Monday, May 17, 2010

Wear it proud!

My amazing, smart, talented, athletic, funny, favorite son ran the Ogden Marathon on Saturday. He was on a relay team with some other great kids from our neighborhood. Their relay team was named the PURPLE NINJA PENGUINS. They had homemade PNP team t-shirts way funny! I hope that it was a really memorable experience for him, and I think it has inspired him to take up running on a more serious level.

Jake is an awesome athlete, and I am always impressed with his drive and abilities. He ran it in a little over 39 minutes. That is a 6.5 minute mile. Totally Awesome! His leg of the relay was 6.1 miles long, most of which was uphill. He came across his finish line with a look of determination and then a huge smile.

After he had rested for a minute we drove him down the canyon to the finish line where he ran back about 2 miles along the last leg to run with his teammate and cheer her on. What a kid! He is probably going to grow up to be a motivational speaker. He just has this way of encouraging others to be the best they can be. I am so proud of him.

Jake also received his Boy Scout Denali Award Last week. The Denali is a fairly new award given to a Varsity scout. It is basically the next rank advancement available after the Eagle Scout. He has worked hard and stayed active in scouts. Jake strives for excellence in all that he does.

He loves getting medals and awards. We teased him this winter because every time he won a wrestling tournament he would wear his medal around his neck under his shirts for days. So, on Sunday when he was getting ready to leave for a youth activity he had on his marathon shirt and his medal underneath. Kenzie and I teased him about it, and then McKenzie said. "Dude... don't hide it under your shirt, if you are gonna wear that thing WEAR IT PROUD!"

I think that says it all. Congrats Bud!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

For the love of Mae (MAY)

Here we are, it's May again. What is it about this month? The weather is trying to behave, some flowers are in bloom and there are even tender veggie garden seedlings who venture to peek their heads out from the soil and see what May has to offer them.

There is Cinco De Mayo, National Cheeseburger month, Teacher appreciation, Nurses day, Mothers Day and Memorial Day. What is it about this month that inspires so many to show their love and appreciation. I'll have to admit, I use to be a lover of May myself. It's my birthday month. I always knew that school was about to be over, and my Birthday Bash (May 30th the original Memorial Day) would start off the Summer festivities.

May always seemed to bring with it the promise of the magical warmth of summer days spent eating Popsicles and running through the sprinklers, trips to my Nanaw's house in Virginia, and late night summer adventures in the warm night air.

But over the years, time and experience has chipped away at the hope and joy I used to feel about this time of year. I have learned to fear and dread May. I set a goal this year, as I do every year, for it to be better than the last. I have been concentrating on being more positive and taking a deep breath and just let it happen to me. Hoping that if I cut out the self-imposed fear and dread, it will make it more bearable.

Fittingly, I'm sure as a reward for my efforts, I have been struck down with illness that has kept me flat in bed for the last two weeks ;) And so, the first week of this lovely month has been filled with expensive doctors visits, cancelled and missed appointments and obligations, 6 prescriptions, coughing, hacking, (with the accompanying bladder incontinence) fevers, chills, aches and pains, snot, sleepless nights, and sleepless days home alone filled with the worries and thoughts of all that is wrong in my life.

Now it's Mother's day, and as I laid in bed missing church and my obligations there, I flipped through the TV channels and landed on an infomercial on Operation Smile. The people who run operation smile are an amazing group of human beings who donate their time and talents and much of their own money to travel to the poorest parts of the world and repair children who suffer from the devastation of cleft lip and cleft pallet. The program lasted exactly 45 minutes, and I bawled for exactly 1 hour. I don't know what it was, but I COULD NOT turn the channel.

Great! Just what I needed on this the guiltiest day of all guilt for Mothers, more guilt! How could I sit here and feel sorry for myself? How could I not feel grateful for all that I have? And why would I purposely watch something on TV that would make me feel this way today of all days? I must have a compulsion for guilt!

I was looking SO forward to missing the horrific mothers day talks at church that always make you come away feeling so thoroughly guilty, inadequate, annoyed, and bad about yourself. I just knew this Mother's day would be better because I was skipping all of that his year and because I had pledged to make it so!

So, feeling like a failure, I laid in bed, and listened to the harsh whispers of my children fighting incognito, because it is mothers day after all (bless them) and feeling the horrible resignation that this day every year will always suck. Then I got a phone call from my dear friend, who I can always count on to call at just the right time.

We commiserated together, because that always makes things better. We laughed and poked some fun at ourselves and others, because that always makes things better. And we were both reminded that we really are doing a great job as women, daughters, sisters, friends, and mothers. I love you Kimmie, thanks.

And so here I sit musing. Embracing this blogging thing has been a bit hard for me. I have always been so private and kept myself truly walled off from others. I really never dare speak about my thoughts and feelings, much less write them, but I want things to be better and different for my children. If keeping this record only does that one thing for them, it will have been worth it. Surprisingly though, I am finding that it is doing much more than that. It really helps me to read my own thoughts. It is helping me to learn to love and accept who I am. It is helping me to see my worth.

11 years ago on May 20th my Ashley Mae was born. What an honor it is to be her mother! What a sacred blessing it was to bring her into this world, be touched by her amazing spirit and strength, and hold her in my arms until it was time for her to go back in lovely perfection to her Heavenly Father.

You are named after to wonderful great grandmothers Phillis May and Mae Betts. I know that it isn't a coincidence that you were born in the month of May, and that you are the namesake of two of the kindest, wisest, most amazing women that I have known. I know that you are with them now, loving each other and watching over all of us.

And so for you my precious girl, I am pledging with a renewed confidence that I will learn to love May again. Because I love you and because I love your brother and sisters. I will learn to celebrate your life. I will learn to push away the fear of the memories and hurt and replace them with knowledge, hope, and Faith. I know I will get better at it every year, because I really do feel blessed to know you, and I am proud to be your mother!

Again, my heart is drawn back to the place where it has always lived. Even before they were born, I knew and loved my children somewhere deep inside my soul. And they will be the reason that I will find within myself again the love for the month of May. So I will put on a smile and go out and open my presents and enjoy the partially burned meal that has been lovingly prepared for me with minimal fighting and shouting and enjoy this Mother's day DANG IT! I can do it! I have the power to do it! I will learn to love May again.

Friday, April 30, 2010

What's in a name?

Dear Hannah Banana, Hammy, Hammersly, Hamster, Hammers, Ham, Hannahoke, Hanney, Lizbeth, Bug, Peanut, Princess, Baby Girl, Preemie,

Why do you have so many nick names? I think it's because you are so freaking cute, and people love you so much, that they cannot stop making up pet names for you! If you are wondering why yourself, just know that it's a good thing.
My Hannah's birthday was March 13th. What a fun day we had! It was ugly and blustery outside, just like on the day she was born. But, It could not have been a happier day. We were able to spend the whole day together as a family.

What can I say about my Hannah. Every time I try and express my feelings for her, I start to cry. This is a tender time of year for me, and I am always reminded of how truly blessed I am to have my little blond girl. I have not yet, and hope to never take for granted one day that I have with Hannah. She is my miracle girl.

Hannah is happy ALL OF THE TIME. I've never known anyone, ever, who loves life as much as she does. Her eyes sparkle and her smile melts hearts and lights up a room. Her giggle will make you stop and laugh, and it's impossible to be in a bad mood after you've heard it. I love to sit in the next room and listen to her giggle at the TV. It just has this way of making me feel like all is right with the world.

She is my little nature girl. She always notices the beauty around her. She loves getting her hands dirty with mud pies, and walking barefoot in the dirt. She stops to smell and pick the flowers, and makes friends with all the bugs and butterflies. She is kind and gentle and loving.

She is a fiercely loyal friend and sister. She loves those in her life deeply. She always says I love you! Her hugs and kisses will make your day and can magically calm any nerves. She is such a grateful child. She always seems to be honestly happy with her circumstances and surroundings. She is quick to say "thank you" and is generous with her compliments. OH SHE IS SWEET!!

I have watched her grow, and grow and grow! She is now at least 1 head taller than every other kid in her class. This is a far cry from the 2 & 1/2 pound preemie that I worried would never make it out of the hospital. She has brought me more joy than I EVER knew I could feel. I would hate to even imagine what my life would be like without her!

I am SO PROUD OF YOU Hannah! I can't believe that you are 9 years old. You bring us all so much happiness and joy. Never stop loving life! I hope that you know how much your friends and family love you. I hope you know how much I love you! Happy Birthday Hannah Elizabeth

Saturday, February 20, 2010

What did I ever do to deserve this!?

We had one of those milestones in our home last month. Paul turned the big 40! HAPPY BIRTHDAY HONEY! Wow I can't believe it! I remember being 20 something and thinking that all the 40 year-olds I knew were absolutely ancient! HOW RUDE!

Someone asked me how he was handling it. They wanted to know if he was having a mid-life crisis. I laughed at this a bit. I can't think of anyone I know who is less likely to have a breakdown than Paul. He is a ROCK. I have been thinking a lot about him this past month and I have asked myself this question.....What did I ever do to deserve this? I married the most amazing man on the planet! I must have done something good in the previous life to deserve such a blessing!

We have been married for almost 18 years now! Since we got married when I was 20 it means we've been together now for almost half of my life. And I'm pretty sure that I spent the other half of my life waiting for him. He is amazing!

HE WORKS HARD (about 80 hours a week) and never complains. He always supports me and the kids in everything we do. He loves us all very much, and he tells each one of us everyday that he loves us. He is kind, and gentle, and thoughtful. He has blessed our lives, even saved our lives, so many times because he honors his priesthood. He has a deep and unwavering testimony of the Gospel.

I know I can always count on him in every way. He is thoughtful of others, and a friend to everyone! He is humble, sincere, honest and loyal. I always tease him that he sees everything in black and white, right and wrong. And even though I tease him about that, it is one of the biggest things I admire about him. He definitely keeps me in line ;)

I want you to know how much I love and appreciate you babe. You saved my life and you know it. Thank you for loving me so much. Thank you for being the one who will never let me down. Thank you for being my ROCK. Happy Birthday! I LOVE YOU FOREVER!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


I'm good at a few things in life, and I struggle with a few others! Computer literacy is one of the latter. Once I learn a program I can hold my own....But, it takes me awhile to get things figured out. This whole blogging thing has been a bit frustrating.

Luckily, I have a built in online tech support. Her name is Brooke Reeves, my little Sis. She is also a professional spell checker! She has spent HOURS with me helping me learn how to navigate and post on my blog. She is very patient about a lot of things....and there are some things she has refused to teach me because she doesn't have all day! Consequently, I have given her my account password so that she can log on and fix some things for me. Soooo nice of her right?! sister is also an accomplished jokester. She is hilarious, and lots of fun to be around. Her humor is silly and sometimes crass (ok lots of times). She takes great pleasure in teasing me. I LOVE IT! Last night I logged into my blog to some surprise posts! One with a title that included a crass reference to a body part, and another announcing an Estate Sale at my home. It advertised that I was liquidating, and everything must go!

As horrified as I was, I could not stop laughing. I quickly deleted the posts and prayed that no one read them yet. I enjoyed reading those posts, but didn't want anyone else to "enjoy" them. After I changed my password and climbed into bed, I thought about some things that I would like other people to read.

I love my sister! She is my best friend. I am so grateful to have her in my life. She brings out the best in me. There are parts of me that only show themselves when I am with my sister. (Most of them naughty parts) We are bonded in a way that I will never be with anyone else. We share experiences that I haven't shared with anyone else. We understand each other in ways that no one else will ever understand.

No matter what happens, we will always be sisters. Nothing can change that. We have been through thick and thin together. We've fought and cried and laughed and laughed and laughed! I am a better person because I have a wonderful sister. I admire her many talents, I envy her ability to be the life of the party and light up a room, I aspire to be as patient with my kids as she is with hers, and I LOVE LOVE LOVE her sense of humor!

So to my EBFF I give a big thanks for all of your help starting my blog, and for all that you do for me!


Monday, February 1, 2010

The Best Christmas Pageant ever!

Another reference to one of my favorite books, "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" by Barbara Robinson. In the beginning of December we had a FHE lesson about tradition. We asked the kids to list some family traditions that they would like to start now, and do every year. We reminded them to keep in mind ideas that would be good even when they got older and had children of their own. I envisioned cozy Christmas eve festivities with all of my children and grandchildren around me and lots of photo ops. perfect memories that would last forever. Well...we at least decided on one for now. A Christmas Pageant or Nativity. Some of the other suggestions were....

* Snowboarding (Jake)
* Skiing (Jake)
* Opening 1 present each day of December (Jake)

* The lights at Temple Square on Christmas eve (Hannah)
* Opening all of our presents on Christmas eve (Hannah)
* Don't care as long as there is food (Hannah)

* Ending the discussion about traditions (Kenz)

And so, on Christmas eve, (after the good food) we asked the kids to go and find costumes and props for the Nativity. They could decide what characters they wanted to play. We ended up with: One Joseph who wore a bath towel turban and insisted on being called "Habeeb". One very sweet Mary holding baby Jesus. Hannah was thrilled to play the part and taking the whole thing VERY SERIOUSLY! And one sheep with a white fleece blanket drawn over her whole body for a costume. McKenzie was not thrilled to be participating, and refused to even uncover her face.

So here is the scene......Jacob was speaking in a Middle Eastern accent, asking everyone to call him Habeeb, and being obnoxious in general. McKenzie crawling all over the house in her "sheep costume", bumping into the walls and the tree, and making the dogs go berserk. Hannah was acting irritated by the big kids because she was trying so hard to be serious and play her role well. After a good 15 minutes of mayhem, Dad managed to finish reading the scripture passages. At his point the big kids were completely out of control, the dogs were barking, Hannah was crying, and mom was swearing.

Our first attempt at The Best Christmas Ever ended with the kids telling me that they would always remember that I swore at them during our first ever family nativity. Of course that's all they'll remember. Ahhhh well......almost perfect, but not quite!

A Beginning

Poetry by Shel Silverstein
"Almost perfect... but not quite."
Those were the words of Mary Hume
At her seventh birthday party,
Looking 'round the ribboned room.
"This tablecloth is pink not white--
Almost perfect... but not quite."
"Almost perfect... but not quite."
Those were the words of grown-up Mary
Talking about her handsome beau,
The one she wasn't gonna marry.
"Squeezes me a bit too tight--
Almost perfect... but not quite."
"Almost perfect... but not quite."
Those were the words of ol' Miss Hume
Teaching in the seventh grade,
Grading papers in the gloom
Late at night up in her room.
"They never cross their t's just right--
Almost perfect... but not quite."
Ninety-eight the day she died
Complainin' 'bout the spotless floor.
People shook their heads and sighed,
"Guess that she'll like heaven more."
Up went her soul on feathered wings,
Out the door, up out of sight.
Another voice from heaven came--
"Almost perfect... but not quite."

I have always loved the poetry of Shel Silverstein. If ever I attended a read-a-thon I made sure to include a book of his poetry on my reading list. Along with other favorites like Ramona the Brave Little House on the Prairie, and Super Fudge. Ever so often something comes up in my life that reminds me of one of Shel’s stories or poems. In this very funny and telling poem I have found my inspiration for my new project.

I have been contemplating writing a blog for many months now. However, how could I ever be cute enough, or funny enough, or talented enough, or even marginally interesting enough to ever write a blog? And for that matter who would ever care to read it?

Recently I had a conversation with my good friend who often inspires me to do good. We chatted about how this new age of cyber socializing can often leave one feeling quite down in the dumps. I rarely read about the dark side or the less glamorous parts of the human experience. Most every one is sure to put their best cyber foot forward when showcasing their lives on-line. I think especially as an LDS wife and mother it can be difficult to feel good about yourself and your accomplishments when you constantly compare yourself to someone else.

How could I ever be as pretty as Sally? Why can’t I be as clean and organized as Melba? My children will never be as well behaved as Gertrude’s. Fanny’s husband is so wonderful to her! I just know they have the perfect marriage. Why can’t my husband and I be more like that? (Names have clearly been changed to protect the perfect)

I know I am guilty of having this type of defeating self talk. And, as I spoke with my good friend today I dawned on me that there are others out there that must feel the same way I do…..Almost perfect but not quite! I this world of self help programs and cyber socialization I realize that if I’m not careful I could easily become consumed with the pursuit of perfection. I realize that no matter how hard I try to measure up to whatever ideal image I’ve chosen to compare myself and my family to this week, perfection will always be just out of my reach.

And so, i've finally built up the courage to put myself out there and start a blog. Because my life really is wonderful..... imperfect and all! And so I dedicate my thoughts and words to my wonderful son and two beautiful daughters. They are funny, smart, talented, and fabulous! They are also not perfect, nor do they need to be. I hope one day they will look back at this record with joy and fondness. I hope that as we look at it now we can learn to stop taking ourselves so seriously, and enjoy the ride of life.

Jake, McKenzie and Hannah, I know one day you might find yourself feeling the same way I have at times. So, if your reading this one day in the future and if your wondering how you will ever measure up, I say this to you. "Remember who you are. Know that you have a loving Savior and a Heavenly Father who only require of you the best that you have to give each day. The Savior will lovingly, willingly, make up the difference for all of us being “Almost perfect but not quite”.

Remeber that I love you! You are the best things that have ever happened to me! This record is for you!!

Love, Mom