Friday, January 29, 2016


As is normal, one of my New Year's goals was to exercise more. Specifically at least 5 times a week.

In all honesty, I've been doing pretty good at it.

Last week was rough. We were watching kids all week, and so I didn't get it in. This week has been a little less crazy, and I've done 2 out of 4 days so far. It's not quite to my goal, but I'm getting there.

A long time ago, a friend gave me some Turbo Jam dvds. I've found that exercising with videos might be my thing.

I'm not a self-motivated runner. I think it's boring, and I don't really enjoy running to just run. I like to play sports, and I will push myself when playing against other people, but it's hard for me to just run (plus, it kind of hurts my knees.)

I enjoy biking, and I started doing that last year before all the snow came...but then all the snow came and I wasn't sure what to do. We've gotten some really good snow storms this year, which I am grateful for, but it makes it really hard to even take the stroller out, especially when its less than 20 degrees F.

So, I wasn't sure what to do.

However, when I started exercising with this video, I really enjoyed it. It was like exercising with a group, but without any of them being able to see you. I hate it when people can see me when I exercise. It's really hard for me not to be self-conscious.

However, I get some encouragement, and doing it with other people (even if they're not really there), really motivates me to keep going.

I had been doing lower-body and abdominal strengthening exercises, but yesterday I decided to do a 40 minute cardio workout.

At about 20 minutes, I was done. I so badly wanted to turn it off and call it good for the day. I had even moved to get the remote to turn off the tv. However, for some reason, I didn't. Instead, I kept going, and to my surprise, it got easier. I wasn't as tired suddenly, and by the end of the video I had more energy than I'd had at the beginning.

Evidently it has been a while since I pushed through my limits. I forgot that you can get a second wind and that after muscles warm up, they are easier to move. I'd forgotten a lot of things.

After I finished, I was feeling really good about myself, and now I'm not sure what kind of exercise I want to do today. Part of me wants to do lower body again (which is where I need the most toning), but the other part wants to give the cardio another go.

Tough choices, but I'm happy that I'm accomplishing my goals.

Another one of my goals was to go outside at least once a day. Kevin needs to play outside, and even though its cold, he loves it. He looks pretty cute all bundled up too.
Kevin helps teach me to get back up after I fall
It's not always easy to go outside either. Some days, I'm tired and don't want to get us both all bundled up. Other days, it's too cold, and I enjoy being warm. However, every time I do it, I find that we really have a good time. 

Goals can be hard, and sometimes it's easy to give up on them, but if we push through the adversity, it will get easier. I'm learning that.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Sometimes You Just Need a Nap

Yesterday began pretty well.

I've been trying to figure out how to help Grig get more sleep. After praying about it, I realized that the best way for me to help Grig get to bed on time, is to get up with him in the morning. If I have to get up early to, it's easier to remember to go to bed.

So, Monday I didn't do very well, because Kevin got sick and kept me up a lot of the night.

However, Tuesday, I was able to get up. Unfortunately, so was Kevin. After struggling to get him to go back to sleep from 5:30 a.m. until 7:30 a.m., we finally just got up. Kevin and I were both pretty tired by nighttime.

Yesterday, went a lot better. I got up, Kevin kept sleeping, and Grig got out the door on time. I was able to work on my story, and Kevin slept until 8:30 a.m. It seemed like it was going to be a great day.

Then, after a little while, Kevin spilled his potty all over the bathroom floor (one of my least favorite things). Then, after I picked that up, I found out I had made a mistake on my taxes that I had to fix. That took a while, so, I was tired and grumpy and poor Kevin wasn't getting the attention that he needed.

Finally, after lunch, while Kevin was watching Winnie the Pooh, I decided to take a nap.

Sometimes you just need a nap.

Afterward, I felt a million times better, and today is going better too.

We're not doing that much better at going to bed on time, but we are doing better at getting up.

We just have to try harder every day.
Meanwhile, I'm much happier when I'm giving Kevin the attention he needs, and not being a grumpy mom. He was a good sport about it, even though he's had a cold, and I apologized later to him. He is a pretty awesome kid. 

I sure am grateful for the many wonderful things in my life. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Why I Like Daniel Tiger

As a mother of a toddler, I am watching shows that I would have had previously no interest in.

One of these is Daniel Tiger.

I watched Mr. Rogers neighborhood growing up, and loved it, but Kevin is really into the "spin-off" cartoon series about Daniel Tiger.

I don't have very many problems with it. I find it far less annoying the 90% of the other kid shows out there. It's pretty cute, teaches good moral lessons, and has catchy songs that get stuck in your head.

However, one of the things that I like about it most, is the way that it portrays the Tiger family, especially Daniel's father.

In most television shows today, fathers are either entirely absent, or incompetent. The father is usually portrayed as a bumbling idiot and used for laughs, or he is a complete jerk. However, Daniel Tiger is different. In this kid show, the mother and father work together and play with their son. They make mistakes, and occasionally get upset with him, but they use themselves as examples of how to deal with the negative emotions.

For me, I find it the most realistic version of parenthood I have seen yet.

Don't get me wrong, I understand that many families are not the ideal. Many people struggle with situations they can't control, divorces are rampant, and there are many vile men and women who ruin their spouse's and their children's lives.

However, not everyone is like that. When we don't allow children to see the ideal, how can they strive for that?

This post isn't meant to make those who don't have the ideal feel bad. I really empathize, though I am amazed and in awe at how single parent's take care of their children all by themselves. They have my deepest respect. I don't know how you do it alone.

I was one of the lucky ones. I have a fantastic father and a marvelous mother. I never heard them fight, though they did disagree. They aren't perfect, but they do their best and they love each other and each of their children. My grandparents on both sides are also incredible people. They've both been married over 50 years.

I met a man at one point in my life who would believe that. When I told him how long my parents had been married, he told me that I couldn't possibly be telling the truth. Marriages only lasted ten years or less. When I then told him about my grandparents, he was literally stunned. I was just as shocked by his mindset. I didn't know how good I had it.

I am currently in a relationship with an phenomenal man: my husband, Grig. We disagree, but we don't fight. We have extremely good communication and are able to talk through things that are bothering us before it spirals out of control. I am so grateful for that. I hate confrontation, and though I can't always avoid that, I am so happy that we are able to work through it.

He is my everything, and so it hurts me when fathers are so poorly represented.

In the 1995 document, The Family: A Proclamation to the World, church leaders from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said the following:
THE FAMILY is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities. By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. Extended families should lend support when needed.
I believe that this document was given from God. Fathers and mothers are necessary to achieve the ideal setting for raising children. Only working together as equal partners will allow them to achieve that setting.

The more that time goes on, the more it seems that the world is telling children how unnecessary fathers are. What do little boys have to look forward to, if all they see of fathers is idiocy? Why would they even want to become a parent?

So, Kevin can keep watching Daniel Tiger for as long as he wants to.

I kind of like it.
Kevin drew this picture of Daniel Tiger. I think it's amazing.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

"They're Stuck in the Closet!"

On Sunday,we had some friends over for dinner. We are going to call them the Trebuchet family. They are the owners of Arkhon's brother, Loki.

Everything was going well, when suddenly the oldest of the children came running upstairs. We're going to call her Joan.

"They're stuck in the closet!" she said, sounding quite alarmed.

Instantly, I was a bit irritated. Kevin was playing with the middle daughter, Florence. I had already told the kids that they weren't supposed to go into the brother-in-laws' rooms when they weren't downstairs. So, I ran downstairs, ready to chastise the children about making bad choices.

However, when we got to the bottom of the stairs, the oldest girl turned the opposite direction that I was expecting. Instead of turning toward the bedrooms, she turned toward the playroom.

So, then I thought, "Oh, no! They're stuck under the stairs." However, my guide continued past that closet too.

Now, I was confused, and my annoyance had completely faded away.

"What closet are they locked in?" I asked Joan.

She pointed to the entertainment center and I saw the doors begin to shake.

I busted up laughing.

You have to understand, our entertainment center is full of toys, and in the year that we've owned it, Kevin has never climbed into it. I hadn't even thought about him doing that.

My laughter brought everyone from upstairs, and this is what they found:

Picture is used with permission from parents'. However, I was told to give them awesome names. Hopefully the ones I picked are adequate. :)
Kevin and Florence had climbed into the top shelf by using the drawers as stairs. It's amazing what kids come up with when they work together.

Anyway, after I stopped laughing, I went and got the camera and took some pictures.

It was pretty awesome.

Arkhon got to play with his brother too. They sure have grown:
Today, Kevin asked me if he could climb into the cupboard again. I told him not right now, but he sure enjoyed it the other night.

He never wanted to come out.

Friday, January 22, 2016

I Kind of Love Doing Taxes and This Week's Highlights

So, I realized something pretty funny about me today.

We finally got our last W-2 in the mail, which I have been looking forward to for days, and I quickly ran inside and began to plug in numbers.

We've been babysitting kids all week, and so it's been kind of crazy around here. So, for fun today, I finished my taxes.

When Grig came home, we looked them over together, prayed about it, and then submitted them. This year we're using Turbo Tax. It tends to be more user friendly than some others that I've worked with before. It's also free as long as your using just the standard deduction.

It was nice to get done, but I realized that I look forward to taxes every year. I don't just look forward to the refund (though that is nice too), but I also look forward to just plugging in the numbers.

I used to think I hated math. I used to think that math was lame and wasn't any fun at all. Only since I've been married have I realized that I don't hate math. I actually really like working with numbers, especially when they have real-life application (like money).

Taxes were a little tricky this year, since it's the first year that we've owned a home, but all-in-all, I think it went pretty well, and I'm happy to have it submitted.

Kevin has been having a great time with friends this week. One of his friends has been staying with us for a few days, and it's been fun to experiment with having two children. Of course, it's a little different because I'm used to the way that Kevin works, but it was still fun. She and Kevin had a lot of fun playing (and fighting, occasionally) together.

Here are some of the highlights from this week:

On the first day, we made puppets. I printed off black and white pictures of Elsa and Superman and the kids colored them. Then we taped them onto straws as puppets. We also did a cat and a dog for each kid. They loved it, and had a great time. 
 We tried to go outside at least once every day. We would alternated between playing in the front yard, and playing in the backyard. One night, we were still playing when Grig got home, and he was able to join us!
 They loved having him pull them around in the sled.
Arkhon loves being outside with everyone too, though he gets cold quickly. 
I built this shelter out of stray branches in the yard. The kids enjoyed helping me create it. I'm hoping that it will snow and cover it in a good thick layer so it will end up more like an igloo. 
 We celebrated Havelock's birthday. We all had a good time and enjoyed meatloaf. (Havelock loves my meatloaf, so I always make it for him for his birthday.)
 After playing for hours, we'd go downstairs for lunch and have a picnic on the basement floor while we watched a movie. They were pretty cute together. I have some other cute pictures of the two of them, but since she isn't my child, I didn't feel like I could show her full face. She is a cutie though.
Arkhon and Kevin like to relax together. Arkhon was exhausted by all the playing and just wanted to take a nap. The kids were having a hard time leaving him alone, but eventually he got his nap.

We've been playing and working hard. Hopefully next week is a little less crazy, but we never know. Sometimes things just keep coming up!

And sadly, I have to wait another whole year to do my taxes again.


Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Why I Think Everyone Shouldn't Win

This is an opinion post. I'm going to say that up front. This comes from my little, old brain, and you have every right to disagree with me.

Over the last few days, I've been tending some different groups of kids. It's been really good for Kevin, because he's really enjoyed the company and because he's having to share.

The thing is, I have a hard time with sharing sometimes. They are, strictly speaking, his toys. If he's playing with them, I'm not going to tell him he has to give up the one he's playing with to another kid who has a hundred other toys to choose from, but wants the one that my son is playing with. On the other hand, if the other kid is playing with a toy, I'm not going to make him give up the one he is playing with either, not even to my son.

So, when they are done with the toy, the other kid can play with it. That's what I find fair, so that's what I enforce. Again, that's a personal thing and every parent has different rules at their house.

However, what's really been preying on my mind recently is the "everybody wins" thing.

I graduated in Elementary Education and though I don't have much experience, I did observe quite a few ways that teachers try to make games fun for everyone. Usually, you just don't have a winner, or you try and make everyone feel like a winner.

However, when Kevin and his friend were playing Hungry, Hungry Hippos today, I saw what I thought of as a flaw with that perspective.

Link to picture's source
Kevin's friend won the game, and immediately, she started chatting, "I won, I won." I told her that it was good that she won, but she didn't need to tease or we couldn't play. She stopped immediately, and they kept playing. Kevin, on the other hand, argued back that he had won, even though his hippo has collected fewer balls. I told him that his friend had won, and that we should be excited for her. So, we clapped for his friend, and we played again. The next time, he won and we clapped for him too.

Here's the thought that occurred to me: If there is never a winner, how can kids learn to be happy with other's good fortune?

Often in my life, someone else has received a blessing that I have really wanted. Recently, as I've been struggling with not becoming pregnant, it can be difficult sometimes to be happy for others' pregnancies. In some ways, every time someone announces that they are pregnant, a tiny spear of pain punctures my heart and it begins to ache. However, that doesn't change the fact that I am legitimately happy for my friends and family who have received this marvelous blessing. It just means that it is something I am working on.

When we teach our children to put aside their own desires and be happy for those around them who have good fortune, we are teaching them that other's needs and desires are just as important as their own. It is difficult for people (including me) to look outside of themselves and hope for other people's happiness. Sometimes it is hard to see the blessings that we have, when we are too busy seeing the blessings that we don't have.

As my husband often reminds me, we are blessed with an incredible son. Most people who struggle with getting pregnant, don't have even the one child to comfort them. I have family who want so badly to have children, and for some reason they can't. We pray for them frequently, and they help me remember to count my blessings.

Elder Holland gave a great talk a while back. It was called, "The Laborers in the Vineyard." It kind of talks about this same topic, about how we are not being treated unfairly just because someone else is blessed. This talk came to my mind while I was thinking about this today.

You can read it if you want to. It's a great talk.

So, I'm going to try to teach my son to be happy when others win, and that it's okay to want to win too. I used to be super-competitive. If I lost a game, it was very upsetting to me. I kind of had to learn to stop caring so much so that I could enjoy playing, and not get so angry. Now, I'm kind of casual about games, but I think I enjoy them more. I still want to win, but it's beginning to be okay when I lose too.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Relating to Sariah

In the Book of Mormon, it talks about a woman named Sariah. Sariah was a righteous woman, and married to a prophet. However, at one point, the Lord commands Lehi, her husband, to send their sons Laman, Lemuel, Sam, and Nephi back to Jerusalem to get the plates of brass, which contain the scriptures and a historical record of their family.

Time passes and Sariah begins to doubt. She calls her husband a "visionary man" and was sure that her sons had died.

In 2 Nephi 5 it states,
For she had supposed that we had perished in the wilderness; and she also had complained against my father, telling him that he was a visionary man; saying: Behold thou hast led us forth from the land of our inheritance, and my sons are no more, and we perish in the wilderness.
 And after this manner of language had my mother complained against my father.
 And it had come to pass that my father spake unto her, saying: I know that I am a visionary man; for if I had not seen the things of God in a vision I should not have known the goodness of God, but had tarried at Jerusalem, and had perished with my brethren.
 But behold, I have obtained a land of promise, in the which things I do rejoice; yea, and I know that the Lord will deliver my sons out of the hands of Laban, and bring them down again unto us in the wilderness.
 And after this manner of language did my father, Lehi,comfort my mother, Sariah, concerning us, while we journeyed in the wilderness up to the land of Jerusalem, to obtain the record of the Jews.
I have always had a hard time relating to Sariah. I had always thought, why did she doubt, didn't she know her husband was a prophet? What was she so worried about?

Her sons returned from their mission successful, and Sariah said the following:
 And she spake, saying: Now I know of a surety that the Lord hath commanded my husband to flee into the wilderness; yea, and I also know of a surety that the Lord hath protected my sons, and delivered them out of the hands of Laban, and given them power whereby they could accomplish the thing which the Lord hath commanded them. And after this manner of language did she speak.
After her sons returned, that's when Sariah gained her testimony that her husband was a prophet, and from then on, we don't hear of her doubting again.

Saturday, while Grig and I were at the temple, he received revelation concerning our family. My husband is not a prophet, but the Lord does give him (and me) revelation about our lives and how we should guide our family.

I had a hard time, because I hadn't felt the same thing. However, as I prayed to receive my own confirmation of what my husband felt, I overheard some men next to me talking about Nephi's journey back to Jerusalem and how when the Lord gives us a commandment, He will provide a way for us to accomplish the things that he tells us to do (1 Nephi 3:7).

Grig and I have a very equal relationship. Usually when we pray for guidance, we both receive confirmation of what the Lord wants us to do. However, sometimes, only one of us will feel something. Grig has trusted in my impressions in the past, and I am learning to trust in his, even when I don't feel the same. He's a very good man, and trying hard to do what is right.

Sometimes it's easy to doubt someone we love, just as Sariah did. However, I felt the Spirit testify to me that I need to trust in my husband and honor his role as husband and father. That was a good enough answer for me. That doesn't mean that I still don't have to push down doubts occasionally, but it means that I know that I am doing what the Lord wants me to, and He will provide a way for me to have faith in my husband's words.

If I can have sufficient faith and believe, in due time I will see that my husband was correct, and then, like Sariah, I can say, "Now I know of a surety." Until then, I am learning to trust in the Lord, and in my husband.

A painting by Jerry Thompson showing Lehi smiling and standing by the iron rod while reaching for a piece of fruit from the tree of life, with others close behind him.
Link to this picture's source

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Wanting It All

When I was younger, I received a gift card for Barnes and Nobles.

I was super excited. I have always loved books, and so it was thrilling for me to be able to purchase more of them, especially when I didn't have to use my own money.

My dad took me to Barnes and Nobles and I began to browse the books. I found three books that I really wanted, but together, they added up to more than I had on the gift card.

I could see my dad's eyes light up. I could practically see him thinking, Ah-hah! An excellent teaching moment!

He turned to me and said, "Now you have a decision to make. Which book are you going to put back?"

I looked at the three books. It was a really tough decision. I didn't want to choose only two; I wanted all of the books. Then, suddenly I remembered something.

"I have some cash in my wallet!" I exclaimed. "I can buy all of them!"
Books are awesome. Period.
My dad's face fell. I could tell that he was disappointed. That hadn't been the lesson that he had wanted me to learn. However, I was just thrilled that I didn't have to choose and that I could have everything.

I've been thinking about that experience a lot lately.

Recently, we've had to face a similar decision. There are four fairly expensive things coming up. We have felt drawn to purchase all of them, but if we buy some of them, we probably won't be able to buy others. All of them are good things.

We have felt drawn to look at some Norwegian elkhound puppies, and we've felt that if Grig gets his appointment and raise at work that we will be able to buy one. However, we've also recently found out that some of Grig's extended family is coming soon to visit his parents' in Virginia, and we want to travel there and visit them.

On top of those two things, we've also felt recently that we need to start looking at purchasing a new vehicle, one that has more room. As it is, all the people that live in our house can't really travel with us anywhere. We don't have enough room in our car.

Finally, we've been feeling that maybe the time for the next baby is going to happen soon, which is another huge expense.
A lot more than this, anyway. 
The hard thing is, I want all of these things. I'm really hoping that somehow, things are going to work out so that we can afford to pay for each of these wonderful blessings. I'm afraid though, that we're going to have to pick, and that's going to be really hard to do.

We've been praying a lot, and we are waiting to see what happens, especially with Grig's job. We've been trying to save and be frugal, but even so, currently we can barely afford any of these things.

I'm sure things will work out, I just don't know how yet. I trust in my Heavenly Father, and I know that if something is supposed to happen, that He will help it to happen. For now, we're just hoping and praying that we'll make the right decision when the time comes.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The Right Time

Currently, Grig and I are struggling with a decision. With the passing of Dakota last October, we've been contemplating getting a second dog. When we prayed about it before, we felt like we should wait until after Christmas.

Then, a few days after Christmas, a friend of ours had us keep their puppy for a few days. It was so neat to see how gentle Arkhon was with the puppy and to realize how much easier puppy training is when you have a backyard. It was really fun to hold their fluffy little guy and to play with him.

During the same time, I discovered I wasn't pregnant. That realization was especially heartbreaking this month.

So, with those two things combined, I began to look at puppies again.

For a long time, we've been looking for Norwegian Elkhound pups, but there are no breeders on this side of the United States. We had begun to give up on owning them anytime soon. However, the day after the puppy left, I discovered some elkhound pups for sale on in a nearby town.

The timing seemed miraculous. Grig was especially excited. His first dog was an elkhound cross, and he loves the breed. He immediately texted the seller, and we made an appointment to come out and see the pups.

We went and looked at them last night, and they were the most adorable, fluffy puppies I've ever seen!
This isn't the pups we saw, but it gives you an idea of what they looked like. 
They are only four weeks old right now, so we were mainly coming to see the facilities and meet the parents. We were pretty impressed with the family, and the mother and father elkhound had great temperaments!

The pups cost more that we really should be spending right now, but we could do it, if we felt it was right. Things have happened in such a way that it is hard for us to feel like finding these pups is just a coincidence.

We feel like this is the right breeder and the right parents, but we aren't sure if this is the right time or the right litter. We've been doing a lot of praying.

Mostly, we just want to make the right decision. We don't want to do something that's going to financially hurt us, but we also don't want to miss out on this opportunity if the Lord provided it.

Decisions can be hard sometimes.

Especially when they're this adorable.

Again, not the exact pups, but still very cute. 

Monday, January 4, 2016

MM: New Beginnings

I'm so excited for 2016! I'm just sure it's going to be a great year full of awesomeness! (Sorry, we may have been watching too much Kung Fu Panda at our house.)

One thing that I've been thinking a lot about lately as I've been setting my goals is my Savior. During Christmas, the church came out with a video that asked the question, "What would life be like without a Savior?"
This is the video if you want to watch it. It made some points that I had never really thought of before.

One that is sticking out this morning is the question, "What would it be like to make a mistake and to have no hope of the mistake every being forgiven or forgotten?"

Sunday morning, when I stayed home from church because I was pretty sick, I had a dream that I was pretty angry with one of my brother-in-laws. I was being pretty rude, and in the dream I thought, "I really should apologize, but I'm still too angry!" When I woke up, I was really glad it was just a dream and had never happened. I'm not usually deliberately rude to people, and I would have felt really bad if that dream had been reality. It may have irreparably damaged my relationship with my brother-in-law forever.

In 2015 I made plenty of mistakes. I missed lots of goals, and fell short of the mark. I often did my best, but occasionally, I wasn't even trying.

I am so grateful that every new day, every new week, every new month, and every new year, we can start over. I'm so grateful for new beginnings. Every time we wake up, we can choose to do better and to try harder. We can choose to let go of the past and look forward to the future. We can do our best to repent of our mistakes and turn toward our Savior.

I'm so grateful that we can be forgiven.

I can't even imagine facing the future, knowing that I was so far removed from Heavenly Father already that there was no point in even trying. Because of Him, there is always a point. No matter who you are, what you've done, what you've been through, or the mistakes you've made, the Lord is always waiting for us to turn to Him. If we do and we truly repent, He will forgive us. We may still have to bear the consequences of our actions, but we are all His children, and He loves us very much. As long as we are trying, He will help us in the way that will be best for us.

After all, He gave us His greatest treasure, so that we all could return to live with Him again. No matter the pain that we feel, I don't think it can compare to the perfect grief and sorrow our Father felt as He watched His son suffer and die.

I know our Heavenly Father loves each of us, and our Savior came to this world so that we could return to live with Him again, as long as we choose to accept his atonement. The Lord gives us commandments because He loves us, and as we do our best, He will help us to strive toward perfection.

I know that we can all do better this year than we did last year. It IS worth it to set goals, even if previously you haven't succeeded. Set daily, weekly, and monthly goals, and you'll find that your yearly goals won't be forgotten.

Let's all do better for this new beginning in our lives!