Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Confessions of a CEO

I am a CEO.  I manage the personal schedules, finances, needs and lives of twelve people.  (Well, almost twelve.  My husband manages his own--most of the time.)
For me, like any other CEO, it’s all about the numbers.
Yesterday I did 20 minutes of aerobic exercise, read 26 verses of scripture, made breakfast for ten people, packed six lunches, sent eight people out the door, washed one batch of dishes, did three loads of laundry, read a story to two preschoolers, and freshened up five bathrooms--all before 10am! Those sound like pretty good stats to me.
I then drove to the store and spent exactly 50% of my monthly grocery budget on 45 meals. I saved $12 buying non-brand products, and $10 of next month’s grocery money buying butter on sale. (Did I mark that in the notebook?)  I also set aside cash for two weeks of piano lessons and tumbling fees (due tomorrow).

Tuesday, January 2, 2018


Welcome to Homegrown Preschool! 

I am excited to offer preschool again this fall! After three successful years of teaching here in Kaysville, I look forward to another wonderful preschool group in 2018-19. 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.

I will accept registration for up to six students for the 2017-18 year. Students must be Fall 2019 Kindergarten eligible.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Making Magic

     Harry Potter is magical; but nothing beats the magic of Christmas with children.  Twelve people, one house, two weeks off of school, cookies, lights, trees, music, and snow falling softly outside the window.  It’s the perfect concoction for warm memories.
When I was in 5th grade, I questioned Christmas magic.  Most of my friends told me that Santa wasn’t real.  I finally approached my Dad about the subject.  After a few silent moments, he read, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus,” to me.  Then he taught me a wonderful lesson about the magic of Christmas. 
Magic doesn’t just happen.  Magic is made.  Just as Harry Potter had to learn he had magical powers, parents and families can create warmth and magic in their homes.  At our house, we make magic as early as possible.  Christmas caroling, twelve red stockings hanging by the fireplace, homemade gingerbread houses, and a secret Twelve Days of Christmas.  Too much celebrating?  I don’t think so.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Tree Trauma - Our First Christmas in Wyoming

When we moved from Las Vegas, Nevada to Casper, Wyoming in 2009, I was thrilled to start a new life of simplicity in the “wild” west. As we packed our belongings, I put our plastic Christmas tree into the donation pile. 

“We won’t need a fake tree in Casper,” I confidently told my surprised children. “There’s a mountain there and we’ll just cut down our own tree.” In my mind I pictured our first Wyoming Christmas, driving “over the river and through the woods,” to select the perfect Christmas tree.

As our first Thanksgiving approached, I reminded my husband that we no longer owned a Christmas tree. 

“We’re Wyomingites now!” I told him in a patriotic tone. “We’ll cut down our own tree.” Dutifully, he drove to the BLM office and purchased a permit.

“It only cost $7!” he reported jubilantly when he returned home. “What a deal!” He showed me the permit and the map of designated tree cutting areas. Words like “Shirley Basin” and “Medicine Bow” were new to us, but they didn’t look too far away on the map, so we weren’t worried.

The day after Thanksgiving we bundled our eight children--including two infant twins--into the family van. Our spirits were high and we sang carols as we drove. However, our happy “over the river” singing soon drifted into silence as we drove out of town and around Casper Mountain. 

Monday, November 6, 2017

Keep Calm and Scout On

Last month the National Board of the Boy Scouts of America voted unanimously to open their Cub Scout and Boy Scout programs to girls, beginning in 2018 and 2019 respectively.

Predictably, the predictable media immediately jumped on the story, predictably reporting that major changes had come to the BSA, that the long-time Scouting movement as we know it was gone, and that the non-profit organization had made the move in desperation for money. Anyone could have predicted that response. 

Additionally, naysayers gleefully declared that Scouting was finally dead, the century-old organization now altered beyond repair, and that this faithful entity of America had at last met its demise.

As a 30-year Scouting member myself, and after 20 years of being married to a professional Scout executive, I feel that I must speak out and clarify what these changes mean and why I still think Scouting is relevant and needed.

If one looks past the predictable media and the ever-present critics of good, the changes made by the National Board actually deserve a levelheaded review.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Wisdom From A Witch

I’m a witch. I just need to admit it, and then I’ll feel better about myself. I didn’t mean to be a witch. When I was a little girl, I was kind and gentle, meek and happy. Then I went to college. I was kind and gentle, meek and happy. Then I got married. I was kind and gentle, meek and happy. Then, I had children, and a witch was born. (Not the baby, it was me.)

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Ten Tips for Surviving Motherhood (From an Exhausted Mom)

In the past 24 hours four different moms have told me they are exhausted, discouraged and tired of being a mother. And I’m one of those four. BEING A MOM IS JUST SO HARD SOMETIMES! It’s hard because of the emotional and physical strain of caring for and raising other humans. It’s hard because we survive on little sleep ourselves.  It’s hard because we are the sounding board for every thing and everyone. And, it’s hard because in the midst of this marathon we are MANAGING THE WORLD! The laundry, the groceries, the PTA, the housework, the meals, the garden, the Scout den, the Church youth group, the budget, and the HOMEWORK! Oh, the everlasting homework.

As I’ve pondered and persevered on this uphill battle, I’ve formulated strategies to pull myself through the tough times; the difficult moments when I want to crawl into bed with the covers over my head, but instead I have to drive 3 kids to soccer practice, solve a 7th grade math problem, and make dinner for 12 people. You know, those days when the ENTIRE universe is depending on you!

So, in an effort to help myself and the three moms I’ve chatted with today (and the other million that may feel similarly), here are Ten Everyday Tips for Surviving this Difficult, Glorious, Ride we call Motherhood.

1.     Do it!  The first tip to surviving motherhood is just to do it! Become a mom. Take the leap. Take the plunge. Take the risk.

Chances are that if you are reading this, you already are a mother. You’re not likely a professional tennis player looking for some light entertainment or a politician with spare time on your hands. No, I’ll bet that 99.9% of you readers are mothers. So, congratulations! You’ve mastered tip number one.

Simply becoming a mother is hard—physically and emotionally. And it takes a tremendous commitment from you, whether you’ve birthed or adopted your child. You have literally agreed to sacrifice your life for another human being. Now, granted, we generally take this step a bit naively, when all we can envision of motherhood is the fun of playing house with our dollies. But, we’ve taken the step just the same, and we deserve a party.

Now that you are on the path (and—surprise! There’s no turning back!), chances are good that you will survive this journey. And, I’m willing to bet, you will not only survive, but thrive!

2.     Just Keep Swimming – The very moment we become mothers we face a whole experience without a handbook. We hold that newborn in our arms and suddenly we are solely responsible for their well-being. Changing diapers, feeding, sleeping. It’s overwhelming and wonderful. And, as little people grow, their challenges do, too. Soon diapers are the least of our worries. Now we are helping them ride a bike, stay out of the road, and finish their carrots at dinner. Time passes and now we are concerned about who their teacher is, if their homework is finished, and if they practiced the piano before going to bed. And soon our challenges have grown to driving, dating, jobs, and graduating from high school. In other words, motherhood is challenging every day!

So here’s another tip: Just Keep Swimming. Just keep going with the flow and surviving. That’s the long and the short of it. Get up the next day. Drive to the next soccer game. Fix the next meal. Change the next diaper. Endurance is 90% of success. And finishing what we’ve started is the bulk of thriving.

On the days when I feel I can’t possibly keep going, I remind myself to just keep swimming. And then, I fold the next batch of laundry, deal with the next teenage crisis, sign the next page of Algebra homework, and get through the next day. And, somehow, when I wake up the next morning, my energy is renewed, and I can keep on mothering.

3.     Make a Backwards List – I’m the queen of list-making. I make to-do lists for myself, lists for my husband, and lists for my kids. But sometimes I get to the end of a day and find out that I didn’t accomplish anything on my list! How discouraging! In those times, it’s helpful to make a Backwards List. Take a moment before bed and write down what you did do during the day. Think of each batch of laundry, each trip to the school, each meal cooked and cleaned up, each child you helped, each phone call you made. Think about the time you went out to play ball for a minute, or helped your husband with a project, or cleaned up the living room. Write down every single thing you did that wasn’t on a list, and your spirits will likely lift. It helps to have a list of what was accomplished during the day, even if the list was made backwards.