Monday, May 28, 2012

Emie's Mormon Prom...

Here in the city, I've learned that a few things are different at these ginormous schools that my children attend.  For one, Prom.  Here, they have a Junior/Senior prom at the high school, where only upperclassmen can go.  It makes sense really.  With a million kids at the high school--if they invited everyone, it would be WAY overcrowded! Also, the dances of today are a wee bit different than the dances I went to 20 years ago.  How can I say this delicately?  Grinding is the norm.  YUCK.  The music is usually pretty nasty, and the kids are all over eachother, like they can't wait to get back to the hotel room their parents paid for for their prom night.  Ew.  Yes, things are getting even worse, if you can believe that.  So most good, Mormon kids are uncomfortable staying at their prom for more than a little while.  At many schools, they don't stay at all.  They go to take pictures, and leave, finding a more appropriate activity.  (Emie said that regular prom was pretty fun--even though they did have some nasty dancing going on around them. Our high school is pretty stacked with Mormons--so we are pretty lucky that way.) You can call them prude.  Call them what you will--it's what they have to do in these days to stay away from all the garbage that goes on around them.   

So, there is a place called Barney Complex in Queen Creek.  It is a huge sports complex, built by the Barney family, and they put on what's called, "Mormon Prom".  Anyone 16 and older can attend, your class doesn't matter.  They require *GASP* "modest dress", and play clean music, and the kids took tons of pictures, and had a FABULOUS time!  Emie went with her good friend (boyfriend--but she won't let us call him that), Cameron Clark, and a ton of her friends from school who are Sophomores, so they couldn't go to their school prom.  They had such a fun time together!  Here are some pics...


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

About Staying Together...Forever.

I heard through the grapevine (that's what I call Erin), this week, that in the midst of Mothers Day shopping last week, and my birthday shopping this week, Emie had told her she was very concerned about mom and dad--and our marriage. She told her she was worried we were going to divorce. This concerned me for many reasons--but most of all it just made me sad.  Sad that I am not good at hiding my feelings, or acting like things are okay all the time.  Sad that I wear my emotions on my sleeve--and everyone suffers around here sometimes because of that, including my husband and my children.  Sad because sometimes I am a little too REAL, and kids should not have to see their mom be real--kids want to see that super hero mom, you know, the one who never has problems of her own--because she is too busy dealing with theirs.  Everyone deserves such a mom.  I used to be one, (and I also had one--thanks MOM). The last few years, full of challenges, have thrown me off my game! Not that Todd and I never fought.  We have always had a very passionate relationship.  I am a passionate person--so is Todd, and sometimes I love a good argument.  Anyone who's ever talked to me about politics knows that.  But in the end, things have always settled down, we have always worked things through, and we have always loved each other.  The last few years, though, things have been strained.  Much more than normal.  I try to explain to my kids that grown ups have grown up problems sometimes.  As much as teenagers think their lives are hard--they don't have bills to pay, and kids to raise.  And sometimes those problems push you to the brink. The last few years, I feel like I have lived in and out of that brink--sometimes teetering on the edge of a cliff, wondering when I would fall over the edge.  Some of the fights we have had have merit--some have been irrational, and had nothing to do with our marriage--but everything to do with what was going on outside our control. Here's the thing I've realized:  I get frustrated when I can't control things.  Todd gets frustrated when he can't fix them.  It's just how we're wired.  And since we haven't been able to control--or fix--our current situation, it has boiled over into our marriage, and obviously our kids have noticed that.

Last week was going fine until we got a bill from our lawyer for $7,000, and another bill related to our lawsuit for $2,000.  The number was shocking to me--especially since the bill was only for a month of work.  I had a good friend who once told me that when they were involved in a lawsuit, it almost destroyed their marriage.  It is stressful, and emotionally taxing to have this cloud hanging over our heads day in and day out, and try to make a living and go on about our business.  When the lawyer bills come, it only adds to that stress.  While I believe that we are doing the right thing--(these men ripped us off to the tune of almost a million dollars--I don't think they should just be allowed to get away with basically stealing our business)--it's still hard to make it through the accusations and the lies without getting personally offended and hurt by the whole thing. And boy are they dishing out a ton of lies, it's pretty sickening.  (If you don't know what I'm talking about--read more HERE or HERE or HERE).  It's also hard to find out that you were SO wrong when you thought you were a good judge of character, and I did.  At the same time, I am determined--DETERMINED--that Todd and I will not let this lawsuit destroy our marriage.  I will not give these men the satisfaction of knowing that not only did they steal our business, they broke up a happy family.  Financial problems, while SO stressful--are no reason for divorce.  I know that.  Yet, they can cause so many problems that undermine the love and devotion that you feel for each other.  We have to be so careful to not judge or blame each other for what has happened, but to present a united front--and put the blame where it belongs.

While I'm sad that our children have been witness to some of these fights and hard feelings, I'm not entirely sure it's horrible that they see us argue and fight sometimes.  I think they need to know that marriage is not always bliss.  Sometimes it's HARD.  Sometimes there are tears, and hurt feelings, and sometimes we treat those we love the most harshly, because we trust them that they will still LOVE us--even in our worst moments.  Am I proud that I have those moments?  No.  None of us are.  But they have seen us fight and battle it out--and they have seen us stay together through all of it.  Why?  Because I signed on to this thing, and I signed onto it FOREVER.  If there's one other thing I'm good at--it's being determined, and by gosh, I'm determined that something stupid, like a few years of bad luck, will not tear this family apart.  I want my kids to know that I don't give up--even when it's hard.  I want them to know they can do hard things--and sometimes, marriage can be one of those hard things.  Not many people I know have a marriage that is perfect--it's HARD.  But it's also so rewarding, and fulfilling, knowing you didn't give up on each other, knowing that you made it through good times and bad with that same loyalty and devotion that you promised you would give in the beginning.  It takes time, and love, and commitment, and most of all it takes forgiveness--but it is worth it!  I know that.

What I really want my kids to know--is what a great dad they have.  And how lucky I am to have him.  He is a good man--who honors his priesthood, and loves his family, and works hard so we can have a good life.  Even though I get frustrated, and we fight--I KNOW that we were meant for each other.  He is my better half (truly), and my life would be meaningless without him by my side.  Those times when we are in the heat of the moment, even if I think with all my heart that I might never forgive him this time, for whatever stupid thing we are fighting about, I think of a life without him, and I know I would be lost. I want my kids to know that I love him with all my heart! We didn't come this far--almost 20 years--to give up on what we have built together.  We have a beautiful family, and we have made covenants with my husband, and with God--and I don't take those covenants lightly.    Russel M. Nelson gave this amazing advice about marriage: (emphasis added)

"Brethren and sisters, material possessions and honors of the world do not endure. But your union as wife, husband, and family can. The only duration of family life that satisfies the loftiest longings of the human soul is FOREVER. No sacrifice is too great to have the blessings of an eternal marriage. To qualify, one needs only to deny oneself of ungodliness and honor the ordinances of the temple. By making and keeping sacred temple covenants, we evidence our love for God, for our companion, and our real regard for our posterity—even those yet unborn. Our family is the focus of our greatest work and joy in this life."

We made a covenant to honor each other, and be true--in good times, and in bad. Not just for now--but FOREVER. Forever is a tall order sometimes--right now, I prefer to take it one day at a time. And that's just what we're doing.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

It's a Miracle...We got a DOG!

If you know me, you know that I'm not really a pet person.  Growing up--I always had pets around, dogs and cats.  Somehow, they either all mysteriously disappeared, (as an adult, I found out my dad had an arrangement with our neighbor to conveniently dispose of eachother's animals if they were sick or whatever--NICE!) or they died of natural causes. When I married Todd, he was deathly allergic to cats--and I found out I was too (duh--how did I never figure that out when I was growing up, and suffering from horrible allergies).

We were never in a hurry to get a pet.  We tried a few dogs as our kids came along--believing that kids are always better off if they have a pet of some kind.  We started with a HUGE black lab, that was well behaved, but just too big, and it would jump on our little kids and scare them to the point that they wouldn't go near her.  We gave her away, then Todd got a little puppy, believing we could train it better--ummm...NOPE!  That dog was horrible!  It chewed through everything--including hoses, cable wire, shoes, toys, and the last straw was when he chewed through the air conditioning wire--a $500 fix!

Our next dog was a little Lhasa Apso that my sister had to get rid of, and we took it in.  He had been a rescue dog, and he was CRAZY aggressive toward her kids, and then mine.  Thinking I could save him, I hired a dog trainer, who charged $100/hour.  After five training sessions, she told me that this was the ONLY dog she had ever met that she could not train!  That dang dog stopped being aggressive and barking at the kids, but he was such a free spirit--he would NOT stay in the house.  Anytime the door would open, that dog was GONE!  I had to chase him around, and try to keep it out of the street, and it was SO stressful!  I finally gave him to my mom and dad (who still have him) when I was 8 months preggo with Jack, and I just could NOT chase him down one more time!  He still runs away from my parents--but they love him (more than they ever did us), and my Dad even shares his Oreo's with that dang dog!  Ha!  That's love!

Anyway, I saw that my friend was getting rid of a dog on Facebook, and when I saw his picture, I just couldn't resist!  Jack and Josh have  been asking for a dog forever (they loved the dog, it was me who resisted).  I acted on impulse, and went and got him!  His name is Bandit--and the kids just love him to death!  So far, he's been really well behaved, and mellow, just what I wanted!  It's fun having a pet around again, and I think I'm finally ready, now that I don't have babies and kids that don't need my attention every minute of every day!  Welcome to the family, Bandit!

Crazy (BUSY) Girl!...

This spring has been a busy one for my Emie!  Last year, she did Softball, and Club Volleyball.  This year, she decided to change it up, and for awhile, I thought she was just going to do volleyball again.  Then, she didn't come home on the bus one day, and I found out she was joining the track team!  WHAT?  Not only that--her coach in PE told her that she should try pole-vaulting, since her arms were so strong. He thought she would be good at it!  Just about the last thing anyone who has just paid the $1,200 fee for a volleyball club team wants to hear, is that her daughter is going to be pole-vaulting simultaneously!  I told her, "you better not hurt yourself!"  She agreed to be careful (as careful as you can be when you are flinging yourself over a bar three or four feet higher than your head with a pole)!  Sure.  It ended up working out okay--and she actually was really good at it!  She even took on another event--shot put--when she was messing around at a meet and entered the event for fun.  She did better than both the girls on her team that had done it the year before, and even ended up qualifying for the state meet!  Silly girl! Here she is in action!

 Stupid sign was in the way--so my pic got messed up--so I made Emie move the sign before the next throw...
Then--wouldn't you know it, dude decides to get out of his chair and stand up, and yeah, no picture...oh well.

 I love watching them warm up, and all the poles!  So fun!

 Love this one--she's too fast for my camera flying through the air! 

Emie her and her friend Kessa were on the same club volleyball team, so they took turns driving (Hallelujah!), so I didn't have to drive them around.  I still don't know what I think about the CLUB thing--you can read my previous thoughts HERE, but I do know that to have a chance at making varsity next year, she needed to find a good club so she could improve in the off season.  We ended up finding Players, and it was a perfect fit.  They finished #12 out of over 40 teams in the 17+ age division.  The girls had a fabulous season, and really made some good friends.  I was grateful that they took Emie in, and she really did improve as the season went on.  She is a good little back row player (libero), and an aggressive digger.  Very little got past her!  I was proud of her for sticking it out, and finding the time and energy to make it to practices and tournaments.  She isn't the biggest, or the fastest, or the strongest at everything she does, but she is one determined girl--I like to think she gets that from ME--(of course--Todd would probably say the same--and he did play a whole football game his senior year with a broken JAW--so I might have to cede that point)! Anyway, so proud of you girl for all of your accomplishments!  We love you!  :)

Friday, May 18, 2012

Ashlie's Robot...BOB!

Ashlie had a great time making an awesome Robot for her school class the last week of school!  I am just grateful to be done with school projects for awhile!  HA!  She named him BOB--I think it fits!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Trip to SIN CITY!...

Every once in awhile, Todd's job happens to be convenient.  Like when someone dies, and the family asks you to drive them to Las Vegas, and you get to take your wife with you!  YAY me!  Poor them...(really...he was a good man--he was not someone we knew, but tons of family who loved him and made the trip as well).  Mind you, that's about the only time his job has a perk attached.  Most of the time, it's a call during a date, or a movie, or sacrament meeting (always--so jealous when he gets to leave, does that make me a sinner?).  At least now, we expect it, and plan on it.  So, a few weeks ago, we went to Las Vegas for a short trip.  We drove over on a Sunday afternoon, Todd did the service Monday morning, (while I slept until NOON--#bestdayever) and we came home Tuesday morning.  We did, however, manage to have some fun in Sin City--good thing they're open ALL NIGHT!  We ate too much, stayed in the hotel we stayed in on our honeymoon (but didn't get the same room thank goodness--do you know the room we stayed in on our honeymoon had MIRRORS on the walls, AND ceiling?? Talk about YIKES!), saw a funny PG-13 comedy show, (Carrot Top--had some language, but man, our sides hurt we laughed so hard), gambled a little ($20, if you must know--and lost it all), rode some fun rides at Stratosphere--(no--we didn't bungee jump off the side of that building--but we saw some people doing it--are they INSANE???), and generally had a FABULOUS time!  I know what happens in Vegas, is supposed to stay in Vegas, but when you are boring and OLD like we are--what happens is generally fit to be on your blog--(most of it, anyway ;) HA!) so here are some pictures!

 See that pained look on my face? It's because I wore CUTE shoes instead of comfortable ones!  Duh.  I forgot how much you walk in Vegas! 

 We found this place in the Luxor, and had to eat dinner there!  T & T--it's the BEST!  :)
Love the Vegas Strip at night--however, I think even Vegas is suffering in the Obama economy--there were a few whole casinos that were fenced in & boarded up (WHAT??), and everyone had like HALF their lights on! Geez--thanks Obama for that!
The rides on top of the Stratosphere are totally worth doing--go at NIGHT though--the view is fantastic! We were there around Midnight!  :)
So many lights can make a camera go CRAZY!  I thought these pics were too cool to throw out though!  Love it!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Abby's 6th Grade Orchestra Concert...

Abby had her last Elementary School Orchestra Concert tonight.  It was AWESOME!  I am always amazed at what these elementary school music teachers can do with so many kids!  That job would put me in the nut house!  She had the sweetest teacher, and she just loved playing the violin.  I've even talked her into continuing into Junior High!  YAY!  BTW, isn't my sweet little girl looking so GROWN UP?  When the heck did that happen!?!?  Love this girl!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Because I am a Mother...

Happy Mother's Day!
I wrote this post a few years ago, but thought it was appropriate to post it again today! I'm sure I've only scratched the surface when it comes to listing the things I've learned as a mother--and I'm sure there are those out there with certainly more wisdom than me on this subject. I know one thing, motherhood is the toughest job that you'll ever love--and it certainly gives me more satisfaction than I ever thought possible. I am so grateful to be a mother, and so grateful for my mother, and Todd's mother, who we love with all our hearts. You are such great examples of the way I want to live my life...I love you! Happy Mother's Day!

14 years ago, my life changed. The doctor handed me a beautiful baby girl, 8 pounds 9 1/2 ounces, and Todd and I looked at each other and wondered, what now? I had no idea then, how much different I would be because I am a mother.
Because I am a Mother...
*Because I am a Mother, rational thoughts have been replaced with constant worry.
*Because I am a Mother, I say things that make no sense to anyone who isn't a mother. Things like, "I'm going to beat the living daylights out of you!" Huh?
*Because I am a Mother, I can sleep through most of a Die Hard movie at the movie theatre, but the small sound of my newborn infant squirming next to me wakes me up in an instant.
*Because I am a Mother, I have rolls where my stomach muscles used to be, and empty gray matter where my brain used to be.
*Because I am a Mother, I finally appreciate my mother! Thanks Mom, I love you!
*Because I am a Mother, sometimes 3 hours of sleep has to be enough.
*Because I am a Mother, I have to be able to turn from Old Mother Hubbard into Marilyn Monroe in a matter of seconds. Just because I am a Mother, doesn't mean I can't be his wife!
*Because I am a Mother, I have to have a solution for every problem. What kind of mother lets her children struggle with problems on their own? (Maybe a better mother than me...)
*Because I am a Mother, my boobs have been used and abused. I wish I didn't have to go through pain and agony to get a new, improved pair. (My teenager will love that one--don't worry honey--your turn will come...)
*Because I am a Mother, my days are full of some of the highest highs, and some of the lowest lows. Highs usually involve Coca Cola, or chocolate, and the lows? One word...laundry.
*Because I am a Mother, it's not about me.
*Because I am a Mother, I have a chance to live another childhood through my own children. Adolescence? No thanks, once was enough!
*Because I am a Mother, I fear the evil in this world, and I'm determined to protect my children from it at all costs.
*Because I am a Mother, I feel guilty for the dumbest things.
*Because I am a Mother, I demand loyalty, and respect. I'm not a perfect mother, but I'm the only mother they get!
*Because I am a Mother, I blame the dryer instead of the Oreos when my jeans don't fit.
*Because I am a Mother, I'm never quite sure about anything! Ask my kids...
*Because I am a Mother, even when I'm exhausted, sleep evades me, and my mind races 1,000 different directions. Sometimes it's hard to just be still.
*Because I am a Mother, I can multi-task. I can nurse a baby while reading a book to a toddler, while checking my e-mail, and eating a bowl of cereal--this is all before 8 a.m..
*Because I am a Mother, I appreciate other great mothers--especially when their children are friends with my children.
*Because I am a Mother, "muffin top" has become a painful reality. Google'll know if you are an offender too...
*Because I am a Mother, my head hurts--a lot.
*Because I am a Mother, I am proud when my kids make good choices, and my heart breaks when they don't. It's true that when you're a mother, your heart walks around outside your body.
*Because I am a Mother, sometimes the only "quiet place" is in my toilet room. Sometimes I lock myself in there and hide for hours.
*Because I am a Mother, "DIET" is a 4 letter word, offensive in every way. If you mention "EXERCISE" you might get the same hostile reaction from me.
*Because I am a Mother, a clean house almost makes me cry for joy. Needless to say, most days the tears I cry are not tears of joy.
*Because I am a Mother, I am always teaching, whether I realize it or not.
*Because I am a Mother, things that would make a normal person vomit, don't even make me wince anymore. It's just another day at the office...
*Because I am a Mother, I can blame the 10 extra pounds around my middle on baby #4, instead of blaming it on my love/hate relationship with my treadmill.
*Because I am a Mother, my life will never be the same again, and I wouldn't have it any other way.
What about you? How has your life changed because you are a mother?

Mothers Day...

Reasons why I LOVE being a mother:
*I love that moment when your baby looks at you and you lock eyes and know that he acutally sees you for the first time and smiles. It's like meeting him all over again.
*I love that I am such a good mother that by the time my children reach age 10, they actually know everything--that takes some good parenting!
*I love the feeling I get when I see my children accomplish something all on their own--I feel so proud of them and their independence.
*I love the sweet sound of "ma ma" when my baby says it for the first time, and actually means me. I also love how that cute little word turns into "MOOOOOOOOOM!!!" so quickly (and becomes a little less cute).
*I love that my kids think that no one but me knows where anything is in the house. And I love that blank look they give me when they ask me to help them with something and I say "go ask your dad".
*I love reading the same book over and over because it's her favorite!
*I love that my children are all so different and unique--it makes things unpredictable and it makes our house so much fun.
*I love that the laundry, the dishes, the cleaning are never really done--what would I do with myself if I actually ever finished them??? Then I would have to start on that long list of things I will do when all the cleaning is done, and who wants to touch that list, not me!
*I love when I'm awake with the baby at 3:00 a.m. and it's so quiet in the house and it's just me and him. I love that alone time to share with this new little spirit. I don't think I appreciated it with my first few kids, but I do now.
*I love the things my kids say--even sometimes when they're bad. It's so funny to me when my toddler says a *&^%&*^ word precisely on cue. It reminds me that they are watching and listening to everything I do and say! (It's only happened a few times....really...).
*I love when my children write me notes like this: "Dear mom, I love you so much. I will miss you when you die, but I will see you in Heaven." Priceless!!! (Erin's mothers day card).
*I love that I have an excuse for the fat around my middle, and I can blame it on my kids and not my bad eating habits!
*I love to hear my children bear their testimony, and know that I had a part in teaching them the Gospel. Those crazy family home evenings where we thought we were wasting our time have actually paid off!
*I love that I have strong-willed children. They will need to be strong to face the temptations in this world, and my children will be able to weather the storm. I think they will accomplish great things with their determination, when they use it for good.
*I love that my kids love each other. Although, sometimes that means they gang up on me.
*I love when my preteens roll their eyes at me--it usually means I'm doing something right as a parent!
*I love to use the T.V. as a babysitter. Don't judge me--Dora the Explorer is a lot more entertaining than I am--and sometimes I need her to take the kids for awhile so I can have a shower or just a few minutes to myself!
*I love to say all of those things that I hated my parents to say to me to my kids. "Life's not fair", "because I said so", "when you're the mom, you can make the rules", etc. I also like to make up my own little gems like, "Are you kidding me??"or "Zip it!" which I say 10 times a day.
*I love to take my babies out of the tub and wrap them all up in a warm towel and snuggle them, they're just SO cute, and smell SO good!
These are just a few things I love about being a mother. I am so grateful for this time in my life--I want to enjoy every minute of it! I want my kids to know I LOVE being their mom, and it makes me proud that I have 6 great kids! Is life crazy? Sure, but I wouldn't have it any other way!
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