Saturday, May 26, 2012


I don't know what to call this post because I have so many things I want to write about.  But this is one of those pour-your-heart-out, bare-your-soul kind of posts.  Some of my most personal and deepest thoughts.    So be gentle with me if you read this.

The last several months I have been depressed.  Severely depressed.  And simultaneously perfectly happy which made things very confusing.  Happy marriage, great kids, amazing family, financial stuff in order, etc, etc.  All this good stuff that I was so happy about.  And at the same time completely depressed.

I recently figured it out.  There is just too much going on.  There were a few basic things in my life that were completely skewed that made everything else fall apart.  I couldn't be happy with the good stuff because those few things were just throwing everything off.  So I made a decision to fix them.

I have been trying to figure out for so long how to be super woman.  And I figured it out.  The answer?  I can't.  And I'm done trying.  I am going to focus on the few things in my life that really, really matter to me.  I will be super woman with those things.  And the rest will just have to fall away.

So I'm refocused.  I'm finding balance in those things.  I'm simplifying.  And maybe as those things become more steady in my life, I'll be able to add in some more.  But until then, everything else gets cut.

First off, I'm refocusing myself spiritually.  Too many times my prayers have been repetitive.  Too many times, I told myself I'd just pick up my scriptures tomorrow.  Too many times Family Home Evening was just skipped.  Too many times I told myself that other things were more important.  Oh, I was so wrong!  As I have starting studying my scriptures consistently again and praying more sincerely I have renewed my personal relationship with my Heavenly Father and my Savior.  And "magically" (although I know it is not magic at all) it has trickled into everything else.

Next, I have not made me a priority.  I am tired of being the fat frumpy mom.  I am tired.  Everything is exhausting.  My body needs some attention so that I have the energy for everything else.  My body needs good fuel.  My body needs rest.  My family needs it too!  They need good fuel and rest just as much as I do!  And because I have been choosing not to care, they have been suffering consequences right alongside me.  So we are refocusing on making healthy choices.  We are make a conscious effort to be more physically active.  This has been a struggle for me for soooo long.  But today I made the choice all over again.  I am determined.

My family is my priority.  Spending quality time with my children.  Reading together.  Being active together.  Going on dates with Jason so that our marriage is strong, for us and for them.  Everyone else plays second fiddle to this little family unit we have created.  We are turning off the screens and playing games together, taking walks together, and enjoying each other more.  We are strengthening our family bonds.

My home is another priority (although it definitely comes after the other three).  I am struggling to keep it clean and organized and still do everything else.  So again, everything else gets cut.  Play dates, lunches, extra outings.  Sure, those are good things.  But so is old fashioned WORK.  I can spend quality time with my family WORKING together and killing two birds with one stone.

That's four things.  Everything else is gone.  But those four things are taking up all of my time and energy right now.  By the time I've cooked healthy meals, done some cleaning or laundry, gotten kids ready for the day, fit in some physical activity, made sure Lucas is getting healthy naps, fed the baby, planned a family home evening lesson, read my scriptures, showered, taken care of bills and other responsibilities, fit in visiting teaching or a temple session, and still gotten everyone to bed on time so that we can get the rest needed to do it all again the next day, there just isn't anything left for anyone else.  So it's all getting cut!  

Television?  I'll see you every now and then, but for now I'm unplugging the cable.  Pinterest?  I love to  pin every wonderful idea I see, but I'm finding we spend too much time together.  Lunch/play dates?  If you fall on a less busy day and I can fit you in, great.  But if you are taking away from any of those four more important things?  Sorry.  Texting and phone calls?  If I don't answer you right away it's because I have so many other things going on that I have to give my time and energy to first.  I care about you.  I really do.  But these things have to come first.

Because I'm tired of trying to do what I think everyone else is doing or thinks I should be doing.  I'm tired of feeling like I'm failing at the important stuff.  So I'm stepping back from everything else and focusing on the few things that matter most.  Maybe I'll find time for the other things in another season of life, but not this season.  This season is for my family, for my body and my spirit, and for work.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Why I'm Grateful for My Challenging Child

My mom calls Jack my "pay back".  And she's probably right.  He's very much like me and I am terrified that his teenage years will be even remotely like mine.  I was not easy.  And that's an understatement.  

Now, Jack has his amazingly fun and wonderful qualities too.  He is sweet and loving and funny (when he wants to be).  Some days he has me in stitches!  He is a mama's boy (not in a bad way) and still loves to snuggle with me.  He is SMART and confident.  And boy is he handsome.  :)

But some days I just want to scream and stomp and throw a tantrum right alongside Jack because I just don't know what to do.  The other two are pretty easy most of the time.  And even their hard moments are rare, and nothing I can't handle.  I know what to say or do to get things under control.

Then today I realized how grateful I am for Jack and all his rough spots.  He reminds me of how much I need my Savior and my Heavenly Father as a mother.  I can not do this alone.  I don't know what I'm doing.  I need promptings from my Father in Heaven to teach me how to teach Jack.  And I NEED the atonement of my Savior, Jesus Christ, to repent of my MANY shortcomings.  Every time I lose my temper, run out of patience, and just snap instead of teach my children, I need that saving atonement.

Without him I wonder if I would breeze along thinking I was fine on my own.  But Jack reminds me to get on my knees more often than I might otherwise.  And so I am so grateful for him.

I love my sweet, funny, beautiful little handful.  :)

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Heaven Is Here

Do you read Nie?  I don't.  Well, I didn't.  I knew of her story from the news, reading snippets on rare occasions, and from seeing her video on Mormon Channel.  But I didn't read her blog consistently at all.

Jason had special training this weekend, so we celebrated Mother's Day early.  He and the kids got up early before school the other day and surprised me with gifts and breakfast in bed.  One of the gifts was Nie Nie's book, Heaven Is Here.  I had heard of it and was interested.  I mentioned it casually once.  Jason remembered.  :)

I started reading it Thursday night.  I read in every spare minute this weekend, until I finished earlier this afternoon.

I don't think I can describe what I want to write right now.  I want to express the feelings I felt while reading, without them sounding ridiculous or cheesy.  But while reading I felt uplifted, inspired, and strengthened.  And the feelings are lingering.

I feel motivate to make so many changes in myself.  I feel inspired to be a better mother.  I feel honored and privileged to raise my children, even in the absolute worst moments.  I feel so grateful to have the opportunity to be on this earth in this family raising these children.

Pick up a copy for yourself.  And maybe your mother.  It is Mother's Day tomorrow, after all.  :)

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Random Updates

I'm just way to lazy to post any photos at the moment, but I still wanted to sit down for a minute and post a few little updates on our family, something I haven't really done in too long.  We'll go from youngest to oldest, shall we?


Lucas has changed so much!!  Although he's still a baby, it amazes me how quickly he left that infant stage behind.  Soon enough he'll be a toddler and I'm simultaneously loving and loathing watching him grow up.  It breaks my heart to watch him leave each stage behind.  Although it's so fun to watch him learn new things.  

Right now he has graduated from scooting and army crawling to real crawling.  He pulls himself to stand on anything he can.  He has seven adorable teeth and uses them to chew just about any table foods he can get his hands on.  He also loves to bite.  Little stinker.  Lucas is now sleeping through the night, which makes a world of difference to me, and is a great napper too.  He is still my bald child.  The other two were born with plenty of hair.  Lucas, however, is still light and thin.  But handsome, nonetheless!

Although he wants no one but Mama when he is tired or hurt or hungry or upset for any reason, he is a real Daddy's boy.  When Jason is working they play peek-a-boo on the computer and Lucas loves to smile and jabber at his dad through the screen.  When Daddy is home, Lucas crawls after him every time he leaves the room.  Jason loves it.

He also adores his big brother and sister.  Payson is his other little Mommy.  She loves to hep with him and hold him and make him happy when he's sad.  She usually gets him out of the crib when he wakes up and loves to help with his baths, feeding, and anything else, which I appreciate!  Jack is still waiting for Lucas to grow up and be his wrestling buddy, I think.  Half of the time he loves having a baby brother around and the other half of the time he is annoyed.  :)  Although Jack is getting better at helping with Lucas and can make him laugh like no one else can.  They are a riot!

We absolutely love having this little guy in our family!  He is such a source of joy!


Jack is our little spitfire.  He either has us wanting to rip our hair out or he has us in stitches.  My mom calls him my "payback".  And she's right.  He has so much of my personality.  Which can be very hard.  But I also know that as he grows up it will be a wonderful strength to him, especially within the church and as a missionary.

He says the funniest stuff all the time.  He's also super smart.  He's already reading (at 4 years old) and answers Payson's homework for her half of the time.  He also has such a great memory!  Which is great when he learns stuff at church or in family home evening.  But not so great when he remembers things that I'd rather forget!

Jack is finishing up his second year of preschool this month and can't wait to start kindergarten in the fall!  We are already planning his 5th birthday party this summer and he is torn between Phineas and Ferb or Star Wars theme.  :)


Payson is about to finish up 1st grade, which she has loved and excelled in.  Her teacher is struggling to challenge her enough with reading, so we work on that more at home.  She really does well in every subject, but I really enjoy how much she reads.  Every once in a while we'll read a fun chapter book together, which has been so fun.  Reading books together is one of my favorite memories with my mom growing up.  I love recreating that with my own kids.

Like I said earlier, Payson is a fantastic helper.  I'm looking forward to having her home all day during the summer months.  She is so fun and good and just makes me smile all the time.  She is growing up way too fast for me.  She's lost 6 teeth (plus had a couple pulled) and her smile is just so different from my baby girl.  In a good way.  It's so bittersweet to watch her mature.

Her next birthday is baptism and she is constantly reminding me to prepare her with family home evenings.  She wants to be ready!  :)  I love her sweet little testimony.  Is it too early for me to start planning that big day for her?


We'll do the two of us together, since half of our stuff is the same anyway.  :)

I'm not doing much of anything new.  Just the mothering thing, which I love (most of the time).  I'm working on getting back to eating healthy and working out, since I've pretty much done nothing the last  few months.  Not good!  But I'm taking baby steps to get back to it.  Hopefully when I stop breastfeeding I'll be able to really hit it hard.  I'm getting tired of feeling so sluggish and BIG.

Jason's doing great.  He's enjoying his job and is doing really well at work.  He picked up golfing as a hobby last year with some guys at work and loves it.  He goes every chance he can get.

DEBT  :)

Our biggest update is the process we've made with our finances.  We've been working on our plan to be debt free for 4 months now.  It's been an amazing process!  We have been following Dave Ramsey's baby steps and it's made a huge difference in the way we think about money.

We started the year with a significant amount of debt (including TWELVE accounts/creditors), zero savings, and living paycheck to paycheck.  Now, after just four months of hard work and discipline we have a small chunk in savings, we live off of last month's income, and we have whittled our debt down from those 12 accounts to just THREE!  That's about half of our debt, since we've been paying them off smallest to largest.  Half way done in just 4 months!!

I don't think I can accurately describe what a big deal this has been for us.  We've learned so much about budgeting and making better financial choices.  We've alleviated incredible amounts of stress!  I don't worry about how we're going to pay for anything.  I don't stress about whether or not to answer the phone, because I KNOW it's not someone calling about a collection account.  Our goals are clear and our plan is workable.  I have no doubt that we'll reach our goal of becoming 100% debt free by the end of the year  and it feels amazing!

This has really been a family effort.  The kids have learned along with us and are making sacrifices as well.  They were so used to grabbing treats when we'd run to the grocery store, eating out way too often, and buying random toys just for fun.  We've talked a lot about why we want to change those habits and that it's so important for our family to not have debt and be able to save for things that we really want.  The kids have been great about keeping the whining for things to a minimum and have even learned about handling their own money.  They pay tithing, then they save some and keep the rest to spend on what they want.  

It's been fun watching their personalities learn about money.  Payson is definitely a saver.  She has a hard time buying things, even when she reeeeally wants them.  Jack however, gets frustrated that he can't just buy everything right now!  :)  But he's learning and I know we're setting a MUCH better example for them when it comes to money.

We knew that if we were going to work this hard to reach our goal, we needed a good reward at the end of the journey.  And it needed to be a reward for the whole family.  I've already started planning our Debt Free trip for next year.  :)  We picked Disneyland, since we haven't been since 2009.  I'm so anxious to get through this year and actually book the trip!  It's been hard to not say, "Let's just postpone the debt thing by a month or two and take the trip NOW, and pay off debt later."  Because we could.  But we know it will feel a MILLION times better to pay for that trip in cash knowing that the money we spend belongs to US and isn't owed to ANYONE!

For some reason, we are blessed enough to work towards our goal while still enjoying some extras in life.  However we've definitely found a new way to enjoy those extras.  We hardly do anything at full price anymore.  We see most movies later at the discount theaters and never pay for the overpriced movie treats.  We search deal sites (like groupon, social living, and deal dragon) to find great coupons.  We budgeted to buy the Utah County Pass of All Passes for our family when they were on sale so that we would have no excuses to spend money this summer.  We're spending more time out doors doing free things as a family.  We even use groupon and such for our date nights.  It's been great!  We are still living and enjoying doing things as much as we want.  We just keep it within our budget.

And don't think that once we're debt free we'll start blowing our money like we did in the past!  There are too many goals set after this.  Next we'll work on building up our savings.  That little chunk has some growing to do!  Then we'll be saving up for a house, which has been one of my personal biggest motivators.  I want my own home.  I want to decorate it and make it mine.  I want to watch my kids play in our backyard.  I want to feel the permanence of owning, rather than renting and wondering when we'll move.  But I want all those things the RIGHT way.  With zero debt, savings for all the things that come up with homeownership, a large down payment, and a home we can afford.  I want to do this the right way at the right time, not because there are great loans available or the rates are at their lowest.  Those dreams have motivated me to make it the right time as fast as possible.

We have financial goals set for the rest of our lives.  Retirement, college funds, wedding funds, mission funds, vacations, philanthropy, etc.  We're no longer flying by the seat of our pants and focusing on those last few pennies in our checking account.  Instead we get to focus on enjoying our lives and making better choices.  It's awesome.

And now that I've written a novel, I'll leave you with the hope that one day I will post pictures again.  :)  Maybe you'll get lucky and the next update will be full of photos.