Monday, April 10, 2017

Babies: Burden or Blessing?

My baby turned 2 years old last week and we had a huge celebration! But I will never forget the day I discovered I was expecting him, Baby #10.

It was a cool fall day just after school started. Staring at the positive pregnancy test in the privacy of my bathroom my heart sank and I immediately felt overwhelmed. I could hear my nine noisy busy children out in the kitchen chattering and making dinner.

I had good reason to feel overwhelmed. My youngest daughter was three, and for the first time in 18 years I had a "completely-potty-trained-put-on-your-own-shoes-feed-yourself-mostly-self-sufficient household." Eight of my children had gone back to school that month, and during the previous week I had relished the three hours of quiet I enjoyed every day while they were gone. In many ways I felt that my life was just beginning. I knew that I would finally be able to keep up on housework and even have time for some personal projects. Also, I was just a few weeks away from turning 41. Socially, I was just too old to have a baby.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Riches to Rags—My Testimony of Relief Society

My husband and I raised our family in downtown Las Vegas, Nevada for several years. During part of that time I served as our ward Relief Society president. Even though I had six young children, I loved my calling! I thrived on the wonderful associations I had with the good sisters in our ward. I loved serving with my counselors and secretary and planning uplifting activities. I enjoyed dressing up every Sunday and conducting Relief Society, attending meetings with the bishopric and other leaders, and serving families in our ward.  I felt very fulfilled and needed outside of my young motherhood responsibilities.

Since we lived downtown, there were quite a few needy families in our area. A significant amount of my time was spent going into homes, visiting with mothers, and filling out food orders.

I often took my children with me as we ministered to mothers who were exhausted, sick, or simply overwhelmed by the cares of life—sisters who needed comfort, both spiritual and physical. Despite my heartfelt good works on their behalf, I always felt grateful that I wasn’t in their situation. I was glad I had a clean house, well-dressed children, and that my own hair was washed and styled!

Then, suddenly, my life changed. My husband accepted a job promotion in a different state. Within a month we had packed up and left our home in sunny Las Vegas for a small rental house in Casper, Wyoming. The weather was 60 degrees when we left Las Vegas, and it felt like only 6 degrees when we pulled into Casper that December evening. The same week that we moved I realized that I was pregnant with our 7th child. Little did I know that I was actually expecting twins—babies number seven and eight!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

10 Parenting Phrases (That get me through the tough times)

Some motherhood days are just difficult! I feel like I am barely treading water and keeping myself afloat…or almost drowningwhichever way you look at it!

Here are ten phrases I often say to myself in these times that try the soul.

*Just Keep Swimming! Yep! Dory from Finding Nemo is my motherhood inspiration. In a situation that seemed hopeless, Dory rallied the troops (errr… fish) and triumphed, eventually breaking the net and leading them all to freedom. On those days when I’m folding laundry, or cleaning up a disastrous kitchen, or scrubbing toilets, I repeat to myself, “Just keep swimming.” Even when I can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel of laundry if I “just keep swimming” and keep folding one piece at a time, then the clouds always clear, the light comes through and I reach the end! It always feels so good to sit down on a clothes-free couch, look at a dishes-free kitchen, or enjoy my mess-free bathroom. I’m always so grateful that I “swam on” and made it to freedom!

*Can you do it yourself or would you like some help? I initially learned this phrase when my first children were toddlers. Can you climb in the car by yourself or do you need help? Can you put on your shoes by yourself or do you want help? Can you finish your dinner by yourself or should I help you? I LOVE using this phrase because it empowers the child while putting them within my parameters. This tactic maintains my status and rights as the parent while teaching them self-governance. In other words, going with me to the store right now is not a choice, but how you choose to go is. I use this phrase many times a day while dealing with toddlers, tweens and teens. And I always say it in a calm, completely in-control voice! J

The Real Story—Thoughts on the recent BSA membership policy change

Last week the Boy Scouts of America announced a membership policy change that allows transgender youth to register in BSA programs. Like much of the conservative world I initially felt betrayed when I read the announcement. How could this values-based organization change their moral stand and allow such a policy to be enacted? Judging from comments all over social media, I was not alone in my feelings—especially among other conservatives who still place the highest value on being “morally straight."

However, after several days of reading, watching, listening and learning, I’ve come to understand more clearly what happened in this situation.  In my newly-formed opinion, the BSA should actually be applauded for their actions. Let me explain.

First of all, the policy change states that the Boy Scouts will no longer use a person’s birth certificate to determine their gender. They will simply take the parent’s word on an application. Remember, BSA programs are for youth, and a parent signature is always required. But guess what? The BSA has NEVER required a birth certificate to determine gender. They have ALWAYS simply asked for the parent’s word. The difference is that now they will not dispute the word of the parents, regardless of the child’s anatomy.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Ten Parenting Principles That Have Shaped My Motherhood

I'll be the first to admit that motherhood is wonderful but challenging!!! So when people ask how I effectively raise ten children, I hesitate to offer any secrets to success. After all, each individual mother and family situation is unique. I firmly believe that we are all just doing our best in a soul-stretching profession.

However, there are certain universal principles that I do believe are key to rearing productive and happy children in today’s world. I gleaned these parenting tips from my own parents and good mothers and fathers I’ve observed. I share them here in the hope that others will adopt and adapt them and pass them on.

My motherhood philosophy changes yearly, weekly and daily as my parenting journey evolves and matures. In other words, I'm still developing my strategies just like everyone else! 

But today, as the mother of ten busy and good children, ages one through nineteen, I share the top ten parenting principles that have shaped my motherhood. I hope you find these helpful!

10. Routine Structure and schedules are the only answer to smoothly managing the lives of twelve people. When children know what time we are waking up, going to bed, leaving for school, what jobs they are expected to complete in the morning, where they sit at the dinner table, where their shoes belong and other routines it adds ease to our crazy life. I believe that organization is good for children. It teaches them boundaries and respect for regulation. And, it makes my life simpler. Knowing that we are doing laundry on Monday, cleaning bedrooms on Saturday, practicing the piano in the morning, and who washes the dinner dishes each evening means I don’t have to reinvent the wheel every day. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Thinking ahead, having a plan, and then sticking to it is the only way I stay sane!

9. Family Mealtimes The family that eats together stays together—I firmly believe that adage! Last week a visitor at our door was surprised to see 11 of us sitting down to dinner in our dining room. “Do you eat together every night?” she asked, amazed. Yes, we do. Granted, some evenings my husband is gone for a meeting, or my high school son has a track meet, or my daughter is working at her job, but the rest of us still sit and eat—together. I love those times! Not only is family mealtime helpful for creating healthful habits and manners in children, but in addition we all share and talk about our day and the world waits while we recharge together. It’s a great time for our teens, tweens and toddlers to connect despite their different stages of life. In fact, to me, mealtime is the best of times—a golden moment when I feel a small surge of success.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017


Welcome to Homegrown Preschool! 

I am excited to offer preschool again this fall! After two successful years of teaching here in Kaysville, I look forward to another wonderful preschool group in 2017-18. My purpose in teaching preschool is to create a fun and personal learning opportunity for the students and to provide financial support for my missionary son(s).

I will accept registration for up to six students for the 2017-18 year. Students must be Fall 2018 Kindergarten eligible.  *If your child has a fall birthday, I may still accept him/her depending on availability and the child's maturity level.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Autumn Time

No! SUMMER CANNOT BE OVER YET! It absolutely may not end!!! I know I write this exact same column every single year, yet I have these exact same emotions every single year.  August turns into September and then into October long before I am ready to give up July.

“Wait!” I want to shout.  “This mom is just getting into the swing of things. I am finally accustomed to swimming and vacationing and reading without any schedule. I am finally adjusting to meals on the fly and sudden trips to the library. I am acclimated to long, hot, lovely days when flip-flops and shorts will suffice.” And then, suddenly, those days are over, there is a cool nip in the air, and school has started. It just isn’t fair.