Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Costume of the Century


First of all, I am not a fan of Halloween being on a Sunday. Simply because it feels like we have Halloween for three weeks by the time we're finished with all of the celebrations. I don't know if I can handle the sugar highs for another minute!

Second of all, I know that all of you have been waiting on pins and needles to see Bria's costume. The one that took about 16 yards of fabric to make and probably weighs 10 pounds.  Poor girl had to play her violin wearing the thing for the Halloween recital (and might I add that she played splendidly?). I will say that this costume has already been worn enough to make it very worth the time and effort: Violin recital, school parade, Trick or Treating downtown, Bria's Halloween Birthday Party today, and Trick or Treating at the university dorms. And it isn't even Halloween yet!!!


You say you want to see the costume?

All righty then....

Here she is, in all of her vampirical splendor.

I made that!

As well as all of her sleeves (and all of her teeth).

Medieval Vampire

Just don't pay too much attention to the fact that it doesn't fit her incredibly well.  I just didn't have the time to make it work just right. And there's that perfection problem I've been working on and all. But, still, we love it—imperfections and all.

Vampire Bria

And this is my very favorite picture from Trick or Treating downtown last night.  I just love her tennis shoes peeking out, and her gloves, and the graffiti, and her attitude.


Oh, and the costume, too.  I love that the most.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


A couple days ago while I was in the dining room sewing up Bria's epic Halloween costume (which is forthcoming!), I heard strange noises on the roof.   After they didn't let up for several minutes I finally went outside to see what was going on.

I had suspected a squirrel was on the roof, and I was right. Nothing out of the ordinary, at least around our house, but then I saw it disappear into the roof.

On the roof--normal.
In the roof--definitely not good.

But then, in typical Lara fashion, I kind of forgot about the incident as it was a Sunday evening and not much could be done right then.  I haven't been home much the last couple of days, and so I haven't been thinking about it.

But Joel went up in the playroom with the kids this morning and then came down and informed me that something is living in the playroom ceiling.  We have no attic there, and you can hear it scampering around.  And that's when I remembered to tell him what I saw on Sunday.


Do you know how difficult it is to find someone to remove a squirrel from your roof where I live?  Considering there are a million squirrels living in my neighborhood alone, you'd think it would be a bit easier than this.  I've just spent the entire morning looking for somebody who will get rid of the thing for us, as I have no desire to try to do it myself. 

I did finally find someone, and am eagerly waiting for the technician to call, while I try not to read about all of the damage having a squirrel living in your roof can cause.  Hopefully, he's only been here a few days, since nobody's really noticed the noise up in the playroom before, and it's pretty obvious there is a freaking animal in the ceiling when you're in there.

In other news, there are hurricane force winds expected here for the next few days, so maybe that squirrel will just be blown right away.

PS  This is a gray squirrel, so at least we don't have to try to evacuate Chippy.  We would feel bad about that.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Words of Wisdom from a 4 Year Old

I'm a Cute Little Girl

This morning Sophia was not so keen on getting out of bed and getting into the tub so we could get her ready for church.  I'm pretty sure that she could have slept at least another two hours, and I'm also pretty sure that she needed that sleep.

But, alas, she didn't get it and instead found herself in the bathtub screaming like it was the end of the world.  After about 10 minutes of that, I asked her for the fiftieth time to please calm down, only this time I added, "Goodness, Sophia!  Nobody's trying to kill you or anything!"

To which she answered, even more emotionally than before, "Moooooommmmmmy!!!  If you kill me...(sob)...if you KILL me.....(sob) (sob)....then Jesus....(sob)....then Jesus.....(sob)....Jesus is NOT GOING TO LIKE YOU ANYMORE!"

And that's when I realized that I have a lot of recent Sophia quotes written down that really must be shared.  Just a warning, though:  Sophia does not like laughing.  So you are not allowed to laugh.  Or smile.  Got it?

Sophia's Words of Wisdom

On her mother's bossiness:

"You're not a queen, Mom!  You're just a mom!"

"You're not the boss of everything, Mom."

On having to go to time-out:

"I wish I was Batman that's a girl  and you wasn't,  then I could fly high up in the sky and you could not catch me."

On the Batman costume her mother bought her, knowing of her wishes to be Batman that's a girl (see above) and fly away from all discipline:

"Mom!  This Batman costume doesn't even WORK!  I not really flying."

On her recurring nightmares that a black guy (Darth Vader, I think, or possibly even Batman) is chasing her:

"I blessed the black guy to Father in my prayer, and now he doesn't chase me in my dreams anymore.  He chases skeretons instead."

On the socks she received for her birthday from her Primary teacher that say "Follow Christ" on them:

"Daddy say I can do whatever I want today because it's my birthday, so I don't have to say prayers and read scriptures!"

"Sophia, Jesus still wants you to say your prayers, even if it's your birthday."


And, true to her word, she sat down and pulled those Follow Christ socks right off of her feet.

And then I stuffed them in my mouth to keep from giggling.

Because, after all, Sophia doesn't like laughing.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


I've started a review blog and I've got several fun reviews and giveaways coming up soon.  Go check out my first post....I have an upcoming review with a store that has everything from barstools to baby gear, and I need to decide which item I should review first!

Overstuffed Reviews

PS  Book reviews will stay on my main blog.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Because There's Always a Bright Side

Yesterday I was supremely bugged at the Utah State Tax Commission or whatever you're supposed to call the people who collect your income tax.

We got a letter that said we did our 2007 (yes, that's three years ago) taxes incorrectly.  They had the numbers we supposedly submitted in one column with the numbers we should have submitted in another column.  We were to either agree or disagree with their assessment and send the form back in.  Of course, if we didn't agree with them, we would have to send them our entire Federal return from that year, including all worksheets, W-2's and our first-born child.  If we agreed on their version of the numbers, well, then we would have to pay more taxes.

So, I stewed about the whole thing while I was sitting in my children's music lessons, then I came home and hurriedly found our 2007 tax return.

And guess what?

The numbers we originally filed matched the CORRECT numbers in the letter we received.  I couldn't fathom where the other numbers had come from, especially since it had us claiming 7 exemptions when we clearly only have 5 people living in our home and only have access to those same 5 Social Security numbers.

And then I remembered something important.  Back in December of 2008, when Joel had just lost his adjunct job at SUU, the Utah State Tax Commission sent us a letter telling us we had done our 2007 state income taxes incorrectly (sound familiar?) and they were refunding us $182.00.   That amount isn't gigantic, but it made a huge difference to us due to our financial circumstances at the time.

So yesterday, when I got off the phone with the guy at the tax commission, I was annoyed.  Because what I found out was that they had lost the first page of our tax return when we originally filed it.  Instead of sending us a letter asking us to resubmit that first page, they just decided to do the worksheet themselves.  But they did it wrong, thought we had overpaid and so they cut us a check.  But as it turns out, three years later, they finally realized that it was done wrong and now we owe them the same $182.00 that they had "refunded" us before.  Kind of a mess.

But then I got to thinking about it more, and I'm not bothered anymore.  That check was clearly a blessing when we received it.  A wink from above, telling us that all would be well.  We have the money to pay them back now, annoying as it may be, but it's there.  They aren't giving us some sort of a penalty for being three years late with this money.  All will still be well, and the Lord is in charge.  He made it so we could get a little loan from the State Tax Commission when we needed it most, didn't He?  He got us through this summer on no paycheck whatsoever, didn't He?  And He has now provided several ways for us to pay this little bit back without it hurting us financially.
Whatever our trials are, be they financial as they often are at our house, or otherwise, there is always a little bright side.  Always a way to see the Lord's hand as you go through it, or  maybe three years later.  Always little winks from above, letting us know that things really will be okay in the end.

And that is comforting to know.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

And No, I Will Not Be Planting Flowers in Them

toilets on deck

There you go.   The height of class has got to be having two toilets on your back deck.  Never fear, they really are headed to the dump on Saturday, despite all of the wonderful advice I received to use them as flower planters or fish bowls or what have you.  In my humble opinion, that is taking the whole reduce-reuse-recycle thing a little bit too far.  And for the record, I wouldn't wish either of these toilets on anybody, innocent as they seem out there on the deck.  The one is probably 50 years old.  I think it's seen its life's usefulness, don't you?

And now I must go finish pulling up all the bright orange carpet that is in my foyer so that I can get nice neutral carpet installed today.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Some Monday Thoughts

I've been working hard on Bria's Halloween costume this weekend.  The one with yards and yards of black fabric.  It's a little difficult to see what on earth I am doing with such a huge pile of dark fabric in my lap, but it's coming along nicely.  I have the bodice done, but only one of the sleeves put in, although the other sleeve is ready to go.  (The sleeves are about 4 yards of fabric all by themselves.)  I keep telling myself that it's only a costume when I make an error that would be fatal if I were sewing something like a prom dress.  Yes, it's only a costume.  Nobody will see where I didn't match up seams just right or I puckered a stitch.  Hopefully I'll be finished by the end of this week.


Sophia's Primary class was working on learning the first Article of Faith yesterday at church.  Even though she is a Sunbeam, the entire Jr. Primary meets together, so she gets to do things like memorize the Articles of Faith with everybody else.  Last night she recited it for me, just how she remembered:

"We believe in God, the Jesus Father, and his baby child the Holy Ghost.  Number one!"

Can't get any more adorable than that!


Since my dad replaced both of our toilets, I now have two old toilets sitting on my back deck.  Very classy, I tell you.  Hopefully we'll get them to the dump soon, but it does make me giggle every time I look out the back window.


I've been doing better at saying "no" to people, but not that much better considering I have now found myself roped into singing and then accompanying another singer at a recital this weekend.  I had originally said no to participating in this one at all because life is too crazy, but, well, I guess I need to work on saying "no" the second time, too.  (It doesn't help that the person who really needs me to help out with it is my own husband, and since I kind of like him....)


I'm becoming a little bit obsessed with sixteenth century English royalty.  I am in the middle of reading The Other Boleyn Girl, and have to put the book down and do some research on all of these characters and practices every few chapters or so.  Fascinating stuff.  And then it bugs me at how historically inaccurate the book really is, but it's still fascinating. What should I read next?


Happy Monday!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Grandparents Rock!

My parents are leaving bright and early tomorrow morning.  We got a ton of work done around my house and I am so grateful to them for using their vacation time to come help us poor souls do things like, oh, replace toilets and carpet, cut baseboards and keep up with the never ending laundry.  Of course, it wasn't all hard work and we had lots of fun shopping, eating and playing together, too.

Tonight I did an impromptu photo shoot with the girls and Mamah and Grandpa in our front yard.  The sun was already setting when we decided, so I was losing light fast, but I got some good ones that I can't wait to frame.  Since I never did get fall photos this year.  Sigh.

Have a wonderful weekend!  I'd like to say I will, but my parents will be gone, so I'll probably be crying.

On our porchWith ChloeMom and DadWith BriaGranddaughterswith SophiaMamah and GrandpaMom and Dad

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Music at the Monastery

Last October, Joel and I got invited to an amazing recital at our local monastery.  These are Ukrainian Catholic monks, and their particular mission is to praise God through music and art.  And food (which is totally an art in its own right).  During the summer they run a little shop where you can buy amazing jams and chocolates and so forth.  And during the fall they have these elite recitals.  Elite, because if you get an invitation, you can consider yourself very flattered.

So we got another invitation for this past Sunday, and they even let us bring my mom along.  This time, it was a soprano who was accompanied by a harpist.  They were wonderful.  It was all wonderful.  The dinner they fed us afterwards was wonderful, too, although I guess we unknowingly broke The Word of Wisdom a couple times.  Oops.  But I had no idea.

Anyway, last year I lamented that I did not have a camera with me when I was up at the monastery.  This year, I made sure to bring it.  I didn't get a ton of pictures, but here are a few of the monastery itself, the view of Lake Superior from behind it and a rose from their beautiful garden.

MonasteryFall on Lake SuperiorView from the CloisterRose
Meanwhile, my parents are still here and we are busy, busy, busy making a few home improvements, running kids to their various activities and enjoying our time together.  My Google reader has 1,000+ unread posts in it and life isn't letting up anytime soon.  Hope you all don't hate me for marking all as read.

Happy Thursday!


Oh!  And by the way, the winner of the book The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene' Brown is Cynthia!  Email me with your address and I'll make sure it gets to you soon!

To everyone else:  I wish I could have given a free copy to all of you.  But since I can't, I'm going to say again how much I think we all should read this book.  So if you can, go buy a copy.  Now.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Double Digits


Dear Bria,

October has always been my favorite.  I think it is thirty-one days of pure perfection.  Pumpkins and changing leaves.  Crisp blue skies and even crisper apples.  Football season and sweater weather.  Sugar and spice and dressing up for Halloween.  I revel in it.

I'm sure that's why Heavenly Father made sure to send me my first child and make me a mother in October.  Now I can never get through General Conference weekend (the first weekend in October) without thinking of how Daddy and I went up Provo Canyon between sessions, less than a week before your birth, to see all of the fall colors and how ready I was to meet you.

And today you're turning TEN.  Ten whole years!  I can hardly believe where all the time has gone.  You are growing up into such a wonderful young lady.  You have been such a wonderful helper to me in the last few months, and I am so thankful to have you.  You love to wake up early on Saturday mornings and surprise me by cleaning up the playroom (which by Saturday usually looks like the aftermath of a hurricane) or making a hot breakfast for the family.  You are a wonderful big sister, and you especially love to get Sophia ready.  You usually choose some uber stylish outfit and do her hair in some funky way, and she loves the attention she gets and you love the practice designing outfits and hairstyles.  You also love to experiment on yourself and you just get better and better at doing your hair.  I don't know any ten year old girls who can do their hair in an updo like you can!


In fact, that is such your favorite thing to do, that for your birthday you're getting your very own sewing machine from Mamah and Grandpa.  From us, you're getting a fashion design kit and some fabric.  Also, you're getting your Halloween costume.  That may sound funny to some other people, but you are a kid who takes Halloween very, very seriously.  Back in July you had your costume designed and wanted me to whip it up off of your design.  Unfortunately, I am not that talented in the sewing department and I need to have a pattern.  So, last week we headed to the fabric store and looked in all of the pattern books for something close to the design you had in your head.  We found something, but it required a LOT of yardage.  After watching them cut out almost 18 yards of fabric, and then seeing the price, you apologized for having it cost so much.  I was happy to do it, because I know how important it is to you (I just hope I can get it done and that it will actually look good!) but I told you it could count as part of your birthday present.  And you were very happy about that.

I talk about your musical skill all the time, but I am very proud of your talent.  You just started the youth orchestra in town this year.  After the first rehearsal, you were a little worried that you weren't quite ready for it, because sight reading is not your strength.  But even so, at dinner that night, when we talked about our highlights for the day you said, "I don't know why I'm even saying this, but orchestra was my highlight."  As much as you complain about practicing and tell me you can't wait to quit the violin, I know that it isn't really true.  You love it.  I know this because every time you write something about yourself in school, you write about how you love music and how you play the violin.  It's a part of you.

I'm so happy that you're my daughter, Bria!  Even though we're moving closer and closer to the teenage years, and sometimes the sass shows through, I'm loving every minute of being your mother.


Monday, October 11, 2010

On the Run

My parents are in town, so I'm going shopping with my mom.

'Nuff said.

Except, I did do a guest post over here.  Go read and enjoy.

And I'll hope I can find some jeans that fit me nicely in the three stores I have available to me.

Happy Monday!

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Perfection is Boring

My Perfect Protest

I don't post a ton of pictures of myself on my blog.  There are criteria, you know.  I have to look perfect, or near to it.  If I don't, well then, you're not going to see that picture!  But, I'm bucking up, and today I'm posting this picture, which I had Bria take while I was still in my polar bear fleece pajamas and hadn't done my hair or brushed my teeth.  I purposely sat next to the unfolded laundry pile that has been on my couch for two days.  Today, I am joining in Brene' Brown's Perfect Protest and protesting perfection.

When we were at the Chicago Symphony last weekend, I read the interview with the maestro (not my Maestro, but the maestro conducting in Chicago!) that was in the program.  I was incredibly struck by one thing he said and I couldn't stop thinking about it.  So much so that I immediately posted it on my Facebook page and have been trying to call it to mind whenever I feel the anxiety about not having the perfect house or being the perfect wife and mother.

He was asked a question about how he felt when his orchestra didn't play perfectly, and his answer went like this:
"Perfection doesn't exist.  And if you try to reach perfection for the sake of perfection, you are boring."
~Riccardo Muti
The last thing I want to be is boring.  So if it's boring to have the laundry folded all of the time, then I'm totally okay with leaving it for a bit.  I will not let laundry affect my self-worth (has anyone noticed that I seem to have major issues with laundry???).  Or anything else that I do imperfectly.  I am so much more than laundry and a clean house.

As I continue to ponder perfection, I have realized that there is perfection and then there is PERFECTION.  One is a spiritual gift that we aspire to in the hereafter, and one is trying to do things perfectly in this life that have absolutely no bearing on our salvation.  If I can get past the perfection problem here, it will free me up to better myself in the ways that really and truly matter:  To develop charity, to have a relationship with my Father in Heaven and my Savior, to improve my God-given talents, to bring joy to my life and to the lives of others as I learn to serve them.

Somehow, I don't think the perfect laundry room can help me achieve any of that.


PS  Brene' Brown's wonderful book about embracing vulnerability and imperfection, The Gifts of Imperfection can be purchased on Amazon by clicking here: The Gifts of Imperfection.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

I Got an "F" in Laundry Today, and I'm Totally Okay With That

A couple weeks ago, Bria came home very happy about her Social Studies test.

"Mrs. T said that I had nice essays!" she told me.

Later, when I actually looked at the test, I saw she had received a C-, which normally would make my perfectionistic-since-birth daughter very upset. 

I asked Bria if she was okay with the C- and she nodded with a big smile on her face.  "Because I had nice essays," she said.

I have to admit, I was a little bit worried about letting the grade go and not worrying about it myself.  But I absolutely did not want to rain on her parade when I saw that her confidence about school was at a much higher level than usual.  So, I left it alone and never mentioned it again.

She had another Social Studies test today.  Normally, when we study for this subject, she gets frustrated because she really sees no practical need to know how our government works, or what the capitals of the states are.  Therefore, it is hard for her to even retain the information because she has no idea how to apply it to her own 5th grade life.

Anyway, when we studied for her test last night, she wasn't frustrated at all.  In fact, she was actually excited about it.  And then Joel quizzed her more this morning before school and she was amazing.

Now, I don't know for sure what the larger lesson to be learned here is, but I think it might go something like this:  When we focus on the things that we do well, instead of the ones we don't, our confidence will go up.  And once our confidence is up, we'll actually do better on the other things anyway.

This is not how I live my life, generally.  I'm really, really good at looking at that C- and saying, "so what if I had nice essays?  I didn't get an A!  My life is over!!!"  or, more commonly, "so what if I got most of my list done today?  I failed to do laundry!  I am the worst mother ever!!!!"

Maybe if I looked at my list and noticed all the great things I did accomplish, the undone things wouldn't matter.  And maybe if I'm okay with not doing some things perfectly, or at all, it will be easier to do better the next time.


What a revelation!

We'll see if I can actually apply it to my life.

(And I'm sorry if I'm beating the perfection horse to the ground.  It's definitely on my mind, though, what can I say?)(Actually, I'm pretty sure I'll have more to say tomorrow.)(So stay tuned.)

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

The Gifts of Imperfection

You may have noticed a theme in my last couple posts.  I'm rundown, overwhelmed and I realize that, while my priorities are right in my head, they aren't in reality.  So the book I'm reviewing today really came at a perfect time in  my own personal crisis.  In fact, as I was reading along yesterday (yes, I totally procrastinated reading it due to other books taking up my precious little reading time) I thought to myself, "This book could be companion material for President Uchtdorf's talk at conference!" (I'm making President Uchtdorf's talk my personal touchstone until I really get it, by the way.)(Because I really don't get it yet.)

I devoured this book, pen in hand, and marked up much more than I usually do in any book.  Starting with the very first paragraph of the introduction:

Wholehearted living is about engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness.  It means cultivating the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough.  It's going to bed at night thinking, Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid but that doesn't change the truth that I am worthy of love and belonging.

Seriously, I sat there staring at that paragraph for a full ten minutes as I let it sink in.  How did the author know?  How did she know that I equate my full plate--how much I get done in a day--to my self worth?  How did she know how afraid I am to show my weaknesses (especially the weaknesses I haven't fully embraced yet)?  How did she know that I often don't feel loved?  Or that I don't feel like I really belong anywhere?  How did she know?

And it dawned on me that maybe we all feel like this to an extent.  And yet, I watch others and I am sure, absolutely sure, that they know something about living that I don't.  And maybe they do...maybe they've figured out the secret that it's okay to be imperfect.  But maybe they haven't.

The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brene Brown is a book we all need to read.  I admit, that whole thing about Who I Am vs. Who I Am Supposed to Be gets me every time.  I think it's a fine line between embracing things I shouldn't embrace and being okay with where I am right now.  I think that I should strive to be better, and maybe Who I Am is not good enough.  So, I admittedly bristled a bit at the subtitle there.

But then, like I said, I read that first paragraph, and I realized it wasn't like that at all.  This is learning to let go of the unnecessary shame we carry around that says we don't measure up.  It doesn't mean we can't strive to become better.  In fact, I think if we can let go of the shame by embracing our imperfections, we will actually become better faster.  We will become more courageous.  More compassionate.  More connected.

The book is divided into 10 "guideposts" that can help us let go of unhealthy traits and embrace new, healthier ones.  I particularly need to re-read Guidepost #7  "Cultivating Play and Rest: Letting Go of Exhaustion as a Status Symbol and Productivity as Self-Worth" and Guidepost #9  "Cultivating Meaningful Work: Letting Go of Self-Doubt and 'Supposed To'" because sitting in my inbox right now are three e-mails that I really need to reply to.  And the reply needs to be "No."  But you have absolutely no idea how much anxiety even the thought of telling somebody I can't do something gives me.  It's absolutely ridiculous!

I had more insights into myself while reading this book than I have had in a really long time.  Shameful really.  But I will own my weaknesses.  You'll see.

Starting right now.


I have one copy of this book for one of you (US/Canada only).  Believe me, this is a book you shouldn't miss out on (have I said that enough yet?), so enter this giveaway.  Tell me how the quest for perfection plays a role in your life.  I will draw for a winner on Thursday, October 14.

And don't forget to check out Brene Brown's blog.  Especially this post: The Perfect Protest.

Monday, October 04, 2010

I'm Just a Girl Who Cain't Say No

I really thought I was getting better at this little problem of mine.  The one that got this blog its name.  Which is, putting so much onto my plate that I can't possibly accomplish any of it very well, if at all, and totally sapping me of joy in my life.

But, alas, I was wrong.

Very, very wrong.  This last month has been the busiest I've ever had since that one time when I was in college and took 21 credits in one semester, was in the opera, worked 30 hours a week and still tried to have some semblance of a social life but had a nervous breakdown instead.

Now, there are some things I can't say no to, like my church calling.That's a no-brainer. I also can't say no to voice lessons. I can't just stop teaching them, that is. I will work on starting a waiting list instead of just accepting every person who wants lesson.  I can't say no to my children's activities, and believe it or not, they really don't have that many. Violin and piano and girl scouts for the big girls and preschool for Sophia.  But, when you add in homework and practicing, it's a lot.  They want to do dance lessons, but I said no.  I can't.  I will blow up.

Wait, what?  I can say no!  But it probably doesn't count when it's only to my own kids.  Shoot.

I've decided that my problem lies in the fact that on paper, all of the things I have to do don't really look like much. I'm very visual, and when I write it down it looks like I can do all the things I write in my planner. The hours say that I can do them.  But I never think to factor in how long it takes me every week just to stay on top of (or at least in the middle of) laundry and dishes.  I don't ever think about driving time, and the fact that ending my lessons at 3:15 at the university, getting the big girls at the bus by 3:25 and getting Sophia at the preschool at 3:30 simply does not work and I am late to everything.  Oh how I hate being late!  I don't think about how long it takes to do grocery shopping.  I don't realize how long my lesson planning takes.  My church calling?  Now that it's Primary, it's a lot bigger than YW was.  Lots more time.  Preschool board is way more than a once a month meeting and a few e-mails sent like I assumed it would be.

The fact is, Motherhood is a full time job, and anything above and beyond that is overwhelming.

I have a ton on my plate right now, and I don't really see a way out of any of it.  Some of it will end in the near future, and some of it won't.  But what I do know is that I can't handle one more thing or I will probably die.  I'm already not really living.

So, please don't be mad at me if you need my help and I have to say no.  I am taking a stand.  I am going to be the girl who knows when to say no, who has some boundaries and guards what little time she has with ferocity. It isn't personal, but it is necessary.

Sunday, October 03, 2010


Friday nights are usually movie nights in our household, and they are pretty Daddy-centric.  In fact, I am pretty sure that my husband senses my need for alone time after the always stressful and busy week and gives it to me by going upstairs and doing movie night with the girls.  We've never really talked about it, but that's how it's been for years and everybody is cool with the arrangement.

But this past Friday, Joel was out of town for the night.  Before he left, I had been at the Preschool helping sort loads and loads of donated goods and I was exhausted.  So, I sent the girls upstairs to start their movie while I finished getting some things done downstairs.

When I finished my work, I really, really, really just wanted to go to bed with a book or watch the movie I've had from Netflix for over a week now, but something told me I really should go spend some quality time with my children instead.  Knowing they were up there watching Hannah Montana didn't really encourage me to obey the little voice I was hearing, but I went.

They were so excited to see me that they turned off the movie for a bit and we talked about all sorts of things:  Field trips, friends, fears, frustrations, and feelings in general.  Tears were shed as I listened to them describe the things that were kind of hard in their little lives, I watched sisters comfort each other and laugh together, and mostly I just felt closer to my daughters than I have since school started and my crazy schedule overtook my life.

After we were all warm and fuzzy and talked out, we went downstairs and I showed them how to make homemade popcorn.  We took a big bowl of it upstairs and we resumed watching Hannah Montana.  And the best part is, that once it was over (it didn't take long--they'd already watched most of it), they were excited about my idea of reading a book together.  So, I took out The Mysterious Benedict Society and began to read it aloud to them.  Sophia fell asleep in my lap, Chloe fell asleep on my shoulder and Bria wanted me to keep reading please.  I didn't keep reading, but I do think this will be a wonderful new way to get everyone to go to bed happily.

Once I got them to bed, I realized I felt energized by it all.  Not drained, like I usually do on the movie nights I so rarely participate in.  In fact, I felt enough energized that I stayed upstairs and cleaned the very messy playroom (especially after popcorn eating!) and put away all of Sophia's laundry.

Now, I'm not saying that I never need alone time again, but I am saying that I will be more careful of my choices when it comes to family time.  President Uchtdorf's talk yesterday continued to bring this notion home.  I will be reading it often, to keep it fresh in my mind.  It really touched my heart and answered many of the questions I brought to Conference this weekend.

What was your favorite talk?  Why?