Thursday, December 5, 2013

Most important things

Hi, it's been awhile since I've blogged. Life is good and busy. My blog is morphing. I'm morphing. I find myself making time for the most important things: playing with my children, spending time with my sweetheart, helping others, and doing family history. Seriously, I could do SO much better, but these are the things I WANT to focus on. These are the things I want to teach my children through my example.

A great quote from President Ezra Taft Benson:

“When we put God first, all other things fall

 into their proper place or drop out of our

 lives. Our love of the Lord will govern the 

claims for our affection, the demands on our

 time, the interests we pursue, and the order 

of our priorities.”

I listened to a really great conference talk this morning helped solidify my feelings about family history:

by Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

A great quote from this talk: "Any work you do in the temple is time well spent, but receiving ordinances vicariously for one of your own ancestors will make the time in the temple more sacred, and even greater blessings will be received. The First Presidency has declared, “Our preeminent obligation is to seek out and identify our own ancestors.”7
Do you young people want a sure way to eliminate the influence of the adversary in your life? Immerse yourself in searching for your ancestors, prepare their names for the sacred vicarious ordinances available in the temple, and then go to the temple to stand as proxy for them to receive the ordinances of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost. As you grow older, you will be able to participate in receiving the other ordinances as well. I can think of no greater protection from the influence of the adversary in your life."
I hope this talk will inspire you to seek out your own ancestors. You can go to to get started.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Third time's the charm: three great books you need to read!

I keep having the overwhelming feeling I need to share these three books with you. They are all very special to me for different reasons. I've read them over the last few months and I know you will enjoy them.

The first book is called: 
"Covenant Motherhood" 
by Stephanie Dibb Sorensen
This is a great book! Honestly, I usually don't like books about Motherhood. I hate them actually. They usually leave me feeling very depressed and even more like a total failure than I felt before I read the book. I'm not like other mothers and my children just aren't like other children. No one can realistically measure up to the expectations of the motherhood books I've read before --not to mention an LDS motherhood book! No way! I've made it a point to steer clear.  UNTIL THIS BOOK. Why? Well, quite frankly, I'm very privileged to know the author personally and well, she is nothing short of  awesome. (Seriously!) She is so real and honest in this book. I love her insight and personal stories. She is very funny in a sarcastic kind of way (my favorite kind of way).

This book is THE FIRST book about motherhood that actually made me feel BETTER about what I'm doing and why I am doing it. I was a bit intimidated by the subtitle of the book, "Reflecting the Role of Christ in our Lives." (as well as the title), I was sure I'd never measure up, but I thought, "It has to be good, Stephanie wrote it. I'll at least give it a try." She was able to help me understand how important everything I do as a mother truly is -- from loving and teaching my children, to washing the dishes and changing dirty diapers (yes!). She helped me to feel enabled and exalted simply because I am a mother. I felt Christ's love for me and my ability to share that love with my children as I care for them. Why? In many instances, I'm ALREADY DOING the things she says are Christ-like. Wow!! Talk about a self-esteem booster!!! You mean, what I'm doing is enough? It is! As we are prayerful and have the right attitude and give it our best effort,  we are serving our children in the same manner Christ serves all of us. It is so inspiring! I really cannot convey how beautifully she explains it. I have felt such a great peace since reading this book. Thank you, Stephanie!

If you want to read more about Motherhood and how cool Stephanie is, you can check out her blog at: Diapers and Divinity

Okay, the second book is called:
"My Walk Thru Heaven" by Kim Rives
This is one of those books that really takes you by surprise. It's a life beyond death experience that will inspire you to love more and forgive freely. She is such an amazing person! I am truly inspired by her ability to forgive others. She has been through so much in her life. Her story is about her fight against cancer. I felt very connected to her because of my sister and her own fight against cancer (sadly, my sister lost that battle in February 2005). 
I don't want to say too much about the story to give away all the details -- you have to read it for yourself. I will say it left me feeling closer to the Savior than ever before and with an increased desire to be a better person. One of the more light-hearted parts of the story is the song she writes after one of her visits to her doctor -- it made me laugh right out loud. Kim has a great sense of humor in spite of all that she has been through -- it may even be part of what helped her through it. 
Ironically, as with Stephanie, I also know Kim personally. She is a member of my ward and she is simply AMAZING -- so kind and loving, her smile radiates a glow around her entire being. I love to talk with her and hear her sing. She is an angel here on earth and I am so grateful to know her. It is no coincidence that Heavenly Father put her in my life at this time. She has helped me to feel His peace and to find joy in my life. Thank you, Kim!

To learn more about Kim and her story, you can go to:

Finally, the third book is called:
"When Life Gets Hard" by Meg Johnson
Kim Rives is the one who introduced me to this great book and I'm so thankful she let me borrow her copy. Now, I don't know Meg personally, but I would love to meet her! Several friends of mine DO know her and she is also AMAZING! Why is it amazing people have been through so much?

Helen Keller once said, "Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved."

I would consider Meg a person of extraordinary character considering the trials and suffering she has been through (though I'm told by a friend of mine who went to high school with her she was ALREADY amazing before her accident!)

For a sneak peek of this book, here is the blurb on the book jacket (What are those called?):

"You wanted more. You got less.
You wanted this. You got that.
You wanted there. You got here.
You already know that things in life don’t go exactly as planned.
And sometimes they go terribly, terribly wrong . . . .
You already know that things in life don't go exactly as planned. And sometimes they go terribly, terribly wrong ...
Meg Johnson came to this life-changing realization seven years ago when she fell off a cliff in Southern Utah - a fall that left her a quadriplegic in a wheelchair. And though she sits for the rest of her mortal life, she stands tall with a message for her brothers and sisters of all abilities. When life gets too hard to stand, just keep on rollin'!
In this motivating and inspiring talk, When Life Gets Hard ..., motivational speaker and author Meg Johnson shares insights from her life that will make you laugh, cry, and rest assured that when your life gets tough, you, too, can keep on rollin'!"
Wow!! She definitely KEEPS ON ROLLIN'! Her book is so inspiring. Yes, she fell of a cliff and became paralyzed, but she talks about how much more devastating SPIRITUAL PARALYSIS is and more importantly, HOW TO AVOID IT!
I love books that tell you in exact detail how to do something (do this, then this, and this). She talks about avoiding and closing up Satan's gaps and holes along our path of life that can trap us and leave us spiritually paralyzed. She teaches us about the importance of 
vital tools to keep us safe from Satan's influence in our life. This book is such a fun read. I mean, it's absolutely horrible to think of what happened to her and all that she went through. I cried for her. I cried for me and my own ungratefulness in my truly blessed life. I need to do better and look at all the blessings that are everywhere around me. One of my favorite parts was her telling about a time when it was raining and she fell out of her wheelchair and found herself on the ground in a puddle with a frail old lady trying to help her up. I love how she told the story. Meg's honesty and humor is truly enjoyable and comes through in her writing. Thank you, Meg, I hope to meet you someday!
You can read more about Meg on her blog: 
and you can also follow her on Facebook (she just had a baby!)
I hope you can find these books at your library or find them online. I want to get a copy of each to add to my personal library. I also think any one of these would make a great gift!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


It's been awhile since I've posted. As usual, I've been super busy. However, there's a BIG difference now. I don't feel so frazzled and stressed. Sure, there are crazy days and stressful moments, but overall, life actually FEELS different even though when I look at my calendar I'm busier than I've ever been before. My house pretty much looks the same too...  (remember when I was stressing about all the clutter and lack of organization? I don't think it's really that bad. I'm still following Flylady and it's definitely helping our house-- but the change I really needed occurred in my head.)

What's different? TWO things.

Since the end of August, I've been teaching preschool. Just 2.5 hours a day, 3 days a week. It doesn't sound like too much time, but I've definitely had to adjust my schedule and work smarter to get everything done at home. You know what? I feel GOOD.

The kids are absolutely adorable and they're always making us laugh with the cute things they say and do. I really enjoy being with them and teaching them how to recognize their letters and learn their sounds. It's very rewarding to see the progress they are making already.

I also LOVE the lady I teach with. Her name is Julie and I think I did a blog post about her awhile back. She is... well, she's just plain AWESOME! We have a lot of fun together and I really admire her. She has published the "Read at Three" reading program we use and other preschool's have purchased it to use as well.

So basically, I really look forward to "work" every other day. It's a nice break from the routine of errands and cleaning the house (which never really ends, right?). I haven't worked since?? Gosh, I had a small part-time job back in 2007 where I helped a neighbor with their home-based business (I think it was less than a year?). Other than that, I used to work in the "Bug Lab" at Utah State University in the Fisheries and Wildlife Department back in... oh, 1998. Yeah, it's been awhile.

It feels good to be contributing to something worthwhile and to spend time with the preschool kids and Julie is definitely good for the soul! I feel so blessed to have them in my life. Julie is a woman of God and I would do well to learn from and follow her example. :) Here we are on a field trip to the Fire Station:

A couple weeks ago we went to our friend's Oktoberfest. Just for the record, it was a LOT of fun! Lots of authentic German food and lots of fun people to visit with. Anyway, I've always been and always will be VERY proud to be a mother, especially a "stay-at-home" mother. It is a VERY big sacrifice with immeasurable results! However, whenever someone asks you "what do you do?" and you say, "I'm a stay-at-home mom" they almost always say something to the effect of, "oh, that's nice, good for you" and there's not much else to say. That's fine. I get that. Actually, a lot of the women I associate with are also stay-at-home moms so they get it too. :) They smile a knowing smile and we always have a lot to talk about.

Well, the Oktoberfest was the first social gathering I've been to since I've started teaching preschool and where I didn't already know a lot of the people. So with the regular chit chat, I got a lot of the "what do you do?" and I would say, "I'm raising 4 children AND I teach preschool." They would respond, "Oh, wow, you teach preschool? That's great!" Then, they would ask about our reading program and such, and wow, it felt so good to be part of something as wonderful as this preschool!

I can't wait for our Halloween Party tomorrow! Of course, I will be dressed as Luna Lovegood. I don't think the kids will know who I really am, but I have to celebrate my love of Harry Potter in some way each year. :) Okay...

General Conference. This was during the first week of October and it was absolutely INCREDIBLE. As usual, I took notes on nearly every talk. I felt very inspired and strengthened. I truly felt like some of the talks were specific answers to my prayers. However, this time, I did something else. Something more. Something I'm still doing.

The very first talk really inspired me. It was from Elder Robert D. Hales (one of my favorite Apostles --I got to meet him a few years ago) and it was called, "General Conference: Strengthening Faith and Testimony". I really felt the need to do more than listen to all of the talks and even more than taking notes on each of them. I felt like I should use them as a road map or guide book for my everyday life until the next conference in April.

Before I forget, did I tell you I've been serving in the Relief Society Presidency? It has been such a WONDERFUL blessing in my life. I enjoy it so much. I really feel like I'm helping others and making new friends. Our Presidency has so much fun together and our meetings are always very inspiring and strengthening to me. Denise is our President and she is truly one-of-a-kind. She is one of those genuine and unfailingly kind people. There isn't a mean bone in her body. She sees the good in everyone and is quick to let them know. She goes out of her way to help everyone AND somehow she still finds time to be a wonderful mother and wife and run a full-time day care! She is SO fun to be with too.

Again, Denise is another very special woman of God. It is no coincidence Heavenly Father has put these women and many others in my life at THIS time. I need them. They help me to stay strong and to do good things. She said to all of us right after conference or was it Time Out for Women? I can't remember, but she said how important it is to continue to study all of the conference talks AFTER conference.

Denise heard someone say, "A talk a day keeps Satan away." 
That has really stayed with me! She said she listens to a talk every morning as she's getting ready for the day. So, I thought I would try it. I usually listen to music or nothing at all and I thought this would be a good time to focus when my mind is fresh and the kids are at school.

I have to tell you, it has literally been life-changing!!! 10 minutes a day. LIFE CHANGING! I have felt a greater desire to pray and read my scriptures. I have felt greater peace and daily inspiration. I have felt HAPPIER! I often find myself listening to 2 or 3 or even more talks. I carry my phone around the house with me as I make my bed and load the dishwasher and start a load of laundry. It has been a HUGE blessing in my life and I hope to do it as often as I can.

Here's *just a few* of my favorite talks from the October 2013 General Conference:

"Windows of Heaven" by Elder David A. Bednar

"Like a Broken Vessel" by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

"Called of Him to Declare His Word" by Randy D. Funk

"The Strength to Endure" by Richard J. Maynes

"Look Up" by Elder Adrian Ochoa

"We Never Walk Alone" by President Thomas S. Monson

If you prayerfully read or listen to these talks I know it will bless your life.

Now that I think about it, I don't know if the "two things" are actually preschool and conference or Julie and Denise, but either way, my life has been changed for the better.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Banana Bread

I always seem to have ripe bananas sitting around my kitchen...

This is one of my favorite recipes ever. I've taken a few recipes and sort of mixed them together and modified them to make it my own variation:

Banana Bread
(not too sure about this picture... I'm hoping to get a better camera someday, but anyway, you get the idea :)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, add:

1/2 cup shortening
1 cup sugar

Cream together and blend rest of ingredients:

2 eggs
3 ripe* bananas, mashed (*if you use new bananas the flavor isn't as sweet and the bread isn't as moist)
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4. tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Spray pans with non-stick cooking spray or dust with flour. Bake smaller pans about 30 minutes and the larger pans about 50 minutes, but this is just an estimate. It depends on your oven and it also depends on how full you fill the pans. I always set my timer for 25 minutes and then I check them about every 5-10 minutes after that, sticking a toothpick in the center to see if it's baked. The top will be a nice dark brown. After you take them out of the oven, let them cool just a bit and then go around the edges of the pan with a knife to get them out. I don't wait until they're cooled completely in order to take them out of the pan, I think it makes the outside a bit soggy from the heat and steam. Let them finish cooling on an open rack.

My family loves to eat banana bread for breakfast.

This recipe makes 4 small loaves (3" x 5.5") or 2 regular size loaves (4.5" x 8.5"). You can double and even quadruple this recipe. (at least I've tried those variations and they turn out fine)

*FYI -- If you have ripe bananas, but you're not ready to use them, you can peel them and put them in a plastic freezer bag or another container you can put in the freezer and you can freeze them to use later. I do this ALL the time. When I want to make the banana bread, I take the bag out of the freezer, put it in my mixing bowl and let the bananas thaw out while I'm preheating the oven and getting out the other ingredients. When they thaw (especially if they are very ripe), you'll sometimes have a little brown juice in the bag along with the bananas -- just pour it all in the mix! YUMMY!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Conference with a cold and my favorite scripture.

8:30am: Here's my kitchen in all of its horror...

If you could see it in real life you would understand why I'm sitting here typing... it's TRASHED! The other side of the room looks just about the same minus the food. I wanted to take a picture, but my phone is full, of course. Life can be so overwhelming. I can't seem to breathe. (ha! quite literally at the moment)

It was Conference Weekend and I've had a nasty cold since Thursday. Not a good combination. I've spent a lot of time on the couch... blah.

Oh, and just to add insult to injury -- I went outside yesterday for a moment of fresh air and I got stung by a wasp! I haven't been stung by a wasp or bee since I was a little girl! So weird! OUCH! (By the way, lavender oil works great on wasp stings -- the swelling and pain were gone in less than an hour.)

For the record, my sweet hubby and kids have been helpful -- bringing me tissues and cleaning up the house when needed, but last night we just kind of gave up. Zeke offered to clean, but I begged him to sit by me on the couch and watch another movie. This cold makes me feel like a big baby and my brain is so foggy... ugh.

Conference was great. I'm still trying to absorb it all and clarify my feelings and thoughts about some of the talks I would like to post about later. 

One scripture that really stood out to me (I noted 5 different speakers referencing it) was :

Matthew 11:28-30
"Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

I know I've mentioned on my blog a few times that this is my favorite scripture. 
It is THE scripture. The one that keeps me going. The one that got me going in the first place.

Long, long story, but when I was 18 and completely lost I had a miracle of a thought. To this day, I don't know what made me think it. I do know I'd hit rock bottom in my life and literally there was no way to go but up. I didn't realize this thought would change my life forever.

I thought maybe there was something to this Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I wanted to find out for sure. I opened a Bible -- you know how people say they just randomly flip to a page and start reading? Well, I did that and came to Matthew 11: 28-30. The words practically jumped off the page at me! Those verses seemed highlighted somehow, like there was a glow surrounding them. Those simple, yet powerful verses changed my life forever. This was my answer. THE answer. I have never looked back.

This scripture has sustained me and strengthened me through the last 20 years, but trials still come. Life is very hard sometimes, but life can also be joyful and rewarding. There is always hope through the Atonement of our Savior. 

Yesterday, Richard G. Scott said something like, "The Lord sees weaknesses differently than He does rebellion. There is justice for rebellion, but for our weaknesses He shows mercy." I needed those words yesterday. I struggle SO much. I get SO mad at myself. I feel SO weak and unworthy sometimes.

I think of 2 Nephi 4:17-21 when Nephi says, "... O wretched man that I am! Yea, my heart sorroweth because of my flesh; my soul grieveth because of mine iniquities. I am encompassed about, because of the temptations and sins which do so easily beset me. And when I desire to rejoice, my heart groaneth because of my sins;"

Then he says, 
"Nevertheless, I know in whom I have trusted. My God hath been my support; he hath led me through mine afflictions... He hath filled me with His love, even unto the consuming of my flesh!"

We need our Savior to help us overcome our weaknesses. He is THE answer. I have prayed earnestly to overcome my weaknesses and turn them over to Him. I know it's a daily battle and a lifelong process. I know I can't do it alone. I know in whom I have trusted.

Another quote from Conference (I think it's from Timothy Dyches of the Quorum of the 70):
"All that is unfair about life can be made right through the Atonement of Christ."

One of my favorite talks was by Richard J. Maynes of the Presidency of the 70. It really brought me hope and comfort and... wow, the word that came to mind was vindication (for me, at least).

He said something like, "We need to develop spiritual stamina in order to find inner peace and strength to endure whatever challenge we wake up to each morning."

I appreciate so much that he acknowledged that some trials don't end. Some trials are with us throughout our earthly life. Many people face horrible and unthinkable and unbearable trials they are able to overcome through the help of our Savior and because they eventually end. (Like being out of work or recovering from a serious accident or illness). They get through it. It's an event in their life, not a way of life.

What about people that just have to endure? Their trial is ALWAYS there and most likely always will be. For some, it is reality. We need to have compassion and understanding for those people. Those people need to have compassion and understanding for themselves. (I'm talking to myself right here.) It's so hard, because some trials people face are invisible to others. Trials you can't actually "see" on the outside or maybe not realize how hard it is for them or what they are truly going through.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland said, "If the bitter cup does not pass, drink it and BE STRONG!"

I honestly loved that and "hated" it at the same time. It stung me (and it was supposed to). I faltered because of my weaknesses. It sounds too hard. I want a reprieve sometimes. It's hard to be strong! I truly appreciated his talk and related to much of it -- but it made me realize I need to accept my trials and not compare myself to others, to "come what may and LOVE it". (from Elder Wirthlin long ago)

I know the Lord knows exactly what we are going through. He understands fully and He can truly see everything. He loves us no matter what. I find great comfort in that eternal truth. I hope I can be strong enough to "drink the bitter cup" and keep going and even "LOVE it". 

One day at a time ... sometimes for me, it's one hour or even one moment at a time. I've come to realize that is what enduring is. We can't be perfect now and we certainly can't be perfect and happy every moment, but little by little we can keep going forward doing our best. That's all He asks. It is enough.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Best News Ticker Ever

One of my favorite quotes ever is from Thomas S. Monson:

 "The Lord is in the details of our life." 

I love this quote simply because I know it is true.  He is aware of us -- each of us. He know us personally and helps us individually. I'm constantly amazed and humbled by the way He answers my prayers and the fact that He does.

Without getting too personal, I also wanted to share a simple concept I'm learning more and more lately:

Return good for evil.

When people are inconsiderate or even outright cruel, I find great peace in showing them kindness instead of revenge or anger. I wish I could tell you the AWESOME experience I had last week. Basically, the Spirit told me to do something nice for someone I was very upset with. I didn't like the way she was treating me and the things she had been saying. When confronted by her, the Spirit literally spoke to me to do something nice. I did and the results were nothing short of MIRACULOUS! She smiled, I smiled, AND... those feelings of hurt completely and instantly went away.

I am determined not to let all the mean and grumpy people bring me down!

I'm learning more and more that forgiveness is an action on MY part. Not just saying sorry (and definitely not waiting for the other person to apoligize -- that may never happen), but actually DOING something to make amends. Ahhhh. My heart feels good. :)

I was in the temple yesterday and I had to wait awhile before they could take me in to do the ordinance. It was no coincidence to me when a very special person just happened to be there yesterday and we got to visit while we waited together. I just met her recently and she is becoming a great friend. What an amazing lady!! I'll have to write a blog post about her. 

Anyway, about half way through the ordinances, I suddenly became very antsy and felt the need to check the clock. I carpool with another good friend for our little Kindergartners and I knew I had at least another 20 minutes before I had to leave. However, this feeling wouldn't go away and I kept feeling like I need to leave sooner. After about 5 more minutes, I couldn't ignore the feeling any longer, so I told the temple workers I had to leave early. I got to my locker and the Spirt prompted me immediately, "Check your phone!" 

Now, when I tell you the Spirit "spoke to me" or "prompted me" -- it's like a sound recording in my head of my voice, but it's playing in the back of my mind. You know when you watch the news on TV and there's a news ticker running along the bottom of the screen with the latest updates and developing stories and such? I've finally learned that's what the promptings of the Holy Ghost are like to me. I have this special "news ticker" flash across the back of my mind whenever the Spirit is trying to tell me something. I just have to focus on the voice I hear and I can literally "see" that ticker through my mind. 

So back to the story -- I check my phone (in the locker room/dressing room of the temple -- weird I know, but the Spirit told me to). There was a text from my carpool friend sent much earlier saying she wouldn't be able to pick up Beck today and hoped I could. WOW!! Of course I could because the Spirit told me to leave the temple early. It was amazing! Such a simple thing, but I'm so grateful. I was able to pick up Beck right on time and another little girl that I pick up also. It worked out perfectly. 

Now, I know nothing terrible would have happened if I didn't listen to this prompting. I probably would have been about 10-15 minutes late picking up Beck. The teachers probably would have taken him to the office to wait for me and then try to call me, but I'm just so grateful he didn't have to worry or be afraid. I'm SO thankful I didn't have to feel stressed about being late and getting there in a hurry. It was just so comforting to me to KNOW Heavenly Father is aware of me and my family and our life.

How could we ever go wrong if we ALWAYS listened to the promptings of the Holy Ghost?

How can we ALWAYS make sure we are listening?

I want to make sure my life isn't too busy to hear these promptings. I need to slow down and be aware of what's going on and what the Spirit is trying to tell me. I need to make time in my life to act on those promptings. The Lord IS in the details of our life. We need to listen to what He wants us to do.

Another good friend in our new ward made me this beautiful necklace last week! I KNOW she was listening to the Spirit. She had no idea the week I'd had or all of things on my mind that day. I was really feeling down. She somehow knew I needed a friend and stopped by to cheer me up and see how I was doing. There wasn't anything terribly wrong, but I just needed the reassurance there are people out there who care about me. Thank you!
The little stones surrounding the eternity symbol are all of our birthstones (my children, Zeke, and me). I LOVE it! By the way, can you see the little cat scratch just above the edge of my shirt on the right? That's how you know it's ME. I love those crazy fur-balls. 

I know there are people out there who need our help and our friendship. We need to pray for guidance to know who they are and what they need. We can be instruments in God's hands in answering the prayers of another.

Another favorite quote,  
"A coincidence is a small miracle in which God chooses to remain anonymous."

The world is still full of so much good. We need to look for it and ADD to it. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The good, the bad and the "buggy"

How can someone be SO happy and SO sad all at the same time? Living in my head is exhausting, I tell you! One moment, I'm high as a kite and I love my life, the next, I'm rolling my eyes and muttering under my breath, "Heaven help me be a better person, PLEASE!"

Not sure what I'm blogging about today, but my brain feels overloaded. (Seems to be a common theme, eh?) My blog is turning into my brain dump. Who knows? All of these crumbs might get cooked up into a great book someday... 

So many people in our world today need serious help or even just a friendly face. There are people right in our neighborhood and I'm sure they are right in your neighborhood too! I feel so blessed to be able to serve others and be aware of their needs. I love these people and I hope I can always be in tune with the Spirit and keep my mind and my day open enough to make time for helping others. Dropping everything to run to the aid of another person and feeling the Spirit carry you as you go... there's no other feeling like that.

Such a wonderful day yesterday in so many ways. Beck and I played Uno. Just the two of us. It was really fun. He's getting so big. He lost his first tooth last night. To me, that makes him seem much bigger now than when he started Kindergarten a few weeks ago. Can my baby really be old enough to lose a tooth?! Where has the time gone? Really. 
It's hard to see his missing tooth in this picture, but I love his face. The new gap on the bottom in the front, of course.

Kaia is going on a field trip today to Logan Canyon and to say she is excited is a HUGE understatement. Her teacher this year is just absolutely perfect for her. They are kindred spirits. She truly loves and encourages Kaia's reading obsession and she's been doing a lot of Science with her class. Kaia is her biggest fan! It's so fun to hear about all of the cool things her teacher is doing. My Ms. Frizzle wish is growing and growing every year!
Beck and Kaia headed out the door to school. 

It's homecoming week at Gabe's high school and he went to the parade and powderpuff game last night. I picked him up afterwards and we had a great time laughing together as he told me about all the funny things that happened. I stopped at the gas station to fill up the van and he offered to buy me a treat. It was so sweet. I love talking and laughing with him. I'll give him a ride home any time just for that reason. I love that he is happy.  (Mostly happy, after all, he is 15!)

Zoe has a new friend she met at school and it turns out she only lives a couple blocks away! How cool is that? I met her friend and her Mom last night. They seem really nice. I like this friend for Zoe because she's still enjoying being 12. Not into boys yet, still wanting to play outside and well, just PLAY! Zoe is so much like that and I hope she can enjoy every last second of being "little". I loved hearing about their nature walk and all of their "big plans" for having different fashion themes each week and wearing matching colors at school. It made me smile. The 12 year old inside of me is still very much alive and kicking and I wonder if she'll ever realize she's almost 39... in some ways, I hope not.

Speaking of being 12 though.... in some ways, I guess I really need to grow up. But I'm really not sure how -- that is why I still must be 12 inside, because sometimes my heart hurts SO much about silly little things. Sometimes I get SO mad about things. Sometimes I just want to be little again and not have all of the silly grown-up problems. 

I was talking to my girls the other day about some girls that weren't being so nice to them at school. Nothing major, just mean girls giving them dirty looks. You know the "eye to toes and back up to your eyes -- Oh, you're no threat to me" kind of look? Yeah. I hate that. I told them just to smile at those girls and don't ever give them a second thought. Ever. I told them to brush it off and be strong, because Guess What? There are STILL "girls" like that who are my age. Yuck.

Anyway, I'm just always feeling like I don't fit it anywhere and maybe I don't, but the question is: WHY do I care? I just don't know. My season in life is here with family right now.  My kids and husband are where I invest most of my time and I know that is most important, but I always end up feeling left out. I always feel like I just walked in AFTER the punch line of everything. There seems to be a secret world out there that I've never been part of... (thank heavens for preschool -- they LOVE me! :)
Have you ever read Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince? You know where Professor Slughorn alters his memories before he lets Professor Dumbledore see them? Well, I just altered my blog before EVERYONE reads it. I erased about 4 paragraphs of YUCK right here. It was just me complaining and being contentious. I need to go talk with the person I have an issue with directly, not vaguely hint around it on my blog. Sorry if you read it -- I don't want to be that kind of person! Anyway, good luck finding the horcruxes and all that...

I know it's just Satan trying to bring me down, but I also know having good and bad experiences so EXTREME in one day is a reminder to me there are areas in my life I really need to do better in. I need to LOVE people, to see them as God sees them, and not to let them bother me so much. There is good in everyone. I truly believe that. I think the good gets clouded by assumptions and jealousy and their own feelings of insecurity or even just stress and fatigue. 

I have so many awesome people in my life and I'm going to focus on them. People that seem to like me for the moment and I'll take it! I want be humble and kind to everyone around me, regardless of how they treat me. It's easy to love someone that loves you, right? But I want to love the ones who don't. That's going to be my focus. I worry about realizing this goal and saying it "out loud". I've prayed about it and now I know the tests will come! I hope I'm ready...

I just think I get along better with my own family (wow, that is an awesome realization, isn't it!!!) and of course, my cats. This is our new addition, Churro. His favorite hiding spot is inside the shoe bench. He is just absolutely adorable. Really. I cannot help it. I love this guy! He has THE cutest little meow.
"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened." ~ Anatole France

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

"Grace for Mother Duck and Me" -- my wake-up call

I should be vacuuming and cleaning the litter boxes right now... really. It's on my list today, but for *some* reason it just doesn't sound very enjoyable. Hold on, readers, this is a LONG one!

Sometimes we all have to take a minute (or 12) and do something good for ourselves. Breathe. Think. Type. Relax. I've been running on empty the last week or so. What a blur! School is in full force. Late nights, early mornings, schedules and deadlines, school lunch and homework. You know it's crazy, but I really do like most of it. I think. Today I do.

I've had a LOT of experiences these last couple weeks to help me learn patience, compassion, humility, forgiveness, charity, and love. I wonder if I'll every really figure things out.

This was a rough draft post I started last week, but never finished:

"Why is life so hard? Yeah, I know that sounds really dramatic. I know most people would look at my life and say, "What's your problem, whiner?!?!?!!" (And they might be true -- sort of.) The fact is, most people don't share what their life is REALLY like. Their inner struggles and day to day problems. Weaknesses that I can never seem to get over. Problems I always seem to find myself in. When will I ever learn?"

Life really isn't that bad -- I was just having "one of those days" -- I always seem to think every little upset in my universe will be irreversible and permanent. I don't like that about myself. It's rather exhausting.

I'm so thankful for second chances and prayer and being able to talk to people. We had some serious issues with some of Gabe's friends a couple weeks ago and I'm so glad things are calming down. I'm thankful for time. Time to think and time to heal. What I thought would be devastating with long-lasting consequences, ended up being something rather trivial, but something that brought Gabe and I closer together. He was more mature and patient about the whole thing than I was. I wish I could say more, but he has asked me not to.

I had another very "silly" incident with a friend and some unspoken rules and well, after some awkward moments of disagreement, we both ended up laughing when we realized where the other person was coming from.

And then again with some more of my children's friends and their parents....

One thing's for sure: this world is full of all sorts of people. No two people act or think exactly alike. Yet, why do we always look at someone and think they are just like "so and so". Do you know what I mean?

I read this great little story last week in the throes of the constant "Is it ME or THEM?" doubts in my mind:

Let me just preface this by saying (because I'm so ridiculously childish and prideful, I guess) that I don't agree with the author judging the mother duck -- she doesn't know any better. That part, I just didn't get. Poor Mother Duck -- where is she SUPPOSED to walk her ducklings amidst all the subdivisions and humans taking over all of the undeveloped land?? That's another blog post entirely.

However, I TOTALLY understood what she was saying, because I have wrongly judged SO many women SO many times. I was truly ashamed when I read this. I have been there. I know how she feels. She's better than I am, really, only to judge a duck's misguided actions, rather than a person. Sometimes, they don't know any better either. I should have as much natural compassion for other people as I do for some random duck! But alas, I am a strange girl.

Have you ever looked at someone and thought, even for a moment, 
"She doesn't deserve to be a mother." 
Well, read on:
From the August 2013 Ensign:

Grace for Mother Duck and Me by Rosie Kaufman

One spring afternoon I was packing my car to begin shuttling my five young children to and from lessons and practices. As I loaded soccer cleats and dance bags, I noticed a mother duck and her ducklings waddling down the sidewalk of our suburban neighborhood.
As I watched, she began to cross the road. Unfortunately, she chose a gutter grate for her crosswalk, and as she passed over it, her babies followed. Four of her ducklings slipped helplessly between the bars of the grate.
When the mother reached the other side, she realized she was missing some of her little ones and could hear their muffled peeps. Totally oblivious of her mistake, she crossed back across the drainage grate, looking for her missing ducklings and losing two more. With horror and some disgust at her poor judgment, I went to the grate to see if I could lift it. Although I used all my strength, the grate barely budged, and I was late to pick up one of my kids.
Figuring I would have to fix the situation later when I wasn’t so rushed, I hopped in the car while muttering self-righteously, “She doesn’t deserve to be a mother.”
During the next hour and a half, I made many of my recurring parenting mistakes. These are mistakes I have begged forgiveness for many times from both my children and my Father in Heaven. Each time I resolve to do better and not to fall prey to these weaknesses again. When I snapped at one of my kids for teasing another, my words echoed loudly in my ears, “She doesn’t deserve to be a mother.”
Suddenly I felt overwhelming compassion for that mother duck. She was trying to navigate the world with the instincts she was given, just as I was. But sometimes those instincts simply weren’t enough, and it was our children who suffered.
I resolved to get the grate off somehow and lift the ducklings out. As I rounded the corner to our street, I saw a small group gathered. My neighbor had lifted the grate, climbed inside the drainage tunnel, and was gently lifting the ducklings out to safety. The frightened little birds scrambled to find their mother, who was pacing nervously in a nearby bush. She hadn’t asked for help, but my neighbor had stepped in when her protection was simply not enough. I was overcome with emotion as I thought of the Savior doing the same for my children and me.
Sometimes we come up short, even when we have the best intentions and try our hardest. However, the Savior’s “grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before [Him]” (Ether 12:27). It comforts me to know that my shortcomings will not ruin my children and that they will be the recipients of love, peace, understanding, and grace from our Savior. He “reaches my reaching”1 and wants my family and me to succeed. Our shortcomings will not prevail when we humble ourselves and stand with the Lord by our side.
I really love this story. I mean, I'm a HUGE animal lover, if you didn't know, so I was crying tears of joy when all the ducklings were returned safely to their worried mommy. But it really helped me feel more compassion and understanding for others. Actually, I feel like it was a great big (loving!) slap in the face from my Heavenly Father saying, "Lacy, stop being so MEAN! Stop thinking everyone is so wrong and take a look in the mirror. I love you and I know your struggles, but others are struggling too. Help them, don't judge them."
We do NOT know what others are going through. We cannot judge anyone because we don't have all of the information. We can never truly understand why someone does something. Sometimes my greatest struggles are on the inside and I always wonder what other people are truly going through when they act a certain way or say something I think they shouldn't have or whatever. 
I don't know who said it, but I love the quote that says something like: 
"Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle."
We're all in this together (yes, I did get that from High School Musical, if you must know)! But we really are and I want to try harder to help and lift others -- even when they might not return the favor. 
I feel like I am being tested to the limit lately in terms of my capacity to love and to serve and to have patience for others. I often wonder what the future holds...

I'm so thankful for a loving Father in Heaven who judges me perfectly and is always there to help me be better and make up for my many shortcomings.
P.S. I know I've already told you about the FlyLady, but I'm going to tell you again, because she makes me happy! :) If you feel overwhelmed with your life and your house is in total CHAOS... go to her site IMMEDIATELY, sign up for the emails, and start to FLY! It's been such a blessing in my life.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

M.O.M. (Mom Operating Manual)

The kids and I got this book from the library the other day...
I think I enjoyed it more than they did, but seriously, it is so funny!

I think younger kids might not "get" it -- in fact, a lot of the reviews on Goodreads said so, but my older 3 especially LOVED it. It's nothing to be taken seriously -- that's not the point. We had a lot of fun reading it together and laughing at so many things we found similar to what goes on at our house. It's definitely one of our new favorites!

I think it would make a fun gift for a Mom who is right in the middle of the chaos we call Parenthood. We all need a good laugh, right? When writing this post, though, I realized the reason I find this book so funny may be because I am PAST a lot of the little people chaos. I survived, and now it's funny... mostly.

I especially enjoyed the "Troubleshooting" section highlighting certain auditory signals that may indicate minor malfunctions with your Mom

Heavy Sighing -- possible cause: Are you abusing your access to the duct tape? Quick fix: STOP it!

Groaning -- possible cause: Did you forget to flush the toilet again? Quick fix: Flush the toilet?

Snapping -- likely cause: You won't put your shoes on. Quick fix: Put your shoes on!

Eerie Silence -- likely cause: OVERLOAD. Quick fix: Call grandma!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Following in their Mother's "blogsteps"

Okay, so you may have noticed there are two new blogs on my profile:

Ask the Kat  (Kaia's blog)


My sweet daughters have been watching me blog for years now and just last month decided they wanted to start their own blogs, so we did. Right now, I'm the administrator on them and we just figured out how to add Zoe as a contributing author. So the blogs are a work in progress for sure.

I'm really excited for them to have this creative outlet. They both love writing and they both have HUGE imaginations. It's been fun to help them get these blogs going. If you have a minute, go check them out -- I know they would just LOVE a comment or two.
My girls... :) Zoe (left) and Kaia (right)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Friends and Flylady to the rescue! Oh, and an ICE BUN!

Alright, since my last post about de-cluttering and not mending everything, I've been feeling a lot better about the whole situation.

For one thing -- I signed up for FLYLADY emails again. She's like a personal online coach for organizing and taking control of your life. I've been going through spurts of following her suggestions off and on since, oh, 2001? I think. Whenever I'm following her "flight plan" I ALWAYS feel better and my house looks better and feels better too. You should seriously check her out! It's really easy to do AND well, easy not to do, and that is my problem. I need to stick to it. Her daily emails can be quite overwhelming at first, but most of them are just testimonials and I don't always read all of them -- you'll soon figure out which ones you need to read. Here's my (super fancy) Flight Plan for each day. I took the Flylady's suggestions and modified it a bit to my needs:

Also, several friends on Facebook gave me some really good suggestions to help tackle the clutter and excess in my house. My friend, Tawnya, sent me this great article about the "time cost" of our stuff and it really hit home. The minimalist lifestyle is really big right now -- a lot of it is just TOO much for me to process, but like Tawnya suggested, you can study up on it and find a "comfortable spot" for your family. :) I like that. Like a thoughtful spot?? Ahhhh.

My friend, Sharon, (I'm quoting you, ok???) said:  "I came to a similar revelation within the last year - just how much time I spend managing all my stuff. I move it, I organize it, I clean it, I fix it all because WHY would I get rid of something that I might need someday?? I've been just purging through stuff like crazy and the things I've realized is 1) We have way more stuff than anyone needs 2) I have NOT missed anything 3) I use the stuff I keep a lot more because I can find it and have time to use it and 4) It gets easier to let go the more you do it."  

This was great for me to hear --- I can do it, I can do it. I especially LOVE #3. Everyone suggested, including my dear friend, Maggie, that I should start with clothes.

SO, Monday got crazy -- LOTS of kids here playing and me trying to focus on the kitchen (keeping my sink clean and shiny is one of the Flylady's best secrets). When I'm consistent with it, my house IS "magically" much neater. I wonder why? I think it's like the broken window effect -- but inside. When the family sees the kitchen undone (including me) they're much more likely to leave out this or pile up that. It's true. SHINE YOUR SINK EVERY DAY! (Meaning, you have to have ALL of your dishes washed so you can actually get to the bottom of your sink to clean it!)

Tuesday -- well, on Tuesday, we got a PIANO, but that's another story. (We're keeping it here for a friend for a long while and I'm just thrilled!) Thank you, Debbie!

So, Tuesday, we attacked the kids closets and dressers. I guess I should take pictures. It felt really good. We didn't get rid of a whole LOT (since we just moved in April and I'd gone through stuff), but we organized everything and the kids got to decide what clothes they like the most. I also made labels (really fancy with painters tape, ha ha) to put on their drawers.

Anyway, it made me feel REALLY good. It was actually fun! Kaia always enjoys this because she gets Zoe's hand-me-downs -- but then, we have to go through her things again. I'm feeling better: I have a plan and I have great friends and family -- there isn't anything else I need, right? Well, maybe some GUMPTION.

Let me just say: I can't believe how BIG my children are getting! Time is flying by....
I'm VERY proud of them -- we had a really good last week of summer and first day of school.
Gabe and I were at the highschool on Monday picking up his schedule. When we were crossing the road, Gabe said, "Wait, Mom, don't cross yet, didn't you see that truck?" I just looked over at him and smiled and he said, "Well, I don't want anything to happen to you, I kinda like you."  MADE MY DAY FOREVER! Yep. 

Oh, and this is really random, but SO awesome, I wanted to share: During June, Beck played T-ball and we were always SO HOT watching his games. One day, Zoe decided to take an ice cube out of the cooler and put it in her bun. GENIUS. It has been my go-to hairdo for anything outside this summer and definitely for yard work. Seriously, it really helps keep you cool and it doesn't melt for quite awhile. I took a picture of Zoe's "ICE BUN" to show you -- the ice is the white circle in the middle, but in reality, we usually bury it completely inside and close to our head. Try it! (I really REALLY don't like to be hot.)
Funny how it's almost September and since we moved in April, I've completely lost track of my 2013 Mantra: Balance, Exactness, Focus.

Well, it's never too late to start. At the end of every Flylady email, she says: "You are not behind! I don't want you to try to catch up; I just want you to jump in where we are. O.K.?" 

Let's GO!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Brain Dump... Deja vu? Wait... a BREAKTHROUGH!

I think I already have a post somewhere titled, "Brain Dump".

I shouldn't blog sometimes, really. Today I woke up in a bit of a funk.

My mind is SO full. SO FULL.

There is just SO much to do, so much to remember, so much to plan, so much to even think about.

Not to mention all of the "stuff" that happens everyday that I don't expect or can't plan for... let's not even go into the crazy of all that!

I used to be better at taking one thing at a time and then, moving on to the next.

I'm not sure if I've lost that ability OR if there's just SO much to do... my brain is ready to explode. Seriously. I sit down to make a to-do list and I can vaguely decipher a flow of activity somewhere in the back of my brain. Much like a blender swirling with words and phone numbers and check lists and fuzzy clouds of ??? Just LOTS of fuzz really.

At the front of my brain, the part that is formulating and typing these words at this moment, there is just a clear, resounding FUZZZZZZZZZZZZZ. Like a low hum or a white noise that purposely? or thankfully? blocks out all of the swirling blender stuff. I can't seem to turn the FUZZ off any more.

Problem is: I desperately need to dive into that blender and deal with some of that stuff!

I woke up spouting off my to-do list to my husband this morning in between deep sighs of frustration and stress. Ever patient (patiently?), he listens and always has a good (if not always logical) strategy to attack my day. He's not a stay-at-home mom (obviously), so he just doesn't really get it, but he sure tries.

Today, however, I think he said something rather profound. I won't bore you with my BOOK of things I need to do/should do/could do/want to do/really have to do, because I know you have your own. Maybe our books are rather similar? Maybe not? Either way. Life is busy. Life as a mother at any phase, age, or number of children is BUSIER than ever.

Zeke was standing in our closet trying to get ready to go to work (bless his heart!) as I'm purging and pleading and well, basically, whining. We were talking about building more shelves in our closet, because, you know, that's what everyone needs right after they move into a bigger house, right? Seriously though, shelves for HIS clothes, because I have a huge basket and two boxes FULL of things that need to be mended and they're taking over our closet. What?? Yeah, it's embarrassing and rather ridiculous.

It's not that I don't mend -- I do -- every couple of months I take a day and just mend stuff. My kids usually end up wanting to sew something right along with me, which is good, but my overall progress is greatly diminished, but hey, I have kids that like to sew. That's a good thing in my book.

Anyway, the mending basket mysteriously multiplies overnight. Really! Just when I think I've made a dent, it's full again just a few days later.

Is it obvious to everyone, but me? Zeke simply said, "Don't mend. Just don't. In the grand scheme of things, mending does NOT matter. The kids have plenty of clothes. Prioritize what they really need and THROW THE REST AWAY." Isn't he a genius??

Inside though, I instantly recoiled at the thought... THROW THE REST AWAY????? What the? I can't.... WASTE something??? How do I define WASTING something? How can Zeke say that and be okay with it? It sounded SO lovely, SO simple, SO right. But.... THROW THE REST AWAY? I want to feel that way too.

For months (YEARS), I've been praying about how I can get it all done and how I can feel LESS stress. I've been thinking all morning about what Zeke said as I've been watering our lawn and doing laundry (YEAH, there's a wake-up call). Don't laugh, but I think I seriously have a hard time getting rid of stuff or just the idea of wasting stuff. I'm not sure if I've always been this way. Our house certainly isn't overflowing or anything, but the things I do to save stuff or get the good out of stuff *might* be considered a bit overboard by other people.

I mend clothes and blankets and things until they're literally falling apart between the seams! Among other things, I use THE ABSOLUTE LAST DROP of everything. Toothpaste, syrup, lotion, ketchup, etc. I know it drives my family crazy. It should. It's silly. I have bottles of stuff in the fridge and in the bathrooms turned upside down with the threat, "Don't throw that away yet, there's still some left!" SILLY!

What about the TIME I'm wasting saving those little things and making room for them? What I'm really doing is WASTING my time. My time is so precious. I can't buy time. I got mad at Kaia yesterday for throwing away a half-eaten apple. Yes, I totally agree we shouldn't waste food, but seriously over-reacted for sure. It's just an apple. She's my sweet daughter. I'm embarrassed to even tell you that.

You know, I go through a blog famine here and there and whenever I start again, I always feel so much better. It's very therapeutic. I hope my life of learning things the hard way helps someone else avoid my mistakes in the first place.

Today, I'm going to pray REALLY hard to let go of things that do not matter. Today, I'm going to try really hard to get rid of some things in my house. I'm especially going to re-evaluate my mending basket.

I read somewhere recently about getting rid of 5 things everyday for 5 days and doing that each month. Even little things. I'm going to try it.

P.S. Zeke, I love you more than anything... you are my DENSITY.

Friday, August 16, 2013

The end is near...

The end of summer, that is.

This summer has been a BLUR! Good and Bad and Crazy and calm??? Actually, I don't remember much of it being calm, but overall, it's been a good summer. We survived and for the most part, we're still smiling.

School starts in a week. My kids excitement level decreases greatly as their age increases.
Beck is starting Kindergarten -- he is SO excited, he can hardly sleep! He asks me everyday, "How many more days until I can go to school?" He talks about it all day long.

Kaia is starting 4th grade -- she's excited to see her friends, meet her new teacher, go the school library,  and of course, go to recess!

Zoe is starting 7th grade -- she's excited to see her friends, sort of...

Gabe is starting 10th grade -- he's... um, "school, what? at least I got new shoes, right?"

I'm excited, I am. I'm not gonna lie. It's time. We've had a good time together going to the park and the library and swimming lessons and playgroup and the splash pads. We've spent a lot of the time organizing and enjoying our new house. We rode the bus one day just for "fun". (It was fun for about the first 5 minutes, but it was an adventure!) We made a fire pit in our backyard and have enjoyed roasting marshmallows and string cheese and grasshoppers and...  yeah. We have improved their cooking skills (their request) and cleaning skills (MY request). And we have done a LOT of yard work, but I've really enjoyed it.

I'm not a big fan of the sun. In fact, I really don't like it at all. It makes me very ill every time I go out in it for more than, well, about 5 minutes. Really. So that's hard to work around. My kids have learned to adapt. We stay in the shade or we don't go outside. We've been playing board games quite a bit this summer -- strange, I know, but it's been fun. Our favorites? Monopoly and Killer Bunnies (I'm using the term "favorites" VERY loosely).

Our favorite inside activity though, would have to be reading. We've cuddled up with more than a few books this summer. Well, my kids have. I can't seem to focus... I've been working on "The Lost Hero" by Rick Riordan nearly all summer and I just finished it last week. It's really good -- it just isn't captivating? I don't know what's happened to me... I used to LOVE LOVE LOVE a good YA Sci-Fi/Fantasy. I still do, but I find myself being drawn to memoirs and even just fictions that are a bit more realistic. Huh. I hope I'm not growing up too much... maybe it's a phase...well, I'm forcing myself to plow through "Son of Neptune" and on through that series. My kids love that one -- they're waiting for me to catch up so we can discuss it. :) Awwww.

We also did our traditional Summerfest day (arts festival) and Cache County Fair adventure. 
I think this ride was called "Dizzy Dragons" or something... so fun! Beck is on the far right, with Kaia next to him, and our friend Monique next to Kaia. (Random girl next to Monique... Beck says she is their new best friend. Ok.)

Oh, one more VERY important thing to note:

This is a CHURRO... the really YUMMY kind from the fair. My friend, Rose, and her family makes them. Rose is Monique's mom. This one has dulce de leche filling (like caramel, but WAY BETTER.)

And this IS Churro (He found his way to our house and well... he's just too adorable.) 
He's our newest family member.
The kids and I think his fur looks like it's sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar and his eyes are truly the color of dulce de leche. (I need to post a picture of his eyes). Yep, it's official, we're crazy. 

And it's official: We have the legal limit of cats per household in our city. 4. 
4 kids, 4 cats -- my kids think we are now complete.

More on summer later...

Time to organize a few more drawers and boxes before school starts (as in, I really need to find my social security card -- I'm teaching preschool this Fall -- I start next week! -- and my employer needs a copy of it.)

It's "MEOW or NEVER" (saw that on Facebook!)

P.S. Kaia chose my new background -- it really goes with our houseful of CATS! It's kinda hurting my eyes, but I'll keep it for awhile.
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