Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Power of Moms Retreat

Ever since I was introduced to Power of Moms, just over a year ago, I have wanted to attend one of their retreats.  It seems that every time one came up in my area, I either had another commitment.  So, I was so excited when this Premium Mother's Day retreat opened up and everything worked out for me to attend. 
This one was held in Park City, Utah, at Richard and Linda Eyre's home.  There were about 85 moms in attendance. 
I think what was so cool about an event like this is that you are gathered with other like minded women, all of whom want to better themselves and their families.  It was so wonderful to share ideas and listen to those moms who are maybe at a different stage than I am and learn from their wisdom. 
Linda was our keynote speaker, and she had so many wise things to say.  She talked about realizing that as a mother, we are building for the future.  She told us to imagine what we want our families to be like in 20 or 50 or even 100 years from now.  What legacy do we want to leave?  I feel like it is so easy to look at each day as a mom and not feel like we are accomplishing anything, but when we look back, we can always see progress.   

It was so wonderful to hear these two (Richard and Linda Eyre) teaching us.  I have read their book, The Entitlement Trap, which I highly recommend, but is was fun to see how they interacted with each other.  I also enjoyed hearing them discuss the same concepts in their book, but in a setting where we can go a little deeper and ask questions.  One of the things Richard said that really stuck out to me was, "There is no such thing as a parenting expert.  You are the expert on your children." 

I love that!  We need to trust what our heart tells us is right, not always what the "experts" say is right, because in reality, WE are the experts on our children-that's why the Lord sent them to us. 
One special treat was listening to Macy Robinson sing for us.  She shared her story through song and it was so enjoyable. 
We were treated to this incredible lunch.  I would just love it is someone was around to prepare such healthy and delicious meals for me each day.  I think I'm becoming notorious for eating whatever my kids leave on their plates, or forgetting to eat all together. 
During lunch, we divided into groups where we talked about parenting partnerships and strengthening our marriage relationship so that we can be better parents.  I loved the small group visits. It is so fun to get to know other moms on a more intimate level, and to realize that many other moms are going through some of the same struggles as I am. 
This gal pictured above on the bottom right is Utah's Young Mother of the Year, Lori Conger.  She spoke to us for a bit, and I so connected with what she had to say.  She talked about how, as moms, we compare ourselves to others.  I already know I do this-in fact, I like to tell Dave that it is one my my talents I've really worked to develop.  One of the things she said was, and I'm paraphrasing: I allow too many outside influences to a overcome my feelings of self worth.
Yes!  I do that!  A lot!  She shared how she's worked to overcome this cycle, and I walked away definitely knowing that I need to work on that.  You can read more on her blog HERE. 

There was so much I took away from this retreat.  I would recommend it to everyone!  Each one is different, and there is so much more I could share, but it will be your own experience when you go. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Summer Is Here!

I have been ready for summer to start for a while now.  Life has been so chaotic lately and I have been longing to spend more time with my kiddos.  It always seems that the end of the school year sucks every last second out of our lives.  For some reason, I've been a little emotional about the end of school this year, not because I didn't want it to come, but just the opposite.  It doesn't seem possible that Chad has finished 1st grade.  Life since he started school has FLOWN by. 

So, yesterday, I snapped the final picture of Chad's bus bringing him home. 
 And the final picture of him walking toward our house.  Usually, he dawdles home, but today, he knew what was awaiting him, and he hurried! 

 Truthfully, I have not had it all together, and not a lot of our summer plan was together, but I managed to get the store up.  Tyler helped me shop and create and price everything.  I'll have to add to it as the summer progresses, but I thought it turned out cute, with our little awning.  I learned a bit from doing this last year, and the items are much more expensive.  I sat with each of my boys individually to come up with ways they'll be able to earn tickets, and together, we created a chart they can refer to; things like pull 100 weeds from the garden or ride your bike for 20 minutes, read for 20 minutes or do a homework page each earn 1 ticket.  Chad is already setting out to earn that Wii game for 100 tickets. 
 This is the outside view.  I cleaned out the bottom shelf in one of my corner cupboards and a few of the items sit on the counter. 
Here's a look inside.  Pretty simple-candies, gum, Hot Wheels cars, Legos, soda pop.  I'll have to share a little more about our summer store and our summer plan as the weeks go, but for now, this is about all we have ready. 

So, here's what really got me-
I've been telling Dave that "I just want my kids back".  I am ready for the laid back, less structured feel of summer.  So, yesterday, when Chad brought me his report card, with a note from his teacher enclosed, I couldn't help but get teary when this is what it said:
Dear Parents,
I give you back your child, the same child you confidently entrusted to my care last fall.  I give him back pounds heavier, inches taller, months wiser, more responsible, and more mature than he was then. 
Although he would have attained his growth in spite of me, it has been my pleasure and privilege to watch his personality unfold day by day.  I give him back reluctantly, for having spent nine months together in the narrow confines of a crowded classroom, we have grown close, have become a part of each other, and we shall always retain a little of each other.
Ten years from now if we met on the street, your child and I, a light will shine to our eyes, a smile to our face, and we shall feel the bond of understanding once more, this bond we feel today. 
We have lived, loved, laughed, played, studied, learned, and enriched our lives together this year.  I wish it could go on indefinitely, but give him back I must.  Take care of him, for he is precious.

Yes, I truly feel that I am getting my child back.  I am so glad he had a wonderful teacher, and now, I am ready to take him back as we embark on this summer journey together.  I hope each of you are ready to create the memories of summer with your children these next few months together, before you have to give them back. 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Plus One

We are 5. Plus 1 in November. Equals 6. Heard the heart beat last week and had an ultrasound. All looks good! This explains my lack of posting to this blog, and my neglect of nearly everything else in my life. Things are starting to become a little more normal, as I'm beginning to feel more like myself. Chad said, "This baby HAS to be a girl, because there are SO many boys in our house!". We'll see if he gets his wish. I will admit that this pregnancy has felt totally different than any of my three boys. But, I won't get my hopes up-we do really well with boys around here. That's our news.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Yes, this blog has been much neglected.  Our lives are so full and although I love to record thoughts and memories, we have been so busy living that we haven't had a lot of time to preserve the memories of what we've been up to.  That makes me feel sad because I've had so many thoughts over the last several weeks that I've wanted to record . . . impressions that I want to remember.  Hopefully, I can post a few here for future reference, and perhaps they'll be of use to someone else who may read them. 

First-I had a thought while sitting in church several weeks back.  You see, Dave had invited two neighbor boys to join us for church, and then, due to his church responsibilities, he was absent from being able to help me at all with these extra children.  I'm not sure whether or not they've attended church before, but I was finding myself doing a lot of explaining ("the piece of bread it little because it is not to make us feel full, but to help us remember Jesus' body", and "no, we sit through the whole meeting-we can't go and see our friends").  I found myself thinking, "If you would just obey, you'd be a lot happier and so would I." 
You see, I think that thought a lot, as it pertains to my own children.  "Why is it that they just can't understand that if they would obey the first time we ask, mom would not get upset or worn out as often, they'd be able to do what they like to more, and everyone would be happier?" 
So amidst all of this, the thought came to me that as my heavenly parent, my Heavenly Father probably wonders the same thing about me.  "Why doesn't she just do what I ask, when I ask?  Doesn't she know that things would work out better for her if she did?  She'd be so much happier too." 
Hmmm, I guess this parenting thing is teaching us a thing or two about the eternities. 

Second-Every six months or so, our church has a meeting with a large number of local congregations, called Stake Conference.  I always look forward to this meeting because on the Saturday night before, there is an adult session.  Dave and I always make a date of going to this meeting, because at least for me, it is about the only time that I really get to listen and actually walk away enlightened from church.  This conference was this past weekend, and I did walk away enlightened, with a few thoughts standing out to me. 
One is that the Lord knows our children.  Of course I already know this, but sometimes I forget that when I simply do not know what to do, (which lately, has been a lot) He does.  One of the speakers taught that there are no coincidences in life-it is the Lord's hand working for our good.  I love that thought-that He really is mindful of all we are going through and even little tiny things are His doing. 
Another thought that was shared was about the Mormon pioneers, who, when they left their homes to cross the plains, they had to leave behind many valuables in order to make the trek.  Again, when they approached the foot of the Rocky Mountains, they had to discard even more valuables that they had brought, in order to reach the Salt Lake Valley.  The comparison was then made that we too may need to leave behind "valuables" in order to get our families where the Lord needs us to be.  Our "valuables" today may not be physical treasures, but we have them none the less.  Really makes you think, huh? 

There are so many more things I could share, of memories and emotions, and such, but they will have to wait for another post. 

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