Saturday, March 29, 2014

Peace at Home

I've been home from Bali for a week now. Amazingly, I have been able to avoid my tendency to get pretty easily annoyed and angry when I'm under pressure. I've stayed calm and happy even in the midst of tons of work on launching our new Power of Moms book and lots of catch up with kids stuff and housework and groceries and laundry. I felt a little tired thanks to jet lag, but have you noticed that sometimes when you're a little tired you actually feel sort of extra calm? 

I'm realizing that I really can choose calmness over stress when I take a deep breath and remind myself that everything always works out OK in the end. My track record for surviving crazy moments in life is 100 percent so far. So I'm trying to remember this track record and stop feeling like its the end of the world when I'm in the middle of something seemingly insurmountable.

It's been great being home with our kids again. The twins hugs when I picked them up from school after getting home from the airport were priceless. It was so fun to show the kids all our Bali pictures on Wednesday night (we were going to do it Monday night but Ashton somehow ended up giving Isaac a slight concussion with the plastic handle on a foam sword so we spent the evening talking about safety instead...). It was so fun to share the sights we saw, the fun we had and the very interesting things we learned about Balinese culture. They had lots of great questions and comments. And they were pretty excited about the gifts we got them - t-shirts for the big boys, musical instruments for Oliver and Silas. And a Balinese dancer's crown for Eliza. The twins immediately started playing music while Eliza tried out some Balinese dance moves she saw in the videos we took. What a fun evening!

Of course it's not all sweetness and butterflies around here. The kids have had plenty of squabbles and my to-do list is always a little longer than is realistic or comfortable. There are a couple ongoing parenting issues we're struggling with that try my patience and hurt my heart. But I have faith that if we keep moving forward carefully and lovingly, things will work out in the end. I'm really learning how to relax more about lots of things and not care so desperately much about quite so many things. I'm realizing that worrying about so many things all the time is just not something my brain can handle anymore.

Right now I'm sitting in the lodge at Snow Basin ski resort. Jared is skiing with the kids and I am watching people making curvy zig zags down the beautiful white slopes and serving as "Lodge Mom" - I'm the gathering place and the snack bar and the cheerleader and I get to hear all the exciting stories of crashes and exciting feats on the slopes while they're nice and fresh.

Usually when I come up here, I try to get work done on my computer. The internet service is very spotty so I mostly just get frustrated while I'm trying to work. Today I decided to just read a book and type up this little post and catch up on a few emails if the internet happens to be working - no expectations, no pressure. I'm realizing that sometimes relaxing is the most productive thing you can do. I'm realizing that in the past few years I have not made time for relaxing at all really. And that has taken its toll on me and on my family. I've kept my brain so busy thinking about so many things I could have done better and so many things I need to do and so many situations I'm concerned about. I've worried so much about what I - and everyone else - should be doing and enjoying. I've realized that it's pretty hard to actually enjoy life when you're so busy analyzing it.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Something Super Exciting

Have you missed me?

I spent the past week in Bali with Jared, my parents, my siblings and their spouses. Plus one new baby nephew.

It was beyond wonderful.

I'll write all about it soon and post more photos than you probably really care about. But if you're anxious to take a peek at our trip right now, you can check out a bunch of photos from me and my siblings if you follow me in Instagram (I'm sarenloosli) and click on #eyrealmbaliadventure2014 in any of my posts (I'm still sort of figuring out Instagram but I think that'll work!).

But today I need to write about something super exciting that April and I have been working on for ages and that launched and grew big and wonderful yesterday, just as I got off our string of long, long long flights back from the other side of the world.

Our new book just came out.

It's a compilation of our most popular Power of Moms posts from the past couple of years - posts that have been read and enjoyed by over 2 million moms already via our website - posts that are now gathered conveniently into one lovely book full of inspiration and empowerment for moms.

And thanks to the powerful and beautiful writing of the authors of the book and the efforts of our fabulous book team of over 300 great mom volunteers who want to help champion the cause of deliberate motherhood through this book, the book reached #1 on Amazon yesterday (in the category of Motherhood). Here's a screen shot:

And it appeared as #1 in the "Movers and Shakers" category. Here's a screen shot from Amazon's best-seller's page - you can see our book on the right under "Movers and Shakers."

Pretty cool, huh?

Getting high rankings on Amazon is very exciting and is wonderful step towards getting this important inspirational book into the hands of the many, many moms who need it while helping the world see that motherhood really really matters to a whole lot of people. It's also a step towards getting this book on the NYTimes bestseller list - something that is within our reach if we can the book sales going at a steady and increasing rate. Book sales are down a bit today so we've got to get them back up there!

This is where you step in.

Do you want an amazing book on motherhood? Wouldn't a book like this make a great gift for yourself and all the moms you know? If so, NOW is the time to buy the book so you can help us get to the NYTimes Bestseller list and thereby help way more moms find this important book while helping the world sit up and pay attention to our cause of deliberate motherhood. The topics of books that rank high on best-seller lists become topics that are talked about big-time in the larger world. And isn't it time more people thought more about the power and beauty of motherhood?

You know I don't usually say much about stuff you might want to buy on this blog. I'm so NOT a sales person. But this is important. And this is timely. And I don't want you to miss out.

The book is offered at a special price right now ($12.74) PLUS we're offering a special package of great items to everyone who purchases the book by THIS SATURDAY. 

Learn more about the book and the prizes by clicking the link below and reading over the reviews I cut and pasted from Amazon. And PLEASE pass this page along to all the moms you know who might enjoy a great book and some great bonus prizes. If you can simply share the link below on Facebook or send an email to people you know or write a blog post or whatever, that'd be just wonderful.


REVIEWS OF THE BOOK (from nearly 100 reviews posted on
"I have to say this book has changed me. It has changed my attitude towards my mothering, children and family. It has stuck with me in my everyday mothering things like changing diapers and doing laundry. The positive force it has brought into my days has left me feeling so grateful to have read this book! It is perfect for me I can read a lot in one sitting or bits and pieces here and there and still get inspired to do better or to be more real as a mother. Highly recommend this book no matter what stage of mothering you are in!"

"What a refreshing read for mothers! This book is full of positive, uplifting messages that energize me and fill me with hope at becoming the deliberate mother I strive to be. If you are looking for something to inspire and encourage you rather than leaving you feel guilty as a mother, this is the book for you. Would make a great gift for an expectant mother too!"

"I love that this book challenges moms to break through the stereotypes and define—for ourselves—what a "good mother" is. In this modern culture of online interaction, it's become so easy to tear each other down rather than build up, encourage and support. This book empowers the mother to become "her" best self... the type of mother she truly wants to be, rather than what society expects her to be. "

"I LOVE this book for right on my nightstand where I can refer to it in the morning, at night and those times when I lock myself in my room because my kids are driving me bonkers. It helps me have an amazing perspective, find solutions to those challenging difficulties my kids throw at me and calms me to know that other mothers have experienced the same thing I have. I wanted to just read one essay at a time so I could fully soak in the feeling and ideas expressed, but I found myself turning page after page, swimming in a sea of positive, inspiring messages about motherhood. Luckily, I can reread it slowly the next time through. Anyone who has children should read this book!"

Click HERE to read more reviews (there are about a hundred)

Thanks for caring enough to read this. And thanks for helping spread the word about this book if it feels like a good thing for you to do!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Simple and Fun Dr. Suess Day Celebration

A couple weeks ago, the school did a celebration for Dr Seuss Day. But we decided to celebrate on our own at home. And we had such a great evening!

The kids made costumes (Eliza helped Silas make his awesome costume - and she was "Thing 1"):

We ate green eggs and ham (with some peas thrown in there for good measure):

Isaac was a star-belly Sneech:

We read excerpts of our favorite Dr Seuss stories at dinner - Gertrude McFuzz, the Sneeches, Horton Hears a Who, the Zacks, What Was I Afraid Of  (the pale green pants with nobody inside), The Cat in the Hat, and of course, Green Eggs and Ham. We haven't read some of these stories in ages since the kids have grown out of the storybook stage - but it was fun to see that they could still all recite favorite parts of favorite stories from memory.

Then we all watched the movie "Horton Hears a Who."

We love Dr Seuss.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Permanence and Transience in Art and Motherhood

So I was in for a real treat when we were privileged to attend the opening of a new art exhibit at the Weber State art museum. (Since the head of the art department lives next door to us, we get in on all the good stuff there!)

This art installation was simply salt on a polished black floor.

The artist, Motoi Yamamoto, came from Japan and spent a week painstakingly arranging salt into a masterpiece that can be enjoyed as a whole big beautiful cosmic thing or as intricate lace-like patterns.

In a month, the community is invited to come and gather up all the salt and take it out to the spiral jetty in the Great Salt Lake where it will be "returned to the sea." The kids definitely want to help with that - to be allowed to not only touch but actually destroy something amazing like this delights them somehow.

But the thought of this beautiful thing being destroyed is a harder concept for adults to embrace. We are attached to the idea of permanence. We want to make our mark, to build for the centuries, to leave our legacy. We don't like seeing our doing undone (one of the hardest aspects of motherhood is seeing our doing get undone again and again and again!).

Perhaps we adults need to learn to embrace transience and repetition more.

We're happy when we make a beautiful meal or cake and see it consumed. But when we make our homes clean and beautiful and then see that cleanliness eaten up by everyday life, we aren't so happy. When we get all the clothes clean and folded into pleasingly neat piles and then those same clothes end up in the hamper shortly thereafter, the cycle and repetition can feel so mundane. Sometimes it seems that nothing we do as moms stays done. But perhaps it's in the doing and undoing that the greatest things end up getting done. Our characters are built and our lives are shaped as we do, then do again, then do better, then do again.

Could we learn to view the cleaning, the laundry, the baths, the tuck-in's, the meals - the things that need to be done and then get undone and then need to be done again - more like Motoi Yamamoto views his art? As something worthy of our time and effort even though it doesn't last and will need to be done again? As something we can make anew again and again and find joy and art in doing repeatedly? As something that can be really gorgeous even though the ingredients and motions involved are quite mundane? As something that doesn't need to be permanent to have great value? As something that can actually be MORE special and wonderful BECAUSE it's transient and fleeting?

Here's a video of Motoi at work. Click HERE or below the image to watch. As you watch, think about the motions of motherhood and how they can be viewed as art.

Click here to watch:

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Is it really here?

It's been amazingly warmish and all the snow has been washed away by rain. Green is creeping across the yellow winter grass. When it's not raining, the sun has been warm and lovely.

I saw this today on my run:

And this:
And this:

Could it be that spring is really here?

Oh, how nice it is to go outside and not have to brace yourself for that brutal cold. How lovely it is to be warm in our house without having to crank the heat way up to compensate for our drafty (but beautiful) old windows. How pleasant it is to feel the sun on your face.

I'm sure there will be some more cold here and there and maybe some late snowstorms. The kids are hoping to get the chance to ski a few more times.

But this mildness and greenness and change is most welcome.

And today Jared's working with the kids to put the trampoline tarp back on. They're SO excited.

Kids are roaming the neighborhood and playing outside again. The back door is open and kids are running in and out for drinks and and snacks. Yeah for spring! 

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

A Fairly Typical Tuesday

This is from a few weeks back - but it's still worth posting since it's still totally true of our Tuesdays!

Today Jared had to leave extra early to take a man from our church in for surgery since he and his wife don't drive and he was scared and really wanted Jared to take him. So I was in charge of getting the kids up - usually Jared's job since he's a natural early-riser (hard for me to imagine just naturally waking up early and feeling like getting right up and getting going like Jared does!). I guess I turned off my alarm when it went off because next thing I knew, it was 6:55 and we are supposed to be at the table, ready for scriptures and breakfast by 7. Oops.

I got everyone up, told them to throw on the clothes I'd luckily remembered to set out for everyone the night before while I threw on my workout clothes. Miracle of miracles, for once, Ashton listened to my plea to please take a 10-minute instead of a 30-minute shower! We all scrambled a bit but managed to still fit in scriptures and breakfast . The kid we drive to school was a few minutes late so it didn't really matter that we were a few minutes late because we would have had to wait for him anyway. And it seemed like maybe the kids actually listened to my little lecture last night about how they needed to get their backpacks together and get their socks and shoes on BEFORE coming downstairs for breakfast so they don't have to go back upstairs again and again after breakfast when we're supposed to be heading out the door. I had a couple kids ask if they could pack a lunch since what was on the lunch menu didn't look good to them. But I stood my ground. If they don't have a lunch packed up before breakfast, they'll just have to eat school lunch. So despite our late start, we amazingly made it to school pretty much on time!

I came home, got myself some breakfast and watched a TED talk I've been meaning to watch about a book that I've been meaning to read - Lean In (here it is - very interesting food for thought). I've been determined to watch one of these talks or a conference talk at least 3x a week while I actually sit down and eat breakfast. It only takes about 10 minutes and feels so good to fuel my brain and body a bit before launching into the rest of my day. (I've pinned some of my favorites here.)

When the talk was done, I meant to go running and take a shower but I got sucked into replying to emails and suddenly it was time to get on the phone with April and make two podcasts, then put together the landing pages for the podcasts. Our podcasts have become really popular lately and they're pretty quick and fun to make plus April and Eric (Power of Moms partners) just went to a conference and learned all about how to really promote our podcasts so that's a big focus (along with tons of other exciting things - just need to figure out how to prioritize when the list is long and rich and full of great things but there are only so many hours in the day). Here's a link to the podcasts in case you want to check them out.

I finally squeezed in a pretty good workout and a super fast shower before dashing off to pick up the kids.

I was late - but I'm always a bit late - on purpose. If I go right on time, the school is a zoo with kids and cars all over the place and it takes forever to pick up the kids. If I get there about 10-15 minutes after school lets out, the kids have time to get to this place across the street from the school where there's way less traffic and the pick up is easier. Plus I have 10 more minutes to finish things before I have to head out the door and pick them up.

The twins were reading books up in a tree when I got there to pick them up. Since the weather's been nicer, this is pretty common. Pretty cute.

As is pretty common, the kids had a bit of a scuffle over who should sit where in the car when I picked them up but they worked it out pretty quickly without too many mean words. Then as we drove home, everyone tried to tell me things all at once, me feeling like a traffic cop as I tried to make some semblance of order out of the conversation.  "Isaac, wait for Oliver to finish what he's saying." "OK, Isaac, now Oliver is done, what did you want to say?" "Yes, Silas, I know you have scouts tonight." Now Eliza, what was that you were trying to say earlier when Silas interrupted you?" "Ashton, it's OK if Isaac is singing - remember we talked about this? You have to give it at least 15 seconds before you can say anything he's doing is 'annoying' and at least give him a chance to stop on his own. You're constantly calling everyone else annoying which ends up being far more annoying than whatever anyone else is doing." "Yes, I know you need a poster board, I've got it on my list and I'll buy it tomorrow."

At home, there was the typical scramble and organized chaos of after school snacks and helping with homework and fielding requests for mutually exclusive things simultaneously ("Can so and so play?" "Can you help me with my homework?" "Can I have some cookies?" "I need you to sign this paper." "Guess what happened today..." "Isaac won't leave me alone so I can't concentrate on my homework!" "Can we turn on some music?" "WHY do I always have to practice?" "What are we having for dinner?").

Then dinner has to be ready by 5:30 sharp on Tuesday night or the whole evening sort of collapses like a row of dominoes. I feed the kids at 5:30, get the twins to basketball practice by 6 (on the other side of town so we're always just a bit late I'm afraid - oh well - they're just warming up at the beginning...), reply to emails and catch up on a couple phone calls while staying at their practice (since it's far away and in the middle of nowhere, just waiting seems to work best), call Eliza at 6:20 to remind her that it's time to walk to dance class (luckily that's right down the street), grab the twins as soon as they finish practice and rush to the church for scouts, calling Jared on the way to make sure he's been able to get home, get the dinner I left for him on the stove, and get the big boys to their Young Men's activity that starts at 7 (while getting himself to his bishopric meeting that also starts at 7), get the twins to scouts by 7:15 (just 15 minutes late - could be worse!), check to see that all is going well at scouts (I'm the primary counselor over scouts), then hurry home to pick up Eliza from dance at 7:30 before going back to the church to pick up the twins when their scouts ends at 8:00 (sometimes a kind neighbor brings them home and it's nice to stay home and have a little time with just me and Eliza before the boys come home). Then sometimes I have to go pick up the big boys after Young Men's between 8:30 and 9 but since that is really the time when I need to be putting the twins and Eliza to bed, the boys' youth leaders have been great about driving them home lately and I so appreciate that.

One Tuesday a month, I have a scout committee meeting at 8, right when scouts ends. That adds another special layer of business to the evening.

Another Tuesday a month, I have my Learning Circle meeting at 8:30 so I hurry to get the kids to bed and take off for a very fun evening with great friends, learning and laughing together. But lately, I've had to miss those meetings more often than not because Tuesdays are just so darn crazy!

For the past three years or so, inevitably, when someone tells me about a new activity we need to attend, it seems to be on a Tuesday night. It's almost comical how often it turns out this way. Isaac's cross country meets were on Tuesday afternoons all fall. Ashton had volleyball games on Tuesdays. Isaac had soccer games on Tuesdays. Then when those seasons were over, Eliza had basketball games on Tuesdays. When that was over, the twins started up their basketball practices on Tuesdays. And I've had to miss almost all of the PTA meetings that are held on Tuesdays - I've proved to be a pretty flaky board member this year!

Maybe some day Tuesdays will be less full. But for now, we're sort of making it work. And as long as I expect a little lateness and get that dinner on the table by 5:30, most things happen in a sort of timely way. I fall into bed Tuesday nights so glad to have made it through another Tuesday - and, on a good Tuesday, so grateful for all the people I love and worthy activities we're involved with - even though they add up to some craziness sometimes.


Related Posts with Thumbnails