Friday, April 30, 2010

Photo fun.

This spring weather has got me giddy as can be.  I pull out my camera and pretend to be artistic.
As you can probably tell, I'm a work in progress.  I don't know what there is about it, but I LOVE taking pictures.  And I'm trying real hard to take the pictures from a variety of angles.  Course, my kids are total fans..."Wait, Todd.  I need you to turn your head a little.  No, the other way.  Can you move over just a bit, there's too much sun in the picture.  Oh, crud.  I cut off your ear.  Let me take just one more.  Geneva, I need you to move so I can get this picture.  Just one more, Todd."  And so it goes.

Course, there's always the distracting element.  My big gift for Christmas was photoshop but I haven't really learned how to use it yet.  My sister tried helping me, but as soon as I got home, I had either forgotten how to do everything or couldn't get it to work on my computer.  I'm thinking a class is necessary.  However, I still enjoy taking photos....flaws and all.
Since this blog is for getting to know who I am, I've decided to post of few of pics.  Enjoy!

FYI...I've been taking my own Santa pictures for years now.  No need to buy the poorly lighted ones they sale.  They let you take your own...and even offer up suggestions.  When you take your own, they can be a lot more candid and real (not the uncomfortable sitting on the scary, hairy guy's lap looks--well, maybe you'll still get those).

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Breakdown in the Outback

Chris and I went to Casper, WY this week.  Why Casper, you ask.  I'll tell you why.  Chris had an interview at Casper College since his contract with BYU ends this summer.  Something I need to preface before I share my story.....growing up, I lived very close to the Wyoming border and that was close enough for me.  I pledged to NEVER live in Wyoming under any circumstances.

Well, my situation since high school has changed somewhat.  My family needs income.  State school in Utah aren't hiring due to budget issues.  BYU (and all other LDS employment) has had a hiring freeze for the past year.  That doesn't bode well with us.  So Chris has applied to several schools outside the area and Casper is the one that called back.  I decided...hmmmm....maybe Wyoming isn't so bad afterall.

On our final evening in Casper, Chris and I went to Outback.  We hadn't been there in years and thought that as long as Casper was reimbursing us, we might as well go to places we don't normally go (it's above our usual eating out budget).  After being lost for quite some time and being able to explore the city via car, we called Outback and they directed us to their location.  The waitress sat us down at our corner booth.  There were cowboys seated directly behind me, and to our side, several couples sat.  The cowboys were engineers from an oil company.  The couples to our side....well...they are what lead me to my breakdown.  I couldn't help but eavesdrop on their conversation.  They were loud.  They talked mostly of an upcoming wedding.  "Who's going to give her away."  "Her father, I think."  "I hope so."  They talked of the bachelorette party and of calling in sick for work due to hangovers.  One asked, "Who's going to watch your trailer?"  All the while, I was thinking, "NOOOOOOO!!!!!!!"  Was there anyone in this town I would be able to relate to?  Were there any Moms out there in healthy marriages with children as lovely as mine (okay, that's impossible)?  Would I be moving to Casper, away from my family, away from friends, and away from all that I knew to a place I swore never to go?!!  The tears slowing slipped out from my eyes.  Chris caught me wiping one of those tears off my cheeks and then I was a goner.  The faucet had been turned on.  I did pretty good keeping it under control, but more than once, I did the cryer's sucking of air hiccup  thing.  Good thing the music was loud.  I feel like I need to tell you that Casper is in fact  a very nice city with no unsafe neighborhoods and greats shops and a number of recreational activities available.  To tell you the truth, I think I was just missing my children desperately and feeling super homesick.  I know that if I have my little family with me, I'll be fine wherever we go.  And, yes!  I would still move to Wyoming.  I think it would be great to get out of my comfort zone.  Back when I was in high school, I didn't have a husband and kids who would follow me wherever I went.  I could go long as they were with me. 

Monday, April 12, 2010

Parenting advice from ME!

I have a policy where I try not to offer advice unless it was asked for.  This even goes towards my kids.  My parents do this with me and I truly appreciate it...but I gotta tell you, it's difficult.  SO, all that advice that I have running rampant in my brain is now going to be spilled out onto my blog so I can move on.

#1  Don't give advice unless you are asked for it.  Seems like I just said that, doesn't it.  Well, it's good advice.  If you want a person to feel safe with you, be that safe person.  Just listen.  Emphasize with them.  Offer encouraging words.  Example:  Shem, "Mom, Todd never plays anything I want to play."  Me, "That's frustrating, isn't it."  Shem, "Yes!"  Simple, yet effective.  Example of someone asking for advice, "What would you do." 

#2  Allow natural consequences.  Example: I tell Todd to be careful when using the chair as an aide in climbing the tree because the chair might tip.  Todd comes running into the house holding a scratched up leg.  I clean out the wound, put a band-aide on it and give him a hug.  I DO NOT say, "That's what you get for not listening to me.  I told you what would happen."  Again, simple.  Yet, it requires you to hold your tongue.  I think the blood oozing from his knees is enough.  Your natural instinct is to say, "Nah! Nah!  I told you so."  You are not a child, you are an adult. 

#3  When your child ask you to come and look.  Go and look!  That means that your child thinks you are cool enough that they want to impress you.  So, let them impress you.  It doesn't take that long to stop what your doing for a minute and see what your child is doing.  You are their biggest fan--and they want to keep it that way.

#4  Don't sweat the small stuff.  Do you really want your life to be a constant battle?  Neither do I.  So make a choice to let it go.  Throwing rocks, not a good idea.  Throwing stuffed animals-okay.  You are carving a grown-up.  Do you want that grown-up to wound-up tight like Shem's shoelaces, or do you want them to enjoy life and to smile often?

#5  Love your child.  Kids act out for a reason.  Geneva was a cranky pants this week because she had to share my attention with a couple other kids (her brothers).  All she needed was 5 minutes of one-on-one and she was okay.  Yelling got me nowhere....Well, that's not true; I, too, reached Crankiville.  When Todd is hyperventilating about something, it only takes a calm parent to bring him back to his sweet self.  When Shem is cranky, he just wants someone to acknowledge his feelings.  SO SIMPLE!!!

Good parenting requires an adult to deal with a child.  Meaning, we, as parents, should be that adult and not some raving lunatic pointing out everything our child hasn't done that day.  As an employee, I perform better for the person who expects greatness out of me and tells me often how well I am doing.  Do we expect greatness out of our children?  Are we pointing out all the good things they are doing...or are we focused on that unmade bed?

Monday, April 5, 2010


 I can be a very laid-back parent.  I let my kids run around the house.  I don't let childish behavior stress me out (well, usually).  However, there are some things I am quite strict about.  Every time my baby gets in a car, they have to be buckled up appropriately.  I've kept them in baby carriers and boosters till they turned 8-yrs-old, no matter how far we traveled.  My logic; I would never regret buckling them in, but I might regret NOT buckling.  I've never been sorry for my decision.  I also make them wear a helmet when riding their bikes and scooters.  It doesn't take much time to strap up the helmet.  It doesn't inconvenience me.  I figure, these are good habits to learn now while they are young.  I do let them climb trees and go swimming and do kid things, but I usually like to take certain precautions before hand.  Thinking about how I'm raising my children, here in the western United States, I can't help but wonder what others do.  Even in my own neighborhood, there are many things we do differently.  Yet, for all of us, we love our children and want to help them succeed.

I'm a BzzAgent and have been given this clip.  It comes out Mother's Day and it is something I would love to watch with all my children.  It's something that I know we would all enjoy.  Take a look at the clip and let me know what you think.
Kids are my passion and if you've been reading my blog for a little bit, you'll know that I've always been interested in maybe one day having my own international family.  .