True Love

You know it's the real deal when Jimmy says, "How do you have such big bags under your eyes when you've slept for ten hours?" ... and I didn't beat him up.

p.s.- we had a great time at the beach house this weekend. Mostly because there was nary an alarm clock in sight. I slept in bed. I slept on the couch. I slept on the beach. I slept in the car. I may have even fallen asleep on a roller coaster... oh wait! that was Jimmy. I don't know what else I did all weekend, but I chalk that vacation up to a success because of the sleep. Cheers to another week of seminary!


Beach or Bust

CANNOT WAIT to get to the beach today!

I'll have a smattering of pictures to taunt you with when we return.


Yay, Bacon!

What was the first step to planning the best tenth anniversary ever?! Why buying tickets to see Jim Gaffigan, of course. Here's a refresher for those that have not had the pleasure to enjoy:

Also on the docket for the week: Disneyland, Hearst Castle, San Diego Temple, somewhere else as equally awesome. We had toyed with the idea of Europe, a cruise, a jungle in Mexico... but the moment I saw J.G. tickets up for sale in southern California on our anniversary weekend, I took it as a sign from the heavens. We quote that man everyday, maybe that's why we've been married this long. Just think of the tickets as insurance.


That girl...

Kaitlin was talking just as she normally does every night... NON-STOP. Usually as she follows me around the house rambling on, I can handle it. Today, not so much. I just had a headache and needed an ounce of peace and quiet. As she was around the corner I was mouthing the words to Jimmy, "She has been talking like this all day!"

Kate rounded the corner and caught me at the end of that statement and looked hurt. She looked right at me and said, "You know the golden rule? Treat others as you would want to be treated? Yeah, I'm not feelin' that right about now." Jimmy and I could not control our laughter at that little sassy girl. She cracks me up- mostly because she talks so much.

p.s. for the benefit of mi familia, I have Jimmy editing a video of Kaitlin's excercise routine (headband and all)- you'll love it. Please wait anxiously to laugh hysterically.



I have not gone to seminary in awhile due to HUGE event and missionaries begging to teach....

I miss those kids so much!


This is not me

My sister, Beth and I have always had a blast together! Goofy, silly girls. We used to have fun sleepovers in each other's room and giggle late into the night. When she finished high school, Jimmy and I invited her to stay with us for part of the Summer. Prior to Beth's visit, I was busy rushing around making sure the house was perfect and stressing about silly things that I am sure she didn't care about all while dreaming of all the fun and laughs we would share. What I did not take into account was that I was the mother of a toddler. Those years were rough for me. Not my best. In fact, everyday I was convinced further that I was the worst mother in the whole world and I would never amount to anything. I was so sure that I would never have serious conversations with my sweet girl and my time would be occupied by frustration, cleaning and yelling. I did not like who I was. This was not the Stephanie everyone was used to. No carefree giggles or silly jokes. No last minute adventures to the movies on a Wednesday in my pjs.
So, when Beth came to visit, I was the stressed and uptight gal that she had never met. I am pretty sure she did not have that great of a time. Which is understandable- she was visiting a stranger.

I thought I was doomed to this lifestyle. Not so.

Once Kaitlin started school, I became the mother I had always dreamed I'd be (only on the best days, anyway). Things became fun again. I could talk to her and reason with that girl... finally! Many people say that you will miss the days when they were toddlers. I am sad to say that I have never been wistful about having a toddler again.

Well friends, I am in the midst of a character changing time. I have been less fun. I have been less positive. I find myself stressed, frustrated and out of sorts. Essentially, I have a toddler again. That toddler's name is Seminary. It robs me of sleep and sanity. It is at my bedside waking me up every morning with a day of let downs. I have some amazing students that are so willing to participate... if only their peers didn't make fun of them for doing so. Every single day I bring a lesson and (and tons of hope) that took all night to accomplish. It is squashed by the end of class. I know this trial is meant for me right now, but sometimes it is too hard to bear. I love every kid in that class. Maybe that's why things are so difficult. I want them to be successful and feel the spirit. I want them to reach their full potential. Gosh, it 's like wanting the toddler, Kaitlin, to have an in depth conversation with me.

I know I will be grateful that I finished out the year, but I wonder if I will never miss it- just like with Kate's toddler years. As sad and totally depressing as it sounds, it is the truth. I do not love Kaitlin any less because of the frustration I felt when she was younger. In fact, I think I appreciate her now much better because of my difficulty from years ago.

I just want my family who reads this post to understand why I may have been less myself than usual. Why I totally forgot to call them on the birthdays (and graduations)... why I am a total space cadet (more than normal). Every spare minute I have is spent on a lesson of some sort for the kids who could not care less that I am even there. And the reason I continue to plan lessons and go to seminary is because I love the Lord and I want to be obedient. I know the blessings come after the trial of your faith, but gosh, sometimes that stinks.


Trip to Fantasy Land

I like to visit often... in fact, I think I actually live in Fantasy Land and just visit reality occasionally. My recent excursion consisted of paint and grandiose plans of a modern, chic and fabulous living room make over. Ha. Ha. Ha.
This was the plan:
Entry way- red orange with retro hand painted wallpaper.
Charcoal gray living room.
White couches with navy blue and orange vintage accent pillows.
In theory, FABULOUS. (in my case, theory=Fantasy Land).
Off to Home Depot to buy paint, yay!!! I settled on an orange paint called "Koi". As in, bright orange fish found in the lobby of a hotel (or in my case, hotel lobby= the front courtyard of the neighbor's house I ran away to in elementary school because I believed they had Halloween candy. In July. Yes, I asked for it. No, they didn't have any)
With the jar of tester paint in hand, I attacked our walls. Patches of orange went up everywhere, in every light imaginable. And in every light imaginable, the paint looked like a bright orange fish. With my pride still intact, I returned to Home Depot for different hues of orange blaming the brightness of the previous paint on the lighting in the store. Armed with two other choices, I come home to paint the remaining patches of wall with less offensive orange. This is the part of the story where you shake you head at the heroine and wonder, "why in the world..."
But, I was determined to fulfill my dream living room. It was only after much trial and error that I realized how unrealistic having this "ultra hip" concoction of a living room would really be.
It was then that the heroine realized a super cozy, luxurious picture of a living room in one of the many Martha Stewart publications involved in this desire/need/obsession to change our largest living space. Luckily for me, this new plan does not involve white couches (we have a dog! and a kid!), but it does involve purple... may this new jaunt to Fantasy Land be fruitful. I promise, I'll bring a back a souvenir...


True Example

Normally, posting brags about the offspring make me gag.
Not the "my little boy did great" stuff but the, "isn't little Johnny so a-MAZ-ing?! In fact, so much better than your kid. It sure does help that my camera is better so he even looks cuter... blah, blah, blah" I usually try to keep my bragging to a minimum. But when I truly am pleased with my sweet girl, I like to post it so I can read back on days when I would like to sell aforementioned little lady. So, without anymore more excuses/explanations, I would like to share something that touched my heart yesterday.

We were reading scriptures together when a verse was read about the product of all the wars. In Alma, there is a part of the story that explains the amount of carnage by portraying the still living having the necessity to dispose the deceased into the river so there was room to walk. It was a very graphic picture in my mind. I made mention of this fact. Something to the effect of, "Ewwww! That's so gross!!! I can't believe there were so many people killed that they had to dump bodies into the river!" Kaitlin's face was priceless. She did not say anything right at that moment to me. I could see the cogs working in her head but no words escaped her lips. In fact, we had read a few more verses before that little girl climbed down from her perch next to daddy to stand directly in front of me. When we paused to hear her speak, Kate looked very somberly at me and said, "Mommy, how would you feel if you died and someone said, 'Ewww! Gross!'? Don't you think it might hurt your feelings to be talked about like that? I think it's important for us to respect those people, mom. "
I was stunned. Definitely not expecting that one. Kaitlin continued to talk me in a serious but loving manner. When my chastening was done, our family continued reading and Kaitlin went to bed. While that girl was sleeping, I kept thinking back to her speech. Her mannerisms. The way she looked at me, and came to this realization: She was talking to me in a way that I sometimes talk to her. Don't get me wrong, I do my fair share of yelling (even when I used to utter these words pre-motherhood, "I won't be a yeller"). I have moments of weakness that make me embarrassed. But to see Kaitlin take something good from our talks together made me rejoice in a way that is hard to explain in words.
It was only a small moment that lasted for a very small time. However, this moment took years of prayer, hope, restraint and love to accumulate. For her to follow in my sometimes steady example was a burst of sunlight in this dreary world. For that short time, I felt like I was residing in a literal heaven on earth. Because of Kaitlin's kindness and sympathy towards me, I was able to see how important it is to react in a kind way towards things our daughter does that I might think are utterly inappropriate.
I remember long ago hearing a mother bear her testimony in church. She spoke of the love that she had for her children. Because my mother was not living with us (across the country, in fact) at the time, my ears perked up to hear the tender words of this sweet mother. Among other things I'm sure, the only thing I remember distinctly was this, "I admire my children. They have so much more strength and faith than I do. They are such good examples to me." It was very hard for me to comprehend how someone I felt so faithful and strong could feel this way about her children. I now get it. I understand.
What gratitude I have that Heavenly Father saw it fit for me to have a child. Even if only one child is what he reserved for me, I am grateful that he saved me a truly special one. I hope that I will be able to look back on this moment and feel the same awe as I did at the time it occurred. What a true miracle the true gospel of Jesus Christ is. That I can strive to be a good parent in the midst of such scary times. That I can follow the example of the Savior and learn true parenting from a Father in Heaven that is the exemplar in parenting. How grateful I am for the mercy he shows me. I hope that Kaitlin will someday be able to look into her children's eyes and feel the same wonder I do at the child being a true example to the parent.