Friday, January 28, 2011

A Gift of Fresh Air

Umm...I know this will be painful for my east coast friends to hear, but it is 59 degrees outside and we are going to have a high of 65 today.  I think I like January in Denver....

Sophie spent the morning riding her bike and drawing with chalk on the sidewalk.

I am mindful today once again of the gift that each day is.  My darling sister Eliza experienced a tragic miscarriage the other day.  She was nearly 16 weeks.

Today, my sister-in-law Elisabeth, who has experienced several heartbreaking miscarriages is in labor right now at the hospital with a full-term healthy baby boy.  This will be her 3rd child. 

I guess we never know what each day will bring us.  I can't help but ask myself, "Am I doing enough to enjoy my gift today?"

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Blast of Inspiration for...My Pantry

My older sister Marisa is in the process of redecorating her basement.  One of her kids flushed a garland down the toilet over the Christmas break...yep, a garland.  Let's just say that it did some damage to the sewage pipes and the flood pretty much ruined every surface in her basement.  Although it was a huge pain going through that Christmastime of course...she has been able to get new carpet, baseboards, paint, etc.  She is  looking for some fun new ideas for her kid's playroom, toy solutions, etc.

I jumped at the opportunity to help her come up with some ideas.  (Since I can't decorate my own, I should at least have fun dreaming up doing the space for someone else right?)  I have been peeking at different websites and blogs for inspiration.  I am blown away by the talent of so many women out there.  Ordinary woman who have created extraordinary homes. (By the way, what is the deal with so many of these bloggers being Mormon?)

One of my favorite inspiration sites of late is Centsational Girl.  This girl is amazing.  Her ideas are so practical and refreshing.  She did a guest spotlight on her post yesterday.  A girl from a blog called House Smiths. If you want to be inspired check out her guest post.  Here is just a sample of what she did in her pantry.  I am dying over this.

Photo from House of Smith

Photo from House of Smith

Are you kidding me??  Wow.  I love how the internet and more importantly blogging has opened the window to thousands of ideas of inspiration.   I get to take a peek into someone's Martha-esque house...a stranger no less...and I never even have to leave my own computer.  Pretty amazing.

Back to the playroom ideas.  I got distracted.  Marisa, I'll try and get some more ideas after I stop drooling over this pantry...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Quilt without Fabric

I was recently called to serve as a counselor in the Relief Society in my ward.  For those of you who don't know, Relief Society is an all female organization in our church.  Its focus is to literally "provide relief" to those who stand in need of comfort.  The goal of the program is to help each other fortify our homes and strengthen our families.

Photo borrowed from my amazing friend Ellen's Blog.
We had our first meeting last night and invited all the women who are working in Relief Society in some capacity to get together to address the needs of the women in our congregation.

We sat around and introduced ourselves and had to share one or two interesting facts about ourselves.  As we each took our turn, it was very clear that I was surrounded by amazing women.  I was so touched by their life experiences.   I have so much to learn from them.

As I looked around, I couldn't help but think in many ways we are all like scraps of fabric.  Some are bold, some are subtle and some are even a little tattered, but coming together with our varied life experiences and having a chance to serve one another is forming a beautiful quilt.

 I am grateful to be a part of such an organization.  I am glad that I am testing what it feels like to truly "Embrace" this opportunity to serve.  It is already changing me.  It feels nice to be a part of something good.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Shattered Dreams of a Six-Year-Old

For the past several months, Christian has been making some big plans.  I am pretty sure that he thinks he is going to be recruited for the a six-year-old. We signed him up for a "Little Dribblers" basketball team at our local recreation center and he has been DYING for the games to start.  For the past few weeks, he is constantly asking me to remind him how many days are left until the "Big Opening Day Game."

To get ready for his basketball season, he has spent countless hours in our basement playing on a plastic basketball standard that we set up.  He has been working on his dribbling and of course his 3-point shot.

The big opening day for his first practice/game was this past Saturday.  He got up really early that morning and proudly put on his basketball shorts, t-shirt and shoes.  He walked around trying not to smile.  It was adorable.

As we got ready to go, he asked Romney if he looked "Basketball-ish" and then proceeded to tell us that he was pretty sure that he was going to score 60 points and that he was going to dunk most of his shots.  He was completely serious. (Sorry no pics, I forgot my camera.)

Well...the game did not exactly go as he had envisioned.  He quickly found that it is pretty chaotic on the court with 10 other little 6-year-old boys who have never played basketball and have no idea how to pass to each other. Things got pretty bad when a loose ball hit him smack in the nose and a rebound or two hit him in the head.

Despite his "I'm Open" pleas, he never even got his hands on the ball...which meant of 60 points.  He was so deflated.  I ached for him and wondered what was going through his head as I watched him on the sidelines rubbing his swollen red nose and desperately trying not to cry.

But I was so proud of him because every time he was put in the game, he ran his little heart out and whenever one of his teammates scored a basket, he would cheer as loud as could be.  So, even though it was obvious that it was not the start of his "glory days," he did learn that being a part of a team is also pretty cool.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Impatiently Learning Patience

A year and a half ago, we decided to sell our home in Sandy, Utah.  We lived in that house for nearly 4 years and although we loved the spectacular mountain views, the flat streets, the proximity to the elementary school and our amazing ward, we never felt fully planted there.  We sort of always felt that we had another move left before we found "The" house where our family would grow up.  So, off and on, we were on the look-out for the perfect neighborhood and home.

But in the winter of 2009, when Romney decided to quit his job due to lack of funding, we found ourselves with a decision to make.  We realized that one way we could maximize our savings and stretch our money would be to sell our house and then temporarily move our family into a home that we have owned as a rental property.  All this was going to happen until Romney was able to find stable employment.  It felt like the right thing to do.  We got the house ready and despite the stagnant and depreciating Salt Lake housing market, we got a great offer 5 weeks after the sign went in the yard. (Can someone say phew?!!)

We moved our little family into this home that over the years has been a thorn in our side.  We have always regretted this investment and it has had more problems that you can imagine.  (At one point we were convinced the house was isn't...even though it was struck by lightning...)  Despite our temporary arrangement, we found refuge from our storm in that house.  We quickly adjusted to our new, but temporary lives. 

Then 15 months after Romney quit, a new and great job offer came and here we are in Denver in another temporary housing situation...our lease is up next month.  I find myself longing to plant my feet.  Our lives have felt temporary for a while now.  However, now that the time is nearly here to buy a home and plant my family, I find myself wanting to take it slowly.  I find myself needing to be P.A.T.I.E.N.T. 

A lot is riding on this move for my kids.  Do I really want to rock the boat for them again??  We need to get it right, so I am going to take my time to do just that.  Although I am DYING to be in a house where I can actually unpack all the boxes and in a house where it will feel like our own with our family photos hanging on the walls and where the kids will actually want to hang out with their friends, a lot is riding on this decision.  So...I will continue to impatiently... I mean...patiently wait to put up a, "Welcome Home Sign."

I am reminding myself to be grateful and more importantly to "grow where I am planted."  Patience.

Monday, January 17, 2011

A Man Who Had the Courage to Change the World

The older I get, the deeper my respect grows for Martin Luther King Jr...a man who had the courage to change the world.  The hatred and divisiveness in the country was beyond anything I can imagine, but he stood up for what he knew to be true...that we are all children of God.  And despite the resistance he faced, he persevered and succeeded.  He changed the world.

One of the most powerful things he said was, "History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people."

I love that my kids are growing up in a world where the color of one's skin is irrelevant.  We have immediate family members and close friends of various races and my kids only see them as people they love.

Thank you Mr. King for having the courage to resist the hatred against your message of peace and acceptance...(I have a hard enough time trying to establish "sibling peace" in my own home let alone taking on the contention in the world!) 

Our country has a long ways to go, but I think we are closer than ever to the reality he hoped for which is that, "One day we will live in a nation where we will not be judged by the color of our skin, but by the content of our character."

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Amazing What $15 Can Buy...

For the past several years, Romney and I have tried to make a habit of taking the kids on a date.  We are not that consistent at doing it, but we have found that those dates provide some quality one-on-one time that is nearly impossible to achieve at home.  (My dad was great at taking the time to do that with me and some of my fondest childhood memories with him are from those dates.)

Christian has been begging me to take him on a date, but for what ever reason, we have not been able to find the time to go.  So finally on Saturday morning, I told him that we were going on a date, just the two of us.  I did not really have anything planned, but he was so excited.

We started the morning at Krispy Kreme and ended our date at Boondocks Fun Center.  We rode a go-cart, played dozens of arcade games and climbed through the play land...together. Yep, even me.

It wasn't much effort on my part, but I'll tell you that I have not felt that loved in a long time.  He kept hugging me and telling me that I was the best mom in the world.

On the drive home, he told me with his cute squinty eyes, "Mom, this has been the best day of my life!"

A perfect way to spend a morning...all for $15 bucks and a few hours of my time. Turns out, that morning was just what I needed. Thank you Christian!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

We got Annie!

You only have to watch that show called, "Toddler and Tiaras" on Discovery one time know that those families...namely the mothers who put their kids in those beauty pageants are slightly unstable.

I love the website's description of the show: "On any given weekend, on stages across the country, little girls and boys parade around wearing makeup, false eyelashes, spray tans and fake hair to be judged on their beauty, personality and costumes. Toddlers and Tiaras follows families on their quest for sparkly crowns, big titles, and lots of cash."


I have watched portions of the show with Romney and he can barely contain his nausea.  The moms who are putting dentures in their babies' mouths and doing the jazz hands and winks from the audience are just plain scary.

So, you can imagine that given my feelings about that show, why I would have some reluctance in sharing some exciting news about Lauren.....

A local high school and community theater program are putting on a production of the musical "Annie."  They opened the auditions to several neighboring communities for the parts of the orphans including "Annie."

Well, those of you who know Lauren, know that she is incredibly animated, funny and let's be honest, entertaining.  She has always wanted to be in plays and is constantly asking me if she can be in movies, (but I only have to watch the news and see Lindsay Lohan to remind me that I am not interested in that path!!) There has never been a time when a play made sense, but when the flier for "Annie" came home in her backpack from school, I figured now is as good a time as any.

So, for the past several weeks, Annie songs have been heard around our home.  She tried out last week along with at least 90 girls.  The tryouts were intense and very competitive.  She had to sing a solo, a group song, act out a scene from the show and perform a dance on stage in front of 4 judges.

To make a long story short, she made the first cut and then after a grueling 4-hour 2nd casting call on Friday, we received a call on Saturday morning from the director that they would like to offer the leading role of "Annie" to Lauren.

What?  We got Annie??

We are all freaking out a little...(including me because the part involves 3-hour rehearsals every day except weekends until April.)  But all that said, we are thrilled.  This is an amazing opportunity for a girl who has found her passion and will now be given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to bloom.

Congratulations to my darling Lauren!!!

(Don't worry, you won't find me prompting winks and jazz hands from the audience!)

Friday, January 7, 2011


I cannot tell you the number of times I heard my parents say, "Your friends will come and go, but you will have your family forever."  This was always in an effort to help us get along and not fight--an effort to help us realize that we should try just as hard to be respectful to each other as we were to our friends.

Somehow my parents were successful.  All 8 of the siblings are good friends and this started from a very early age.  Yes, the usual fighting was there, but somehow we learned to "enjoy" each other.  What was it?  How did they help us to see friendships rather than foes?

I mention this because I really want this to be a reality in my family too.  My kids generally get along with each other, but they also generally don't.  The bickering and annoyances, the "I hates," the "she's bugging me," the "he's looking at me," the irritability, and let's be honest, the selfishness, it is driving me crazy.  At one point during the break, Christian even asked if we could drop-off one of my other kids at an orphanage.  Help.

I really want to help them see that there is power in being united.  Hopefully I will be able to help them realize that there is not a lot that can be done with a broken chain.

So, although my one word to help me focus and make the most of 2011 is "Embrace,"  I think the one word that I will use as a 2011 focus for my little family is: "United."

How funny that I am now the one saying, "Your friends will come and go, but you have your family forever."

Thursday, January 6, 2011


I am a big believer that there is power in a hug.  Sometimes when Romney gets home, I tell him that I just need his hug.  Feeling his strong arms around me for just a second completely re-energizes me and gives me the ability to refocus.  There is something so strengthening about being pulled in and embraced.

I have thought a lot about the coming year and what the future holds.  I have decided that if there is one word that will help me get the most out of whatever is in store, that word would be "Embrace."

Sometimes I find that my execution in all aspects of life is done with straight arms.  I can execute, but how often do I embrace the tasks I am given?

I want this year to be different.  I want to embrace my role as a mom.  I want my kids to feel that I am available and eager to be there for them.

I want to embrace the ages of my kids.  I am shocked how quickly their childhood is beginning to fade.  How many times did I complain when they were younger and being obnoxious and pooping and crying and whining and making messes?  My heart pangs a little as I realize that those days also represented a time when they were dependent, believing, needy and mine.  There was joy in that journey too.

I want to embrace my callings and responsibilities in my church.  So many times I find that my ability to give is also with arms out straight.  I give just enough to do my job, but without embracing those callings, I fear that I am robbing myself of the joy that comes from giving with my whole heart.

Lastly, I want to embrace the relationships in my life.  I am fortunate to have great and inspiring people who surround me.  I am determined to embrace and cherish those relationships better.

2011 Blank Canvas...Embrace Life
I need to remember that to embrace requires more...  

Here's to 2011 and the chance to start anew.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A Blank Canvas

We had a very relaxed New Year's.  We stayed home and just enjoyed each other.  We did pull out the Martinelli's and took turns talking about what was our favorite thing that happened in 2010 and also one thing that we hoped to accomplish in 2011. It was a really nice way to end a year and I hope that we make it a new family tradition.

The tree is gone, the wrappings are tossed and pretty much all remnants of the holidays are gone.  I love the decorations for the holidays, but I have to confess that I LOVE putting it all away.  (I think that my mom is a little concerned that one of these years I won't even wait for Christmas Day to put it all away.) 

I love the cleanliness and the emptiness of my space.  There is something so invigorating to me about having a clean slate.  It seem so appropriate to start a new year with a blank canvas.

A decade has passed--a significant decade in my life.  It kind of overwhelms me to think what this next decade will bring:  teenagers, Jr.High, teen love, kids driving, kids attending and graduating from high school, Thomas serving a mission, two kids in college, turning 40, etc. (I think that means that I will officially be a grown-up?)

I have been thinking a lot about my life and the direction I want to go this year as well as what I want to do with the next ten.

I love the freshness of starting over and the excitement of filling my blank canvas.  I can't wait to see what the future holds.

Happy New Year's!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...