Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Gimme All the Candy!!!


The time of year when we essentially tell our kids to throw out the rules of  "do not talk to strangers" and "do not take candy from strangers"
And we let them dress up like things that we wouldn't let them watch on TV (well, at least we don't watch scary things at our house, aside from ET that is).

So, stranger danger is void. Being scary is good. And eating way too much candy is acceptable. I am not sure which part of this is the worst. I'm betting that if I have kids up in the night sick or having nightmares from eating too much candy, that will be the worst. Am I right? 

You're only a kid once, I suppose. And they love this candy-getting holiday for sure. It is so much fun to get dressed up--even adults do it, but, sometimes on a whole different scale. 

I find myself wondering if adults see Halloween as an excuse to dress completely inappropriate. Really? I mean, I'm all for creative costumes, themed costumes, but if you're out to dress like a, well, um...'lady of the evening', well, please put some clothes on--children are watching (okay maybe they're just staring at their candy, but I am still unimpressed and disturbed)! 

Back to the matter at hand...lots of candy was acquired tonight, mostly not from strangers. Of course they are dressed scary, but they are the cutest scary I have ever seen. Love these 6 kids more than anything.

Funny occurrence while trick or treating: 

My kids were being crazy loud. Keeping with the theme, I told them they were going to wake the dead zombies. This worried Kate.

Kate: "Mom, I'm feeling ominous."Me: "Ominous?"
Sydney: "I don't even know what that means."
Kate: "It means that you feel like something is coming or that something scary is going to happen."


The scary characters we had this year were a zombie, a pretty witch, an Iron Man zombie, a cat, a pit crew man for Lightning McQueen, and another wee witch. Aren't they precious?!?! 

Happy Halloween! 


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Whiplash We Call Motherhood

Eleven years ago (plus 9 months, if you include pregnancy), I physically became a mother. I say physically, because I feel that most women, if not all, possess qualities that are mother-like even if they do not have children of their own. If we use the definition that I was introduced to, it would look something like this:










Our first baby was born on this day, 11 years ago. 

CD was adorable with his brown hair and chubby baby body. After nine hours of an induced labor (including a couple of hours of pushing), 1 day after his due date, our big bundle of ... well, joy, (ahem)... was born. 

Wait! What? I thought birth was some beautiful experience (which it is, just not the way you hear). I thought you were supposed to bring home this perfect baby, and your natural mothering skills would jump in, and you would spend your days in bliss. Flowers blooming in all the rooms you enter with your baby. Soft, peaceful, sweetness, music playing, relaxing and love abounding. 

Someone must have confused having a new baby with a day at the spa.

A whopping 9 pounds and 3 ounces and a 15 inch head circumference left unchangeable marks and scars upon my body. A third degree tear and stretch marks all over and a forever stretched out abdomen. Next, breast feeding troubles (flat nipples, plus a misguided baby tongue = cracks and blood = nipple shield for the entirety of the year that he nursed). Welcome to your new body! 

He was also jaundiced and had to spend a few days living in a bili light suit case wearing coverings for his eyes. I particularly disliked this because when you have a new baby, you just want to snuggle the little one. We thought our house looked like a drug house from the constant odd glowing shining through the windows. 

This was not the last of the trials. We had messy diapers that required a wardrobe change about every time he had a diaper change. We experienced a colicky baby that had reflux and woke up to nurse every hour and then would spit most of it up.

Literally, feedings every hour, day and night. 

My husband and I were delirious. 

I would wake up panicked searching the bed for the baby (when he was in his bassinet). I was up feeding the baby and because he was fussing, my husband sat up in his bed, put the pillow over his shoulder and began patting  it. I asked him what he was doing. "I'm burping the baby!" "Babe, I have the baby." I also would gently rock my husband at night when the baby would start to cry. 

I cried. 

I felt inadequate.

I had no idea what I was doing.

I am sad to admit that once while this baby who was in pain was crying (which he did constantly), I banged my head repeatedly into the wall while yelling for him to 'shut up'. Not one of my shining moments. We started to get used to our new life and when he was about 10 months old, we discovered we were to be blessed with another baby. It's usually after it is too late, you decide it probably isn't the best time to have another baby. 

No turning back. 

CD had gotten sick, and wasn't ever getting all the way better. This was before my more holistic days, so there was a constant string of antibiotics and then nystatin to get rid of the yeast infections. He was not getting better. 

Christmas morning, when he was 14 months old (I was about 4 months pregnant), we were visiting my family in Phoenix. My husband and I were sleeping, but quickly woke up when we heard an odd gurgling sound, which I suspected was diarrhea--since that was a constant. I got up to change him, but his body was twitching and his mouth was making that awful sound. 

A seizure. 

We took him to the ER where they gave him drugs to stop the seizures, though he kept seizing. We were flown to the children's hospital via helicopter. By now, he had been seizing for an hour or more. They did a spinal tap, x-rays, an MRI, blood tests, and an EEG. He did not have meningitis or epilepsy. It was decided it was febrile seizures--seizures that occur when the body's temperature gets too high, which I learned for our son was about 103° F. 

Upon returning home, we met with our doctor and did a stool study (yep, about as fun as it sounds!) and found that he had Rotavirus (which they now vaccinate for, but I have found it does not do much good). We eventually got him doing better, but he did continue to have seizures (until he was about 5 years old) including one where he stopped breathing (9-11, ambulance, yay!); we were given a prescription to prevent the seizures, and eventually weaned him off. This was probably the scariest and most stressful time in our lives. 

He outgrew these episodes. Luckily, none of our other kids have had one, as it is hereditary. As tough of a baby as he was, he is a really solid, good kid now.  

Since then, we have had 5 more children. They are beautiful, smart, creative, talented, thoughtful, and, of course, unique.

 In order:
Boy, CD, (9 lbs 3 oz.)11 years old
Girl, SB, (9 lbs 6 oz.) 9 years old
Boy, TD, (8 lbs 8 oz.) 7 years old
Girl, KM, (8 lbs 7 oz.) 5 years old
Boy, CJ, (8 lbs 0 oz.) 3 years old
Girl, SM, (8 lbs 10 oz.) 1 year old 

Our family about a year ago taken by Nicole Christiansen Photography.

I wouldn't trade these days for all of the money in the world (okay, well, some of the days I probably would trade). Days are long, and nights are sometimes hard. But, as a scripture in the Book of Mormon states, there must be opposition in all things. If not, we would not know the bitter nor the sweet; we could not know the sorrow nor the joys; we couldn't understand the chaos nor the calm; we have to have the frustrations to have the laughter

Though motherhood is often a shock, a surprise, a rude awakening, or a baptism by fire, I feel that it is also a grand school that is more complete than any other school I know. I have learned to be more caring, how to survive on little sleep (thank you Dr. Pepper), how to be a doctor and a nurse, a tutor, a teacher, a maid, a chef, a mediator, a healer (of wounds, spirit, health, etc), a friend, a counselor, a problem solver, and, obviously a parent--though I am still learning that. 

I exercise more faith. 
I pray harder and with more intent. 
I try to listen to promptings more closely.

What other job in the world allows you to develop and learn and use as many skills as that of a "mother"?

I would daresay, none. No other job can match the magnitude, dedication, and learning to be found in the role of a mother. Nothing can replace a mother in the life of a child.

I am grateful to all of the mothers in my life, the ones I have personally observed, the ones who have been bonus moms to me, and the love and advice and understanding of good friends and mothers in my life. And, of course, my own mom, from whom I learned much. 

© Wendy  2012

Saturday, October 27, 2012

I Am A Mormon. I Know It. I Live It. I Love It.

For various reasons, the church I belong to, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, a.k.a. "Mormons", a.k.a. LDS Church, has been in the media quite often. I have seen discussions from various friends on facebook, some of which are favorable, some of which are not. Some things are false. Some things are true. I do my best to clarify, explain, and help my friends understand my beliefs (if they really want to know, that is). I would like to state some obvious facts:

I am LDS.

I am a woman.

I am happy.

I am married.

I have children--six of them.

I grew up a member of the LDS Church, and was baptized (by my own choice) when I was 8 years old.

I am NOT oppressed. 

The last fact is what I would like to focus on: I am a woman who is LDS and a stay at home mother and I am NOT oppressed. Are you shocked? I hope not. For some reason, many people who have left the Church, or those in the media somehow have the notion that women are lesser beings in the LDS faith. 
This is not true. 

I heard Sheri Dew speak recently. If you do not yet know her, she served in the General Relief Society Presidency of the Church (which means that she was a leader for all of the women of the church all over the world) and is currently the President of Deseret Book (for the past decade or so). Sheri has been asked how it feels to be an 'oppressed woman of the church'. She has answered in telling them the position she has held in the church (the one I mentioned above), the fact that she is the president of the Church owned book store--Deseret Book. Going further, she declares that women all over the world serve in leadership positions over the women of the church, the young women of the church and the children of the church. We speak in church, we pray in church. We teach the doctrine. We preach the gospel in proselytizing missions. In the temple, women officiate in certain ordinances. This wasn't just something started recently to be politically correct. In the 1830's Joseph Smith's wife Emma received a revelation from the Lord when she was commanded to expound on the scriptures. In 1842, Joseph Smith was guided to start the Relief Society (which is now the largest women's organization in the world).This was when women could not vote, could not own property, if they earned money, it belonged to their husband, when women were basically one rung higher than prisoners on the social scale! This was not forward thinking on the part of the Joseph Smith, it was prophetic. Oppressed? No way. 

I, too, have served in such leadership roles, and will continue to do so. For instance, I have been a primary teacher, a Sunday school teacher, the compassionate service leader (in charge of orchestrating care for members, whether it is meals, child care, or house cleaning when someone is struggling, or had surgery, a new baby, or death in the family, etc.), cub scout leader, a member of the primary presidency (the children's organization), and also served in youth presidencies while I was a young woman. I don't say this to 'toot my own horn', but to help those who wonder about LDS women to understand how each woman/girl is an important and vital role to how the Church operates, not oppressed.

Sheri Dew related a story of President Gordon B. Hinckley, a Prophet of God (he passed away in 2008). Often he was questioned about the women of the church usually in the context of them (us) being oppressed. One famous answer he gave was in the year 2000 at a National Press Club in Washington D.C. After a brief opening statement, President Hinckley stated, "People wonder what we do for our women. I will tell you what we do: We get out of their way and look with wonder at what they are accomplishing." I think that says it all right there! 

Why don't the women hold the Priesthood? I don't know. What I do know, is that Christ is the head of this Church. Not the congregations. Not the bishops or stake presidents. Not even the Prophet or Apostles. Jesus Christ is the head of this Church. He makes the decisions. He decides how he operates His Church--He decides, He presides. I believe that we can have a personal witness of this truth, along with any other questions that we have. We can know for ourselves. We are encouraged to pray and seek and study for answers. Priesthood keys are just as valid for women as they are for men. Both men and women are eligible for exaltation. Women have just as much access to the power of the priesthood as men do. President Joseph Fielding Smith said, "The blessings of the priesthood are not confined to men alone. These blessings are also poured out upon...all faithful women of the Church...The Lord offers to His daughters every spiritual gift and blessing that can be obtained by His sons." (Improvement Era, June 1970, 66.)

Women are vital to the church and have key roles. Bruce R. McConkie said, "Where spiritual things are concerned, as pertaining to all of the gifts of the Spirit, with reference to the receipt of revelation, the gaining of testimonies, and the seeing of visions, in all matters that pertain to godliness and holiness and which are brought to pass as a result of personal righteousness—in all these things men and women stand in a position of absolute equality before the Lord." (This address was delivered at the dedication of the Nauvoo Monument to Women, 29 June 1978.)

Thank you Sheri Dew for putting all of these thoughts and feelings I have had into words. I have summarized a lot of what she said, while also adding my own thoughts. I do not doubt that I am a member of the Lord's Church upon the earth today. He is my Savior and Redeemer. I trust in His ways. I have faith in His will. I do not blindly follow, I seek answers and I study it out for myself.  I hope that if you have questions regarding this, you can ask me or someone else you trust, pray about it to know for yourself, or study reliable sources such as or Or, contact your local LDS Missionaries and they would be more than happy to answer any and all questions.

© Wendy 2012

Thursday, October 18, 2012

"True Sisters" by Sandra Dallas

I love books.
Seriously. I should get a bumper sticker.

Recently, I finished a book that is worth mentioning: True Sisters by Sandra Dallas. It is historical fiction, which is probably my favorite genre. True Sisters takes place in the mid-1800's and is about early Latter-Day Saint converts that traveled with the Martin Handcart Company that crossed the plains from Iowa to "Zion" or the Salt Lake Valley (something like 1300 miles). If you're like me, you've heard many accounts of these early pioneers and settlers, but this one brought it all together for me and made it so much more real. The trials and experiences all of these people went through are unimaginable. 

Selling/giving away most of you possessions. 

Packing your family up and into a handcart within a certain weight limit of items you could bring. 



Death from sickness.

Food rations. 

Leaving more behind to lighten the load. 


Death from starvation.

Freezing/well below freezing temperatures.  

Freezing to death.

Frozen limbs. 


Delivering a baby along the way, and then continuing to walk

Not being able to feed your new infant due to lack of nutrition.

Children/infants dying. 

Some losing hope/some exercising greater faith.

Can you even begin to understand what that would have been like to not only make the journey, but also suffer so much physically, spiritually  emotionally, and mentally as well? To see your children/infants/husband/wife/siblings/parents die? 

The sacrifice of these pioneers, the early Saints of the church that I belong too, is immense. I am so grateful for their sacrifice, yet I am so glad that I was not an early pioneer. I don't know that I could have done it. I still think there are many who make similar sacrifices for their faith--those who are shunned by friends, co-workers, and even family because of their beliefs. Many people are modern day pioneers who still sacrifice much to have the gospel in their lives. I know some personally. The author is not LDS, though she did work closely with several members including a Church historian to get details correct. Many of the stories in the book are from accounts that she read. In fact, in General Conference a week and a half ago, one of the speakers told a story of a pioneer woman that had nothing to feed her family except to rock hard biscuits. She placed them in a pot with some water. When she returned and opened the lid, the pot was full--a miracle. This story was in Ms. Dallas's book, albeit very brief. Some things were seemed hard to believe/imagine, but again, you have to realize that this was in the 1850's, and things were very different back then.

To read more about the book go to Sandra Dallas's website. To read her book, here is a link to True Sisters or find one at your library. 

If you want to know more about the LDS faith, please visit or
If you want some more good book suggestions, visit my Pinterest page on books.

There are also MANY more historical, fiction, and historical fiction books about the early pioneers of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

© Wendy 2012

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Bedtime Mayhem...yep

Tonight my husband is out of town which leaves me here. 


With 6 kids. 

At bedtime. 

Let me introduce you to my 6 dwarfs, er, I mean children this evening (in no particular order): Giggly, Chatty, Whiny, Disobedient, Stubborn, and Fussy.

 I guess I could be the 7th with exhausted

I fed them (yummy breakfast-for-dinner by the way).
Let them watch a little TV (don't judge).
I told them to get their PJ's on and got PJ's on the two youngest (1 and 3 years old).
We read scriptures (even through the playing, the roaming the house, the loud humming).
I gave them vitamins.
We said prayers.
And then, the herding began.
Like chasing cats with squirt guns.

My head is whirling, so I think we deserve a little music from two of my special guests, Mercy River and Hilary Weeks (you can find them on YouTube or CD's are available at Deseret Book). They are spot on with these parodies about family life and getting kids to bed.  Click on the links and enjoy! 

Seriously, click.

Do it.


You did? Well do it again for good measure. 

Goodnight! xoxo

© Wendy 2012

Piece of the Puzzle

Have you ever had a child that was just a puzzle? 

You've tried to make sense of his behavior. 

You have worried. 

You have stressed. 

You have been frustrated.

You have had him tested. 

You have prayed.

I have a child like this. 

TD is my third child, and is now 7 years old. When he was born, he was super quiet--like I forgot he was even there with my other two little ones literally screaming for attention. As soon as he could walk, he would run back and forth in a straight line. He attended a special preschool for speech delay (as have most of my kids--I'm told it's genetic). During that time, he would fight us to wear long pants, long sleeves, or a jacket (which is bad when it's below freezing with 6 inches of snow on the ground and still falling). We deduced that he had Sensory Processing Disorder. 

I read a book. 

Frankly, I think we are all somewhere on that spectrum. 

Then, he stopped having break downs when he had to wear pants or jackets (and then actually did the opposite--he wore his jacket the whole summer). And moved on to more obsessive behaviors. He had to hug and kiss his dad when he left for work, not out of love necessarily, but out of routine. In fact, after this routine was performed, if my husband came back in for something then we had to have a repeat hug and kiss. TD had to have his toys a certain way, always had to sit at the same spot at the table, always had to be first. He even deemed that the head of the table--my husbands place--was 1st, or winning, so he HAD to sit there. 

We ran several tests on him--a Behavioral Assessment, BASC. The form that we filled out showed several spikes; the teachers found him to be normal. We talked to the school psychologist and he said it was anxiety and depression and basically you couldn't do anything until about 3rd grade when you could medicate him. No. Not an option we wanted to pursue. 

I left feeling very hopeless.

I had been dwelling on this for some time, when his teacher came up to me at church (we attended at the same building). She shared some information with me that left me more hopeful and that matched with what I had started thinking. We continued onward and ended up also doing a test for Asperger's, which again was inconclusive. 

You have to understand, even as he has become older, he throws a tantrum whenever, wherever, if things are not going his way. Even at school. In a parking lot. It's unsafe. I don't believe it's our parenting, since out of 6 kids, he's the only one to act in such a manner. Often, when you're talking to him, he stares blankly at you. We have to make him repeat what he's been told and then he might understand what he's supposed to do. He has many quirky behaviors that I have yet to understand (like eating cereal dry--no milk. It looks painful). 

Recently, we had a MAJOR breakthrough/insight. At our elementary school, the students get 'take-home' books that are assigned based on their reading level. I was encouraging him (okay, forcing him) to read his book when he declared, "I don't like made-up stories!" I asked him what he likes to read. "I just like real life stories." Later, while talking to my husband about this, my son added, "I just like learning." 


What 7 year old kid would rather read non-fiction and can tell you that he likes learning? The whole thing floored me, but I knew it was an answer to prayers. 

Light bulb.

A major missing piece to the puzzle. 

Many things about him FINALLY made sense. I have noticed how smart/advanced he is, especially in math (he does simple multiplication in his head--which he hasn't learned yet). I had started thinking that he was gifted (not just in an every-mother-thinks-their-kid's-a-genius way), and thus, perhaps lacking socially. Here's a little illustration of how he thinks from some homework he had last week: 

Seriously, what's not to love about this kid?

I am still working on figuring out how to be the best parent for him and each of my kids, but I know that through Heavenly Father's help and guidance of the Spirit, I can know what, when, and how to best take care of their needs. Truly, He loves each one of us. If we simply ask, He will answer.

© Wendy 2012

Monday, October 15, 2012

Seek The Good

This past weekend, a group of gals and I took a road trip to Richfield, UT for Time Out for Women. If you don't know what that is, you should-- The theme for the event this year is "Seek the Good", and soon, those words were going to mean more than expected. Anyhow, it's about a 2 hour drive from home, and it was raining, and a for portion of the trip there was construction and no cell service. (Yikes!) 

We made it safely, without incident, and checked into our hotel. 

And then, we left to grab dinner before the event. 

Now, my kid-hauling mini van has a tow package, which was causing us to scrape the ground, I thought maybe more than usual because there were 7 adults in the car instead of children. As we exited the parking lot, we scraped--bad. I began to accelerate, but something was not right. I pulled over in a hurry (in a turning lane). Flat Tire!! I called my husband, and as I was doing so, realized we were right in front of a tire shop--what are the odds!??! I carefully babied the van into the parking lot of the shop and we got a brand new tire pretty quickly .

This lovely picture taken by my friend Nicole--she got a flat tire and spare tire in the same shot! Haha! (Yes, that's my sweet body). 

The most important part of this incident, is the blessing. I have no doubt that we were indeed blessed. Not lucky, not involved in a coincidence, but BLESSED. Had this happened anywhere on our trip, especially in the rain with no cell service, it would have been a very different situation. Also, discovering the flat in front of a tire shop, after 5pm, on a Friday, and we were still taken care of in our time of need. 

Again, I say BLESSED.

No doubt that God does watch over us, and that He loves us.

I chose to "Seek the Good" by recognizing the blessing, instead of being frustrated by the trial.

© Wendy 2012