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Friday, June 19, 2015

Family fun!

My sister was in town for the first week of June. I have been looking forward to this for a long time! I texted her several months ago telling her I needed her to come and help me organize my kitchen (the last time she visited she helped me organize other rooms in my house) we figured spring break would be great... alas when spring break came her children got sick. :( So we decided the first week of June would work. And guess what? It's been wonderful!
Monday she came and was ready to work. I'm upset I didn't take before pictures, but not too upset because it was bad. I know you really want to see pictures of the inside of my cabinets so here they are! Just imagine them looking the opposite of this...

We did almost the entire kitchen and laundry area in one day. She also brought these awesome matching aprons for us to use. My mom joined us after a bit and it was just a great day! 

Cousins played and had tons of fun. My baby had a blast too. She was so entertained by her cousins she didn't need my attention as much so I could work! 

One of her cousins even decided to draw some 'makeup' (orange highlighter) on her! It was spectacular! 

 Tuesday we finished the kitchen and did some crafts. We make some necklaces fir her girls and some 'dirty/clean' dishwasher magnets. Again a fun day for all was had! 

Wednesday my sister and I were able to enjoy the blessings of the Las Vegas LDS Temple. It was glorious to be in the House of the Lord and a special treat to be with my sister. My mom was amazing and watched all 8 kids. My dad had fun with them too. :)

Thursday was the last day off school for us. My mom and sister came over to watch my baby so I could go to the school and stay to help. It was nice to be there for both of their last days and to help a special teacher my son had last year. 

One of the Teachers Assistants. She is a special lady!

One of my boy's Preschool teachers. He loves her!
My son's other Preschool teacher. He has such amazing teachers!

1st Grade teacher. It was her first year. She did a great job!

This was my son's Kindergarten teacher. We love her and visited her throughout the year. 
After we got home we ate and went swimming (not right after of course). We discovered it is not a heated pool... it was quite chilly! But the kids had fun. My baby feel asleep in my arms as we had our feet in the water! I guess she was lulled by the water and the kids playing. :)
Ready for some swimming!

Friday was my birthday. We had a lazy morning, then went shopping with everyone in the afternoon. We ate at Cafe Rio (one of my favorites!) for lunch. Then we went to my moms and the kids played around for a while before my husband and dad joined us. My dad made hamburgers and we had Nothing Bundt Cake for dessert! (My FAVORITE kind of cake!) My sister had to leave shortly after, which was sad, but it was such an enjoyable week! My family stayed at my parents house for a while longer. It was hard for such a fun week to end!
After my sister left we let the kids play out in the front yard. A fun end to a great birthday!

The beautiful rose my husband gave me for my birthday!!

End of School, Beginning of Summer

I am not the kind of mom that gets really excited for summer. I admit it. Call me horrible, selfish, or whatever you want, but I like the routine of school and the fact I can keep my house clean for more than 5 minutes during the week. That being said, I am determined to have a somewhat organized routine for summer so we don't waste it watching TV all day in our PJs. We WILL have days like that, I guarantee, but not as many. I need structure for my children for my sanity and they enjoy things more too. 

So for the past few weeks I have been thinking about what I can do to make this possible. Here are some things that are on my list of must dos. 

- Reading - I have a (now) 2nd grader and a preschooler. One is developing his reading and one wants to learn, so this is top of the list

- Arts and Crafts - my boys love to craft just like their mom, so this is also a must. I do have to admit that I'm a little crazy (ocd maybe) about my art supplies and making a mess with them, so this is a big deal for me to do with them... They love it and I love it, so I'm learning to be less uptight about it.
This activity is from an art book my mom bought a LOOOONG time ago. This was a a big deal for me. This is chalk pastel. MESSY. I love my pastels, but I let it go and let them have fun with it. I had fun too! Some broke, but that's life. Then we cleaned up. I was very proud of myself!
This was mine. I should have taken a picture of the example. I miss painting and drawing!

This is Oil Pastel. My son decided to cut his out and disappear with it before I took pictures, so this was mine. Simple, quick and my boy had fun, which made the mess and stress worth it! (I had fun too!)

We have already done one fun art project I found on Pinterest 
My preschooler's creation (I helped with the G)

My 7 year old's creation. He did paint an L in there. Can you spot it?
- Chores - sounds super fun right? Since I have a 4 year old that hates cleaning and a 7 year old that is finally getting it, I figure summer would be a good time to start some chore routines. They do them now, but not regularly. I have a chart that I printed from **BEWARE she has some amazing cleaning and organizing printables! I printed tons of them. If you are at my apartment you will notice them laminated all over the house!

- Outside Time - we live in an apartment and will for a long time. It's not easy for me to be motivated to take the boys outside. I have to go with them, so between my baby girl sleeping or eating, me cooking dinner, or any other random thing that comes up, my boys are gyped with outside time - not to mention the fact that in the summer it reaches 115+ degrees outside. So I am determined to go out with them in the morning before the sun hits the playground to let them run around. And I want to try to get to the pool (which is right behind the playground, which is right behind our apartment) more often. That will have to be with someone though because I have 3 children that don't know how to swim yet... 

- Learn to Swim - at least my oldest, so I have one less child to stress about, at least stress less about. 

-Writing - My oldest is super smart but really busy and doesn't stay on task of its not interesting to him, so working with him during the summer, I think, is important. I am hoping that he won't struggle in some of the areas he did this year. To my surprise he is having so much fun writing, he is writing a story! It's a few pages so far and he gets really excited about doing it! (win!)

-Trying New Recipes - I have hundreds of recipes posted on pinterest and so i have decided I want to involve my kids in the process of trying new things because they are picky eaters. Maybe if they decide on the food we make they will at least try it??

- Fun Time! - I'm not a 'work work work' type mom. I like to let my boys have fun and mess around - they are boys after all. So fun time will be often and usually spontaneous, except for video games or computer games. I want them to earn that time with some of the above mentioned items.

I am all for a lazy summer. Because I'm a homebody and it's ridiculously hot outside, but it also causes a stressed out mom, a messy house and grumpy kids, so my main goal is to balance the lazy with the fun and productive. :) wish me luck!

Chasms and Light

Life is hard. If you don't think so then can I have your life? 

This past year has been the darkest, most frustrating and most heartbreaking year if my life so far. I'm not going to go into specifics, but I know that many of you will be able to relate and hopefully bring since hope into your life. 

Last year I was hit by a blow that changed my life. Every negative emotion that you can think of went through my head - devastation, fear, doubt, helplessness, anger, disappointment, rage, defeat - just to name a few. I felt physically sick (and not because I was pregnant at the time, but I'm sure that didn't help things emotionally). Life felt like it was ending (and I admit at times I thought about ending it too). I fell deep down into a chasm. 

For about a day I soaked in these emotions. I didn't know if I could be happy again. My mom, bless her heart, called and came over. In her wisdom she gave me the best advice a mother can give and I saw a glimmer of light from my deep dark chasm. 

This blow had been building for a while, but the explosion threw me unexpectedly and far. I had been noticing articles posted on Facebook  (yes I said Facebook) that had really hit me and they came back to me at the right time - another glimmer of light from my chasm. 

I gave myself that day to have a pity party. Then I made the decision that I would not let this event ruin my or my family's life. I would NOT let Satan win. Because, people, that's what he wants! He wants to win. He wants to make you miserable. He wants you to feel like there is no way out. He wants you to feel alone. He wants to tear families apart. He wants you to fall into a deep dark chasm and feel like there is no way to climb back out. "Give up! It's easy!" He says. And I let him win.

For a day.

If you feel like any of these things you are 1) not alone in these feelings because EVERYONE feels these emotions at some point in varying degrees 2) don't let Satan win. Every one of those feeling drives you away from Christ. Every. Single. One.

The next day I made a decision to change myself. I can't change other people. I can't control other people. I can't make things happen or change things overnight. What I CAN do is change ME. Because I know that my Savor Jesus Christ died for me and bleed from every pore for ME, I knew that I couldn't go on the way I was living. Something HAD to change, so it had to be me.

But I couldn't do it alone. I knew that I could not physically, emotionally, or spiritually claw my way out of this chasm without help. I have relied more on my Savior, and prayed more to my Heavenly Father in the past year than I ever have. I have had some precious angels on earth that have come into my life to answer some prayers - because Heavenly Father puts people (angels) into our lives to help us through our trials. He loves us that much.

This was going to be a big undertaking and honestly I'm still working hard at changing - I probably will for the rest of my life. I have had many many ups and downs. I climb up, then get knocked down HARD - stumble to get to my feet, then start climbing again. Repeat that about 5000 times in the last year, and that about sums up my life. This whole time very few people know what is going on. "Brave Face" - that's what they call it right? Yeah, I did a lot of that. You have to around your kids your husband, family, friends, people you work with. That's just the way it works. But when you are by yourself, the chasm seems deeper somehow. But those little glimmers are slowly getting more frequent, more pronounced as you endure the days, weeks and months, maybe even years. I know I'm not out of my chasm yet, but now I would call it a hole, because I've come that far.

Day by day, sometimes hour by hour, I climbed. Some days I wanted to give up so badly. I wasn't seeing a change fast enough. Or I wasn't getting an answer to a prayer. Or I would get a "slap in the face." I had at one point or two thought about killing myself. (I am totally okay now I promise!) I knew I would never go through with it because I know how it would effect my loved ones. But I also understand how Satan can get a hold of you so tight that you think that's the only way out. It's not. I can guarantee that it definitely is not! I am so blessed to have felt the Holy Ghost that one particular day. The spirit helped me know that doing something so selfish and hurtful to my family wouldn't help anything, in fact it would cause the people around me more pain than I was even feeling, so the thought (let me reiterate that it was a THOUGHT not an action) left my mind, I prayed one of my frequent prayers to take away the unbearable pain and started with my life again.


I don't like the dark. I haven't since I was young. I wouldn't call it a fear anymore, but when I'm alone the dark is not my friend. So being in my metaphorical chasm was just not okay. One of my new favorite quotes is "If you don't like your life, shut up and change it!" I didn't want to live my life in a chasm so whether I had to claw, climb or fly out I would find a way. No excuses.
Now a year later, life is better. Not perfect, but better. I have major challenges ahead of me still. I am not through yet, but the one that sent me spiraling is. I have learned a lot about myself this year. I am stronger than I thought. I have people in my life that will do anything for me. My Heavenly Father knows me personally and blesses me in ways that I didn't even know I needed. The atonement is real and meant for us to USE. That's the light. HE is my light. My children, my husband, my friends, The Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I am my light.

The best thing to do if you are depressed or in your own chasm is one simple thing -


Yes, that's right. Lose yourself in service. Stop thinking about yourself and about your problems. If you want to change yourself, your life, how you are treated, how you treat people, serve. Really - that's it. That's what Christ did. His whole life. That's all he did. Think of someone you know that is just a - down to the core - good person. What is one quality that they have? They serve others! Light bulb right!? You don't need money, popularity, a perfect figure, eloquent speech, a perfect IQ - just serve! Put other people before yourself and you will see a change in the world around you. And then one day you look back and see just how much you have changed yourself AND those you served. It's quite incredible! And humbling.

So. Chasm and Light. There is no chasm I cannot climb out of now because I have the Light to look to. The "Secret of Life" if you will. I have the tools to climb out to get to that light. What was once a glimmer is now the brightness of the sun shining down. And it is glorious. Don't give up. #simplyserve