Tuesday, May 29, 2012

10 things to smile about

I know I'm a little late to the party - but I really miss blogging!  So I'm squeezin' in a post before it's time to pick the kiddos up from school!

I'm linking up with 2 parties today - check the buttons at the bottom.

Ten things to smile about:

1 - One more week until school is out for summer!  It has been a loooooong year!  I'm excited for that first morning of NOT setting the alarm!  Also, really excited to spend some fun time with my kiddos.  The school year is so hectic, and it will be nice to relax a little!

2 - Freedom.  I am so grateful for the privilege of living in this country.  And humbled by the great sacrifice of those who gave all to defend my freedoms.  We spent part of our day yesterday attending a Memorial Day tribute put on by our city.  There were touching words spoken, beautiful songs performed, the reading of the names of those from our state who have given the ultimate sacrifice since last Memorial day, along with a 21 gun salute.  It is so very important to me that I teach my children what this day is all about.  That it isn't about a day off school or work, or BBQ's and camping, or getting extra stuff done around the house..  It's not even just about putting flowers on graves.  I want them to feel that reverence and gratitude for those who have laid down their lives so that they and I are able to live the privileged life that we enjoy.

3 - My spunky little Monkey is graduating from pre-school tonight.  She is my baby and it is hard for me to accept that she is going to go to REAL school next year!  Sniffle, sniffle.  But seeing her grow and be excited to start school brings a smile to my face!

4 - Cowgirl's celebration of learning is tomorrow night.  They have been studying the American Revolution.  They wrote and submitted scripts for a play about the Revolution, and Cowgirl's was the one chosen to be performed!  Can't wait to see it!

5 - Pixie's celebration of learning is Thursday night!  They have been studying the Navajo.  They are presenting a Navajo museum, and have been creating artifacts to display.  Super excited to see their work!

6 - Bookworm was elected to the Student Council.  I'm trying REALLY hard to smile about this one!  I am proud of him.  But he is already doing SO MUCH...I'm afraid he's gonna get burned out.  And I KNOW I am!

7 - Sunshine.  It was pretty gloomy and cold the past several days, but the weather has turned beautiful, sunny and warm and I just want to go play outside!

8 - Celebrating the joy of wonderful news for good friends.  I have a couple of friends who have recently received happy news pertaining to their families, and I LOVE that they are so happy!

9 - Bookworm and his friends hanging out over the weekend.  Watching them and listening to them, and giving them a hard time really made me smile.

10 - And the biggest thing to smile about at the moment is that in less than 3 weeks, I will be hanging out in REAL life with Amanda (shortmama - no longer blogging), Myya, and Macey!  I love these girls, and cannot wait to have them and their fun families in our home, creating awesome summer memories.  I get giddy when I think about it.  And an ADDED bonus to their visit, is that we will be spending a day with Sami, Evelyn and their families.  It's going to SO be a day to remember!

Sorry this is really long with no pictures - but I am too lazy to find some to post because it's almost time to go!

Linking up here:






Monday, May 21, 2012

FMM time!

It is a crazy week for this mama, but I wanted to take just a few minutes to whip out a quick FMM post.

And I apologize for my visiting slackerness!!  I'm working on getting back into the groove!

Here are the questions from Kenlie for today:

1- Three of your favorite movies:

Clear and Present Danger
A Knight's Tale
Son's of Provo

2 - Three of your favorite things to drink:

Water
Dr. Pepper
Cherry lime-aid from Sonic

3 - Three of your favorite songs:

So hard to narrow down!  I'll go with:

All In - Lifehouse
The Spirit of God - Hymn
O' Holy Night - Christmas

4 - Three people who have recently been a positive influence in your life:

Elder Samuel W. Clark (LDS General Authority who spoke in our Stake Conference this weekend)
His wife
My primary children I serve in church.

5 - Three things you do to keep yourself entertained:

TV
texting
crafting

6 - Three things you are attracted to in the opposite sex:

Hotness
Intelligence
Humor

7 - Three things you love about yourself:

I'm passionate
I'm involved with my children's education
I'm loyal

8 - The last 3 people who text messaged you:

My mom
Tanielle
Macey

9 - Three things you are looking forward to this week:

The end of it
The end of it
The RSL game

10 - Three wishes specifically for yourself - what are they? (be honest and be selfish)

RSL season tickets
To be skinny
To have my bills paid off

11 - Three of your favorite quotes:

I actually have a ton - here's a few off the top of my head.  Not necessarily my top 3.

"Heaven - don't miss it for the world."
"You can do anything, but not everything." ~ David Allen
"Never confuse education with intelligence."

12 - Three of your biggest fears:

Losing a child (physically)
Losing a child (spiritually)
Failing

13 - Three of your favorite TV shows:

NCIS
NCIS: Los Angeles
Hawaii five-o

14 - Three of your favorite things to purchase when you're shopping:

Sunglasses
Earrings
Treats

15 - Three things you enjoyed last week:

Girls night with my daughters while my boys were at a school camp out
Pixie's first piano recital
Stake confrence

16 - Three things that you always have in your bag, or close to you:

cell phone
calendar
church phone directory

17 - Three types of food that you wouldn't want to give up:

Mexican food
Sea food
cheese

18 - Three things you do to enjoy burning calories:

Yeah right.
Okay, I like swimming/water activities, but haven't done them in a loooong time.
Laughing - it burns calories and it is awesome.
Dancing - also neglected for a loooooong time.

19 - Three things you dislike about blogging:

Guilt when you don't get around to leave comments.
Disappointment when others don't leave comments for you.
The time commitment.

20 - Three ways blogging has changed your life:

I'm finally a little consistent at keeping a journal for my family.
The great inspiration/ideas I've implemented in everything from decor and crafting, to food storage and prepareness.
Most important of all - the friendships.  Real friendships that go beyond blogging and will continue whether we continue blogging or not.

DONE!  Go visit Kenlie to read more answers or to link up!!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

My dad's health

I haven't really gone into detail too much about my family outside of my husband and kids.  But today I'm going to share a little bit about my dad.

I have mentioned a couple of times that he is in bad health, but I've never really shared on my blog the extent of his health issues.

My dad has been unable to return to the workforce since I was 9.  He was placed on a medical retirement after his second back surgery, which damaged the nerve endings in his back and promoted the growth of scar tissue all around his back nerves, left him unable to do activity for more than a few hours at a time without having to lay down for a couple of hours to recouperate.

As time went on his pain got worse.  He now suffers from chronic pain pretty much around the clock.  He ended up going from being able to be up for a good part of the day, and lay down for a couple of hours occasionally, to being in bed for a good part of the day, and only being up for a couple of hours occasionally.  Now he is in bed pretty much all the time.  He gets up to shower and use the restroom.  On a very good day he is able to go out with my mom for an hour or two, but pays for it by being in bed for the rest of the week.

I lost count of his back surgeries after number 6.  He has had an electric/magnet box implanted, then removed after it didn't work, he currently has a morphine pump implanted that pumps pain medication into his system on a continual basis.  It has malfunctioned and had to be repaired, as well as his body has had adverse reactions to a number of the medications, and he has gotten very sick.  It is a continual cycle of trying new things to try and make his life more enjoyable.

After one of his surgeries a few years back, he had a mild heart-attack.  Following this, during his hospital stay, they discovered blood clots on his lung.  After rehabilitating and being released from the hospital, he was having a hard time breathing, and feared that he may have another blood clot.

Instead we found he has asbestos disease.  He worked for our local gas company for many years, and was exposed to asbestos over the course of that occupation.  Due to his other health issues, he was told that surgery to try and reverse the condition would almost certainly be unsuccessful, and he very likely would not survive such a dangerous procedure.  So he lives with it.

My dad walks with a cane because of the chronic pain, and now complete exhaustion, and inability to get enough oxygen.  He is on oxygen, but still has a hard time breathing.

I believe we all have our trials in life, and Heavenly Father has a plan for each of us.  My mom's desire to be a stay at home mom was never to be, because she needed to stay in the workforce since my dad was unable to work.  But I know she is a stronger woman because of it.  And our family has grown through this trial.  But as much as I believe in God, and his plan for us - my heart is still gripped with fear whenever I think of the possible day that the diagnosis from my dad's check-up is not what we hope it will be.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Learning from a Local Legend

Our family had the great honor this weekend to attend an evening of celebration.  It was an event to honor an amazing musician.  Jack Ashton.

My son is amazingly fortunate to be taking private violin lessons from Jack.  He had to audition to get a spot as one of his students.  When his previous teacher first referred us to Jack, I googled him.  I found that he was quite the accomplished musician, principal violinist in the Utah Symphony, and was highly admired within the Utah classical music scene.

We have been with Jack for about 2 years, and have come to know that he is much more than an amazing violinist.  But it wasn't until last night that we all realized just what a privilege it is for Bookworm to be studying under him.  He is truly a legend among elite musicians.

The night was put on by several former students who have gone on to become masters (maestros even) in their fields.  As we were sitting watching a skit/musical number being put on by 3 men honoring Jack, Bookworm exclaimed, "Hey, that looks like one of The Piano Guys!  Wait - it IS one of The Piano Guys!"  If you don't know who The Piano Guys are - you have GOT to check this video out.  I don't care who you are, or what your passion is - this is simply amazing.  (This is one of the guys (a former student of Jack's) who was hosting the event - he writes the arrangements, then plays all the parts, and puts them together.)


This is an 8 part arrangement he put together, and then played all the parts.  It's incredible



Another of Jack's former students, the one emceeing the event, has gone on to compose beautiful orchestra arrangements, one which was performed on Saturday night.  It was a total Mr. Holland's Opus moment.  An orchestra made up entirely of Jack's students and former students, Jack took his place at the front, and conducted 3 pieces.  It seriously gave me chills and took my breath away.

For Bookworm, it was an experience he won't soon forget.  It was so inspiring to see the impact Jack had made on the lives of so many, and the brilliant musicians they had gone on to become.  We felt truly humbled to be a part of this night, and to see just what could possibly be in Bookworm's future if he sticks with it, works hard and follows the instructions of this amazing teacher, musician, mentor and friend.



I'm thankful to have music in my life, and especially grateful to have my children love music as much as I do.

I'm linking up here:










Flock Together


And special thanks to Mom's Best Nest for spotlighting me today!!  Go check it out!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Cremation? What do you think?

Disclaimer:  My family speaks very candidly about death, and other topics that some may find morbid.  Sorry.

So my mom recently informed us that she has decided to be cremated when she dies.

Really?

The rest of us aren't really sure how we feel about this decision.  I mean, I know it's not like she'll be doing anything with her body anytime soon after she's six feet under.  But I always thought it would still exist, you know?  And she'd have a nice little grave marker that said something lovely about her, that we could bring flowers to on special days, or just because.  I mean I don't think about it OFTEN, but I guess I just didn't think of her as being a pile of ashes in a vase after she was gone.  You know?

But she insists that it is just too expensive to buy a burial plot in a cemetery, purchase a casket, pay for a grave marker.  And she is being stubborn. So I'm thinking about looking into some senior burial insurance, or maybe finding out more on Social Security.  I mean, if she's dead, what can she do about it?  We can pretty much do what we want at that point, right?

Except she would probably haunt us.  Not probably - she WOULD.  That's okay.  I ain't scared of no ghost!  You totally have that song in your head now, right?  You're welcome.


So what do you think of cremation vs. burial?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

PMM - My Son

I thought I'd join up today with Emmy Mom and Kmama, to do a little braggin' on my son.

If you remember here, I told you about our school's Pedals for Hope cancer research fundraiser.  As part of the event, my son committed to ride his bike 40 miles and collected pledges from friends and family.  I was a little unsure if he'd be able to complete the full 40, since he doesn't really get a chance to ride much, and he had only been on a bike ONCE since winter got over.

But I'm proud to say my boy did it!  He completed the full 40 miles.


Not only that, but we picked him up from the trail and immediately dropped him off at his Scoutmaster's to head to scout camp.  He returned from Scout camp and changed his clothes and immediately went to his soccer game (they won!).  Let me tell you that that boy was sore for a good couple of days after!!

Thank you to those of you who helped him pass his fundraising goal.  He ended up having the highest amount of all the students!  We love you!  The students ended up raising just over $4,000 this year.

I also need to brag on him on the personal development front.  This year Bookworm joined a youth chamber orchestra on the suggestion of his violin teacher.  The orchestra is conducted by his daughter, and he wanted Bookworm to have that ensemble experience and since he is not yet in HS, and our school is quite small, he isn't able to participate in a school orchestra at this time.  He didn't really want to at first, to add to his time commitment for violin.  But their end concert was a few weeks ago (he missed the 1st one because it was the same night as opening night of the school musical), and he thoroughly enjoyed the experience.  He is excited to audition next year for the advanced orchestra that is conducted by his violin teacher (who is a member of the Utah Symphony).  I left my camera home, so I only have Hubby's cell phone video, but this was one of the favorite numbers of the night (he is on the left with the burgundy tie):



Have a proud moment to share?  Click here and link up!


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

In it to Pin it!

I just wanted to let you know about a fun little hop that's going on over at MiMi's, and Mindi's.

It's a Pinterest party where you can show off and discover fabulous Etsy shops!  Go check it out!


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Bonjour!

Remember how I told you all I've been taking French lessons?  I am having so much fun with them.  I know I'm not learning as quickly as if I were younger, and taking lessons every day, but I so appreciate my weekly visit from a dear friend who takes the time to teach a slow learner a beautiful language!

I took French class in middle school, and my teacher told me I had a gift for the language.  Back then my bestie and I used to say that we would live in twin chateaus in France.  We knew the names of the boys we would be married to, what they looked like, how many kids we would have, and their genders and names!  Man we had it all figured out!

Back then, I imagined that because of my gift for the French language,  I would one day be working for a translation agency contracted by the government.  Or maybe I would get to be an undercover intelligence agent that used my bi-lingual skills to infiltrate international criminal organizations and help bring them down.

Of course, that would be my secret life.  To the world I would just be the nice wife and mom living in a French chateau with her beautiful kids, and next door to her best friend.

Please tell me I'm not the only adolescent who had such crazy imaginings?  Right?  Or I'm just weird?  Okay.

Now my aspirations are much more down to earth, I would love to some day be able to carry on a half-way decent conversation in French with someone who speaks the language.  and actually be able to understand them, and have them understand me!

I'll share more stories from my secret French life in future posts.  Because I just thought of 2 funny French things to share!  

To be continued....

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Gettin' my craft on!!

It feels like it's been forEVAH since I've done a fun printed craft.  I recently participated in a weekend boutique, and besides my usual hair accessories/baby items, I wanted to have some cute framed art to sell.

Rather than just stick a cute print into a frame, I decided to turn to my ever trusted Mod Podge and give it a little more character.  Instead of prints behind the glass, I mod-podged the print to the front of the glass, then put a couple coats of Mod Podge over the top of that.  It gave a glossy, fun texture to the finish of the picture.  I included a couple of shots with the flash on, just so you could see the reflection, and get an idea of what the finish looks like.  I SUPER love how they turned out:




And for my Mormon peeps:



I have soooo many ideas for variations on this project.  I created the above prints in several different colors, and I have a few more that I created, but haven't yet made into the final product.


Okay, I know the middle one is a little incongruous with the other two - but I have to admit it is sorta my favorite!!

I'm super excited to try out a new family subway art idea suggested by my brilliant friend Tanielle.   I'll keep you posted on how it works out!

I created all of the above pieces using MyMemories Suite scrapbooking software, although some of the quotes were inspired by things I saw on Pinterest.  As always, if you're interested in purchasing the software, you can use the following code to receive a $10 discount on the software, as well as a $10 coupon to use in the MyMemories store - a $20 value! Click here and use this code at checkout:

STMMMS392

Linking up today with 2 of my favorite ladies for TTUT:






Also linkin up with:
Stacy
Flock Together

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Is that a Mormon thing?

Meeting blog friends has got to be one of the best experiences out there.  Seriously.  My meet up with MiMi still remains one of my best memories.

And now I have a new best memory to add to my list. 2 weeks ago I had the opportunity to meet and spend time with beautiful Vivienne!  Viv is one of the first blog friends I made back when I started blogging in 2009.  She quickly became an online friend and I always felt that she was someone I would love to spend time with in real life.

Guess what?  I was right!  Vivienne is not only beautiful, but warm and funny and sweet.  She is smart and sassy, but completely down to earth and real.  I always got that vibe from her, and it was so nice to see that she is exactly what she seemed.

Stole this picture from Vivienne, because I have a dumb phone that takes dumb pictures!

I first got to spend time with her at the airport while she was waiting for another friend to get in.  They were both coming here for the SNAP blog conference.  I met her for lunch and we just hung out and chatted at the airport while she waited.  She had lots of questions about our Utah culture, and the predominant faith - Mormonism. The best line of our visit came when we noticed a guy holding a big sign (which we couldn't see, because his back was to us), and welcoming people with seashell necklaces as they came through the gates.  Vivienne turned to me and said, "Is that a Mormon thing?"  She decided that would be her standard question whenever she saw something weird on her visit!

We did some quick sight-seeing when her 2 roomies got in, and then they dropped me off at home.  When the conference was over, she came to dinner at our house and then we went to Temple Square.  Because you just can't visit Salt Lake City without seeing temple square.


It was a beautiful day, and we had a wonderful time spending the afternoon with "that fancy girl who's not a Mormon" - Monkey's way of referring to Viv when she couldn't remember her name the next day.

I am so, so glad I had the opportunity to meet her in real life, and am so grateful to call her friend!  I can't wait until we make our Cali trip (planned for next summer), so we can all visit with her again!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Confession....

I confess....

The 2 weeks prior to this one were 2 of the most insanely busy and high-pressure weeks I have had in as long as I can remember.

I confess...

Making it through was such a huge relief that this week I have been a total slacker.  Seriously no motivation to do anything (including blog - so sorry).

I confess...

I can't imagine making it successfully through, and with my sanity intact if it weren't for the new Mind Organization for Mom's program that I have been implementing.  Not even kidding.  Check out my review and your chance to win a copy for yourself here.

I confess...

I participated in a boutique last weekend and it was lame.  I barely made back my booth fee and the gas it took to travel back and forth for set up and tear-down.

I confess...

The fact that I now have a bunch of product made to list on my Etsy site doesn't give me much comfort, due to the fact that I now have to actually photograph and list all that product.

I confess...

If all these confessions are making me sound lazy - it's because I am.

Have anything to confess?  Give it a try here:


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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Mind Organization for Moms, review and a giveaway!

Hello darlings!  Have you missed me?  I have missed you SO!!!  But I had some life that had to take priority for a little bit.

I'm back though - and I've got a bunch to tell you.  But first things first.  Remember I promised you my honest opinion of a new program called Mind Organization for Moms (M.O.M.)?  And that if I liked it, I would be giving away a copy to one of my lucky readers?

Well guess what?  I LOVE it!  Really I love it.

If you know me more than a little, you know that my trial in life (or at least one of them) is lack of organization. It is something I have always struggled with.  And I hate it.  As an adult it has become even more of a struggle, as I try to balance motherhood, my board member responsibilities, church responsibilities, and owning and operating a small business with my husband.  I have missed weddings, and forgotten about appointments until the very last minute, and then scrambled to keep them.  I am always overwhelmed by projects and ideas, and because I am actually REALLY dependable on following through on my commitments, I frequently experience that knot in my stomach that comes from waiting until the last minute to get a task done, and then killing myself to complete it.  I have lost important papers, and had stacks of crap that needed to be sorted, because I was just too busy or overwhelmed to take the time to go through them as they accumulated.

This one made me feel like mom of the year:


Those are Utah Jazz (our NBA team!) tickets.  They were part of the deal when we signed Bookworm up for Jr. Jazz (our local recreation basketball league).  I stuck them in my purse so they wouldn't get lost, since the game was still several weeks away.  I then promptly forgot about them until Cowgirl reminded us the week after the game had taken place.  Yep, that really happened.

When I heard about M.O.M., I was very intrigued, yet skeptical.  I hadn't figured out a plan yet that worked for me and that I could stick with.  There were many attempts, but no successes to speak of.

I am not exaggerating even a little when I say that the M.O.M. system quite literally changed my life.  I received it back in March, and began pouring over it.  At first I wasn't quite sure about the whole idea, but as I kept reading, and then finished reading through the entire program, it made so much sense to me, and I couldn't wait to get it set up and begin implementing the program.  I've been thinking about the best way to describe the system, because it really is different than anything I have ever seen.  Another reviewer described it perfectly as a sort of "filing system for your brain".  It's not just organizing your papers and projects, but actually organizing your mind.  And it works!

Since I have had the system fully implemented I have felt such a weight lifted off my shoulders. My projects and papers are organized.  I haven't missed an appointment or obligation.  But better yet, my mind is in order, and all those things that are constantly running around in there are properly tucked away into their proper place.  The result is a clear mind that can focus on whatever the task at hand is, and also take a time out for the important things, like painting toenails with my 5 year old.

I see myself using this system for the rest of my life (which I think will actually be longer now that I have eliminated so much of the stress I used to carry around with me!).  I also truly believe this is a system that could benefit anyone - whether you are a hot mess like me, or a very orderly person.  I encourage everyone to check it out.

As it so happens, I have a free copy to give away to one of my lucky readers!  Here's the scoop:

1 entry (required) - leave me a comment telling me why you need to get organized, or what is most difficult about organization for you.

1 entry - like The Power of Moms on facebook.

1 entry - follow The Power of Moms on Twitter.

1 entry each - blog, tweet, or facebook about this giveaway.  Please leave link in your comment.

Please leave a separate comment for each thing you do, make sure your email is either on your profile, or in your comment, and good luck!

Giveaway ends Monday at midnight!

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.

Linking up with my girls!