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Life Actually

Life actually happens in the kitchen.  Sometimes I make so much effort to avoid the kitchen I miss all the action.  But last night instead of fighting it, I embraced it.  Broke out my cookbook & whipped up some homemade cornbread, with little helping hands & an egg borrowed from my neighbor.  I’m pretty sure he licked his fingers & then the bowl, but it was only once & I decided I didn’t care.

Why is it when we just decide we don’t care, that we actually don’t.  Like it doesn’t even bother us anymore?  Does that ever happen to you?  I’ve decided I need to not care more often. I’ve had the quote “say yes as often as you can,” from Sister Hinckley rattling around in my brain lately & the more I try it, the more I like it.  It gives you a license to not care & be little more spontaneous.  It also makes you think, ‘why am I even saying no in the first place?’  I usually don’t have good enough reasons to be saying no anyhow.  And I’ve learned my kids like me more & will oftentimes return the kindness.

Yesterday, for example, Zack asked me to go rollerblading with him.  My initial reaction, was no.  Maybe the reasons seem obvious — it was rollerblading after all.  I hesitated & then thought a minute.  I couldn’t go right then because Liv was headed to dance, but I could in 20 minutes, put Max in the jogger & in fact, go rollerblading.  I didn’t really want to, but I could, so we did.  You know what?  That was a good idea.  We laughed at ourselves & he had a few good falls & the weather was beautiful.  And what mom in her right mind tells her almost 8-year-old son, ‘no’ when he wants to play with HER?  During his 20 minute wait, he went to track down friends but hesitated & then made me promise I’d come track him down for our roller blade date.  I’m an idiot if I ever say no to that.  Feel free to honk & wave when you see us blading…we are quite a sight.

We drug some friends home with us from our roller blade trek & I switched out my skates for my slippers & watched them play out front for a few.  As I sat there my street began to fill up with cars for a neighboring school’s Christmas program.  There is always some scuttlebutt on Facebook about this school in our neighborhood.  So & so did this…I don’t like that…yada, yada, yada.  I knew I had a decision to make because I’m sure the parents of this school know some people aren’t always happy with the school which creates tension.  Have there been times it has been me unhappy?  Sure.  But like Sister Hinckley says, say yes more often.  So instead of giving them the death stare, I said hello, wished them good luck & complimented their snowman costume.  Because really, what do I care if they occasionally park on my street or turn around in my driveway?  They are moms & dads too, trying their best to choose a school that works for their family & enjoy a holiday play.  I can make that easier for them.

As the boys skated Max & headed in to tackle dinner.  We had to borrow a few things, but we got it done in between and around neighbors in & out, kids snacking & a few games of tag. We dished up & had our family home evening lesson around the dinner table because that is the best place to contain Max.  Then we scuttled off to baths, then homework, a Christmas movie & bed.

I was tired.  Really tired.  Like crawled right into my own bed after tucking them in tired.

But if there is anything I want my kids to know about me it is this: I am content & happy doing this & just this.  Nothing brings me more contentment than being a mom, nothing.  No job, no paycheck, no trip, nothing.  It’s messy, it’s always full of unexpected surprises & it will wear me flat out.  But there is nothing better & no where I’d rather be.  It’s never perfect: yesterday included Max wetting the bed during his nap & pooping in the tub after dinner…but the less I worry about it & the more I embrace it, the better it becomes.  A couple years ago, washing sheets & poop in the tub would have ruined my whole night, now, it hardly even registers on my radar, because that isn’t the important part.  The important parts are the conversations around the dinner table & the experiences on our roller blades.  Who knew roller blades would ever be classified as important?

Yeah me either, but life actually is pretty great when you say yes more.

Printable Templates: Teacher Gift Tags

Teacher Gift Tags

Printable Templates make any job easier & I’m not gonna lie, I was pretty amused with myself on this one.  I picked up this golden doggie tape dispenser from where else?  Target.  I wasn’t even sure what kind of printable template I was going to make with it, but I knew I’d like it on my desk, so naturally I assume my kids’ teachers would like it too.  I let the thought noodle for a bit & doggone it…I had a stroke of genius.  Okay, not really, but like I said, I was amused by it.

Teacher Gift Tags

Download your printable template here & please share!


Dear Darling: Hello Mini Me

Dear Darling.

This first semester of kindergarten has gotten you all grown up on me!  Each day you have a new hair-do or ribbon or jewelry you want to wear & just yesterday you asked for some high-heels.  I love most the ideas you come up with…but some I’ve had to try to convince you otherwise!  You are packed full of good intentions & a feisty spirit to get things done.  You are my right hand girl around this house & it wouldn’t run without you.  The other day while walking to the park you told me when you grow up you want to be a mom.  I wasn’t surprised, but I replied back with a ‘you do?’ And quick as a whip you said, ‘yep!  I just wanna be like you!’

You really know how to pack a punch.

Since then I’ve noticed all the little ways you try your best to be just like me.  If we can be dressed twinsies, well then by golly, we will be dressed twinsies!

You & I headed to do some Christmas shopping dressed in our matching chambray shirts & boots.  You were the queen of the scene & I smiled as you held my hand & Max’s directing him on just what to do.  You probably didn’t see any of the stares or hear any of the kind comments, but people noticed you.  They noticed the way you shepherded Max & the smile on your face.  They noticed your willingness to be obedient & the skip in your step…boy did they notice that in those boots!

Little Liv, you should know that not everyone can rock a pair of red patent Doc Marten boots.  It takes a little confidence & when I saw those boots, well I just had to get them for you.  Because you see, you should be confident & you should be noticed.  You, my dear, are full of greatness.  I see it every. single. day.

You are teachable.  Each morning I drop you off to school with Zack & you will always look to follow his lead.  You know that he is more experienced than you & the mark of a great leader is one that is willing to follow someone whom they know is smarter than them.

You are always aware of others & always put them first.  Today, as we rode to the park, Max asked you for your bike & you said, ‘sure!’ Got right off & rode his scooter the rest of the way.  Not only did you happily hand over your bike, but you encouraged him the whole way there.  Your famous words of encouragement, that he will appreciate the rest of his life, ‘good job buddy.’  You make him better.  The greatest athletes are always the ones that make all their teammates better.

You love fully & completely.  When dad travels for work, you cry & hold him & beg him to stay.  You tell him how much you will miss him & always rush to Face Time with him.  You allow yourself to be vulnerable & it is in the vulnerability that you will learn that dad will always catch you.  This my dear, will be one of your greatest blessings.  It will teach you how the Savior & atonement works.  You will learn to trust in your dad, and in time, it will allow you to trust in your Savior.

You, my dear, are a force of goodness to be reckoned with.  So while you are trying your best to be just like me, I am actually trying my best to be just like you.



Oh Christmas Tree

We tried to get an early start on our Christmas decorating this year once we realized how late Thanksgiving came.  I’m of the thought, that if I’m going to all the trouble, it may as well be up for a bit.  We got hit with the stomach bug & then our original tree had a strand of lights go out.  Our original tree was the very first tree Scot & I bought when we were very first married.  For that last 5 years, since we’ve been in this house, I’ve cringed each time we brought it out.  It was narrow & scrawny & too short.  What was perfect for our first apartment, was not so great here.  However, each year while I’d lament that we needed a new tree, I never actually wanted to go find one & spend money on it.  Each year, we’d say, next year.  Well this year, was finally the year.

I thought I’d be giddy as a school girl skipping in to pick out my ‘dream tree’ — does that even exist? — but instead, I realized I actually don’t care all that much.  The point of it isn’t to be big & perfect & over-the-top, so I, legit, just sent Scot to Costco to pick one up.  Those of you that know Scot can probably guess he second-guessed my direction on that about 100 times.  He called to describe, send pictures & I kept saying, “No really, just get one.”  As decisive as I am, there are some decisions I just don’t want to waste the mental energy on.

He picked it up, we set it right up & the kids got to work on a lazy Sunday morning.  Candles burning, windows open & our slippers on our toes.

We have a hodge podge of ornaments we’ve collected over the years, but this one is probably my favorite.  I made it in 2nd grade & I still remember my friend, Joan, helped me draw the face.  How funny is that?  Zack, being in 2nd grade this year, especially liked this one.

Usually after the kids are done, I’ll circle back & add some finishing touches — some ribbons & holly berries, some gold & glitz.  But this year?  I just haven’t even touched it.  My goal has been to simplify & it’s been fantastic.  The second I realized that no one else cared about my tree but me, it was pretty easy to let go.  Instead, I drummed up a place for us to hang our stockings…

After the rush of Thanksgiving & Black Friday, Max & I took a day to finish our trimmings & this was our project.  Like most of my good ones, I just winged it.  I had guys pouring concrete in my backyard, while I was sawing off a tree limb in my loafers & cardigan.  I knew Scot would be so proud…for the record, he’s not, but he does tolerate these antics of mine & I could finally justify my stash of ribbons & lace & what nots I have stuffed into random nooks & crannies!