Thursday, April 30, 2009

Diapers & Divinity

This was not written by me, but it is probably the best written article on Motherhood I have read. It just explains what it's like to raise young children so well. I hope you enjoy it!

Motherhood is relentless. Occasionally, it drags us to our limits. One morning last year toward the end of a long winter, I was so tired. I was awakened by my 3–year-old Clark, who literally pulled apart my eyelids and shone a flashlight directly into my eyeball. My reaction was not reverent because it woke up my one-year-old Natalie, which also triggered my morning rage. One of my potty-trained boys pooped in his nighttime diaper. And when I staggered from my bedroom down the hall into the kitchen, I found an opened tub of yogurt smeared across the kitchen floor. I’d been awake for less than ten minutes and already my dread of the day was heavy. I stepped across the yogurt, looked out the window, and saw almost a full foot of new snow on the deck. If I had the energy, I would have fallen into a heap on the floor. With my left retina burning, I began to fantasize about running away to an exotic beachfront location and sleeping in a large, luxurious hotel bed BY MYSELF. But the day called. I took a deep breath, grumbled to myself, and reached for the paper towels (and probably a handful of chocolate chips).

These are the moments where it can be a challenge (understatement of the year) to have a glowing testimony of what we have been taught about motherhood. The First Presidency once stated: “Motherhood is near to divinity. It is the highest, holiest service to be assumed by mankind. It places her who honors its holy calling and service next to the angels.”

The sleep-deprived, stretch-marked, unshowered side of us reacts with a tad of bitterness to such a claim. And yet, deep down inside of us there is something that knows this is true. Motherhood is divine. Now, I have only been a mother for 6 years, 3 months and 2 days—which I believe probably means I have changed 11,410 diapers-- but I am slowly gaining a conviction and understanding of the divinity in this role I have chosen. I thought I understood it before I had children, but then-- well, I had children. And I learned that I had a LOT to learn. This is what I’ve figured out so far:

1. President David O. McKay said, “Let us also teach girls that motherhood is divine, for when we touch the creative part of life, we enter into the realm of divinity.” I always thought that the creation part was mostly tied to the fact that we have uteruses and stuff, and our cells divide into lots of other cells that grow into babies, and voila!, we made a person. But remember last Fall at the Relief Society broadcast where Elder Uctdorf taught us that creation “is your opportunity in this life and your destiny in the life to come?” Well, it dawned on me (recently) that motherhood is simply creation in slow motion. We constantly mother, but it seems mundane and ordinary (in slow motion), and we don’t realize how truly powerful it is. We are literally shaping souls like clay. There are a lot of annoying details, but we are working a miracle by building children into people and instilling inside of them all of the knowledge, skills, testimony and power that they will need to make successful choices. Elder Richard G. Scott explains it like this: “As a mother guided by the Lord, you weave a fabric of character in your children from threads of truth through careful instruction and worthy example. …It is your sacred right and privilege.”

2. All those ordinary details—the diapers, the messes, the snot, the sippy cups and the tears—are really the main ingredients in what we are trying to accomplish. They are symbols of our constant, undying commitment to a cause (or a child) we believe in. They are a recurring reminder that we are still participating in this divine partnership. My Stake President recently taught, “It is in the messy chores of life that we express love.” I know it is possible—likely, even—to feel God’s love in the middle of those messy chores. Especially if we ask. (I wish I had time to talk about Mary and Martha, and how important it is to take a pause from our chores and just listen to the Savior.)

3. We have the opportunity to make our homes sacred, safe, and sanctified like the temple. Can you think of anything more divine than that? You’re the temple matron in your own home, doing all you can to make it a place filled with the Spirit of God. President Eyring urged us to be teachers there: “A wise parent would never miss a chance to gather children together to learn of the doctrine of Jesus Christ. Such moments are so rare in comparison with the efforts of the enemy. For every hour the power of doctrine is introduced into a child’s life, there may be hundreds of hours of messages and images denying or ignoring the saving truths.”

That enemy also lies to us. Whenever we believe we’re a failure or that we’re doing nothing of great significance, I think he laughs. Elder Russell M. Nelson said, “Because mothers are essential to God’s great plan of happiness, their sacred work is opposed by Satan, who would destroy the family and demean the worth of women.” There is great power in motherhood, even in the dreary details, and our reach is crucial and eternal. The errand of angels IS given to women. Yes, there are diapers, but there is divinity. So carry on, ladies, carry on. (And there’s nothing wrong with an occasional exotic beachfront getaway.)

Stephanie is a mom of three who blogs for fun, posterity, and therapy. She seeks for the divinity in motherhood; she tries to share it when she finds it, and tries to laugh when she doesn't. She loves naps, long walks, good shoes, milk chocolate, a little sarcasm, fun trips, Latin music, scriptures, sunbeams, her patient husband, and children (especially when they're sleeping). Her blog is called Diapers and Divinity, where she is currently hosting a General Conference Book Club.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Dress up Giveaway

Shout out to all of you who want a free princess dress up or boy cape. Check out the giveaway I'm doing on Mormon Mommy Blogs here

You can sign up twice if you do a blog post with my link on it.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Swimsuit Shopping, Oh My!

I don't enjoy shopping for swimsuits and going from store to store and nothing fitting quite right. Then when you find something that fits right, it has an obnoxious pattern, that screams, "LOOK AT ME!" when I don't really want people to look at me when I feel half naked. In fact, I would prefer a funeral, possibly my own before shopping for a swimsuit.

Anyway, we had company that wanted to visit the Shade Clothing store and I thought I would try on a tankini since I hadn't before. The idea of baring my 3 childed midriff when I lift my arms just didn't previously appeal to me all that much, but that's all they had. Amazingly enough, the first one I tried on fit awesome! Although, I was blinded by exposing my ultra pale legs, that don't really get unpale at all during the summer, it seemed to be gathered in all the right places and is long enough to never show the belly. The skirt is more flattering than board shorts and has swimsuit panties inside. Quite pricey, both pieces were around $70, but how often do I buy a swimsuit?

Here's the top I got:

Here's the bottom I got. It doesn't appear to come in brown on the website, but they had brown in the American Fork store. They have free shipping and free returns on their suits right now, so no risk if you are out of state.

My only complaint is that it's a tad low cut, but I could easily sew in an insert. However, for a "modest" clothing store, I would expect a little more modesty!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Secret Garden

We read this book for Book Group this month and I ABSOLUTELY loved it. Can't say enough good things about it. I started reading it to my kids and Kaylee has really liked it. I read it as a child, but didn't remember very much about it. I consider it an must read as an adult!

Rain Rain Go Away

My Mom and Aunt Debbie arrived last night after a long and grueling drive in the rain. We are so happy to have them here finally! I guess they brought the signature Seattle weather with them. My Mom will stay to live in Utah and Aunt Debbie goes home on Monday morning. It's so nice having them here!

I am photographing a wedding reception today. I know the family wanted to do photos outside and I feel bad that it's wet, dark, windy, and rainy for their special day. Luckily, there is an inside venue as well. However, photos are never as nice inside in my opinion. I will post some photos on Monday, they are a beautiful couple. Since my family is here, my lovely (and favorite) assistant, Steve will be able to help tonight. He has an amazing eye for setting up poses.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Once a Month Cooking

Mmmm... Lasagne. Mmmm... Taco Soup, Sour Cream Enchiladas, Mac & Cheese, Crockpot Chicken, and kindof yum savory Ham Pie.

I cannot say enough good things about the Freezer Cooking I did with Steve's sis. I loved it and best of all, there was always something to make for dinner. I never looked in the fridge at 5:30 and said, Hmmmm... what should I make tonight? They actually lasted us 2 months I believe and we loved them! I'm actually a little sad that there's only 1 left in my freezer right now. I think it took a couple hours to make them all and it worked out to be about $4 per dinner. Probably could make it a little cheaper by cutting down or cutting out the meat. I think we made about 6 freezer meals each in our own kitchens and then traded. However, many of them lasted 3-5 days with leftovers. I also gave a precious one to a friend who was having a bday and shared the lovely lasagne with another family whose mom was in the hospital.

Fun For the Whole Family

We had fun making play dough for a school art project. It was fun watching it come together and super easy. Be prepared to feel like you are mixing concrete though! Whew, my arms were tired after stirring that puppy.

Here's the recipe:
4 Cups flour
2 Cups salt (not a typo!)
4 Cups water
4 tablespoons cream of tartar
4 tablespoons oil
food color (mixes best if you add it to the water first)

Mix all of the above ingredients in a large pan. Stirring constantly, cook over medium heat approximately 2-4 minutes after it gets hot and until the mixture leaves the side of the pan. Remove and knead lightly on a floured board or counter. Add flour to make slightly stiff and not gooey. Let cool and store in a zip top bag. Look here for great, realistic step by step photos.

Funny story, while we were making it, the kids asked about all the salt and I said all that salt would make the play dough taste gross and possibly even make them throw up if they ate it. However, I still got asked about 50 times if they could taste it or lick the spoon. I said sure, just secretly hoping that I could see the look on their face when they put it in their mouth. No final takers though.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Value of a Dollar

Today as I was Yoga-ing, I was thinking about teaching our kids the value of money and that they can't just get something for nothing. I took Megan on a date on Friday night and we went to Pizza Hut (her school gives out free pizzas for reading), Krispy Kreme, and the mall to get her sister a present for her birthday. She wanted a Build a Bear for her sister and one for herself. While I could have purchased one for her, I figured it would be a good teaching moment. I told her if she did a lot of chores around the house, she could earn enough to get the bear. She helped me pull weeds for 2 hours in the back yard yesterday and unloaded the whole dishwasher today.

Another astonishing thing is the kids are at the perfect age to be really excited to earn $1! I love that!

She had $7 to start with and earned $3 yesterday, so she is nearly half way there to earning her bear.

By the way, I love Build a Bear. They last forever and the kids all love playing with them.

Some have magnets in them (they're so cool!) so they can blow kisses or for some, they have little animals that you can magnet into their mouth. Matt has a dog one like that.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

New Disney Princess Movie

Finally an African American Disney princess animated movie (it's about time!). It's called the Princess and the Frog and is set in New Orleans. Apparently it comes out in the summer or around Thanksgiving. I have read articles that say both. Anyway, I am looking forward to seeing it! I read her name is Maddy, but I just read somewhere else that it is Tiana. I guess we'll have to wait and see. I hope Little Adventures will come out with her line of dress up clothes!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Spring Fashion

Steve's cousin Steph posted on her blog a couple days ago about Spring Fashions and she always dresses so nice and trendy. However, the season's hottest trend this year is tops with ruffles... and I really can't do ruffles. I just don't feel comfortable wearing them. Anyway, I had a 20% off coupon at JC Penny, and figured I could pull off this one (it's not too ruffly) for $14.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Great Gift

I was just "reflecting" last night about how much my kids love this gift they got for Christmas. My friend, Eliza told me about them and they are perfect! Check out this night light. It reflects constalltions in various colors onto the ceiling and walls. Very unique gift for the kids who have everything (or for the kids you don't want to have everything).

Turtle: for Matt
Ladybug: for the girls

Judges Save

Was anyone else surprised that the Idol judges saved Matt G. last night?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Shout Out.... HEY THANKS!!!

I just wanted to give a shout out and say thanks to all of you who have referred others to my dress up business. And many, many people have! The last couple months, things have really picked up to where I think it will actually be worth doing and not just a time sucker. My goal was to make 7 sales a week by the end of the year and I have been able to meet that goal and more some weeks in March and April.

So here's to you.... THANKS!

American Idol Favorite

Last night, I think Danny was my favorite. His wife, Sofia, died a month before he auditioned, so the words of his song, Endless Love, became more meaningful. Check out the foundation he set up in honor of his wife

Saturday, April 11, 2009


We have some close friends that have been out of work for 6 months. Both of them were celebrating their birthdays this week (the husband's 40th). A friend and I wanted to go in and get them a gift card to go out to dinner since we knew it would be out of the question for them financially. I emailed 20 restaurants in the area to see if they could provide any special coupons or discounts. I have really been overwhelmed by the response! Three or four restaurants offered to send coupons, but Tucanos went above and beyond. I was so touched by their generosity! The manager contacted me right away and gave them a completely FREE dinner that night and they allowed them to have anything at all that they wanted. They had ice cream drinks, fruit drinks, lobster tail, and the traditional yummy Tucanos dinner and salad bar. They were offered dessert, but we so full they couldn't accept. My friend was in tears because she couldn't believe how kind they were.

These friends were treated so well and I am so pleased with Tucanos. I'm getting hungry just thinking about eating there, it's so yummy! If you haven't been there before, try it. It's one of our favorite restaurants.

Here's a tip: Only go when you are really hungry!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Multiple Blessings

So when I go to Seattle, I am usually without a car and in my Mom's apartment most of the day. There's generally nothing on TV. When we're there, we watch TLC. On TLC, they have Jon & Kate Plus 8 marathons and they are really addicting. It's a reality show about a couple who has twins and sextuplets (6 babies- AT THE SAME TIME!). It's just their every day life and they are very real people, they don't pretend to be something they're not. Try taking 8 kids under 4 out on an excursion! Mine is a relaxing day on the beach compared to them.

Anyway, my mom gave me their book for Christmas. I just finished it. I didn't have very high expectations, but I really loved this book! It's set before the TV show, so it gives a background on it. Kate is a really good writer and a very devout Christian with strong faith. How did she have time to write a book?

The amazing thing to me is how many volunteers helped around the clock with these babies for more than a year. They are probably still helping, I don't know. Also, Jon lost his job several times around when they were born. Can you imagine?! They had a 3 bedroom house. All the babies were in ONE room.

Aren't you just a little curious what a belly looks like with 6 babies in it? I was.

If you are a mom, you will love this book. It will make you thankful for what you have. Even if you are not a mom, it's still interesting and touching. It's at the library. Check it out!

Knot Heads

I love these fun little hair accessories. A friend told me about them and I saw them at a kiosk in the University Mall. It's a great idea and they work really well to keep your hairstyles neat and tight. I got one for Megan, but Kaylee actually likes to wear it the most. They are thick wires covered in ponytail fabric. It's one of those items that you say to yourself, Why didn't I think of that?! I think they were $5 or $6 each.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

American Idol Comments, the Top 8

Anoop-- I actually really liked his song, "True Colors." I think he has a real good slow song singing voice, but I don't always find him believable as a R&B singer. I think he will stick around for a few more weeks. I like his cockiness too for some reason.

Lil Rounds-- Glad we cleared up that her name is not "little", she is named after her Grandma, Lily and was given the name Lil at birth. Great singing voice and stage presence, but uncanny ability to choose Grandma songs. She is really going to have to break out of her "old" ways to stay in.

Danny Goeke--I wasn't crazy about the arrangement of his song, "Stand By Me" in the beginning, but I liked the end. He has a pretty good fan base, but a lot of times, his songs seem a little karaoke-ish to me.

Allison Irahita-- I have never liked Bonnie Raitt. Therefore, I complained through Allison's whole song. I wish she would have chosen something more fun and rock-ish. She looks like a wild child and sometimes I wish she would break out and show that image more.

Khris Allen-- Terrible song choice, terrible performance. I hate the twisty thing he does with his mouth. I think his wife misses him and he should go home to his posh apartment! His song last week was great, so maybe that will carry him through for a week or two, but not that much longer.

Matt Giraud--Liked his song a lot actually. He acts like a star, has good performances, and exudes confidence, but he's a little inconsistent. However, he is becoming one of my favorites at this point.

Scott Mcintyre--A great guy and super talented, but his "punk" image may send him to pack his bags. This new image just didn't fit his nice and humble personality and wasn't believable. I think he'll be packing his bags this week.

Adam Lambert--Of course, the best of the night by a mile. Got a standing "O" from Simon for the first time I can remember. We watched his performance twice because we like it so much. I found the song "Mad World" to be creepy, but it did go along with his different and rock image. I can't wait to see what he does next week! He will win Idol, I think.

One more comment, I wish they would have saved Alexis Grace, I think she would have added something new and exciting to the show. She was a real good singer and deserved to stick around more than some others.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


I had a secret goal... You may find it a little strange... I really like to eat out. This stems from my childhood because I ate out A LOT. I love a good Jason's Deli, Smokehouse, or Cafe Rio. Anyway, my secret goal was to see how long I could go without eating out at all, not even Wendy's to pick up some chicken nuggets for the kids or anything. I caved today because I was sick and had to pick up the girls at dance class around dinnertime. I lacked any energy whatsoever to heat up leftovers and clean up the dishes. I cheated at Wendy's. I made it a month and a half though. For me, that's pretty impressive.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Indian in the Cupboard

I'm reviewing the book next month for our neighborhood Book Group, so I've been trying to find something that everyone would like. It's been really hard! I remember reading this book when I was a kid, and really liked it. I just read it again and it was ok, I think Megan will like it. I would like to see the movie though.

LDS General Conference

We really enjoyed our church's semi-annual General Conference. I loved Elder Holland's talk on the Atonement.

Here's a picture of the kids enjoying the conference coloring sheets.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Great Kids Movie

The kids and I just checked out the Kit Kitredge American Girl DVD from the Library for $1. It was set in the depression and was relevant to our current economic times and allowed a good discussion between us. I may have even shed a tear or two. It was really well done. Probably good for ages 5+. The American Girl books are really well written too.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Spinach Quiche

My sister-in-law, Michelle, posted this recipe on our family recipe site and we had it last night. It was so easy and super yummy. I told the kids we were having "pie" for dinner. They were thrilled and even picky Matthew ate it. I think it would be perfect for a dinner party as it looked really difficult to make, but only took less than five minutes to put together. It was layered and looked really pretty when it was cut too....

For two quiches:
2 deep dish pie shells
10-12 eggs
1 can cream of mushroom soup
Fresh spinach, washed and torn (enough to cover the pie shell bottom)
1 or 2 slices of white onion
2 bags of cheddar-jack cheese
salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste

Beat the eggs and soup until blended. Add spices.
Place the spinach in the pie shells and onions.
Sprinkle the shredded cheese over the spinach.
Pour the liquid over the pile and
bake 375 F for 45-50 minutes.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Giving Thanks

After a couple months of working part time, Steve got offered a full-time job yesterday at the company his older brother, Ken works at. He had helped Ken conduct interviews a week ago and a coworker mentioned Steve would be a good fit for the company. He had an interview with the owner and he starts on Monday. I can't believe how fast it all happened! They run this website: and they are in Salt Lake. Rumors have it that there may be a Provo office and/or one near the point of the mountain this year.

I'm so happy to have health insurance and to feel like everything is going to be ok now! Of course, I am thankful that despite my lack of faith at times, things did work out for the best. I am still sad that many of our friends are still out of work or are struggling in these hard economic times. Our hearts sincerely go out to them in hopes that they find something too.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Twilight, the Movie

I just barely saw Twilight the DVD and loved it. I borrowed it from my sister-in-law, Kim.

Of course, my imagination was a little different than the movie. I preferred the book, but I still liked the movie. In the movie, I would have changed the makeup of the Cullins, the car Edward drove (nix the hatchback family car), and probably the actress that played Bella.

Idol Favorite Last Night

Surprisingly enough, my favorite American Idol contestant's song last night was Kris Allen there at the end singing, "Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone". So far, I have thought he is boring and I don't like this weird twisty thing he does with his mouth when he sings. However, last night, he rocked and I really liked it! Danny Goeke was a close second for me with, "What hurts the Most." by Rascal Flatts, whom I love. A really close third would be, Adam Lambert's, "Play that Funky Music". I was so surprized that he chose that song, but it worked! I wonder what he'll do next week.