Wednesday, January 30, 2013


My father-in-law just posted this great article on Facebook. It's called, "How to Miss a Childhood." It basically talks about how this generation of parents has become so attached to their devices and electronics, that they are missing out on the precious moments of their children's lives. I've actually been thinking about these same things for a while, but it just put my thoughts (and more) in words I hadn't expressed. I feel like lately I spend so much time looking for contact with the "outside world" on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Blogs, etc. This happened to me after I had Owen as well. A new baby comes with a lot of time sitting and nursing, and being "stuck" at home. Sadly, this also equates to my phone being in my hand or at my side nearly 24/7. My friend, Shara, recently decided to do a FB fast. I teasingly made fun of her, but really had been thinking of doing the same thing. Prior to reading this article, I had considered it for different reasons:
- It feels like a waste of time
- I don't like feeling attached to checking statuses, comments, and likes
- I dislike the negativity (complaints, debates, harsh opinions against others)

But I kept telling myself that it was "important" to stay on to:
- Stay connected with long, lost friends and family members
- Make sure family has easy access to my blog
- Provide updates and pictures from our lives for family and friends
- Have up-to-date information of the world around me (I often find out major news happenings from posted articles, etc.)

And then I read this article. Which truly voiced the most important reason to leave it all behind. My children.

Yes, I have hours and hours with my kids every day being a stay-at-home-mom. Yes, I read books, play outside, do puzzles, smile and coo, make meals, wipe tears, rock and cradle, sing songs, chase, do piggy-back rides, snuggle, and love on my children every day. But in between all of that, I find myself distracted. Sadly, her words remind me of the moments when Owen says, "Put the phone down, Mommy!" or when my sweet Elsie looks up from eating to smile at me and it goes unnoticed. And lately, I've felt exhausted and overwhelmed. I don't have a lot of free time to get things done or have "me-time." (I am currently typing this as I nurse my baby and the toddler naps jumps in his crib.) And a lot of days honestly feel unfulfilled. But how much more fulfilled would my days be if they were wholly focused on uninterrupted, dedicated, attentive time? How much more fulfilled would I be? How much more fulfilled would my children be?

So it's time. I'm saying adieu to social network sites. I'm going to spend more time being present with my children, and less time being distracted by the computer/phone. I, of course, want to stay connected with people, and I know that won't happen for everyone. But if you want to reach me, I'll still have a phone and email (they just won't be checked as often) and I'm going to try to stay more up-to-date on my blog (our family history/journal that is much more worthy of my time).

I don't think this will be easy, nor do I think that all days will be blissful. However, I know that it will be an improvement to my and my family's lives. And that's all that really matters.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My! least tigers that is.

I saw a Groupon for the circus and decided to snag them because I knew Owen would love it. I was also excited, as I had never been to a circus before. We got there fairly early to make sure we had good seats, but really, I don't think we had to worry about that too much. The McKay events center at UVU is pretty small, and there were a lot of seat options when we got there. We actually ended up choosing seats that were back a bit so we'd have a good view of the areal shows.

I should mention that right after we arrived my camera battery died, so I had to use my iPhone to take all the pictures. Trying to take good pictures, in the dark, zoomed in from far away was not easy. So please excuse the quality.

The whole time I was there I kept thinking of Water for Elephants. Gratefully, they seemed to be rather humane and kind with their animals. But still makes you wonder about the life of a carnie! When we walked into the arena, they were doing pony, camel, and elephant rides. It was 10 bucks a pop for the elephant, but we figured, how often do you get the chance to ride an elephant?! I went on with Owen so he wouldn't be scared. Ok, ok...I went because I wanted to ride the elephant too! ;) It was hilarious though because before we went on, I asked Owen, "Do you want to ride the elephant?!" He said, "I want to ride the horsie!" Ha ha! The ride was pretty cool. It was a bumpy ride and you could feel the elephant's haunches move as it lumbered around. Very cool.

Getting on the elephant:

 Riding around:

Side note about the elephants: One of them relieved himself during intermission. A guy was cleaning it up and I was thinking what a miserable job that would be. A good two minutes later the smell from the urine had wafted through half of the arena to our seats and hit us like a ton of bricks. It was sick, and totally crazy to me that we could smell it so strongly from so far away. That is definitely not a job I would want!

Owen wanted to ride the camel too, but they wouldn't let adults ride, and I wasn't confident he wouldn't cry, so we passed.

Owen giving a funny face while chowing on popcorn (basically what amounted to his dinner) before the show:

The singing ringmaster with his dancing ladies:

After the ringmaster came out, the show started with the tigers. They really are beautiful animals. Owen was mesmerized with the act. And it was so cute to watch him throughout the show. He would put his popcorn down and clap enthusiastically. A few times he would even let out some loud whoops and squeals. It was darling.

This is right after a tiger jumped through the ring of fire:

Some other acts we saw...
Trapeze artists:


Animal trainer:

Aerial something or others:

Tightrope performers:

BMX bike trickster:

We also saw clowns (so lame), magic acts, motorcyclist, jugglers, and some cool tricks done on skates on top of this small table.
This was during the intermission. It was a looooong intermission (about 30 minutes).

We left shortly after the second act started. The show started almost 30 minutes late (with an original 7:30 PM start time) and after the long intermission, we knew we wouldn't get out of there until close to 11 PM. Owen was actually doing just fine and was really interested in it all and sad when we dragged him away. But to be honest, Miles and I were exhausted, and I was mostly concerned about Elsie. The music was SO loud and she was acting kind of flustered. She wouldn't fall asleep and I think she was pretty overstimulated. So we bailed. I was kind of sad about it because there was supposed to be a bear act as well. If Elsie hadn't been there I think we would have stuck it out. Either way, it was still a lot of fun and I'm glad we went. The next day Owen kept talking about the circus and riding the elephant. He kept asking if we could go back, and I had to remind him that the circus had left and moved on to another town. I think he had a good time.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Heavy Heart

As I read about the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting in Connecticut, my heart hurt and tears came quickly. I felt completely dumbfounded as to why this would happen. Any time I hear of shootings, attacks, or natural disasters where lives are lost, it makes me sad. But the thought of these sweet, innocent, angels being taken from this life so soon and so viciously makes me absolutely sick to my stomach. Having children of my own only compounds the feeling. A friend of mine posted these lyrics from I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day after hearing about the shooting:

And in despair I bowed my head:
"There is no peace on earth," I said,
"For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men."

I thought how poignant and true it felt. Such a tragedy. And to happen right before Christmas. Then I began to think about it some more. Yes - there is SO much evil in this world. Yes - HATE is strong. But...there IS good. And all the lyrics apply.

I heard the bells on Christmas Day,
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

I thought how, as the day had come,

The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along the unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bowed my head:
"There is no peace on earth," I said,
"For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men."

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth he sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men."

Till, ringing singing, on its way,

The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime,
Of peace on earth, good will to men!

I can only pray that the victims, their families, friends and loved ones can find peace in the depths of this sorrow. Which brings me to a project I worked on, in hopes of bringing some piece of happiness to their lives.
A friend of mine posted on Facebook that her sister-in-law was doing a project to gather (I think) 600 quilts for the children who were in attendance and would be returning to school after the holidays. She stated that quilts always gave her comfort and made her feel safe and warm. She wanted to impart some of those feelings to these poor children who had lost siblings, friends, classmates, and teachers. I decided I wanted to participate and asked Margaret if she wanted to be involved and work with me on it while we were in AZ for Christmas. She said yes and we committed to doing six.

Unfortunately, illnesses, needy children, and a busy holiday schedule kept us busy and we didn't start until just a few days before Miles and I were scheduled to leave. With a lot of hard work and sore fingers, we were able to tie them all.

I liked the crazy zig-zag pattern going on. Also, this was my first time tying quilts, so Margaret taught me a lot about it and how to be "most efficient" while doing it well. I learned from a self-proclaimed "quilting snob."

Even Mark jumped in and helped us out. It was greatly appreciated!

And this was frequently where Elsie could be found while we worked away at our project.

Miles and I left AZ with a huge extra suitcase filled with the six tied, unbound, quilts. We got home late on Monday night and Tuesday I called my mom to ask her some tips on finishing (binding) the quilts. At this point I had two days to reach my deadline. When I told my mom, she immediately told me that there was no way I would get them done alone and I needed to ask for help. After a lot of tears and swallowing my pride, I called numerous people in search of some last minute, desperately needed, helping hands. Sadly, even with all my calls, I was left empty-handed (and discouraged by some negative remarks from a church leader who scolded me for waiting and "putting the burden on other people").

Just when I got off the phone after another dead end, a voicemail came through. A woman said she had received a call from my mom and heard I needed help and wanted to help me out. I called her back and she said that she is friends with my mom's friend, Syd Crockett, and would be happy to take my quilts to finish. I asked her how many she wanted and she said, "I'll do them all." WHAT?! This angel of a woman said, "My children are teenagers and my husband is in the bishopric, so they're gone a lot. It will give me something to do." Yeah...I'm so sure she has nothing going on in her day. She also said she would come pick them up from me (she lives in Orem) so I wouldn't have to pack up the kids to bring them to her. AMAZING.

I immediately called my mom and thanked her profusely for SAVING me all the way from CA. This angel (her name is Kathy Russell) not only finished them all, but did it a whole day sooner than we needed (we found out we actually had an extra day or two to work on them). She did a beautiful job of finishing them (FAR better than I would have done). I could not thank her enough. I know she'll receive blessings from heaven for helping me in my time of need, as well as helping to do this service for these sweet children.

Here are the finished products: 

I'm anxious to hear how they were received. I hope that they do bring at least one small piece of warmth, love, and comfort to their precious souls.