Last 90 days OF THE DECADE.. What are YOU doing?

That title seems a little ” in yo’ face” But seriously, what are YOU doing to end this year on a high note? Why may you ask is it important to end the year on a high note? Well because, that puts you in a better position to start off next year! How many times have you crashed and burned from now until Jan 1st. and you just tell yourself, it’s ok I’ll start over and be better in January. I, myself have done that one too many times!

Last year at the tail end of the year I started reading Girl, wash your face by Rachel Hollis. I loved it for many reasons but one of the things I loved about the book was it gave gentle advice on how to start living a better life that you not only deserve but should be pushing yourself for.

One of the things she mentioned was drinking half your body weight in OZ. of water but instead of saying “I’m only drinking water” and “NO MORE SODA” instead just ADD this one habit in to your daily routine. As I was reading that I thought to myself ” When was the last time I drank water?” ( I was a diet dr. pepper and diet coke addict) When I couldn’t even remember the last time I’d had water I knew things had to change. I decided Jan 1st I would start. (What IS IT with that day?!)

So I did. And every day I hit my goal. Sometimes it took me all day other days I got done a little quicker and went over my goal. I never consciously said ” I am quitting soda” but I turned around 3 months later and realized I’d been so busy hitting my goal that I hadn’t had time for soda, and more importantly, I didn’t even miss it. Every once in awhile I’ll have a diet coke but honestly it doesn’t even taste the same anymore.

When I started that challenge I asked myself ” What if you just didn’t break this ONE promise to yourself? ” And I’m happy to say it’s like second nature now. Jumping forward to a few weeks ago I decided I wanted to implement a better morning routine. Most days the kids were up before me , which I didn’t like because they were raiding the pantry like infantry men on foreign soil EVERY MORNING.

I decided when school started that I wanted that to be different. The Start Today Morning show was going to be starting the same day and that started at 7am. So I started getting up at 6:45 just to sit and watch it, wake up slow and get breakfast on. Then I decided to do one better and get up at 5 and do my Gratitude Journal, meditate and get my workout in by 7 so I started the day off right.

Not the best pic but I love this workout tank!

Getting up at 5 meant a big change for me. I was a night owl. Staying up till midnight or later was the norm for me. I’ve always been pretty strict about bedtime for the kids but not for me. I started going to bed by 10 or 10:30 and that made it possible to get up at the crack of dawn.

So when the Last 90 days Challenge officially started all I really needed to implement was giving up one food thing that wasn’t good for me. I chose fast food. As someone who goes to Chick fil a or McDonald’s more times than not I figured my waistline and bank account could use the break. I am ALWAYS so busy that it is the easier option to just swing and grab lunch for all of us . Or have Greg grab food on his way home when I’m busy making cake.

Easier option yes, but healthier? No. not really. I probably should have let the people at Chick fil a know what was up.. They probably think we moved or something bad happened. haha

What exactly is the Last 90 day Challenge you say? I’ll break it down..

1. Wake Up an hour earlier ( or find ONE hour in the day for YOU)

2. Drink half your body weight in OZ. of water

3. Write down 5 to 10 things you are grateful for everyday.

4. Move your body at least 30 min. everyday.

5. Give up one food group that is not blessing your body.

Mainly she suggests number 5 for 30 days and it’s to show yourself that you CAN keep a promise to yourself!

I have to say I was really proud of Illa this week. We went to see the Big Boy train right after school on Thursday and it was really cool. We walked all over and Wesley was really interested in all the moving parts and the other trains in the yard that were moving around. About halfway through Illa ( who LIVES for eating out) asked when we were leaving because she was hungry and wanted to go grab food. My first instinct was to say yes, we will when we leave and just eat when I got home. BUT , I decided to be honest with her and see what she had to say. I sat her down and said ” Mommy is doing a challenge , and my challenge is that I’m not gonna eat fast food for 30 days. Would you like to help me with that? If we ALL do the challenge think how much better we will feel !” She thought about it for a second and then said “Ok Mommy, I will help you! Let’s just eat when we get home!”

This picture really doesn’t do this train justice. It was HUGE!

I think it has helped putting all of these things in place gradually, but I love it. I love the time to myself in the morning, I love focusing on gratitude, I love moving my body and getting my water in. Working on me is a little bit of a foreign concept but I have been working on that this year too.

What would happen if you tried to end the year with good habits? How would you feel ? What would that look like? What would happen if you didn’t break just one promise to yourself? ALL THE GOOD THINGS would happen that’s what. YOU can do it. You really can. If I can do it anyone can. My inner voice tries to talk me out of getting up early EVERYDAY. I’ve thought of at least 17 reasons why before I can turn my alarm off. Your “WHY” Has to be stronger than your excuses. Simple as that. Love yourself and get that booty moving!

What’s YOUR why?

Till next time!

~ Laura

Is it supposed to be this hard?

We have been dealing with something over here that hasn’t been easy. It’s not something that I talk about often and I don’t like to bring up. But in the interest of being transparent I will divulge.

Wes and Illa have very strong personalities. ( No clue where they get those from..) They get a long and play well with each other , till they don’t. It all goes up in flames SO fast. Illa does struggle with age appropriate body awareness which makes her prone to emotional outbursts like a 4 yr old. When one thing doesn’t go in her favor she is screaming, yelling, and throwing things. At least at home.

Wes is about the same. He is a great kid until one thing doesn’t go his way. Then the screaming, yelling, name calling and outbursts happen. And unlike Illa , he doesn’t care if we are in public or not. Honestly I dread going to the store with him most of the time. I use Walmarts online ordering like the life line that it is, if y’all aren’t doing that yet GET ON BOARD.

By the end of the day I am emotionally and mentally drained. If I can keep them busy that seems to help a little bit , but I don’t have the time to keep them occupied ALL the time. Chores have to get done at some point around here.

I have of course looked into this. Gone down many a rabbit hole.. It isn’t supposed to be this hard, right?! Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. My biggest issue is that I don’t like them feeling this way. I’ve dealt with anger issues my whole life, I KNOW how it feels to be so consumed with rage all you want to do is throw something and watch it shatter. I don’t want that for my children.

I’ll admit, I feel very helpless somedays, like I’m just going around putting fires out. Moving from one crazy situation to the next. I do my absolute best to fight my rage-y tendencies and meet them in their moments of anger with compassion and calm and help them dial it back down. Some days are better than others. Some days I do great although, it doesn’t seem to help most of the time, but I’m trying. Other days I snap right back at them. I hate when that happens but I have to remind myself that I am only human and that tomorrow is another day to try again.

One thing that I have struggled with is, we worked so hard to start our family and to get them here that I didn’t really focus on what the heck I was supposed to do when it came time to actually raise them. I thought that came naturally. WELL… it doesn’t . Maybe for some but not for me. I’ve read a ton of articles and books trying to pick out the tidbits from all of those that sounded right to me. I want to be fair, and consistent and kind.

I just didn’t factor into this that THEY as tiny humans would have a say in all this as well. . We are constantly trying to find a balance, a way to work with each other that will at the end of the day make them into wonderful adults that aren’t assholes and that are compassionate and kind. That are respectful and hard working. That is my wish. If we have some rough patches getting to that point, well so be it .

We will make it I’m sure, just getting there may kill me.. some days I end the day feeling like I have it all figured out , they go to bed on time, have eaten a good dinner, got their homework done without much complaint and have not tried to kill each other multiple times that day. Other days, lets just say it doesn’t go near as well and I am left feeling defeated and like I am the worst mom in the world at the end of the night. Mommin’ ain’t easy, not by a long shot. But I keep showing up and I love them fiercely because these strong little souls deserve that .

This world is only getting crazier and it is going to need someone with Illa’s strong will and Wesley’s kind heart.

To the mommas out there who are struggling, I got you. Everyday is a challenge, but also a chance to be better and to raise these tiny humans the best way we can. To help them become their best selves. It’s tough, but momma SO ARE YOU!

Till next time

~ Laura

Going it alone this week

Greg went hunting for the last week and it was INTERESTING. I was happy that Greg got a break and was able to get out into the mountains and recharge. I know it was good for him, he totally needed it.

Meanwhile at home…. things were getting crazy. I mean I run a fairly tight ship in the sense of schedule. The kids get up and go to bed at the same time and the days are pretty predictable with snack, lunch time, homework and free time sprinkled in. So it’s not too much of a disruption when Greg jets outta town but you can tell the kids really missed him.

Towards the end of the week the kids were really getting snappy and beasty with each other and I think it was that they missed their dad , even though they couldn’t put it together. To be honest I enjoyed getting the kids to bed and then being able to watch my true crime shows without judgement but 6 days in I was missing Greg too.

This separation made me really ponder how much time Greg spends with the kids and in our daily routine. It really kinda shocked me. 2 hours. 2 hours is what Greg gets with his kids everyday of the week ( more on weekends) but he gets home between 5 and 6 and the kids go to bed at 8. Compared to the 27 billion hours I spend with them during the day it’s a BIG difference. Don’t worry, that math is accurate, I checked lol

I feel like we have to make the most of the time we have, we are so busy doing all the things that we HAVE to make making memories just as important. I’m not saying every week needs to be a trip to Disneyland, more that being intentional with the time we do have. Yes , Illa still talks about Disneyland BUT she also talks about movie nights and how she loves them and the special caramel popcorn I make for all of us. Or spending time on the river trail, riding the rzr, camping, staying in a hotel, going swimming.. these little things all add up.

Earlier this week it was a little crazy we had a windshield getting replaced one day and the carpets getting cleaned another, throw in homework and reading time and normal errands and it was a busy time. I made a point to carve out some fun time this week and we went to Farm Country at Thanksgiving Point for an afternoon of fun.

We have a pass and so I try to go there often. Farm country it is an actual working farm but everything is on display for the kids to see. Illa loves the pony rides obviously and petting all the animals. I freaking love the goats and would love to smuggle one in my bag and take it home. Wes loves the tractors and is getting braver about petting all of the animals.

I think she was going for ” glamour shot smirk” look
On the tractor ride asking a gazillion questions… I loved it!

One of the best memories and I didn’t even snap a dang pic was when they brought a cow into a chute for you to trying milking! Wes was a no go, he was busy looking at the toy tractors but Illa was curious. So she went over and gave it a shot. She got a little to come out and then asked for my help. I’ll admit I was a little nervous that Peggy ( yes that was her name) was gonna kick me , but she was happy to eat her supper and leave me be.

I reached up and went to “milk” this cows udder and oh my stars it felt soft and spongey LOL I looked at Illa who had a funny look on her face and we both just started laughing so hard. Later that night I was putting her to bed and she brought it up and said ” You know mom, that was a lot of fun! I enjoyed doing weird stuff with you today!” It made my heart happy .

I guess the point of this post is we have no clue how much time we are gonna have on this earth with our loved ones, Yes we have important things that need to be done everyday to keep us going BUT don’t forget to make the most of the time you have. Make fun memories and Love your people like there is no tomorrow .

Till next time –

~ Laura

My trip to Ground Zero

Can you ever really forget where you were when something has horrific as 9/11 happened? Your entire world is changed, you see things both bad and good that stay in your mind forever.

I was in 10th grade, I had just walked into my orchestra class and the TV was on. I thought it was just the morning announcements but soon realized it was something so much worse. My orchestra teacher was watching the screen with wide eyes and I don’t even know if he was aware but his head was shaking back and forth like he was subconsciously telling himself “no”. While my 14 year old self was unsure of what had happened I knew it was truly awful.

When I got home that afternoon my Mom was sitting on the couch watching the news crying. She wanted a hug and I walked over and gave her one and sat down to watch what was happening unfold so very far from my home. Over the next few days I don’t think my mom turned the TV off. We were all mainly just shook and horrified . It really was the first time I felt numb with shock.

Fast forward 2 years and we were able to go to New York with an Orchestra Group I was part of. We were invited to play at Carnegie Hall. It was really an amazing trip. I got to go with my mom and we got to kinda do whatever we wanted, it was great! I fell in love with the city and a small part of my heart really wouldn’t mind living there. While we were there we had the opportunity to see a play ( Phantom of the Opera was AMAZING), eat at amazing restaurants and tour the city.

Mom and I both wanted to go to Ground Zero. So we made sure to make it a priority and we spent over half a day there. To say it was surreal is an understatement. Surreal, humbling, sobering, quiet ( which was strange because there was SO much going on) and massive.

The site was so large , it was crazy to think that these two buildings were gone. A lot of the surrounding buildings had marks and gouges on there exteriors from the building debris as they collapsed.

Apparently mom and I were matchy matchy that day

We walked around the area and saw many things that stuck with me to this day. The board of missing people was still up. That hurt my heart; posters of people that would never come home. There was a man there that was handing out maps and talking to people, he had been there that day and was telling us first hand how he had felt and things he saw.

The only good thing, if it can be called that is that it brought us together. Tales of heroism and the human spirit that came from all of this is still so touching and amazing that is brings tears to my eyes. STILL. TO THIS DAY. Things happened that day that I only used to be able to imagine, things I never in my 14 year old mind thought were possible. I grew up that day in a lot of ways.

Moving forward, I will do my absolute best to instill great values in my kids, to teach them right from wrong and to give them the tools they will need to face this crazy world. 9/11 is special to me, it always will be. One day when the kids a little bit older a trip will be planned and we will go and see the memorial that is there now.

As for now, hug your loved ones, tomorrow isn’t guaranteed and LIVE your damn life to the fullest!

Till next time!

~ Laura

I’m a little bit Woo Woo , he’s a little bit not so much..

(I totally wrote that to the tune of I’m a little bit country, I’m a little bit Rock and Roll )

So sickness has hit our house , I expected as much the first few weeks back to school. Greg has also been struck down, thankfully not with sickness **knocks on wood** but with the onset of arthritis in his ankle.

When illness hits I admit I turn into a bit of a hippy. Someone has a cold? I have an oil for that.. someone has the start of arthritis? I have turmeric powder and more oils up my sleeves.. I mean I’m all for modern medicine, I don’t believe oils fix everything but I do think they can definitely help in certain places.

So Greg currently smells like a doterra convention and Wesley is passed out. I love Wesley with all my heart but he definitely embodies the phrase ” MAN COLD”

Greg puts up with me but I don’t think he’s on board 100% but as long as I see a little bit of improvement, I’m gonna roll with it .

My main driving force is honestly I hate seeing my kiddos sick. Wes is so pitiful, he moans all day and is really just not prepared for how crappy he feels so he is ridiculously cranky and not easily reasoned with .. being sick is hard when you’re 3!

My favorite thing I like to do is have something on hand we call the “Tickle Roller “. It’s a roller bottle filled with a a blend of oils and of course a carrier oil. I was behind the ball this year , normally I roll it on the kids feet every night before bed. It helps boost their immune system and shorten the length of a cold.

I’m kicking myself for not being proactive but you can bet the brew is made and going on their feet tonight!

My recipe:

Tickle Roller Blend

10 drops OnGuard

10 drops Breathe

7 drops Oregano

7 drops Lemon

Fill the rest of the bottle with a carrier oil like fractionated coconut oil and your good to go.

Also make sure to use a glass bottle, the lemon oil will eat the plastic ones. This is was a great buy, roller bottles and oil all together!

http://Oraganix Fractionated Coconut Oil with Roller Bottles – 100% Pure Natural 16 Oz Coconut Oil, 2ml Essential Oil Roller Bottles, Caps, Funnel and Bottle Opener – for Massage Oil, Skin and Hair Care

Anyway, if I can help one person not get sick then this was worth it !

Till next time!


Kickin’ it WAY back!

Recently I’ve been cleaning out and organizing the office. While going through stuff I came across our old wedding albums. Naturally I wanted to show the kids. Wes was thankfully very kind. He instantly said “mommy, you look like a princess! ” While Illa was a little more honest… She took one look and said ” Wow mom, you’ve gained weight” Gee thanks kid, I wasn’t aware of that * insert dramatic eyeroll here*

Greg and I were such babies back then I was 19 and Greg was 31. I mean just LOOK at our fresh faces full of life and hope haha


Our wedding day was a wonderful day. Full of family and love but one the BEST things that happened that day was this.. it’s a story so bear with me.

My mom and I had been looking for THE shoes to go with my dress. We couldn’t find anything local that fit the bill and this was way back in the dino age so it was before online shopping is what it is today.

We ended up doing what any crafty girl would do that owned a glue gun. We bought shoes that were close to what I wanted and got busy. The shoes were brown and had no bling so we spray painted them white and hot glued bling on them. God Bless my tiny, bejewled lovin’ heart. The paint didn’t hold up and the hot glue jewels wouldn’t stay so we were back to the drawing board.

I ended up finding shoes that were so pretty , a little higher than I wanted but they worked! When the day came I slipped them on and away I went. I knew about 27 minutes into wearing them I wasn’t gonna make it all day. My little piggies were screaming profanities all the way home.

Aren’t they pretty? BUT they are filled with my blood by this point.

We were taking pictures and I was holding onto Greg’s arm so tight , I think I was trying to levitate honestly, when he leaned over and said to me ” Baby, why don’t you just slip them off, no one can see them with your big flippin’ skirt”

This was the BEST moment of the whole day !

This moment went down in history as the BEST moment of the day. Oh my stars. I was so dang happy!

Greg was smiling because I admitted he was right and I just have the look of pure joy on my face haha

One of the other funny stories from that day involved the cake. Greg and I had discussed at length that there would be NO smashing of the cake into my face. I mean COME ON, I didn’t wanna mess up my make up! Things were great , right up till the moment they weren’t. I could see the minute he changed his mind. He got that look in his eye. That glint of mischief …

Do you see it? Do you see the glint?!

Greg and I are sarcastic jokers, we always have been. It has bitten us in the butt a few times but more often than not it has helped us handle all the BS that has been thrown at us throughout our 13 short years of marriage.

I also came across our vows that had been copied into our album, it was a great reminder to read those wonderful things that we promised each other .

I knew the first time I looked deep into your eyes, I saw your gentle soul and where your love lies. From this day on I will spend all eternity at your side. In a home full of love and where kindness will abide. You are the man that God our Father has entrusted me to, to be a queen of our home and a “helpmeet” to you. I pray that we will always trust in the deep love we share to face every challenge with enough strength to bear it. So lets take our first steps together, hand in hand and eye to eye. I am so lucky to be the woman you’re married to!

– Laura

Our God so graciously has granted many blessings in my life and one of the greatest of them all was when you said you’d be my wife. We know love starts with ” hearts and flowers”, wedding bells and wedding rings, but a marriage such as ours includes so many other things. In fact the wedding part is over when the ceremony ends. A life of working hard together to build a marriage then begins. I wish I knew the words to tell you just how much you mean to me. Thanks for the love we share together and all the years that are to be.

– Greg

Hard times happened way quicker and a lot more frequent than I thought but we have trusted in our love for each other and made it through each time. We have learned through the years to try and have a little fun along the way.

Such a fun night … and now I gotta get back to cleaning !

Till next time!

~ Laura

Behind the Scenes

Everybody loves to hear about things that go on “behind the scenes” amiright?? This week was a normal week , I mean normal for us anyway. 1000 things to do and in the middle of that a wedding cake was due.

Let me start by saying I LOVE creating cakes. I love thinking outside the box to try and make all my clients dreams come true. I know some of you are probably thinking , ” My hell Laura, it’s CAKE” But that’s exactly it. It is CAKE. It makes people smile and that’s my favorite part! Oh, well and it tasting good haha.

I love the stress of making a wedding cake, I know that sounds crazy but it’s a good, creative stress. It’s different from my normal everyday stress and I welcome the change. Now to get back to the cake at hand….

The cake order was simple enough, Chocolate cake, raspberry mousse filling, buttercream. SIDE NOTE: I’m SO happy the fondant cakes seem to be on the out now. Not that I don’t mind them but they kick my trash. HAHA

I started Wednesday by making a crap ton of cake. I had 4 layers with 2 layers of cake in each. I got all the cake made and the filling and got to work. I like to get my cakes stacked, filled and crumb coated asap. That way I can let them chill in the fridge overnight and get nice and solid so I can frost the crap outta them the next day.

That’s exactly what I did. I used more buttercream on this cake than I ever have in my whole darn life. To say it was heavy was an understatement. ANYWHO.. I turned my attention to the floral part of this cake because after all that was really what was going to be the show stopping quality.

We weren’t certain if there would be enough live floral for the cake so I started calling florists to see if I could snag some. I was looking for lavender and olive leaf. I called 5 different places and was all told the same things ” Lavender is out of season and the olive leaf was special order” SWELL. So I hit hobby Lobby, I figured I could at least have silk back ups. I went ALL over that store for an hour trying to find just the right stuff. Finally convinced myself I had stuff that would work and headed home.

.On the way I went to pass the Walmart that is by our house and I looked over at their landscaping and low and behold… LAVENDER! I whipped in there and up to a bush and ripped off a couple of sprigs. I figured at least one of the flowers would be real!

Now here comes the funny part. I can say that now because I lived through it. It’s finally GO time. Delivery was like half a mile away so I agreed to bring it over and get it set up. The challenge was getting it from my house to the reception. We had to navigate bumpy roads and a steep downhill that felt like we were sliding off the earth. So what did I do? I made it a family affair. I asked Greg for help and threw the kids in the car.

I thought that if he held it on his lap he could keep it level when we went down Everest. I should have just stuck it in the back of the car and said a prayer.. I got Greg in the car and brought out the 50 pound cake. As I went to slide it on his lap it wobbled a bit so he went to steady it out of reflex I guess and stuck 2 fingers in one side and swiped the other. The wheels are starting to fall off the bus at this point.

I run back inside and get my mixing bowl with extra frosting and my spreader and off we go. LONGEST 5 minute drive of my damn life. Greg was a hot mess freaking out at every bump. We get to ” The Hill” and he’s yelling ” Don’t ride the damn brakes” and I’m yelling back ” I HAVE TO or we will blow through the stop sign and go pass the road and into the river cuz I’ll be damned if I’m gonna brake HARD!”

Naturally we have some one tail gating me because I’m going approx. 12 mph so there was that added pressure. We finally turn into the neighborhood and into the driveway. I leave Greg in the car with the cake so I can see where it needs to go before I lug this thing around.

I go around the side of this house and through a cool vine passage way into this beautiful back yard. Tables are set up everywhere and it really is a sight . I should mention this IS Utah so the backyard is set into a hillside so it was HILL-Y

I located someone who looked official and asked where the cake table was and naturally it’s at the very highest part of the yard ( the song ” If you could Hie to Kolob” literally entered my mind) I asked about greenery which there was plenty of and I set back off to the car to grab the cake.

I asked Greg to move the car and meet me and off I went. I should also add the ground was not level and there were roots just waiting to snag my root. Somehow I dodged them all and then got to the hardest part. It was a straight assent to the cake table. A kind lady saw me and apparently my face was saying all the words I was keeping inside because she asked if I needed help. At that point though I was committed. I was on a mission and come hell or high water I was gonna reach that table.

My arms were burning , my legs were shaking but then she started saying things like ” Look at you go! ” You’re a Rockstar !” and you know what it helped hahaha. I made it! I couldn’t breathe and was seeing spots but dang it I did it!

I went to work grabbing Lavender and greenery and starting sticking it on the cake. Greg showed up and with my frosting and I was able to fix his finger imprints. We snapped a quick picture and off we went.

It was legit a intense 45 minutes but MAN I loved it!

Till next time~


Sunday Morning Musings

Does anyone else feel like they are on a clock before school starts? I want things to run smoothly once school gets under way and in order to do that I want ALL the things done before we get on this new schedule.

I like to dejunk our house at least twice a year and before school starts is a great time. The hard part is that we have just been SO busy . We are hardly ever home it feels like and when we are its long enough to eat and change clothes and off we go again.

One of the biggest issues we will call it , is that I feel like I have enough time to stay on top of the normal everyday chores but when I take time to tackle a whole room, the office for instance the rest of the house goes straight to H-E-double hockey sticks faster than a New York minute.

Can anyone relate to that? I mean, I’ll walk out and feel all good about myself that I made real headway but my face quickly changes to …

Credit : Daddy Day Care

Then I just wanna retreat into my new clean space and never come out hahaha. My dream is to have all my rooms clean at once. ALL the rooms. Even our very downstairs rooms.

We have a cold storage room that is in severe need of organizing and the room next to it has become a shrine of sorts to crap from my life and Greg’s life from before we met. I mean what the heck are you supposed to do with childhood stuff? I KNOW it was important once upon a time but when you haven’t looked at it in 13 years (or more) I feel like it’s safe to send it on it’s way.

One of the things that has taken extra time is I’m also going through a bunch of boxes of Mom’s stuff. When my dad moved out of the house they had shared I did something I never saw coming. I snapped and started hoarding boxes of stuff that was hers. I couldn’t believe what was getting thrown away and even though I had promised mom when she was alive that I would only be taking a few things, I ended up with 5 large boxes of picture albums, books, jewelry, journals and other stuff that would have just ended up in the trash or DI.

I was proud of myself though. I went through it all yesterday and got it down to a medium utility tote and a box. There are a few things like her wedding dress and a jean jacket that I am looking into fun ways to preserve and display them. I inherited a ginormous hutch from my grandmother and that’s where a lot of her stuff is and where I plan on putting her dress as well.

I’m excited to be getting things in order. It feels good to dig out and get my rooms organized again. That’s honestly when I feel best. Clutter and crap everywhere is a HUGE anxiety trigger for me. Anyone else? Or am I just the crazy one round here?! Starting the School year off organized and happy is a Win – Win for us all!

Till next time~


Life lessons from a 6 year old

Her sense of style is unrivaled lol

We recently made a big decision that I’m embarrassed to say took WAY too long to come to. A lot of the reason it took so long was that I was worried what others would think of my smart, adorable, crazy at times, little girl. I didn’t want anyone thinking badly of her. Mama bear instinct was STRONG.

Let me back up a little.. I first noticed something wasn’t quite right about 2 years ago. Illa remembered details, and caught on quick to a lot of things beyond her age but simple things like counting to 10 was a challenge. SO after working with her myself I decided we needed a higher power. I made an appt. with Brain Balance and we went in. They came back and confirmed what I had been thinking. Work needed to be done that I didn’t know how to give.

We hit Brain Balance hard. 3 times a week for 6 months I was driving there for her appt. She made progress, they were helping the pathways in her brain make lasting connections so that she could succeed in life and in school. I wanted more than anything for school to not be a “bad or hard” experience but rather something she loved and looked forward too.

Even with the help Kindergarten was a bit of a struggle. She fought me on homework, writing, letters, you name it. Math seems to be the one area she LOVED. (thank goodness because math and I don’t get along ha ha) At the end of the school year her teacher came to me and suggested I think about having Illa revisit Kindergarten in the upcoming school year.

I’ll be honest, my first thought was ” um, no. Not MY kid” I promised I’d work hard with her throughout the summer and we would test her in the fall before school starts to see if she was up to snuff for first grade.

I also noticed near the end of school that she was really struggling when she had to much sugar. So I made the executive decision to cut out as much sugar as possible. It was making both kids have similar symptoms to those children that have ADHD. I wanted to try cutting sugar first to see if it helped at all. The difference I saw was immediate and profound. It was rough getting Illa to understand that we didn’t need ALL the snacks all the time. It’s better now, she understands and sees the difference. Once in awhile I let her indulge but it’s rare now.

We worked hard this summer. Almost everyday we had “workbook time” For an hour we would work on sight words, writing, recognizing patterns, colors, shapes, numbers , all of it. I had prizes for both of them when they did well and we had fun. Finally the big day came where they were going to administer her assessment .

We went in and I felt confident it would go well… I was wrong.

When she came out of the assessment I went and met with the teacher that gave it and the principle. Right away the teacher said how lovely Illa was and that she was very bright and then she showed me the assessment results. The bottom fell out of my stomach. There had been no improvement at all. In fact it looked worse than her last report card at the end of kindergarten. I went through a lot of emotions sitting in that little office. I was upset, sad, angry, frustrated..

As she was flipping through the papers and showing me things and talking I was half listening. My brain had become a litany of questions. “What is going on here?” “I thought we had made progress!” ” I can’t believe what I’m seeing!” ” I have failed my child.” ” She can’t possibly go on to first grade, she will struggle so bad.” “I have wasted our time.” ” I wasn’t helpful to her at all.”

I cried. In the office in front of two grown women. I cried. I was just SO frustrated. They were both so kind and gave me their professional opinions which I took to heart. I walked out of there defeated and promised to think about if I wanted Illa to revisit kindergarten or if I wanted to push her and put her into first grade.

My little Helper, isn’t she cute?!

I was lost in thought for most of the day. All of the questions from earlier were swirling around in my head along with a bunch of new ones. ” What about her friends? Will they notice she didn’t move on with them?” “What am I going to tell everyone?” ” People are bound to notice when I post pictures about her going to school and doing all the same things again..” ” What about my schedule I had all worked out? That’s out the window.” “How is this going to work?” ” I don’t want her embarrassed by having to do this again.” And then something really important happened. I asked myself honestly the only question that mattered ..

“What will be the best decision for Illa?”

The answer was so clear that I was embarrassed by the way the other questions had bombarded me.

Revisiting Kindergarten was really the only answer to that question. It’s crazy the power your thoughts can have over you should you choose to let them take over.

I got this shirt for the reminder that Satan needs not have power over my thoughts and try to make a hard situation worse by bringing up all the questions and insecurities that I have floating around in my brain.

I had a close friend ask me in the middle of all of this “Have you asked Illa what she would like to do ?”

Uh…… NO, sadly that thought hadn’t even occurred to me. Here I am making important life decisions that directly affect her and I hadn’t even thought to ask her opinion on the matter. So I did and her response was simple and put the matter to rest.

She said ” Well mom, I think I should go back and do kindergarten again. I mean, I really don’t know all the things I need to know to go to first grade. So , yeah. I think I should go back. I’ll get it this time!”

There you have it folks.

So it is with great pride that we announce Illa will be headed back to Kindergarten . It was so nice , she gotta do it twice !

Till next time!

~ Laura

Honesty and a Family Vacation

This last week was spent in Lake Powell with family. A little back story about me and Lake Powell.. we have a checkered past. I’ve only been a few times in my life despite it not being THAT far away. (three hours or so)

When I was a teenager we tried to go as a family and we never even made it to the water. My mother was trying to get to the beach in our suburban and ended up off the hard packed sand and in the soft stuff. Needless to say the suburban sank, people came to help and it took AGES to get it dug back out.

It would be a few years later when I went with Greg’s family. It was a fine time and we all had fun. But the last trip some 10 years ago was what put an end to Lake Powell for me.

When we first arrived at our camp spot on the beach everyone was asleep so we just slept in the boat. That would not have been SO bad if I hadn’t ended up with sand spider all over me. I HATE spiders. The next morning Greg went to launch the boat and took all of our sunscreen with him. I thought he’d be gone 15 minutes. It was an hour and a half. In that hour and a half I seared like a pan fried kipper. I had blisters . My face was a joke. I slept with a towel wet down with lake water to get any relief. I ended up with Greg’s 1000 SPF Pure Zinc sunscreen on my face. I looked like a lobster. I belonged in a bisque.

When that fateful trip came to an end I pulled a Scarlet O’Hara and shook my fist at Lake Powell and loudly proclaimed ” As God as my witness I’ll never come back!” This may sound a little dramatic, but well, I am a bit dramatic sometimes. After getting 4th degree burns on my face , shoulders and tops of the girls I felt a little drama was warranted. Anyway, moving on..

Our family has continued to go to Powell but every time we were invited I would just shudder and say “no thank you!” Greg, my in-laws and the kids finally badgered me enough that I decided to give in and go this summer. I felt I’d done pretty good, avoiding it for 10 years. The problem this trip was I had a new friend to go with me, anxiety.

I may be smiling in this picture but on the inside I’m having a panic attack

You see I’ve always had a little anxiety but it quadrupled after our kids got here. We struggled for so long to get our little family that it terrifies me anytime that they are, or could be, or are next to anything remotely dangerous. So being in a boat hauling butt across the water is pretty much my own personal version of hell.

I tried to be a good sport. I really did. Illa and I have this thing where we say a mantra everyday to ourselves. ” I am Strong, I am Brave, I am Smart and I Love myself!” You better believe I was chanting the whole time ” I am Brave, I am Brave, I am Brave” Illa reached over when she heard my mutters and grabbed my hand and said ” Mom, you are SO brave!”

The problem with my anxiety is that it never really goes away. There are times when it’s more quiet and in the background and others when my brain sits and conjures up all of the situations in which things could go wrong. It’s like Final Destination is on repeat in my head. Not fun. I was able to enjoy myself on the boat, when we were going a slower speed. Those times were nice. I would also like to add that Greg is a very competent driver and I have faith in him as an operator, it’s just that ” what if this or that happens” in my brain that makes me ridiculous.

The Cliff Jumping Crew.. well except grandma lol

One of the things that gave me heart palpations was cliff jumping. Both kids really wanted to and I was good and said, go for it! They really enjoyed it and it made my mama heart proud to see how brave they both were!

Illa was born to tube!

Illa was most happy either on the tube or jumping off the swim deck. She LOVED the tube. I felt better sending her with my brother and sister in law because 1. They are both trained medical professionals and 2. She could have fun being spun around and hitting waves and I didn’t have to watch. It was a win- win situation.

I really enjoyed finding these alcoves with lots of shade to eat lunch in. They are so cool and pretty! Plus it was a nice break from the sun!

After Lunch Shenanigans

The kids loved teasing Grandpa (he loved it to) And we also had story time with Grandma. She tells the best stories and the kids love to listen!

Wesley LOVES the dirt

The next day we found a sandy spot and hung out there for a few hours. Wesley played on the beach and also gained a lot of confidence in the water. He could just walk from where he was playing into the water and come to me. The look on his face was pure joy! I loved seeing him blossom!

Nap Time

One of the perks of chillin’ at the beach was every one could nap. We were tired that second day!

Why does he look so big ?!

Wesley was worn the heck out. He napped for a bit both days!

He is such a character. Every time I point my phone and him and say smile this is what I get LOL

All in all it was a wonderful trip and I’m glad I gave Lake Powell another chance. While my anxiety took up more than its fair share of the trip, I am hoping that by going more and doing more things that push me I’ll be able to simmer the hell down a bit.

It’s so nice when they get along

I’ll be honest. This post was hard to write. It’s taken me all day because I keep procrastinating, which isn’t like me. It was hard to open up about something that plays such a big part in my life, but I feel it is my duty as the storyteller to tell the whole story. Mom fear/mom guilt is a real thing and it can be crippling. I used to not get it, but I get it now. Boy, do I ever.

Till next time~