Sunday, September 30, 2012


Yesterday morning, most of us slept in.  But bright and early at 10:00am I heard uninhibited singing coming from one of my kids' rooms.  I knew immediately which one it was.  I only have one child who is completely uninhibited.  She was still in bed with her iPod, singing at the top of her lungs...

I don't know what to do and I'm always in the dark
we're living in a powder keg and giving off sparks
I really need you tonight
forever's gonna start tonight
once upon a time I was falling in love
now I'm only falling apart
there's nothing I can do
total eclipse of the heart

I had to sneak up close to the door so I could hear the words better...
...and take a quick picture

I was amazed by two things while I listened to her sing.

#1  She thinks this is a new song that only people between the ages of 12-18 know about.  I didn't want to ruin it by telling her that I sang that song everyday from 1983-1987.  Everything comes full circle, doesn't it?...even Bonne Tyler.

#2  I am pretty darn jealous of this girl's uninhibited-ness.  I was never like that growing up.  I always wanted to be, but I could never quite get past all the people I thought were looking at me.  June just doesn't care.  She's the one I ask to walk into the grocery store and grab a quick something when I look like a mess.  She's the one who always volunteers to ask the neighbors for a cup of milk or an egg when I run out.  She's the one who always jumps at the chance to be in a picture, perform in a talent show, or meet someone new.  She's been working all weekend on a Power Point presentation so that she can run for Choir President on Tuesday.  This girl is seriously unbelievable.  I love that she is sure of herself and confident in her abilities no matter what.  I love that she is adventurous and daring and that at the end of her middle school and high school years she will have had countless great experiences.  It was so fun to hear her singing at the top of her lungs just because she loved the song.   Someday maybe I'll be a little more like June and sing without any inhibition.  But for now, I'll just be content to lurk outside her door listening and wondering where in the heck she gets her fearlessness. 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

General Relief Society Broadcast

I love General Conference.  I look forward to it every spring and fall and then after it's over instead of mourning it's passing like I used to, I now re-listen to the talks over and over and over on  Technology is an amazing, miraculous thing.

Don't you love when you go to Conference and you hear something specific and perfectly relevant to whatever you happen to be going through at the time?  I love that.  And it happens to me so often that I crave it now.  I sit down expecting it.  And I listen intently for that thing that is exactly what I need to hear.  

Tonight, I didn't hear it for awhile.  I loved the talks from the new RS Presidency.  In fact, as I listened to their voices shake a little during their first talks in front of such a vast audience, I felt an overwhelming feeling of love for each one of them.  It was like watching my friends, and wishing them support and fortification as they said the things they had prayerfully prepared.  They were emotional, but their messages were powerful and clear.  They weren't the ones I had come to hear, though.  

It wasn't until the very last talk, when President Henry B. Eyring stood up, that I heard the personal message I had been waiting for.  I love him.  I've said that before, I'm sure.  He's my favorite.  I have memorized his voice.  And nearly every time there is a message for me in Conference, Heavenly Father sends it through him, probably because He knows I will be listening more intently.  

President Eyring talked about service tonight.  He talked about Lucy Mack Smith's vision of a united group of sisters who "cherish one another, watch over one another, comfort one another and gain instruction that we may all sit down in heaven together."  He talked about faithful and willing sisters who find opportunities to serve even when it's inconvenient or hard.  (nope, that part wasn't about me.)  He talked about listening and acting on the promptings to serve.  And he talked about how pleased the Lord is when we do that.  (nope, still not me...although I have a desire to be more like that.)  But as he kept talking, I heard him say that "sometimes we are just the first step in a plan set forth by the Lord."  Sometimes our efforts to serve don't go quite the way we planned or they're not received the way we intend them to be, but if "our feelings of compassion prevail over our selfish desires and we feel an increase in love toward another" then Heavenly Father is still pleased.  He loves us for any part we play as long as we are willing. (that was for me.)

There is a family who has been offended on a number of occasions by things that our family has done; sometimes intentionally, most of the time not.  I realize that sometimes this happens and that despite our best efforts, not everyone is going to love everything we do.  But it's still a little unsettling to know that there are people you cross paths with often who may be unhappy because of something you've done.  This particular family has been on my mind A LOT lately.  That's always an indication that it's time for me to do something about it.  On Thursday, I got a distinct impression that I should text the mom of the family to see if she wanted to meet me for lunch.  I wanted to wait until Monday or Tuesday because I had a pretty busy Thursday and Friday, but I had another distinct impression that I needed to "do it now!"  So I texted her.  She said "thanks, but I can't."  Later in the afternoon, I thought I'd just drop by and try to connect with her.  No one was home.  This morning, I thought I would see if I could scoop up the 13 year old and take her out for a treat.  I honestly didn't even have a plan for the part after I picked her up, but I thought with three teenage daughters in my house, surely I could think of something to talk about.  So I texted her.  At first she said yes, but then an hour later she texted that she couldn't after all because she had a lot of homework.  But, I was unusually persistent, so I jumped in my car, grabbed some M&Ms from the grocery store, and popped over to their house to drop off an unexpected surprise for the 13 year old.  The family was home, but the mood there was noticeably icy.   I was seriously deflated.  I wondered why I had felt so strongly that I needed to reach out to them if they weren't exactly interested in reaching back.  I wondered what more I could possibly do.  I wondered if I had mis-heard something in all those little promptings I received.  

And then tonight, President Eyring told me that I did exactly what I was supposed to do.  And that I hadn't mis-heard anything.  "Sometimes we're just the first step."  Sometimes our efforts don't go the way we planned, but if "our feelings of compassion prevail over our selfish desires and we feel an increase in love toward another" then Heavenly Father is still pleased.  

Maybe this first step will make the next steps easier.  Maybe that family will feel our love and compassion and have a change of heart.  Maybe they won't.  

Maybe I just needed an exercise in listening and acting on a prompting.  Maybe I needed to be in a place where I would listen more intently to the words of inspired leaders.  Maybe this step was more for me than for that family.  I'm not sure.   What I am sure of, though, is that I have a blazing testimony of General Conference.  I know that the things we hear twice a year from the Prophet and other leaders of this Church are divinely inspired, relevant, personal guidance that we absolutely need.  I am so grateful for the efforts of all the people who make General Conference possible.  I'm grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who has given us modern day revelation.  And I'm grateful for the miracle of technology that puts it in our living rooms and at our fingertips.  I can't wait to hear the rest of General Conference next weekend!

Friday, September 28, 2012

High Five for Friday

It's been a mostly Flowering Buttercup week around here, but a few other great things have crept into the birthday festivities.

1.  Jamba Juice on Saturday morning!  Tropical Mango for me and Watermelon Splash for FB!
2.  Feeding Taquito
Since he only gets to eat every other day, feeding time draws quite a crowd.  On Tuesday, Flowering Buttercup waited until Mack's friends came to pick him up for school before she fed him.  He scarfed down two little fish pellets lightning fast.  But the boys were so quiet that I think we could hear him chewing.

3.  Birthday Flowers
These are all from BOYS! for Flowering Buttercup's birthday.

4.  Won't Back Down
So excited to see this movie.  So excited to have popcorn and Diet DP for lunch.  
And even more excited to hang out with Amy!!

5.  Do you see what that says??  That's not 10,'s 100,000!!  Do you remember when I hit 10.000?  Probably not because that would be weird if anyone remembered that but me.  Well, it was last June!  In a little over a year, I've had 10X the number of pageviews that I had in the first 6 months.
I only know the handful of you who comment regularly, but I totally love and appreciate everyone who visits.
Thank you so much!  <3

Hope you're having a great Friday and that your weekend is amazing!

Thursday, September 27, 2012


Wanna know what's been happening with me this week??


Sometimes 15 year olds 16 year olds aren't as grateful for things as they should be.  Sometimes they don't realize what a sacrifice it is for people to take time out of their day to do nice things for them.  Do you know that by the end of the day yesterday, Flowering Buttercup was actually complaining that her tiara was hurting her head and she was tired of answering the door and receiving presents!?  ugh...

Sometimes, every time you sit down to post something on your blog, people text you or call you or email you.  (and most of the time they're 16 year olds)

Sometimes, there are so many little interruptions throughout the day that you can't even complete a single thought in your head let alone try to act on one.

Sometimes, you tell people things and explain and explain and they still just don't get it. 

Sometimes, it's too hard to figure out which GOOD thing is the BEST thing to do in the five minutes of free time that you have.  

Sometimes, you forget to put the banana in the blender and the delicious smoothie you were so looking forward to for breakfast becomes a not-so-delicious, watery, tasteless excuse for a meal.  :(


Despite the fact that this week has looked a lot like a derailed train, and there are piles of Monday things that are still waiting for me on Thursday, it's still been a really good week.  

I'm grateful for pizza night when the weekly menu just isn't gonna happen.

I'm grateful for inspired bloggers who are available through the magic of the internet.  So often, even if I don't have time to write or can't come up with anything to be grateful for, they say the things I wish I'd said, and they remind me to be grateful anyway. 

I'm grateful for a few quiet moments that come up when I don't expect them.  I'm grateful that I chose a nap for a few of those moments instead of unloading the dishwasher or folding laundry.

I'm grateful for a small fleet of people who are available at a moment's notice when I call them to pick up the slack.  I'm grateful that the Scout Master works from home and knows just when to drop everything and be part of that fleet.  

And I'm grateful everyday for the opportunity, the ability, and the means to be able to stay at home and do this mothering job full time.  There are so many things that I don't have to miss because I'm here when people need me (especially 16 year olds.)  

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Flashback Tuesday

Do you know where I was in September of 1996?  

Well...the Scout Master and I had scored some pretty amazing tickets to a handful of events at the Atlanta Olympics, so we had just spent a good chunk of the previous month trudging up and down Atlanta streets in 100 degree weather, and attending various Olympic venues.   We were also preparing to move out of our little apartment and into our first house.  I was working for The Home Depot Real Estate Dept and totally loving my job.  And the Scout Master was working for Atlanta Casualty (the predecessor of his current company, Infinity Insurance) and attending classes at night at Georgia State University.  

Oh...and we were also very, very pregnant with our first little baby!

I was so miserable when I was pregnant, it's not even funny.  Not once over the four years that I spent carrying babies did I ever do it gracefully.  So, by mid September of 1996, I was ready to move on to what I thought had to be a million times easier than being pregnant...the part where I got to bring home an actual baby.  Motherhood wasn't quite what I had envisioned, and it was definitely NOT easy in those first few months, but if I had to choose, I would have 10 more newborns before I'd ever agree to be pregnant again!  

The Scout Master and I left our apartment in the very early hours of September 26th, and I stayed in the hospital just long enough to miss all the moving the Scout Master had arranged.  Flowering Buttercup and I came home to our cute new house where she had her own little room (which I don't think she actually used for about 6 months.)  

That little house and those first months of motherhood seem like so many years ago.  I'm so grateful for the things each of my babies have taught me, especially Flowering Buttercup.  She always refers to herself as the "guinea pig" because everything we do with her is a test run.  I'm sure that's the reason she's remarkably resilient and independent.  I am constantly amazed at the things she knows and the young woman she's becoming.  It is such a pleasure to be her mom and to have had 16 wonderful years with her in our home.  

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Name the Fish

I was going to include this with the birthday festivities post, but it's just too sweet to be clumped in with all that other pink party stuff.

The kids had been talking about getting something AMAZING for Flowering Buttercup's birthday.  For a week, they hounded us about taking them to the pet store to get her gift.  We are not big pet people here.  I'm not a lover of taking care of big animals, and we haven't had much luck with the small ones, so we did everything we could to discourage the pet idea.  But, persistence is apparently a personality trait in our family.  So, while FB and I were out getting pedicures yesterday morning, the Scout Master gave in and took three very excited kids to PetSmart.  

Right before they came home, Spell Girl texted me saying, "FB needs to be upstairs now.  We're on our way home."  Shortly after, I heard doors opening, children scurrying, and water running...


There was A LOT of activity in June's room for a long time before we saw anyone come out.  

An hour later, they brought out...A FISH!

Here's why this was so darn cute!  The fish was $4.99.  But the tank and the food were another $10.  So the three of them pooled their allowances and bought him together.  (The fish is a boy.)  $5 is difficult to come by in our house.  The kids have weekly jobs that they do, and if they do them WELL and in a timely manner, we pay them $5 every Saturday.  They've been doing this for so long, though, that sometimes $5 isn't as appealing as playing.  But this morning, they all jumped right up and enthusiastically cleaned the whole house (which was a huge help in the party preparations, too!)  Did you read that part?  They happily and enthusiastically cleaned the house because they were excited to buy something for their sister!  I don't know if that's typical in other people's houses, but it's not in mine.  Today my heart overflowed with gratitude for three unselfish, loving children who wanted to make their sister's birthday the best one she's ever had.  And also for a 16 year old who was so touched by their sweet thought that she put her fish on display all night and told every single person who walked in the door where he came from.  

But he needed a name...

What better audience to poll for your first pet's name than a party full of your very best friends?

There were a lot of suggestions but three of them stood out.  So she stuck all three to the side of the tank and let the fish swim to the one he liked the best.  
...and the winner is...

Meet our newest family member...Taquito!  :)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Sweet 16

Next week, Flowering Buttercup turns 16.  This year she asked for a party.  She's had parties before, but she wanted a BIG PARTY this time...the kind with invitations and intentional activities, and 15 girls.  I'm not great at that.  It stresses me out like crazy to be in charge of things, especially parties.   Right after she mentioned the word party I started trying to talk her out of it.  I offered her shopping, money, dinner out, a trip to Hawaii (I only offered that when I was pretty sure she wasn't going to bite at anything.)  But unfortunately for me, when Flowering Buttercup gets an idea in her head, she's pretty determined to make sure it happens.  So, on Friday, I finally gave in and started preparing for this party.  Because, after all, they only turn 16 once, right?

Here's what happens when you have really good intentions, pray really hard, and call all your friends, neighbors and family for help...
After consulting Pinterest, I made a long list of everything I needed.  And then I dragged my friend, Amy, to every store within 15 miles of Allen looking for all things PINK!  She's such a trooper!! 
Spell Girl and June stayed home from the football game with me on Friday night and helped me put up decorations.  It looked like a pink Flowering Buttercup shrine when we were done.  

We dug through all the old picture boxes upstairs and found so many cute ones that we couldn't just limit our decorations to the mantle.  The girls taped all these up in the kitchen, too.  I LOVE this!  And so did FB.  We're definitely continuing this tradition for all future birthdays.  
PINK treats! 
Did you even know that there were so many pink things??? 
Table for manicures
Since we had so many treats, FB wanted a few healthy food options, so I tried to pick things that were easy to make and didn't require an oven.  There's a fruit, yogurt and granola trifle back there.

The CAKE!!  This turned out so much better than I expected.  And it wasn't even super hard either.  Now all the kids want one just like it for their birthdays, too!
Be careful when you blow the candles out, though, because the girls standing on the other side of the table got showered with sprinkles!
Here's what the inside looked like...PINK and white!
FB has some really cute friends.  They're silly and loud and totally dramatic, but they're really good girls. 

This whole party came together without tears, frustration, or yelling.  That alone was a huge miracle.  I am so grateful for all the hands who helped make this happen.  I could NOT have pulled this off without them.  I am especially grateful to the Scout Master and the other kids for setting aside their entire weekend to make this an amazing birthday for Flowering Buttercup.  The memories that we will all have after the last two days of preparing will last so much longer than that shopping trip I had in mind.  I'm glad Flowering Buttercup always stands firm in what she wants. 
And I'm so glad she had a great day!

Friday, September 21, 2012

High Five for Friday

1.  Song of the Week (Maroon 5, One More Night)

2  FALL weather (don't look at the 90s.  Look at the 60s)

3.  Super COOL baseball players.

4.  Lots of time to hang out at my desk.
5.  Upgrades!  LOVE this one!
Now I can answer a phone call with a text.
Now I can wake up to Fleetwood Mac.
Now I can take panoramic pictures.
I might be in love with my iPhone!