For those that like to dream, come in. For those that like to laugh, come in. For those that like to cry and be inspired...please come in. Our family is like any other, but is extraordinary in it's own right. Come and join us at our campfire and laugh a little, cry a little and leave us, but please come back. We love company...

Monday, January 30, 2012

My advice?

I have been a mom now for almost 20 years. Not only that, but a mom to ten kids and a pseudo mom to more than 45 daycare kids over the years. That's a lot of kids and tons of experience on my part. Sometimes people come to me and ask my advice. Sometimes! Potty training, discipline, parties, holidays and vacations, plus more. It goes on and on. Most of the time I am flattered that they ask because maybe they think after all these kids that I might have something good to say. I won't go into the darker corners of my mind that say "Maybe they ask so they can do the opposite of what I did, to get different results!". Either way, I get questions. Here is some of my advice for any mom, mom to be and friend.

1. Laugh. Day, night and every time in between...laugh about it all. Yourself when you lose it over something stupid. Over the kids when they do something stupid that you have to fix, or clean. Over yourself and your husband when you make wonderful plans for "alone time" once the kids are in bed and you find yourselves too dang tired for anything of the kind. Laughter is the best medicine and it is contagious, I promise. Jon often finds himself laughing about something that normally would make him mad just because I can't help but laugh and vice versa. Laugh away folks, it might just save your sanity.

2. Potty training. First off, don't compare your kids to each other or your friends kids. After ten kids I can tell you every child is different! No two kids are alike. I had one child that was potty trained literally in one day. One day...no joke. I refused to put a diaper on him one morning and by noon he had underwear on and had no accidents. It was that easy. On the other hand, I had a kiddo that wet her pants well into the third grade....so moral of the story? Try, try hard, don't cry over a little pee and just hang in there. They all eventually do it where they should and when they should. After that it's just an issue of teaching the boys that the toilet isn't a moving target and the girls that toilet paper is better used in moderation!

3. Staying sane. How do I do it? Do I look sane to you? Yeah, don't answer that! Staying sane has several tricks to it. One of them I have already discussed...laughing. There are other ways though. One would be to go on a regular date with your hubby. These times usually are spent unloading on my spouse all of my frustrations about the kids. He also unloads on me. It may be unfair to the kids, it might just save their lives. Either way, it's good for both of us. I also like to go out with a friend once in a while. Since Jon has worked two jobs it only happens once a month or so, but it's better than nothing. There are other ways to preserve sanity. I like to take long showers followed by a bath. I relax, listen to the poundings on the door and pretend I don't hear them. They eventually go away. One more way is for me to sit up after the last kids are in bed and watch my tv programming and eat food I don't like sharing, like chocolate and soda, and sit wherever I want and enjoy quiet time. It can sometimes be a toss up between the extra sleep or the time alone, but either way it's to my benefit.

4. Love unconditionally. This can be the hardest thing for any parent to do. We think we all do it, but do we? We place expectations on our kids, rules, guidelines and exceptions. "Get all a's in school and you get money", "Stay by mommy and you get treats when we get in the car", "Go to church", "Go to college", "Get a job and pay your own way!". When all is said and done we want what we want for our kids, because we know ways in which they can be happy, but we need to trust that they know what's good for them too. We may want our kiddo to go to law school, while they want to go to art school. We should never underestimate our kids by confining them to our own standards and expectations. Not only allow them to spread those beautiful wings of theirs, but be completely supportive while they do it. If they fall and need help, we can be there to help nurse them back to health, with our unconditional love.

5. Offer choices. Oh how I hate to offer choices sometimes. "Sweetie, just get on your jammies and get in bed....NOW!" No choice there. I want it done, now do it! However, parenting is evolving and our ideas should evolve with it. The idea that children should be offered choices is a brilliant one, in theory, but much harder in practice. When my kids were little it was a bit easier, because the choice was much simpler and smaller..."Pick up your toys right now and then let's watch a movie, or I pick them up and they get put away....your choice". Choices as the kids get older are much harder for them, and much harder for us to follow through with. But so essential.

6. Inspire them. Never stop reaching for your own goals and dreams. They will model you. Be the kind of person that says to the world " I will never quit, no matter how hard it gets!" Be the kind of person that says "My mind and heart will ever strive for more, more knowledge, more adventure, more spirituality!", and they will mimic you. Be the kind of person that your children will praise to the world, just the way you have spent your life telling the world about your amazing children.

7. Love the life you've chosen. So many men and women grow up, have kids, get jobs and then realize they are miserable. Figure out what started you on your journey and then remember it everyday. Your life does mean something, it is worth something and learn to love it just the way it is. My life is anything but glamorous, but it's mine. I mean something to my kids when I praise them, love them and lift them up. I mean something to the friend that needed a good laugh that particular day. I mean something to the neighbor that needed some help just when I offered. I mean something to my sweet mom who loves to talk to me everyday, even if we don't have much to say. I mean something to my husband who wants to know he means something to me. We have each other. My life matters, make sure your kids know theirs do too.

I am sure I could think of much more, but I will stop here. If you have questions, ask me. I can't guarantee that I will have an answer for you, but I can try. And please, if you feel there is something in my life that needs improvement, just say so. Don't be offended if I hang up on you, I will later realize you were right and try to be better! :)

Thursday, January 19, 2012


We are always striving for it. Some of us think we have already achieved it. There are some though that think that they will never even get close. I tend to fall into all of these categories depending on the day. What about what kind of parents were thought we were going to be? If your honest like me, you might admit you thought you were going to be a great parent. "I am not going to make the same mistakes my sister made...just look at her boys? I mean really! I would do a better job I think!" I look at my children and think about what it was that I thought parenthood was going to be like. Hours of day dreaming lent way to visions of well mannered, clean, smart talented children that when in public awed those around them. "Julie's children are such angels...I wish my kids were like hers". "Did you know Julie's son got accepted to Yale Law?". "What about that daughter of hers? She sings like an angel!" Admit it, you all thought the same thing when young and just starting out on your path to perfect parenting. Who really day dreams of getting a call from the principal saying your child was in his office again for misbehavior? Or that dreaded call from the Church Leaders saying your kiddo was running and screaming through the chapel instead of attending their Wednesday night meetings? Seriously, there's daydreams and then there's nightmares. Right?

But as the day to day of parenting has taken over my thoughts, actions and every waking moments I have come to realize that my children are perfect....for me. Each and every one of them has awesome strong qualities, and some serious weaknesses. But as a whole they are perfect. It reminds me of the movie "Remember the Titans". In one of the last scenes as the players huddle together during their last game the coach tells them that no matter what the outcome of the game they played a great season of ball. One wise player stands and says "I am not perfect, non of us are, but as a team we are perfect". Ones weaknesses are anothers strengths. My kids may have their downfalls, but they also are part of a whole that was formed in Heaven, has come together here on Earth and through the power of The Covenant will go on throughout all time and eternity. We, as a team, are perfect. My little rainbow baby Brynlee completed that perfection with her presence and we only go up from here.

We will always have our challenges, and there are days when I think those challenges will ruin us. There are days. But God does not make mistakes and with this family that is no exception. We are who we are and everyday that I look into the eyes of my children, one by one, I realize that my dreams have all come true. Each and everyone of them. Dreams that I didn't know were there have come to fruition. Kenna, Megan and Isaac. Abby, Lacie and Joe. Jessi, Colby, Skyler and Brynlee....not a one of them is perfect. I know it, I own it. I mean, really, neither am I! On that note though....non of you are either...not a one of you! No matter how much you try to convince me otherwise! So, while I have come to realize the fall of dream that I thought was once to be, I will also realize the culmination of many dreams that I never knew could even be. My team is perfect and I will revel in it. Love it, take joy in it, pray for it and look forward to many more days of perfection ahead. This is my family....you gotta love us.....

Monday, January 9, 2012


Well, it's the beginning of the year again and what do we all do around this time of year? I mean aside from heave a huge sigh of relief that the holidays are over and things went as well as expected...we all make new years resolutions. I have to be honest here for a moment...it's been years since I actually made any resolutions. I figure that if I didn't have the motivation to accomplish something in October, what makes me think that January will be any different? My new year signals different things in my mind.

First off, January is the "mid point" of the school year in my mind. Half way kids, half way to summer, sun, fun, swimming, front lawn parties and laziness. Hang in there guys, we are half way there! We all know what that time of year means to me!

Second, we are just weeks away from tax return. Someday this will be a yucky time of year, but while we have 10 dependants in our home it is an awesome time of year. We can repair and register the cars, fix up the house and look forward to a vacation or two. We usually go to St George in March or April to celebrate this time of year! I love all of that!

Third, to appreciate the third thing I love I will need to remind all of you what our fall is. Between October 20th and January 5th we have 5 birthdays, Halloween and Christmas. I don't count Thanksgiving because we don't spend money on that holiday...we just eat till we pop. All of the other things are wonderful, joyous occasions, but very costly. When Abby's birthday is done we get a break from all those stresses. No more major costly holidays and birthdays until May when it starts all over again with Megan, Me and Jon's birthdays, all 4 days apart! So this time of year is our "break" time. Which by this point we desperately need

Usually this time of year brings with it a certain amount of seasonal depression. Right now I am ok, but I can tell you why. We had a wonderful November and December weather wise. Some would argue, but I loved it! Warm, almost eerily so, all the way through the holidays. This last snow storm is the first time we have had snow that actually stuck around due to cold temps. Now, don't be blinded by my joy, I am sure come the end of February I will turn into the grumpy Julie everyone is used to, but for now I am coping and I am happy with that!

So, there it is. My update. I didn't go on and on about Christmas, in fact I didn't post anything about Christmas at all. I am having a bit of guilt over that. Not the kind of guilt that leaves you crippled, just a bit, a twinge, the kind I will forget the minute I am done writing and go about my day washing, drying, cleaning and yelling. Sorry about that, Christmas is what it is....toys, gifts, early mornings and late nights. The kids were happy and that's what counts. I however am looking forward now, to making this year a great year. Here's for hoping, huh?