Sunday, May 29, 2011

What I do when I'm in a hurry!

I've had fun having Emma and her fiance, Travis stay with us while Travis rotates between working as a sub on Erick's crew and washing windows. I've tried to make easy meals that can feed all seven of us and feed us cheap! I've also tried to make meals that Emma and Travis will be able to make easily after they are married. Emma said I should write them down for her, so I thought it would be a good blog post. So here are some of my favorite EASY meals to make. I do enjoy cooking all types of food, some of my favorites are more involved, but these are some easy ones! And when I say easy, I mean easy. I don't mean the recipe that says it's a 30 minute recipe and then it takes an hour. I mean these things are seriously easy and cheap to make. And can get you out of trouble if it's 5:30 and you haven't come close to starting dinner! Also, there is one thing I will NOT do any more. I rarely ever use short cuts like "cream of whatever" soup. I probably use less than four cans of that kind of stuff a year. I stopped using it when Cora was diagnosed with her soy allergy, and now I almost never use them. There are a few recipes that I feel like taste really great using those, but they are the exception. I also think they generally are just not very good for us, and that you can make fast, delicious meals using stuff that isn't so....canned. Most of the recipes started out as something more complicated and I simplified them into something easy to make. So here you go:

Veggie Stir Fry:
1 onion
1-2 Green Peppers
1 8 oz container mushrooms
italian dressing

Basically, you just cut the onion and bell pepper into strips and if the mushrooms are not already sliced, you slice them. You can then add a little seasoning salt over the top of the veggies, and then I just stir fry them in the water and then pour a little of the italian dressing over top for flavor and stir fry them until they are crisp and seared on the edges. I serve it over hot rice and it's delicious!

Kitchen Sink potatoes:
Any kind of potatoes (enough to feed your family or fit on a 10x15 cookie sheet)
Any leftover cheeses you have ( a lot of times if I have just a little of a lot of different cheeses left, I just use all of them)
butter (you decide how much)
garlic powder
italian seasoning

Peel them or not, your choice. Then either slice them with a food processor or by hand, just get them thin. Spray your cookie sheet with pam. Preheat oven to 400. Put potatoes in a bowl and mix in your desired amount of melted butter (you can also try olive oil. I have, but I just like the butter better). Sprinkle in some seasoning salt, or plain salt, olive oil, and italian seasoning and mix it up until all of the potatoes are covered. I have found that when you smell a faint aroma of garlic you know that it is seasoned the proper amount. Then you spread the potatoes in a single layer (or as close as you can get) on your cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. Take out and stir, then sprinkle your various cheeses (our favorites are feta, cheddar, and Parmesan) over the top. Bake until the potatoes are thoroughly cooked. I usually serve these with other veggies or a salad.

Road Kill
hamburger patties
hot cooked rice

This was served at the restaurant I used to waitress at. You cook the hamburger. You sautee the onions and mushrooms. Place patty on a bed of rice then top with mushrooms, onions and cheese. Melt the cheese over top with a microwave if it doesn't melt on it's own. It's actually pretty tasty.

Beans and Rice
Black Beans
Can of tomatoes (or fresh)
chicken broth paste

For this recipe I put my rice in the rice cooker and then I add a little garlic (minced or powder), cumin and some bulion cubes or the bulion paste (the paste actually does not really dissolve very well for some reason, so if you use it you have to stir it half way through). When the rice is finished I like to add a little lemon juice and if you have any orange or apricot jam or marmelade I like to add a couple of tablespoons of that as well along with some chopped cilantro.

For the beans you need enough cooked black beans to serve your family. For ours it's about three or four cups. You add a can of tomatoes or two cups chopped up fresh. I add cumin, garlic, and some broth paste. warm it up, simmer it, and it'll be done before the rice! Top with cilantro. I like to serve this meal with salad.

Rosemary Chicken
Enough pieces of chicken for your family
enough potatoes for your family (I like to cut them in the shape of french fries)
Olive oil

You peel your potatoes or not and then cut them into chunks and then put them in a large bowl with your chicken. Pour olive oil over top. It's probably around three or four tablespoons. Add garlic, some dried rosemary and salt. To tell if you've added the right amount you should be able to smell your spices (just a hint, not overwhelming). Then spread on a cookie sheet and bake in your oven at 400 for 20 minutes or until done.

That's all for now!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Well, I blew it!

I did not meet my goal of posting every day for 30 days. I have a sneaking suscpision that my sister was able to only because she does not currently have three kids, a house to take care of, guests (which sometimes includes herself), a baby who decided to start waking up at midnight every night for a bottle because his ear infection has likely not healed, and a new business to worry about (which I have actually stopped worrying about as of yesterday).

Any who, we had a good week. My house kind of looks like a tornado of coupons has passed through it, because it's been triples week at Harris Teeter, so I've been cutting coupons, searching for coupons, and shopping every day because I can save so much money and get so much stuff so it's actually worth my time. On a normal week I only spend about an hour working on coupon stuff, but this week it's probably been about an hour or a little more per day, but I'm able to buy things our family needs for next to nothing soI put the time in to reap the benefits. And I do multi task like crazy. Last night Erick worked on setting up some new office equipment while I searched online for coupons stuff and we talked and had an enjoyable time, so the time spent on it is not always time that is spent exclusively on finding/cutting coupons.
Today I came home with:
-2 packages of hot dogs
-2 frozen pizzas
-6 individual frozen entrees (Erick likes to have things that are immediately available and that require no imagination for lunch or he just goes and buys fast food, so I always load up when possible)
-1 non frozen entree
-3 packages of rice
-2 bottles salad dressing
-2 boxes ritz crackerfuls
-3 seasoning sat
-2 packages turkey bacon

All for $4.00.
Pretty good. I only did buy 23 items though because they limit you to 20 tripled coupons, and I've already gotten all the good deals that did not require coupons on previous days this week, but I still feel like it was worth my time because we will use every single thing I bought! Anyways, sometimes it's fun to brag a little I guess. I will be glad when the sale is over though because I'm kinda tired of coupons!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Little Match Girl

The Little Match Girl is a book that one usually relates to winter and Christmas time. But Bryant was reading it on Sunday and it made me want to write something about it. This book was written long ago by Hans Christian Anderson and we have a lovely copy with beautiful artwork. I am not "in to" art, but I love this book and all of the artwork in it. Most people probably think of it as a sad a depressing book. Try to read it out loud without crying (impossible--just ask Emma). Alas, I love this book. I'll tell you why. In the book, a young girl who lives in poverty tries to sell matches to help with the family income. No one is buying and she cannot go home because she will be beaten for not selling them. She becomes so cold that she goes into a corner and strikes a match. She then has grand dreams of food, warmth, and the one person who has ever been kind to her, her late grandmother. Eventually, she strikes all of the matches because she does not want her vision of her grandmother to fade, and her grandmother comes and takes her to heaven leaving her frozen, tiny body behind.

This was published in 1845, and I think it is such a sensitive, loving, real look at poverty. I like it because it says that there is hope. There is so much poverty. Not as much in the US, but all around the world people die all the time because of poor living conditions, sickness, disease, malnutrition, and many reasons. How can we comprehend the meaning of it all? How is this possible? How is it fair? How do we make sense of it? What gives these little lives meaning? I think the story answers these questions by saying that even though this sweet little child only knew cruelty, cold, and misery, she would be saved and taken to heaven in the end, and encircled in the arms of love. I believe this as well. There is another life to heal these pour little ones that have to suffer while here on earth.

Another thing that is of interest in the book is that people only pay attention to her after she is dead. They discover her body and act like it shouldn't have happened, but surely these are the same people that passed her by when she was selling the matches without a second thought. I think their neglect is a reflection of how we do neglect suffering and pretend that it isn't happening until we can't ignore it and then tsk-tsk the fact that happened. It is a caution to us to watch for those in need, and take them seriously.

I've never tried to shield my children from the fact that death, poverty and suffering are a part of life. They comprehend it at a very basic level. When Bryant finished reading the book he was surprised that the little girl died, and he didn't say anything else about it. Cora also likes the book, and I've explained a simple version of what I've written here to her. I also let them watch the news with me (which I only watch on occasion) and they ask questions, and we just tell them that there are lots of good and bad things that happen. There are wars, tornadoes and everything in between. Life just happens, but we teach them that they can choose how they react to what happens to them, and that they need to have a relationship with God so that they can make good decisions and be guided as to what they need to do. And that most importantly, they don't need to fear. Good or bad, they seem to be compassionate and accepting of all kinds of people. It will be interesting to see how the future unfolds.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Busy Day

Busy day here, and it's not over yet. I need to pay attention to my house a little more before I go to bed. I've been giddy with excitement about starting my new business today (and very happy to have about 10 people want their windows cleaned without having to knock any doors! I just hope a few more Greensboro folks come around, either way, It's amazing.) and I've kind of just been doing the bare minimum. But life is still full court press no matter what. In a show of support Erick brought me home a very nice new office chair. He said a manager can't manage without a fancy chair. Considering I'd been sitting on a $20 kitchen chair from Ikea for the last year, I'm in heaven in this very nice, cushy, chair. Some fun things from my day:

Bryant telling Cora "I hate you" and then Cora saying "well, I love you!"

Cora, Bryant, and Cash playing for hours in the huge box my chair came in.

Cash eating tomatoes like it's the most delicious thing anyone has ever had ever. And then eating pinapple and about going in a comatose state from joy.

Cash playing outside by himself (meaning, I didn't have to assist him with anything, I was out there) for over an hour.

Me enjoying weeding the garden for that same hour and enjoying the amazing weather.

Cora saying that spinach is delicious and proceeding to go back for seconds and thirds.

Bryant eating rice and cheese for the ten millionth time and being completely satisfied with that.

Each kid taking turns spinning themselves silly in the new chair.

Cora and Bryant soaking each other with the hose for the hundreth time even though every time we tell them they are NEVER allowed to use the hose. And without fail, they do it almost every day when the weather is nice. I guess I need to be meaner about that.

Cora left two lovely muddy footprints on the carpet before she remembered to take her shoes off.

Bryant telling me he had to check the "forest" for tomorrow when he really meant "forecast"

Erick taking time to go have a pillow talk with Bryant right before bed.

Cash standing not holding onto anything and being very proud of himself.

Cash, Cora, and myself all taking a simultaneous nap.

After the other kids went to bed, Cora kept hiding in the chair box and saying "Mom, there's a package for you!" and giggling about it.

Cora telling me that she needs to "wearn something" so that meant she needed to watch Signing Time. Which I am kind of sick of.

Me not caring anymore about ending sentences with prepositions.

I could go on, I guess it was a good day.

Sunday, May 15, 2011


Unfortunately, I seem to have the worst camera in the world and cannot wait to replace it, because along with just generally being a piece of trash, it also has broken and will no longer allow me to transfer pictures onto my computer. So now I have to go to a photo store and transfer my pictures from the memory card (which my computer won't do) onto a CD and then bring the CD home and then load it onto my computer. So that definitely accounts for my lack of showing pictures here! Anyways, I finally bit the bullet and downloaded a lot of pictures onto a CD and then loaded them onto here, so here are a few glimpses of the last few months:


Bryant right before his 6th birthday party-and we went all out for it with a "Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs" theme

Cash, with his mouth covered in some sort of food, but still looking very adorable.

Here are the "Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs" cupcakes I made that looked so real that some of the kids were afraid to eat them!

Wasn't that fun?

Friday, May 13, 2011

New beginnings...

With each new day comes something new. I don't know how many people might know this, but I am kind of entrepreneurial. I ran my own business doing permits for new home construction for three years starting when Bryant was four months old (the recession ended that though!). It was a lot of fun, and Erick and I have thought of lots of different little ideas here and there, and a lot of them had a lot of promise, buuuuut, the timing is never right.

Enter Travis, Emma's fiance. With the dull economy and his very short stay in NC, the job hunting wasn't going so well; my entrepreneurial senses started to tingle. Erick and I talked and talked, and decided now might be a good time to start a little business. It didn't take too long for me to realize that the majority of the work of running the business would fall to me by virtue of the fact that Erick is a GM for a company that requires a lot of time. So, I have claimed this business as my new baby (not really), and Erick will have lots of input and share in all of the decisions, but I will be the backbone. We talked to Travis and Emma about it and they agreed to our ideas. I just finished the task of making a new email address and ordering 500 flyers. Next comes buying all the supplies and doing a little training, etc. It always feels kind of like you're jumping into the deep end of the pool, but it's also a little exciting. Hopefully this business will be a success, and by success I don't mean making me super rich, I just mean making me feel like the time I put into it is worthwhile.

So what is this new business? Just give me another few days, and I'll tell you ALL about it! Heck, hopefully you'll want to use it!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Marriage Advice for a sister who is about to be wedded (and anyone else who dares upon this post, but hey, I warned ya!).

My little sister Emma is getting married. So of course I need to give her tons of advice as to how she should live her life, and about every little thing she should do. What a great idea for a post! So here goes, Emma, though you left my house a mere 20 minutes ago, this post is dedicated to you and anyone else that happens to read this. Here is my advice for making a successful marriage, and if there is one thing I have, I'll be honest, it is a successful marriage. It's not something I regularly talk about or mention ("by the way...did you know how awesome my marriage is?"), because it's not something that comes into regular convo very often, but by golly, I'm trying to post something everyday so as I dive to the recesses of my mind to dig up topics, this is one that was bound to be touched upon.

What makes a successful marriage? Well, for starters, Erick and I were married about 7 and a half years ago, and we loved each other then and still do now, but more. In psychology it's well known that couples experience a lack in happiness during their years of active parenting, but we just think that's dumb. Our lives have only been enriched and fulfilled by having children. But, back to the marriage part. Why have Erick and I been able to increase in happiness and love over the years? Well, I could type page after page of specific traits and advice and on and on and on, but there is really only one thing you need....and no, it's not awesome friends, sisters, parents or anyone else to ask for advice (ha ha, yes, I can taste the irony).

Any two people that are humbly living the gospel are going to be just fine. If you are living the gospel to its fullest extent, and have a real relationship with God, you'll have the companionship of the Holy Ghost, and you will receive promptings, guidance, and all of the advice you could ever need. You'll learn lessons intended for you in everything that you do. You'll know when you need to say you're sorry, you'll know when you've gone too far. You'll know when you're partner just needs a night out, and you'll know when they need a night in. Over time you'll learn what makes them feel special and you'll be happy because they are happy. Yes, studying the scriptures and prayer will be you're greatest friends because they help make you sensitive to the promptings that lead you to serve your family and spouse, and the patience you need to do so.

I think reflecting upon the Savior and his teachings throughout the day helps keep me calm and ready to handle the challenges that do inherently come with the joys of motherhood and being a wife. And there will be many, many challenges. The cool thing is; we were meant to have challenges. If you remember back to Mosiah 3:19 and scan down a little it says that we should become like a child: "submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him..." That strikes me as an amazing concept "...the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him..." To me that says that we QUALIFY for the challenges we receive (note: by disobediance, selfishness, etc. you can of course inflict trials upon yourself, and you will, but I'm not talking about that.) and that the Lord thinks we are READY for our challenges. That says to me that we can always be made STRONGER through our challenges, and this is the truth. So certainly don't ask for trials, because they'll come, but don't feel sorry for yourself, and don't complain about them either, because if you handle them with grace, humbleness and the other things the scripture talks about, you'll be blessed and made stronger.

Okay, now, I will indulge you in just a handful of specific things Erick and I have done that I think really have helped our marriage succeed.

1. We never say no. Whatever the other person wants, no matter what it is, we always say yes. I want a new dress? Sure. Erick wants a ANOTHER truck? You bet! What the heck, right? Erick might have had to wait for five years, and we have a rule that we pay in cash, but yes, he got his THIRD truck two week ago. I made my SIXTH trip to Harris Teeter in one week, but it's what I felt like I needed to do (and it's not that often that I do that), and Erick doesn't question it. We just let eachother do our thing and don't judge. We trust each other to want and buy things that we need and not go crazy and it's worked.

2. We don't make fun of one another/joke about one another/humiliate one another EVER.

3. We don't tell each other what to do unless we feel specifically prompted to do so. Seriously, who likes to be told what to do? Um, nobody. Don't do it. I've found that Erick in particular does not like to be told what to do, and God is pretty good at teaching him a hard lesson when necessary. I leave it between them. And, Erick thank goodness leaves it to me and my relationship with God when I need correction. There have been a few RARE occasions when one of us or the other has had to straighten the other out, but it has only been after sincere thought and prayer into the matter, and especially out of LOVE. If your spouse is struggling they need your unconditional love and your listening ear, and your patience.

4. Keep it in the triangle. If you and your spouse have an argument keep it between you, your spouse, and God. Sometimes it might feel really good to vent to a friend, or parent, but they are not there when you kiss and make up, and might have lingering resentment towards your spouse when you don't. There may be times when you do need external advice or help, but those times that you need to go outside of your marriage for help will not be very often. We've asked our parents for advice sometimes before making big financial decisions or things like that, but not when we're in the middle of a big argument!

In conclusion...boy Maurine, you sure think you're so perfect don't you? Sounds like it anyway. Well, I've been on both sides of this advice. There have been times when I've followed it and been blessed beyond measure and other times when I haven't and have suffered consequences, but it doesn't change the fact that these little tidbits will get you through the thick and thin.

Also, you may be thinking, what the heck are you talking about? Who the heck is Mosiah and what is the "gospel"? If you are thinking this and want to know what I'm talking about and about my church, just ask/message/email/whatever, and I'll be happy to answer your questions.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

One Time...

So I found a website that has writing prompts for bloggers since I am still experiencing a little bit of writer's block, but I hated all of the prompts and came up with one of my own. This is called "One Time..." This is a list of things I have done (or not done) one time (and only once). Enjoy.

One Time
-I sprained my ankle
-I was awake for 36 hours straight
-In highschool I had a math teacher miss eight weeks of school for maternity leave who then came back and promptly gave us a test and I wrote on the first page how I felt I had learned nothing in the class and if I failed it was all her fault. Very nice right? I did fail the test.
-I came in first place in the two mile race in a track meet.
-I won a hula-hoop contest (in the third grade).
-I went on four dates in one weekend
-I fainted 3 times in one night
-I wrecked two cars in two days
-My brothers convinced me to watch an R rated movie by telling me it was pg 13
-My husband and brother tried to get me to play paintball when I was seven months pregnant
-Cora told me Erick was going to shoot a bunny and make "bunny chicken" followed by a "yummmmmm"
-I puked on a plane

-yeah, pretty boring I know. There are actually a few pretty darn good ones, but honestly, they're a little on the private side/ don't know what people would think/ so I'll just keep them to myself! Anyone who wants to be a little braver, go ahead and try!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Power Struggle

Every day Bryant's job is to empty the dishwasher. I have attempted to have him do other things, but it's kind of the only job he's good at doing, so that's his job for now. He's shown some promise in the table-clearing department, and with a little improvement maybe we could add that to his chore repertoire, but for now, he empties the dishwasher and has since last summer. He generally accepts this and does not usually complain a lot when the time comes to empty it.

Most nights I have to tell him that it has to be done before dinner and when it gets pretty close to dinner time he'll go ahead and empty it. On Mondays when the kids skype with their grandma, he knows it has to be emptied before he talks to her, and this has been a rule for many months. Yesterday for some reason he just refused to do it. I reminded him that he would not get to skype with his grandma and he still didn't do it. He was in desperate need of a hair cut and I had previously arranged with Erick to take him to get one after work, so Erick took him for the hair cut, and then went ahead and took him to McDonalds before coming home so I couldn't use dinner time to get him to do it. We then had family home evening and we actually had a lesson about gardening and helped the children identify what is a weed and what is a plant, and we all picked weeds which Bryant enjoyed and had no problem with. But as soon as I mentioned the dishwasher Bryant collapsed to the ground and said he was too tired and felt sick. I then told him he could not go to bed until it was done. Well, to some kids would be pretty excited about staying up for any reason, but not Bryant. On school nights he likes to go to bed on time by 8:00pm at the latest because he's always up by 6:00 (not that he has to be mind you), and he's genuinely tired. He said that he HAD to go to bed and that he was so tired, and on and on, but I stood my ground. By 8:15 he still wasn't emptying the dishwasher so I then told him that if he did not empty it by 8:30 then I would not allow him to go to school the next day until it was emptied. He was very upset by this, and started yelling and getting upset (I by the way, did not yell or become upset at all, at this point it was just a chess game, I knew I could get him to do it, I just had to figure out how). Then, he poked Cora in the arm with a pencil and I told him he would just have to do it in the morning and sent him to bed.

Later that night, Erick started emptying the dishwasher so we could clean the kitchen and go to bed. I told him not to, and explained that Bryant was going to in the morning. We cleaned up the rest of the kitchen and went to bed. I really want Bryant to know that we were serious about him completing his family responsibilities, and that he wasn't going to go to bed and have his chores magically done for him. So we went to bed and this morning at 6:00am Bryant got up on his OWN, went down stairs and emptied the dishwasher without any prompting from us. I was proud of the little guy. I'm also glad that he fully expected that dishwasher to be waiting for him and that he knew I was serious about not sending him to school.

The thing I want our children to feel is that they are NEEDED. I think one of the reasons Bryant does not complain much about doing his chore is that I have shown him on other days when he didn't do it, that I then have to do his chores for him, and that it makes more work for me to do. But if he does it, he's helping his mother and family, and I think he likes to know that he is really doing something to help, not just doing something that I could do better and faster. There are days when I let him off the hook and will do it for him, and days when he has been sick and I let him out of it, but yesterday was not one of those days. He needed to fulfill his responsibility for our family and I'm glad I made him do it!

Monday, May 9, 2011

An update about myself:

Well, today the creative juices are running very low, so I thought I would share some information about myself for my daily post. I hope this dry spell doesn't last for long because I really want to post every day for thirty days anyways, here you go:

Things I'm excited about (I think I'm stealing this concept from another blog, I just can't remember who's, so sorry):
-this is really nerdy, but one of my favorite things each month is my trip to Sam's Club. I don't know why, but I just LOVE buying things in bulk. I don't know, but I can't deny that I get giddy every time I go. I actually still haven't come down from the high of buying a pack of 400 generic claritin for only $12 last month. Erick teases me about it, but then again, yesterday he was going on and on about installing some inconsequential thingy on his landcruiser and I told him we're all really just the same. We all get excited about dumb little things, they just aren't necessarily the same dumb little things.

-I am excited about every single tiny thing Cash does. I am not kidding you, every movement of his body is the most adorable thing I have ever seen. You might think that each kid you have becomes less exciting, but we have found that with Cash we know how fleeting his little babyhood is, so every time he laughs with that two-toothed grin or crawls with his very authoritative crawl, or even when he cries that baby cry, Erick and I just look at each other and say how unbelievably adorable it is, and we talk about it all the time. I guess the only thing I'm looking forward to about Cash growing up is not changing his diapers. Other than that, I'm going to miss everything.

-I am excited about doing Cora's first real friend birthday party. For some reason four years old seems like the right age to do a birthday party that doesn't just involve family. They really understand what's going on and they are EXCITED, and that's putting it mildly. Cora talks about her birthday every single day, and it is still two months away. She has already planned it from the decor to the food. The food is of top priority because Cora is a total foodie, and she has let me know that it will include pizza, muffins, hot dogs, cake, pie, ice cream, and that's just the beginning. It will be a princess/spiderman theme so that boys and girls can both feel included. Don't ask me how I can pull that one off, but there's plenty of time to lower her expectations, or maybe I'll just go crazy and do it all. She also regularly threatens to not share her birthday cake if someone is not pleasing her. I can't tell you how many times I have had to reassure Bryant that yes, he will get some of Cora's birthday cake no matter what she says.

-I am excited about not going shopping for the next two weeks. My fridge, pantry, and freezer are so stocked that I cannot go shopping. It would be wrong. I am not letting myself look at any couponing websites AT ALL for two weeks (okay, I do have to go to Walgreens once because I will have some register rewards expire next week, but that's it I swear!). I am sitting here on a Monday morning, when usually I would be out shopping at two or three stores, and it feels so relaxing. I like it. I might take a break more often. Also, after I had to spend $60 on medicine for Cash taking a week off will help my budget even out a little.

-I am excited about stake conference. We have an AWESOME new stake president and I am so excited for the Saturday night session. I love going and hearing all of the speakers and then going out with everyone to dinner afterwards. I didn't get to last time because Cash was so little and likely sick, but I've already got the babysitter lined up and it's gonna be a great night for spiritual learning and catching up with friends!

-this list could go on, but I have to go be a mom.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Quick Mother's Day Post

Hi there, and Happy Mother's Day to all of the Mom's! I just wanted to maintain my goal of writing a post every day for thirty days, so today I am going to share the following:

Bryant is at his Grandma and Grandpa's for the weekend but will be back in the late afternoon; he gave me a letter and a gift (which I will wait to open when he gets home), but he wanted me to read the letter and this is what it said:

Dear Mom,
Thank you for my zhu zhu pets. I love you. You are the best mom ever. You're special to me. You are nice. You are sweet. Thank you for my food.

Love, Bryant.

He told me that he did a practice letter and then wrote this one with his very best handwriting, and I'm impressed that he even used the correct grammer for "you're". I'm also telling myself that Bryant wrote this letter from his heart with no help from his teacher...and knowing his teacher he probably did. It pretty much melted my heart and makes me so happy. He also gave me a beautiful picture of flowers that he made with construction paper. These will be treasured items.

Then, Cora asked me if it was really Mother's day. I told her yes it was. She then asked me if I was really REALLY sure it was Mother's day, and I said that it was. She then said "Okay" in her perkiest little voice, and ran upstairs and returned with a home made card that apparently Uncle Travis and Aunt Emma helped her make yesterday while I was at the funeral. It said "you're the best mom ever" and then "Cash gots the pink eye and mom is at the funeral." I asked Erick where that came from and he said that Travis asked Cora what she wanted to say and that was a direct quote. And it's true, Cash has the pink eye and mom was at the funeral. It's interesting to get a little peek into a little girl's mind! It was pretty funny. Anyways, hopefully everyone will be extra nice to their moms today! I've already got a beef stew in the crockpot and rolls are defrosting for a nice mother's day dinner for my mom.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Two funerals in two weeks...

Well, today as you may gather, I went to my second funeral in two weeks, this time it was for an older woman who I briefly visit-taught and I was asked to play the flute for a special musical number. It doesn't matter why you are at a funeral, it is just a very emotional thing. When I got home I told Erick that I knew I still had a lot that I needed to do housework-wise, but that I felt I had been working all day because I was so emotionally drained. The funeral was actually beautiful, the speakers all were wonderful and it was a very spiritual experience. I sat up on the stand and could see out into the audience and the thing that really struck me was that the people who were crying the most were the oldest people there. People that were in their late 70's and on into their 80's. Not to be too assuming, but I imagine it's emotional when a life-long friend passes away, and just knowing that one day, it will be you there. Or it could have been something else entirely.

I couldn't help but think about the other funeral I attended, the one for sweet sister Simms who taught my Sunday school class growing up, and died far too early. I just thought about so many things. The thing that touched me from these two funerals of wonderful mothers was how much they were truly loved by their children. They never mentioned any big thing that their mom's did for them, it was the little things like going out for breakfast or patiently listening that were important to these children. It was the unconditional love that made each child feel special and beloved that made the difference. What a good example for me, someone who is still at the beginning stages of parenting.

I also wondered if those people who die really do still watch after us. I haven't suffered too many close losses yet, but I always think about my Aunt Alta who died when I was 17. She was strongly single and busy as a bee until she died at 97 years old. She drove her car until she was 96 (I think). I've heard how she was stubborn and strong-willed (which might have had something to do with her single status), but that just made her better in my eyes as a child. When she would visit we would always do a whirlwind of activities that always included shopping, movies, ice cream and more, all at her suggestion and expense. I just remember we always had so much fun with this 90 year old lady. I remember her kindness and feeling that feeling that she loved me no matter what. That's probably why I still have a hard time talking about her without crying even 10 years later. The one special moment that I always remember was when I was probably 14 or so. We were visiting at her house in Utah, and I was stretched out on a couch reading a book. She turned on a lamp so I could see better and then I sat up so she could sit down, and she sat down and told me to put my legs right back up where they were before. So I put my legs up on her lap and she rested her arms on them. I don't know about you, but when I was 14 I don't remember that many people going out of their way to be kind to me. The world is a tough place with lots of expectations for teenagers, but she did not have any expectations. She joyed in just being with me and the other kids. I could feel this joy, and it just felt so good. And now, as an adult, on a few distinct nights that have been hard ones, the ones where Erick's at a late meeting, or out of town, where I've been at the low-end of self-esteem and so tired, likely due to a fussy newborn or who knows what, right when I crawl into bed by myself I swear I can feel her saying to just put my feet up in her lap. I can feel her there just loving me. And it helps.

So after I thought of all of this, I then had to get up and play the flute, which I was not too excited about at this point, but I did it, and honestly, it's the best I've played in years.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Missed a day but I'm back on the wagon!

So I didn't write last night, but with good reason. Cash had to go to the doctor due to the fact that he wouldn't stop screaming so I figured he probably had an ear infection and he did along with pink eye in both eyes. So, a $15 copay and $50 in prescriptions later we were home and slightly happier. My sister Emma and her fiance Travis also drove up which ended up being great because they watched the other kids so I could go to the doctor and Erick could go to a meeting. Anyways, I wanted to tell a little story about my day yesterday.

Bryant is a messy boy. That's all there is to it. I can fold his clothes and place them on his steps and he'll just take them up to his room and throw them on his floor in a heap or maybe just go ahead and toss them directly into his dirty clothes hamper. I have known I need to do a real cleaning of his room for a while and yesterday I finally worked up the courage, so after I put him on the bus, I took a trash bag and went up to his room which is a room we actually made from a large unused attic, so it has its own set of stairs, and it's just out of the way, so I don't venture up there too often. So I go up and see the mess before me that includes every article of clothing Bryant owns, every shoe, books, school papers. His sheets are somehow no longer on the bed but on the floor, which means he's been sleeping on a bare mattress. It is a sigh-inducing sight. So I get started, organizing the book shelf, figuring out which clothes are clean and which are dirty, hanging up the nicer clothes, picking up trash, and on and on. The bed is the fun part. It is shaped like a landcruiser and the mattress is placed down in the frame so there are lots of nooks and crannies. I pulled out about ten pairs of underwear, books, dirty socks, undershirts and more. Finally, after two hours, the room was clean, organized, and ready for human habitation again.

So I decided to be mean to Bryant and trick him after school. As soon as he came home I demanded that he go clean his room immediately and there would be no snacks, drinks, or anything until he did. So he got upset and went up to his room. He then came back down stairs and said "Um, mom, there's been a mistake, my room's already clean" He was struggling to grasp the reality of the situation so I said, "and who do you think cleaned that room?" He said "You?" and I said yes. I reminded him that I love him and he said thank you. This of course did not stop him from casually tossing his book bag, shoes and dirty socks into the middle of his floor. We have work yet to do!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

New Post! On the down side, this is a post about scrapbooking.

Well, it's been a while since I wrote something you know, for the public, and I saw how my little, baby sister (okay, I'm just saying that because she's getting married), anyways, my super, grown-up sister, Emma wrote in her blog every day for a month and honestly it looked like fun. No pictures, just thoughts. I can do that. I can also add pictures but just not tonight because it's already past my bedtime and I have to be up at 6:00am and who knows how many times in between!

So today, I had some dear friends over and we scrap-booked. For those of you who knock scrap-booking, I'll have you know that there is nothing so cathartic and relaxing as creating things for and about people you love. I am actually not a creative person in any way shape or form. But just the fact that I plunk my buns down once a month and force myself to work on my scrap-booking has produced some pretty neat stuff from this not-so-creative mind. Which I like. Actually, my friend April and I have been meeting once a month (sometimes skipping a month due to the birth of a baby or something along those lines...) for THREE years. How cool is that? And because of this monthly meeting I have been able to mostly keep up with all of the kid's books. And I bet you can't guess which books are my kids' favorite books to read and look at? Why, their books that are just about them of course! Their albums are covered in kid finger prints and smudges and are already kind of worn, but they know that they are special and loved. And the pages are safe because they are all in page covers so I can get new albums someday if I really need to.

Today I actually focused on making mother's day cards and I'm going to be honest with you. I made the most beautiful cards I have ever made and am a little upset with myself that I did not take a picture of the card I'm sending my mother-in-law because it is so darn pretty! Sorry to ruin the surprise Janette if you read this, but I love your card so much, it was hard to send it! Unfortunately though, I was holding April's baby while she was mailing her card in my mailbox and I helped her load her stuff into her car and by the time I ran into my house and grabbed the card to mail it the mailman came! In TWO minutes from the time she put her card in to when I came back out he was there and gone. So the card might not make it quite in time, but hopefully the prettiness of the card will make up for it. Such is life.