Saturday, December 29, 2012

How Do you Feel About Toilets? And Pee. And ummm... One Other Thing...I Forget...

It is precisely 12:26 am and I just finished cleaning my toilets.  I hadn't cleaned them today... or yesterday... and that is just gross.  Why I decided (finally) that they had reached level INTOLERABLE at midnight?  Well.  That is what this post is about I guess.

I feel like I am still learning.  I am learning how to be a mom to my three different boys.  I am learning to be a wife.  A 30 almost 31 year old wife.  To a husband.  A hot, 34 almost 35 year old husband.  Did you know, that when I met and subsequently married my husband I was 18??  Oh yes.  I was a hot 18 year old.  Of course, I was a crunchy, wear no makeup, hadn't figured out the whole "straightening iron" hot 18 year old. 

What does this have to do with the toilets.  Hmmm.

Do you ever feel old?  Or young?  Smart, or stupid?  Capable, or a fool?  How do these labels affect you?  I will tell you how they affect me.

I think this is why people wiser than myself always seem to be saying, "You have to love yourself before anyone else loves you."  or  "Know who you are."  Because if there is any opening in your supposed rock hard armor of self, guess what?  Your toilets will command you.

Okay now you think I am being funny.  And I am.  But this is a serious topic.  I don't know who I am.  Just when I feel like I have gone past the stage of insecurity, bam, something like three dirty toilets knock me off my ROCKER.

If I knew I was who I was (follow?) than not only would dirty toilets at midnight not bother me, but I suspect I wouldn't have let them get dirty for that long in the first place.

This isn't about toilets, you know.  It is about insecurity.  It is about the way insecurity creeps up on me in unsuspected ways and smothers me until I can't stand to be around me.  I can't breath in my own skin.  "This can't be me," I say in desperation.  "I am not leave-the-toilets-uncleaned-girl!" I exclaim.  "What man wants to pee in an uncleaned toilet!"  another wail in my head says.  And before you know it, I have turned into, "Must clean all toilets immediately," girl who is thinking about waking her husband who fell asleep on the couch.  This girl wants to tell him to come to bed, but what if he needs to pee before he goes to sleep?  And then, what if he is disgusted that his wife can't clean and/or delegate the toilets to be cleaned daily?  And then I remember I am 30.  30.  30 doesn't sound as sexy as 18.  Or as skinny.  (And I already WENT through the awakening telling me my weight doesn't make people love or not love me-- another blog folks-- yet still those thoughts are fought back every once in a while)  So not only is my husband married to a 30 year old, he is married to a 30 year old who can't manage toilet cleaning.  That's right. 

So, I cleaned the damn three toilets.  Then I told my husband to go to bed.

I am tempted to end the post there and if I was secure in myself perhaps I would.  But for those confused by middle of the night ramblings, I will wrap this one up.

It isn't that I am 30 almost 31 (age is relative!  My 40 something friend likes to tell me) or that I didn't clean my toilets lately (I haven't cleaned mine in a week another friend might say to comfort me in times such as these), or that my husband will ever truly not love me down to the soles of his feet (cause he always will).  It is that I would like to be more secure than I am.  I also would like to know myself and that these things bug me in the middle of the night-- so I should either get them done during the day or learn to harass my children to do their already delegated jobs.  I would like to take a look at me and say-- you are okay-- and have that be a rock hard, no openings or weaknesses to exploit type of armor.  I am working on it.  Want to work on it with me?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

How I Feel About it Right Now

(This past summer my boys fascinated by a butterfly)
How hard is it to live in the moment?  Oh my goodness.  Every time I think to myself,
"Just look around.  What is going on right now?"
I fight through a buzz of cleaning, cooking, and parenting lists-- pushing them each aside with umph until I finally find that calm and peaceful place that is called PRESENT.  I remember doing that this day.  Buzzing through my overcrowded brain until-- oh, look...  a butterfly...


Speaking of chubby cheeks.  You didn't mention chubby cheeks?  Huh.

Anyways.  Those pictures didn't have all that much to do with this post. 
Have there been prayers lately?  Like, heartfelt and full of tears, snot, and desperation prayers?  Have you sat in your bathroom (alone at last) and gushed out pain and frustration to God.  Not necessarily words, because there usually aren't words in those situations, but all the other elements of prayer were there?   If so, I feel ya.  I hear ya.
I've had those prayers too.  Lately I noticed something.  Those problems that cause those prayers sometimes don't go away no matter how much you wish they would in those bathroom  (again, ALONE AT LAST!) moments.  Those issues you are crying about don't go away no matter how many prayers asking for sweet release.  They just, stay. 
They stay.
So...  What to do...  Well I'll tell you what I did.  I kinda stopped praying about that issue bugging me.  I was like... What's the point?  Nothing happens when I pray about that and I'm pretty sure I will like, go to hell if I feel disappointed about that.  (You know, cause angels always remember that God has his own will and timing, while hellions complain about it.)  So how about I just don't put myself in the situation of being frustrated with God and his way of leaving my "issues" here and now instead of whisking them blissfully away.  How about that?
So, while I still prayed over how in the world to parent my exceptionally exceptional children, safety, and all the other things, I stopped praying over this.... thing.
Then today I was having a hard time.  I decided I would ignore it.  I would push on and ignore my hard time.  When friends called and asked what was up I would lie.  As I went about fulfilling my obligations I would put on fake face and pretend I was good.  It was going to be legendary. 
Then I received this sweet text from a friend telling me she just felt she needed to check up on me and she asked me how I was doing.
You know those moments?  Those moments where God gives you a smack and says-- "Girl, I am here.  Not in the way you would like me to be here.  But I am always here.  Though I am not taking away all of your sorrows, I am helping you through this.  Don't forget all the ways I am helping you through this.  Also, don't forget all the ways I could help you through this if you prayed about it."
You know those ones?
Well.  I remembered.  I felt humbled.  Mostly I began thinking about what it all meant.   This is how I feel about it right now.
God loves me.  Simple as that.  If he loves me-- well...  He DEFINITELY loves you. 
The end.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

If I lose, I want to lose happily

Is your life a race?

I find something so relieving about reading or listening to Conference talks that seem to be telling me to slow down.  When I read council saying-- take it slow-  my body, mind, and soul sigh.  I literally feel my spirit taking a hopeful breath and my tired brain thinks,

"Would that be okay, 'cause I'm exhausted."

Every once in a while I like to stop and think--- what are my priorities?

This talk by President Thomas S Monson is the latest of many talks I have read about slowing down and thinking about what matters.  I liked these parts.

"In this fast-paced life, do we ever pause for moments of meditation—even thoughts of timeless truths?

"...when times of crisis arise, when loved ones are hurt or injured, when sickness enters the house of good health, when life’s candle dims and darkness threatens. Our thoughts become focused, and we are easily able to determine what is really important and what is merely trivial."

I really need these reminders.  I'm so grateful for the drink of water Conference is.  I can let other voices tell me what I need or should be doing much too often.  And most often, it is my own inner demon voice tormenting me day by day.

It says,

Utter Girl, your house is messy.

Utter Girl, your grass ought to be cut more often.

Utter Girl, you do not cook enough.

Utter Girl, you did not spend enough time at the gym.

Utter Girl, you did not spend enough time on your hair and make up.  I mean, how many days in a row has your hair looked like that??

It says other things.  Harsher things.  Cruel things.  I am my own worst critic and it seems sometimes that the only answer to the many calls of my inner voice is to just move faster.

When I became sick a year and a half ago and then remained sick thereafter (to varying degrees), I began to notice that the first thing to go was the house.  It became messier.  Then, my grass rarely was cut.  I certainly didn't get to the gym, and my hair was often ugly, while makeup became non-existent.

But what really really bugged me in the back of my SOUL were thoughts of my family. 

Are the boys happy enough? Have we walked together in nature enough? Do they see their friends enough?  Am I spending enough time chatting with them?  Does my husband feel supported enough?  Am I serving my friends enough?  Am I spending enough time on my calling?  Do those I love feel loved???

I had questions and nagging thoughts still, but the questions changed.  I also found that I could live with the first set of things going, but I absolutely hated letting the second set of things be neglected.  The first set of things were things that made me look as if I had it together, but the second set of things were what truly needed to be held together.

Does that make sense?

This past six months has brought on an improvement in my health, and with it, more capability to keep up with the lists.  But I'm tired sometimes.  And I hope I will remember the next time I am tired that the best thing for my soul and for my eternal happiness is to slow down.  Then, after I slow down, to think and ponder about lessons I've learned about what matters.  I hope that I let go of the things that make me appear like I have it together, and I focus on the things that really keep me together.  Because if I go to sleep at night having gone to the gym, done my hair, cleaned my home and with a manicured lawn-- yet I didn't spend time with my children, didn't serve my amazing friends, my husband felt neglected because I was much too tired to spend time with him after hurriedly putting the kids to bed--- those are the things that will keep me up at night.  Those are the things my soul will cry out over.  Weeping over lost time with chubby cheeks, tiny voices, and loving arms around me.  These are the things I can't live happily without.  So if I am tired enough that I need to choose, I want to just teach myself to slow down and pick the better part.  I know my soul will give that wonderful sigh if I do.  That wonderful sigh of true content.


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Thing About Being Crazy Honest

I love being crazy honest.  It is so cleansing.  It is so freeing.  I think it is funny when I fear opening up and being honest about something and then it turns out that I had nothing to fear.  My brain is so crazy.  The more often I am honest about how I am feeling at that very moment, the more I come to terms with that crazy brain, the more I understand myself, and the more I connect with others.  So that is one of the very biggest reasons why I blog. 

Understand this though.  What I feel and write about so vehemently today, may be completely different by tomorrow.  After I write out what I feel, the thing I love more than anything is hearing someone else's take on what I said.  I love having discussions.  Ah- discussions.  Talk to me.  Change my opinion.  Tell me why I am fundamentally wrong.  Teach me about you and where you come from.  I want to learn from you.  YOU.  (Did you hear that?)  By tomorrow I will have a completely different view-- and I hope you are okay with that.  I feel that, as humans, we can have a tendency to want to keep people where they are in our memories.  One of the greatest gifts we can give one another is to allow each other to change.  Allow me to grow, and maybe we will get along on this blog of mine.  It is mine. 

Lately I have been struggling with prayer.  I also have been struggling with the doctrine of the church.  What is it?  Where is it?  What is the definition of Doctrine?  Why are there so many interpretations of the same scriptures?  Why do we fight so hard for what we deem to be the correct interpretation?  Why do we judge others so harshly for having a different interpretation of a scripture that isn't very clearly laid out?  The Word of Wisdom is a perfect example of this to me.  I have Vegan friends, grain free friends, gluten free friends, dairy free friends, friends that are juicers, friends that are against taking prescription meds, friends that love prescription meds, friends that hate cooking and buy everything at least semi premade, and friends who only eat what they cook and deem to be "real food".  I love all of these people and I really love hearing about how they ended up on the path they are on. I like hearing their stories and interpretations of the Word of Wisdom and how on earth they decided that they could be so certain about that interpretation that they actually want to tell the world all about it.  It fascinates me.

Anyways-- as much as I enjoy learning, I also get frustrated when doctrine isn't clear.  I am a, "Tell me exactly what I need to do so I can go get it done, " type of personality.

Also, what am I praying for, exactly?  To align myself with God's will?  Really?  Or am I supposed to tell him honestly all of my  thoughts?  Am I supposed to tell him all of my super silly thoughts, then listen and hope that what the spirit tells me afterwards makes my thoughts more in line with the way they should be?  Probably.  Mostly what seems to happen since I got sick though is this,

"Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you so much for the opportunity to be alive and spend time with my children and husband today...  Thank you for all the things you helped me accomplish, it felt really nice to get those things done.  Please help me to do better tomorrow.... zzzzzzzzzz... {start awake!} ummm... (then I start to get really guilty feelings as I think of that quote, "What if tomorrow I only woke up to the things I thanked God for the night before?")  Oh-  Thank you so much for my husband and my children and my wonderful  family and friends and .... zzzzzzzz....  "

Then I feel a gentle nudge from the spirit saying, "It is okay, just get in bed so you can rest your weary and aching bones."

And I end my prayer with gratitude for the kindness of our Heavenly Father, hoping I am not so exhausted tomorrow (which I will be-- experience people) and I climb in bed hoping for an excellent night of sleep and a fresh beginning to live life to its fullest tomorrow...

Perhaps my shorty prayers are proof that I am living life to it's fullest and that is why I am so dern tired.  zzzzzzzz....

Goodnight my friends.  Here is to fresh starts and understanding one another, rather than willfully misunderstanding, you know? 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Did You Know?

Did you know, that if your kids want to be in a parade, there is a way to call up some of their friends and make that happen?  Oh yes.  You can decorate their bikes, scooters, really any contraption with wheels with streamers or balloons (or both), you can turn up the music really loud in your car, and you can follow as every one rides or pushes their contraption around the block and your kids will Totally feel like they have been in a parade.

In fact, your kids and those friends will feel glorious afterwards.  What?

I just love the way summer inspires me to slow down and take time to create magic for my kids.  It isn't even hard.  That suprised me.  I thought it would be harder. 

 I feel that deep down, I am a really terrible mother.  I think I live in fear of that being true.  Every day I look in the mirror, second guessing all of the decisions I make for my children.   I wonder to myself, "Am I doing it all wrong?  Do I really have any idea of what I am doing?  Is that seriously a cobweb in my BLINDS?"  The thing is, I really really want to do it right, and I live in fear that I am doing it wrong.  Not just a little bit wrong either, like, psychological damage ruined life wrong.  Sheesh I need more medication.

I think there is a point to this.

On days like the Parade Day, as I sit around the dinner table and hear the kids tell thier father with shining eyes that mom made a parade and they were in it, I feel deep down inside that maybe I did something right.   I like that feeling and I try to repeat that feeling as often as possible.

And don't try to tell me I am a good mom.  We don't really know each other well enough for you to do that.  I think what I really wonder is-- do other mom's share my fear?  Or am I the only one who feels, "God made me a mom and I am sure it is a joke he's playing on me most of the time."

Oh yes, God has a sense of humor.  Don't ever doubt it. 

If you do share that fear with me, what do you do to combat it?  A parade?  Maybe?

I feel like reading books to my children at night is a good mom thing too.  I always feel like, "Man, I am an awesome mom.  I like, read to my kids.  Whew!"  Isn't that funny?  When we all sit down at the table for dinner at the same time, I feel pretty darn awesome too.  Oh- family home evening is another one.  If I am doing family home evening, I totally have an I'm a terrific person moment.  What are your moments?  Tell me tell me.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Peanut Butter? Um... No

My third son asks me every day if he,

"can make a butter samwich and eat it?"

The first time he asked me if he could do this we were going on a picnic.  When I am trying to herd my children out the door for an event like this, I generally speak to all of them at once.  So this day I said,

"Everyone make yourself a sandwich, put it in a baggy, then put it in your lunchbox so we can go have a picnic.

My third child, who is 4, had never made himself a sandwich before.  I was running around like a crazy person filling water bottles with ice water, digging around for granola bars, and resurrecting lunch boxes that had been getting buried in the pantry since school had let out for summer.  I suppose while I was doing this he was thinking,

"Hmmmm.... I am not very good at spreading things on bread like my brothers are.  Is there a very soft substance that I also like to eat on bread?  Then I can be big like them..."

I came back from crazy-finding-gathering-long-lost-lunch-paraphernalia land to Jackson proudly showing me a sandwich in a baggy inside his lunch box.  He said,

"I made a butter sandwich!"

 I said, "A peanut butter sandwich?"

He responded, "No, a butter sandwich."

Um.  Okay.

He has made himself a butter sandwich nearly every day since then.


But you should see him.  His chubby cheeks lift towards the counter as he searches for creamy yellow butter from the butter dish with his knife.  He concentrates as he determines that he is going to try to cut it in half by himself this time.  The way he carefully brings his plate to the table and then the way he eats all but the crust and then declares, "I can cut all my samwiches in half by myself for you now mom.  When you make grilled cheese, I will cut it for you."  He gets this look in his eyes as he thinks about these glorious future moments of independence. 

Dear little one.  I hope I can give you more chances to feel independent in your life.  I love the look you get in your eyes as you work for something you want.  You inspire me to help all three of my boys have that look every day of their lives.  You are so precious to me.  I am so glad I am your mom.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Joy and Misery

I remember a seminary class I attended in the 11th grade where the teacher had written on the board,
"Why Suffer?"

He then taught a class about all the reasons he had uncovered for human suffering.  I am grateful for that class because I think it taught me that suffering is going to happen, and too not get to hung up on the whole, "WHY??????" mentality;). 

I think it is good to wonder why to a point, but I also feel that we aren't always given answers.  It is a part of life that we are to struggle against all odds.  It gives excitement to our overall story.  Who wants to pass down a story to their grand kids about how well they did because everything was so easy?  No no-- we want to be legendary.  We want to have something to say about how we were strong, intelligent beings who molded-- with difficulty--- their life until it was shaped into something worth reading about.  I want my life to be gorgeous because I made it that way, not because that is how it was handed to me.

But-  I am off the original topic.

Last month I came across something in my scripture reading that I hadn't thought about before.  I believe it answers the , "Why Suffer?"  question a bit.  Even though I write about wanting to be able to hand down a glorious story to my grandchildren, it is still difficult to hang on to such a romantic mentality when in the depths of crappy misery.  Oh is it hard.  It is good during these times especially to be reminded why we struggle on to wrestle life into what we want it to be.

So if you are trudging on every day, just glad to be able to put one torturous foot in front of the other, barely hanging on with your chipped fingernails-- perhaps this one is for you. 

Have you ever read The Count of Monte Cristo?

(SPOILER ALERT!  If you haven't read this novel, there are spoilers in this next paragraph)

Well, you should if ya haven't.  I loved it, yet there was a part that sincerely bothered me after I read it.  During the novel the "count" feels he is blessed with resources that grant him the ability to act in Gods name for revenge on those who ruined his life.  That part was interesting enough.  He also felt it in his power to reward those he admired and who tried to help him in his life.  So he did so.  There was one Character in particular who he felt deep love and friendship towards.  So he set about making this man miserable.  He lets this man think his true love was dead.  He let this man eventually "kill" himself because he was so miserable over it, but she wasn't really dead and he wasn't really killing himself.  When the man woke up again after attempting suicide, he was in his loves arms.   The friend was given a letter from the Count explaining that since he loved his friend so well, he wanted him to be truly happy.  The Count tells his friend that he knows deep and true happiness is never achieved until you have felt total misery.  Oh yes.  When I finished reading that portion of the novel and after I had closed my shocked mouth,  I felt indignation at the Count's treatment of one he professed to love so well.

A few weeks later I was reading in the Book Of Mormon, 2 Nephi chapter two verse 23

The verse is talking about Adam and Eve and how if they had remained in the Garden of Eden they would have,
"remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery..."

I read and re-read this scripture.  I was already thinking about this topic because of the novel I had recently finished, so it was so surprising to run across what looked like the exact same view point as the novel I had been reading-- yet it was there in my scriptures!

Perhaps if we never experience misery-- And I mean MISERY.  That is the word used.  MISERY.  Duh duh DUHHHHH.....

Perhaps if we never experience misery, we will never know joy.  If men are that they might have joy, well-- they also are that might have misery, or they will never have joy.

In a dark hour, I read that novel, then I read that scripture, and I knew I was experiencing muddy ugly misery.  I also remembered that it was only so that I could understand joy once it was in front of me.  It reminded to me start shaping my life work with that muddy misery, so that when my grandchildren learn about me someday, they will see that I shaped my muddy misery time with care and I came through with an awesome sculpture.  They can know that I experienced true joy and I was able to recognize it.  They will say-- I hope that I can experience Joy too, and they will know that if they are to do that, they will have to have misery as well, so they won't be afraid of it so much when it comes.  They will be able to take misery more in stride, knowing life comes with both it and joy, and they should be glad because it is either both or nothing.

If I could go back and choose, I would choose both. 

(You are thinking... what is she looking at.....?)

I Left My Dad First

I left my dad almost 12 years ago.

So really, this is my fault.  My dad came to visit me this weekend in all his glory.  He is bigger than life to me and to his grandchildren.  He is a get on the floor and play, joker, make you feel wonderful type of dad and grandfather.  He will make dinner with me and chat about whatever deep thoughts are going through my head, then he will make me laugh until I cry.  He will charm my entire group of friends until they all wish they knew him better.  He is an absolutely sweet hearted, sincerly thinks he has the best kind of daughter type of guy.   He is a work on his laptop so he doesn't get behind in his business from the time everyone is in bed until 2 in the morning, then wake up early to work until we all wake up so he can play all day and make us feel special person.  He is my hero.   I love him so much.

I find myself enjoying immensly every meal I make for him.  Anything I can do to add to his comfort and care brings me deep satisfaction.  I am honored to serve this great man.  It is an honor.  I would wash his feet, then look around proudly at anyone who witnessed it.

He left me this morning to go back to where he belongs.  He went back to his home where he is needed and loved.  I'm pretty sure my heart just broke a little.

I left him first though.  So really, this is my fault.  I grew up and found another man to fit into my heart and make meals for.  Another man to honor and serve, and I never came back home.  It shows how wonderful this new man was.  How else could I leave?

Love you dad.  I will miss you until I see you again.  Thanks for honoring us with a visit for the weekend.

Friday, February 3, 2012

My Super Cool Husband Had a Birthday

(I suggested the jazz hands.  They add a little something)

This shall be my ode to my husband.  But I am no good at odes.  Just know that.  He does, but I won't let that stop from trying!

My husband is a very patient man.  He married me when I was the tender age of 18, his idea even!  He has waited very patiently as I have grown up.  I'm still working on it, in fact.  We have been married for 11 years now, and every year gets sweeter.

So the sad, sad truth is that I had my first child three days before my husbands birthday and so my husband has had crappy birthdays ever since. 

My eldest child gets rockin birthdays with a theme and a decorated house and a friends party every year.  It's pretty awesome.  I like to make big deals out of birthdays.  I like to pick up my kids from school at lunch time and party at Mcdonalds.  I like to make them feel special all the day long.  A birthday is just once a year, so I enjoy making others feel special on their day.

But there is just something about me and my first child having a birthday just three days before my husband.  Something about it that makes me seriously too exauhsted to make more than one person a very special birthday party in one week.

This year was the year of the husband.

I invited 20 friends over for dinner.  Oh yes.  I made dinner for them all.  To be fair, I asked some of them to bring salad.  I shopped for silver and yellow decor, decorated to my hearts desire (almost, I think there could have been more balloons), and I tried to think of things to make my dear husband feel special on his day.  We cleared the tables and chairs away after dinner and dessert and had a racous night of games afterwards.  I had to pretend to be a dog at one point.  It was legendary.  You had to be there.

I know what you are thinking.

"WHERE can I get one of those crowns???"  Well, everything can be had at a price my dear.  AnYtHiNg.

Yeah, my art skills aren't fantastic.  So sue me.  One of our friends at the party asked me if my children had helped make the crown.

I have really great handwriting as well.  My handwriting is as awesome as my art skills. 

I sure do love my husband.  I am so glad I finally was able to give him the party I have wished I had given him for the past 9 years.  Love you babe.  You are wonderful.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Lest You Think I Never Make Gross Things

So I would like you to picture a big bowl of Honey Nut Chex Cereal in my hand, because that is what I ate for dinner tonight.

You know, there are different things that happen to people that make them feel as though they had a good or bad day.

Maybe they felt skinny that day.  Good day.  Maybe they went for a run.  Good day.  Yoga?  Good day.  Maybe they told someone they loved them and they said it back.  Good day.

For me lately, there are two things that determine whether or not I have a good day or not.  No joke.  Unfortunately.

One-- Whether or not I threw an unwarranted tantrum.  I mean, I'm all 30 and stuff now.  Tantrums for no good reason ought to have been left with my single digit years-- but they have stuck with me.

Two--  Whether or not what I made to eat that day tasted good.  What?

Well, both of those things happened the bad way today.  Not only did I have an unwarranted tantrum, but what I attempted to bake was a total flop.

It was floptastic.


So, I had a really good therapy session with a very wise friend who calmed me back down after my tantrum.  After I declared four loaves of very flat french bread  inedible(my first fail with that recipe), I poured myself a bowl of cereal.  I may have ate icecream before that bowl of cereal.  Two things justify eating dessert before dinner. 

One--  Going out to a resturaunt

Two--  A very bad day.

This post is funny for a couple reasons. 

ONE--  I really liked that talk with my friend so that means the day wasn't a total bust.

TWO--  After the bread fail I  had a really fun conversation with my brother that reminded me what I bake isn't everything.   

Now that I think about it, the day was pretty darn great.


Also, my littlest baby four year old son wouldn't go to bed until I read him the same Cars book I have read him a meeellion times the past few months.  I like to watch his chubby hands turn the pages.  That part was pretty great as well.

Then, my oldest recited word for word the facts from his book about the universe.  Word for word.  He had this look of complete discovery and fascination that I couldn't look away from though.  Have you seen my oldest smile?  He has dimples.  He has the most handsome smile.  I was so glad he wanted to share with me the new things he was learning about the universe, by golly, just to see his face light up.  I could listen to him rattle of facts I already learned years ago forever.

Okay I officially have more than two reason why my day was actually great.  And now in all fairness here is the middle one.

Oh my he is soooooooooooo cute!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Second Taste

This is why I bake for other people in families that are not my own.  When I asked my second son ( I have three) to finish his dinner this is the face he made.  The red eyes just make this picture.

After that we had a little photo shoot.

Do you read the blog Cjane Enjoy It?  (

Well, for the longest time she had this quote at the top of her blog about how we write to taste life twice, once in the living and another in the telling-- or something clever like that.

I have been thinking about that quote for the past few days. 

I have been thinking about how sometimes when I taste life the first time it isn't so sweet-  and how I'm okay with that.  Life can be frustrating and difficult that first time tasting it.  But if I can snap a picture of it and taste it a second time by writing about it-  it is so sweet to look back on.  This is my one life. I struggle onward to make it awesome.  Because I am struggling the first time around to make it awesome-  it may make the taste a little bitter.  But the second time I am just enjoying it, laughing at it, reliving it.  I can see more clearly the parts of it that are awesome.

That's why I like keeping a record of my life.  It is wonderful to taste. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

I am sitting up in my bed with my laptop on my... lap (whatdoyouknow) and I am considering the mound of starburst wrappers that have piled up on the end table next to me.

This little guy told me that he wanted to play baseball yesterday.  Little did I know that what he meant was he wanted me to blow up one long balloon and four little round balloons and then play with those.  I love having a four year old.

Action shot!

I was in charge of throwing the balloons at him.  Have you ever tried to throw a balloon to a certain spot?  It's hard.

Real life shot!

So if you were wishing to only read blogs from people who do their children's hair before taking pictures, and who also always have wonderfully clean and organized houses in the back ground, I'm sorry you are reading my blog right now.

Here we are in the office where the balloon making was happening.

I love this kid so much.  How did I ever get so lucky?  We hang out every day, just thinking about what we can get into next.  Today Jackson painted stickers of snowmen.  I thought that was pretty weird but he thought it was the coolest thing ever.  I spent an hour on the treadmill and he spent an hour running in between the kitchen and the office alternately painting and showing me what he had done.

I have been thinking about my health lately. Four weeks ago my doctor put me on a new medicine and weaned me off most of my other meds based on the diagnosis I received at the Mayo Clinic and I am feeling better.  I occasionally have a few of my old symptoms come up-- like today my stomach and joints were hurting a little bit and I have been tired the past few days, but nothing like what it was.   I really feel so good.  I have been able to accomplish the things I wanted to do and I have been so grateful for my healthy body the past two weeks.  What a remarkable blessing a healthy body is.  I feel liberated.  I have had the most fun playing with my kids though.  We play Just Dance on the Xbox.  My four year old makes me pretend to be the yellow ranger (cause she's a girl).  We make cookies, play with playdough, and make crafts.  The house is relatively clean.  I make dinner.  It is really weird.  For almost a year those types of things were sporadic to non-existent.  I am a lucky girl.

Speaking of making dinner.

Want some?

Recipe found HERE.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Peaches in my Freezer

I couldn't stop thinking about peaches.

This past summer I had such a wonderful time buying a whole bushel of peaches.  I was all, "I am so awesome.  I am going to put all these peaches stored away in my pantry and in my freezer."

So there they sit. 

I hate cobbler.  Perhaps I should have sat down with those peaches in the beginning of our relationship and explained that.  Probably.

Me-  "So, peaches....  Do you do anything else besides cobbler?"

Peaches-  "I like to keep my relationships a bit of a mystery at first.  If you want to get to know me, you are just going to have to figure me out without my help."

Bratty peaches.

I was sitting in my kitchen today and I was trying to think of something desserty to make. 

All I could think about was how much I hate cobbler.

Don't you hate cobbler?  It is sooo.... gross.  It's like all... not sweet enough...

But I have all these peaches frozen and they are gorgeous!  They can't go to waste!  I spent time preserving those things!  Grrrr....

Anyways, what really matters is that I ended up making a crisp instead of a cobbler out of those peaches.  I just mixed butter, loads of brown and white sugar, oatmeal, flour, baking soda, cinnimon, and nutmeg, put half of the mixture on the bottom, put peaches on top of that, then put the other half of the mixture on top of the peaches.  I baked it for 25 minutes until it got crispy like creme brulee on top.

Then I served it with icecream.  It was all silky and rich and wonderful.  MMmmmm.

Want some?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

This is a picture of the finished cheesy bread I mentioned in THIS post.

Doesn't that cheese melting out of it make you want some?  I know, me too. 

More about that later.

Do you have a spot in your house that ends up looking like this each morning?

I start out reading scriptures and writing in my Pepto Bismal Pink Awesome Journal, then I check my email on my laptop while getting distracted by facebook, then I have little ones demanding I read books to them and by the end this is the pile left behind.  It is the best.  I just had to snap a picture of it.

What have I been thinking about as I study scriptures in the morning lately?  I'm glad you asked.

Lately I have been thinking about free will, reason, and the way it connects to receiving personal revelation-- how about you?

So in my last post I promised pictures of the finished products of all the different breads I was making.

Here is a picture of the crunchiest on the outside while chewy on the inside bread that I make in my cast iron enameled pan.  Drool...

Isn't it lovely from every angle?

And that cheesy bread at the beginning of the post?  A total keeper of a recipe. 

Then there was the super soft and silky and fluffy sandwich bread.  Seriously, all other recipes may be dead to me.  I love that I used "seriously,' and "may," in the same sentence there.

So this is how I get my dough to rise.  On my heating pad I like to keep right by where I collapse on my bed at the end of the day for my back.  I know what you are thinking right now.


But really-- it was a cold day and this was a perfect way to get my dough to rise up soft and fluffy.

Speaking of soft and fluffy things I have created.

I have three of those and you can't have any of them.


I like to bite his cheeks.  Delicious.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

So My Name is Utter Girl and My Only Real Hobby is Baking... I Thought You Should Know

This is a picture of what I look like when I eat.  Don't you look that way too?

So today I woke up and I just itched to bake.  It was essential that I cover myself and my kitchen in flour.  I needed to grind my own wheat and then pour it into a mixing bowl whilst following a good recipe.  Or two or three.  I just needed to.

So today I am going to make your baking day by showing you a few sites that have taught me all I need to know about baking really good bread sticks, pizza dough, sandwich bread (that you actually want to make sandwiches out of), and a really beautiful rustic loaf that looks like you bought it at a bakery but NO--  it came out of your own oven and was made with your own little hands.  Oh yes.

If that doesn't scratch your baking itch than we likely won't ever be really good friends, you know?

...I'm sure you are okay with that.


I will show you a site that will answer every single question you have about how to make a whole wheat loaf of sandwich bread that is both soft and delicious.  It is both non-crumbly and beautiful.

I mean... come on.

I have a friend who has a friend... or something... who has this really handy site all about everything from how to make the perfect chocolate cookie to how to make a really great loaf of bread (as I said).  I don't know where these girls have been all my life.  My cookies and bread thank them. 

So this is a link to the bread tips that I use, but really, spend some time browsing the site-- it is so thorough.  If you didn't have someone hover over you and teach you all you need to know about cooking growing up, then this will be a good substitute. 

So the number one step for making fluffy chewy sandwich bread on that page is to soak your wheat flour for 1/2 hour to 12 hours.  This means you mix your flour and water and let it sit at room temperature on your counter.  I made around four recipes this morning (or will be later) and when I do that I like to label my doughs.  Today I just covered my dough in plastic wrap and then wrote on it with a sharpie.  But by all means, do whatever floats your boat.

What?  When you run out of plastic wrap suddenly don't you use leftover red wrap from Christmas?  I have green too.

HERE is a link to the pizza dough I am making.  Oh Pinterest, what would I do without you? This recipe claims to be the BEST ONE EVER....  I will have to see if I agree!   Half of this dough will be made into those cheesy bread sticks she mentions in the same recipe.  My husband has requested and shall receive.

Since I was in the mood to use flour I had just ground myself I busted out this contraption.  Check her out???  She is an oldie but goodie.  I somehow inherited her from my wonderful husband's grandma.  Cool huh?  She kind of looks like an Unidentified Flying Object.

Since I was using whole wheat and I don't want my pizza dough heavy and bricklike, I went ahead and soaked my flour by combining the water and flour the recipe called for.  I will just add the rest of the ingredients after that sits for a few hours.

After I put that together I thought to myself, "Why stop there!?"  So I kept on grinding wheat berries into flour and mixed up enough flour and water to start soaking three loaves of sandwich bread.  That recipe is above and also HERE.

I also like to sometimes write the ingredients I have already used... You know, not that I would forget and add them twice and ruin the recipe or anything...  Ha-- I tried to cover this bowl in leftover Christmas saran wrap and not only was it not sticking but it wasn't large enough.  I grabbed the lid for the bowl and put the labeled wrap on top.  See?  Whatever floats your boat.

After that I thought to myself again, "More more!"

So I pulled out THIS recipe.  Pioneer Woman, sigh.  (I love you).  I made this loaf just the other day and it turned out so beautiful it made me leak a few tears.  I wanted to do that again. Since I have to think about when my oven will be free to do all this baking, I decided to use a technique a friend just shared with me the other day.  She made this beautiful bread and shared it with me-- I asked her, "Friend, did you make this with half whole wheat and half white flour?"  and this friend said, "Why no, I used half hard white wheat and half soft white wheat!"

So that is what I did with this recipe.  I just love using all whole grains and using my grinder this morning probably gave me the chills but I mean, I wouldn't admit that here.  That would be weird.

So here is my lovely ball of dough rising for the most beautiful loaf you ever will see.

What on earth am I going to do with all of this bread after it is baked, you ask?  Well that is a very good question I thought hard about as I was covering every surface of myself and my kitchen with freshly ground flour.  I thought to myself, "Utter Girl, who do you think would take this freshly made bread off your hands after you make it cause, you know that your kids hate sandwiches made with anything other than white bread from the store and nobody but you really cared about that beautiful rustic loaf you made the other day and half of it would have gone to waste had you not made that french toast out of it a few days later... (I always think in run on sentences.)"  So I thought up a few friends who have gone through some hard or new times lately and I will be stuffing my three boys in the van later on and making them deliver them right to those friends doors.  Warm.

So there, ungrateful intermediate family.  That is how I will deal with you.

And that is where I am.  In a few hours I will put the rustic loaf into the oven to bake for a little over an hour.  While that bakes in my cast iron enamel pan I will add the rest of the ingredients to my sandwich bread to start it rising.  It will need about three and half hours to rise twice and bake after that.  Oh yes, it will be ready right as my children get home from school so they can deliver it for me.  My rustic loaf will have baked while the other bread rose (are you following me?) and it will have cooled while the sandwich bread baked, so it will be ready to deliver as well.  I know just where that loaf will go.  A friend just got home from having a baby and I know she will appreciate that loaf's glory.  (If you don't appreciate the loaf's glory, you don't get bread.  So there, intermediate family... who I love...)

Then after we get home I will make cheesy bread sticks to go with dinner.  I will need to mix in the rest of the ingredients into this while the sandwich bread is baking.  That way the bread stick/pizza dough can rise while we are delivering bread.  Oh yes, this is going to work out.

I will post pics another time of all the loaves completely and out of the oven.  I love baking days!  Yay!

 Here is a recap of all of those links:

Sandwich Bread Technique from The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie

Pizza Dough and Bread Stick Recipe from Lauren's Latest

Super Awesome Crunchy on Just the Very Outside and Softy Silky on the Inside Beautiful Loaf

There you have it.