Category Archives: ponderings

Things I’m Thankful For

For our November write up we’ve been posting what we are thankful for to correspond with the Thanksgiving holiday.

Admittedly this is one of the more difficult posts for me to make all year. I am not predisposed to positive, grateful thinking. Don’t get me wrong, I know I am blessed and have many blessings, gifts and privileges many people in the world will never see. I am simply not an “OMG thank you so much!” type of person. Again, I know I have much and thus much is expected at times. Just know this is not an easy off the cuff list/post for me to make.

A good friend of mine encouraged me a few months ago to sit down at the end of each day, think about my day, and write down at least one thing or event from that particular day I am thankful for. It was a great idea and I did make the effort, for a day or two. The idea is to bring positivity into your life by acknowledging and realizing what you have, instead of pondering the things you feel you are lacking.

I also wanted to make this post different from last year’s post. I posted 30 things for 30 days of gratitude last year. This year I figure why not use the alphabet? It’s a great helper to keep me on track.

A: Acts of kindness. Performing or receiving, there is blessing for all.
B: Books. As nice as technology is and helpful to finish listening to a book, there is still something comforting about curling up on the couch (winter) or sitting out in the sun (summer) with a good book physically in hand.
C: Christmas Carols.
Yep I’ve been listening to Pandora’s Christmas channel for a few weeks now. 
D: Democracy.
Yes our governments are a mess but life could definitely be A LOT worse. 
E: Electricity.
I know this one sounds silly but with the experiences we’ve had living in the north east, electricity is definitely an invention I’m thankful to have in my life.
F: Family.
As dysfunctional as we may be at times, my family is mine. 
G: Grass.
Remember when you were a kid and running around the front yard with no shoes on feeling the fresh grass on your feet? My kids don’t either… we have no grass here in the rocky, weed growing woods.
H: Home-based businesses.
I am part of Younique but I also LOVE supporting and being able to purchase from my friends who also are working from home. Direct sales companies or crafty people. 
I: Indoor plumbing.
Oh Em Gee Becky. The privacy of my bathroom and ability to turn a faucet on to get water in my house.
J: Jesus Christ.
My savior and redeemer. 
K: Kid kisses.
The pure love from a child’s kiss to mom is so healing!
L: Love languages
M: Mothers.
Especially my own mom and Grandma. 
N: Nature.
I have not appreciated nature in the beginning of my life as I do now living in the woods. 
O:  (adult time) The big O (not Oprah).
Please don’t ask me to go into further detail.
P: Pregnancy.
It isn’t an easy 10 months, but I am blessed with the ability to carry and birth my children.
Q: Quiet moments.
With 3 kids, a dog and a cat; quiet time is few and far between. When those moments do come I cherish the quiet.
R: Ring.
More specifically my wedding ring. (sappy alert) It is my constant reminder of how lucky and loved I am.
S: Snuggles!
When I don’t feel good, (physically or mentally) a nice snuggle on the couch sure helps me. ok the kids too when they aren’t feeling well.
T: Tribes.
I’ve written a few posts about my different tribes (such as this one), we all have them and all need them. 
U: Underwear!
Yes more laundry but man what a blessing it is to have undies for everyone in my family, and multiple pairs! 
V: Vocal Cords.
Talking, singing, even yelling at the kids. 
W:  World wide web.
I am able to find so many answers, reach out to friends and family across the country and pretend I know the latest kid craze thanks to www!
X: (ya I’ve got nothing here)
Y: Younique.
I’ve been able to meet a lot of fabulous women and learn more about my own inner beauty by being a part of this company.
Z: Zumba!!
Great music + friends + dancing = a fat burning workout! Doesn’t get much better than that.

 

What are you thankful for? Do you have a daily gratitude journal? Share your blog post with us and link up below or put a few things you’re thankful for in the comments.

Next month join us for the last link up of the year and share a holiday recipe.

I’ll Show You My… Hometown

“Home is where your heart is.” If this is true my home is all over the country! When we first decided to write about our hometown this month I knew what I’d be writing about, the place I grew up and spent most of my childhood and teenage years, even part of my young adult life. Then I thought on this quote and all the other places I’ve lived, including where I currently live. How am I to write about my “hometown” when I have more than one? I thought maybe a quick internet search would help me decide. NOPE! Even Google says a hometown is “the town where one was born or grew up, or the town of one’s present fixed residence.”  Not helpful Google!

I narrowed it down to two (ok three) places I’d call my hometown. Let’s start at the beginning… where I began. Mission Viejo, California. I was born and raised in Southern California. Beaches, palm trees, delicious food, 6 lanes of freeway traffic, less than an hour from Disneyland. Yep this is my hometown and where some of my family still live. I love and miss them dearly. Let me show you…

Backyard in Mission Viejo
Nothing beats a gorgeous sunset over the ocean.
Going shooting with my Papa
Angels baseball games!
Watching my baby grow up here
Many hours spent at Disneyland
One of many delicious meal options.
Did I mention the beach?

Summer days and nights spent at the beach, I graduated high school and college living here. Would I ever move back? Probably not, the cost of living is ridiculously high now, ok it always has been. But part of me will always be a SoCal girl. Occasionally we visit and I am able to step foot on the glorious sandy beaches of the Pacific Ocean and grab a double-double.

Part of my youth was also spent living in Utah. The place has grown and changed much since I’ve lived there. As I’ve said before, home is where the heart is and I have much family in Utah still. While I lived in American Fork, UT, most of the Utah Valley and parts of Salt Lake Valley are my “home”.

Mountains are unbeatable
My Utah family

 

So many siblings, in laws, nieces and nephews living in Utah. Going back to visit is easy, leaving is harder every time.My current hometown is Milford, PA. I went from city life to rural life. I’ve never seen so many trees before living here. Just like each of my previous hometowns, there is beauty and excitement to be found here as well. We’ve lived in our home for 5 years now and I’m still finding the places for my heart.

PA roads and skies
Family friendly hiking trails along rivers and waterfalls
Sharing outdoor living space with deer
Milford, my hometown
Colorful sunsets over the lake
White winter views
Kids enjoying the outdoors

All in all I consider myself lucky to be able to have more than one hometown. Milford is my home and I’m learning more each day about myself, my family and this area. I look forward to finding where my next hometown will be, many years from now. Where is your hometown?

Share your hometown and link up with us here.

 

I died…

Last week my life changed forever, I died.

Ok I didn’t completely and literally die, but after this last weekend I will never be the same. It all started a little over a year ago I began my healthy life crusade. Working out was a regular part of my schedule, I even found a tribe of women working out and supporting each other. We hiked and I shared part of my journey here.  I was preparing and planning for my very first Spartan race; hiking and weight lifting to prepare myself physically, especially hiking around with Baby K on my back. I could handle a little 3-5 mile obstacle course, no big deal! Ugh if I only knew then what I know now… I could not imagine what a life changing event I was in store for.

The original plan was to go with a group from Tribe, but this summer has thrown all of our schedules off and no one else was able to attend. AJ had previously volunteered with me at a race so we both had a free race coupon to use. His original plan was for a Beast or Super Spartan. Knowing I would be alone, I registered for my very first Spartan.

I knew going into the race there would be obstacles I was not ready to overcome, the rope climb is my ultimate nemesis. Even knowing this and knowing the 30 burpee penalty per failed obstacle, I was going to finish! My goal was to come in under 5 hours.  I know, 5 hours for 4 miles? Yes, 4 miles of up a ski resort mountain and back trails, cleared specifically for the race. Oh yes and 20 obstacles and doing 30 burpees per failed obstacle, this was going to take some time.

Race Map

To my surprise (and complete gratitude after the fact) AJ registered Friday night to race with me. He wasn’t doing it for him but for me! In reality, going into it I was not certain how nice I would be able to be. This might make or break our marriage. We would come out of this more in love or I’d be so raging angry and cranky I would say not nice things to him causing a rift in our relationship. 

Pre-race face

Morning of the race we were running late but arrived with time to spare. 8:30 am we climbed over the Spartan starting wall to begin our very first Spartan Sprint. Up the mountain we started, over 5 foot hurdles, yes while still going up the slope of the mountain, further up we went still. The first mile was the longest drudge to the peak. It was not a straight up climb nor was it a well worn path. There were some more walls to climb over but these I did on my own since they were on level ground. Although I did smack my ribs pretty hard on either these walls or the hurdles when I broke the mouth piece off of the camelpak I was wearing ugh! Bruised ribs SUCK! Over another wall, under another and through a third, yep through it, there were holes.

Miles 2 and 3 blurred together for me.  Hiking up and down hilly, rock covered, sprain your ankle terrain, intermixed with obstacles designed to push you to your physical, emotional and mental limits, you bet I lost track of what mile and obstacle we were at. Obstacles such as crawling under a cargo net in swamp mud fit for any wallowing pig. Then make it thru the crawl and slush thru a few more mucks of water to a dunk wall. Down into a pit of water, scramble up, back down into another and up again until the third time you’re down in deeper water facing a wall you now have to go under, the dunk wall. After the mud it was actually refreshing.

Back up the mountain we went to the slip wall. You’d think having a knotted rope to climb up a slippery wall (remember all the mud and water we just went thru?) would make it easy. Sure I did. I got right on up there, grabbed the rope and scrambled up the wall. I was about to pull myself up to the top when someone next to me lost his footing and slipped. I lost my concentration and footing as well. Then I felt the ribs, again. I was going to fall, until someone behind me stopped me. Someone was below me helping me to stay up, AJ up top reached his hand out to help me over the top and I made it! Dang slippery wall. There were more variations of walls and other obscene obstacles. Some were a cake walk for me, others… not so much. There was a sandbag carry, just like it sounds. Grab a heavy bag filled with sand, lug it up and around the mountain a bit and drop it back off. The Hercules hoist, using a rope and pulley system hoist a heavy bag up to the top of the rigging and back down again. Don’t let the bag free fall to the ground… not cool, or part of the challenge. The plate drag. This was cleverly designed on the side of the mountain with little holes dug into the path. All in all those were the easy ones for me, and the ones I enjoyed. Oh yes and lets not forget the bucket brigade. Fill up a 10 gallon bucket to the designated fill line (probably about 2/3 for the women) with small pebbles and carry it in front of you up and down the mountain. The biggest burpee maker of them all was the spear throw. You get one chance to throw a spear at a hay bale Spartan target. The spear has to stick. ONE. CHANCE.  Yep I came close but you know the saying… horse shoes and hand granades…

I learned very early in the race, this is not a place for “every man for himself” mentality. This is a place for first timers and experienced Spartans to come together, uplifting, supporting, cheering and helping each other all along the way. I cried so many times and for different reasons, heck sitting here thinking about it I still get a little teary. There were people who had finished their own race come back over and help AJ finish my burpees for the rope climb! I was so beat down I didn’t have the capacity to do more than 5 burpees without feeling like I was going to pass out. They knocked em out like it was nothing. Strangers boosted me up and pushed me over obstacles. Some held out a hand to help me up. Others gave me a conversational distraction from my fear of heights atop the A-frame cargo net. Another kind soul named Katie stopped and helped encourage me thru the barbed wire. Most people were rolling thru, we were crawling; that rolling crap for that long makes me dizzy.

My EVERYTHING was challenged and I came out on top! I still can’t believe it myself. I have officially conquered the mountain and finished a Spartan Sprint!

Let’s recap the obstacles:

starting wall: CLEARED with assistance
hurdles: CLEARED with assistance
walls: CLEARED
OUT: CLEARED
Mud Crawl: CLEARED
Rolling mud/Dunk wall: CLEARED
Slippery Wall: CLEARED with help
Barbed wire: CLEARED
Spear Throw: failed
Rope Climb: failed
Sand Bag: CLEARED
Plate Drag: CLEARED
Herc Hoist: CLEARED
Olympus: CLEARED with help
7 foot wall: failed
Inverted Wall: CLEARED with help
A-frame: CLEARED
Twister: failed
Bucket Brigade: CLEARED
Multi Rig: failed


Fire Jump: CLEARED

I died. I have been reborn over the fire and now…
I AM A SPARTAN! AROO!!

I’m not quite ready for a beast or super but there are other venues this summer for Spartan Sprints…. maybe! I said never again when I finished this one and I’m already looking at the schedule for this year! Oh man I’m in trouble!

Part of me will never be the same and I am glad for that. If it doesn’t challenge you it won’t change you right? I have been changed. The Spartan community is a unique creature in itself as well. I ended up finding out the names of most the Spartans who helped me on the mountain. Part of me will never forget them. They and that mountain were part of an experience I do not wish to soon forget. 

What is something you’ve done and conquered? Did it scare you? Would you do a Spartan?

Check 3 and 4 off of my 40 by 40 list!

Revisit 40

I had a reality check moment the other day. I was filling out a survey and I had to select which age group I belong in. My age wasn’t in my normal bracket, I had to check the next box! Oh man, only 5 more years until I’m officially in my 40s!!

Which reminds me, how is my progress on my 40 by 40 goals? What?! I have not been putting a great effort into my completing my list. Sure, one here and there have been accomplished. The point of creating the list was to have life experiences. Let’s take a look at the goals and my progress. If you see something on my list you can help me with, please let me know!

1. Get to a healthy body/lifestyle. I am still a work in progress. I have reached my pre-pregnancy weight from Baby K. 

2. Complete our family. Still no news on this front. 

3. Run and complete 5k. Done in combination with #4.

4. Complete a MudRun/FunRun/WarriorDash race. DONE. I “ran” an Insane Inflatable 5k a few months ago. 

5. Go on a cruise.

6. Visit at least 1/3 of the LDS temples, in America. 

7. Be free of unsecured debt and have rainy day fund built up comfortably. 

8. Travel to Jerusalem.

9. Read all Jane Austin’s novels. 

10. Go sky diving, at least once.

11. Go to a major league sports game with AJ.

12. Go to a movie alone.

13. Go camping with just the husband. 

14. Visit the beach/ocean/shore on the East Coast. We visited the Chesapeake Bay last month, walking on the beaches there, water from the Atlantic…

15. Attend a show on Broadway. Does Rockettes count?

16. Go to a concert in a park.

17. Write a letter to myself to read in 10 years.

18. Go scuba diving.

19. Learn a foreign language, fluently. 

20. ID and permanently remove a bad habit. Bad habit TBD.

21. Visit and help out at a food kitchen. 

22. Go to a mystery dinner. 

23. Learn to crochet. 

24. Organize all my old pictures and put them with my new ones into albums/scrapbooks.

25. Take a dance class. 

26. Actually make at least half the crafts on my Pinterest craft board.

27. Send notes/cards for every birthday, anniversary and event during one year for all my close friends and family.

28. Randomly send 12 “just because” gifts to unsuspecting friends/family members.

29. Donate my hair. DONE

30. Learn how to play the guitar. 

31. Learn and be fluent in ASL. In progress

32. Take a weekend trip to Vermont during the fall.

33. Go rafting and/or canoeing down the Delaware River.

34. Hike part of the Appalachian trail. 

35. Be more self-reliant on fixing my car. 

36. Really learn how to sew on my sewing machine.

37. Visit one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

38. Learn to surf, and do it.

39. Start a garden to grow own produce, and keep it up.

40. Take time out of my day, at least once a month to catch up with an old friend, via phone, visit or letter.

A Day in my Shoes

Let me start off by saying most days, unless I’m going to the gym, I don’t get my shoes on!

Being a stay at home mom is overly glamorized most of the time. It isn’t all bonbons and soap operas all day long. 

My weekday starts just before 7am as Dawn is heading out the door to the bus stop. Thank goodness she can walk and the winter weather has been holding off. Although truth be told I think she hops a ride with the neighbors. Oh well. 

I get out of bed and most mornings before I can walk out of the bathroom baby K has woken up and is fussy. Diaper change and breakfast. Then just over an hour to get Little Red out of bed, ready and off to the bus. 

While Little Red is getting ready and eating breakfast I try to tackle the messes which seem to accumulate all on their own over night. 

Someone has usually, trying to be helpful, given baby K a dry bowl of their cereal. Maybe it was from yesterday? I find it somewhere during the morning. 

Within an hour of being awake my hot water for honey has been reheated a few times. I find a few minutes to have my morning hot honey water. 

Most mornings it waits until after a workout at the gym. Ya know when Baby K is ready for a nap and won’t be put down… 

Honey water and to do lists. Sometimes I have to do lists for my to do lists haha oh boy! 

I have high hopes for my day and even get the dishes done before starting on some laundry. 

The clean clothes make it to the bed before meltdowns begin. 

Lots of snuggle time and some nursing until I can gently and quietly move away from him in whatever sleeping position he finds himself. 

If I’m quick enough I can take a shower and change into normal clothes. Sometimes it is a choice between a shower or getting dinner started before kids start coming home. 

Pack up the sleeping babe and off to the bus stop to pick up Thing 1 and Thing 2. 

Ah the glamourous life of a stay at home mom. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. 

I’ll Show You My Blessings.

This month in honor of Thanksgiving we are taking our blog collab and making it grateful. This month I’ll Show You My… Blessings, 30 things I am thankful for. Normally the month of November social media is plastered with daily posts of gratitude. We decided to post in our blogs for you to read in one place. Katie, Tracy, and I are joined this month by Dara and new blogger Danielle.wp-1469151611004.png

1. Freedoms.
Recently the kids and I took a day trip to D.C.  Dawn studied early American history last year and is taking American government this year. Of course a visit to the National Archives was s must. The decades and centuries of fighting, debating, and molding our country are awe inspiring. I am beyond grateful for the men and women who sacrificed, fought and worked so dilligently for the many freedoms we are able to enjoy. Some, possibly most, I take for granted on a daily basis. God bless America! 

2. Extended family
HUGE blessing! From cousins to aunts and uncles to grandparents and in-laws, our lives are full of love and blessings from our extended family. We don’t live close to any of them but if we needed them they’d be here.

3. Stay at home mom
Growing up I knew I always wanted to to be a stay-at-home mom, eventually. I had a lot of wild ideas. Never did I imagine I would actually be able to be a stay at home mom. Some days I love my children more than I could imagine and other days I lose my sanity. All in all I get to be home with my kids as they grow.

4. AJ’s job
This is a double blessing for me. I have the ability to be a stay at home mom because AJ has a job. He works so hard to make sure our family has everything we need and sometimes things we want. We have been thru tight times financially but we’ve never been on hard times so much we couldn’t see a way out. His always having a job has been a huge blessing for our family.

5. Baking skills
Some people can cook a mean steak or prime rib or a great chicken pot pie. I am not one of them, I feed my family and they definitely don’t starve but my skills are in the baking. It may have some connection to my love of sugar and desserts. Fall is the big kick off of my baking season and I’m super excited!

6. Friends
After living out here for 7 years, being an adult for over 15 years I can say I have this “friend” thing down. What I mean is, I have friends, great friends, even some amazing friends; but I have learned I do not need a TON of friends. I have no desire to be the cool kid sitting at the popular table. I am who I am and so are my friends. I know when the crap hits the fan they will be there for me.

7. Religion
We posted on our religion last month so you can read more here. Having religion in my life has been a blessing in my hard and good times. No matter where I live the gospel and Church have always been there providing me a stable foundation.

8. Adoption
Adoption processes have been a part of my life, woven in and out like a tapestry. I have friends who were adopted, and other friends who have adopted. I can’t imagine my life without any of these people and I know I wouldn’t have them if it weren’t for the ideas, processes, and ability of adoption.

9. My health
In all I do to my body and in my life I have been blessed with a healthy body. My blood pressure, despite my self induced stress, has been in normal limits. I have been working on getting my resting heart rate down with working out. I haven’t had any medical problems or difficulties so despite my own self-induced physical body abuse I have quite the healthy body. I have been blessed with great genetics.

10. Healthy kids
My kids have never had major illnesses, (knock on wood for eternity) and other than one broken leg over the last 16 years no broken bones or visits to the ER. No stitches either! We have truly been blessed in this department.

11. Beautiful seasons
Other than a few years in Utah, my seasonal changes have been nil. 90 degrees year round with a slight chance of rain were my seasons. Now I can sit in any room of my house and watch buds sprouting on trees, blossom into full green leaves, blow in the summer breeze, change colors and fall to the ground, then the tree gets covered in a beautiful white blanket. Such a beautiful blessing of colors and changes to watch each year.
one-street-four-seasons-newark-nj-afatihozay-instagram
*I found this image here

12. Owning my home
Ok technically, it is AJ’s house, but it is our home. We spent over a year looking for a house in NJ but could not find an affordable house with affordable taxes. After what seemed a small eternity, we finally landed in PA and have a lovely home. So many people are unable to find a place to call home and we have been blessed.

13. Being able to breastfeed
With the first two kids I was able to breastfeed short term. Afterwards they were on formula and on to organic whole milk. We have been so blessed to not have the added expenses of formula or special milk for baby boy K. He is still nursing, bonus! No formula this time around. Added blessing: special bonding moments with baby K.

14. Running water
Have you been anywhere without running water? I have… well water requires electricity and when we lose power we have no running water. One of the many modern day conveniences in America is running water… nope I don’t think I’d survive the zombie apocalypse.

15.Walks in nature
Living in north eastern PA has become a blessing in disguise for rediscovering nature. There are many walking and hiking trails in the local forest. Some trails lead to beautiful waterfalls, others to panoramic scenic views of the local area. Each one

16. Comfort food
My tastes have grown from instant pudding and mac’n cheese as a kid to dark chocolate and shrimp alfredo. ahh the good things in life.

17. My grandparents
These two amazing people have always been there for me. I can not imagine life without them. I really don’t want to. They will live forever right? Lie to me!

18. My husband
This man of mine… such a blessing. He is an answer to so many prayers, even the unasked prayers. Great to the kids, helps out around the house, and… he even loves me in all of my crazy quirkiness.
img_0915

19. My mom
Cheesy? maybe… but my mom has shown me I can overcome any challenge, to never accept failure as the end and to keep searching for my happiness. She is one of my best friends and I am so blessed to have an amazing relationship with her.

20. Relationship with siblings
Four girls and one boy… this is my core sibling list. My sisters and brother. Of course they’ve added on with spouses but my core siblings, the inner-inner circle if I may, are a crazy bunch, yes, and my crazy bunch. They call and text, check in, and fight as siblings do. They are MINE!

21. My Tribe
My tribe! Oh man I’ve been on a physical journey this last…. mmm not quite a year yet. They have been there to laugh, cry, fall, and push me when I need (and sometimes don’t want) it. I have held memberships to gyms before but have never felt like I was a part of a gym. I belong here. Best workout sessions ever! I mean have you ever laughed while doing an ab workout? I do!

22. Military Moments
This sounds a bit vague but it’s a broad topic covering many facets of the military life. Recently I attended a dedication ceremony on a gazebo for families of local fallen military. It was touching to see families and soldiers being honered and remembered years after their passing. The military community is another piece of the puzzle making me. I have been blessed to meet and volunteer with incredible men and women in the military community.
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*photo courtesy of Linda Kerr/Tobyhanna ACS

23. Technology
How did we survive without cell phones, instant internet access and google? Seriously? Does anyone remember. I do, but it’s all a blur like a different lifetime ago. No technology is definitely a 1st world problem. I take it for granted but know what a blessing it is being able to utilize technology every day to reach family and friends across the globe.

24. My education
Walkingor driving to school was no big deal. High school was… well I’m not telling how long ago. After high school I went to community college for the majority of my general education classes then continued onto a university for my undergraduate degree in business management, yep I have a BS in BM haha. Not everyone has these opportunities and I recognize the blessing school has been for me.

25. Music
In high school I actually wanted a doctorate in music and my big plan was to teach… ya I know big dreams. Music has always been a part of me and my life. I sing, dance, play instruments, everthing. When I’m home alone during the day music is playing. I’m not a technical music gal but I dabble a bit. Music brings joy in ways I can not describe. Aside from signing and dancing, music is a talent of mine. I have played an instrument since I was in 4th grade. I picked up a flute and haven’t quit since.

26. Talents
I believe recognizing and knowing our talents is important so we can expand on them. I’ve talked about music and baking. I am a Jane of all trades, master of none, as the saying goes. I dabble in much. Sewing, writing, sketching to name a few. The blessing of talents is the ability and opportunity to bless other lives with those talents.

27. Two car family
This may seem silly but if we only had one car (which many people don’t even have one car) I would never leave the house during the week. No tribe, no errands, no shopping. What would I do?! We do not have public transportation here. Life. Would. Be. Terrible.

28. My exes
Yes, my exes are blessings. The broken hearts, bad boys, terrible mistakes, ones that didn’t last… all of them helped mold and shape me into the woman I am today. They also helped prepare me and my life for the wonderful man I have today.

29. Creature comforts
This includes more of those little blessings I take for granted most days. Heat, a warm bed, comfy blankets, a fireplace, fans during the hot months, thick wool socks. The little things in life really make it great don’t they?

30. All of you
I am blessed to have followers and readers such as you.  Each of you brings new light and perspective to my blog and online life.

What are some things you find yourself thankful for this month? Posting your blessings and gratitude on your blog this month? Post your link in the comments.

I’ll Show You My…

Welcome to the October edition of our Mommy Blog Collab. This month Katie, and I are joined by Tracy and Dara. Pop on over to their blogs and get to know them as well. I hope you all are enjoying getting to know us better as each month we delve into a new topic opening our lives up a little more. This month we are on a different topic. I’ll Show You My Religion.

We have had a few diverse posts showing you in our collab how different we are. A few months ago we posted about our tattoos. Katie and Tracy showed us their tattoos with enthusiasm and excitement, even talking about more they hope to get in the future. Then there was my post…. I don’t have tattoos, members of my family do, I don’t.  We remain friends and I like to think our differences make us better friends as we can explore more aspects of life by talking openly and casually with each other. We aren’t always sprinkles, lollipops and rainbows but we are real. We listen.

What is a religion? Many words are synonymous with religion such as faith, belief, worship and church. Religion is the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods, according to the Oxford online dictionary.  Sounds simple enough… let’s dig a bit deeper into that definition on a personal level.

I am a Mormon.

Mormon is the nickname given for a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. LDS, LDS Church, Mormon Church; these are all synonymous with the Church. Where did the Mormon nickname come from? I’m glad you asked! The long in the short of it, we believe the Holy Bible to be the word of God, in the proper and correct translation given from God. There has also been a second record located and translated in these latter-days. The records follow families from Jerusalem as they escaped under the direction of God in the early years of the reign of King Zedekiah. The bible traces the history of the Jews, while these new records follow the families who left Jerusalem and eventually came to the Americas. Much as the bible follows and recounts the history of many people over a long period of time, this other record does the same. Think of it as prophets keeping a journal of the church and people. These records were compiled by the last righteous man of the people, a man named Mormon. He abridged the records together creating one book. This book is called The Book of Mormon. As this book is unique to our religion we are given the nickname Mormon. This is the average, as opposed to the short,  in the long of it so to speak. You may obtain your own free copy of this book here.

Who are Mormons? What do we believe? Basic and simplistically put members of the Church are Christians. There is a lot of information available if you want the facts and statistics. Here and here are a few. We do not practice polygamy. Most likely the information you have from watching TV shows, movies or plays is an inaccurate depiction of modern day Mormons. The exception to this is Meet The Mormons, real people, real life, not a reality show.

Where do I fit into all of this?

Well I was born into the Church, meaning my family were active members of the Church, attending and practicing their faith. As a baby I received a baby blessing in front of the congregation during Sunday worship, Sacrament meeting. Eight years later on a Saturday in December I was baptized a member of the Church, of my own free will.

This is similar to a confirmation in the Catholic Church as we are now accountable for our own actions and decisions, as far as our knowledge has allowed. I have been thru a rebellious stage in my life where I did not live up to my own moral standards and beliefs. By the time I met AJ I was a practicing, full-time, active member of the Church again. We married in a civil union then a year after he joined the Church, and was baptized, we were able to enter the Salt Lake Temple and be sealed together for time and all eternity as husband and wife as well as to our children. 

Our lives are normal, we are regular people living in a normal house in the middle of nowhere PA (also known as the Poconos). Each Sunday we attend services as a family. Sacrament meeting is comparable to mass, or communion. We partake of the Sacrament, think last supper, and are taught Gospel Doctrine by other members of the congregation. Sunday School is less formal. The adults have separate classes from the kids for the remainder of services. The third hour adults attend a second class but are taught in groups of men and women. The women attend Relief Society and the men are in a Priesthood class. The children are in Primary for Sunday school and auxiliary classes. Teenagers have a Sunday school class followed by Young Women and Young Men/Priesthood classes. There are also other activities during the week and get togethers throughout the year. All classes, meetings and organization are lead by members of the Church in a volunteer capacity. Our Scout groups, the youth leaders, even our ward leaders are volunteers. These volunteers are asked to serve in these capacities as a calling from God.

Every Sunday we have service. Every six months there is also a Church wide broadcast to the world. This broadcast is from the Church leaders in SLC,UT providing guidance, admonition and direction for members and the world. While there are guidelines and direction given all religion is individual.

Like other aspects of life, there are ups and downs, high points and challenging moments.  I do not know everything but I will continue to strive to learn and improve myself. I am a work in progress. I do know and believe my religion is a part of who I am. While I do sustain and follow the guidance of our Church leaders, I seek God as an individual. My relationship with Him and His son, Jesus Christ are very personal. I believe He speaks directly to me giving guidance and council as I ask and listen. The Holy Spirit guides and prompts when I am worthy.

One of my favorite quotes is framed with a picture of Jesus, “I never said it would be easy, I only said it would be worth it.”

I welcome any and all questions and comments about my post and religion. Please do so  respectfully.

If you wish to join us in this month’s blog collab post, tag back to this post or comment below. Interested in future topics of I’ll Show You My? Reach out to myself or Katie.

Shopping and Snacks

I’ll admit it I am a total snacker! Around the house I’m more likely to get something to eat in small snack size portions. 

Grocery shopping can be a trek, sometimes half a day event. After a few years I have narrowed down my snack preferences. Salty or sweet cravings have their own snacking options! Usually it’s Pepperidge Farms Milano cookies, original, mint, or raspberry. Savory/salty snacks fall in the chip category and rotate between Snyders pretzel bits and Cheetos crunchy jalapeño flavor. These snacks only came about because I like trying new products, snack time from the store is the best time to try it out!

This week we stopped at the commissary and I saw a new product to try for snack time! 


Who doesn’t love bacon?! Add maple flavor to bacon and you have sweet and savory in one snack! We opened up the bag on the way home and dove in to the anticipated sweet maple flavor mixed with the deliciousness of bacon!

It was not at all what I was anticipating. The bacon essence was fairly decent. The maple flavor was not what I expected at all. 

Never did it cross my mind that maple bacon is already an actual thing! There’s hickory smoked bacon, natural bacon and maple bacon. This is what the makers of maple bacon popcorn were going for, and they nailed it. This is maple flavored bacon flavored popcorn. 

It makes sense but wasn’t at all what I was expecting. The sweet aspect of the maple was not as present in the popcorn as I hoped. 

The popcorn was a good snack but won’t be making my permanent snack rotation. What are some of your favorite snacks?

A Day in the Life…

There are plenty of blogs, posts, and editorials about being a stay-at-home parent or a working parent.

Then there’s the parent shaming and judging. Of course no one would ever intentiinally endanger their child by letting them loose into a gorilla cage, wading with alligators, or leaving them in a hot locked car. Does anyone remember the mother who claimed a dingo stole her baby?

Yes there are mentally unbalanced people, no one is perfect but I’m not about to cast the first stone!

Recently I’ve thought about the parable, (or is it a fable?) of the man, his son, and the donkey. Long in the short of it A man and his son are traveling with their donkey and as they Journey the hear other people’s opinions on how they are traveling. By the end of the story they have travelled in various positions the boy riding on the donkey the man riding on the donkey both of them riding on the donkey and none of them riding on the donkey all to appease the people as they passed by.

Why are we so concerned with the opinions of others on how we are living our lives? Most of these people, as with the man and the boy in the parable, are only passing through our lives and yet we allow them to have so much sway over our choices.

As I’ve said before, I consider myself a granola mom, not completely crunchy. We cloth diaper, yes it takes a bit more effort than disposable diapers but I can’t even begin to tell you how much money I’ve saved in 14 months! When we first decided to cloth diaper I had some nay sayers. I’m delighted we didn’t listen.

What am I getting at? What works for one person may not work for another. Baby wearing vs strollers. Nursing vs formula. Co-sleeping  vs bed training. Hand holding vs child pack leash. This list goes on, but I think you are starting to understand.

My way of parenting isn’t THE end all be all best way to raise kids. I don’t believe there is only one right or best way to raise kids. Heck my own kids get raised differently. Baby K is the only one we’ve cloth diapered.

Yes we all want out kids to be safe, healthy and well adjusted. However, no one is perfect or has all the answers. Each and every one of us as parents is still learning how to be out best version of a parent.

So to that I ask: Can we just all be parents again?  Let’s quit judging the mom yelling at her kids at the store. Stop shaming the mom in the corner of the restaurant trying to nurse her fussy child. Instead of pointing at the dad trying to figure out which formula he needs while a toddler is pulling items off the shelf, HELP! 

Offer the mom a knowing glance. Give dad a hand. Help each other up instead of putting each other down.

In the meantime I’m going to continue cleaning up my family’s messes, and teaching my kids how to help.

Begin 2016!

Happy New Year!

A new year is upon us, 2016. This last year went by too quickly, as proof, #3 decided to turn 9 month old this last weekend! Oy vey where does the time go? His check up was great. I love our pediatrician, Dr. Sarah Little. Frog snorts (AJ’s nickname for #3) was born at a healthy weight and still is healthy, only on the lower end of the scale. Dr. Little assures us he is on his own curve and steadily growing. As his food provider I can guarantee you this kid eats! Nine months old, 16lbs 14oz and he is 28 inches long! When she checked his hips “Wow do you see that!?” She was referring to how stiff and strong his hips and muscles have become. This happens when a baby is ready to walk. Did I mention NINE MONTHS! He is grabbing and walking along furniture all day long, so when he does take that first step it will not be a surprise.   For comparison (I know not all kids are the same) #1 (now 15) started walking around 15 months, with #2 taking her first steps around 18 months. Now of course I can’t keep either of them down and #3 is soon to follow!

My goal (resolution, improvement, or whatever other word you wish to use) for this year is to have a cleaner home. No I do not expect to have a magazine picture home I have little ones! I do expect everything to have a place and a place for everything. Being a slight pack rat does damage to my closet and storage space. As such I am decluttering, cleaning up, and cleaning out.  Many of you may have heard of the Konmari method. I have not read the book but have gleaned some information on other blogs and from friends who have read the book. One of the biggest pieces of advice I find myself using is tackling it all at once. Usually when I clean I will move from room to room cleaning as I walk around. This is great but I never end up with a completely clean house. I will write a more detailed post later but after spending only one day purging my room I feel I have cleared so much from my home and mind. As a bonus, I donate items where they can and will be used by those who are in need. Win-win in my book!

What are some of your resolutions to improve yourself this year? Do you have one big goal for the year or several small short term goals? Tell me about them, I’d love to hear what 2016 has in store for you!