When you have a large family, sports and activities can be daunting financially and logistics can be brutal. Having 5 children needing to be in 5 different places at one time with only 1.5 parents (Zane's schedule is so unpredictable at times) is just...whoa. But I have to say, I'd be perfectly happy if my kids all kept their love of swimming. Because the majority of their swim meets include ALL of them. In one spot. For now, they all practice at the same pool around the same time (the more advanced have to be there earlier and stay later, but it's IN THE SAME LOCATION).

And you're not having to pick and choose whose game you're going to have to miss that week, and trying to figure out who needs to catch a ride with someone because you can only be in so many places at one time.

That's not to say we don't let them play other sports during the year. Some of them love baseball too, and Baby Girl loves to dance. A couple of them would jump at the chance to do riding lessons if we had a stable near us that did it, and I want them to try new things. But I'm a big fan of swim teams. Big. :)

Speaking of, they did great at their swim meet this last weekend. Princess dropped all of her times like crazy. In one event, she dropped almost 7 seconds, which is incredible! She placed 7th and 8th in 2 events and won 4 of her 7 heats. Cowboy is still trying to come back from his being down and out, so he's still trying to build up his endurance, but he did really well considering. Brother Bear had 2 races against both his brothers and came in 2nd on all his heats. He placed 5 and 7 in 2 of his races. And Baby Boy won one of his heats and placed 2nd and 4th in both of his events. It was his first swim meet so he was pretty stoked.

We probably annoy some, but definitely make others laugh with our crew. At one time there are at least 4 to 6 of us cheering loudly for whatever child is racing at the moment, and we are so not quiet. I'll post a video sometime. Princess used to get super embarrassed about it, now I think she likes it. A bonus of having a large family, I guess. You always have more than enough cheering in your corner.


Back in the saddle again

I am coming back to the blogosphere.  I am just OVER being so plugged in ALL THE TIME! So I am going to go back to the blogging days to 1 - try and better journal our crazy life and 2 - to keep friends and family updated on all things happening in our little corner of the world without having to be on Facebook.  As much fun as it is to reconnect with long lost friends and acquaintances, I just don't need any more distractions.  I feel like my smart phone has become another appendage and I am done.  It's a distraction from my kids and family that I just don't need.  There are enough distractions and time pullers as it is.  I love the internet convenience.  I love the GPS.  I love being able to read a book when I'm bored.  I love having a camera ready.  But I am tired.  I am tired of too many unimportant things and people taking time away from those people and things that should be my main focus.  I wish I could go off cell phones completely, but I am cognizant enough to realize texting is how the world communicates more often than not and it is the easiest way to get emergency alerts, etc.  So for now, I'm deactivating my Facebook account, getting a basic flip phone (when my contract is up), I'm pulling out my really nice camera that I hardly ever use because my phone is always in my hand, and I am going to do everything I can to get myself back to my non-distracted mom days.  Will I fail sometimes?  Probably.  Will I doubt my decision?  Maybe.  But will it help me accomplish a more important goal and purpose of focusing on my family?  Definitely.  So. Here goes nothing!  Wish me luck.


Channeling my inner Mary Poppins

"For every job to be done, there is an element of fun; you find that fun, and SNAP! The job's a game!"

I'm attempting to channel my inner Mary Poppins. I enjoy the results of housework and laundry, I'm just still attempting to find the joy in the doing! The children are getting older, so they can help more around the house so it's not ALL me.  But let's face it! There are still seven people living in this house and no matter what I do, there are ALWAYS messes to clean up - particularly from two very busy and mischievous 3 yr and 19 month old toddlers.

That being said, I'm only going to have this time in my life once. I'm trying to keep in mind that I will have years and years of no constant giggles and running feet, no bedtime snuggles, no sweet voices saying, "I love you mommy," no kissing of owies to make it all better...sure there will be grandkids eventually, but I'll only have this time for a for more precious years...

So here's to channeling my inner Mary Poppins, and making a game for myself of the chaos and mess, and trying to enjoy this time of life-no matter how draining or frustrating it can feel at times!! Although let's be honest, it'd be awesome to snap my fingers and have the toys put away themselves. :)



Being consistent is SO very hard for me. Whether it's journaling, daily scripture study, exercising, following through on making my kids practice piano, do their homework, etc. Being consistent is my personal nemesis.

I've gone through different phases over the years. Sometimes I've given up and just embraced my failings. Other times I've pushed through and overcome (for a while anyway). :) I figure if I just keep trying, eventually I'll come off conqueror, right???

Meanwhile, I've had to schedule the kid's piano lessons like I do for my other students, with a set time each week. And I'm trying to make a concerted effort to get better on one more thing at a time.

What's your personal nemesis?


Theme of the year

I know it's typical to have New year's resolutions and pick a theme for the year in January. But I picked up a sign at Seagull Book and put it above my kitchen sink so I could read it every day (several times, really). It says, "Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; but remember that what you now have was once among things hoped for." -Epicurus

So I'm making it my new theme for the rest of this year and 2014. It's so easy to forget and become dissatisfied. It's easy to covet others lives, things, talents, etc. I'm so guilty of wishing away today in favor of the dreams of tomorrow. That's not saying dreams are bad! Dreams and goals are essential in life. I just don't appreciate the present as much as I know I need to. That's the beauty of this life-we learn and grow and fail and fall only to get back up and try again. I'm grateful for those little moments and reminders we are provided to get ourselves back on track! Carpe diem, peeps! :)

How about you? Do you have a theme, or motto? Are you looking for one?


Power of one

I have always been a big believer in the "power of one."  One person really can change the world.  Or at least the world of many.

My son, Caleb, is an amazing kid.  He has a really hard time with quitting when things get hard and is really hard on himself.  I've heard SO MANY TIMES, "I'm the slowest kid in my class.  I'll never beat anyone!" or "Reading is just too hard.  I'll never be able to read faster!" or "I just can't do it."  I have tried and tried and tried to encourage, entice, and even bribe him!

Then one day, after the start of the school year, something happened.  He came home sporting a bracelet from his teacher that said, "TEAM GLEASON - NO WHITE FLAGS"  I asked him what it meant.  He said, "well, Mom it means you can never surrender.  Never give up!"  I thought that was cool and left it at that. Over the next couple of weeks, I noticed some changes in my son.  He started saying things like, "Well Mom, I'm not as fast as Anthony yet, but I tried really hard and I was faster than another kid today!"  And he was reading.  Chapter books.  And saying, "It's okay if it takes longer, cause I can do it!"  He would refer to learning more about "No white flags!" from his teacher and if someone in the family said something about quitting - he'd pipe up and say, "Nope!  You can't quit! No white flags!"  I can't even tell you how amazing this transformation has been for this little 7 yr old boy and those of us who are around him.  School has not even been in session a month yet, and already this teacher has had more influence with one motto, than I have the last few years!  Now that in itself is pretty awesome.  But now I'm going to tell you the story behind the motto.

Team Gleason - Caleb's teacher's step-son is Steve Gleason.  He played for the New Orleans Saints until he retired in 2008 and in 2011 was diagnosed with ALS.  I encourage you to read up on his website all about the disease and Team Gleason's motto and what they are doing to help others.  It is inspiring to say the least.

I am saddened by the tragedy of this terminal diagnosis for such a young and healthy man.  I am awed by how many lives he has, and will continue to change.  Just think - every child that Mrs. Gleason (Caleb's teacher) has had in her classroom since this diagnosis has been taught "No white flags!"  Those students take that to their homes and families.  If, like in the case of my child, they take that motto heart, their lives are forever changed FOR THE BETTER! And that is just from one person in one avenue of her life! Think of all the others she has talked to-fellow teachers, friends, neighbors, etc.

The power of one.  How grateful I am for those in this life who are called to a higher calling, or purpose.  Who persevere, who teach by example, who inspire others, who forget about themselves in order to help others.  Oh, if we could all be a little more like them!  The world would change, all because of one.  And just think who the One these people are being like.  So grateful for the ultimate example of charity, sacrifice, and pure love - Jesus Christ.

In case you missed the link earlier, I'm serious.  Read up on this amazing individual and all Team Gleason's efforts!



Words cannot express how touched I am by tonight's broadcast.  If you weren't able to watch it, please do!  All I can add is a heartfelt "amen, and amen!" As well as my testimony that the Savior loves each one of us, and the words of these inspired people testify of that as well.

Relief Society Broadcast


When mommy is sick

I caught whatever nastiness that is going around the kids school and today has been a lay on the couch and put on movies for the babies because I have no energy to do anything else! Of course that means that mommy was laying down, which meant I became the jungle gym. I have to teach Leah to be content with sitting beside me because she can't just sit on my lap. She has to be moving and wiggling and trying to climb on my face. It doesn't help that she isn't feeling great either. So she doesn't even know what she wants most of the time. At one point, I was pulling Leah off my face, Jacob was trying to climb up and ended up elbowing me on the side of my eye while Leah was jumping up and down on my stomach because she was mad about being taken off my face. If I didn't feel so dizzy from congestion I'd just stay on my feet!  :)  there are some sweet moments every day though. I'm so lucky to get to stay home with these kiddos! Jacob came over to feel my head and said, "you sick mom? Aw man! I sorry you no feel good." And he pats my head and goes on to play. So funny.  (the picture doesn't show all the way - so click on it to see the full effect).