Friday, March 30, 2012

What is Joy?

I purchased a itzy bitzy notebook while working at Nordstrom some 25 years ago.  I took its first blank page and wrote the words, "What is Joy?" It was that day, I began assembling the little things in life that brought me joy.  Over the next few years, people crossed my path and I asked them to take my book and write down the things that brought them joy.

It didn't take long to fill its pages (no bigger than a matchbox).  And it didn't take long to realize the that true joy comes from the simple things...more importantly, true joy comes from recognizing those things.

Here are a few of the thoughts written from my book, "What is Joy?"

The Sun
Stars...recognizing the Big Dipper
A Gentle Breeze
Love in Eyes
Holding His Hand
Being Silly
Running on a Desolate Road
Hiking to a Peak and Pondering
Being Alone
Being with the One You Love
Reading a Good Book
A Movie Taking You Away
Eating a Huge Hot Fudge Sundae
Feeling God's Love
Sharing God's Love
Hearing the Rain Fall
Sound of Waves
Signs of Spring
Letters From Mom
Prayers that Last All Night
Warm Cookies and Milk
A Brand New Box of Crayons
Hot Chocolate on a Cold Day
Upside Down Stamps
Second Hand Stores
Soul mates
Sitting Alone in the Dark
Seeing the Moon in the Daylight
Mary and Joseph
Talking to a Plant
Knowing Your Father in Heaven is Pleased With Me
Helping Someone
Having a Choice
Zapping a Zinger
Feeling the Wheels Grinding in Your Head
Having the Rain Collect on the Windshield and then Having the Wipers Clear It
Scratching Where it Itches
Bleached out Hair
Rolling a Rolo to a Friend
Braided Hair
Old Couples in Love
The Toy in a Cracker Jack Box
All Things that Denote There is a God
Clouds That Form Things
Not Being Afraid

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Funny Business...

This subbing gig is cracking me up.  This week I was in the chorus classes, which were filled to the brim with every combination of student, from 7th grade girls, to 8th grade boys as well as the ever full of energy mixed 6th grade classes (both girls and boys).

Since the piano had been taken by the teacher to their Festival performance, we were left watching movies.  The movies these kids are watching lend themselves to giggles galore as the 1951, "Annie, Get Your Gun" or "Liszt" are shown.

Today I simply had to write down a few "funnies" which not only had the kids laughing...I had to secretly join in as well.

The first giggle fest happened when in the movie, "Liszt,"the actor kept saying, "pianist."  To the immature, 7th grader, another word came to mind (and honestly, it did sound just like that word)...causing much laughter from the boys (luckily it was an all boy class). 

Next up for the 6th grade class, was the seriously "way too old for this generation," Annie Get your Gun.  I mean, when people break out in over acting sing just doesn't feel quite right.  In one song, an Uncle Dick was made mention and you would have thought it was some HUGE comedic line...nope, just the two words, "Uncle Dick."

In the 8th grade class, we watched, "Pulse." This movie depicted the awesome stomping phenomenon...that is actually super cool.  But when viewed by these overly immature boys, you know laughter will come...especially when the movie shoots scenes from other countries where the men are dancing in what seems like diapers. It just doesn't go over well.

My most enjoyable moment went to the 8th grade boys choir, where my son, Calvin is a member.  He was not there today because he was helping his teacher at the festival.  I took this ideal opportunity to "get to know" my son a little bit better (remember, he is currently at the "I only grunt one word answers to you" stage).  I decided to poll the class and ask the following questions answered by his classmates who know him best:

Q: Is Calvin as cool as he makes us all think he is here at home?
A: No.

Q: Does Calvin have a good singing voice (believe it or not, I have never heard him sing)?
A: Pretty good.

Q: Is Calvin a bully?
A: No

Q: Does Calvin have a girlfriend?  And if so, who?
A: Mixed answers (I think he may have multiple)

Q: Has anyone seen Calvin kiss a girl?
A: Not telling.

Q: Does Calvin think is mother is totally a cool mom?
A: Of course (I answered that)

It is a total blast substitute teaching!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Miracle of the Broken Water Heater

We have lived in our home for 10 years.  Our home has withstood 5 outrageously messy children, 1 big hairy stinky dog, 1 cat, numerous wild mice, numerous friends of the outrageously messy children....

The carpet throughout our house has been punished and thrashed severely. It shows wear, tear and disgust. And as you know, dirty stained carpet NEVER, I repeat, NEVER looks good in this state. On the other hand, we can sneak by with our stripped, scratched and faded wood floors by calling it, "distressed, antiqued, or having character."

We have not had the money to replace any of the carpet in our home.  I try to "spot" clean it when I can but because of its sad state, it really has no hope...until two weeks ago (remember this post...when I was bending...ever so close to snapping?!) when our water heater took a turn for the worse.

After trying to assess its health and wishful thinking that it was only "sick", it couldn't take the punishment of 7 people showering, bathing and washing clothes and dishes so often and gave up...died right there in our basement. 

It began to "bleed" water onto the unfinished portion of the room where it was housed.  Water attempted to drain down the grate that had been designed to aid in such a disaster...but it couldn't keep up.  The water began to make its way through the wall, to the finished portion of our basement, seeping into the carpet and padding.

It was that lovely moldy scent, quickly permeating our basement that really had me "bending wickedly close" to my snapping point.  I started to envision mold creeping up our walls, making us all sick.  The carpet was absolutely the least of my worries...I mean it was already disgusting.  Spotted with years of disobedient children's spilt drinks, toppled over food items and dirty shoes tracking in ghastly amounts of dirt and grime.  You see, we had a eating in the basement.  Every few months I would make my way into the dark abyss of our lower level (I make a point never to go down there) and find between couch cushions, under pillows, inside drawers, under cabinets items that could feed a third world country.  Along side these items were utensils, plates, wrappers, broken toys, chewed gum, empty bottles...SERIOUSLY!  Ironically, not one of my children have ever admitted they have eaten down there...

I truly didn't care about the ruined carpet at this point.  I had already accepted that it would remain in this state until our last child left our home (and the cat and dog left too).

After hearing our unfortunate news, a few of my friends made mention that we should be sure to file a claim with our home insurance company.  I was told that more than likely they would replace the entire basement with new carpet.

We called and an adjuster came to our home.

A day later, we were sent a letter stating we would receive a large amount of money to cover the carpet for the entire basement but drywall and baseboards too!

If only you could see the sad state of our basement.  Dreams of freshly painted walls (Garth made the boys Spackle the hundreds of holes made from wild boy play, a few years ago...yep...the white spackle is still spotting the walls) and cushy new carpet have been only that...a dream...until we lost our water heater.

Now we finally can make plans for our sickly basement.  Walls can be sanded and painted, carpet or laminate will be placed down and kids can go up for sale (so it will stay nice and clean).

What seemed like a complete misfortune and injustice, turned into a complete miracle.

Slow to Judge and Quick to Love

I love my church.  Its message is simple, yet as the world's view takes hold of so many and clouds their view, making simple messages "wrong," "not the norm," "too hard," or "not for our time."  The message of our dear Savior, "Come Unto Me," is the same today as it was so many years ago...simple.

We need Him.  We need to follow Him.  We need to try to be like Him. 

We need to love others as He did.

I love this recent "Mormon Message," about not judging others.

Today, may we be slow to judge and quick to love.

And on Sunday, be sure to watch our living prophets share words of love, purpose and expound on Christ's words, "Come Unto Me."

Click here for more details

Monday, March 26, 2012


The wind is blowing. Today's training run required me to run 8 miles with 6-600's (that is one and a half times around the track) at my 5k pace.  Running in the wind is absolutely no fun.  Sprinting in the wind is even worse.

Lucky for me, the 1.5 miles to the middle school track was a breeze (no pun intended), the wind was at my back.  It felt cool on my wet overheated skin.  It brought a lovely scent of cherry blossoms...spring!  It caused the blossoms to fall off the trees and "flurry" about, making it look it was snowing pink.  It gave me a gentle push toward my ultimate goal, the track.

This track is located totally out in the open, giving the wind free reign of its powerful influence.  An American flag blew furiously in one steady direction, signalling to me which part of my sprint would be easy and which section would be a fight.

The first 600, I started at my normal spot...which happened to be directly into the strong wind.  Because of the starting point, I had to run against the wind, more distance than the wind was at my back.

I quickly changed my starting point to give me 400 meters of wind pushing at my back and only 200 with the wind fighting me every step.

The wind literally pushed me along at a faster pace during sections. It was during those times, my heart didn't have to work as hard, my body could keep a steady rhythm and pace. 

When I turned into the wind after rounding the top of the track's corner, it immediately blasted me with its power...pushing me back, trying to get me from reaching my goal.  In order to keep my steady pace, I had to push against the wind with bigger body movements thus increasing my heart rate. 

After one 600, I almost quit.  After three, I felt stronger.  After five, I knew I could beat "the wind."  On lap 6, I was determined to get my fastest split.  Already tired, wind kicking up its strength, and goal in mind, I started to run. 

With the wind at my back, I took advantage of its power and let it push me.  As I turned the corner into its overwhelming strength, I dug, I focused and beat 5 seconds.

Simple as that. are my latest and greatest "Get YOU moving," songs:

TTYLXOX by Bella Thorne
Bang Bang by K'naan and Adam Levine
Knockout by Lil Wayne and Nicki Manaj
Sandstorm by Darude
Part of Me by Katy Perry
Brokenhearted by Karmin

Friday, March 23, 2012

My Hunger Games Review

Sommer and I hit the Hunger Games midnight show last night!  I have never been to such an event, and although I was a bit concerned about the late night and the masses of teenagers...IT ACTUALLY WAS A BLAST!

At 9 pm, Sommer insisted we leave for the theatre.  She was concerned about getting a seat (or missing any of the hype) due to huge amount of texts and twitters from friends who were already camped out (ugh).  I didn't want to dampen her young teen excitement with my old cranky ways, so we compromised and headed out at 9:40.

After picking up my friend Robyn and her girls, we headed to the big event, arriving TWO HOURS BEFORE SHOWTIME! Thankfully, I had Robyn to chat away the time with me (and begin eating our large popcorn).

I loved seeing so many die-hard fans decked out in garb depicting everyone from Katniss to the people of Panem, the Capitol City where the Hunger Games take place.

Excitement was in the air as the movie finally began at 12:01 wait, we first had to watch what seemed like 100 previews that lasted at least 30 minutes.  Not my idea of enjoyment with the late hour!

And then the crowd, roared, "Let the Games Begin!" It was at this point, the camera, while following Katniss on her adventures beyond the gate, was extremely shaky and quite irritating.  I don't know if it was supposed to be an "artsy" moment but geez, it made us all dizzy.

For those that have read the book, the movie followed most of the details without missing a beat.  What did lack was the emotion felt when reading Katniss' feelings.  The movie, went with little dialogue and depended on sullen and concerned faces and few words. This made the movie feel a bit "slow" and let my emotions remain pretty stagnant throughout the movie. 

The actual games were well filmed. I was grateful they didn't take an extremely gory or graphic route with the deaths of the children . But similar to the beginning, I wasn't feeling enough raw emotion that I had felt while reading the book to really "lose" myself in the movie.

Unlike the Twilight series, I LOVED the actors they picked to portray these characters.  Katniss was indeed beautiful but it was understated. She was strong but she was still vulnerable (and believable).  Gale was very good looking. And Peeta...well let me just say...I am now a fan. In the book I pictured him a goofy chubby kid. In the movie, he was strong and handsome.  Both Woody Harrelson and Stanley Tucci gave wicked funny comedy relief! 

I have to take into account that it was after midnight when I was watching the film, I could have been overlly tired thus leading to a "slow" feel. Maybe I will just have to see it again!

What did you think?!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Cherry Blossoms In Washington DC

We are lucky to live so close to our Nation's capitol!  With multiple Smithsonian Museums minutes away (unless there is traffic), we are able to see first hand the history of our world.  It cracked me up on Sunday when my brilliant daughter, Sommer, kept saying that nothing could be real in these museums.  She insists everything has been recreated for our enjoyment.  She said about a 1700's gunboat in the American History Museum, "No way, that is the actual boat!  Who saves those?"  And when checking out the dresses of our First Ladies she said, "Why would Mrs. Obama put her dress in here? Now she can't wear it!"

Each spring, we have the opportunity to head to the Tidal Basin (with millions of other people), to see the Cherry Blossoms.  It is an amazing site, hundreds of trees lining the basin, springing forth radiant pink and white blossoms.

After circling the city for 45 minutes trying to find a place to park, racing other cars for the few we did find (and lost the race multiple times), we finally parked.  Walking toward the National Monument with the sprawling lawn leading to the Capitol is always an amazing site.

Although many of us have one or two cherry blossom trees blooming in our own backyard, we come together, to see the beauty that is created when hundreds of trees showcase their flowers at one time.  I love how nature can do that and even more so, how it brings people together from around the world. Rather amazing, such a simple thing, such as at tree, can unite so many.

It was a beautiful day.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Moving Through a Plateau

Today was a "hill" training run.  It is imperative when one trains for The Boston Marathon, she take some time running up (and down) hills. So today, me and a couple of my friends, hit the Battlefield trails, a perfect place packed with plenty of heart pounding, leg burning hills (and Vanessa made us repeat all of them).

Boston has a lovely set of four "Newton hills," which begin at mile 16 and continue through mile 20-21 with the final hill, and steepest known as, "Heartbreak Hill." 

It is at this hill, you find many runners close to "hitting the wall" (depletion of glycogen stores in the muscles, which manifests itself by sudden fatigue and the desire to curl up in a ball and cry), therefore forcing them to slow down dramatically or even walk their way up to the top of this difficult plateau.

To help those heading up, crowds of spectators line the streets cheering on the runners, loved ones have written words of encouragement on the steep incline, others hold signs, even fellow runners will pat one on the back who may be suffering while whispering a quiet, "You got this!"

Ironically, the first four miles of the Boston Marathon are completely downhill.  While the heart may think things are easy, the legs have been working over time.  And when those steep hills come, they are either ready to climb or ready to quit.

Isn't that funny?  

While many fresh untrained runners make the mistake and blast it during the downhill portion of the race in record time, these same people end up being forced to walk or even stop when the real challenge comes. 

Putting this uphill/downhill battle into real life situations, I wonder how any of us move ourselves along in life and make it to the next plateau.  We trot along, all comfy and cozy...many times unwilling to put in any extra effort to make our way to a higher plateau.  We seem pretty darn satisfied with our current views.  But we know deep down the amazing view we can have if we climb a little bit higher, then higher, and before we know it, our view is simply incredible. 

But yet, some of us aren't moving.

Do we want to simply run a faster race?

If so, we have to be willing to run faster (pump it up a hill, sprint around a track)!

Do we want to be more patient?

If so, we have to count to "10 (or 20, or 50)" more often before we blow our top.

Do we want to lose weight?

If so, we have to eat less, exercise more...

Do we want to learn something new?

If so, we need to take that class, ask that friend and practice.

Or do you want to stay comfortable on your plateau, remaining behind, while others make their climb?

Are we willing to start working so we can get off our current plateau and make the climb to the top of our steep hill?!

I know what it feels like to remain behind...stagnant (isn't stagnant water gross) on the same humpity bump.

And I know what it feels like to push myself and to know I have the ability to conquer each plateau.

Some may take longer than others. We will encounter obstacles, trials that may stop us in our tracks for a period of time.  We may even need a helping hand, someone to cheer, to encourage, possibly even carry us.

But we musn't ever give up...

or take for granted the view we see now, thinking that is enough for us.

Finishing the race is our goal...climbing each hill, even when it hurts and not stopping until we reach the top.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Circle of Mothering Little Ones

(little Ashton is growing in my tummy)

So many nights of babies waking up, feedings, diaper changes.  So many days of singing lullabies and rocking babies, hoping they will fall asleep...for a long time.  Crying, terrible twos, terrible threes (it's true), potty training. 

Reading every book on the subject of sleeping, potty training (EVERYTHING). Calling every friend for advice.  Finding out that each child worked differently...there was no magic answers.

Can't forget mastitis, cracked nipples, leaking, engorged. Clothes not fitting. Clothes fitting, not fitting, fitting, not many times.

Waking sleeping babies from naps to pick up toddlers from preschool.  Carrying sleeping toddlers from the car to their beds (hoping they stay asleep during transport). 

Sick babies.  Now waking up at night again. Crying sick baby with four healthy children under 6 in doctor's office getting into everything while we wait upon the doctor.  Doctor explaining protocol for treatment while other children are very loud and disruptive. Gross tasting antibiotics forced.

Traveling on planes to Alaska from Virginia with young children. Spilling drink on only clean outfit on long flights.  Crying on plane while others stare (me and the kids).  Holding sleeping 2 year old while I am in complete pain not wanting to move a muscle so they remain asleep.  Changing a dirty diaper on plane, while you have two other toddlers in tow.  No movies to watch, electronic devices...

Pool trips with bags and bags of supplies. Children don't like snack but stand and stare at the lady's snack next to you.  In the water, out of the water...back in...just had a baby so I am fat.

Church.  Activities packed that resemble a toy store. Children fighting on bench over who gets the last goldfish.  Goldfish on floor smashed into a million tiny crumbs...multiple.  Husband sitting on stand asleep with Bishop.  I struggle to remain calm.  In the halls while 16 month crawls around waiting to turn 18 months....for years.  No nursing rooms. 

First child in school. Second. Third. Fourth. And then it happens...after years of waiting, the fifth finally takes his turn.  It becomes my turn for quiet, cleanliness and calm...and lunching!

Babysitters needed for couples dates, appointments, etc.  Dropping off, picking up, explaining, paying...

Then one child turns 12. Then another, then another.  The younger two can even stay home alone. No need for babysitters....ever again.

Bedtime is quick, enjoyable, easy.  I am now tucked in by two of my older children each night who come to my bedside for a good night hug.

No more children waking up at night, needing to be rocked, consoled or fed.

No more children to bath, brush or dress.

One will begin driving in July.  This will quickly be followed by another (and then 3 more).  A taxi service will be established.

Thinking about this circle of motherhood brings a smile to my face.  Happy because I actually did it!  So many years of tears (mine and theirs), hard work and yet complete joy.

As the circle of "little children mothering"comes to a close, I begin a new circle that will never end...

...their mother (and friend) forever.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Sommer's Sweet Sixteen Surprise

A month before Sommer turned 16, I asked her what she would like to do for her birthday. She immediately said, "I have always wanted a surprise party!  I would love everyone dressed up in fancy attire and dance!" 

And although I was a bit "concerned" because of that silly outrageous and totally over-the-top show, "My Sweet 16" on MTV, I was intrigued with the idea of a big party (we only allow the children a friend party option every other year and they then get the choice of  either planning a party with a $100 budget or $100 cash...lucky for me, I can usually get them to take the cash...especially after they see how much everything costs).

So the challenge was on (I love a good challenge)!  We were lucky enough that Grandma and Grandpa Gair had the perfect venue for our dance party (at their club). Trying to get a "secret" friend list without seeming to obvious was my next challenge. But my biggest obstacle was actually planning the "pretend" smaller party that would happen after her birthday to get her off my back while I was trying to plan the "real" party!

I reserved our spot, planned the menu, invited the guests, kept her off the "trail," worked up the pretend dinner with her grandparents the night of the party, bought her a "party" dress (to wear to the fancy dinner with Grandma and Pop-Pop), contacted my friends for ideas (and was so grateful so many offered their talents), organized the decor (with help), and on and on...I was completely spent (and totally EXCITED!).

I will consider this party as a complete warm up for Sommer's future wedding reception...


A huge thank you to Sommer's amazing Grandma and Grandpa for being the secret accomplices that got her to the party without her having any idea she was having this huge surprise.

And how lucky am I to have such talented friends willing to help me with EVERYTHING from pictures and centerpieces to cupcakes and candy (and everything in between).

Jean for taking fabulous photos that captured the moment perfectly....which Sommer will always treasure.

Jill for making the most delicious and fancied up lemon cupcakes (all 50 of them!) ever.

Holly for sewing table runners, cutting the tissue blossoms, making the Happy Birthday Banner and putting together the flower arrangements ( was just like a wedding).

Brooke Stark and Melanie for helping us decorate for the big event.

Kat for dropping everything and helping me print the lettering.

Lauren Pierson (Sommer's buddy) for helping me invite all of Sommer's friends!

And all of her friends for making her day so special!

There were a few times I truly thought she had figured it out and was simply playing along.  And the actual day of her birthday (the day of the big surprise), I felt bad we "weren't doing anything special" for her 16th birthday!

But it was worth everything, when the big moment actually came, all of her friends and siblings hiding, armed with streamers and party blowers, yelled out, "HAPPY BIRTHDAY SOMMER!" as Grandma and Grandpa escorted her into the room...

...for Sommer's Sweet 16 Surprise (and boy was she ever surprised!)!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Lucky Lady

On March 17th, seventeen years ago, I married my best friend. 

I am one lucky lady.

Friday, March 16, 2012

A Little Knowledge, Candy, and Some Reverse Psychology

(Dragon Blood Tree)

Today I was the substitute teacher for  3- 7th grade science classes that lasted for 1.2 hours each...whew!  The worst part was the assignment!  The kids supposedly watched a video about plants on Monday (today is FRIDAY!) and they supposedly took notes. 

I quickly came to the realization that no one remembered the video and no one took notes.  Great. This led to major problems when the worksheet was passed out and 12 questions were required to be answered in essay form.

Within minutes, kids were confused, asking me questions and turning to their neighbor for help.  Because I was absolutely no help, I resorted to keeping everyone under control and attempting to get something down on paper from each student.

After the first period fiasco (I didn't have any idea how the heck a Dragon Blood Tree had adapted to its environment or how the Milkweed plant and the Monarch butterfly helped each other...remember I hadn't see the video), I immediately had to fix that problem.  This inability to help the children and their inability to help themselves, led to many chatty students.  During the teacher planning hour (which was right after the first class), I went online, looked up all of the questions and found answers (Dear Teacher, It would have been so much easier if I had an answer key...Love, Mrs. Porter). 

As I sat ready to welcome in the next class and use my new found knowledge,  I came across this note from the teacher, "My last period of the day contain my biggest behavioral problems!  Feel free to take down any names or send a student to the office."  Geez, I had thought the first class was hard...needless to say, I was nervous about this class!

Although I was grateful for my new knowledge of the Dragon Blood Tree and Milkweed plant (and many other things) I was a bit concerned about this last class and keeping control for such a long period of time.

After introducing myself, I told them one thing, "Mrs. Porter loves candy.  And she likes to share it."  I showed them my bag of goodies and then explained that after they completed their assignment, they would receive a piece.

I was armed with  knowledge and treats but I knew I needed to add the "reverse psychology" plan...just to be sure.

After my introduction, I immediately told them they were Mr. So and So's favorite class!  They said, "No way, he hates us!"  I reiterated, "No, really you guys are awesome.  You are truly the best class. I mean look at, handsome/pretty and ready to listen!"  As I said these words, I looked into their eyes, high fived a few possible "hoodlums" and winked at the obvious trouble makers.

I honestly believe they changed in that very instant I told them they were awesome.  And although they weren't "perfectly quiet," they were perfectly wonderful.  By simply telling them how great they were (and that they were loved), they became great.

...and the candy helped too.

I made a conscience choice to show my confidence and love in these children that I didn't know. Just think about the huge change each of us can make in our own homes and those around us by simply telling them how great they truly, capable, and loved. These are people we do know!

...throw in some candy and miracles will happen!

And if by chance you know how the Air Plant gets its nutrients without roots in soil, you are completely set!

Thursday, March 15, 2012


After a tremendously challenging last week, reprieve was felt everyday of this one.  And although it was still filled to the brim with "stuff to do," it has been glorious.  From warm bright sunshine filled days to children helping me and loving one another.  With both of our cars up and running, hot water showering down upon us and nothing else getting in our has been absolutely lovely.  We feel ever grateful for family and friends who lent a helping hand, gave advice and listened to my habitual complaining (I need to work on that).

This week ushers in a daughter who turned 16, an anniversary celebrating 17 years of marriage, a completely clean basement, a low mileage week scheduled on my marathon training and plenty of candy leftover from Sommer's party (I can't wait to write that post!)...

And although I am well aware that life is (and will continue) a challenge, this week is hasn't been and for that I am grateful.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

I am Not Yellin', I am Tellin'

Lately my kids have come to believe that when I give them a simple command such as "clean your room" or "practice the piano"...I am yelling.

Well I am not...yet.  I am only provoked to yelling after I have asked in a sweet nurturing voice 75 times.  And although I am never proud of these moments of "voice volume increase", they do occur on occasion.

My lovely children have turned my occasional shrill into what they think happens every time I make any request.

When I say, "Did you get your homework done?" They say, "Why are you yelling?" 

My new response is simple (and quite brilliant I must say):

"I am not YELLIN', I am TELLIN'."

And the voice I use as I say the words is the same sing-song, angelic, sugary sweet one used by all of the Disney Princesses (I am sure you can imagine that).

So dearest children, close your eyes and envision Cinderella (who truly knows the voice of a wicked, mean and yelling "mother") asking you to pick up YOUR (not mine) shoes.  No way is she yellin'...she is simply tellin'.

And by golly, you had better listen!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Breaking Point...I Will Not Snap

Life is a bit tough right now.  And although I feel I am at my breaking point, I will not snap.  And this week a few things have transpired that have bent me even see, I am already bending...ouch!

(A quick disclaimer about the stresses I share below.  I know I will most likely not remember them a few years down the road...thank goodness. I realize they are not the kind of trials that I know some of you are "bending" through right now.  But man it is still hard)

I think we have finally come to that point in my beloved (and trustworthy) car's life that it is no longer beloved or trustworthy.

And as much as I appreciated its loving service over the past 8 years, the miles of smooth driving (even after getting hit by that is a good story), taking our BIG family on fun adventures, getting me here and there...I am at my breaking point!

And then there is Garth's truck.  We have had his lovely vehicle for even longer!  It has hauled not only ALL of our stuff  over the years (mulch, couches, camping gear, you name it), we have also let everyone else take advantage of its hauling power!

Today it is in the shop.  Just one day after we got my car back (and spent a gazillion dollars) decided it too needed a trip to the repair man. 

So as wonderful as it is to own both vehicles, this month, their old age is really bringing me down (YOU HEAR THAT CARS!? YOU ARE REALLY BRINGING ME DOWN!).

I admit, I have reached a stress level that causes me...well...STRESS.  But in the middle of our little car trial, tender mercies have rained down.

Our wonderful Donna and Bruce have lent us their car multiple times.  And today our neighbor, Glen offered his little Yaris as long as we need it (don't tempt me...I may need it for a really long time).

I thought the car trouble was going to be just enough stress for the week, I was wrong.  Early this morning, I hear from my son as he is filling the bath tub, "Hey Mom! Why is there no hot water?" 

Shoot!  I quickly call Garth, hoping we haven't paid our gas bill. Darn!  He did!  The next step was to make my way to the basement to see if the pilot light had gone out. As I approach the door that contains the water heater,  I say over and over again, "Please, please, let it be the light...please!"

Nope. I immediately see water all over the floor.  Great....

As I was about to "snap," (because I was already at my breaking point), I see our dear neighbor Glen in his driveway. I walk over and tell him our latest sad tale of "our house is old and as you know my husband, though brilliant, can't fix things."  He laughs and takes a look at our water heater.

More tender mercies as he replies, "You will be needing a new water heater but I can install it for you." 

And although the wind is blowing with gusto right now (literally and figuratively) in our life (these are only a few things we are dealing with right now), I will not snap...bend a little, yes, snap off all together?  No!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

When Was the Last Time You...

Life can totally take over, can't it?  There are plenty of my days that feel just like the movie, "Groundhog Day," when Bill Murray wakes up over and over again to the same scenerio of one day in his life...until he figures out the small change he needs to make.  These " groundhog days" in my life turn into weeks, which then become months and soon years have passed...doing the same thing and forgetting...

We all have small changes to make in our daily life to remind us why we are here, who we love and what we can become.  But then the blasted daily grind of each of our lives seems to quietly take over (sometimes without us even knowing), repeating itself again and again...until we stop it and remember...

When was the last time you...

....wrote your significant other a love note?
...climbed up into your son's bunkbed and read his favorite book?
...took your daughter out to lunch after that doctor appointment?
...finished a book?
....ran as fast as you could?
...worked out so hard your shirt was dripping wet (yes...with your own sweat!)?
...soaked in the tub?
...made homemade chocolate chip cookies?
...woke up to see the sunrise?
...held someone's hand as the sun set?
...gazed at the stars?
...cleaned out every cupboard in your house?
...stopped to smell the roses?
...gathered the kids for a dance party?
...memorized a scripture?

We all are living the crazy life. And we each individually need to do something to make it stop every now and again so we can remember...

So today, maybe we could each do something we haven't done in a really long time and let it remind us of something really wonderful.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Suck it Up Buttercup

(one of our Buttercups, Boo)

I have an awesome group of girlfriends that I ride and run with throughout the year. We call ourselves the Buttercups. And our motto is:

"Suck it up Buttercup!"

If you  think you want to skip a workout,  slow down, or simply give up, we tell each other in a loving yet firm voice, "Suck it up Buttercup!"  And just like that you either show up, speed up and by no means give up!

I love these girls...they really inspire.  We are not without our individual tribulations and set backs that have come and gone (and some still remain) throughout the years. The Buttercups keep going...even during the hard times:

Sickness, loss of jobs, more sickness, injuries, new jobs, busy schedules, old age...

Together we encourage one another to become better by simply taking a deep breath and continuing on...even if it hurts, because we all will feel pain at some point on our journey.

Friday morning, with a chill still in the air, muscles not yet conditioned for riding...we took off on our first ride of the season.  And in true Buttercup form, we rode swiftly, consistently, stylishly (but of course) and full of lovely conversation.

Was it easy? No! Was the headwind convenient? No!  Were we tired? Yes!  Did we complete our goal?  OF COURSE we riding together as the Buttercups.

(now the rest of you Buttercups better join us next time)



Friday, March 2, 2012

Dodging Worms

Don't you just love (I am being sarcastic) the masses of worms that appear on sidewalks and streets after a big rain storm?!

Yesterday we had a BIG rain.  This morning, I noticed the slimy suckers EVERYWHERE!  There were so many worms, I actually had to do a little side stepping maneuver to avoid them. I really didn't want the bottom of my running shoes to be completely covered in mushy worminess....gross.

So it was that kind of morning...I had to avoid worms...for 18 miles. 

I wasn't expecting the masses of worms joining me on my run today...but I also wasn't expecting the need to dodge a few other obstacles in order to complete my training goal.

Because of plans to head to our yearly get away to Massunutten ski resort this weekend, I planned to run my 18 miles on Thursday morning (it was that or be stuck running the miles in the mountains...up and down steep thanks) to get 'er done.

Unfortunately my husband had to go in early to work so he was unable to take over the "get the kids off to school" routine.  I had  a choice to make. I could avoid the run altogether for the day or I could dodge a few worms.  I decided that dodging a few worms would be easier than running in the mountains and in the rain (our forecast isn't looking great for our ski trip).

So with my resolve to complete my goal, here is what I had to do:

I woke up my middle school boys at 6:55.  I asked my older son to be sure his younger brother actually got up after I left.  I then started my run (and literally began dodging worms). My goal was to complete 4 miles and stop back at the house to be sure two the older boys were ready to hop on the bus. Check!  I then told the younger boys to start getting ready for school as I headed out for an additional 3 miles.  After that was complete, I ran home and finished getting the little boys off to school. I changed my sweaty running outfit (lucky was going to be a 65 degree day) and put on shorts and a t-shirt (yay). I quickly ran around the block until my "cog" Ann arrived at my house to run my final 9.2 miles.  Bless Ann's heart, she had committed to run 8 with me but because of my "dodgy" morning, I was only able to get in 8.8 before she arrived.  With a loving and willing heart, she ran me until we hit my 18 mile total.

We all have "worms" that creep up on our plans.  We may take the easy road and simply give up on our goal because we don't want to step on something a bit uncomfortable or that requires us to do a little dodging in order to complete our task. 

Don't let it.  Just start dodging the worms...and complete your goal.  And you may even get a suntan along your journey.

Don't let a little worm rule your world.