Sunday, January 29, 2012

the post that was more than a week in the making.

you know when something big happens in your life, and it has really affected you?  you know how you have to sit on it, think about it, let it percolate a bit, just so you can get everything out of it that you possibly can?  well, I have had one of those experiences.

one of the leaders from my youth passed away a couple of weeks ago.

she was a miracle.

she had been diagnosed with a rare form of sarcoma eight years ago.  the doctors didn’t give her much time.  but she fought.  it was a most excellent fight.

numbers upon number of surgeries, countless hours spent either enduring chemo or radiation, and the even more countless hours of pain and sickness, and she was not one to complain.

everytime there was a new development in her health, she would post something she was thankful for on facebook.  her positivity was amazing.

right after the new year, she was rushed to the hospital, and was told then that she didn’t have much time left.  but I believe that she was ready.

she is such an example to me.  as I reflect back on the parts of her life that have directly affected me, I am thankful for what she taught me.

theresa was called to be young women’s president when I was 16 (funny fact, she was the age that I am now when she was called..).  I was the bishop’s daughter, their family had just moved into the ward from out of state, and I didn’t know her well.  add to these factors that the previous presidency had been in for nearly the previous 4 years, and i had grown to love them dearly .  it was a hard change.

now I am not using that as an excuse for my behavior (more to come on that), it’s just that being a teenager is hard enough, add to that changes (which I am not good at dealing with), and you can get a not too chipper kid.

that being said, I was a brat.

I never said anything purposely hurtful to her, I was not mean-spirited, I was just unhappy, not excited about this change, not excited about someone I basically knew nothing about.  I didn’t treat her with the respect she deserved.

but she didn’t treat me any differently.

she still cared about me, was so incredibly friendly to me, treated me with much more respect than I was sure I deserved.  things improved little by little over time, teaching me these little lessons all the while, little lessons that I didn’t realize were just that until I was more mature.  but the biggest lesson she taught me, personally, came that summer.

I used to be the most homesick kid you ever met.  I couldn’t even go two doors down for a sleep-over with my best friend without getting homesick.  there were times I was able to tough it out and stay the night, then there were those other times I would call my parents and they would come walk me home at 10:30 at night.  it didn’t get any better as I got older.  (I blame my family for making me love them so much, blame my mom for making home such a wonderful place to be.) 

this particular summer, I was called to be a youth leader for an all girls church camp (remember “laurel legacy” anyone?).  it meant a week away from my family, my home, my room, and my friends, to stay in a tent with five other girls, none of whom I knew outside of this experience.  there would be girls coming from my ward and stake later in the week, but I wouldn’t be staying with them.  I would get to see them, but when it came to the bulk of my time, I was with these other girls who attended different stakes, different schools.  I grew incredibly homesick.

I spent most of my time those first three days praying, crying, reading my scriptures, and praying more.  out of desperation, I wrote my mom a letter.  it was quite miserable.  looking back on it, it was a pretty silly idea, because, how was I going to get it to my mom?  it wasn’t like there was mail service there.  while I would like to say that it helped, it really didn’t.

the day came when all the girls from the wards and stakes arrived, and with it, their leaders.  MY leaders.

I saw theresa’s face.  I ran to her, and she opened her arms and hugged me while I cried on her shoulder.  she didn’t let go, she didn’t push me away, she just held onto me.  I think she even cried a little herself.  she reassured me that I would be fine.  I remember her telling me that things would get so busy after that that I wouldn’t even have time to be homesick.  she even waited while I ran back to my tent to get that letter for my mom.  she would deliver it.

as I look back, realizing what a brat I was,  I think of how undeserving I was of her grace.  would I have treated someone who wasn’t so kind to me that way? 

I have thought of that often.  while my inner thoughts might not match up to my outward actions, I am hoping that they will match up, that I can have truly loving, kind, and charitable thoughts about everyone, regardless of how they have treated me in the past.

I am so grateful that she treated me better than I deserved.

I am thankful to know that where she is, there is no more pain and illness for her.  I am thankful for the knowledge I have that she will be whole, with her family for eternity.  I am so thankful for her Christlike example, that will undoubtedly stay with me for the rest of my life.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

fluffy waffles


when I made these for dinner the other night (yes, breakfast is one of our favorite things to have for dinner), I asked the girls to tell me if these were “so fluffy they were going to die!!”

(more “despicable me”, I can’t help myself.)

they were indeed pretty fluffy.  I was told many times over the line that I wanted to hear.


1 3/4 cups flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 egg yolks

1 3/4 cups milk

1/2 cup cooking oil

2 egg whites

in one bowl, mix together the flour, salt, and baking powder.  make a well in the center and set aside.

in another bowl, beat egg yolks slightly.  stir in milk and oil.  add wet mixture to the dry mixture all at once.  stir until just moistened.

in a small mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight up).  gently fold the egg whites into the batter.  make sure to leave some lumps of the beaten egg white.  do not overmix!!

bake in your waffle iron per manufacture’s instructions.

we like to set out just about everything to put on top of our waffles.  syrup, butter, jam, powdered sugar…

they are pretty fluffy!

payday bars

payday bars
of all places, a funeral luncheon was where I discovered these.  I am thinking of presenting another “rule” to add to the church handbook, that when someone brings something to a funeral luncheon, or another church gathering, they need to bring copies of the recipe as well.
so when I came home, I hunted them down.
I have made them twice already, so I am more than qualified to tell you some of the tweaks and tips to make you love these as well.
here’s where I found the recipe.
1 yellow cake mix
1/3 c. butter
1 egg
3 c. miniature marshmallows
2/3 c. white corn syrup
1 package (12 oz.) peanut butter chips
1/4 c. butter
2 tsp. vanilla
2 c. salted peanuts
2 c. Rice Krispies (I left these out.)
Mix cake mix, egg, and 1/3 cup of butter (room temperature). Press into a greased 9x13 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 18 minutes (watch it closely after the 12 minute mark), or until golden brown around the edges. Spread marshmallows over the top and return to oven for three to five minutes until melted. Cool completely. (I popped them into the freezer while I made the topping.)
In heavy saucepan, mix peanut butter chips, syrup, butter and vanilla; heat and stir until smooth. Add peanuts and Rice Krispies (or leave them out). Spread over marshmallows. Cool and cut.
I learned to freeze these for just a few minutes, long enough to get that marshmallow layer solid.  when you pour on your hot mixture over the top, if those marshmallows aren’t settled enough, they will melt when they come in contact with the topping and then you will only have marshmallow on the outer edges.  but merrill likes it that way because he “doesn’t like marshmallows”?  issues with that boy…
after I top them, I pop them into the fridge to let the topping firm up, and then cut them and let them come to room temperature before eating them.  cutting them while they are cold, helps the knife go through easier and your lines are pretty.  (cut the ones in the picture too soon, I was obviously too excited.)
I also tried adding another egg to the cake part to see if we liked it more cakey, but we all seemed to prefer it less cakey.
it is definitely a keeper of a recipe!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

texas roadhouse rolls (copycat)

thanks to a friend, I pinned this recipe a while back, very excited to try it out.  but it just wouldn’t be right to have them unless they were paired with pulled pork, and well, we have really cut back on the meat intake in this house, so it was going to be a while.

and then I finally got to it!

so I don’t have a picture of my own to pair with this recipe, because the first time I made them they kinda got eaten fast.

the second time I made them (I made them again when we had leftovers because that recipe for pulled pork makes a lot!!!), I let them raise while I was out shoveling, and that took longer than I thought, so they rose, and then they fell, and they were delicious, but not cute.

so, no pics.

but here is the pin.

here is the link.

and here is her pic:


Texas Roadhouse Rolls - Copycat Recipe

adapted from: Good Stuff Maynard

(Printable Recipe)

4 teaspoons active dry yeast

1/2 cup warm water

2 cup milk, scalded and cooled to lukewarm

3 tablespoons of melted butter, slightly cooled

1/2 cup sugar 

2 quarts all purpose flour (7-8 cups)

2 whole eggs

2 teaspoons salt

Dissolve yeast in warm water with a teaspoon of sugar.  Add yeast, milk, sugar and enough flour to make a medium batter.  Beat thoroughly.  Let stand until light and foamy.  Add melted butter, eggs and salt.  Beat well.  

Add enough flour to form a soft dough.  Sprinkle a small amount of flour onto counter and let dough rest.  Meanwhile, grease a large bowl.  Knead dough until smooth and satiny and put in greased bowl; turn over to grease top. (I used the dough hook on my Kitchen-Aid to knead this for about 4-5 minutes).  Cover and let rise in a warm place until double in bulk.  Punch down.  Turn out onto a floured board.  Divide into portions for shaping; let rest 10 minutes.  Shape dough into desired forms.  Place on greased baking sheets.  Let rise until doubled.  

Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.  Baste immediately with butter.  Yield: 5 to 6 dozen.  Serve with Cinnamon Honey Butter.  

*Jenn's Notes: I shaped my rolls by rolling out the dough into a rectangle, about 1/2-inch thick, then I folded the rectangle in half, making it about 1-inch thick. I used  my rolling pin and rolled over the dough, ever so gently, just to seal the two halves together.  I then used a dough scraper and cut the rolls into squares and placed those on my greased baking sheet.  I cut the recipe in half and I got exactly 12 big rolls and baked them for 16-17 minutes.  In order to get the 5-6 dozen rolls like the recipe states, you would have to make really small rolls.   

*Mindy’s notes:  I found the first time that I made them, I used too much flour.  I prefer a softer roll, so the second time I used about 6 1/2 cups of flour instead of the 7 1/2 I used the first time.  it was a stickier dough, but the rolls were softer.

Monday, January 23, 2012

kickin’ it.


(as per usual, click on image for full list of credits.)

this kit is absolutely charming I tell you!  we have a budding little soccer player on our hands, and lots (tons!!) of pictures of her playing, or laughing on the field while others are playing, and lots of pictures of her running hard.  this kit is without a doubt what I needed to motivate me to scrap these cute pics.

it is on sale today. :)

as for the rest of what goes on around here, lots of knitting and crocheting, peyton thinking she can crochet (putting a couple of hooks in a polly pocket dress and moving them around), and it’s quite cute.

and finally, snow!!  (like snow that should hopefully stay, not get rained away, or melt.)

and with that snow: cocoa.

and more baking on top of it all.  seriously.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

church isn't just on sunday at our house.

while peyton might prefer to not stay in her primary class on sunday, it doesn't mean that she doesn't love church.

i have heard her many times, while playing house, bless the food with her babies or say a bedtime prayer.  she has played church with them as well.

after a mistake was made one sunday on the sacrament prayer, she asked me why they had to say two prayers on the water.  i explained that the sacrament is an ordinance and that there can be no mistakes in the prayer.  she seemed to accept that.  at dinner that night, she volunteered to say the blessing on the food.  well, she made a mistake, and then started her prayer all over again!

"i made a mistake!  i had to start all over."

then there was today.

we were getting ready to go over to the school to be the mystery reader for lynn's class, and needed to get shoes on peyton, so we went into her closet.  there were her little people, all lined up in rows, one up front, sitting on a trike, just a little higher than the rest.

"i made a church for my little people mommy!"

yes, she did.

oh how i wish i had gotten a picture of that..

Thursday, January 12, 2012

this whole post might be because my kids watch “despicable me” too much.

this is peyton:


she is almost 4, loves her purse (doesn’t like hannah montana though), eats just about everything (but oranges have been a favorite lately), and is my favorite sidekick.

part of her duties as sidekick include making me laugh.

(like just now, she informed me that her panties are hanging out of her skirt.)

this child, as well as my other two, love the movie “despicable me”.  I can’t blame them.  I find it pretty darn funny myself.  I am not sure if I love it enough to want to watch it everyday though.

there is just one certain part of this movie that has seemed to have stuck in the brain of my little nearly four year old.

imagine, the minion.


go, see for yourself. 

now pair it with this sweet face:


and here’s a story to put the two together for your enjoyment:

sunday has changed in our home.  we have moved from the 1-4pm church to the 9am-12pm block.  it’s still taking a little getting used to, but for the most part, we are loving it.  sundays have also changed in the fact that peyton is no longer in nursery.  she is a sunbeam!  (she is also the only one of my girls who would not allow me to take a picture of her after her first sunday as a sunbeam with her new ctr ring.  stinker.)  her first sunday in class, no big deal.  she rather enjoyed it.  I was rather relieved.

the second sunday, I was gearing her all up for another fun sunday as a sunbeam (!!!).  we got there, and despite another kid, crying incessantly, she went to class without hesitation.

now, merrill and I teach the oldest two classes in primary.  during peyton’s class time, we are in music and sharing time, during our class time, she is in music and sharing time.  so just as we make the transition to go to class, right when we are going to have the opening prayer, there is a knock at the door.  it was the primary secretary and peyton’s teacher.

and there was peyton.  big tears on her cheeks.  her teacher explained that she thought peyton wasn’t feeling well, she stood the whole class time and didn’t want to sit down.  she didn’t cry for a while, but at the end of class, she started to cry and said she wanted me.

so I took her into class with us, but when she started to get too comfortable in there (read: she was being a distraction) I had merrill take her out to see if she wanted to go into singing time.

(come to find out she didn’t like that either.)

well, after sacrament meeting, when we were going home, I decided to ask peyton what happened in class to make her so sad.

“well..  I was just trying to play with all of my friends, but they didn’t want to play, so I was like ‘whaaat?’ and then I was sad.  and I didn’t want to sit down, and so I started to cry.  and my teacher was like ‘whaaat?’ and she asked me why I was sad and I just couldn’t talk.  so I said I wanted my mom.  and well, then she took me to you.”

that girl…

other funny things she has said lately:

sunday night when she wouldn’t go to bed she told merrill:

“when I am grown up, I am going to stay up all night, and I am going to be tan.”

she also told him that she was going to change her name, but he couldn’t remember what name she said.

she also likes to bust in on conversations by saying, “what?  are you guys eating chicken nuggets over there?”

I love that I get to spend all day with her, and merrill, that does not give you permission to say anything about when she starts school, in the very, far, distant future, and leaves me all by  my lonesome.  her position of sidekick might just have to be filled if you say anything that makes me cry.


and well, I kinda sorta got my picture of my new little sunbeam in a round-about kind of way after all.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

snow at last!

I love where I live, I love everything about it.

january 2012

I cannot pick a favorite season, because I love things about each and every one.

but, really, to be completely honest, winter is my favorite.

I am not sure if it is because I have such fond memories of my childhood that are associated with winter, if it is because Christmas is in the winter season, or if it is just because the usually white  landscape is just so quiet and peaceful.  I really tend to believe that I love it, because the cold and the snow puts us all at home together, inside, sharing time together.  whether we are all cozied up watching a movie, reading books, or just being together, it is my favorite place to be.  maybe it’s the cocoa….

(yeah, stick with me, there’s a rocking awesome recipe coming up.)

this year has not been a typical (and disappointing) year in the way of snowfall.

we got a little bit, and it stayed around for a minute, then slowly melted only to reveal all the dead and ugly foliage that lay beneath the surface.

(and let me be honest again, for just a minute, maybe two.)

we love the snow, for many reasons, one of the top being that it directly affects our summertime recreating.  not a lot of snow = less water in our lakes.  especially our beloved lake powell.  low water levels there just aren’t fun.

but I should add, that there are a bunch of weirdos that I am related to, that don’t like the snow(?!?).

so as we were watching the weather friday night, watching the channel we trust most when it comes to meteorologists, we were warned that we might get a “skiff” or light “dusting” of snow.

well, we were disappointed to say the least.  we were hoping that the storm would turn into a monster and dump on us.  so we went to bed, expecting to see our “skiff” the next morning.

before I go on, thanks must first be given to my younger brother (the intelligent brute), he is quickly approaching 30 and decided to get himself an early birthday gift.  a motorcycle.  that was on friday.  (tempt those weather gods!!!)

saturday morning, very early, obscenely early, I was wakened to most of the feeling in the right side of my body gone.  whatever wasn’t numb was cramping, and the reason, there was a little extra body in my bed.  I got up to put ashley in her bed and glanced at the clock: 5:12.  as I was glancing at that clock, I was distracted by how bright it was outside.  uncharacteristically light for 5 am.

I looked out the front glass, and…

we had much, much more than a “skiff” of “dusting” of snow.  my guess was about 3 inches at that time.

once we were really up for the day, when all was said and done, we had six lovely inches:


and I would have gladly taken more.

I shoveled, and my neighbor, being incredible, cleared out our mailbox and driveway entry with his atv, and the girls played in the snow.  they even got to use their new sleds that they got for christmas!! 

ashley was slightly emotional, either because she is a girl, because she was so overcome with our snow, because she was cold, or maybe just because she is a girl, and cried about nearly everything.  she cried mostly because she kept crashing into the small tree in the front yard. 

“I wish this tree were never invented!!”  (sob.)

so to ease the emotions, and the obviously cold limbs and such, we went inside and made the best cocoa EVER.

so basically, we are very happy to have the snow we have, and will be hoping for obscene amounts to follow in the coming weeks.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

the best hot cocoa EVER.

(I have my friend dani, and our mutual love of pinterest to thank for this incredible pot of hot goodness.  thanks dani!!!)

christmas break finds our little family staying inside and spending a lot of time together.

(I started to wonder if it was too much time this year.  can you say drama?)

when evening comes, you can usually find three little girls who are in need of a snack (read: they are “starving”), and I could take a little sweet something or other as well.

I found this recipe, through a friend’s pin on pinterest, and knew I had to make it.  I am pretty sure it was the can of sweetened condensed milk that convinced me.  you can take that to mean either that it has sweetened condensed milk in it, or that I get to lick the can clean.  whichever. take your pick.

(but I did get lynn hooked on it, so there.)

I apologize for no picture, but if you can imagine a cup of melted chocolate (plus that sweetened condensed milk, please don’t forget that, whatever you do!!!), some whipped cream on top, and angels singing, you got it.

now I say it is the best because merrill likes it!!

merrill calls most cocoa “hot caca”.  and if you remember anything from junior high spanish, you will recall that “caca” is not good.

but let’s be honest, the kid doesn’t like green olives (?!?) and he usually sleeps diagonally in bed.  he has a few issues.  (we can go into those later.)

I changed it a tiny bit, because the first time I made it, I used the bittersweet chocolate chips and it was “too rich” for some people’s taste.  so the second time around I used milk chocolate instead.

here’s the link.

here’s the recipe:

Polar Express Hot Chocolate (aka the BEST hot chocolate you've ever tasted) Recipe:

--1.5 cups of heavy cream

--1 can of sweetened condensed milk (14 oz)

--2 cups of bittersweet chocolate chips

--6 cups of milk

--1 tsp vanilla extract

In a large pot over low heat, combine all of the above ingredients.  Stir regularly for 30-40 minutes until chocolate is fully melted and incorporated with other ingredients. 

this was perfect to have in the evening and cover it, stick it in the fridge and then warm it up the next morning to have with breakfast.  or FOR breakfast.

seriously the best EVER.

Saturday, January 7, 2012


merrill and I come from some pretty tight-knit families.  well, our moms’ sides at least.  both of our moms come from big families (my mom is one of 7 merrill’s mom is one of 9), and we still see the majority of all of those cousins.

it gets kind of confusing when you refer to someone as your “cousin-in-law”.  so we just call each other “cousin”.

so this is my cousin (merrill’s cousin), and her baby.

beautiful story of a couple who tries and tries and tries for a baby, and 9 years later, when they have basically given up, are surprised.

he is such a wonderful surprise!

such a sweetie…  I loved how happy he was, his many expressions, and his silly little tongue!

thor_01_vintage1thor_02_b&w      thor_13_vintage1thor_16_b&w-burnthor_18_vintage1thor_23_b&wthor_22_vintage1thor_25_b&w-burnthor_28_vintage1thor_36_b&w-burnthor_38_b&w-burnthor_41_vintage1thor_43_b&w      thor_45_b&w-burnthor_50_b&wthor_56_vintage1      thor_61_b&wthor_59_vintage1

so happy I got to see you carrie and take shots of this sweetie!

Friday, January 6, 2012

one of those “assess and improve” times.

last year (feels weird to type that out), I did some assessing, and decided to make some changes.  now this happened to be one of those times when I saw something wasn’t working and I needed to fix it, instead of waiting and making it a new year’s resolution (bleh!), I made it a goal right then and there.

now, I cannot take full credit for this change.  someone who I am very blessed to know and have in my life, was inspired to share some information with me, and that information was just what I needed to hear at just the right time.

three girls is something that I never dreamed I would have to deal with.  for some reason, I thought I would have boys.  maybe one girl, after all, that pattern seemed to work out pretty awesomely for my mom and dad.  I never really got along with girls.  I found them to be a little too dramatic and catty for my taste.  I got along just fine with boys, and my brothers were my best friends.  if I had the choice, to play with a girl friend in my neighborhood, or to hang out and play g.i. joes with my brothers, I would pick playing with my brothers.

don’t get me wrong, I enjoy being a girl, I like to do some girlie things, but to be surrounded by girls?  not exactly something I thought I could handle.

so you might be able to imagine the shock when I was told I was having a girl the first time around.  I was so sure little lynn was going to be a boy.  (I still have little boy clothes with tags on them, in my cedar chest, that is how certain I was that I was going to have boys.)  then, there came ashley.  I was hoping for a boy, because I was freaked out (!!!) about having a second girl.  how would a mother daughter-daughter relationship work out with two girls?!  but we adapted, and really couldn’t picture life any other way.  the fact that peyton was yet another girl, seemed to come as no surprise.  if we were to have one more (just one more merrill?!?) we would most definitely want another girl.  we have a system established here.

but as the years have come and gone, the drama has seemed to increase.  life progressing certainly doesn’t help in that area.  with progression came school, homework, extra-curricular activities, friends, different personalities developing, and lots of emotion associated with them all.

now, I’ve always known that I take after my dad more than I do my mom, so it seemed as though the patience thing just wasn’t in me.  oh, I tried, and usually failed miserably by the end of the day.  I prayed, I fasted, how I tried!!!

this last year, it seemed that the volume to life in our home was always set to yell, and I was the one yelling.  I hated it.

again, there were the attempts to change, but I always fell to my old ways, not that it worked and provided the results I desired.  I think the girls became experts at ignoring me which only made me yell louder.

I was not the kind of mother I wanted to be.

it was the day after ashley’s birthday.  I went out to play volleyball with friends and have some much needed time out of the house.  I was feeling like a horrible mom.  there was a constant prayer in my head and in my heart, pleading to be better, to find something that would help me.

that is where my inspired friend comes in.

sometimes, after a physically exerting game of volleyball (hahaha…), we would leave and go get ourselves a cold treat.  (frosties at wendy’s are the best.  try a chocolate frosty float with orange soda.  really.  you are welcome.)  that night, we were having our treat, talking about things that were going on in our lives, doing what good friends do best, listening and supporting.  she had just attended a parenting conference and was telling me about some of the techniques they discussed.  this was what I needed to hear.

no yelling.  speak slow and low.  don’t toss out punishments or consequences with anger or emotion, think about them for a while.  find the best, fool-proof one and stick to it!  let consequences happen.  don’t rescue your kids.  take deep breaths.  lots of deep breaths.

so many more things were said, and it was just what I needed.

I promised myself that from that point on I would not yell at my girls.

I haven’t yelled (out of anger) since that day.  That was three months ago.

the girls listen to me now.  they take me more seriously, because I sound sane.

I have yelled, to call them to dinner, stuff like that, but never out of anger.  when I yell for those things, they listen to me!!  I get a response!

while I was painting peyton’s room, she was admiring my handiwork and backed-up in awe towards the wet wall.  when I yelled her name, to get her attention, so she wouldn’t pinkify her clothes, she ran to me.  see, they listen now that yelling isn’t a part of their everyday existence.

what is even more amazing to me, is how easy it has been.  yelling is no longer my first reaction to any situation.

I have taken such deep breaths, I have nearly lost consciousness. 

I have rolled my eyes (while my back was turned, of course!) so far that they have nearly gone up inside my head.

I have talked so slowly, and so lowly, I swear they have stopped breathing to better hear me.

my punishments are so well thought out and calculated, my children are actually fearful of consequences.

ashley has always been the one to push the limits when it comes to my threats.  she questions every single detail.  she learned a lesson the hard way one sunday.

she was being a complete stink.  merrill was home with peyton who wasn’t feeling well, so it was me, playing single mom at church and ashley was misbehaving.  I have a problem with certain behavior in the chapel and will not put up with it so she was warned to cut it out.  if she didn’t, we would clean out her room when we got home.  I would leave only her bed and clothing in her room.  but she pushed it.

(mind you the kid just had a birthday!!  birthday = lots of new, super fun stuff.)

“will you leave my light?  will you leave my curtains?”  a little giggle was added after each question.  “will you leave me door?  what about my carpet?”  I warned her again to stop, and she didn’t, so we left and sat in the foyer where she continued. 

“seriously, will I have a light mom?”

she thought she was hilarious.

I warned her again, that if she kept it up, we would go home where she would have to sit in her empty room for the same amount of time that we would have been in sacrament meeting, and I didn’t want to go home without taking the sacrament.

but because she likes to push it, she kept it up.

now I had a choice: I could let her continue to act this way, and ignore it, not follow through with my punishment of having her sit in her empty room for the duration of sacrament meeting, or I could follow through, take her home, make her sit in her empty room for and hour and stare at all the emptiness.

I stuck to it.  she did not want to go.  we went down that hall, lynn leading out, me dragging ashley as she promised and cried that she would be good.  she begged and pleaded as I nearly pulled her arm out of its socket.  once we were outside, I lugged her up onto my hip and carried her like a sack of very uncooperative potatoes.

she was afraid now.  pretty sure she regretted her earlier behavior.

once we were home, I made her sit on the stairs as she watched me, merrill, lynn, and peyton, clean out her room and take everything downstairs to one of the unfinished bedrooms.  trip after trip past her with her beloved belongings, her face progressively fell sadder and sadder.  then, she got to sit in that empty room for an hour and fifteen minutes.  at the end of her sentence, I went in and explained to her just what she did, what consequence I laid out, and how I followed through with it.  I also explained to her that she would have chances to earn back her belongings everyday.

if she got out of bed without protesting and got ready for school without me nagging her, she would get to pick out one of her belongings.

if she came home from school, got her homework done without complaining, she would get to pick out another.

if she behaved well the rest of the evening, following rules, respecting others, and getting ready for bed without problems, she would get to pick out a third item before bedtime.

if she did other things that were pleasing during the day, there would be more chances to retrieve her belongings.

that first night, she had the chance to earn two belongings back, and I picked that number purposefully.  I knew she would want a doll or stuffed animal to sleep with, and I knew she would most definitely want her music to fall asleep to.  merrill and I would be the judges of how many she got to pick out.  she needed to be respectful of others for the rest of the evening (one) and get ready for bed without complaint (two).

she only earned one, because the kid has issues with boundaries, so she was sad to only have a doll to snuggle and no music. 

the next day, you know she was doing everything she was expected to do, and the first thing she picked out of the basement was her cd player.

she still has stuff to earn back out of that basement, and that is because I am sticking to it! 

I am so proud of myself.

I am not doing it alone, I pray for help everyday.  it is a huge help though, that I made the decision to change.

I also have to credit that one amazing friend, who shared what she had learned, not even knowing how awful I felt about where I was.  she was truly inspired.

the spirit in our home is not always the best, we all still need to improve how we react, but it is so much better.

it feels so good to not yell.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

an update on the painfully obvious.

so I believe we have already established the fact that merrill does not like the obviously stated.

(remember?  he doesn’t like it.)

but I certainly cannot help myself.


I believe I smell a terrific april fool’s joke.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

about them eggs…

they were very anticipated.

we didn’t make it to midnight.

(didn’t want to!)

and they were harder to crack that I thought.  a little pain, offense, then revenge was experienced.

(don’t be jealous of peyton’s bedtime get-up.  I know you want one just like it.)

here’s the infliction of the pain:

2011-2012 014

evidence of the pain and trust me, she’s a little offended here.

2011-2012 015

and here would be the wind-up for the revenge whack:

2011-2012 018

hope your new year is as awesome as ours is already.

the whole bushman family

so I am used to the smaller lot of the bushman clan.  used to bribing one of the wee ones with suckers, but this was (almost) the whole gang, and it was cold, but it was fun.  I must say that the cold lent to some pretty awesome frost that had the normally not so cute foliage looking spectacular.

bushman_01_vintage2bushman_03_b&wbushman_16_b&w   bushman_20_vintage2   bushman_21_vintage2bushman_22_vintage2   bushman_24_vintage1

and, well, let’s be completely honest, this is why I like to take pictures of the bushman family:


love ya nat!!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

the 2012 outlook.

**before I really get into this post, I have to say that the information in italics  is all in fun, just a joke, not serious, playful in fashion, not in any way sincere, totally in jest.  I am not full of myself nor do I think I am awesome (all the time).  it was just a funny story, and a great lead-off into the things I would like to do in the year to come.  okay?  so don’t go reading on and get all huffy and call me a snob.  I am only kidding.**

(imagine that this picture is in italics, kay?)


it was suggested in our sacrament meeting on sunday, to write your goals (or resolutions, if you prefer) on a 3x5 card, and tape them to the mirror as a way to help you to remember them everyday.  I just happened to be sitting next to my best friend (who appreciates my sense of humor) and suggested to her that we had nothing to resolve this year, nothing that needed improving. 

“we might as well go home and write, ‘continue being awesome’ on our 3x5 card.”

that earned a giggle.

we listened to this particular speaker end the meeting and I said, “okay, let’s go home and write our resolution on our card!”

right after that, the opening chords of our closing hymn were played by the organist.

you’ll never guess what our closing hymn was.

“be thou humble”.

“is this a sign?”  I was sincerely worried.  but only a little.

so I am not one to necessarily believe in “resolutions”.  I prefer the word “goals” and I also prefer this “self-improvement” process to be an on-going one, not one that happens once a year.

(apparently I prefer quotation marks as well.)

there are many things I find that I need to improve upon throughout the course of the year, and as I discover those things, I readjust as needed.  but there are things I would like to accomplish within the course of that same year, and make those my goals. 

I prefer not to set outlandish goals, things that will set me up to fail, things that will be entirely out of my control, like “win the lottery”.  yeah, cause I have all power there.

I set realistic goals, things that I am truly interested and personally invested in, things I know I can do, and things in which I will have the support of my family and friends.

for example: I will never set a goal to not eat sugar.  that is too unrealistic for me.  I will also be lacking in the “support of my best friend” area, because that is something we enjoy doing together.  dude, I am so not sacrificing good times with my best friend, oh, and I don’t wanna quit sugar.  do I look that crazy?  I so wouldn’t last a day.  nope.  not a single day.

instead, I set a goal to eat sugar every day.  that way, I win.  every day.  and if I don’t, well, I really don’t feel like a failure.

so this year, for the very beginning of the year, I have two things (because small is so manageable) that I have set out to accomplish.

- crochet school.

- get better acquainted with my new camera friend.

okay, so somebody might look at me and say I already know something about both of those things.  yup, I do.  and I enjoy them, and I can get better at both!

see, they are things I like.  so there’s my motivation.  and like I said earlier, there is always room for improvement (no matter how awesome you are).  and they are totally realistic. 

I will most likely add to this list as time goes on.  so the fun is guaranteed to continue. 

I decided long ago that I was done looking at everything I hadn’t accomplished the year before, almost taking inventory of my failures, and starting the year trying to be something that I obviously really didn’t want to be, and hating every second of it, feeling every inch of failuredom (totally invented a word, should have put “invent a new word” on that list) and feeling like a sucky horrible person every day I didn’t do what I thought I might just pull off.

I also learned to not make those lists too long.  crazy long lists are also motivation killers. 

last thing I want on my hands is a murder.

so there you have it.  I have picked the things that I am genuinely interested in, have motivation to further my skills and knowledge, and I am excited!  so they won’t take a year to do, but I am guaranteed to grow during the process.

so go ahead, give yourself permission to go and be awesome this year.

(and if you are interested in crochet school, you should do it with me.  I dare you!)