Monday, April 21, 2014

Grease Memories

When Megan was barely 2 1/2 years old, Mike and I took her to a musical production of Grease at a local high school. Megan sat still on one of our laps the entire time. Her attention never wavered. She sat mesmerized by the singing and dancing the entire time. (This was also the first time we realized she was scared of cotton candy. I had bought a big stick of it at intermission and she cried when I put it near her. Her fear of cotton candy (and ice cream trucks) continued for years.)

I digress.
Megan LOVED the high school production.

That night when we returned home, the three of us knelt down for family prayer. It was Megan's turn and her prayer included the following:

"Thank you 'Go grease lightening.'" (Which included the hand actions from the musical.)
"Thank you 'Tell me more, tell me more.'" (Which was said in a singing voice.)

Mike and I looked at each other and tried not to laugh. Obviously Megan LOVED Grease! The next day, I went to the local video store and rented Grease on VHS tape for Megan to watch. She loved it, but especially favored the two scenes she had referenced in her prayer. For the few days of our rental, I spent time fast-forwarding and rewinding these favorite scenes.

Fast forward a few months... It was time for Megan to be potty-trained before Luke came along. I give 100% credit to the movie Grease for potty-training that child. If she pee-ed in the potty, I promised her we would go to the rental store and rent it. It ended up, that I purchased the movie at the local Wal-Mart upon Megan's potty training achievements.

Megan watched that movie for months and months and months. My brother was not a fan of me allowing her to watch it...namely because while with his 2 young children and Megan at the store once, she broke into singing, "Look at me, I'm Sandra Dee 'lounging' in virginity." (She had sung that song for weeks with the absolute WRONG words and so we didn't think it too big of a deal that she sung it. Turns out she started to pick up the CORRECT words, and once she started singing about virginity, we realized it was no longer an appropriate song for a 3 year old to be singing. (Because up until that time, it had been OK?!?)

Please don't judge us.

It wasn't too long after her discovery of the correct words to the song, that we realized her days of watching Grease were numbered. The decision clincher came not too long after. By this time Megan loved the whole movie, not just the two originally favored scenes. Luke was a small baby, and I actually sat down while feeding him one afternoon and watched the movie in its entirety with Megan. Oh boy was I shocked at those scenes! Obviously most of the story-line, jokes and scenes went over 3 year old Megan's head, it was the singing and dancing she was so enamored with. But man, some of those scenes were downright crude and I couldn't believe she'd spent so many hours viewing it.

I tell you this story because the other day, Megan asked me when I thought she would be old enough to be allowed to watch Grease again. I told her, I didn't think ever! She then suggested Drew would probably love the movie as she had. I'm sure he would, (Megan and Drew are very similar in their musical appreciations.) but I told her I think our days of Grease watching are probably over. She couldn't believe that she was allowed to watch a movie as a 2 and 3 year old, but not allowed to watch it as a 15 year old.

I will admit, making the break from Grease was just as difficult for me as it was for her. Some of those songs are fun, catchy and lively and I missed hearing the music in the background that I had grown to love alongside her.

To be honest though... there's a tiny part of me that considers sitting down with just Megan and having a little Grease movie reunion.

Sometimes my mothering skills amaze me.

September 2001, Mike was taking photos of Megan in the front yard and she said, "Let's pretend I'm Sandra Dee, k-Dad?"

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Definitely Tough and Hard, But...

You've probably seen the video that went viral about the "world's toughest job." It's heartwarming to watch, and I really quite enjoyed it. I know there are also on the flip-side a lot of critics that didn't enjoy it either for a variety of reasons. I liked it for what it was--a nice, sentimental message that motherhood is hard, often thankless, and on-going. I looked at it as motherhood in general, whether one does other things away from the home or not. Motherhood still requires a mother to show up day in and day out regardless of other employment, interests, pursuits or activities.

Of course I am a big cheerleader of motherhood, and I think it deserves high praise for the often thankless hours, weeks, months and years we put into raising children. However, I sometimes cringe at the high accolades always extolled to motherhood, when there are a lot of wonderful fathers out there, and of course a fair number of shabby mothers.

There are a lot of valuable, much-needed "jobs" in the world, that could definitely be classified as "tough." There are "jobs" that I would NEVER want even if I were to be paid a high salary with fabulous benefits. I will also say, motherhood is a tough job, but the toughest? I'm not sure about that. Hard? Yes. Difficult? Yes. Tough? Yes. But putting the "est" on any of those, raises it to a level that I don't think is fair for so many reasons.

With that being said, I think the sentiments behind this video are wonderful, and there is certainly a fair amount of truth to the "job" descriptions...

Well worth the watch.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Sick or Not, A Birthday Must Go On!

We were having a funny discussion last night about birthdays, and Mike declared, "Tiffany, you are not normal in this area." Megan on the other hand sided more with me about birthdays being important and that they should be a big deal. Obviously not everyone feels the same way as I do about the importance of celebrating birthdays. (Meaning, I will likely never be out of town on a child's birthday, nor will we ever not have presents and festivities to celebrate.)

That being said, you can imagine how I felt last Thursday morning, Joshua's 7th birthday, when he woke up sick. It was a sad day. I'm not sure which one of us shed more tears.
Although Joshua spent a good chunk of his day on the couch, it was interspersed with some play time, arguments with Drew, and questioning of how much longer till his party.

The football party did go on! It was too difficult to reschedule, and as it was an outside party I wasn't too concerned about the sharing of germs. (I'm a good mother like that.)
Joshua request a Green Bay Packers cake and so I put my mediocre cake skills to the test once again. One of these days, I'm going to have a beautiful, custom STORE-bought cake of the child's choosing, instead of thinking my own creations will satisfy me. However, upon Joshua seeing the finished product he declared, "Wo! That's awesome." So then again, maybe I'll skip the beautiful, custom STORE bought cakes, and provide this labor of love each birthday.

(just try to ignore the thoughts of all those sick germs being blown across the cake...)

Also to be noted, Grandpa Peter sat atop a horse for the first time in his life. He lasted mere seconds longer than my first (and last) time upon a horse 7 years ago. We're each confident in many areas of our lives, but sitting on top of a potentially moving animal is not one of those areas in which we display confidence.
(In my dad's defense of only lasting mere seconds atop the horse, he (my dad, not the horse) does have a bad cough, and I think he was concerned his cough would startle the horse. It was just as a cough was coming on that he declared he must get off. Although I think he was thankful for the cough, I don't think he would have lasted much longer on top of that thing, cough or not.)

By evening Joshua perked up and it was almost as though he hadn't been sick. Except, it didn't last too Friday afternoon Joshua was back on the couch, and by Friday evening Joshua was at Insta-care being told he had Strep throat.

Like I said, I'm a good mom like that to spread Strep throat germs around children at a birthday party, and children in his classroom on Friday. Oops.

Strep or not, this boy of mine is seven, and he's pretty swell to have around.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Motherhood Realized...

It was no less exciting to open the package with the second book I'm a part of, as it was the first. Although, we have yet to make it to Baskin Robins as a family to celebrate like we did the first time around. (And believe me, one of my children keeps reminding me of that fact!)
The week of the book launch was exciting, as I've mentioned before. Motherhood Realized made it to #27 of ALL the books sold on Amazon. It fell shy of making the NYT list the first week, but still, what an accomplishment! (It still could make the list in the upcoming weeks.) It hit bookstores on April 3rd, and I'm going to make a trip to my own Costco and Barnes and Nobles soon to see it in person on a shelf.

I'll be doing a few upcoming book signings at the Costco in West Bountiful and Lehi in the coming weeks, but will miss a book signing at Kings English (darn! it's a fabulous book shop!) in May due to being out of town.
(a few of the authors in the Motherhood Realized book)
I did however love the Book Launch event the Power of Moms put on last week in SLC. It was a wonderful evening. There was so much good food for thought, but my very favorite take-away came from a recent friend and mentor, Ingrid, who gave some wise advice. "Just keep showing up each day."

Some days it seems all I do is "show up", and there are some days I not only show up, but actually perform too!

Just yesterday someone joked that I must have "most of the answers". Of course I laughed! It coincidentally coincided with a text from a wise, wise friend and mother whom I absolutely admire, expressing her frustration with some mothering difficulties of her own. I'm a firm believer that very few (if any) mothers have most of the answers. Motherhood is difficult and challenging, yet it is mixed together with such beauty and loveliness that it comes together like a magical kaleidoscope--a beautiful result made up from a little of everything.

I love that I have friends and fellow mothers to share in the experience with. Some of my best learning and encouragement come from friends and fellow mothers. Two of these dear friends shared the Book Launch evening with me. Love them!
(Dear friends, Melanie and Kari)

The friend that text me yesterday wasn't exactly asking for any advice (she surely knows I have little to give), she was simply asking for some validation and support that she is not alone. No mother is! I hope every single mother alive knows that. That's one of my favorite things about Power of Moms events...seeing mothers faces and lives light up when they realize, there is a giant support group of women that are committed to being in this motherhood thing together and helping one another along the way.

Even if some days, the advice is simply to keep "showing up." 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Not The Best Idea I've Ever Had

I thought I'd put a little more effort than usual into encouraging my children to listen to the talks during LDS Church General Conference. (One of the 2 weekends of the year we Mormons sit around and "watch church" instead of going to church.)

I got a "Candy Bowl" idea from my friend Shannon. The idea being that when the children heard words or phrases from talks, they could choose a piece of candy from a corresponding bowl. My friend used simple words (pray, family, Jesus, temple, etc.), but I opted to do fewer choices and chose things that weren't likely to come up every few seconds. (My children eat way too much sugar as it is. I'm not exactly sure why I even opted to do this "good idea" in the first place.)

Instead of the desired result I was hoping for, all it seemed to do was encourage dishonesty, exaggeration and over-eating...

It seemed every few seconds, Drew would come up to me and whisper in my ear, "I heard them say 'families are forever' or "They just said 'the Atonement of Jesus Christ.'" Apparently Drew wasn't paying close attention enough to know that the speaker had just barely stood up at the pulpit and hadn't even greeted the audience, let alone announced his topic or said the highly favored words, "Families are forever." The poor kid did eventually hear one "Atonement of Jesus Christ" phrase all by himself and you'd have thought he won the jackpot, rather than just been granted permission to eat one Mini-Egg.

Ellie on the other hand was saying such things as, "They just said the word 'man', a man is part of a family!"

Who knows if Mike was listening or not. According to his eating of Cinnamon Bears (his favorite) you would think "any story of Jesus' life" was being talked about non-stop. Mike eventually conceded that the bowls weren't a good idea either... "I don't like that you have these sitting out. I can't stop eating them."

The bowls of candy, well, what is left of them, have now been hidden. It remains to be seen whether or not the bowls will be a part of our General Conference viewing tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Ordinary

One evening in late March, Drew ran an errand with Mike over to our office. I'm not exactly sure why Drew was wearing his swimming suit, and I'm pretty sure the temperature wasn't any higher than the 60's, but nonetheless Drew went. Turns out they made an unexpected visit to The Chief (friend in the next office over), and Mike captured this beauty of Drew deep in conversation. I think I should begin a scientific study as to why Drew's little bum crack is more often than
Unfortunately, Mike and I are not the kind of parents to laugh at all of our children's antics. Too often we're irritated about the children's poor timing and/or lack of judgement to give into the capers of youth. It seems they always attempt their comedian acts right around bedtime, when Mike and I are not typically in easily entertainable moods. However, one particular night when Ellie stalled the bedtime routine to return downstairs to show us this hairstyle, we couldn't help but laugh.
My in-laws are great to invite my children to their house to sleep-over. Apparently, Joshua and Drew put on quite the "Pirate Show" for them.

You'd think perhaps I should let this next photo be a blog post of its own, but not this time. There's getting to be too many...Meet Packer, (as in Green Bay Packers) Luke's newest goat. Which I will take 100% responsibility for adding to the family. Hank was getting to be lonely, and Luke felt badly for him, which in turn made me feel badly for both Luke and Hank. Luke kept saying he wished Hank had a friend, and I would think, "Oh dear! How lonely for Hank not to have a friend!" and Mike would roll his eyes and say Luke has enough animals and tasks to keep him busy, and then Luke would look at me and I'd think about lonely ole Hank outside all day by himself, and so I, yes, I took Luke to get this new goat. It is actually Dudley's brother from the same litter, which of course endeared him to me even more. What?? Why oh why are goats endearing themselves to me?????????????

(Mike rolled his eyes when I told him I teared up while taking this photo of Packer and Hank meeting for the first time. Or maybe he was rolling his eyes because I was tearing up about it still hours later when telling Mike about the meeting. Roll your eyes if you must, but I see the beginning of a tender goat friendship here.)

When the stomach flu went the rounds of all seven of us last week, I tried not to mentally blame Joshua for being the first to get it and thus pass it all along to us. But then I see his sad, sick face in this photo and wonder what kind of mother was I to think it was his fault?
(Yes, we use empty ice buckets as throw up buckets around here. In fact, Ellie returned from somewhere recently and was describing the ice cream they had at the event: "It was the ice cream that you get in throw-up buckets.") 

Megan thinks she is hilarious and wanted to trick everyone into thinking this was jello in the glasses. Upon the "fool" lifting up the glass it was discovered it was nothing more than colored water and we had quite the mess to clean up.
Such is life around here.

“You need to let the little things that would ordinarily bore you suddenly thrill you.” 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Being FIVE

There's something about Drew that just makes me smile. Of course all of my children make me smile, but there's just something about Drew at this stage in his little life that has all of us wrapped around his little finger. He endears himself to all of us in a way that I suppose only the youngest of a family can.

I was surprised how much I didn't tear up today thinking about my baby turning FIVE! I so love the little boy he is becoming, and maybe I'm doing better at embracing and accepting what is.

Although having said that, as I tucked him into bed tonight, and kissed his little cheeks, I did blink away a tear at how quickly FIVE years have passed. I reminded Drew that even if he was FIVE years old now, he was still my baby and always will be. I told him he'll still be my baby at 55 to which he replied, "Will I still be alive when I'm 105 after I'm dead?" The moment was over, and so I planted a kiss on his big FIVE year old cheek and wished him a final Happy Birthday greeting.

Celebrating FIVE is a lot of work. Especially when the birthday was on a Sunday and it got spread out over two days. Ugh.

Dance games and pirate games, treasure hunts with bandanas, swords and gold (and a pinata) and cake and ice cream for a group of children made up his simple "Pirate Party" that he had been anticipating for weeks. (Man have my party-doing skills gone down hill over the years...)
My cake skills on the other hand have not decreased. They really couldn't get any lower. But Drew and Joshua were mightily impressed with my efforts, and everyone else gave polite compliments.

The real birthday on Sunday brought presents, a birthday breakfast with grandparents and cousins, church (supposedly a prayer in his classroom that included him praying for, "Bless we can all be happy on our birthdays."), and a birthday dinner with grandparents.

In Drew's words, "I liked my birthday."
That's what matters.

Happy Birthday Drew!

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