Homeschool Conference!!!

Look at all those beautiful little feet two people can create!

Look at all those beautiful little feet two people can create!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Re"Treat"ing and Treasure Boxes

Well a couple of weekends ago, I was lucky enough to have an entire weekend with a big group of friends (20 of us!!!) up in the mountains in a beautiful cabin. All homeschoolin' moms!
Mother's Retreat Time ~ Yippee!
The weather was perfect, the lake was gorgeous (still snow-covered), so many of my favorite friends were there hanging out with me (the only thing missing was my sweet family enjoying this beautiful weekend) but it was good for me to spend that time refocusing. Refocusing doesn't come about very easily with a bunch of little people running around needing your attention. Although I didn't have much "quiet time", it was refreshing and a fantastic way for me to focus on what is most important in my life.

Back to all twenty of us momma's hanging out...You would have thought we were a big group of teenagers ~ up until all hours of the night, I guess girls just don't grow up! Maybe we all just love to talk and talk and talk and talk and talk...losing all track of time and before we know it 3:00 a.m. is staring us in the face (yep, it's true, insanity sets in for a few of us now and then when we have a little freedom, we think we're kids again, the only problem is we don't recover quite as quickly as when we were a bit younger) I was exhausted for days!!!
We had some great times together...the highlight for me each year is cooking for people who love everything I make. No one complains, they all smile and are sooo very happy to be eating something they did not have to prepare themselves ~ it's really quite refreshing! I truly get so much joy from putting an event like this together and watching as these ladies relax and enjoy themselves...just makes me happy!!! We even fit in a little time for haircuts on the deck, dancing in the living room, hiking, walks into town along the lakefront, and fabulous advice from some great speakers!

It was so much fun to bounce ideas back and forth...everything from schooling to parenting to cooking, crafting, exercise, writing, creating, learning about who we really are and then on our final night favorite time of all: Sharing the wonderful things about our hubbies that we adore. Husband bashing is absolutely forbidden, we don't come together to go home hatin' this and that about our significant others, we come together to focus on the beauty of marriage and motherhood, to share and uplift one another. This is such a great way of filling our cups so that we have a little extra to pass out to all of those waiting back home for us.
Speaking of those waiting back home ~ my Dear Husband is so lost without me...he really doesn't quite know what to do if I am away (Good thing I stick around most of the time!) He even sent me 4 text messages while I was away... For those of you who know this sweet man of mine, this is BIG. He NEVER sends text messages and thinks that it is a silly waste of time. But he just needed to tell me He loved me and that he missed me. One message, probably my favorite, simply said, "Hi Loverdoll, I miss you" How sweet is that???

Well, this weekend he kept himself quite busy out in the shop. He completed a beautiful gift he'd been working on for our oldest daughter. After I returned, we delivered it to her...she was so surprised and I think quite delighted with the fact that her dad made such a sweet gift for her. Take a look! After the first "Treasure Chest" that my wonderful man made me for Christmas, our two oldest daughters were "nicely battling it out" to see who would get the box when I die (how morbid is that?) Well, anyway, he decided they would each need their own and he is designing them to fit who they are and what they would love the most. I think he was quite successful ~ she was way loving this new gift! HOPEFULLY NOW THEY WON'T BE WISHING MY LIFE AWAY JUST TO HAVE A BEAUTIFUL BOX MADE BY THEIR DAD!
I'm sticking around so they will just have to wait for a verryyy long time!

Hope your weekend is full of laughter and joy!
I'm quite sure our weekend will be full of many moments of laughter with all these crazy kids running around cracking jokes and such...can't wait to see what they come up with next!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

What a week!

Do you ever feel like you just closed your eyes for a minute or two and then all of a sudden another week has passed you by???

Well, this week has been a busy one for our family....
It is decided and almost final...We are moving for sure ~
the date is still hanging out there just a bit, looking like probably around the first of June or so. We had our final attempt to talk any sort of sense into the bank about our loan, but they don't want to listen and we don't want to pay their outrageous fees (just shy of an extra $30,000!!!!!!!!!) is time to move on. They'd rather have us short sale the house and give it away to someone else for half of what we are willing to pay for it ~ go figure, makes no sense to me at all, but what do I know??? All we wanted them to do was to remove the outlandish fees they've tacked on the the principal amount of the loan -- oh well! After shedding more than my fair share of tears Monday and Tuesday, I have a new attitude (maybe I should say I am working really hard to find a fresh, new attitude!) and am ready for this change (I think!) I will miss our beautiful yard and all of our space and freedom that we have in our little paradise here, but look forward to the peace that I hope to feel having this fiasco all over.

In addition to all of our house drama, we've been working like crazy people around here just trying to market our website, name branding, blah, blah, blah...talked with people from SCORE (Small Business Counseling Group) ~ can't wait to meet with them next week, I think they will be such a tremendous help to us. We also met with a business coach again this week and worked through whether or not that would be a good move for us and decided against that financial commitment at this point. We're just working super hard on "business things" that need a little updating, fixing, revamping. It's all feeling really good at this point.

Our kids are doing great ~ hair cuts for all of 'em again this week, whew!!! That is a lot of heads to be cuttin' on, but they sure look great!

Today my hubby and I were able to spend some wonderful time with our three oldest kids and our daughter's hubby. It was a beautiful morning...I am one lucky momma to have three kids who love spending time in the temple. Oh the flowers were amazing ~ so beautiful!!! I could have sat and admired them forever had it been just a tad warmer outside!

It's been a week full of maybe a bit too much chocolate (helped me get through the rough days!) and I think I've gone through almost an entire bag of lemons in my ice water (makes me happy for some crazy reason!) and I'm ready for the best bubble bath ever!!!
I think this bath will need to be overflowing with bubbles (the more bubbles, the better!) ~ the aroma of lavendar is a must, a candle burning would be such a nice touch, soothing soft music playing would be a bonus with silence throughout the remainder of the house. Sounds like heaven to me!!! (Probably going to have to happen in the wee hours of the night to have silence happenin' around here!)

I just had a great thought! There is something I can truly look forward to...there is an amazing bathtub in this new house we will be living in...oh the baths I can enjoy!!!!! I've never had a tub quite like the one waiting there for me!
Better stock up on bubbles, candles, and maybe a new bath towel or two!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Prom Dress vs. BDU's

Which one is scarier for a mom --

The Prom Dress or the (BDU) Battlefield Dress Uniform???

Not sure ~ with both come such incredible feelings, maybe the strongest feeling associated with both is that of "How did you get this big already? Wasn't it just a couple of days ago that I carried you in my arms?"

Here is the long-awaited Prom Dress photo....We were lucky enough to have a sweet friend who let our daughter borrow this dress for Prom ~ our little girls thought she looked just like a princess. I have to agree!

Inside, my heart skips a few beats, before I blink, she'll be completely grown up and starting a family of her own...I know because I've already experienced this time of life once... and Yes, she went to prom and I'm pretty sure I might have only blinked a time or two and then I was waving as she drove away for her honeymoon!

HOW BEAUTIFUL...Didn't get a great photo of it on her wrist, but loved this one with the contrast of her green dress!

Okay, so the Prom Dress isn't really the scary thing here...really! The thing to be scared of is the boy taking your girl dressed up in the prom dress. Or maybe it isn't even the boy, maybe it's that little girl of yours, what if she decided this could be the man of her dreams??? Oh dear...let's just move on ~
BDU's and moments of Flying ...

Our oldest son is involved in Civil Air Patrol ~ what a fabulous experience this has been for him! Well, today was his first day of flying and I must say that although he was feelings might be described in a slightly different way. Let's see, everything from, "What am I thinking? I don't even know this man who is taking my son up in an airplane, what if they crash, what if they get lost, what if this wonderful little son of mine convinces the pilot to stall out the plane just to see what it would feel like!" Those were among some of my thoughts, other thoughts were a little less dramatic, "How lucky is this incredible little man ~ flying at only 13, living the dream of a teenager, Wow-- am I grateful that my kids are involved in good, wholesome activities that motivate and inspire them!"

Well, he had the time of his life...after the pilot reached so many thousand feet??? ~ he let our son take over and he was the pilot for the next hour...not an experience he'll forget soon!
Here's a photo of him just before I dropped him off this morning ~ Whew...he's a cutie pie!

Check him out on the trampoline (yep, upside down!) To think...this kind of flying adventure used to make my heart jump (okay, it still does!) but now we are on to BIGGER and BETTER things that Really make my heart skip a beat! I guess when you have a boy who will create adventure for himself each day, you should probably expect that the adventures will only get a little more intense.
He informed me today, upon his safe arrival from flying, that the third time he goes up to fly, the pilot will stall the plane by turning down the RPM's, allowing it to DROP OUT OF SKY. Then you just wait for it to gain enough air speed and then pull up on the stick and begin flying again!!!
He is so excited and cannot wait for this day. All I can say is, "WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS CHILD???" and "WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO ALLOW AN AIRPLANE TO DROP OUT OF THE SKY???" I'm not getting it, but I just smile and tell that sweet boy of mine, "that's great honey!"
So back to my original question...
Which is scarier -- the Prom Dress or BDU's???
Any thoughts?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

My Grammy Bragging Moment

So....Here is the Grammy Moment you've all been waiting for!!!
And after looking at their adorable photos...I'm adding my confession or my story or whatever you wish to call it for those of you who cannot believe I am a Grammy. It is sooooo true and I am so very lucky to be a momma to so many adorable kiddos and then to have the bonus of adorable babies by one of our babies!!! Wow, life amazes me!

Look at that little cutie pie finding her Easter Eggs, what fun she was!!!

Check out those amazing blue eyes ...He's gonna be a charmer!

One of her absolute favorites in the world is her POPPI!!! How adorable is that!? My Dear Hubby is a Poppi now, just makes me smile! He's just the greatest!!!

It's birthday time ~ 2 years old already!!! She's not a huge fan of birthday cake, so her momma made her mud cups with these fun, happy little flowers. It was perfect and all the kids looked like they had played in mud by the time they were finished eating it!!!
Just an incredible side note ~ this little angel was born on her Daddy's Birthday ~ who could ask for a better gift than that!!! I should have him in this photo, too. One coming soon........
Okay...Time to spill my guts....Put my heart out on my sleeve...Tell 'ya my story...
I had one of my very closest friends in the whole world ask me a couple of days ago why I always avoid giving a direct answer when people are so shocked at my having a daughter old enough to be married and then even more shocked with my being a Grandma or (Grammy!!!)
Well, I had to think about it a little and it's actually been on my mind a ton since that day. So, I guess I'll just let it all out here and now...
I was married at 16, had my oldest daughter at 17. My marriage was not great and did not last for long. When Shealyn was just 2 months old, I left because I knew that the kind of life I was living was not what I wanted for myself and absolutely not the life I wanted my precious little girl. We both deserved so much more than that and I was determined to make it the best I could!!! So onto a life of being a Single Momma...
My parents were the best...They stood beside me through everything and were there willing and ready to help me every step of the way! They made being a Single Mom possible and much happier than it would have been had I been completely alone, they were my strength when I had none of my own!
I've been asked many times if I had it to do all over again, would I change anything? I can honestly say I would not. The reason for this is...I would not be the person I am today if I did not go through the trials that have brought me where I am. And the blessing of having such a beautiful daughter helped me to persevere and to push myself beyond my own limits, time and again, because I wanted the BEST in life for her!!!
I met my Dear Husband, when she was 6 years old, we married when she was eight and just after her 10th Birthday, everything was complete, Chad was finally able to adopt her! OH HAPPY DAY!!!!!!!!!! The greatest thing about all of this was that my husband loved her just as much as he loved me and she knew it, he always treated her as his own. She is his daughter, He is her Daddy and that is just all there is to it...he raised her, taught her to become who she is today and loved her through and through!
I could give you my thoughts on the whole biological dad thing, but I'll spare you and just let you know that sometimes I believe there are very special people waiting out there to bless and change our lives and that Heavenly Father just holds onto them long enough for us to be Really ready for the Wonder that they are! That is just exactly what my husband has been for both of us!
So there you have it, especially for all the homeschooling momma's that never really knew my story-- asked me, only to be left without a complete, honest answer!
Sorry I wasn't able to open up when you would gasp in unbelief, ask me if I had birthed this child, told me I looked like I couldn't even be the mother of our 16 year old..................
But I guess I just wasn't comfortable enough with myself to have a possible negative judgement and have others (You) think less of me.
I am so thankful to Corrie for helping through this...I am not ashamed of who I am, who I was or of the many choices I've made in my life. And most of all, I am not ashamed of having this beautiful little girl (even if maybe it wasn't in the best possible situation) she is and always has been a beautiful blessing to me and I will proudly tell my story anytime I am asked.
So there you have it....MY STORY OF BECOMING A MOMMA AND A GRAMMY!!!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


I just couldn't forget this moment from today....
While driving to our soon to be "new home" to plant our garden, my two little girls were in the midst of a very heated moment. One had the very coveted costume jewelry and was sweetly admiring it, the other so desperately wanted it, the longing in her eyes was unbelievable...what a dilemma for two little princesses!
Well what happened next was priceless. The little one took a piece of the jewelry from the older. These two little angels proceeded with this conversation:

"Jesus teaches us not to steal!"
"Well, Jesus also teaches us to share! I wouldn't have to steal if you would just share!"

Hmmm, they both got kinda quiet for a moment or two...the wheels were a'turnin'!

Since they both had a point, I just listened quietly until they worked it out between themselves.
But deep inside I was just chuckling ~ shortly after their "jewelry moment" they were the best of friends once again!

I think my kids came to me just to help me laugh each and every day!!!

Monday, April 19, 2010


Have you ever just had "one of those days"??? When all the neighbors (and let me tell ya, neighbors are a long way away from our house!) can hear you yelling out "CAN ANYONE HEAR ME???"

I'm pretty sure that I just believe I exist in my life today, because no one else seems to be aware of my existence...they cannot hear me, they cannot see me, I'm feeling as though I have a peculiar resemblence to that of a door mat as they trample right over the top of me, and those who acknowledge my existence are certain life might be better today if I didn't exist in their world...

Aaaaauuuuuggggghhhhhh....Motherhood has it's challenges!

All I ask is just a little acknowledgement, just a couple of happy smiles, and that one simple time of asking might be sufficient for at least one of these beautiful children living under our roof! I don't really think that is too much to ask...or is it???

Perhaps it is Spring Fever and we all just need to get out and Run and Play and Forget All Responsibility ~ would that do it?

Maybe all that is needed is to search for the perfect hill ~ line us all up head to toe and on the count of three...1, 2, 3, ... go rolling down in unison. Or hunt for the gunny sacks and have a day of racing. Or make a huge batch of chocolate pudding and have the time of our lives finger painting followed by a blissful moment of finger licking.

Wow, do I love sitting for just a moment or two, pouring out my thoughts and then coming up with the perfect solutions to these little mishap moments of motherhood. We all just need to lighten up, act a little silly, make some fabulous, crazy memories and then move on. Tomorrow will be a new day (whew!)

Most of all, I need to remember they are just kids ~ and most importantly they are MY KIDS, I love them, they love me, and even though they are more than a handful some days ~ they (and my adorable husband) are still the light of my life and the very reason for my existence and happiness!

Need to go tell all these kiddos how very much their Momma loves 'em ~ don't even think I'll have to ask, "Can Anyone Hear Me?" as I share how special they each are in my eyes...Happy Family Night to you...for anyone out there who can hear me!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Out of the Box...

Coloring outside the lines is scary business.
Sometimes I don't have the courage for it all.
On my big, bold days, though, I let my red crayon just streak across a line.
I swirl my purple and my orange out there with it in perfect freedom; no lines.
Coloring outside the lines is lonely, too.
I'm the only one who doesn't get a gold star on my paper.
The teacher frowns; the kids call me weird, dumb.
Why won't they see that I'm not behind them?
I'm out in front, running free--outside the lines.
It would be nice to have a friend who colors outside the lines, too.
Would you?

I have a couple of thoughts with this poem...

First ~ as a homeschooling mother, I am constantly out of the box, doin' things my own way, streaking those crayons right across the lines, swirling my colors together to create something wonderful and new, I am often right out in the front, running free, exploring great new ideas and not settling for what everyone else might deem the perfect way of educating my kiddos! Along with this, we come across those who have their own perceptions of what home schooling is or is not and they certainly would not be awarding a gold star for our work, they may think we are a little weird, at times, even dumb, their frowns and disapproval wear heavy on our hearts, and we can at times feel lonely in this battle of educating our way, instead of what everyone else does. But that is okay ~ because in this world of sitting outside the box, swirling our colors, crossing over the lines, running free ~ we are not alone, we have friends out there who are also coloring outside the lines and lovin' every minute of it!!! I love that I have the courage to color outside the lines, doing my own thing and knowing that it will make my kids stronger, more confident and closer to the spirit as they become who they are meant to be...and this can only be found by having the freedom to see how those colors mix, how they can make a picture their way instead of being "oh, so careful" to fit right inside the lines (or the box).

My second thought on this lovely little poem is all about my kids...

I love to see how they create ~ how they show just who they are through the things they do and say ~ that they are learning that there is not always just one right answer, that they have the ability to think and have their own thoughts on things and not just regurgitate what another has told them and believe that to be the final word. They are absolutely not afraid to challenge an idea, to ask questions, to truly know things for themselves. And I attribute so much of this gift growing inside of them to their having their freedom to color outside the lines and earn a big whopping Gold Star for their hard work each and every time, without a frown, and without feeling like coloring outside the lines has to be scary business!

Go ahead...Go grab yourself a Bright Yellow, a Sensational Red, maybe a Royal Purple, or a Soft Pink, a Dazzling Blue or a Beautiful Emerald Green and go to town...let yourself go, believe in you and your ideas, mix them, streak those colors across the page...create who you are, then stand back and admire your beautiful work!!!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Getting to Know Me...

Life is such an interesting thing....just when you think you know yourself, you find that maybe you don't. I ponder this...I am finding that if I will allow myself to grow a little and to open myself up a little here and there, that there are some really great things hiding inside of me that I didn't even know existed. I'm getting to know me a little better. I'm not a very brave soul, but I participated in something that caused me to be as brave as I may have ever been...and I am a better person because of it!

Friday evening, I had the priveledge of singing in a most beautiful production ~ an Easter Cantata. This is 100% out of my character! I have always been afraid to sing in the presence of any other human being (with the exception of my little kids because they don't know that I lack possession of a heavenly voice) Well, this came to a halt a couple of months ago, as one of our daughters decided she wanted to participate in this singing event. I dropped her off at the first practice and as I was driving away, I thought to myself, "Why am I not doing this with her?" What a strange, very, very strange thought to come from me...but I went with it, drove myself home, changed into a skirt and promptly drove right back to the church. And for the next two months, practiced every week and then sang in the privacy of my car where not a soul could hear me, except little ol' me. Crazy, huh?!

I will be honest, there were two nights that I wanted to just get up and walk right out of that building and pretend I had never committed myself to such a crazy thing! The women that I stood next to had the most angelic voices and I found myself frequently comparing my inadequacies...bad, bad thing to do!!! My lack of confidence almost caused me to miss out on one of the most incredible experiences of my life. I had to be sooooo very brave and talk myself into staying, but I did it, I did not quit, I did not give up on myself. With each week I found that I could sing a little better, I could hit those incredible notes, I began to believe in myself little by little. I found that as I quit focusing on what others may have been thinking of my voice, that I started to "Feel" what beautiful music we were singing, I could feel the message, I could feel such a special spirit as I participated. The night of the event, I had to physically stop myself from swaying with the music and losing myself in the moment, I had to remember there were people in the audience that might see me as I "felt every moment of every song" ~ this is one night I will not soon forget...and I love that I am learning more about myself along this journey called life, it's kinda fun getting to know me!!! I wonder what things are in store??? Life is an adventure!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Easter Thoughts

Easter...What a miraculous, beautiful time of the year we have upon us! A time to rejoice, to renew ourselves, to recommit, if necessary, to being the best we can be, to offer ourselves just as our Savior, Jesus Christ, would wish of live as He emulate His perfect example of love to those around us. To reach out in humility, charity and love.

I am in awe and so full of gratitude for the sacrifice of my Savior...I find it hard to comprehend the agony and the despair He endured... and I am deeply saddened at the thought that I contributed to the pain and grief that He took upon Himself. But with the sadness that I feel, I also feel such Joy! I am filled with Joy because I know that my Savior Lives...that He rose...that He loves me...that He gave His life for me so that I could one day return to live with my Heavenly Father. What a beautiful gift that only He could provide for you and for me...for all of mankind!

I love Spring Blossoms!!! Each time I see the new beautiful lillies, daffodils and tulips poking their perfectly shaped, delicate little heads up...I can't help but think of Jesus Christ with a heart full of joy and adoration. The sweet yellow of the daffodil brings me happiness and makes me smile...reminding me of the joy that I felt, that we can all feel, as we come to a knowledge and love of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

I've included such a beatiful message for you to is delivered by a man that I love and appreciate ~ please click onthelink below to watch ~ it will be the best spent 4 1/2 minutes of your day.

After watching this little clip...please take a moment to reflect on the gift you've been given...YOU WILL NEVER BE ALONE...even though it may feel that way from time to time...You have a Savior and a Heavenly Father who LOVE and ADORE you...who gave ALL FOR YOU! They will never leave you ~ if you ever feel alone, take a moment to ponder, is it you who have left them? They stand waiting for you...Always! They will NEVER leave you! I know this with all of my heart!

My wish for you is that you will enjoy this beatiful Easter Weekend and that you will reflect on your life...Is there room for Him? I promise you that when you open a space to let Him in, your life will take on new meaning and you will have all the Joy available to you!!!

Happy Easter with Love!