Moms Can Laugh

So, we’ve been pretty absent on our blog here lately, but I did want to pop on here and share a couple of things that have been making me laugh so hard!  A lot of times mommies are mad, or sad, or busy or whatever.  I love a good Mommie Laugh.

The first one is this video from a television show in Sweden.  Seriously cried because I was laughing so hard.

contractions-584

The next one is an article from the Today Show about all the advice we get on getting our babies to sleep.  This is one funny Mommie!

-sleepy-baby

Enjoy and have a great day!

Advertisements

Balance

Balance.  That one word is so heavy sometimes it throws me out of balance.  How do we do it?  How are we supposed to be a wife, a mother, a housekeeper, a chef, and include anything that helps us just be ourselves.  The person we were before we were any of those things….and the person we’ve become because of those things.

I believe so many people think they are selfish if they try to do something for themselves every once in a while.  I am one of those.  If I get an hour of reading in one day, I go to bed thinking that I just lost one hour with one of my kids.  Even though, I made sure they got three meals and an infinite number of snacks, we built the tallest tower out of legos, and played soccer and swimming for hours.

Why when I only do laundry and clean bathrooms, do I feel lazy if I spend some time on the computer checking blogs or looking up pretty fabrics and furniture?

I am always seeking for that perfect balance.  I want to be able to include everything in my life in an equal amount.  I want to work a little to help contribute.  I want to write a little to get these stories out of my head and onto paper.  I want to read a little so I can lose myself in a world that isn’t my own.

But my own world is the one I am in love with.  I want my kids to remember me as a fun and loving mother.  I want my husband to come home to a clean house and a smiling wife.  I want my friends to count on me and know that I appreciate them.

I want to be everything for everyone.

This weekend I took a big step for me and spent a whole day on something just for me.  I went to the LA Times Festival of books.  It was like Disneyland at Christmas for me.  I got to spend time with others who enjoy what I do, participate in panels, and meet some pretty cool authors.

One of those authors was Orson Scott Card.  (How Cool Is That?) My friend put in a question at his panel, asking him how he balances everything, with the kind of profession that he has.  His answer?

You don’t.  You decide each day what is the most important for that day, and let go of the the things that aren’t.

That really resonated with me.  He didn’t say those things weren’t important.  He just said that each day, the importance of things change.

Some days the kids and I will cuddle up on the couch and read books together and alone.  Some days we are so busy we live in and out of the car.

And I know that that is okay.  I am going to make a list each day of what I feel is important for me and my family and go from there.  Each day will change.  Each day will be different.  And each day I will find happiness and balance.

(Just for fun, here’s some pics of my fun day out :))

Hormones: Blessing or Curse?

I have discovered something extraordinarily covert since I have been married.  You may or may not have discovered this secret yourself.  Chances are, if you are a woman who inhales oxygen, this particular secret has incalculably blessed your life.

So, what exactly is it that’s so hush-hush?  It’s simple, really.

As a woman, you can blame absolutely everything on hormones.

Consider the following scenario.  Your husband comes home late from work one day and finds you relentlessly snapping at your children.  He leans down to kiss you on the lips and is genuinely surprised when you apparently fail to notice his romantic antics as you politely (at least you thought that you were being polite) command him to assist you in picking up the miniature blocks that are scattered all over the kitchen floor, which are somehow prohibiting you from accomplishing anything of worth.  Your husband looks at you for a brief moment and then the all-too-familiar phrase escapes his lips.

“Is it that time of the month?”

or, more commonly,

“Is your period going to start soon?”

or, my personal favorite,

“You must be pregnant.”

So, what if you’re not on your period, not experiencing PMS, or if you are undeniably not pregnant (because you had just urinated on a home-pregnancy-test and it unquestionably lacked an extra line).

Our husbands don’t know that.

This is where the top-secret trick comes in to play.

When your husband comes home from work and finds you in a similar scenario, we have a right (as hormone-saturated women) to forgo taking responsibility for our actions…don’t we?  Because we’re not really grumpy, snappy, mean, and horrible…right?  The hormones are absolutely to blame.

So what do we tell our husbands?

“Sorry, honey.  It’s my hormones.”

It truly is that simple.  Chances are, if your husband is anything like my husband, he will politely smile and give you the apologetic look.   Then he’ll proceed to tell the children to clean up their mess (which they will do, without complaint, 97% of the time…why they listen to their dad so effortlessly remains a mystery to me).

The truth of the matter is that our husbands don’t know what it feels like to be a woman.  We truly do have raging hormones at times.  These hormones cause us to feel an array of emotions ranging from depression to elation.  In actuality, would it not be an accurate statement to assume that every single woman is bi-polar to some extent?

If I happen to snap at Jon regarding something inconsequential, it’s not really my fault, right?  If I crave a chocolate-peanut butter-banana sandwich (with Oreo ice-cream on the side), it’s not really me with the horrid craving, right?  So what if I want to go to bed at 4:00 in the afternoon or cry for no apparent reason?  It’s not me.   It’s my blasted hormones.

Hormones are to blame for every negative aspect of my life.

Because, deep down, I’m actually a good person.  If my hormones weren’t a factor in my existence, I would totally eat healthy 100% of the time.  I would never snap at my children.  I wouldn’t get frustrated.  I wouldn’t get angry, upset, bored, jealous, or feel embarrassed.  I wouldn’t need time to unwind.  I would never murmur.  My house would look immaculate because my hormones wouldn’t have prevented me from incessantly cleaning.  Without hormones, I wouldn’t ever experience bouts of insecurity and decreased self-esteem.  I would surely do my visiting teaching every single month.

In short, without hormones, I would pretty much be perfect.

🙂

Although blaming my hormones for my poor behavior can often be quite beneficial, I can’t help but wonder…are hormones truly to blame?  What percentage of my less than desirable behavior is actually driven by hormones?  What if I’m actually a grumpy and impatient person, regardless of any hormones that may or may not exist?  What if I’m actually sad and I cry for a valid reason and not simply because my hormones are causing me to be emotional.  What if, after all of these years, we women have been blaming our hormones when, in fact, they are unquestionably innocent?

At any rate, I’m quite finished evaluating my behavior based on the existence of or complete lack of hormones.

I am me, with or without those dreaded hormones.

I’ll keep pushing through, day by day (second by second), and continue to try my best.  If I slip up (as a result of hormones, or not), all that I can do is learn from my mistakes and try to improve! 🙂

No one is perfect.

But I can’t help but admit that men may have it easier on their road to perfection.  They just have to overcome the natural man, not hormones as well! 🙂

Good luck with your hormones, ladies!  And don’t be afraid to use them as an excuse…your other half will never know! 😉

Peter Pan Nursery

Some people may say that this is too much, and that this Peter Pan thing has gone on too long. But, I am in love with my baby’s nursery. Well, he’s not so much a baby anymore, but hopefully it’s something he can grow with for a little bit.

This is my rocking corner.

IMG_3384 IMG_3386
I got these illustrations from this book. I cut them out (gasp!) and put them in 8×8 frames from Michael’s. I love that they seem to glow and that the yellow walls brings the yellow out in them.
IMG_3387
This is Big Ben Corner.  I got the Big Ben canvas from KMart clearance, the star from Ross, and the vinyl from my very talented friend Jamie at Vinyl Decor N More.  She also did the vinyl for the Second Star On The Right sign above the dresser.
IMG_3388IMG_3389 IMG_3390This is my “dreams” wall.  I wanted this room to be playful, and whimsical, and to encourage the imagination.  I made the pennant banner out of tulle and scrapbook paper.  I made the clouds out of cardstock and taped them on the wall.  The sign is more of that bunk bed wood nailed together and painted a blue/green.  I got a silver paint pen and just free handed the quote on it.

IMG_3391 IMG_3392

IMG_3393 IMG_3394

IMG_3395
I designed this changing table for my last baby. I thrifted the changing table for $10. I painted it off white and then modpodged scrapbook paper diamonds on to get the argyle look.

IMG_3396

I think I want to sleep in here more than my baby!

Posted in DIY

Breadsticks

IMG_3378

In seems like I am always searching for my favorite recipe of some thing or another, and breadsticks have been no exception. I have tried numerous recipes over the last few years, and haven’t found something that every person in my family will eat. Until now.

My friend gave me this recipe a couple of months ago and we’ve made them almost ten times! We love them! They are light, fluffy, and tasty!

Breadsticks

2 cups of warm water

1 TB yeast

1 1/2 TB sugar

1 tsp salt

5 cups of flour

Stir the sugar into the water and then sprinkle the yeast on top.  Wait five mintues.  When the yeast has proofed, add flour and salt.  Knead gently until it’s not sticky, adding flour if needed.  Grease a large cookie sheet and roll your dough out onto it.  Spread with 3 TB melted butter and sprinkle with garlic salt and parmesan cheese.  (Sometimes we do shredded mozzerella too!)  Cut into slices and then let rise until double the size(30-60 min).  Bake in oven at 350 for 10-15 minutes.

Make Your Own Slime

Do you remember playing with Gak growing up?  I loved that stuff!  My kids are all about the turtle ooze right now and so I figured we would try to make our own slime.  All you need is liquid starch, clear glue, food coloring and plastic ziplock baggies.

You use equal parts of starch and glue, so however much you would like to use is fine.  I used 1/4 cup starch and 1/4 cups glue.

IMG_3342

You will add 3 drops of food coloring to the starch before you add the glue to it.

IMG_3341

Then you add the glue and let the kids squish the bag around for at least 5 minutes.  The longer the better if you can keep them from splitting open the bag 🙂

IMG_3343 IMG_3344

Which is what Riley did right here…split his bag right open.  So we continued the squish with our bare hands.

When it’s a good enough blob for you, take it out and just throw away the leftover bits and drips in the bag.   Then squish more or play.

We had to add some glue to a couple of them and starch to one, just to get the consistency we wanted.  Just go on a blob by blob basis.

IMG_3345 IMG_3346 IMG_3347 IMG_3348 IMG_3350 IMG_3351 IMG_3353 IMG_3357 IMG_3358 IMG_3359Store your slime in air tight containers.  Unfortunately, the slime will get really sticky within 3-7 days, so make sure to watch it carefully, this stuff won’t last forever.  But the slime was so much fun!

IMG_3360

Big Foot

The other day I was looking at some of our photos and I found this:

b1

In spite of the fuzziness, I found it oddly familiar.

It seems to me that I had seen versions of this photo among various reading materials over the years.

And then it hit me…

b2

I found Big Foot!!!

🙂

Simplifying General Conference

I love, love, love General Conference.

General-Conference-Lvl-1-davis_SCUT0315

I look forward to it more than anything in the world.

Well, nearly anything.

I must admit that I really looked forward to marrying my husband and I was quite thrilled about
pushing each of my babies out after being pregnant for nine months…but General Conference
seriously excites me just as much! 🙂

I love soaking in the incredibly inspiring and spiritually uplifting words that the leaders of the
church have prepared just for us. Quite often, in fact, it seems as if they have prepared their
remarks just for me.

newsroom-link-Lvl2

Since having kids, however, I have learned that it is somewhat difficult to listen to General
Conference as effectively as I would like to. All that I want to do is sit and listen to eight hours
of talks in complete peace and serenity without any interruption. Additionally, it would be quite
nice if each of my children (Mason included) would sit still and reverent for every second of
those hours and be able to quote the prophet word for word at the conclusion of his talk. I mean
really, is that too much to ask? 🙂

Apparently, it is way too much to ask.

For the past few years I have bent over backwards in an effort to help my kids get the most out
of conference. I have printed out conference packets, bingo games, and endless church-related
coloring pages. I have built immaculate tents out of blankets right in front of the TV in an effort
to reenact General Conference in King Benjamin’s time. I have made apostle matching games
and various file-folder games. I have made little treat bags with pictures of the different apostles
on them, the idea being that when that particular apostle spoke the kids would get to eat the treat
from his bag. The kids have decorated music batons to lead the music with the conductor during
the songs. I have searched the internet far and wide for any idea to help keep the kids occupied
and focused during those long eight hours of instruction.

Where did all this preparation get me?

Absolutely nowhere.

By the time the opening song had commenced, the kids were rolling around and trying to
smother each other with the blankets that I had so carefully made into a tent. By the time the
invocation was completed, the packets that I had so vigilantly put together were torn into pieces
and crayons were scattered all over the carpet. Apparently, my kids aren’t as mature as the other
nameless kids around the world using the exact same General Conference packets. My kids
didn’t really care to examine the color of tie that the prophet was wearing.

What is wrong with my children?

The conducting batons were quickly used as beating sticks. The stickers that the kids had used to
decorate their batons with were stuck all over the wall (or inserted into their mouths because they
somehow resembled chewing gum). The treat bags were a complete disaster. Every time a mere
seventy or (heaven forbid) a woman spoke, the kids would complain relentlessly. They could
care less about the talks…they just wanted their stinkin’ treats! 🙂

Now, I realize that this scenario that I have just painted makes my kids seem like spoiled rotten
brats. They aren’t. They were simply being kids forced to be something that they obviously
weren’t meant to be. I fully expected my children to be quiet and focused for eight hours. Why
wouldn’t they be? I bent over backwards trying to entertain them in the proper way! My kids
were supposed to soak in every single word that was spoken and become one step closer to being
translated. Right?!

Seriously…those General Conference packets were meant to keep my children focused!

I learned something from the past few years. I have, somewhat hesitantly, concluded that
General Conference packets aren’t for everyone. All kids are not created equal. A 3-year-
old down the street may find it absolutely entertaining to color ties and create toilet paper roll
apostles…but mine is perfectly content in playing with his miniature pirate ship. My kids are still
quite young. Honestly, until they are old enough to read and write completely independently, I
think that I may put a halt on printing out packets.

Keeping these realizations in mind, I made a conscious choice to simplify my efforts this past
weekend. Translation: I prepared absolutely nothing for my kids. No packets were printed. I
made zero plans whatsoever and decided to merely go with the flow. It worked wonders. Who
would have thought that simply not putting forth any effort whatsoever would have ended up
being the most successful tactic?

I was able to listen to nearly every single word this past weekend!

It was absolutely wonderful.

I gave my children their agency. I did, however, make sure they were in the room when the
prophet spoke. Ironically, with this new found General Conference agency that my kids were
granted, they ended up playing right in front of the TV for the most part. I sat on the floor,
turned the volume up incredibly loud, and was able to listen to nearly every word as my children
played at my feet (or on top of me).

Truly, lowering my expectations was my key to success. I experienced no frustration at the fact
that the packets that I had printed out were not being used correctly. I wasn’t forced to miss
half of each talk as a result of trying to explain to my kids that they couldn’t eat a certain treat
because it wasn’t the “proper time”. Rather, I generously threw food in their faces whenever they
asked for it and I told them to eat, enjoy, and leave me alone. 😉 I didn’t care that my kids were
participating in secular activities (playing with non-church-related toys). There were crayons all
over the carpet, like before, but it didn’t bother me in the slightest because I allowed them to be
there.

My kids were happy. They loved General Conference! Lizzie was even able to tell me that
President Monson talked about being obedient. What more could I ask for? And honestly, I
don’t really care what color of tie he was wearing. 🙂

In conclusion, I have learned that simplifying General Conference and lowering my expectations
have turned out to be one of my best mothering decisions.

You may look down on me for “giving up”. But I don’t care! As is always the case, what works
for one family may not work for another. Our casual watching of General Conference this past
weekend was a definite success for us! 🙂

Packets may make their appearance again in the future…but I am happily taking a break for now.

🙂

Drops of Awesome

awesome

I spend a lot of my time trying to convince everyone around me how awesome they are.  I make sure Michael knows how much I appreciate how hard he works for our family, and also how hard he is able to play with our family.  I need Mikey to know he knows more dinosaurs than me, and Riley to know that he is the best at finding all the M’s, R’s, and T’s anywhere around town.  Ty doesn’t need any encouragement yet, but still I tell him in a baby voice he is too old for now, how awesome he is at every little cute thing he attempts.

I tend to spend the rest of my time telling myself how un-awesome I am and how much I need to improve on myself, my cleaning, my wife duties, my motherly duties.

Good thing I have my mom, who hasn’t dropped her habit of telling all of her kids how awesome they are.  She sent me this link the other day and I have to share.   It’s from a blog called Daring Young Mom.  It’s a post she wrote called Drops of Awesome.

I really needed this.  Maybe you do too.

Drops of Awesome

This post has been in my heart and on my mind for over a year now. I’ve talked about it. I’ve prayed about it. I’ve taught about it. I was waiting for the right time to post about it and now feels like that time. It’s a post about a tiny little moment that completely changed the way I see myself and others. As I think about it and act on what I learned, I find that I am changed in significant ways every single day.

It was a sunny school morning and I was walking Magoo to the bus stop. I don’t often walk him to the school bus. He’s in second grade and pretty independent and I’m usually busy getting myself and his sisters ready. I’m semi-nocturnal and I sleep later than I should most mornings.

When it’s time for school, he says goodbye and heads up the hill to the bus.

As we got half way to the bus, Magoo reached out and grabbed my hand in an uninhibited way that I knew wouldn’t happen many more times. He’s seven now but growing and how many 12-year-old boys do you see still swinging hands happily with their mommies?

I squeezed his hand, felt the rare Seattle sun on my face, and told him I loved him. I was nearly perfectly happy.

Nearly.

Just at that moment, the thought came into my mind, That’s awesome that you’re walking him to the bus stop and putting on this “mother of the year” act today. What about yesterday and the day before that? You hardly ever walk him to the bus. He’s probably holding your hand because he’s so desperate for the love and attention you haven’t been showing him.

My bubble had burst. I am a crap mom, I thought, as I looked down into his smiling face.

Then another thought came. Kathryn. What is wrong with you? You are being an awesome mom in this moment. Your child is happy. You are loving him and caring for him. He’s well fed and dressed. You’re walking to the bus stop in the early morning and you’re already wearing a bra for heck’s sake. Do not rob yourself of this moment’s joy because of what you failed to do yesterday or what you fear you might not do tomorrow.

This started me thinking of all the times I do something good while beating myself up for all the times I haven’t been perfect.

You’re worshiping in the temple? Woopty freakin do! How long has it been since you came here last? When are you likely to come again? You’re not good at this. This is a fluke.

Wow. So you cleaned the kitchen today. Want a cookie? That dirty rag has been on the counter for a week and those dishes you so righteously cleaned are from breakfast three days ago. You are embarrassing.

That was really nice of you to offer to watch your friend’s kids while she had surgery. Remember last week when you knew your neighbor was suffering from depression and you drove right by with a wave because you did not want to get sucked into the drama? You don’t really care about people. Not all the time.

How destructive are these kinds of thoughts?

As I said goodbye to Magoo and started to walk back home, my mind started to shift.

Drops of Awesome! I thought. Every time you do something good, something kind, something productive, it’s a drop in your Bucket of Awesome. You don’t lose drops for every misstep. You can only build. You can only fill.

I walked Magoo to the bus. Drop of Awesome!

I fed him fruit with breakfast. Drop of Awesome!

I told him I loved him. Drop of Awesome!

I wore a bra and brushed my teeth before schlepping it up that hill. Two Fat Drops of Awesome!

All day long I chanted these words in my head. I picked up that tootsie roll wrapper off the front porch instead of stepping over it for the eleventy hundredth time. Drop of Awesome! I unloaded one dish from the dishwasher when I walked through the kitchen on my way to the bathroom. Drop of Awesome! I texted my sad neighbor to say I was thinking about her. Drop of Awesome! I had a critical thought about one of my kids and I brushed it away and replaced it with love. Drop of Awesome!

When I started thinking about my life in terms of adding these little Drops of Awesome for every tiny act of good, I found that I was doing more and more of them because it’s a lot more fun to do good when you’re rewarded with joy, rather than being guilted about every failure in your past.

By the end of the day, I had realized something important. If I was spending time with my kids, really listening to them with attention in the moment, then I was a good listener, regardless of the 50 other times I’d brushed them off or multi-tasked while they were talking over the past week. If I was engaged in sincere prayer with my Heavenly Father, really communing with him and seeking his will, then I was a person who engages in sincere prayer, regardless of how my prayers were (or weren’t) yesterday and the day before that and the day before that.

As I added up these Drops of Awesome, I found that in those moments I actually became the person I had always wanted to be.

Have you ever said any of these things: “Well, I guess I don’t work out anymore,” because you missed one workout? Or, “I always fight with my brother. Our relationship is broken.” What about, “I’m kind of a nag to my spouse.” Or “I gossip and I always end up hurting people I love.” “I can’t stop spending money. We will never get out of debt.” “My house is always a disaster.”

These things are lies, depending on the next decision you make, the next Drop of Awesome you put in your bucket. You may have done these things or have a hard time with them but they don’t define you and you can change this very instant. You may not think you can change permanently but you can change the next choice you make. And as you change that one next tiny choice, you may think, I got this one Drop of Awesome but I may never be able to get another one again.

And that’s okay.

You made the right choice once. And in that moment you were the person you want to be and that is a triumph. For one night, you were a person who went to bed early. One morning you woke up and the first words out of your mouth were positive so you were a morning person in that moment. Bam! Drop of Awesome.

You do not need to wait three months to be who you want to be. Pick up ten things right now and say, “Drops of Awesome! I am someone who takes care of my house. That is who I am. I have proof.”

In the end, it’s really about allowing yourself to feel joy and allowing yourself to be proud of the small victories of life. This builds momentum and you want more drops in your bucket and when you don’t get as many, you pick yourself up and say, “What can I do next?”

Now, there are a whole lot of religious implications to this because, as a Christian, I believe that you are not the only one adding these Drops of Awesome to your bucket. Christ commanded us to be perfect, but through His atonement, He is with us every step of the way.

As an object lesson when I was teaching this to the teenage girls at church, I gave them each a small dropper and I put a 2-quart bowl on the table. I told them that throughout the lesson they would get the chance to put drops in the bucket for every Drop of Awesome they could think of that they’d done. I promised them that we would fill the bowl to overflowing by the end of the lesson.

With about 5 minutes to go, we had barely begun to fill the bowl and the girls were looking around at each other nervously. The promised overflow did not look likely. Were they not awesome enough?

At that point, I pulled out a large pitcher labeled ATONEMENT and poured water into the glass bowl until it was spilling out all over the table and the towel the bowl was resting on. The class went silent.

When we are in a relationship with Christ, striving as God’s sons and daughters to do His will, He pours more into our buckets than we can ever hope to imagine. He can fill us to overflowing with peace, with joy, with perfection, with Awesome. And then what do we do if our bucket is overflowing like that? Where does the Awesome go then?

I pulled out an identical bowl, twice the size of the original. Our capacity for joy and light increases. And we just keep working, one tiny drop at a time. And we don’t compare today’s drops to yesterday’s or tomorrow’s. And we live and we love and we repent when we do wrong and we allow ourselves to be glorious, beautiful, and dare I say perfect in Christ, children of God.

I believe in a God who loves us and roots for us and cheers for every Drop of Awesome we can manage. Our victories are His victories and He wants us to feel joy. Not later, when we no longer make mistakes, but right now.

I’m gonna close this uber long post out with a scripture from the Book of Mormon. I know many of you do not share my faith but I think you’ll find truth in these words:

“Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise.” (Alma 37:6)

Small and simple. Tiny drops. Go forth. Be Awesome.