Monday, January 31, 2011

On the fence.

So first off, I have to say a huge, gigantic, enormous thank you, to all of you!!  You are just there, you have been invited for a very specific reason, and you my dears, have filled your invited shoes well.

Thank you, really.

I’ve been having a rough go of it for a few months now (since Octoberish to be exact), and it really isn’t fun.

Now I have learned many lessons along the way mind you..  fabulous lessons which I will never ever forget.

Lessons such as:

- Service really does make you happier.

- The Atonement is real.

- There is a God, and He certainly loves me.

- There is a devil, and he likes to whisper mean things to me.

- Sometimes I listen to that voice too much.

- Mom really does know best.

- There really is such thing as a prayer that lasts all day long.

- There is much comfort in the scriptures.

- Music can bring peace.

- Your best friends are always the first to be there for you.

- Mom, usually, okay..  more like always knows best.  And so on..

- There is always someone who is going through a trial/hardship too.  Most of the time it is worse than your little piddly trial, so buck up!

- Merrill isn’t as deep of a sleeper as I believed him to be.  He has been aware of the tossing and the turning.  The fitful sleep coming from his bed buddy (that would be me this time, not Peyton).

I spent the morning doing what I do best on Monday’s: cleaning the house, catching up on the laundry that was put on pause for the Saturday from Hades.  I heard the phone ringing, planning on screening that bugger, but saw that it was my mom.  We talked for a while.  I cried for most of it.  Blew my nose a whole bunch.

She warned me that she had posted a comment on that one late night post, where I was brutally honest about how I have been feeling, all that junk.  She said it might sound “preachy” and I might want to go and read it, and delete it.  I wasn’t really in a rush much.  So we talked about how I have been feeling, and why I have been feeling this way.  We discussed what I need to do to get back ME.

There were a few things my mom said that really struck me today:

1) That I have been given gifts and talents, with the intention that I share them with others.  I shouldn’t feel like I have to hide who I am.

(Now I KNOW that this is not news to any of you..  I believe I have heard it a few times.)

2) It would probably be a good idea to read my Patriarchal Blessing, remind me of who I am, what Heavenly Father would have me do.

3) That perhaps I should ask my dad for a father’s blessing, just like the good old days, to receive direction.

4) Maybe I should take up the ol’ blog again.  Ya know, not hide, be myself?

5) Don’t take up the ol’ blog in a gesture that would suggest I am saying “up yours”. (!!!!!)

(Yes, my mom said “up yours”, and I laughed and I laughed!)

She is full of wisdom that one…  did you see what she had to say about all of you?

“Listen to your friends. (These great friends that have commented here.) And listen to whatever other GOOD voices there are… I'm grateful Heavenly Father blesses me with a beautiful daughter, (spiritually and physically), and that he has blessed her with beautiful friends.”

I love her…

So later in the evening, after a day of one prolonged prayer, we had Family Home Evening.

We were discussing more of First Nephi, after they got the Liahona, were directed to the land of Bountiful, on the seashore, and Nephi was commanded, and instructed on how to build a ship.  His brothers are not very good guys.  The murmur and they tease him, they tell him he isn’t capable of doing this, they complain about him and what he is doing, etc.  Same old Laman & Lemuel if you ask me…  and I could easily draw some parallels as to how I identify with this.   Here’s where the story, the words jumped out of the pages and literally grabbed me.  There was a little pause in our lesson as I tried to digest the meaning of this, as it pertains to me personally:

“and now when they saw that I began to be sorrowful they were glad in their hearts”

There are some, I am sure, who rejoice because I am not being me.  I can’t say with a surety that they are “glad in their hearts” because I am sorrowful.  But is that good?

After our lesson was finished, I was a little excited about reading my Patriarchal Blessing.

Again, there was something that just grabbed me.  Now we all know that these blessings are very personal, the guidance can mean different things to us at different times in our lives, and there were some things that got my attention.

In addressing the talents that I have been blessed with:  “use them and search for those you are not aware of and they will be a benefit to you and to others throughout your life.”

Now, I am not by any means, saying that the only way for me to share my talents is to blog, but that is how I can.  That is how I have. 

I will not claim to have had a big audience, but I have made many friends, I have had many comments and emails from people who have appreciated something I have said or shared.  I cannot help but wonder who else is out there.

Blogging helped me to focus on the positives in life, on my blessings.  It has also been a way for me to share my testimony.  I look at all of those as good things.  Those were things that lifted me up.  I was happy.

So what do I do?

I sit on this fence, wondering if I should go back to it.  If I should re-claim the ol’ blog, if I should start fresh..  if I should do it at all.

Just wondering what you think…

Cause my mom did say that I do have some good friends. ;)

I will just sit on this fence here, maybe get that father’s blessing tomorrow..  I’ll be here, waiting to hear what you have to say.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

On a positive note.

I try, everyday, to seek out those things that are positive and motivating.  Things that speak truth to me, things that remind me of who I am.

I have recently fallen madly in love with two things:

1) Nat the fat rat

2) Little birdie e-mails

You can fall in love with them too!

This is a brilliant post I happened to read just now by Nat herself, written over a year ago, but just for me, for right now.  It really is beautiful.

The Brave Girls club has this fun, very uplifting and motivating e-mail service, that seems to send just the right little message at just the right time.

For example, I got this one today:

Is that not totally and utterly perfect?


You can go here and sign up for them too.  I suggest you do.

Love you all!

Friday, January 28, 2011


I am unaware why I am drawn to the compu-tater at such hours as this..  feeling as if I need to pour out my soul, bare it to the select few that are shush-ey about such things.  Really, I have composed a dozen different brilliant and witty blog posts in my head, usually as I am taking a blazing shower while the rest of the household sleeps, after I’ve run, or exercised, but basically sweated the bleh all out of me, feeling quite satisfied with myself.  (About being both brilliant and witty.)  And then I try to blanket myself with reality.

Realities such as:

- There are children to wake and prepare for school on the morrow, you should go to bed.  Don't compose that silly post. You will probably be laughing solo.

- You are getting a slight cold.  Perhaps you can nip it in the bud if you promptly go to sleep.  You wittiness and brilliance do not need to drip (or run, or sneeze) out of your orifices.  Sleep.

- You have a crazy memory!!  Go to sleep..  you will remember such brilliant and witty things tomorrow.

So on and so forth goes my mind, talking me out of posting  my cleverness pronto.

Then the next day, I think to myself: “Self, why did you think that was so funny last night?  You should be happy I kept you from posting that.  Wow.  We could have looked foolish.  Not so brilliant even.”

And now, I am wishing I would have.  You see, this is what I do for me.  This is how I record my thoughts, my feelings, my moods.  I know I am not your average gal, and I should be happy with that.  But right now, this act in my life, I feel like I am under a magnifying glass.  I feel like everything I do, say, write, or even create, will be judged, picked-apart, and criticized. 

I am not going to lie.  I miss so badly, feeling like I had an audience, even people who would never comment, I know they stalked.  I miss having that unexpected friendship present itself and blossom.  Such relationships are things that are beutiful and I treasure them. I want to make more connections and let my light shine. 

I figured at the beginning of this “private” phase, that I could still do that by posting my photographs, my creations.  I still feel stifled though.  I can create a layout, love it, completely and utterly, but then question myself.  Then I change it, take away tall the things that make me fearful of all the aforementioned possibilities, and hate it completely.  I fix it to the way I love it, again, imagine what will be said by whom and to another.  It is quite ridiculous.  This I know to be true.  But it is still the way I feel.  It is an awful feeling.  It is also a time and motivation vacuum.

I just want so badly to be myself, but feel like I can’t.

I am trying…

I have been experimenting with a new camera and a lens that didn’t quite work so well with my own camera body (or maybe it was just my eyes).  I do love the pictures that comes from the efforts, I love learning new things and stretching my knowledge, but I am so darned afraid to post them, to share them.


I have friends that I really, truly love, but that I am worried about letting them into my safe space here.  I am afraid of the criticism, of what they might tell other people. 

Meine Mutti (my mom) tells me it’s Satan, and he has a strong hold on me.  Oh boy, and how!  I feel it.  There are times, like the times I mentioned above, that I feel so good, like I can take it all on, like I can start all over again, pick up from where I left off, but then I try to tell myself to be realistic.  Such thoughts as: “Sleep is important.” 

I am trying to take care of myself, and what my most important priorities are.  There just feels like something is missing.

I still feel like I am walking around in a haze, and I can’t find myself.  I just don’t know where I am or where I should even be going.  It would be so easy to just throw the towel in, to quit it all.  Suck into myself and just be me. 

But you see, I know that is not me.

I just want to be me.  I want to go back to that time when I was most comfortable with who I am, when I felt happier, uninhibited.  I did the things I enjoyed without the worry of what others would think or say.  Darn it!  I had motivation to spare!!

And this is the point I come to at the end of everyday.  Looking back on all that I could have/should have done, regretting most of the day immensely, and thinking in my little mind (that I feel sometimes can be both brilliant and witty, but in short spurts) what I can do differently tomorrow.  I just let it out this time in a real way, not just to myself.

I don’t want to be scared to go in my craft room.  I don’t want to be afraid to blog, to say what I think.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Check it out...

It's "Thrilling Thursday" at Mouse, Paper, Lovely, and seriously, it's thrilling!
Go check out the first "Thrilling Thursday" there..
(There is a pretty "Thrilling" give away...)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Innocent Wonder.

This week’s challenge at I {heart} faces is “Innocent Wonder”.
When I read this theme, my mind immediately went back to this past summer, a lazy Sunday afternoon spent with my little family in the back yard, underneath our sun umbrella, good books in hand, and me, with my camera.
I am still in love with the candids I managed to capture that day.
Just one of my favorites:
I don’t exactly know what it is about this picture that I love..
Her eyes..
Those eyelashes..
Her pouty lips..
Or just the fact that I enjoyed that day.
Go to I {heart} faces to see more breath-taking innocent wonders.

Monday, January 24, 2011


This year for family home evening, we are delving into the Book of Mormon more.  We are taking the Gospel Art picture kit (the old one) and taking one picture at a time, discussing the story, and reading the most pertinent verses out of our scriptures TOGETHER.  Lynn struggles to look them up on her own, and this is a way to help her become a little better at it.  She is so excited to read them out loud, and the little girls are really enjoying it as well.

Every week, we do a re-cap of sorts, to refresh our minds as to where we are in the storyline of the book.  Tonight, Peyton went on and on about how Nephi was really a princess. ;)  Great story telling skills that girl has.

The story we were on was about the arrival of the Liahona, how it worked, and how they needed to be in order for it to work properly.

I shared a couple of stories about faith with them, personal experiences, (one that I realize I should record here..) and likened that to how the Liahona worked.  They needed to show faith, believing that it would give them direction.  Lynn was so sweet, as I was finishing she asked if she could share a story with us.

She re-told the story of her day at kindergarten, when she found no one in her classroom, and ran back outside to find me, only to find I had left.  She did cross paths with a sister in our ward (someone Lynn didn’t know), who calmed her down, reassured her, and helped her get safely back to school.

At the end of Lynn’s story, she told us, “I know that Heavenly Father blessed me.  He sent Sue to me so I could get back to school safely and so I wouldn’t be sacred.”

How proud was I!!  She gets it!!!

After the prayer, and after I sent off the little girls to get their pajamas on, I held Lynn back.  I asked her if she knew what she had just done.


“You don’t know what that was that you just told all of us?”

She just shook her head.

“That was your testimony.  You shared something that you believe.  You shared a story of when you had to use your faith, and you told us how you were blessed.  That is your testimony of faith.” 

I am so thankful for family home evening, for this time of learning and sharing, to see how my children really do understand and grow from the teachings of the gospel.

Love is in the air…

Valentine’s day is on it’s way, so is Easter, apparently.  I saw Easter candy right next to the Valentine’s stuff at the store the other day..
But further proof that Valentine’s is coming, and is really first is evident in the product available today at Jessica Sprague.
Let’s start off with new templates from Liv
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She designed these with those project 365ers, 52ers, or 12ers in mind.  They also come in 8 & 1/2 x 11 size.
Other credits:
Liv's "Not Quite White" paper pack.
Liv's "Paint Play Swishes" paper pack.
Carina Gardner's "Santa's Sleigh Stamps".
Queen of Quirk "Reindeer Games" accents.
Ric-rack from Splendid Fiins "Feedsack elements 2 Pack".
Font used: “My Type of Font”.
Then there is more splendidness from Splendid Fiins…
First up: these lovely frames..
love you copy
Other credits:
Paper from Splendid Fiins "Brilliant" collection.
Ric-rack and zig-zag stitching from "Feedsack 2 Elements" (also Splendid Fiins).
White border stitching from "Sew Crafty: Messy Stitches vol. 1" (Splendid Fiins).
And then this lovely quick page from the same lovely designer:
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So easy.  Plug in your pix, add your text and ta-da!!  So cute…
Fonts: “Veteran Typewriter” and “Never Let Go”.
The lovely lettering in this one comes from Echo Park.
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Other credits:
"Be Mine" papers from Echo Park.
Elements from Echo Park's "Be Mine" element pack #1.
Stitching from Splendid Fiins "Sew Crafty: Messy Stiching vol. 1".
Staple from Crystal Wilkerson's "November Eye Candy".
That stitched banner was created using a single stitch brush I happily added to my arsenal of brushes when I took Jessica’s “Brushabilities” class.  That is the only way to get it, and it is well worth it!  Great class to take to learn or just enhance your learning of the PhotoShop brush tool.
(Here’s the link to that class.)
Font: Veteran Typewriter.

Friday, January 21, 2011

a birthday recap..

all in lowercase because hitting that shift key just isn’t happening when you are holding a sleeping 2 year old…

yesterday was my 31st birthday.  it was pretty great. 

i got to start my day off by going to the dmv to renew my driver’s license.  i was there for 8 minutes.  that is what you get when you make an appointment.

i was later whisked away by by bf to lunch at olive garden and then to get some essentials at ulta.  my skin has been funky, i would like to blame it all on age, but then again, i am pretty funky, so it might just be me after all. 

i missed my dad coming up for a surprise visit, and when i say missed, i really really missed that.  i love time with my dad.  lately it’s been phone conversations all about camera stuff.  i just love him…

we managed to get the girls favorite babysitter, second favorite to be exact.  grammie is still number one.  merrill and i went out to dinner with our good friends to mcgrath’s.  it is no coincidence that crab celebration always takes place over my birthday.  we came back to our house and enjoyed some birthday cake.  i made my own, cause again, that is just how it is.  i will have to share that recipe on the craft blog..  quite refreshing. 

merrill’s parents and youngest sister dropped in too.

i capped-off my night by going and playing basketball with other women in our stake.  it is always fun, always kicks my butt.  couldn’t tell you how long it’s been since i’ve played a full-court game of basketball, so these last few weeks have really been fun and tiring.  after all the eating and celebrating i did yesterday, i told myself that i needed to be one of the first down at the other end of the court after that ball is re-bounded.  i have the blisters to prove just how much running i did. 

it was really a great day.  i had many friends wishing my a happy birthday on facebook, in emails, text messages, and those fun surprise visits. 

i truly am blessed and surrounded by the best!

I love Liv!

I happen to love all the great designers at Jessica Sprague, don’t get me wrong..  but it’s Liv’s day to shine over there!
I have been using her products for a while, her designs and her attention to every little detail, are amazing!
Go see what great things Liv has been up to, and while you are there, take advantage of one of the newest, greatest things the dreamy team has come up with there..
Take 25% off anything in Liv’s store today through Sunday!!
And to make it even better (anything + Liv = better..) go to Digi Lovely and download a new mini kit, designed by Liv for FREE.
(This offer also ends at midnight on Sunday.)
It’s all incredible!
Here’s just a sample:
click copy
Liv’s “Click- mini kit” (the FREEbie!!).
Splendid Fiins “Sew Crafty- Messy Stitches vol. 1”.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Christmas Day 2010.

I am still a little shocked, a little appalled, a little of both, that I didn’t take more pictures this Christmas…  it was nice to relax and all, not be the paparazzi Christmas morning, but I still miss the variety of pictures that I usually have.

This was the first year that the girls got us up.


7:34 am, there they were in our room, ready to go.

Every other year, it has been us, waking them up.

Great fun indeed!

Santa got his traditional sugar cookies and milk (no Reeses this year..) and an added bonus: Lynn wrote him a letter, asking some pretty specific questions…

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The girls also got a little note from the big guy himself, telling them to share…

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It was a Christmas of Polly Pocket Princess style much to Merrill’s displeasure. 

(He HATES putting those little rubber clothes on those tiny plastic dolls…)

Lynn got a reply from Santa:

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The girls got home made doll beds for their American Girl Dolls.  They look like their own beds.

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They came with fitted sheets, pillows with pillow cases, and comforters. 

(I should really post more about these on the ol’ craft blog…)

And we had our traditional pull-a-parts and cocoa, or chocolate milk for those of us (ahem…  Merrill..) who call cocoa “caca”.

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Lynn and Ashley also got roller skates.  They had fun “practicing” inside the house.

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And what is a Christmas sock without lip smackers?!  These were super cool, they are magnetic!

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Peyton loved playing Princess Pollys all day long…

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We headed over to mom and dad’s for lunch and more gifts..  Ashley was extremely bummed when she didn’t find the Jessie doll she has been wanting since the beginning of November underneath the tree at our house.  I knew that mom and dad had bought it for her just a couple of days within her saying she wanted it, so I kept telling her to just hold on, the day wasn’t quite over.  We still had grandpa and grandma Pitcher and grandma and grandpa Mayes’ to see..  When Merrill’s mom and dad came, they just brought a crummy old Wii (sarcasm here).  No Jessie doll.  She was slightly (sarcasm again) disappointed.  She was quite distraught and despondent until we got to mom and dad’s house.  As soon as that wrapped, perfectly sized box with her name on it was placed on her lap,  there was happiness and nothing else, not even a moment for mom to get there with her camera to capture the perfect moment. 

Nothing but happiness I tell you.

Pure happiness.

(It is official, she loves my mom and dad more than she does me and Merrill.)

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We were all pretty happy with mom’s chicken noodle soup too.

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Levi loved his Star Wars toys.  The ton-ton even has innards that come out….  it was so fun to watch Ken play with his boys.

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And Peyton ate her black olives perfectly.

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After a little cat nap in the car, on the way home, we all played the Wii.

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And had a blast.

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Just a sampling of the damage done during our day.

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It was a Toy Story, Polly Pocket, miracle kind of Christmas this year, and it was pretty great.

Oh, Merrill got me a new Kitchen Aid hand mixer. :)  It is nice to have one that works again, like as in, BOTH beaters rotate.

Life is good.

More December traditions.. coming to you in… January.

Just playing one gigantic game of catch-up!

(Don’t mind me..)

So many fun things happen in December.  We try our hardest to do many things together as a family, and to make new traditions as we enjoy all the old ones.

Here’s a smattering:

Ogden’s Christmas Village.

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This year, we went for FHE and invited some of our favorite neighbors along.

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Just 7 kids between us.  No sweat! 

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We walked around until we were cold enough, then went back to our house for a variety of cocoa (between Julie and myself, I think we have just about every flavor that Stephens has ever made!) orange, and cinnamon rolls.

It was a fun night!

We started a tradition when Ashley was 2, that we paint ornaments as a family.  My parents did it one year, and I remember it well.  I am already for next Christmas!!  I bought next year’s on clearance for 29 cents each. :D

The girls love it too…

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We do sugar cookies every year too.  It is another favorite around here.  Santa expects them. :)

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Peyton’s favorite: the frosting.

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One of the last, and best, is the sleeping around the tree on the Eve of Christmas Eve.  We eat pizza, watch movies, snuggle up on the air bed or the couch, and just relax.  It has been going strong for three years now.  It is a nice way to take a break after all the busy-ness of the month.

(I got the idea from another blogger, Holly Brimhall.)

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Temple Square.

There are many Christmas traditions in this little family, one that is a MUST every year.  Some don’t always get done, but this one, definitely happens.

This year was just a little different than the rest..

Lynn was going to be baptized soon.  The atonement was going to become more real in her life.  The birth of our Savior meant more to her personally.

I also agreed to the challenge of reading the Book of Mormon in it’s entirety the month of December.  That was 18 pages a day, just about every day. ;)  My personal relationship with Christ was in a different place as well.  The Christmas season, which is all about His birth, held a different, stronger meaning to me this year.

We entered the visitors’ center after viewing the Nativity, and immediately went upstairs to view the Christus.  I was so thankful to Merrill, for taking the younger two girls and the stroller so Lynn and I could walk up the ramp, hand in hand, enjoying this special moment.


I had feelings much like I did just outside, seeing the depiction of the Christ Child.  So thankful!!!  So thankful for the marvelous plan that my Heavenly Father made for me and for everyone.  So thankful for the son He gave so I could have a way to return home.  So thankful for the life of the Savior, for His willingness to give His life, to suffer for me.




We enjoyed the evening there, and it was one of the warmest as far as we could recall.





Loved the luminaries…  I actually had the know-how to be able to take these pictures this year.





I set the camera down on the ground, thought I had it focused just right (kinda hard to do when it is so dark!) and used the remote to take this one of our family.  I don’t care how blurry it is, I still love it!