Monday, October 31, 2016

Ducks in a Row...

So my sister sent me the following picture a while back:

Image result for DUCK IN A ROW QUOTE
I feel the same exact way at times!  I don't have everything perfect YET, but at least I have everything in the general area.  I know what I want to do.  I know what needs to be done.  I also know what it is going to take to get all the "ducks" lined up just right and swimming in the same direction.

This is what my youngest did the other day:
I know she at least has all her ducks in a row (literally) and knows how things are going to work for her.  I hope she can keep the same focus in 14 years as she has now.  If that look out!  She will be a woman on a mission and heaven help anyone who gets in her way!

So which "duck liner" are you?  Are all your ducks lined neatly in a row and swimming in the same direction?  Well, GOOD FOR YOU!!  You really are going places!  Or are you more like me with them all swimming in the same pond but working on the same direction?  Well, congratulations!  You are among the ELITE of the human poplulation that is trying your very best and you're working on getting there!

The key is NEVER give up!  Your ducks will be swimming in line in no time!  

(Please let me know when your ducks get in line and then share the secret!)

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Life is Like a Puppy....

I was recently given the suggestion to write about puppies.  My first reaction was "What on earth can I possibly write about puppies that would be insightful?"  Then it was pointed out to me that puppies are incredibly soft, cute and cuddly.  They are curious about their world around them.  And they are always excited to see you, their caretaker.  (WOW!  This sounds very reminiscent of my children!)

Image result for puppy mischief
But, as life goes on, puppies create messes.  They can create more work than you planned on doing, and you, the caretaker, are left with the awesome responsibility to clean up any messes that the puppy makes.  (This too sounds vaguely familiar.)

I was talking to my eldest child about this very thing.  She told me about a place where she lives of a business that rents puppies to people for the day.  If you are feeling lonely and in need of cuddles, you just give a call, pay the money and they bring you a puppy for a day.  WOW!  If only life were as simple as "renting" a dog for the day!

This is what the website has to say:
"Puppies For Rent is Utah's premier pet adoption service.  We work tirelessly to find the perfect adoptive home for each puppy we take in, as well as to help Utah become a No Kill state.  Since 2013 Puppies For Rent has been working to get puppies adopted using our unique approach to animal rescue.  Our Trial Adoptions help families experience the joys of pet ownership before committing to adopt. Whether you're looking for an addition to your family or just need some snuggles, Puppies For Rent is here for you."

I admire the business for their ingenuity.  It does indeed give the prospective family a chance to see what it is like to have a puppy for a day, or night as I have found out.  As a current dog owner, I for one would have LOVED to have a "trial period" before I actually got the cuddly bundle of joy.  Then I would have known that behind all that cuteness lies a devious little mind who will one day grow up to be as stubborn as I am. 

This "rent a puppy" topic also reminded me of the movie "Rent a Kid".  It was a movie that came out YEARS ago about a orphanage owner that asked his father to manage the orphanage so he could enjoy a much needed Thanksgiving vacation.  The father readily agreed to take the job.  While he was "babysitting" some large number of children, he "rented" a set of three siblings to a couple who were considering a family of their own.  The result was hilarity!  I loved this movie and would recommend it to anyone who wants to have a fun family movie night.

It also makes you think - What if I would be able to "rent" before I could purchase and see if this would be the perfect fit for me?  I'm not talking about the small stuff like a house, car or swing set.  I'm talking about the BIG stuff like babies and teenagers!  (oh, and pets too)  Too bad that life isn't really like this.  We have to go on faith that the most important decisions in our lives need to be made with not only knowledge, but faith in Heavenly Father that things will all work out for the best.

I know that when I was planning my family, I didn't have a clue as to what I was getting myself into.  I just saw the "stars" as I dreamed about soft rosy cheeks, cute smiles and endless cuddles and coos as my sweet baby learned to say "mamma".  I was also under the illusion that said child would NEVER sass me, would ALWAYS obey me, and would worship the ground that I walk on.  They would see me as their "hero" in all things.

Yeah, that time has passed!!  It is now filled with countless times of pee in the bed at all hours of the night and early morning.  Then carsickness followed by vomit in the van on even the shortest of car rides!  Not to mention  the "he said, she said" battles that are a daily occurrence of family life.  We can't forget the "selective hearing" either - this is where you can be begging your child for 10 minutes to do something and they "don't hear you" but as soon as you mention the word "treat" they pop their little head up and say "I want some!"

No, there is no "rental period" for life.  BUT, if you have faith that the Lord will help you through even the most trying of times, you will find that life is AMAZING!

You will start to see the joy that your children can bring to you.  You will notice the times when your baby says "I love you mamma!" for no reason at all except that she wanted you to know her love for you.  The times when your son is kind and helpful to his siblings so there can be peace in the home.  That time when your son notices you are feeling a bit "blue" and gives you a hug to lift your spirits.  Don't forget the countless times when your oldest, who has moved away from home, calls you for no other reason than to say "hello" cuz she had a spare minute and thought of you first.

No arguments here - LIFE IS HARD!!!  We all know that.  People need to stop focusing on the hardness of life and start focusing on the wonder of life.  I for one am grateful for the opportunity to have the hard times cuz it helps me to realized just how blessed my life really is.  God doesn't give us trials we can't handle.  He knows us well enough to give us experiences that will make us stronger than we are right now.

So yeah, life is like a puppy " is great fun and soft and fluffy.  But sometimes life can get messy and pretty crappy....(BUT) There's always ways to...clean it up!"

Friday, October 7, 2016

The "Wisher"....

What do you see when you look at this picture?

Image result for dandelion
Some people, like my hubby, see an obnoxious weed that he has to spray out of the lawn every spring and fall.  Some people see a work opportunity for their children to earn a little bit of money.  If the children pick so many of these out of the lawn they earn so much money.  Some people see a yellow flower in the middle of nowhere.

Image result for dandelionWhat my children see: a beautiful flower bouquet in their mamma's favorite color.  But most of all they see a "wisher".  That's right.  A "wisher".  They hold the fuzzy white head in a tight grip, close their eyes, chant the words "I wish, I wish, I wish", then blow with all their might and watch as the "wisher" turns into a brief snow-storm in the middle of summer that carries their wish to the "beyond" in hopes of coming true.  If you listen carefully you may just find out what your child really wishes for in their little world.  (Currently my youngest daughter wishes for an Elsa & Anna car.)

If you had a "wisher" right now in your hand, what would be your wish?  
Image result for blowing a dandelion
Would you wish for more time spent with your family?

Would you wish for bright pink nail polish?

Would you wish for a new car?

Would your wish be simple?  Something as simple as a smile from a friendly face.  Simple as a sunny afternoon you can enjoy with a loved one.  Simple as fluffy slippers and a warm cup of cocoa shared with your children (or best friend).  Simple as finding another "wisher".   

Would it be to establish world peace?  I think the world would be a better place if people just started treating each other like they, themselves, want to be treated.  

I had an experience the other day with my son.  He was beat-up by a group of older kids on the playground just because he wanted to play with them.  Because he was younger, they, older kids, saw him as a "pest" and figured the only way to get rid of a "pest" is to squash it.  Well, that didn't work.  It did make my son feel very bad, especially about himself, and it also made it so he didn't want to go back to school.  It just makes me soooo mad that kids have to be so mean!  Most of the time they learn to be mean from higher up in the ranks at home (parents or older siblings).  They are treating others like they are treated.  

So my wish for "peace" is for others (including myself) to take a step back and THINK about how they want to be treated and then ACT accordingly.  It doesn't take too long to go through this process, and I believe that there will be less hurting and more compassion and love for others.  World Peace starts at HOME with US, not across the ocean on another continent. 

I asked some of my friends and family what they would wish for and these are their responses:

"To be able to completely provide for my family with left over so I could give about $500 to my bishop to bless other struggling families." -M.L

"World peace or no more abortion." -M.L.

"That a drink from FIIZ would magically appear." -K.P.

"Two million dollars and a pocket full of spending cash...." -T.A.

"No more dandelions in my lawn." -W.M.

"I don't know.  Honestly life is good.  I feel blessed!" -N.H.
"To be married or make the NY Times best seller list." -M.M   
"More pleasant days to blow on dandelions with my little ones." -C.M.
"That I can always have a great close relationship with each of my kids." -C.S.
"A better living situation for the family." - E.C.
"To come home with a great job." -B.P.

"To go on a date and have that eventually lead to a boyfriend." -J.M.

"Pumpkin Pie." - J.M.

"For loyalty and faithfulness to come back into Style." - L.A.

"I would wish for my family to be happy." -J.H.
 What would YOU wish for?

Monday, October 3, 2016

Spending Time With Your Children....Better Than Gifts!

With summer over, Christmas is just around the corner.  I had a friend tell me just the other day that Christmas is only 82 days away (at the time of this particular blog)! I sort of had a minor melt down cuz I am most definitely NOT ready for THAT time of year yet!

I LOVE Christmas!!  It is my absolute, hands down MOST FAVORITE time of year!  I get to do all sorts of stuff!  I love the lights, the music, the snow (cuz I can bring out all my favorite snowmen - OK so they have been out since just after Halloween, but hey - when it snowed, the snow stuck to the ground for more than 24 hours so I was justified in getting them out of hiding!)  I love the excitement of buying the perfect gift for someone and imagining the look on their face when they open said gift.

There is just one thing that I don't love about Christmas and that is the commercial side of all of it.  I ask you "Why do we have Christmas anyway?"  I know for a fact that it isn't to see who gets the biggest and best "whatever" on the block.  It is because we were given an incredible gift so many years ago.

The first Christmas was very simple.  Shared between a man and woman with a small baby that was born under the humblest of circumstances.  There weren't any brightly colored packages, no boughs of holly, no silver bells, no carols were sung, no trees were strung with lights, and there were most definitely no cookies to exchange and no cards to mail.  No, Christmas is about the Son of God who was sent to this earth to provide us with a way back to our Heavenly Father.  What we do with that gift is up to each of us personally.

My hubby and I started a tradition of giving service to families that might be in need of a little "pick-me-up" for the holidays.  We don't always pick a family who is struggling financially either.  We tend to look for a family that is really trying to pull their own weight to make things work for themselves and not just looking for a handout.  Sometimes it is a close friend while other times it is someone we barley know.  What I love most about this tradition is how my children LOVE to wrap the packages, place them on the doorstep of our unsuspecting candidate, ring the doorbell then run like crazy!  Oftentimes we will hide in nearby bushes and watch as the family piles out of the house and stand on their front porch wondering where all this Christmas spirit came from.  That is what I love most about Christmas.  The magic of making someone feel loved.

My hubby and I have decided to scale back the gift getting aspect of our young family.  We used to go "all out" on gifts for our children.  It got to the point that there were more gifts in our front room than sitting places to open it all up.  At the end of the gift-opening session, the children couldn't even remember what they got from who.  So, it was time to scale it all back.  

We started to look around our humble home and decided the children already had enough toys and we didn't need to create anymore messes by adding to the craziness of toys that don't get cleaned up.  We decided to instead get them ONE toy they could play with, something to wear (usually pjs), something to read (everyone loves a good book), something to eat (yum! chocolate) and something from their sibling (got to teach them how to give to others).  

Image result for cute kids sayingsThe one thing that we have most recently done is get them an experience.  I know this sounds really weird, especially if you don't understand.  We give them an experience by going on an outing with them.  It is a time when we go to the aquarium, zoo, museum or wherever to let them experience time with mom and dad.  Just the kids and parents.  No extras like grandparents or aunts, uncles or cousins.  Just them.  It gives them the feeling of being loved above all else.  I guarantee that they will never remember that great-aunt so-and-so gave them a set of legos, but they WILL remember the time they saw a sea turtle the size of a car at the aquarium.  

There are still the gifts from grandparents and aunts who like to spoil the children, so they most definitely don't suffer from lack of gifts.  When grandma-great gives them money we purchase a small gift for them, then take the rest to the bank and put it into their accounts to accumulate for when they get older.  All in all my children don't feel slighted in any way.  

It is all in how you present it to your children.  I once asked my now 18 year old if she felt like we didn't give her enough when she was growing up.  She said, without hesitation, "Nope.  You gave me all I ever needed."  I love my children and I hope that the traditions we have started with them will teach them we really do love them and that you don't need to have "things" to make memories.