Wednesday, May 20, 2015

One Thing Every Household Should Stock Up On

Okay, so I'm not trying to turn my blog into an advertising space.  I'm just trying to blog as frequently as I can so I can get back to journaling my life, and it just so happens that the thing on my mind this morning that I'd like to write about is:

(If you click on the link, it will take you to Amazon, but I won't get any earnings from it.  I'm not that cool.  For real, I'm sharing this because it's genius, not because I'm trying to be all advertise-y.)

And water bottles, I guess.  That's my favorite water bottle.  Also, no, I did not strategically place the puke bag on my desk.  It was sitting there all on its own.

We went on vacation soon after we got our new van, and I was scared of people getting car sick, so I bought some throw up bags on Amazon to stick in the van with us.  We've only had to use the bags once or twice during road trips, but we liked them so much that they've become a staple in our house when we have the stomach flu.

Why they are so awesome:
  • Easy to carry.
  • Easy to hold to your face, even for Becca.
  • No backsplash! 
  • After its been used, you just put a twist tie around the middle and throw it in the trash.  Outside.
  • You can measure how much you emptied from your stomach, if you're like Marcus, who enjoys that sort of thing.
I am normally all about reusing things.  I used cloth diapers (fluffy bums!) on both my boys and Rebecca.  We use cloth napkins every day.  But this is one thing that I am more than happy to not put in the reusable pile.  The benefits far outweigh the costs - it makes passing the flu bug around the family so much easier!

(And there's my non-advertisey advertisement.  If you couldn't tell, we've been dealing with the flu for the past week and a half.  First it was Becca, then Ethan and Alyssa, then Marcus while I was out of town, now Becca again.  I just got on Amazon to restock our bags, and I'm hoping that being all prepared like that will make this darn sickness go away for good.)

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Scripture Study For Carrie's Brain

I have always struggled with scripture study.  I love the scriptures and the scripture stories, but it has always been so hard for me to sit down and follow a real scripture study plan.  Of course, being a busy mom never helps, but busy moms especially need the power of the scriptures in their lives. 

I've also realized this year on my quest for truth and deeper understanding that I have always been a checklist person.  Well, I've always know that I'm a checklist person, but I realized that when I read my scriptures, I was mostly doing it to check it off my daily to-do list, and not really internalizing and learning from the things I was reading.  That's obviously not good for my spirituality!

I saw a post go by on Facebook, checked it out, and discovered the Red Headed Hostess.  She creates and sells scriptures study journals, Sunday School journals, Personal Progress journals, and a whole lot of other types of journals.  She is awesome! 

I ordered the Personal Progress journal for Alyssa, and it's helping to keep the principles she's learning in one place.  I also got the family journal for our family study and the Topics journal for myself.  Oh my goodness, I love it!  It's like someone took the way my brain organizes things and plopped it on a piece of paper.

This morning I started studying, "patience."  With a dramatic tween girl in the house, my patience is constantly being tested.  The greatest thing about this journal is that I've already learned so much just from writing down the definition of the word.  Plus, I can go back to it tomorrow and just keep adding to it.

It has a Table of Contents that you fill in as you go, so even if I felt I was done studying patience for now, I can always come back to it later.

The cover makes me so happy!  See?  I think she really made these journals just for me.

Monday, May 18, 2015

LDStorymakers Conference 2015

This weekend I was able to attend the LDStorymakers conference in Provo, Utah.  I went with two awesome ladies:

Michelle A. Hansen  (check her out on Amazon!)

She's the one without the goatee.  Goatee Man is James Dashner, who wrote The Maze Runner.
 Rebecca Sachiko Burton

Yes, everyone called her a foxy lady.
We had the best time.  The classes were amazing.  I learned so much, and I now have a ton of new strategies to make my book better.  The people there were awesome, and I met a whole slew of famous authors.  I totally geeked out when Brandon Sanderson walked into the room during the book signing.  I kept thinking, "Don't run up and hug him.  Don't run up and hug him," and Sachiko was saying, "We should totally go up and hug him right now.  You don't think he'd like that?  Hhmm...maybe not."  We were able to contain ourselves.  Just barely.

A few of my favorite quotes from the conference:

  • Everyone's gonna love everything you write!  (Sarah M. Eden Defining the Relationship)
  • Life is way too short to finish reading bad books.  (Jolene Perry Showing, Not Telling)
  • I love falling into a book.  (Jennifer Rofe' Strong First Pages)
  • Don't write the stuff your readers skip.  (Sarah M. Eden The Indescribable Class on Description)
  • Please don't unintentionally write an incestual book.  (Sarah M. Eden The Indescribable Class on Description)
  • All that is necessary for evil to come to pass is for good men to do nothing.  (Anne Perry Author Chat)
  • The Lord told stories for a very good reason - it works.  (Anne Perry Author Chat)
  • Tawanda, not again! (TLC's I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant, Twice)
When I told my mom that Brandon Mull was going to be there, she told me to ask why he chose a certain ending for one of his characters in the Beyonders books.  As a mother, she was heartbroken that this boy would think that he was unloved by his family.  (I haven't read the book, so I don't know all the details.)

I didn't think I would get any opportunity to talk to him, and I don't think she was serious when she made the request, but after one of the classes he gave, I noticed he was sticking around to talk with people and that the crowd wasn't too crazy.  I almost chickened out multiple times, but I did it.  He explained to me the best he could why he chose that ending, and we got a couple of great pictures of me "scolding" him.

 He was kind enough to take a real picture with me later, at the book signing.

 We didn't think Brandon Sanderson was going to make it to this year's conference.  We were bummed.  But then at lunch on Saturday I went out to call Brian, and I saw a note on one of the bookstore tables.

 I started looking for a copy of Mistborn he could sign, and I kept catching myself petting the paper as I looked.  Like four times!

And here I am with the great Brandon Sanderson.  He was pretty excited.

There's so much more I want to write, but I need to go to bed.  It's way past my bedtime.  Anyway.  Awesome conference.  Awesome people.  I can't wait to keep going on making my book better.  Maybe someday the Big B will be pointing to me with a goofy star struck expression, or maybe I'll at least get this darn book finished.


This is why my bag would get heavier as each day went on:

And there's two books missing from this pile.

I've got a tribe now!

Check this out!

I told James Dashner that I listened to The Maze Runner while training for my half marathon, and I got multiple fistbumps through the conversation.  (Actually, I accidentally said I ran a full marathon, because I nervously forgot to say, "half," and at that point I just let it go so I didn't look even more stupid explaining.)  He said he wants to put on a Maze Runner race, which would be very cool.

Holding Down the Fort

Last night before family prayer I thanked the kids for being so good this weekend and Brian for holding down the fort while I was gone.  Brian started pushing on the floor talking about holding that fort down, not letting it get up, etc.  Then Becca jumped up, threw herself to the floor, and shouted, "Lay flat on the ground!"

I am so thankful to Brian for making it possible for me to go to the conference this last weekend.  He rearranged his schedule so he could take two days off from work, changed throw up sheets at one in the morning, took Becca on a hike up Badger Mountain, replaced the front tires on the van, and took very good care of our children.

Calvin and Becca, Badger Mountain Buddies
I think Becca and Calvin were best friends in Heaven, because they have loved each other since Day 1.  Becca's always talking about "Talvin," and how he's her very best friend.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

How Scientists Show Their Love

Marcus pulled out a Mother's Day card yesterday morning as he was getting his backpack ready for school. 
Dear Careie, I love you so much mom.  have a good day.  love Marcus.
And on the back, the moon circling the earth, because I "shine bright like the moon."  I'll take it.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Happy Mother's Day to my Grandmas!

Mother's Day was a little bit different yesterday.  We didn't go to church.  We didn't hang out with family or any of the normal things we usually do.  Becca started throwing up Saturday evening, so we cancelled all of our plans and I got a substitute for my Primary class.  Brian went to church by himself, bringing the huge box of fudge the young men made for all the women in the ward, and I stayed home with the kids.  We had a slow, relaxed sort of day.  The kids watched Magic School Bus the whole morning while I went by myself to visit my mom and grandmothers.

I thought a lot yesterday about mothering and teaching, and especially because I was able to visit with my grandmas one on one, I thought a lot about my grandmas as mothers, raising my mom and dad.  One thing that I feel my parents were very good at was having a feeling of love and kindness in our home.  I believe that is something that they learned from their mothers, and I want to continue that on with my children.  I feel that the most important thing I can teach my children, above all other successes, is to love others and treat everyone with kindness.

The last couple of days have been a little rough in that department.  I think it's because the kids have gotten used to being in school so much, that it's easy for them to get bored at home now.  And when they get bored, they get snippy with each other.  We've actually been pretty lucky so far that our kids don't argue very much, but this weekend, we had some pretty big blow outs.  Last night Alyssa and Marcus were yelling at each other so much that after many failed attempts to calmly diffuse the situation, I resorted to just screaming at the top of my lungs to get their attention.  And then I wrongly let them have it.  I didn't quite yell at them, but my voice was not kind.  I felt a little silly to be speaking so harshly to them about speaking kindly and working things out.  We had a bit of a better talk during family prayer a little later, and I hope that we can all do better at making our home a place of love.

Mothering is such a difficult job, and thinking back to my grandmother's lives, I am in awe of the good that they have done that is now being passed on to their grandchildren. 

This is when Grandma Harris was in high school.  She is in the middle on the bottom row.  It wouldn't be too long until she married Grandpa.  She got married the same day she graduated from high school - married in the afternoon, graduated in the evening.  She says she went to graduation and all her friends joked that she was an old married lady.

Grandma and Grandpa Harris
Grandma Harris didn't have the Gospel or the church to help her teach her children.  I rely so much on my children's wonderful Primary teachers to help teach Gospel principles, and the teachings of the church are essential in my parenting.  Grandma Harris taught my mom to be good simply because she is good.  She taught that family is important.  She taught that service shows true love.  I believe that my mom is the amazing mother that she is, because she was taught by Grandma, and I hope that I can help keep that legacy of love alive in the way that I mother my children.

Grandma Yeats when she was in her early thirties.  She said she worked as a secretary at a photography studio, so they took pictures of her to display in the window.
Grandma and Grandpa Yeats
Grandma Yeats has always been strong and independent and resourceful.  She spent a good number of years as a single mother, and judging by the way that my dad turned out, she succeeded wonderfully.  I can't even imagine what it would be like to be both mother and father, nurturer and provider.  I had a tiny taste of being a single mother when Brian was on rotations his last year of optometry school, and it was difficult, but I had a roof over my head and food on the table.  I didn't have to worry about money.  I could focus completely on the children.  Grandma told me yesterday that she is almost finished writing her personal history, and I can't wait to read it.  I only know bits and pieces of her life, and I would love to learn how she persevered and kept her faith strong to raise such a righteous man as my father.

Even though we didn't do a whole lot, and we missed the Cinco de mayo dinner that my family was having, and we had a few arguments, it was a good Mother's Day, and it was nice to be able to spend time relaxing as a family.  Also, Becca is feeling better now, and no one else has started puking, so I'm considering Mother's Day 2015 a huge success.  Having only one child sick, instead of all four, is a fabulous Mother's Day present.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Just Like Dad

Last night Brian connected his phone to the TV so we could listen to music while cleaning up after dinner, then when we were done, he started playing a game on his phone, which ended up on the TV as well.

 Then Brian called me into the room, because the boys were "playing" along with him, using the Xbox controllers.  He didn't realize it until he died, and both Ethan and Marcus yelled, "Oh, we died!"