Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Asterisk Updates

*Kembry will being have her tonsils removed on the 4th.  I got what I want, now I don't know if I want it.  My baby, under anesthesia, getting cut open?  $900?  I just have to hang on to the hope that demonic Kembry will go down for surgery, and Angelic Kembry will awake from surgery.

*Going to McDonalds and the park tomorrow.  It's going to be 72 degrees here.  I am not hating this.

*The TV has been graciously raising the children while I've been down on my back, yet again.

*I still love hearing about people getting knocked up.  Something is seriously wrong with me.  I just don't care.

*Brett and I got called to teach CTR 5.  I rejected the calling until Brett kindly reminded me that Kembry would be advancing in January and WOULDN'T be in our class.  Okay, I accept =)

*I haven't taken down the 3 foot Christmas tree and I have no desire to do so.  Moving on.

*Chloe is still not walking.  This angers me and my weak discs.

*I've taken oodles and gads of pictures on the iPad and have no clue how to get them on my blog.  Not that I was that great at putting pictures up before.  Regardless, it's driving me bonkers!

The End.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Just Try And Tell Me Fast Food Isn't Addicting

Because I'm pretty sure I'm (secretly, so don't go blabbing this post to the whole world) addicted to fast food.

Here's some evidence:

I eat in secret. Like, I'll say "I'm gonna run to the grocery store for...tic tags. Don't wait up for me!" (Heh, fooled him!) And I do go to the store, but I also stop by In-N-Out.

I spend money we don't have on fast food.

I get grumpy when I have to cook dinner when really what I want are some trans fatty French fries.

My body is starting to reflect my abuse. It would be better if it was meth I was addicted to...but my love handles attest to my real addiction: ChicFilA waffle fries.

Oh how I dream of that sweet, tingly cold swig of coke after a particularly salty and delicious chicken nugget.

I've destroyed an organ because of my addiction, namely my gallbladder.

And I find any excuse to go. "What? Prince Whoever married Anorexic what's-her-name? LET'S CELEBRATE! McDonalds anyone?"

So if you really want to get me a present this Christmas season, make it a gift card to Carl's Jr. Or a stay at the Betty Butter Center. Oh, I mean Betty Ford.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Those Dagnabbit Tonsils

I'm currently compiling a case to have my daughters tonsils removed. Expert medical reports, USA Today articles, friends's all gonna be there. Because I have a feeling Imagonna haveta fight tooth and tonsils to get them to cut my baby open and slice up her adenoids.

Doctors sometimes like to argue with me.

I know this has never happened to anyone before

*rolls eyes*

I'm ready to go into that doctors office with my mommy gloves on.

If any doctor tries to tell me she doesn't need her tonsils removed, they're gonna have to mess with mama bear. And mama bear wants a non-temperamental, sweet little rested angel. Not the angel of death I've been gettin lately.

And it's not that I know more than the doctors

(but I do)

And it's not that I don't trust the medical community at large

(I don't)

It's simply that I

A) know my daughter and know that she isnt sleeping well and that as she ages this tiny problem has turned into a huge mega beast.

And that

B) I'm always right.

Just ask my husband. *grin*

So don't pray for me folks. Ooh no. Pray for that poor unsuspecting doctor that's going to be meeting She-Beast.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Can You Smell That? Yep. Spoiled.

We are a very spoiled family. Coming to you live from our very own iPad...can ya smell the stink?

A VERY BIG thanks to Papa Tim and Grandma Sandi for our new toy!

Back! Back you heathens! Mummy's playing!

Friday, December 09, 2011

So. Close. I Can. See. The. End...

Holy guacamole, Batman.

Brett and I moved so much today.

And we also lifted heavy furniture.  Hyuck hyuck.

Couches, book shelves, boxes and boxes of crap, all in our new home.

And surprisingly, there's still a lot of room.

You know how when you look at a new home, and it's all empty and clean and pretty, and your imagination runs wild, "Oh the things I could do in here!  18 piece dining room table here, oh!  And of course a china hutch here and over there.  400" TV goes here..."

But amazingly, we still have a lot of room.  I'm excited because my whole married life we've had little-teeny-tiny-itsy-bitsy houses.  This is no McMansion by any means, but it's still roomy, and I'm stoked!

Anywhoodle, I go sleep now.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Moving Is Laaaaaaame

I would have been happy to live in this house for the rest of my life.

Not because it was perfect.

Not because it was in the best location.

Not because it was in an awesome neighborhood. (Although, it is in the most awesome neighborhood.)

No, I would have lived in this house the rest of my life because...I HATE MOVING.

Do I look like I'm not lazy?

We've been tremendously blessed with the house we're moving into.  Unable to find a home that Brett and I could both agree on, or, when we did, have that house ripped from underneath our greedy paws, we decided to rent a house until we could buy a house.

Well, that, and this house fell into our laps with a pretty price tag.

So here we are, blessed with our new abode, only minutes from our crappy apartment.  And while it's nice that we don't have to rent one big truck to haul all of our crap, it still sucks to move.

Now I'm at a crossroads.  Will he or won't he get help this Saturday?  Will he or won't he rent a truck?  Will he or won't he be getting laid? KIDDING.  Trying to get the man-cub to do any of these organizational tasks is worse than ripping out Cohen's second loose tooth (oh please, won't you please just fall out?!)

I've lugged everything over that my weak little arms could carry, and now we live in skeleton bones at the apartment.  I want to just take it all and let the rest stay here, but I can't carry, nor live without the following: my bed, the TV, food, my computer, and the internet.  And couches.  And my rocking chair.  I need my big strong man to rally other big strong men and a truck to move most of my beloved items (that enable the laziness.)

I cannot.  Live.  Without these things.

So wish me luck as I endeavor to get Brett to make plans.  Actually, if you could sacrifice a few lambs on my behalf, that would be awesome.

Yours Truly,


Wednesday, December 07, 2011

130 By 30: Only B'cause I Love Ya

My sweetest and dearest friend thinks she's fat.

*Rolls eyes*

She's not fat.  But she's a health nut, and she wants to lose enough jiggly fat to weigh 130 by the time she turns 30 (next August).  And I *pulls on collar* said I would do it with her.

When I made this agreement, I was high on a girls night, shoving fries and burgers into my mouth until I couldn't breathe.  It was extortion, I tell ya!  But I get encouraged when I see things like this:

This is one pound of fat.

That looks like it came straight out of my left love handle.  I can imagine if I lost 50 of these.  I could actually catch  my runaway 1 year old.

I am convinced, however, that Brett loves being married to a chubby woman.  The proof is in the cheesecake (and brownies...and cookies...and outrageous and delicious dinners...)  The man doesn't know when to stop! So I downed my daily calorie count in two delicious slices of cheesecake yesterday.

The man KNOWS I have no self control!

So, dear sweet Tanya, you may just slaughter me on this quest of ours.  The good news is you can eat me if you're close to starving.  Bad news: I'm mostly fat!

So here's to a fresh start and a new day!  Cheesecake milk shake, here I come!  (What, I don't want to waste a whole cheesecake...I mean, it has strawberries on it!)

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

A Broken Back

Unfortunately, I cannot sue Chloe.  I already get to kiss the cuteness outta her, that's all she has to give.

I have a broken back.  Well, more specifically, I have spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, and a herniated disc that sits on touchy nerves.  It really gets on my nerves *hyuck hyuck*  I kill myself.

And when I go to see the doctor, like every other month, I get the same lecture (while Chloe is bouncing on my lap, ironically):

Dr.:  You really need to stop picking up heavy things, like babies.
Me: *Blank stare*
Chloe: *Drooling* *Bouncing*
Dr.: Try to stay down for a few days.
Me: *Blank stare*
Chloe: *Bouncing* * Squealing* *Gaining another pound*
Dr.: Ice and heat.  But most importantly rest.
Me: *Blank stare*
Chloe: *Jumps off my lap, crawls under the table, starts pulling out plugs.*

I mean, are doctors blind?  What he should have said was, "I see you have a Wiley 28 pound, 15 month old baby.  Let me admit you to the hospital with a regular morphine and steroid drip.  All the cable and hospital food you want.  No visitors.  Three days."


Now that's what I'm talkin' 'bout!!

And honestly, I don't think it should take 8 years of medical school to get to that conclusion.

Medrol, Vicodin and Flexoril are this weeks best friend.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Between a Tree and a Hard Place

December is my month to shine.

It's the only time I get festive.

It's the only time I decorate.

I love twinkle lights and green garland and red and white striped Christmas tree ornaments.

I love my nativity scene.

I love the smell of cinnamon and pine.

But, I'm moving next weekend.  And I have no desire to put up decorations for a few days, only to take them down again, and then put them up...again.

Contrary wise, I don't see myself moving into a new house and jumping right into the garland and tree skirts.  In fact, I don't even know where those things are.

So I'm between a tree and a hard place.  I don't know when I'll get to decorate, or if I even will.  And it makes me feel...sad.  Everything is different, and it would be nice to have some...sameness.  To indulge in some nostalgia 

So in the mean time, the in-between time, I'm going to put some of these together, and hope that I actually run into someone in need.

I guess this is a good opportunity to get back to basics this season.

Still, don't stare at me weird if you drive past the Christmas tree lot and you see me sniffing the's my way to cope.

Sunday, December 04, 2011


This girl has super model blood.  She's just missing 3 feet.  And I'm pretty sure she'll never get those 3 feet, thank heaven.

In the meantime, the camera comes out, the inner Madonna makes her appearnce.


And it doesn't matter what she's wearing, or how her hair looks, she will always strike a pose...

And you  may be wondering, does it slightly annoy me that she looks gorgeous when she rolls out of bed wearing yesterdays clothes and hair do?

Slightly.  And am I a little bit concerned that I've already given birth to "Kembry: The Sequel"?

Just a little bit.

But there's so much more to my girl than her gorgeous looks.  It's just so hard to see beyond them, sometimes.

For example, she makes friends within seconds of meeting someone.

Her cousin Judy.  It took the pair all of 40 seconds to become BFF's.  

She's lovable and compassionate.  She cares about anyone who is hurting or struggling or is sad.  

She's charismatic; always the life of the party.

She's my little Jeany-Bean.  

She's the apple of this mommy's eye.

And the cameras best friend.

Every Time a Bell Rings...A Winner Gets a Book

*Ding Ding*


1 to 15



You're gonna love it.  But Eden won't, there isn't too much tapeworm or intestinal blockage in it...

Email me your address at neffajawea at hotmail dot com

Thanks for playing everyone!  I'll have another give away in J-J-J-January.  Oh wait, it's not cold in Arizona.  Woo hoo!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

It's a Christmas Miracle...Or Just a Good Book Giveaway

Awhile back I mentioned that a web-friend of mine had written an awesome book.

This is the first book review I'm doing based on a writer that is still living.  I'm a wee bit nervous.  She knows my address.

But no fears, Liz, I LOVED the book.

It was one of those Saturdays where you spend the entire day reading one book.  You read it at stop lights.  You stay parked in JoAnn's parking lot a little bit longer just to catch one more chapter (and to piss off the old lady honking at you to hurry.  What?  It's Mesa, people!).  You let your family starve to death.  You fake broken bones to get a few more minutes alone.  Just me?

Anyway, I've passed the book around enough times, now, and I just want it to sit on my shelf.  But I also want all my buddies to read it.  SO A BOOK GIVE AWAY IT IS!

Here's how to enter:

Read the review.  That way, you know what you're getting into.  Unless you're like me, who will enter for anything as long as "FREE" is involved.  I mean, really, why do I even need moon boots?

Follow my blog.

Leave a comment.

Boom, free book.  

And the best news: Only 3 people ever comment, so your chances are goooooood.

And you have until...oh let's say 11:56 pm on Saturday evening, until the moon rises with the goat and the animal crackers wax lain.  I'll announce the "winners" on Sunday.

Now on to the review:

I'm gonna sum it up for you.  This is a memoir of how Liz met, wooed and married her sweetheart.  It's about a friendship that is tested by the evil "C" word: cancer.  It's about sleep-poking husbands and explosive pipes.  It's about not being perfect in a world that demands perfection.  Liz is honest and witty throughout the whole book.

Angela and Liz were "later in life" friends, as I like to call them.  True love at the sighting of a book popping out of Angela's purse that Liz loved.  They antiqued together, carpooled, laughed, and really cried.  Their friendship is real.  It's heartwarming and heartbreaking.

Here is an excerpt:

"Is it possible to predict who our dearest friends will be?  Can we make a list of qualities and say, "Any best friend of mine will be outgoing and preferably drive a low emission car because, you know, the environment is very important to me?"

I think we all know the answer.  Friendships are no different than true love.  They can't be planned or predicted; they come into our lives like great gusts of wind that knock things off the shelves and force us to stretch ourselves in uncomfortable yet beautiful ways.  Sometimes friendship strikes like lightning and you know, instantly, that you and that person will be friends when  you're old.  You know that the two of you will be grumpy little old ladies shopping in Kohl's, arguing with the staff about sales prices and the proximity of the nearest parking space.  

It was that way when I met Angela."

-Elizabeth Owen "My (Not So) Storybook Life: A Tale of Friendship and Faith

Near the end, Liz asks God "why"?  I can't think of many people who haven't asked God this same question. And her answer is "to have gratitude".  What a touching testimony.  What a beautiful message.

This is an excellent book.  It goes on the shelf next to all my other hard backed favorites.  And I'm pretty sure it will be on yours, too.

Happy reading and good luck!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Physical Therapy and Gratitude Days...Many

I had a great time last night at a girls night.  I got high on Dr. Pepper and estrogen, it was awesome.  We stayed out until midnight.  I haven't done that since I lived in Utah and "watched" movies until 3 am, and then let my best friend walk home alone in the cold, dark, rapist-filled night.  What?  SHE INSISTED!

And then I stayed up until 2 in the morning talking to Brett about the meaning of life.  There was a lot of giggling...erm, and of course, manly chuckling.  We get pretty serious about the meaning of life.

Today I ripped off that stupid finger splint.  My finger is killing me, but I think typing is great physical therapy.

Tomorrow we spend 6 hours on the road to Mesquite.  Half way to our home-before-home.  Time with family, friends, and kid-free hotel zones...I'm so gonna be in heaven.

So I am grateful for cars.  For not having to spend 2 weeks to get home again.  For portable DVD players.  For a husband that jimmy-rigs the Wii to work in the car.  And I am SUPER GRATEFUL for my shaggin wagon.  Grateful that my children have oodles and gads of space between them.  Their own space.  Their own air.  They couldn't poke each other if they wanted to.  Awesome.

Have a HAPPY THANKSGIVING and black Friday.  Those two go hand in hand... fortunately...unfortunately?  Whichev.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Gratitude Day 13 & 14

There were many things Heavenly Father wanted me to hear tonight, and so He arranged for a babysitter to appear out of thin air at the last minute so that Brett and I could attend our Ward in White tonight.

We got really spoiled in Utah, getting to go to the Temple 2 sometimes 3 times a month.  We haven't been to the Temple since we moved here, and it's been really rough.  Shoot, we haven't even been on a DATE since August.  Needless to say, we were in much need of a spiritual uplift.

I'm so grateful for the Temple and the peace it brings me when I'm there.  I'm grateful for the personal revelation and knowledge I receive there.

I'm grateful for my eternal companion.  I'm thankful to know that if I play my cards right, and endure all these trials, that I'll get to be with him forever.  It was promised to me by someone who held the keys and authority to promise me such a thing.  And for that, I am so grateful.

Mesa LDS Temple

Friday, November 11, 2011

Gratitude Day 9, 10 & 11 and 12, Why Not?

I have a lot I'm grateful for, but I also still have a broken finger.  So until next Wednesday and possibly a week or two of physical therapy, my posts will be short and sweet...and mildly crazy.  Possibly a lot of mistyped words.

I'm grateful today for morning prayers.  I love how they set the mood for the day.  I love laying down and going to sleep with the Spirit, but I love even more going through my day with the Spirit.

I'm grateful that I have funny children.  I love that they have a sense of humor, because I think that's super important in this day and age.  I'm grateful that my family and I know how to laugh at ourselves.

I'm grateful for the energy I've been blessed with recently.  Despite being sick, run down and burnt out, I've managed to stay upbeat.  I even managed to clean yesterday.  Cohen's response, "Wow, you're cleaning finally.  Good for you!"  (Please see "Sense of Humor" section of this post.)

Finally, I'm thankful for years and years of past posts.  I've gone through and read some, and was reminded about other "hard times" I've gone through, and it definitely buoyed up my resolve to endure to the end.  I really feel that was a special blessing from my Heavenly Father to remind me that I've been through hard times before, and I survived.  So did all my kids.  Really, a miracle in and of itself =)

I'm looking forward to being able to do my hair again, bathe the children, do the dishes and change a diaper without it being this huge production.  I'm looking forward to washing my right hand again!  Here's to next Wednesday and healed fractures!

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Gratitude Day 8: "This, too, shall pass."

I am grateful today to know that even though rough times happen, they don't last forever.

I'm grateful I've had a few experiences that have been awful, but have passed.  So that now, because of those moments, I know I can get through hard times.

Just pop a couple Xanax and sleep through it all.

Just kidding.

Xanax doesn't even make me sleepy.

I can do sleepy all on my own.

And now we nap!

Monday, November 07, 2011

Gratitude Day 7: Tender Mercies

It is a well documented fact: I have a bad back.

This past week was awful, but it could have been made so, so, sooooo much worse if my back decided to flare up. 

And it had plenty of motive.  I carried around 28 and 38 pound children for three days.

Can anyone deny it is a pure miracle that my back didn't flare up?  

Tender mercies of the Lord, friends.  Tender mercies.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

The Terrible Awful WEEK

When Brett got into the mini van Friday evening after a 4 day conference in Texas, these were the words of welcome he received:

"You will pamper me until I feel better.  You will clean the apartment top to bottom.  You will find a babysitter and take me on a date when I'm better."

Now, I know it wasn't Bretts fault that Kembry was sick and unresponsive to antibiotics.

I know he didn't leave the window open on purpose so that when I tried to close it, it came down on me like a crazy Kamakazi, break my finger and partially (fingers crossed, pun intended) severed my tendon.

I know that neither he, nor the sweet and amazing woman in my ward, could have predicted that the Urgent Care would be closed, or that Chloe would wake up with a horrible cough and stridor, and not be able to breathe.

Or that I would spend the next three hours getting my broken finger attacked by a wailing, tortured baby receiving a shot, a breathing treatment, and another shot.  Or that my "Mommy Terror Levels" would reach "Code Red" as the doctor kept saying Chloe might need to be hospitalized.

While my husband partied it up in Texas.  And didn't return my phone calls or texts.

How on earth could any of us predict that I wouldn't get much rest that week, and hence be susceptible to the Flu.  103 temps were running in our family last week, apparently.

And I know Brett would have loved to have helped the continual flooding from our kitchen sink, had he been here.

So, at the end of the week, I've never been so mad at the man I married eight years ago.

He had no way of knowing.  Poor guy.

Now, I'm off to bed while he takes care of the rest.  I've earned a nap.

Gratitude Day 6: Haircuts

It's the Sabbath.  We're quarantined.  Flu, strep and croup.

Yesterday I forced my Beatles to get haircuts.  I didn't even know there was a boy under that red mop.  He looks so handsome.

Oh, and Brett, too.

I miss having Marilyn down the road to trim their hair every five minutes.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Gratitude Day 5: HE'S HOME!

Brett's home.  I'm in bed.  We found a house and are holding the keys in our hands.

But most importantly, Brett is HOME!!!!

Friday, November 04, 2011

Gratitude Day 4: Uuuuugh

Today I am thankful for Tamiflu and my bed and Cohen.

And 103 temperatures that aren't 104 temperatures.

Hey, it's the little things.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Gratitude Day 3: Being Humbled

This will be a short post because I'm sans a finger for the next two weeks, and it's a wee bit difficult to type.  How do people sit and look at the keys all day?

The last Sunday we were in our ward in Utah was a fast Sunday, and one of my good friends bore her testimony, which was a real treat because she's really quiet and doesn't do it that often.

She talked about how grateful she was for our ward, because of all the help they had given her and her family.  She said she felt like a burden on us.

And all I could think was, "I only got to help her twice.  I wish I would've done more."

She wasn't a burden on us at all. She gave us opportunities to do what we should be doing: serving each other.

Well, that's all fine and dandy for me to think those high thoughts when I was on the giving (albeit minor giving) end of things.  I had family to help me whenever anything happened.  I didn't really need help.

Well, last night I did.  And it was so humbling to let go of my pride, the "I can do it all myself because I'm so freaking awesome" attitude.  The Lord brought me to my knees and sent angels to minister.

And I'm thankful for that humbling experience and for those angels.  And even though I understand a bit more about what my friend said about being a burden (and it doesn't feel good) I know I'm stronger and less prideful because of it.

So, lesson learned, Heavenly Father.  Please stop the plagues now.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Gratitude Day 2: Many Things

Originally, this post was about my gratitude for technology.  It knows no bounds.  I love technology lately.

But, today, I'm grateful for so many things.

Like, the CVS Minute Clinic.  Free.  Fast.

I'm grateful for modern medicine, and the speed strep test.

I'm grateful for antibiotics.

I'm grateful for Ibuprofen.

I'm grateful for Wendy's and their Frosty's.

Can you tell what kind of day I've had?  And it's just getting started =)  But it's okay, because of all these conveniences, what could have been a really stressful, dangerous situation has turned into a quick, low key, stay-home-from-school kind of situation.  I like those situations.  I like nap situations, too.  I think I'll take myself up on that.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Let The Gratitude Begin!

It's that time again.

A month of gratitude.

Today has been peaceful, for the most part.  It's not now, but it never is in the evenings, and that's okay.  I guess. =)

Chloe wants to go to bed, but I'm refusing on the grounds that I just don't want to wake up at 5:30 in the AM.  She disagrees.  But I'm bigger, so I win =)

Today I am grateful for my children.

I'm alone with them for the next 4 days.  Outnumbered, 3 to 1.  Sometimes I think Kembry counts as two.  Luckily (unluckily?) Kembry and I are sick.  That really limits what we can do.  It also eliminates my feeling guilty for not doing anything.

What?  I'm sick.

*Cough Cough*

I'm grateful I have three beautiful, (semi)healthy children that are always (usually) healthy.  I mean really, when all the other kids are getting sick, mine are laughing their way to the candy bank (daddy's side table).  Nary an ear infection visits the Neff's, nor the flu or the sniffles or the run's.

They make me laugh.  They make me cry.  They make me clean.  They're good for me. I'm good for them.

And who day they may be smitten blessed with little angels just like them.


Dear Future Chloe,

Today you dumped out my entire purse.

And wallet.


You're super cute and super annoying all at the same time.  I don't know if I want to hug and kiss you, or tie you up.  Either way, I can't keep my hands off you.

I hope in the future I get a call from you informing me you've lost yet another debit card because your 15 month old child couldn't keep their gruddy mitts off your stuff.  I'll smile and say you deserve it.

And now I'm off to figure out where the heck you stashed my last debit card, and pray that you didn't throw it out the window.  Or in the poopy diaper bin, because, yuck.



Saturday, October 29, 2011

It's Scary, My House

Sometimes I wish I was a little bit more of a clean freak.

I mean, don't get me wrong, I love when my house is clean.  I would just rather someone else clean it for me =)

My house is a disaster zone.  It's all dressed up to scare people for Halloween. It's been worse, sure, but today, with Brett out gallivanting with the young men, and Chloe throwing tantrums every forty three seconds, I'm just gonna sit back and ignore it.

Ignore the cereal crushed on the floor.

Ignore the cockroach eating the cereal crushed on the floor (kidding, but this does happen in AZ all too often).

Ignore last nights dinner on the stove.

Ignore the Lego embedded in my foot.

Ignore that Cohen is wearing long pants when it's 4 million degrees outside.

Ignore that Kembry's hair isn't done, and that she's wearing cowboy boots two sizes too small with a tutu.  (Actually, it's kinda cute.)

I'm just gonna put my feet up and play the poor picked on wife when Brett comes home.  Maybe I can guilt him into cleaning.

Yeah, probably not.

Happy Saturday Halloween!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Brett: Kids sandwiches are made.

Me: Were they made with love?

Brett: They were cut diagonally if that's what you mean.

In fact, that's exactly what I meant.  <3

Be Still

Psalms 46:10 "Be still, and know that I am God."

Brett and I are having a rough time.  I think the kids are too.  And normally, when I'm having a rough time, my bipolar kicks in.  I either want to wallow in my self pity, which I did Tuesday and Wednesday, and it was fabulous, or I push my sleeves up and do ridiculous things, like clean the house and bake.

Keeping busy sort of helps me forget that I'm feeling picked on.  Wallowing usually involves reading or TV, and that numbs me nicely.  But there are those moments in between where I'm forced to face what's really on my mind.


Fear of the unknown.


Being overwhelmed.

Feeling homesick.

And as much as I try and try and try to block out these feelings, they're there for a reason, and I need to confront them.

Brett asked me the other night, "What do you think Heavenly Father is trying to tell you through these trials?"

I slapped him.  Just kidding.  I wanted to.  I hate it when he's right.

But I think I know a little bit more about what I'm supposed to be learning.  I need to, "Be still and know that [He] is God."

It's hard to be still.  It's hard to confront those feelings of fear and inadequacy.  But oh the comfort that comes when we do it through Him.

I still feel all those things, but I'm comforted to know that they, too, shall pass.

When we first moved here, I cried every night for about two weeks.  I thought we had made a huge mistake.  But those feelings passed.  And I knew they would.

So I guess what I'm trying to convince myself is that it's okay to feel sad and overwhelmed and lonely.  I won't always feel this way.  Time will heal.  I'll make friends.  Hey, I even found the library yesterday!  And eventually Brett won't have to travel as much, we won't have to make a house and rent payment in the same month, and the kids will have their own room.

All I need is time.

And chocolate.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Conversation

Brett:  I'll be home momentarily.

Kelly: Mk.  Heads up. I am not responsible for anything Chloe may, or may not, have done while I'm 'resting my eyes' upstairs.  The End.

Brett:  Whoa whoa whoa.  I'm not promising anything sight unseen!

Kelly: You don't have to sign anything.  Just remember I was in labor with her for five months.  I've done my share!

Brett:  It only counts if you remember it.  Clearly.

Kelly:  I.  Remember.  EVERYTHING.

Brett:  Well played.

Brought to you by parents who don't watch their children, who don't seal their cereal, and who don't want to clean up after said children.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Down Time

Kids in bed : check.

Brett to young mens : check

Kitchen clean : check

Living room...moving on...

What to do?  What to do?

I use to pray for down time and now I feel like I have it all the time.  Chloe sleeps three out of the seven hours the kids are at school.  One out of the remaining four, she watches Blue's Clue's.  "Blue" is the only real word she says.  Does this offend me?  OF COURSE!  But I'll save that for another post.  ( I mean c'mon, I was in labor for 6 months with her!  Sight exaggeration, but still.  Couldn't she at least say a clear "mama" once in awhile?  Sheesh.)

I don't have too many friends springing from the wood works right now.  I'm sort of hulled up in the apartment which I've become rather fond of lately.  (Small square footage = less cleaning).  I don't know where the library is (I'm pretty sure Google Maps is hating me lately.  It keeps saying things are here and there, but they're not anywhere!  I do not like green eggs and ham, I do not like them Sam I Am.  Wait...)

I've made about a dozen new recipes (thank you Pinterest), including bread, which I've never made, and which Brett made a huge deal about ("Oh, it's sooo good.  I'm going to eat everything on this bread!  It's amazing!" i.e. make bread, because it's cheaper than store bought.)

I'm sure there's a lot I could do in my down time, but I miss my little whipper snappers when they're at school.  We had them home for a week for fall break and it was so fun doing crafts together and watching Hocus Pocus and doing all sorts of random stuff.  It was fun seeing them for more than 4 hours.  Sigh.

They grow up too fast.  Where have I heard that before?

Is it too early to wish for grand babies?  You're right, I should just have another one...

Ohhhh Brrrrreeeeeettttt....

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Welcome Technology, I Embrace You Now

So I totally love that my kids school does it electronic style.

I get everything through e-mail (with the exception of Cohen's teacher, sigh.)

I used to be super anti-technology.  Let me hold the paper in my hand!  Let me tack it to my burgeoning refrigerator door!  Let me have paper!

Now, with two workin' the grind, I have paper coming out of my ears!  Homework, school work, fundraisers, pictures, notes, calendars...KILL ME!

Kembry starting school was a real surprise to us all.  She took an early entrance exam and passed!  I just didn't plan on all the organizing and remembering I would now have to do.  They should give the parents an early entrance exam, because I was NOT PREPARED!!

But Kembry's teacher does everything electronically.  Reminders every day, which I need.  Class newsletter in my email box, not my refrigerator door where, let's face it, I would never see it.  She even does event organizing through e-mail.  She also wears high heels every day to school, resulting in Kembry wanting to wear her church shoes every day to school.  She's a real cute teacher.

Anywho...if you're on the cusp, not quite sure you want to make that jump from paper to e-mail, let me push you off.  Because technology rocks baby!!

Mrs. Douglas *tap tap* would ya mind?  For the sanity of all us mothers just trying to do our best?  For our refrigerator doors who are hanging on those weakening hinges?  FOR THE SANITY OF ANY PARENT WHO HAS TO SCHEDULE TWO PARENT TEACHER CONFERENCES ON THE SAME DAY???

Thank you and good night.

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Amazing Dry Erase Marker

So, say, perchance, you have a feisty five year old.

And let's say you also have a nifty dry erase board.

(Good combo, right?)

Now, let's say that feisty five year old, out of no small amount of malice, took a permanent marker to your nifty dry erase board.

Nifty Dry Erase Board

Of course you would calmly react. (That's me up there, calmly reacting.) You would pat her no her head an call her a little scamp then give her some candy.

And after she ate her yummy candy, let's say she went back to your now destroyed nifty dry erase board and...colored over the permanent marker with dry erase marker.

Now since all of this has just happened by chance, let's say, by chance, you go over and erase the newly colored-on dry erase marker from the permanent marker.

Do you know what would happen?

Do you believe in miracles by accident?


Say whaaaaat?


Go, spread the good news from every corner of the world.  Permanent marker is no longer the enemy of the dry erase board!

Thursday, October 06, 2011

I Am Thankful

I read this blog a lot.  One day she posted a question asked by a teacher in church:

What if you woke up today
with only the things
you thanked God for yesterday?

So the other day I was driving to Brett's work to have lunch with him.  It's about a half hour drive.  And while I was driving, I literally thought about each individual, little, tiny, seemingly insignificant thing that I was grateful for.

I thought about Kembry, with whom I struggle the most.  It was eye opening to find out I loved everything about her, especially her outrageously enthusiastic energy and personality.  If I had to wake up and not have her smile and squeal to greet me, I'd be lost.  She teaches me to use the patience I pray for.

I thought about living in an apartment right now, and even though I don't love it, I found that I was really grateful that this is where I am.  I'm very close to my little family (literally) and while at first it felt like I didn't have enough space to myself, now it feels like the little space I have is filled with the things and the people I love most.  No matter where I am in the apartment, I can see or hear them.  It's actually quite nice.

I thought about how fortunate we are to have freeways.  To have cars.  To have shoes.  I was grateful for my ten toes and fingers.  I was grateful that, even though I have a bad back, I can still walk (most of the time) and I was grateful that I had a back in the first place.  I was grateful for a body that bares beautiful children.  I was grateful for my five senses.

 I was grateful for kissing.

I thought of so many seemingly silly things, and my heart was filled with joy that wasn't so silly.

It was absolutely the most wonderful 30 minute drive I've ever taken.  

Friday, September 30, 2011

My angry uterus is baby hungry.

It wants to digest a baby.  Oh wait, I mean, gestate a baby.  Man, that would be an embarrassing mistake.

Many of you may be rolling your eyes, questioning why on earth we would want to bring more Neff's into the world.

Aside from the fact that our children are practically perfect in every way, I've always wanted 4.  It's a nice, round, even number.  No middle child.  Middle children are just...weird.  I can say that because I'm an only child, and we're weird too.

Plus, Chloe seems to be enjoying being the baby of the family a little too much, and we can't be having that.  We wouldn't want her to be happy or anything.  So, it would be in her best interest if she was no longer the baby.

These are all excellent reasons to have another baby.

Now how to get Brett on board with this?

It's too late in the year to count the new baby as a tax deduction.  It wouldn't be born until next year...hmm...let's think...

Jump at him from behind a corner and scare him!

No, that only works for the hiccups.

Convince him that if we had 4 kids instead of 3, our mini-van would make more sense and therefore the extra car payment would be worth it.

No, I'm not even convinced of that.

Oh well.  I'll just grab him by the collar and tell him what's what.  Put that baby in my belly!  The other other white meat.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

"My (Not So) Perfect Life" by Elizabeth Owen

I've been looking forward to reading something of Liz's for a long time. I absolutely love her blog, Mable's House.  Here's an excerpt from  her new book:

"Once one has breathed in the deep pungent aroma of sewage, you never again forget the nose-hair singeing, eye clawing, throat gagging experience. It comes over you slowly. You begin to feel like a character in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest as your muscles involuntarily jerk and you run screaming and blowing raspberries. Anything to get away from the mind-numbing stench.
But let me explain.
It was 6:30 a.m. I was standing in my retro pink tiled bathroom trying to open my bleary eyes and ready myself for work. As I stood there, peering into the mirror and wondering what demented nighttime fairy had planted four new wrinkles on my face, I paused and sniffed.
“Matt… what’s that smell?”
Matt staggered from the bedroom in his underwear, eyes half shut. “I don’t smell anything.”
I pointed my nose into the air like a hunting dog. “Seriously? You can’t smell that? Did you go to the bathroom in here earlier? I told you to use the room spray when you do things like that.”
Matt puffed out his bare chest and gathered his pride as best a man can with sleep in his eyes and a small hole in the side of his underwear. “I just woke up!”
I frowned, catching a glimpse of my makeup-less hot-rollers-in-hair state and tried not to think about the fact that I looked fifty instead of twenty-nine. “Well, help me figure this out. Because something smells ripe.”
We sniffed the sink drain and ruled it out as a suspect.
“Is it coming from the toilet?” Matt asked, examining it from top to bottom.
“No, that’s not it,” I snapped. I’m not known for my milk of human kindness in a disaster. Don’t get me wrong. I’m a survivor. I plan on eating my radish like Scarlet and clawing my way out of the nuclear dust while dragging my loved ones with me. But I won’t be doing it with positive phrases and a smile.
“Hon, I just don’t know. We’ll call a plumber after work, maybe it’s coming from under the house.” Matt staggered a little, trying to get past me and out of our tiny bathroom.
“Well, that’s just great,” I moved aside and pulled the shower curtain back so I could perch on the side of the tub and give Matt room to move out the door.
That’s when the full brunt of nastiness filled the air around us, a swirling mix of excrement and acrid stench that would have brought the sewer dwelling Ninja Turtles to their knees. Where the normally slightly-clean-with-a-hint-of-soap-scum bottom of the tub should have been, there sloshed gallons and gallons of brown sewage.
I clutched the front of my sweatshirt and held my breath. Matt began to dry heave.
“Get out and shut the door!” I screamed as we bumbled into the hallway.
“I’ll deal with this,” Matt grabbed my shoulders, trying to talk and hold his breath at the same time.
I could feel my eyes glaze over, the horrors of typhoid and hepatitis in our bathtub filling my mind. But more importantly, I could envision our evaporated savings account. In my mind’s eye I could see the long, gray hallway at the bank. A worker shrouded in a black suit pulled a set of keys from his pocket and unlatched a small locker labeled “Owen Bank Account.” Inside were two small stacks of quarters and a few crumpled dollar bills. It was bleak, not only because the banker with an unimaginative wardrobe gazed at me with an expression that could only be interpreted as “You’re a Big Fat Loser,” but also there was a very definite possibility we wouldn’t be able to pay for a plumber.
I wasn’t necessarily a spend thrift. In fact, I was downright frugal when it came to decorating with thrift store furniture and rewired vintage lamps. But the fact was, we were poor. We were starting out at starter jobs with starter salaries. We were starter adults with a starter bank account.
“Okay,” I nodded numbly, thankful that Matt was taking the lead on such a disastrous biohazard. “But make sure the plumber is super cheap. We don’t have much money!”
I left for work like a wino stumbling through a fog, not really remembering my commute, not really doing any work as I sipped my coffee and stared blankly at the computer screen. A disaster of such gargantuan proportions had previously been unthinkable in my life, and now I found myself attempting to push the image of a vast sea of bathtub poop from my mind. But I was sure of one thing: Anne Shirley never had to get ready for work while breathing raw sewage."

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

"What took you so long?"  I asked Brett.  He was an hour late from Young Mens.  "Just kidding.  Did you have a good time?"

"Yeah, it was fun.  We played volleyball."

"That's what you get to do while I'm stuck here all alone with those heathens upstairs?  Play volleyball!"

"Not just you," he says.  "The other wives are stuck at home alone, too, honey."

I love my husband.  Always keeps things in perspective.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Fit of Insanity

In a fit of insanity I told my husband last night that I thought housewives should earn their keep.

The insanity, I'm sure, was caused by a sudden increase in urgency to clean my house.  Which I did.  I was really, really sick in the head.

The epiphany, that all housewives should earn their keep, stemmed from this sickness.

Therefore, I maintain the right to rescind my above comment.


And this has nothing to do with the fact that I just want to veg out on the couch eating nachos and downing chocolate milk while watching Eureka re-runs.


Holes in the Fence

I like this story.  I try to remember it when I'm upset with the kids or Brett, which, like, never happens.  But on the rare occasion it does...

There once was a little boy who had a bad temper. His father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he must hammer a nail into the back of the fence.
The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. Over the next few weeks, as he learned to control his anger, the number of nails hammered daily gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence.
Finally the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all. He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper. The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone.
The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence. He said, “You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. It won’t matter how many times you say I’m sorry, the wound is still there.”
The little boy then understood how powerful his words were. He looked up at his father and said “I hope you can forgive me father for the holes I put in you.”
“Of course I can,” said the father.

This is also a great story: The Room

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Happiness to Me...

During my morning Facebook reading I noticed how a lot of my old friends from HS have become big party people.

Every Saturday morning it's the same post, "Had a blast last night getting wasted and urinating in public."  

For some reason when I read these I feel really sad for them.  I mean, obviously they're happy with their life.  But what are they really happy about?

For me, their posts start to blend into each other.  They're all about the same thing.  I have a strong feeling, just like their posts, that their life is just a blend of the same night, over and over.

Isn't it funny how not many of those entire nights stand out for these people, but tiny, almost seemingly insignificant moments are burned into the mind of parents.

"Summer just went poop in the potty all by herself today!  For the first time!"

"McKay just ate his first Oreo cookie!"

"Tristin just got his green belt in Karate!  I'm so proud of him!"
These are tiny moments in these parents lives, and yet they'll be with them forever.  The moment, the feeling, the excitement.  I know, I have thousands of those moments stored up in my own mind.

I don't remember much about my late nights out as a teenager (except for the ones with Brett).  They're all pretty much the same.  Fun, but utterly pointless.  Something to fill the time until I would finally be old enough to do whatever I wanted.

Turns out what I wanted was a family.  And substantial memories.  Microscopic happy moments my heart feels strong enough to hold onto forever.

I guess, for me, happiness is found in living my life for someone else, not for myself. 

I wish I could explain this to those friends out partying every night, putting off family life, putting off life in general.  There's so much happiness to be had.  And shockingly, that happiness isn't found at the bottom of a beer bottle.  It's found in a poopy diaper, apparently.  

Speaking of which, I'll talk to you all later.  

Friday, September 16, 2011

It's Exhausting

And wonderful.

Exhausting and wonderful.

And it all seem to start at the exact. Same. Time.

My life was busy enough, at least I thought so.  But now I have two kids in school, karate, ballet, theater, and temper-tantrums 101 (Chloe is teaching that class).

I'm still trying to figure it all out.  Pay this one monthly, buy new uniform for this one, oh crap, it's school picture time, what do you mean your ballet slippers don't fit?  Whose birthday party is it on Sunday?  Do we just drop you off or do we all barge in and stay and eat the entire cake?


I've never been one to experience anxiety (insert chuckle) but I'm sure any minute I'm going to forget to pick a kid up, drop one off, or not pay something in time and therefore ruin that childs' entire life.

But you know, I never really feel so overwhelmed that I can't move forward.  So stressed that I can only sit and rock myself in the corner.  The more stuff thrown at me just roots me deeper into my Eternal calling as mother, wife and friend.  I love it.  I love it all.

And I love, love, LOVE earning my sleep.  You know those nights (every night) that you lay down in bed (at 8:30 pm) and can't move a muscle, can't form a thought, and you just pass out?  I love those nights.  Sure I miss staying up giggling with Brett (interpret as you please), but we still have fun nights.  Not every day is so exhausting.

Still, I love it.  Now I'm off to pick up Brett and Cohen from something...somewhere...

Thursday, September 15, 2011

I'm not dead.

I mean, I'm pretty sure I was dead on Monday, which subsequently pushed back our trip home 2 more days.

I don't think my mom minded.  We crashed in their spare bedroom and she drooled over the kids for an extra 48 hours.  I'm glad my misery could bring such happiness.

But now we are home.  We went to Utah for...7 total days (I had to do the math in my head...and use my hands.)  My sister Tianna finally got married to the love of her life, Scott.  And, of course, he got married to his, so it really worked out.

I missed the rehearsal and all of Kembry's tantrums on Friday because of, what I thought, was a nasty cold.  Saturday, the wedding went off without a hitch.  Unless you wanted food.  Apparently the caterer's help didn't show up.  She was alone and behind.  So, Brett and I manned ourselves behind the buffet and helped out the desperate caterer.  People were not kind.  I coughed in their food.  Please don't tell my sister.

Sunday I stayed in bed and wished for death.

Monday I stayed in bed and wished for death.  And visited the doctor.  Who gave me the greatest medicine in the world, a Z pack.  Yummmm.  (BTW, not a cold.  Rhinositis-something-something-bronchitis-something-something-death.)

Tuesday I didn't wish for death, but I should have stayed in bed.  Instead, I visited Miss Jessie and cooed over little baby Cory and fell in love all over again.  I promise I didn't kiss her, or lick her fingers, or blow on her tummy.  I kept all my little dying bacterium to myself.

Wednesday I drove...and drove...and drove...stopped at a gas station...drove...and drove...and drove...went through Zions National Park during a wicked rain storm which was freaking awesome...drove...drove...and home.

I have never been so happy to be in Arizona.  We don't have TV, so I have no idea what the weather is like.  Do they provide that sort of information online?  No, I doubt it.  The kids are back in school, Chloe is HOME, which is right where she should be, and going to go to bed.  At 5 p.m.  Don't wake me up unless you have chocolate.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Old People Rock

Here's the thing about this heat.

Heat.  As in 114 degrees (and I realize this isn't even the hottest it gets here.)

It makes me tired.

It makes me angry.

It gives me migraines and dehydrates me.

It melts my flip-flops.

But it also draws all the old people of the world to it like me to Oreo cookies.  And those sweet old people think my grumpy young people are soooo cute.

I get all sorts of funny comments.  At the store, it's, "Ooooh, how much are they?  What aisle did you find them on?  Can I take them home with me?  Oh my, look t those eyes!"

At restaurants, it's, "We were watching you, and you're such a cute little family.  I remember when our kids were that little, enjoy it!  What sweet kids you have.  You have a beautiful family."

It's as if Heavenly Father knew this heat would drive young mothers into murderous insanity, and has given us the old people like a shot of ice cold perspective.

Still, I'd appreciate some rain.  Just sayin' =)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Genius Savant, It's a Real Thing

Recently, I became "That Parent".  (My cousin Abbie, hilarious.)

Anyway, Cohen, my genius savant, tested for the gifted and talented program back in good ol' Utah.  Transferring here, I thought it would be no problem to get him into a similar program.

We're in our third week of school, and yet he's still in the same old "sound-out-your-words-what-letter-is-this-what-is-two-plus-two" class.  He's bored to tears, and I don't blame him.  We have to monitor homework time, not to help him, but to make sure he doesn't finish the whole packet in one night.

So I took a page out of my cousin Abbies book, and high tailed it to his school, letter in hand, to get him into the Accelerated Learning Program.

This is what I got.

"We don't really have that program for first graders.  But he'll be in an advanced reading group in a few weeks!"

Seriously?  Advanced reading group?  That's great and all...I mean, it's better than nothing, but what about everything else?  When are those needs going to be met?  My baby boy has needs.  Nerdy, know-it-all, smarty pants needs that I can't keep fulfilling at home.


His teacher kindly scheduled and appointment for me with the ALP coordinator.

Dear Abbie,

Any advice?


Monday, August 22, 2011

This Moms Struggle

I love Kembry.

I do.  And I'm not just reminding myself of this fact.

However, she has put me through the course.  And off and on for a long time, I've oscillated between, "Why is she so horrible," to "Why am I such a bad mother?"

Finally, I decided it's all my fault.

That's right Kembry.  Take that to your therapist in 20 years!

So I went to Dr. Google to figure out how to better myself.  I read and read for hours, then days, taking notes and praying about what I read.  I felt so good as I was reading, and felt the notes I took were inspired.  I had a plan.  And it was going to work.  No matter who I had to kill in the process.

One of the things I learned about my little 4-almost-5 year old is that she is not necessarily A.D.D. ( I was to the point of trying to get her diagnosed) but that she was simply over stimulated by lack of guidance.  There was a room full of toys, and she still managed to find nail polish and commit the "Terrible Awful".  We had a fabulous backyard with child wonders scattered everywhere, and she still put sand on the trampoline.

Why couldn't she just play with the toys?  Why couldn't she just swing or jump or dig?  Why oh why oh why was she so naughty?

Kembry is my second child, and I think I was putting a lot of 5/6 year old expectations on her.  Not only the age, but the child.  Cohen was such a good kid.  He always played with the toys, he never got into things he wasn't supposed to.  He never ate 1lb of chocolates.  He never played with knives.  And so I thought Kembry should be just like him.

My new attitude about Kembry has helped tremendously.

I encourage and praise her good behavior.  At first it was hard.  I would say very general things, like, "You're such a good girl," and I think even she could hear the deception in my voice.  Then, because I was really looking for it, I noticed the little, wonderful things she did.

"I love how you shared with your brother.  I really appreciate you cleaning up your dress up toys.  Thank you for helping Chloe play with that book.  You're such a good girl."  And now I really meant it.  At first they were few and far between, we had a lot of bad behaviors to weed out of her, but now she's consistent.  And so am I.

We do regular snacks.  We keep the TV off until 10.  It's off at snack time and lunch.  We have quiet time.  We have play time.  We have get-all-noisy-and-crazy time, because little ones need it.

We're still learning.  I still lose my patience and she still sneaks off to the bathroom to make a mess, but we're doing much better.

I'm so grateful that my Father in Heaven has answered my prayers and blessed me with guidance and patience.  I want to be a good mother.  I want Kembry to be happy.

One of the lessons I read advised me to write a list of who I wanted Kembry to be in 20 years.  I cried as I listed all the things I hoped for her.  A testimony of her Father in Heaven.  A love for books.  Happiness.  Self-esteem.  It made every action I make today seem so much more powerful.  Telling her she's good and meaning it, loving her without exception, like her Heavenly Father, hugging her, laughing with her.

Good luck fellow mothers.  Don't give up just yet.  Take a five minute break when they do those naughty little things, and then discipline them.  Don't get angry.  Show love.  And most importantly, take care of yourself.  No one likes a mommy with low blood sugar.

Look past the hardships of today.  Focus on eternity.  And who knows, "one day these children may grow up and call us blessed."  Marjorie Hinckley

(P.S.  I need to tell you how much your comments mean to me.  It is so empowering to know I'm not alone in all of this.  To know there are other women, possibly men, that struggle with the same weaknesses as me.  Thank you!)

Thursday, August 18, 2011


It took me 7 years to adjust to being a wife and mother.  

I used to wake up figuring out ways to avoid doing the everyday stuff I was supposed to do.  I got pretty go at it, too.

But at some point I woke up ready and willing and even grateful to be doing those hum drum chores.  I started realizing that they had an eternal purpose.

Laundry, have an eternal purpose?  Psht, plllease.

No, really.  I mean, not individually in and of itself.  But I started to think that I wanted my children to look back and realize they always had clean clothes hanging in their closet.  That they always had a healthy, usually warm breakfast.  That lunch at school didn't get boring, and that (most of the time) they could invite their friends over without being embarrassed.

It all adds up in the end.

It wasn't until I hit this mark, 7 years post-marriage, that I started to appreciate all that my  mother did for me.

When I moved into my own apartment at 18, I didn't know how to do my own laundry.

Did that sink in?

I was 18 and didn't know how to do my own laundry.

The house fairy didn't make me a warm breakfast.

I couldn't cook anything that didn't have directions on the back of the box.

But this still didn't help it sink in, all that my mother had done for me. 

So while I am focusing on an eternal perspective, I'm also going to go about preparing my little bambinos for their first apartment.  And mission.

*fist to teeth*

Oh that's painful to think about.

My kids will know how to cook, clean, do their laundry and comb their own hair by the time they make it to the sixth grade.  My little 4 year old helps with the laundry and other cleaning (often making me have to do it twice but holding on to that eternal perspective keeps me motivated.  Rinse and repeat.)

There are three ways to teach (the good, better, best standard here)

Show them (good).  "Here honey, let me show you how to fold that laundry."

Help them (better).  "I can help you comb your hair."

Mentor them (best).  There are no words for mentoring.  It's not a talking role, but a doing role.  It's also the hardest.

It takes a lot of practice and patience and perspective to do the best, but it pays off the greatest.  For me and them (child slavery, anyone?)

So as you go about scraping up that smooshed and grody banana off the floor (my first task for the morning), or as you unclog another toilet and painstakingly remove yet another stain, remember all these "mundane" tasks add up to an eternal purpose.

"...I want to spend my life with them for all eternity."

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Aaaaaand, We're Back

I have words of advice to anyone ever contemplating moving to another state with three children and a husband.

1.  Don't do it.

2.  If you do do it, don't move from a house to an apartment.

3.  30% of your possessions are crap.  The other 70% is almost completely unnecessary.  At least, that is, if you have to haul it up three flights of stairs.

4.  Arizona is hot.  WHY DIDN'T ANYONE TELL ME?!  Just kidding.  That's about all anyone would tell me about Arizona.

What they didn't tell me:

People here are vicious about their parking spots.

There is this insect that makes a really loud buzzing noise, and it's totally cool.

You can go swimming at 9 o'clock in the evening.  Love it.

There's a really interesting smell here.  It's good, like... resinous.  I really don't know how to explain it, but I love it.

Flip flops melt on the road.  And then peel off on the tile in the apartment.  And then I have to scrub them off.

The members here, at least in our ward, are pretty freaking awesome.  I guess the odds are good where there are 600 members in one ward.  This may be a slight exaggeration, but not by much.

Cohen started first grade last Wednesday. He's gone all day.  Me no likey.  He was my rock.  My good child.  The one I could command to do anything and he would do it.  I miss him horribly during the day, but he is LOVING school.  Of course.  Little smarty pants.

Chloe turned one today.  I can't talk more about this other than I still remember the absolute joy and relief when the nurse walked back into the room, one year ago, and told me, "The doctor said we're keeping you!  We'll get you an epidural and he'll break your water."  Best day in years.

Kembry is...coming back to Utah to live with anyone who will take her.  Lizzie, I do recall you helped me pack and load a truck and your reward was, in fact, Kembry.  Please come and claim your prize.

As for everything else...I don't know.  Some days I feel totally at peace with the world I'm in now.  Other days I'm horribly lonely.  I want to hop over to Jessie's, or go to my moms.  I miss Sunday dinner.  I miss my neighborhood, my ward, my friends.  I miss Lukey and Dylan and in ground trampolines and moderate temperatures.  I miss babysitters.  I miss t.v.

I'm off to bed.  I'll have much more drivel for you these next coming days.

Saturday, July 23, 2011


Brett has long advised me that expectations are of the devil.

I used to think this was ridiculous.  I mean, without expectations, how would anyone know what was expected of them?  Redundant, but valid.  But when you think more about Brett's crazy idea, you start to realize he's not far from the mark.  Shoot, he makes the mark.

I think I've probably pontificated on this point in the past.  So I'll just jump to my recent experience.

I was really upset with my mother-in-law.  Even though she would say how much she missed the kids, etc., she never really did anything to go about seeing them.  In a span of five weeks, she saw them twice.  I guess I started getting annoyed when her behavior didn't match her supposed disappointment.  

My anger spawned from eight years of other incidents, from her first remark upon hearing we were pregnant with our first, ("I'm not going to be a daycare!") to just flat out seeming to have no remorse for us moving to Arizona.  

BUT THIS WAS ALL MY FAULT!!  You have no idea how much that hurts my red personality to say that.

I had expectations.  I expected her to dote on her grandkids, the way my family did.  I expected her to want to go out of her way to see them.  I expected her to throw herself prostrate on the floor when we told her we were moving.  And because I had these expectations, each time she didn't live up to them I was extremely disappointed.

Of course I complained to Brett.  That's why God invented husbands.  It's true.  It's in the the very back.

And then he reminded me that I was placing a lot of unrealistic expectations on my mother-in-law.  With many rolls of the eyes and deep prayer, I realized, he was, yet again, right.  (I really hate it when he's right.)

"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting it to come out different."

So I did something different: I stopped expecting.  And an amazing thing happened.

I started feeling really sorry for her.  I started to realize how much it would hurt once we were gone, for her.  And if she felt that remorse when we were gone, I'd feel really sad.

"Shoot for the stars and hope for the moon."

I couldn't change her attitude, but I could change mine.

I started doing service for her.

I started praying for her instead of about her.

It's amazing how Heavenly Father can change a heart.  I think Brett was joking when he said, "Expectations are of the devil," but I really think they are.  What a clever way to wedge important relationships.

So much "hurt, heartache and sorrow" come from having expectations of other people.  Expecting them to be the perfect husband, the ideal housewife, the doting child.  The caring boss, the inspiring teacher, the friend who will tell us what we want to hear instead of what we need to hear.

Brett often does the dishes in the morning.  I never ask him to.  I never expect him to.  If he doesn't do them, then I do.  But every time he does do them, I want to kiss him until my lips go numb.  I'm so grateful for his service to me, it almost overwhelms me.

I have a friend who has an "arrangement" with her husband that he has to do the dishes.  I notice they're always fighting about it.  He never does them at the right time, or doesn't do them the right way.  The expectation is there, and even when it's met, it's done with resentment on both sides.

The only person who has any right to expect anything from anyone is our Savior, and he doesn't even do that.  Instead, he did for us what we should all do for each other in place of expectations.  He gave us service.  He gave us love.  He gave us kind direction.  

As in all things, he's the perfect example.  

John 13:34 "A new commandment I give you.  Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another."

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