET!" Ugh...I was anticipating the worst. But no, she must have carried them inside after having them because there, all clean and small were 5 kittens all mumbo jumboed atop tutus and tinkerbell wings in the dress up corner. This poor mom, she really had no clue what she was doing. I grabbed clean towels, made a bed in the spare bathroom shower and carried them in there and put in the mom. She look so relieved and immediately lay down and started to nurse them. Phoebe was ready to suffocate all of them with their love but I gave everyone a 24 hr rule, "NO GOING IN THERE and whatever you do DO NOT SHOW RODNEY THE KITTENS".

We lasted 16 hours. Somehow Rodney followed Phoebe in there and for the last 4 weeks I have had a heart attack every minute I can't hear Rodney. Because it means he is in there all "Of Mice and Men" style. Let's just say there are some tough kittens in there.

What does this all have to do with motherhood? Let me explain, the mommy cat still looked pregnant for a week. The girls kept asking, "Why does she still look like there are babies in there?"  And I explained that it takes moms a long time to grow big for a baby and it takes a long time to go back to normal. "Remember when you hit your knee?" "Yes," abby replied. "Well, did it get big and swollen for a few days?" "yes" she replied again, not getting it at all. "Well, having babies is kind of like that, it takes mommies awhile to heal and get better just like your knee" (Probably a bad analogy but it seemed to appease them, I mean, it wasn't like I said, "having a baby is like having a jack hammer beating the inside of your tummy for 12 hrs)

And the nursing, oh! She nurses and nurses and nursees and nurses and those greedy little buggers are always after her. And her food? She is eating probably 4x as much food everyday now. Hello! Milk supply for 5 babies? The second day she kept going outside and ty would pick her up and put her back in with her babies. "Ty!" I said, "let her take a break ok?"  He was worried she would get eaten by coyotes, I could see the post partum depression leaking in. She would just walk outside, and sit in the sun for an hour in some peace and quiet.  No one tells her to do that, her body just knows it needs to be away from the babies a few times a day and groom herself. She still does this, every day, sometimes several times. Basking outside, cleaning her fur, closing her eyes and sitting in silence.

And then I realized something, no one pays attention to her anymore. And yes, this happens when you have a baby. Everything is about the kittens kittens kittens. I hadn't seen anyone pet her or talk to her in weeks. Since then I've been brushing her and giving her a little extra tlc, because I get it momma. Oh do I understand.

Her body is getting closer to normal, but it's still squishy and soft and malleable. And her milk sacs are large and droopy and full of milk. The practically scrape the ground when she walks. Her nipples are ten times the normal size. Her eyes are tired, and she moves more slowly and intently. Now that the kittens are walking she's teaching them how to follow her and clean them and stop their little kitty fights. She harps at them to come and harps when the room isn't clean enough (And guess who gets to do that duty?)

She is different, she will never be the same, but she's also a better cat now. When the kitties leave we've decided to fix her and keep her as our own. I'm glad she's had a litter, I think it makes them more compassionate and lovable. I also like someone around the house who understands what it's like when your nipples expand beyond anything you could ever comprehend. tmi.

So listen moms, it's ok that your body gets big. It's ok that it gets so big you don't know if you will ever survive.  It's normal that you feel like you will be pregnant for forever. It's ok to get so desperate you want the baby out right.this.very.second. Be patient, it's normal, just wait. I promise you will always look back and wished that you would have been more patient.

It's ok to be really tired after delivering a baby. You just birthed a human being. It's ok to LISTEN TO SOMEONE WHO HAS HAD A BABY. I know you think you know it all, but Oh! what I wouldn't' give to go back and listen to my mom and other moms and actually heed their advice.

It's ok to move slower and have less energy. You just made a human being. It's ok your breasts are large and saggy, and your tummy is round and large and looks like twice risen dinner roll dough. It's ok if you are really hungry and want to eat twice as much food. You just made a human being, and are now feeding it. (After I had my first baby I ran into a mom of one of my ballet students, I told her I had just had my baby! She looked at my tummy and said, "No you did not!" Ouch)

It's ok you are tired and depressed and confused. You just made a human being and have to give it 99% of your attention. Go outside every day a few times a day, alone and just sit in the sun. Brush your hair, put on some make up and just soak in the silence, even just for a minute or two. Someday the babies will get bigger, and need you less, and your nipples will go back to normal (ha) and you can have enough energy to cook a meal and work out, in the same day. Sometimes that takes 2 years, sometimes 2 months. But remember our mommy kitty, and that it is all normal. Anything you see on the internet, tv or pinterest? NOT NORMAL, at all.

It's ok if you feel different and everything isn't about "you" anymore. The cold hard truth, is that you are and it isn't. It's better this way, trust me.  I promise you will live a richer, fuller life when you realize this is a gift.

Motherhood is enlarging (get it) and fulfilling and depressing and ever-changing and challenging and exciting and draining and captivating and it is all normal. Embrace it, and love it, and the days that you don't love, just call me and I'll make you feel like you are doing one awesome bang up job of it.

So Happy Mother's day...and enjoy this movie. I cried, (total sap)


what's for dinner tonight

I have a few seconds to share our new favorite soup recipe. Even Rodney likes this soup. It is great for springtime when it's too hot to turn on the oven. Yes, our spring is already over and HOT. I think some other families will enjoy it as much as we have.

Tuscan Bean and Sausage Soup via Saving Dinner
3/4 lb italian sausage links, removed from casings and cut into 1/2" pieces (i'm lazy and keep them in the casings. i know)
1 onion chipped
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 yellow squash, sliced (I use green if it's on hand)
2 cans white beans, rinsed and drained (we use great northern)
1 can Italian tomatoes, undrained (I've used regular tomatoes and just doubled the italian seasoning)
2 cans chicken broth
1/3 cup red wine ( i use cooking wine)
2 cups spinach, shredded
1 teaspon Italian seasoning
3 T Romano cheese, grated (I never have this on hand, and it's fine without)

Over medium-high heat brown sausage and fully cook in soup pot. Drain grease. Add onion and garlic and cook till transulcent. Add squash and saute about one minute.

Add remaining ingredients except cheese, and simmer till heated through, about 10 minutes. Serve with cheese on top.

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