Friday, July 25, 2014


Tonight was girls' night at our house. Dad and Weston are camping and I decided to take the girls on a rare trip to a fast food restaurant. Living on the wild side over here.

Somehow, with only those three kids, I was more present. More relaxed. And my kids started to talk. And they started to vent. And they started volunteering information that they'd been holding onto for months.

Grace in particular is a story-bottler. She'll tell the most bomb-shell stories during the most unexpected moments. Tonight she told me that while school was still in session (so who knows how many months ago this happened), her class was out at recess, and she and her friend were lifting their shirts up to show their bellies and sticking their stomachs out. (She didn't explain why they were doing this.) As they did this, a kid-who-I-will-begrudgingly-leave-unnamed-but-had-at-one-point-had-a-crush-on-Grace walked up to her and said, "You're already fat without doing that."

Flames. Flames... on the sides of my face...

On the inside, I want to murder that kid.

On the outside, I listened to Grace and then gave a mirthful laugh. And said, "I have never heard anything more ridiculous. Or stupid. Next time a kid says something like that to you, you have my permission to tell him he's stupid."

She was shocked.

I'm usually the parent who assumes that their own kid is to blame for everything. I'm not usually the type to tattle to parents about their children. When my children are mistreated or lightly bullied (don't stab me for taking bullying lightly), I generally tell them to suck it up and figure out a solution. I'm sort of heartless like that. I guess I figure that the world is a mean place and they have to learn to deal with stuff.

But I must be doing it wrong.

I want my kids to defend themselves against this crap.

And I want my kids to feel safe telling me. So I can wrap them up and love them and tell them that things are going to be okay. It's hard to do that when you find out months later.

Sometimes I really hate being an inadequate parent.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Guess who actually did send out Christmas cards this year?

Me. I did.

That may surprise you. Because it's highly likely you didn't get one. That doesn't mean that I didn't put your name on one. What it means is that I am lazy. What it means is that I left for our Christmas vacation, packed my Christmas cards with addresses and stamps.... and then I actually went on vacation. And who remembers to mail cards on vacation?

Well I don't.

So don't hate me for posting a digital version.

If you still want the stamped card I have addressed to you in my still-packed Christmas vacation bags, and you won't call me tacky for sending a Christmas card right before Valentine's Day, leave a comment and I'll pop it in the mail.

Oh. And since I know you're wondering (since how could you not): I did get the bathroom mirrors up, and Brad finished our fireplace. (well, the carpentry, anyway. Nobody has time for paint.)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A boring update. And a sad birthday.

I haven't blogged in a long time. I don't know why. I can't seem to make it to the computer. And then when I do, I can't think of anything interesting to say.

I might never have blogged again, except I spent Thanksgiving with my darling grandmother and she asked me why I haven't blogged in so long. She told me she checks regularly for a new blogpost. And then, in an effort to prove that to me, she recited from memory the post below. And, well, that is kind of sad. Especially considering the fact that it was no epic blogpost.

So now that it's two months after Thanksgiving, my guilty conscience has finally kicked in and I am writing.

Wow. This post is so boring so far that I am falling asleep writing it.

What to say.

I know. Rose. Rose turned a year old last Tuesday. Huge hallmark birthday. I have great pictures of all of my kids on their first birthdays. I am a good mom. Let me illustrate:

Grace with GG at her 1st birthday party

Claire eating her first traditional birthday mud pie at Grandma Betsy's

Weston eating a cake (courtesy of the talented Diane Ferguson [and Grandma Betsy who commissioned it]) at his joint birthday/BYU football birthday party (also at Grandma Betsy's)

And now here is our dear friend Rose on her first birthday:

Not even a cake for this one. Poor thing. 

Was I saying something about being a good mom earlier? 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

With a plastic bat to boot.

Weston [approaches Brad, sleeping on the couch.]: I'm Batman. I have to FIGHT YOU!

Brad: No... You don't fight me. I'm a nice guy.

Weston [angrily incredulous]: Are you Kidding me?!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Things we did

We've been busy with house stuff and cleaning stuff (although never seeming to make any progress), but we do fun stuff too. And I think me and my kids should remember that stuff too. So here are some things we did last week:

The kids and I changed the rear blinker on the F150. Never done that before.

I made dinner with Rose on my hip. I do that a lot. Well, whenever I make dinner, which turns out to be not that often, actually.

We fed Rose her first lasagna (a dinner gifted me by a sweet friend who knows first-hand the dinnerlessness of house building).

We Wii bowled.

Brad's brother came to visit and we toured the caverns. I carried Rose in my trusty Moby, and for about 20 minutes or so, I held a very fussy Weston too. Sometimes I think I could have made it as a pioneer. And then Brad reminds me how whiney I've been during the housebuilding ordeal... And I change my mind.

We said goodbye to some of our dear Carlsbad friends who will be moving to Rexburg, ID. Can't blame them. Hard to pass up a professorship at BYU-I.

Thursday, July 25, 2013


I've been working a lot at the under-construction-house. Up until yesterday, my sister had been here for the last two weeks. With her at my house to watch the kids, I would leave every morning at about 7 or 8 and work until 5, 6, or 7 with twenty minute breaks here and there to go home and nurse Rose.

I'm still working at the house, but without Karlee here, I'm getting significantly less accomplished. Today I went to the house with all four children, their bikes, a pack of bubbles, some balloons, lots of food, cookies, and Capri Suns. I was hoping to get four cabinets done. Since I average 2 per hour, uninterrupted, I felt like this was a totally achievable goal. Two hours. Doable. And yet, not. It was a massive failure. (You could see that coming, right?)

Rose needed to be fed (twice). Claire stubbed her toe and bled all over the clean but as yet unsealed stone floors. Weston took off his shoes and got stickers (burrs?) in his feet and so had to be retrieved and carried back to the house and comforted. Rose was hot and bored and began screaming her lungs tired from her baby carrier. The neighbor kids wanted our kids to come play with them (which required me meeting their grandparents, of course). Grace fell off her bike and scraped her elbow and hip. And then my drill died. I got exactly one cabinet assembled. Count it--yes, ONE.

It's hard convincing the kids that I'm doing this for them--that this exhausting parental neglect will actually result in bedrooms and a yard to play in and a kitchen big enough for them to help me cook in.

Perspective. They don't have it. And so I feel guilty for being Worst Mother of Summer 2013. I haven't made dinner in two weeks. Haven't folded laundry. Haven't even gone grocery shopping in a month. A. Month. People.

So today, I'm scouring for something to make for dinner without having to drag four munchkins through Walmart. And all I can come up with is bread machine white bread with honey butter. And green beans. I am not kidding. This is what I feed my children.

Turns out that my kids have never eaten so much of one of my dinners as they did tonight. Can't really decide whether that's because I'm starving them or because they actually liked it. But they did fight over the last of the green beans. And so in my current life-season of haggardness and insanity, I am totally counting tonight's measly snack as a hands down motherhood success. Yay for me. Maybe tomorrow I'll defrost some chicken or something.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Craving Certainty

We spent Grace's birthday (this April) in Texas. At Grandma's house. I thought she would have more fun there than cramped in our itty bitty house in a city with almost nothing to do.

And it was quite the eventful trip. But in the wrong sort of way. The night we pulled in, I went to bed feeling ill. I woke up vomiting. And then Claire got sick. And then Weston. And during the entire trip, Rose screamed more than she slept.

So maybe I was on edge. Or maybe there is no excuse and I am always this way (more likely). But at some point, Grace (the only well child) became very slightly mischievous in an effort to find something to do, and I got impatient. Mad. I lectured her. (I don't think I yelled this time, which is lucky.)

When I finished, Grace looked down at the rubber ball she was holding and asked, "Mom, do you think I'm mostly good, or mostly bad?" My heart cracked open.

And just seeing it written here, reliving it, makes me ache all over again.

I can't remember exactly how I responded. Looking back now, I hope I ran to her and told her she was so good. Is so good. I know at some point I told her that just because you don't think clearly before you do something doesn't make you bad.

We talked about natural consequences. Like what would happen if she continued to the throw the rubber ball against the walls in the house. And then we looked for alternatives. Like: where could we throw the ball where it wouldn't damage anything? And what could we do with it to make it more fun?

We spent the next hour together, giddily playing outside with this ridiculous homemade ping-pong ball slingshot that was the result of our conversation.

It made me realize that the main reason Grace gets into trouble is because she's bored and she comes up with creative and sometimes somewhat destructive ways to cure her boredom. It made me remember what I tell people; why I keep coming back to homeschooling her eventually: the girl is bored. And I don't know why it's taken me eight years to really internalize this fact and actually try to help her out.

Motherhood is a challenge. It's hard. And it's lovely. And there's this lurking, hovering, paralyzing fear that I'm messing it all up, that I'm not connecting enough, that I don't know enough. that they'll grow up to be gun-toting drug dealers who hate me and everything I tried to teach them.

To raise these people who have bits of you and bits of someone else and somewhere up in their ancestry bits of people you never counted on... all that is like trying to put together a puzzle without a picture of what it looks like.

Sometimes I feel like I'm breaking their hearts. Or I'm not teaching them what I should. Or I'm lecturing them too much and not teaching them the right way. There's so much at stake; how can I be sure I'm doing what I should be?