be the good

I found these two great articles on wonderful people in this world. People who see an opportunity to do good and seize it. I want to be like that. I want to share all the goodness around us. This is difficult for me, as a sarcastic, cynical realist. But hey, I'm trying! Plus, sarcasm always gets a good laugh and I'm a sucker for attention. I hope you enjoy these as much as I did, ps*get some kleenex handy.

And I will share a quick story of our own. It's more of a Christmas story, but it is definitely worth including in this post since all i've been worrying about today is how old and worn our stroller is and I want a new one even though we don't need one. I am lame.

Our second Christmas here in Hidden Hollow, things had gotten quite tight with the budget. Student loans and property taxes and medical bills all converged at once. We were going to be ok, we always are (hello tithing!), but I was hoping the girls and family wouldn't notice how lame our gifts were that year.  I was feeling down and out as we drove home from the annual Christmas Eve get together. When we pulled up to the house, we parked in the front, which is odd, we always park in the back.  We put the kids to bed and Ty said, "Did you leave something on the porch?"   I slipped onto the back porch without the kids hearing, and there left in a bag were gifts from Santa. Three baby dolls in hand crocheted baby carriers, with beautiful and immaculate hand crocheted dresses, booties, hats, pillows and blankets. All three unique, for our three different girls. And a crocheted bear for Rodney.  I couldn't believe it and was in shock. Someone had worked on these for months, just for our children. The tears came quickly and freely and I immediately knelt down and offered a prayer of gratitude. And to no surprise, they were the favorite presents the kids played with for the year, and still to this day. It was a Christmas miracle I will never forget. 

There are so many wonderful stories like this of people living life selflessly and kindly everyday. I'd love to hear some of yours.


first day 2013

It's over. Done. Kaput. First lunches made and (semi) eaten. First day jitters over, (for everyone). We all survived. Everyone has been asking for weeks, "are you ready? are you ready?" to which I would reply "actually, yes!". The leggings and shirts and socks with holes and stains replaced. School supplies for the classroom purchased. Forms filled out. Schedule in place. All we had to do was get up, eat, piano practice, get dressed and get to school.

Ok, honestly though? The sadness hit as they ran away from the house. And trust me, they ran! I'm hoping not because they wanted to leave me so soon. But we took these pictures and were late. ha. So much for being ready right? As we got home Phoebe said, "Abby said she's gonna miss me all day today" and that broke my heart. Of course sweet Abby would say something like that.

 And there we were, just the three of us at home all day long. What would we do? Don't worry, we improvised and I got a lot of cleaning and cooking done and even practices writing our names if we were three years old. And we might have watched a little too much Barney for public health if we were two years old. Hooray!
 Thankfully Great Grandpa irrigated and provided instant and distracting entertainment for the littles.


the summer for our monkeys

The first day of school is greeting me this morning with grey skies and rain. And it's just what I've been praying for for weeks. The clouds are helping the transition away from our summer tremendously. Neither of the girls or I were ready for summer's end. We have had an absolutely wonderful vacation. I can say it's the been the best one yet here in Hidden Hollow, hands down.

The summer for the kids was just as I remember mine: swimming, otter pops, movies, friends friends friends, food and a tremendous amount of family. We would play in the mornings, Rodney and Phoebe would nap, then play in the afternoons, a quick summer dinner, baths and bed. Then rinse and repeat for three months.
 The older girls and I have been reading the Little House On the Prairie series at night and it's been delightful. The chapters are just long enough that their little bodies calm down nicely into their beds before I shut the door. I'm loving the books just as much (shockingly, never read these growing up!). I do skip some parts where they explain for an entire page how he cut the lumber for the house. But you know, I'm not a dude so...yeah.  We are almost done with book 2 and grateful we started them this summer. It was perfect timing.

The kids all practiced and mastered their swimming skills for June, July and August and even Phoebe surprised us by showing us she can swim too. No joke, she took her life jacket off and did a perfect breast stroke. She can now, just like the big girls, jump off the diving board by herself, and dive for toys in the shallow end. Rodney still prefers that I hold him the entire time and no one "splashes" him. But I'm fine, I like that he's still a baby that way. He'll eventually grow up just like the rest so I'm keeping him little as much as I can.

Friday night we went to a 51's baseball game in Vegas and it ended the summer break beautifully. Perfect weather, great friends, entertainment and expensive food.

So goodbye summer 2013, you were so very good and kind to us. I'm sad to see you end, but I am excited to see where the school year takes us.

*We watched this last night and it was perfect for us and the kids.


seen and heard

1. We went up to Mt. Kolob for a fun day with our ward. The kids were in heaven and I loved catching up with friends. We all went down the water slide, ate three types of cobbler and listened to Harry Potter on the drive. 

I'm always at peace on a mountain.

Driving last week we saw a circle of crows over a field.

"Uh oh,"  I said, "Something must have died".

"I hope it's not a horse" Lucy said.

"I hope it's not a cow" Abby said.

"I hope it's not a Unicorn!!" Phoebe yelled.

Aunt Sarah said, "I"m 100% sure it's not a unicorn Phoebes."

I wish we were all 3 year olds sometimes. But not at bedtime. Hehe.

3. We had friends visit all weekend and it was great to catch up with the Erkillas and Warburtons.

4. Aunt Taryn and uncle Shane are  moving this week so we finally had them over for dinner. It was a wonderful visit with no burnt food or crying kids. Success! We will miss them, but they won't be too far away.


Pins I use almost every day

I love pinterest, and it is a strange media site in it's own right. I see my friends post fitness tips, and two seconds later a double chocolate turtle fudge trifle recipe. It's a paradox.

There is also the frustration of fake pins. What are those? Well, just pictures with no acutal links, or there is a link, but it really isn't worth your time. Get my drift? I once clicked on a pin for "How to have a romantic getaway when you have to bring your kids" Worthless I tell you.

BUT... I do have pins, REAL pins that work and that have changed my daily life, and I'm here to share them.

Here they are, in no order of importance:

Buying Produce:

Helpful Tip(S): There are a lot of them on this link. I can grab a walnut and fix scratches in my wood furniture in just a few seconds. It's awesome. Or put your ipod in a bowl and it amplifies the sound. Tips like this that smart people think of for the likes of me.
image via pinterest

Shredding meat:

Whenever I need to shred meat, or chicken, or pork, no more two forks and splashing my shirt. No maam. Throw the meat in the kitchen aid, and turn the paddle on for less than a few minutes. DONE and DONE.

Peel and stick tiles:

 I love cleaning out under my sinks now. The tile was super easy to cut (with scissors!) and stick on. It's great for spills and leaks too.

Cleaning out the microwave:

1 Cup vinegar
1 cup water
Cook on high 10 minutes, just wipe it all off easily afterwards.

 Cooking Bacon:

If i'm making  a recipe with bacon and need my cooktop, I can throw it into the oven, no mess, no fuss.

Make Nail Polish Last Longer:  Word to your mother, this really works. Just rub vinegar over your cleaned nails before you paint them. Voila.
image via pinterest

Dressing up boring mom outfits:
image via pinterest

The Sock Bun

Disclaimer: You need long hair for this next tip. But if you have a bunch of mismatched socks you still haven't mated for 3 years, this is perfect. It's my go to Sunday hair do when I'm running behind (which is often).
image via pinterest

You can't really tell, but that's a sock bun I'm sporting in the back. Word.



Last night as I harped at the kids to get their shoes on and (please) clean up , Ty handed me some old photos from his mom. I almost stopped in my tracks. "Oh, wow." I blurted. These are old photos, photos I have never seen before. Photos I don't remember taking. Do you have those too? Photos you don't remember taking or being there? That doesn't happen to me often, so I was more than surprised to see these.

I was a baby. My oldest was a baby. Ty was young, young young. We were happy, and young, and delirious, and... living in lala land.

Sometimes, and very rarely, I see new moms and I covet. The crisp, fresh baby clothes. The non-stained burp cloths and blankets. The energy they have! The dreams! The motivation! The hair bows and clips and planned "outfits". The clean strollers and organized diaper clothes. Who am I kidding? I was never like that, but I still covet that lifestyle sometimes.
Ty, baby Lucy, Me 2005
But 99.9% I am thoroughly grateful that I am not a new mom anymore. As young and energetic as I was, I would never want to go back. Would I do it all over again? Of course, I loved it, but you won't catch me saying that about high school. Shudder.

I do covet that simple life though, I think our internet was so slow we only went on at night or on the weekends. Photos were still developed, no texting, it was a more quiet time. But inside I wasn't quiet, I feel like I am much more relaxed and easy going than then. I know, you're thinking that would be impossible because I'm still extremely high strung, but believe me. Those were the days when I would cry and pout when I wasn't getting my way. ha! What a joke.

I've loved being a mother. It has fulfilled my life with joy and peace and happiness I had never known before. Don't get me wrong, the setbacks, challenges and trials have been difficult, but each one of them I wouldn't give back for what I learned from them is priceless. We've also been extremely lucky, I always feel like the other shoe is going to drop as far as trials and persecutions go.

I don't have a lot of regrets (other than yelling) about being a mom, but it's a process. That poor oldest child. She has been more than patient with my mistakes and mishaps.

When I see these pictures, I don't even know what to say. It honestly feels like an entire lifetime ago.

Baby Lucy and Me, 2005
And, I am happy to add, I dress a whole heck of a lot better now. Phew. I still remember when that mom bought those gap jeans at our yard sale. I was happy to see those memories go.



It's August. I can't believe it,  whenever it hits August I believe I will survive to see the fall and cooler weather, even if it is still 2 months away. Ty's birthday is at the end of September and it's still triple digits then too. Phoebe is already talking about her birthday and the girls are desperately waiting to hear who their teachers are and where their friends will be also.

I took the month of July off of teaching Zumba, I was frazzled and spent and needed a break. They usually resurface the floors for two of those weeks, so it was perfect timing.

Well, once I took out my regular cardio exercise (which is funny, because I never really imagined it counting) I went kaput. I wasn't motivated to lift weights anymore, or eat normal or even socialize. Mentally and physically I turned to mush. I am out of shape! But hey, nothing like being mortal and getting in shape in front of a crowd of people right? I'm used to it, and luckily my class loves me (at least I wish and desperately hope they do).

In other news, Rodney is a parrot and will repeat absolutely every word you say (so be careful).  His latest trick is "shunting up" his trucks and trains. Something he learned from Thomas the Tank Engine. Well, "shunt up!" sounds a lot like something else. And in church he's merrily shouting at his cars "Shunt up! shunt up!"  That was awkward.

But not as awkward as the one time I leaned Phoebe over in the pew to check her diaper (there was a funky smell around) and accidentally pushed her head first off the pew and almost pulled her diaper  all the way up and off. Luckily only Brad Whiting witnessed that fiasco. Embarrassing! Poor Phoebes, she didn't even cry she just looked at me quizzically and said, "mom?".
Wishing we were back here...
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