- The weather was gorgeous. I biked the twins to the park and hung out with friends and soaked in the sunshine and it was so pleasant. I know we hardly have winter compared to much of the world, but this winter was colder and wetter than any we've had - so the sun feels extra great. It makes such a difference in my outlook on life when I can be outside - and it works wonders for the kids as well. With the stunning red rocks against the intense blue skies, I'm in love with St George all over again.
- I felt a welling up of joy at parent teacher conferences (after feeling pretty frustrated the last time we had them). All three kids got great reviews from their teachers at their parent teacher conferences. Ashton's staying on task much better and has improved his handwriting and his teachers are amazed at his ability to imediately grasp new concepts and to fix any little problems the classroom computers have. Isaac's behavior has been "A+" for the most part lately according to both of his teachers (he's had some behavior problems in Spanish quite a bit in the past) and he's been very responsible and helpful. Plus he's excelling in math, doing very well in writing and is finally right on grade level in reading. According to her teacher, "Eliza is one smart little lady" and her only problem is that she grasps things so quickly that she starts tuning out while the teacher is still talking but she's very helpful and has mastered all the kindergarten site words plus lots of the 1st grade ones. There's nothing like the joy of being a mom hearing great things about your kids (especially after I'd been hearing some not-so-great things previously and worrying a lot).
- I found a new rug for the living room. I've been looking for a rug forever to replace the one I've never loved and that was falling apart. I walked into TJ Maxx to return some stuff and saw this rug with all the colors I've been trying in vain to find together in one rug (olive green, gold and terra cotta) PLUS it has several other colors that tie in other parts of the room (gray for the concrete, brown for the dark wood and leather) PLUS it is really different with organic patterns that remind me of desert plants in square block patterns that echo the square side table and square slate tiles and window panes that dominate the outside of the house. I played around with getting a more traditional persian style rug or a really plain rug but neither seemed right and I couldn't find anything near our price range with the right colors. Every time I walk into the living room now, I see the new rug and feel happy. It's a silly, materialistic thing, but that old rug has been bugging me for so long and I wanted to integrate all the colors I love and finally it all works.
- I sold our old Ikea couch in one day on Craigslist and it almost paid for the new rug. I sold one of our highchairs and that paid for the rest of the rug. I love selling stuff - seeing good things go to new homes and getting money in my pocket.
- I found a new favorite treat. Target's Archer Farms brand makes these cherry pistachio dark chocolate granola bars and they - like the rug I found- are the perfect combination of what I'm always looking for.
- The twins can play outside on their own without me worrying every second - they don't run into the street anymore and they don't wander off much anymore. How wonderful! We've installed a "red neck trampoline" (Liza's old mattress and box springs - Jo and Aja gave us a newer and way better set for Liza) on our back porch for a few days until we can get around to taking it to the dump and that has offered some great new entertainment value.
- After lots of long evenings this past week and tons of hours in previous weeks, the new and improved Power of Moms website is getting very close to being done. Jared's worked tirelessly on getting the new template done to give the site an exciting new look and feel and April and I have been entering all the new content we've worked on over the last few months. It feels so good to see an end in site and to feel like all our great ideas and hard work will actually come together to be something wonderful.
It's been a long, cold winter (both physically and metaphorically) and a hard fall before that and a challenging summer before that in a variety of ways. I've had a hard time feeling happy even when things have been going quite well on the surface - there have been undercurrents of difficult things whipping through too often and upsetting my all-too-delicate balance. There have been things to worry about with our kids, things to worry about with other people's kids that I care about very much, relationship issues on many fronts, Jared's dad's health and death to worry about and absorb, strains in many many areas. I've been blessed with "up" days, but have had too many "down" days and have struggled to be the mom and wife and person I know I can and should be. But I've learned to turn to the Lord and to search the scriptures for answers much better. I've learned to balance my time between work and family and personal needs better - and to more fully accept that its OK to have personal needs and to make time to fulfill them - exercise, eating right, sleeping, reading good books - these things all help me be a better person and mom and wife. I've found that I find more joy in motherhood as I schedule in non-negotiable quality time with the kids each day and put boundaries around my personal time and my time with the kids. And I've developed a mantra for the year that really helps - one that came to me in a moment of real desperation a few months back - "Let go and be grateful." Let go of the worry, let go of the stress, let go of the grudges and hurt, let go of the idea that I can or should control so much, let go of the perfectionism. As the Lord instructed, I need to "cast my burdens" upon him. And once I let go, I can focus on being grateful for the blessings that surround me and engulf me -the big things like kids doing great in school as well as the little things like finding a new rug or a new treat - the blessings I fail to see or fail to celebrate when I'm too caught up in the worries and stress. Letting go and being grateful lead away from so many things that drag me down while leading me towards so much joy. I just have to keep this mantra going in my head when things get hard. I can do it. I can I can.