Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Ten Things to Smile About

Being that I really don't enjoy Halloween, and October is one of my most stressful months of the year, and we've been having some health struggles with one of our children, and I've basically been feeling very overwhelmed and discouraged recently - I think it is the perfect time for me to link up with Emmy and her Ten Things to Smile About.  I need to take a good long look at the things that brought me joy this month!

1 - General Conference.  The opportunity to be instructed, uplifted and inspired by prophets of God, and those He has chosen to serve and to lead in His church.  I love, cherish and look forward to Conference Weekend every 6 months and heard so many things that my spirit needed to know or to remember.

2 - This sweet, spunky girl turned 9.  I cannot believe how my little family is growing up.  It makes me smile and makes me crazy at the same time!  I love this girl and love celebrating her and the blessing she is in our family. 

3 - Christmas music.  Yes, you heard me right.  It's what gets me through October.  It reminds me that I just need to soldier on, make it through Halloween, and then - the most wonderful time of the year will be waiting for me on the other side!  I listen to Pandora Christmas Radio while working around the house, and I recently acquired 3 new Christmas CDs for $1 each at the DI!  So those lift my spirits while I'm being personal chauffeur to my lovely offspring and their friends.

4 - Speaking of Friends...
These cuties always make me smile.  This was taken during our ice cream stop on our way home from the Crazy Corn Maze.  Watching my kids with their friends is always entertaining - and keeps me young!

5 - Speaking of friends AGAIN...
This beautiful lady also had a birthday this month.  And man I do NOT know where I would be if she hadn't been born!  I would certainly have had a LOT less of laughter and adventures in my life! 

6 - I smiled BIG TIME when I shipped my final Halloween costume order out last week.  It is always a huge relief to know that I've completed all orders, and that they are on their way to making someone's Halloween happy. 

7 - The kindness of strangers.  We had a wonderful experience with this that I'm going to blog about later in the week.  So I guess you could consider this a "teaser". ;)

8 - My crock pot.  It makes me smile to dump a bunch of crap in the pot in the morning, and then have a nice hot dinner ready in the evening after a day of running around and being crazy busy.  I'm always on the lookout for new recipes.  I only have 2 requirements:  EASY, DELICIOUS. 

9 - Kicking it old school.  Even though I hate Halloween - it was great fun turning this girl into a cute 80s chick for a couple of Halloween parties she was invited to.  

10 - This handsome boy right here.  He works hard and does good.  He works part time in the evenings and on weekends to earn money for his expenses (like dates and extracurriculars) , and save for a mission and college.  He serves his peers in church and in leadership positions in school, and despite his busy schedule, and taking AP and college courses - he's still pulling a 4.0 for his first quarter of Senior Year!  I'm so proud. :)  I am having mild panic attacks when I think that in less than a year, this boy will be graduated, and out in the world serving the Lord as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  My poor mama heart is in denial!  But still so proud.

What made you smile this lovely October?

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Why I Truly Love Parenting Teens

I think teenagers get a bad rap.  I really do.  I'm constantly seeing memes and viral Facebook posts and letters to the editor about "today's generation".  As if that term is a dirty word.  Repeated often are words like "lazy", "entitled", "disrespectful" and many other unflattering terms.  And I think it's garbage.

YES, there are some crappy teenagers out there.  But I think the percentage of "bad kids" today probably isn't any different than it was when I was a teen.  And if "our generation" was so much better, and we KNOW what kids today need and how they should be parented, who exactly is raising these crappy teenagers?  It certainly can't be all those perfect adults out there who think teenagers today suck.  Because if those folks were raising them, I mean they wouldn't be so crappy, right?

We always "shudder" at the thought of our kids reaching their teenage years.  Especially when they are already strong willed babies or toddlers or young children.  But I have to say that it is so much more fun than I ever imagined it could be.  After struggling through the sleepless nights and poopy diapers and teething pain and potty training and toddler tantrums and the excruciating elementary school jokes that are the same horrible jokes WE told when we were 8 - my reward is a trio of cute, funny young people that I can actually have real, grown up dialogue with.  They actually GET the jokes that I think are funny.  We can enjoy the same movies and books and TV shows.  We can have serious, in depth conversations about life, friends, family, the gospel, REAL conversations that don't have to be simplified for younger minds.  I honestly, truly LOVE being a parent of teenagers.

Do I know that I am the parent and not their "friend"?  Of course!  Do they still make me crazy, sometimes argue with my decisions or rules, roll their eyes at me and stomp out of the room in anger when I overrule them? Absolutely.  I am the parent.  I have been where they are, and I understand many things about life that they are still figuring out.  But more often than not, we just really enjoy each other.

Also?  I love their friends. More cute, funny young people.  I love when they're hanging out at my house, or I'm driving them to the mall, or somewhere else they need to be.  I love just listening to them enjoy good, healthy friendships.  I love hearing the funny, dorky teenage things they say.  I love the way they tease each other, talk about crushes, complain about certain teachers and just enjoy their young lives.

MaiLee and Ambria - school musical 2015

Kaden and gorgeous best friend - Jr. Prom 2015

And they're not just all silly, frivolous teenage fluff.  They do productive and meaningful things.  From school musicals, to sports, to service projects, to church activities - they don't just spend all their time laying around playing video games and scrolling through Facebook.  I'm not saying they don't do those things, even too much of those things!  But that's not all they do.  I've seen incredible kindness and compassion from these young people. And I love witnessing them all learn and grow together.

MaiLee, Ambria and friends in the car after spending the evening entertaining a group of special needs adults with musical performances.  (Kaden and Brielle participated too, but weren't in the car when we took pictured friends home!)

Kaden, Ambria and friends - Michael Vey launch party 2013

Ambria and best friend helping me make freezer meals for a friend 
who was injured in a serious car accident.

So young parents who fear the teenage years - take comfort.  It can be a lot more fun than you have been led to believe!  And other people (parents or non-parents) who truly don't see the amazing things today's generation of teenagers has to offer - I feel sorry for you.

P.S. Make no mistake - I still absolutely adore and enjoy my younger kiddos too.  Just a different kind of enjoy - ya know?

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

I used to be a Blogger

I don't even really know what to say.  Or write about.  I only know that I miss blogging.  And for the past several weeks I've felt the call of the blogosphere tugging at my fingertips.  Things will happen in my life that I want to write about.  Or something will happen in the news that I want to share my views on.  But not in a combative, Facebook debate sort of way.  And then I think - I wish I was still blogging.

The world of blogging has changed so much since I first started my blog years ago.  Back then we had a little circle of blogging friends who visited each other regularly, started getting to know each other, and in many cases lasting friendships in the real world were made.  I still keep in touch with many of those friends I made through facebook, or texting.  Some have gone on to be big-time money-making famous bloggers.  Others have quit blogging.  In both cases, I miss reading their blogs each day, giving my little piece of input on their posts, and I miss seeing the comments they left on whatever post I had made that day.  It was a time-consuming, sometimes not very productive way of life - but it sure was fun. :)  Then I felt like when I was making a post, I had an actual audience that I was speaking to.  Now it feels weird - like I'm just typing to no one.  I have no idea who, if anyone will see this post.  I sort of feel like a new blogger just starting out again, with no audience, and no way of knowing if there is a potential audience out there.

For those who may be past readers of my blog - how has life been treating you?  I have a whole pile of news about our life to catch you up on!

Like for example: My baby is 2 1/2, my girls are in 4th, 7th and 9th grades, and my son is a SENIOR!  WHAT??  I seriously blinked and boom - they're big.  It'll take awhile to get up to date on each of their lives.  But they amaze me and make me proud every day.  Also, Jeremy and I will be celebrating 20 years of marriage this winter!  TWENTY!!!  That is CA-razy!! I seriously cannot be that old.  No. Way.

So here's to my attempt at getting back to blogging.  I don't know how well I'll do, I just know that I need to give it a shot.  Because I really miss it.  And I miss the connections made with so many great women out there and would like to be part of a community like that once again.

Do me a favor, will ya?  If you happen to be reading this post, just leave a little comment to say "hi", just so I know you're out there. ;)  Thanks!