Wednesday, 18 December 2013

What she doesn't know

Thank you for this amazing post about 3-year-old daughters! I couldn't have said it better myself. (*Tears streaming down my face!*)

At times I can already feel my little 3-year-old growing up and slipping away. If only I could hold on to special moments like this forever!

Monday, 18 November 2013


You have probably seen this already, but I enjoyed it too much not to share.

This comic literally made me laugh out loud! The silly things parents do to make their kids happy. 

I want to be this kind of mom. It doesn't cost any money, but it sparks wonder and makes lasting memories. I can't wait to see the look in Eva's eyes when she thinks her Woody Doll actually came to life during the night...

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Matt Walsh on Parenting

Sometimes I like Matt Walsh, sometimes I don't. But today I think he hit the nail on the head when it comes to parenting. Thanks for the tip, Ashlee!

(click below)

I don’t agree with your parenting choices. Now let me explain how you should raise your own children.

My favorite quote: "As far as I can tell, from my own .000000001 percent experience, there is only one “strategy” that absolutely every parent in the world ought to adopt: love your children. Love them. Strive to do what is best for them. This, this I will insist is the “right” way for all parents to parent. "

I hope I never give the impression that I am telling you how to raise your family. I only want to empower moms (and dads) to stick with it, do their best, and love themselves during the journey of parenthood. Go you! 

Thursday, 12 September 2013

To Moms: From Kid President

I got this link from one of our FB&FM contributors, Alysa. This is something I could hear everyday!

The kid in this video is just TOO cute. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did :). 

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

To moms of one or two children

My genius husband hooked me up with yet another great article!  Read it here. This article has given me the boost I need to love my kids a little more every day, by reminding the right perspective on parenting: letting go and trusting our Heavenly Father.

My favorite passage from this article:

I need God more.

I need Him in the morning. At noon. And at night. I need Him to wipe my tears when my baby won't let me sleep at night. I need Him to calm my heart when I'm changing bed sheets at 2am. I need Him to keep my children safe because I only have two hands and one set of eyes and crossing a parking lot means holding on tight but it also means letting go of "I can do this, I can do this" and trading it for "God, You are with me and You love them, too."

I need His patience. 
I need His joy.
I need His love.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

The Invisible Mother

This week, I struggled to recognize the value I add to our family.  All I could see were my many weaknesses and none of my strengths.  

Then my husband showed me this article, called The Invisible Mother by  It reminded me of what I am working for as a mother, and also what my mother (and my mother-in-law) worked for in raising me and Jeff.  None of the details of our lives of raising children are lost in the eyes of our Heavenly Father, though they often go unnoticed to everyone but Him.  

I couldn't help but think of the many breathtaking monuments we saw during our adventure in Europe this summer.  Though we can't know the names of the creators nor the sacrifices made in the making of these masterpieces, we do know the majesty of their enduring gifts.  

Take a look...


Roman Baths

Cathedral in Puerto de Mallorca, Spain

Stained glass window in Mallorca, Spain

details on the cathedral in Lucca, Italy. 

Tower of Pisa, Italy

Pisa baptistry, Italy

Colosseum in Rome, Italy

Pantheon in Rome, Italy

inside the Pantheon in Rome, Italy

Unnamed cathedral in Venice, Italy

Doge's Palace in Venice, Italy

Tiled floor of San Marco's Cathedral in Venice, Italy

Rialto bridge in Venice, Italy

Santa Anna's Cathedral in Venice, Italy

Inside Notre Dame Cathedral in Marseilles, France

Salt Lake City Temple in Utah

I believe I am a complex, purposefully constructed cathedral created by my parents both earthly and heavenly.  I also believe that my children are beautiful cathedrals in the making.  No monotonous detail lacks value in the lives of our precious little mini-cathedrals :).

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Modest is Hottest?

I heard that phrase at least a million times as I was growing up.  Honestly, hearing it always irked me a little bit, but I didn't know exactly why.  I think this article sums it up beautifully.

I would love to hear your thoughts! 

Friday, 28 June 2013

Mom's Body Image

Here is a beautiful article I found through my dear sister, Natalie.  

My favorite passage from the article:

Let us honor and respect our bodies for what they do instead of despising them for how they appear. Focus on living healthy and active lives, let our weight fall where it may, and consign our body hatred in the past where it belongs. When I looked at that photo of you in the white bathing suit all those years ago, my innocent young eyes saw the truth. I saw unconditional love, beauty, and wisdom. I saw my Mom.

I believe we are all prone to be critical of our bodies, especially as we sacrifice them time and time again for the well-being of our children.  What starts out as a noble sacrifice turns in to self-loathing as we persist in noticing all the "wrong" about our bodies.  I wish there was an easier answer to the problem of women's bad body image.  I guess the best answer for me is that we can choose to love ourselves a little bit better every day.  

(For the record, my mom did a marvelous job of showing me the worth of women regardless of outer appearances!) 

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Pinterexia Nervosa

I couldn't NOT share this article!  My favorite lines from it are:  

What are the Symptoms of Pinterexia Nervosa?
  • Pinning this post without even reading it.
  • Housing more than five burlap and/or chevron projects per room.
I admit, I had to delete the pinterest apps on my phone.  Not because of Pinterexia Nervosa, but to avoid unrealistic expectations of myself and others.  Comparing isn't healthy, and it definitely isn't happy.  

Still, I think pinterest has its place in moderate doses.  Hope you got a good chuckle out of this article ;).  

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Don't let {Opposite World} get you down!

Oh yes.  There are lots of voices out there that will try to tell you what to think and how to feel, especially when it comes to pregnancy and parenting.  Here's an article that will hopefully lend you the strength to be unapologetic in being "mom"!

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Meals in 20 minutes or less: Wraps

If there is one thing I have learned from being in Grad School this semester, it is that TIME  is at a premium, and spending more than half an hour on making dinner just isn't worth it.  So if you're interested in FRESH and FAST, wraps are a good way to go. Not to mention they are a perfect summer food. 

Here are a few of my favs.  I made these recipes myself, and though we really like the way they taste, I won't be offended if you tweak to taste :)!

 (Sorry about the funny formatting... who has time to make the formatting perfect anyway?)

{Spring Rolls (salad style)}
       Rice Paper (8 " - purchase at local asian market)
       Rice Noodles
       Romaine Lettuce
       Chopped tomatoes
       Cubed grilled chicken
       Chopped green onions
       Chopped celery
       Grated carrots
       Oyster Sauce and/or Sweet'n'Sour Sauce and/or Spicy Chinese Dragon Sauce
Prepare rice noodles according to package.  Dip rice paper in warm water for 5 seconds to soften.  Place on a flat plate.  Place small amount of rice noodles, chicken, lettuce, tomatoes, green onions, celery, carrots and oyster sauce in the center of the softened rice paper.  Fold the rice paper over the filling creating a half circle.  Fold over the sides on top of the filing.  Finish the wrap by taking the remaining rounded edge and folding over on top.  Enjoy.

{Orange Chicken Lettuce Wraps}

  •  Large Romaine lettuce leaves
  •  Maifun rice sticks
  •  1 cup Grilled cubed chicken
  •   2 Chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup chopped cucumber
  •  1 can Black beans
  •  ½ cup Frozen corn kernels (warmed)
  •  ½ cup Chopped red onions
  •  1/3 cup Greek Yogurt
  •  ½ tsp Garlic salt
  •  ¼ tsp Red pepper flakes (or more)
  •   2 tbs Orange zest
  •   half an orange fresh squeezed Orange juice
Prepare crunchy rice by deep-frying it in a small amount of hot oil.  Set aside.  Make the sauce by combining greek yogurt with orange zest, orange juice, red pepper flakes and garlic salt.  In a large bowl, combine chicken, tomatoes, corn, beans and onions and mix with yogurt mixture. 
To assemble the wraps, take a large romaine lettuce leaf and place a small amount of fried rice sticks in the center.  Place a 1/3 cup chicken mixture on top.  Wrap the lettuce around the filling and eat.  

{Tortilla Wraps}
  •   Flour tortillas
  •  Grilled cubed chicken
  •  Chopped Romaine lettuce
  •  2 Chopped tomatoes
  • 1 Chopped red onion
  • 1 Chopped red bell pepper
  •  2 Avocados
  •  2 Tbs Lime juice
  •  ½ tsp Garlic salt
  • 1 Tbs dried Cilantro
  • ¼ tsp Red pepper flakes
  • 2 Tbs Greek yogurt
Combine avocados with greek yogurt and spices.  Mix until smooth.  Assemble the tortilla wraps by placing small amount of chicken, lettuce, tomatoes, onions and peppers in the center.  Top with avocado mixture.  Wrap tortilla and enjoy.  


Thursday, 25 April 2013

So true!

I had a good laugh reading this article.  I remember feeling incredibly stressed by my first daughter's sleeping routine.  I wish someone had been able to get it through my head that I wasn't damaging my child when she didn't get 18 hours of sleep per day.  I also wish more of the "professional parenting" books would just tell you to take it easy, learn to read your baby's cues, and do whatever feels "right" to your child and your parenting style!  This is proof that there are too many voices out there, and they can't all be right.  So you just have to find someone you trust and ask for their advice, adjusting it to your specific needs as necessary.

Hope you enjoy this article as much as I did:

Saturday, 6 April 2013

I liked this too much not to share...

I have been thinking a lot about this very topic lately.  I especially like how he encourages parents to stop comparing themselves to the people who write how-to-be the-perfect-parent blogs.  I plan to write a lot more about this topic very soon (the title will be "The Iron Rod does NOT go through the Great and Spacious Building"), but for now I want to remind those who feel desperately inadequate because of the many mommy blogs out there (or facebook, pinterest, magazines, TV, novels etc) that these sources are NOT gospel truths.   They are personal opinions and experiences. Period.

What is truth?  Scriptures, patriarchal blessings, spiritual affirmations, general conference talks, direction from priesthood authorities, and family relationships.

The reason why I feel so strongly about this is because I also struggle with comparing myself to others, especially when it comes to parenting.  I think everyone does to a certain extent.  The good thing is that if you're struggle with comparing, it probably means you really care about your kids.  A LOT.  Which is the most important thing in parenting anyway :)

Wednesday, 13 February 2013


Amanda and I go way back.  We knew each other before having babies, before college graduation, and even before marrying our husbands.  She was one of the first people I told when Jeff and I started dating seriously.  I have seen Amanda during some of the happiest times of her life, and also durring some of the hardest moments of her life.  And yet, through thick and thin, her countenance never stops beaming her testimony and JOY of the gospel.  It is really wonderful to see her example.

Amanda is hard working and a very talented musician.  She makes friends easily and keeps them FOREVER.  She has a fantastic smile that makes you feel like a million bucks.  It doesn't seem fair that even she, as amazing as she is, had to face infertility and then post-partum depression.  It seems like the woes of women never end!  But I love Amanda's perspective on the infinite LOVE motherhood brings.

Something I have loved about writing this blog is recognizing the strengths of real women all around me.  You don't have to be famous or well-known to be deeply admired and loved.  I hope that when people read this blog they feel empowered by recognizing their own strengths a little better and realizing that we can all make a difference in our circle of influence.

Here is what Amanda has to say about her trials with infertility and post-partum depression:

Hello! My name is Amanda. I have been married for 5 1/2 years and have one 9 month old son. What's that you say? You're Mormon and you've been married for nearly 6 years and you only have one kid? Yep. Just one. My husband and I had to go through a few years of infertility treatments and a miscarriage before we were able to get pregnant. And my dad died during that time. It was pretty hard. But it was also a beautiful time. I would not trade those years that I had with just my husband for anything in the entire world.

I think what got me through those years of infertility was adopting the mindset "Just because Heavenly Father is blessing Mary and Susie and Polly with babies doesn't mean there are fewer babies in heaven for me. Babies are not a commodity" and "Life is not a race." Because let's face it: at BYU where everyone is getting married and having babies sometimes life feels like a race. But it isn't. I actually still have to keep telling myself both of those things. Because my kids won't be 2 years apart. I can't plan like that. They will probably be 4 or 5 years apart. But that is okay. Because life isn't a race.

Another thing that really got me through it was finding friends going through it. Because even though you try to stay positive and happy for others there is always a little (or a large) part of you that is sad for yourself because you want to be a mother so badly.

And now I am a mom! Motherhood is one of the greatest blessings in my life. Period. And because I went through infertility I feel like I have a special understanding of just what it is to be blessed with children. It doesn't make you love your children more than someone who doesn't have to struggle through infertility. Saying that is totally unfair. Every mother loves her children and would do anything, even die, for them. It doesn't make you a better mother. You are just as imperfect as everyone else out there. But going through infertility helps you see motherhood in a little bit of a different light.

It has helped me to realize that even the unpleasant things about motherhood are a blessing because it means you have a child. I would rather have vomit and baby poop all over me and have to change my clothes 10 times a day if it meant I could have a child. And I do. (Have a child I mean, I usually don't have to change my clothes 10 times a day :)

But even with the added level of awareness (via infertility) of the enormous blessing that motherhood is, it is still a huge challenge. There are days when I have yelled, literally yelled, at my 9 month old son. And why? Because I am frustrated and tired and loose my temper. Thankfully I can number those times on one hand. But they have happened. There are days when I long for some me time and I am counting down the minutes until bedtime. My son is going through this screeching phase right now. It is earsplitting. And I don't know what to do!! I want to stop it but how in the world do you discipline a baby? 

I also worry. I worry that in some way I am going to screw up his life or screw up our relationship. Because I just want to be a good mom. And I just want him to know that I love him and would do anything for him. But what if I give him issues? Those are thoughts that run through my head almost on a daily basis.

All that being said, the most difficult aspect of motherhood so far (and by far) was suffering through postpartum depression. Here I was. A new mom. 2 weeks in. And I was crying uncontrollably at the most random times. I was exhausted. I wasn't bonding to my baby. I was a total recluse. I avoided everyone. I avoided the people who brought me meals. It was rough. But here is the clincher. Here is how I knew it was more than just the baby blues or something that would pass on its own: I wanted to hurt my baby. I wanted to shake him and make him sleep and stop crying. I didn't. I had enough self control that I didn't do that. But I wanted to. And it scared me so badly that I called my doctor just bawling my eyes out. In the midst of my uncontrollable crying they comforted me and prescribed me an anti-depressant. Which I took for 4 months. I tried to stop at 2. But all the old feelings started coming back. So I got back on and they magically (or mercifully...) disappeared.

The anti-depressant was my salvation. As soon as it kicked in (about a week after I started taking it) suddenly my life was amazing. Even though my nights were sleepless still and I was still exhausted I couldn't get enough of my baby. I just treasured every. single. moment. Motherhood suddenly became the wonderful thing I heard it was. It was better than I ever dreamed possible. Eventually I weaned myself off the anti-depressant and started exercising regularly. Motherhood still feels awesome-even without medicine now :)

The greatest blessing of motherhood has been the exponential amount of love that has abounded in my life since the birth of my child. I feel this incredible amount of love for him. I feel a closer bond with my husband. I love my mother in a new and deeper way. When I rock my little child I imagine my own mother doing the same for me and my heart wells up with gratitude and a new love and appreciation for her. But most of all my relationship with my Heavenly Father has changed. How must he love me if I love like this? So I would say the greatest blessing of motherhood is the love that has abounded in my life. 

A truly memorable moment was when my boy was about seven weeks old. He was just starting to smile. I had my glasses off and was holding him close to my face. He was smiling at me and I thought we were just bonding and having this beautiful experience together when suddenly *bleh*. He vomited (projectile) all over my face: in my eyes, nose, mouth. I was dripping. And I just started to laugh. Because at a moment like that you can either laugh or cry. So I laughed. It was awesome. 

I feel like becoming a mother is something I do every day. Because even though you do become a mother in an instant (when the baby is born) becoming a true mother in every sense of the word is something that happens slowly. Each dad that passes I learn to love more, be more patient, and be less selfish. Some days are better than others. But motherhood is something that is growing on me. 

I think the absolute most important lesson I have learned from motherhood so far has been patience. I wrote a whole blog post on it: Though I waded through infertility for several years before I became a mother I believe that part of the reason was for me to learn patience. Infertility gave my patience- a great deal of it. A great deal more than I had ever had in my life. My loving Heavenly Father knows what a great deal of patience it takes to be a mother. And he knew I didn't have enough to even get started. So he blessed me with infertility to get me on the path and to teach me enough to get by for the first little while. But my patience has grown in spades since my son was born. 

Advice for a new mom? Get out. Make friends. Schedule at least one outing a week to go and visit a friend. Invite her to come to you or go to her. Make play dates. It doesn't matter if your baby is only an 8 week old blob. The play date is not for him/her. It is for you. You need a supportive network of mothers with whom you are in contact regularly-- in real life too. Facebook doesn't count. 

More advice: Find a babysitter. As soon as you can get someone to watch your kid. Our first date was when Austin was six weeks old. If you're nursing pump off some breast milk or give the kid a bottle. But go out! You and your husband need time together away from the baby and away from the house. Don't forget about that relationship!

Last bit of advice: Don't worry about what the books/other moms tell you. Your child is unique and you have what it takes to be the mom for that child! That is why they are with you and no one else! Trust your instincts. You will know what is best. Go ahead and read books (My bible is Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child). Get advice. But take it all with a grain of salt and adjust it to suit your own needs and personal circumstances. There is no one right way to be a mom. There is no one perfect method. Just trust yourself. You can do this. You can get through it. You had a baby! You are strong.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Being "Good Enough"

I loved reading this article.  There is something special about accepting yourself and your children as "good enough".  In fact, the act of this acceptance actually makes you a better parent!  Letting go of "perfection" allows us to focus on the really important things... which are always simple

 I hope you enjoy this article from SW Parents as much I as did.

"Sometimes – and the dark, cold, cooped-up days of January are just such times – it seems that we can’t get this parenting thing right. Our kids fight us and each other, they defy our orders and all logic, and they seem to be moving backwards as much as moving ahead.
At times like these, it’s helpful to imagine what it takes to be “good enough.” Not spectacular. Not amazing. Just good enough.
The human race has been around for a long, long time and most people have turned out okay. This should be a clue that being “good enough” as a parent isn’t all that complicated. And it’s not. Study after study after study has shown that to become capable, competent, well-adjusted citizens, most children need just a few simple things.
Kids need to know they’re loved and appreciated. This isn’t very difficult to do, but often we forget how important this is. Stop and tell your children that you love them dearly, at least once every day.
Kids need to know you have confidence in them. Here again, it’s easy to try to make our kids perfect instead of recognizing that they’re a work-in-progress. Actually, we’re all a work-in-progress. We all make mistakes and have to redo things. Let your children know that you know they will eventually succeed.
Kids need to know that you’re there to help. You may not have all the answers. In fact, it’s certain that you don’t. But you do have your children’s best interests at heart and no matter what trouble they get into you’re there to lend a hand. Children need to know this with certainty. Do yours?
Kids need to know that there’s always a solution. Children who have a positive attitude and are resilient in the face of setbacks do better in school and grow up to do better in life. Being resourceful and persistent are skills every child needs, and they learn them from you.
There. That’s not too hard. Being “good enough” as a parent has nothing to do with what are sometimes called “the advantages” of life. It’s not about things that money can buy. It’s about the things money can’t buy. Being good enough involves trying to make a real emotional connection with your children without expecting them – or expecting you – to be perfect.
Actions speak louder than words. Acting “good enough” is good enough."  - Dr. Patricia Nan Andersion

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Traveling with Little Ones

We just got back from a LONG trip.  I'm talking 27 days long, with 5 trips to Disneyworld, 4 different states, 3 flights across the country, 2 road trips, 1 night in a hotel, and ZERO nights of good sleep.  And I have two little kids!  Believe me when I say it feels so good to be home.  We had a wonderful time, but there are some things I wish I had done differently to make my life a little easier.

Emily's Tricks for Easy Traveling:

1.  Portable DVD player (or something similar) - I can't tell you how many times this $50 "toy" saved us.  It made the time go by faster during every flight and road trip since my two-year-old was occupied and happy.  I'm not saying she spent 10 hours a day watching movies!  It just helped us avoid some of those ultra stressful moments that naturally occur when traveling :)  I recommend a portable DVD player rather than a tablet because they are sturdier, cheaper, and less important if broken.

2.  Pack LIGHT -- I thought I was packing light this time, but in all honesty, I would have packed HALF as much if I were to do it again.  Here is my recommendation:  fill up half of your suitcase with clothes and the rest with other necessities (toiletries, diapers, blanket, toys, books, curling iron, gifts, whatever).  Only pack enough clothes for 1 week at most (for mom: 5 shirts, 2 pants, a dress, some PJs and 2 pairs of shoes.  for kids: 5 outfits and some PJs) and PLAN on doing laundry frequently.  For me it is much easier to have less STUFF and do laundry often than to have lots of STUFF and have to worry about keeping track of everything.  Less is more.  You don't need every sweater in your closet.  You don't need every bow your daughter owns.  Only bring your very favorites :).

When flying somewhere for Christmas, I recommend packing a small suitcase (carry on) inside a big suitcase (checked bag).  That way you have space to bring home your gifts without spending extra money!

3.  Dry Shampoo -- Look it up.  It's cheap and it's awesome.  Look fresh without spending the time to wash and blow-dry!

4.  Daily Facial Wipes -- Also awesome.  I love these.

5.  Easy-Squeeze Apple Sauce -- Perfect for little kids.  No spoon, no spills, happy healthy kids.  It's a win.

Other tips... wear slip-on shoes to the airport, bring 1 toy per child on the airplane, eat light snacks that will keep you feeling good, and keep your camera close-by to capture those hilarious moments when everything falls apart.

Emily's Traveling DON'Ts:

1.  Don't bring anything on the airplane that you can't quickly stash inside your diaper bag.
2.  Don't leave your house dirty.  You will feel so much better when you come back to a clean house.
3.  Don't forget your two-year-old's socks and shoes on your road trip to snowy Utah.  Like I did.
4.  Don't freak out when everything falls apart.  Because it will.  Just decide to make it a happy family memory (if you can!)

Any other traveling tips?  How did you make it through the busy holiday season in one piece?  

Saturday, 5 January 2013

New Year's Resolutions for Parents

Yes, more awesome articles from SW Parents.

I like this one because it helps keep our goals as parents in perspective.  It is so easy to get overwhelmed by all the "good" resolutions we mothers make year after year -- cook more healthy/delicious dinners, read more to my kids, spend less money, read my scriptures and write in my journal every day, lose weight/exercise, clean out the closets/drawers/garage, finish all my sewing/house projects, learn a new skill, drink more water, be a better visiting teacher, magnify my calling, attend book group/cooking group/exercise group more often, etc etc etc... we could make a new goal for every day of the year.  (And most of us do make new goals every day!)  I don't think our kids will remember whether or not we kept our New Year's Resolutions every year.  I think they will remember that you were there for them, day in and day out, during their entire life.  As long as we are keeping that one goal, you can give yourself a pat on the back.

Making goals is good.  But getting down on yourself for not achieving every single goal is not good.  The important thing in life is progress.  It can be very difficult to see your own progress, so it's easy to be disappointed in yourself about not accomplishing your many goals.  The good thing is that Jesus Christ is patient with us, so we should be patient with ourselves too :).  He doesn't expect us to be perfect.  In fact, our weaknesses play an important role in our lives.  (Don't you think He could have made us perfect in the first place if He wanted us that way?)

This article is also very good.  It has some simple goals that can make a big difference.  (little work + big difference = efficiency.  I'm all about efficiency, people!)

So hug your kids, hug yourself, and have a Happy and Productive New Year, everybody!