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Couldn’t have said it better…

I love this blog about Big Feelings.

This writer captures motherhood beautifully.

For all my young mom friends and my daughters who will be joining the new mom brigade someday, read this and believe it.

To all my empty nester friends, read this and remember.

We all have these big feelings and it’s so true that the years crept by sometimes but now, they feel like they happened just a minute ago.

Read on….

http://community.today.com/parentingteam/post/i-wish-someone-wouldve-warned-me-about-these-big-feelings

I Wish Someone Would’ve Warned Me About These BIG FEELINGS

I quit my job to stay home when I had my second baby just after her big brother turned two. Those first few months as a SAHM to two were, let’s say, mildly traumatizing (I am underselling this). I used to call my husband Brandon at 1:30pm and ask, Are you almost done with work? and he was all It’s 1:30 and I was likeYOU DIDN’T ANSWER THE FREAKING QUESTION. ARE YOU ON YOUR WAY HOME OR SHOULD I CALL 911 TO COME HELP ME MANAGE THESE TWO BABIES????? Because no one told us not to, we added a third two years later and were ruled by a tiny army we created.

Three babies in four years.

It was a whole thing.

​These pics are terrible because it was the late 90’s and THIS WAS THE BEST WE COULD DO. Also, we cut our original pictures and scrapbooked them all. I need therapy. 

I wish I would have known how new babies make all feelings MORE (and this from a girl who was already fairly high on melodrama): more thrill, more love, more anguish, more adoration, more fear, more gratitude, more doubt, more crazy. You may have been an emotionally sturdy professional just a minute ago, but a newborn takes your heart and mind, squishes them into pulp in her fat little baby hands, and turns you into a woman face down in despair over a Subaru commercial. Who is this sloppy woman in the mirror? Good lord, put on some clean pants and get your crap together!

I remember a watershed moment the second year of staying home with the littles. Brandon came home from his glamorous job (“glamour” here meaning “out of the house”) and found me at the kitchen table, staring blankly like a poet. Or perhaps a serial killer. The kids? Not sure. I want to say they were…upstairs? Or in the backyard? They were somewhere on the property. My gosh, I wasn’t in the FBI.

Brandon, speaking slowly, like to a lunatic:

“Um, hi. You, uh, you okay there?”

“Fine. Everything is fine. Except that I’ve turned dumb. It’s fine.”

“What?”

“Dumb. Now you have a dumb wife. I used to be smart. I watched CNN. Did you know that I went to college and graduated with honors?”

“I did know that because I met and married you there. Remember?”

“Well, sorry for your loss, because now I’m dumb. I sing the theme song to Blue’s Clues when the kids aren’t even around. That’s what I do now. I eat their leftover bread crusts off the floor. I can’t remember our Vice President. I told our neighbor I was 29.”

“You’re 27.”

“Thank you FOR CONFIRMING THE DIAGNOSIS, MR. FANCY JOB.”

Some days were very much like that. Raising the littles was sometimes the most frustrating, boring, numbing, exhausting, lonely job I’d ever had. But also, opposite.

The Feels were all big, including the good ones. As I type this, I can literally recall how their chubby little cheeks felt against my lips; I kissed them hundreds of times a day. I remember exactly how my heart surged seeing a smiling, white-haired baby standing at the crib rails, squealing at the sight of me. I precisely remember all their first steps; I was there, cheering and laughing and holding out my arms to the first son at 12-months, the girl tot at 13-months, and of course the “spirited” baby at 9-months.

When I could push through the Big Exhaustion and Big Guilt, I tapped into something more healthy: Big Pride. Every night with three precocious littles fed, bathed, read to, rocked, snuggled, and tucked into bed, I felt like some sort of damn warrior princess. Who can handle this many babies and toddlers all day?? APPARENTLY I CAN. (And if I managed to also have sex that night? I felt like a viable candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize for my contributions to humanity.)

You can too, Young Mama. The new mom brain can be a real enemy, saying you are not enough and falling apart and a hot mess. But look at your children. Their shoes are on the correct feet, at least one has combed hair, those round bellies are clearly well-fed, and peek in their little eyes: lot of light in there, Mom. Those are the eyes of loved, cherished, cared-for babies. You’re doing it. You are raising whole humans, healthy and happy and safe.

Can I tell you what happens next?

First, you will get your groove back. Your dumbness will abate. Your brain returns and it comes back wiser and way less judgmental. (Except for that older lady in the store as my toddler pitched an epic fit for Count Chocula cereal: “My children never behaved that way.” HOW NICE FOR YOU AND MAY I OFFER MY CONDOLENCES TO YOUR DAUGHTER-IN-LAW.) Not us, gals. We get it now. We love all the young moms behind us. We buy their wine on airplanes and encourage them in Target as their tot takes off his pants and streaks down the aisle. We tell them how our 2-year-old once bit her Sunday School teacher and drew blood and assure them easier days are ahead.

And they are!

Well, easier in most ways. Guess what? Kids grow up and pee-pee on the potty! They make their own sandwiches! They wash their own hair! They go to school for seven hours a day. I’m serious. The nonstop physical parenting slows down. The daily marathon relents. They stop biting their teachers.

But I have some bad news too. These little ones? You fall even more madly in love as every year passes. That part doesn’t get any better. Subaru commercials are still out to kill us. The Big Feelings stay big, especially the tender ones. Your brain becomes useful again, but the kids grow up and you cannot stop it. That beautiful 3-year-old you’re tucking into bed? Blink and you’ll be sending him to Driver’s Ed. I swear to the heavens.

Let me tell you about Big Feelings: my oldest son, the one who took his first step into my arms at 12-months, is wrapping up his junior year. One more year and he launches. I can hardly speak of it. It went so fast.People told me it would and I didn’t believe them, but here we are in the home stretch; the finish line is near. The Family Years are waning and it literally takes my breath. (Brandon says they are just growing up, not dying, but I’ll cry about it IF I WANT TO.)

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I’ll tell you something most moms don’t: teenagers are mostly awesome. Sure, you also want to strangle them of course, but they are funny and smart and interesting, and this teen stage is totally my jam. It’s not all great (this exact minute my husband and son are inspecting a fence he plowed over hot-rodding through puddles with his best friend last night), but no stage of parenting is all great. Young Mama, set that future fear aside. You will adore that baby when he is one and eight and thirteen and donning his cap and gown.

​So what I wish I would have known before bringing that first son home? The baby years are short, kind of like five minutes…underwater. It doesn’t seem like it, but he will go on to kindergarten then read the Harry Potter series then join the “ninja club” in middle school then play high school soccer and rent his first tux for prom and run over a fence in his truck, and near the end, you will hit your knees and thank God that you got to parent this kid, that he was yours, that he walked into your arms at one and will walk out of them at eighteen, but my gosh…what a gift. I wouldn’t trade one day of Big Feelings, because the good ones far outweigh the hard ones, and the one that endures above all else is Big, Big, Big Love. ​

“There goes my baby,

Like the sun falling out of the clear blue sky.

There goes my baby,

Bye-bye, Baby, good-bye…”

~Trisha Yearwood

This post comes from the TODAY Parenting Team community, where all members are welcome to post and discuss parenting solutions. Learn more andjoin us! Because we’re all in this together.

Family, Memoir

A not-so Cinderella experience

Have you read the quote that Cinderella is proof that the right pair of shoes can change your life? I’m not sure if that’s true but I am proof that a memory of the wrong pair of shoes can stay with you forever. IMG_4775 I recently saw this picture on Facebook and it brought back some funny shoe memories.

Let me say at the outset that I had shoe problems as a child.

Problem #1: When all my friends were buying shoes in adult women sizes, I still wore children’s shoes. Imagine the horror of dressing like a child when all your friends are discovering the thrills of grown-up woman shoes.

Problem #2: I lived in a town with two small department stores — JC Penney’s and Christensen’s. Shoe options were limited in both.

Problem #3: This follows-up on problem #2. There was a shoe store in town called Tip Top Shoe Repair owned by a man named Jim Damico. Wonderful man, wonderful family and a shoe shop full of the sturdiest, most practical shoes and boots a man could ever want.

Problem #4: My mom didn’t drive so going shopping out-of-town wasn’t easy. More on that later…

According to my mother, I was the “pickiest child that ever lived” when it came to shoes. Since we really only shopped for shoes and clothes once a year — in August before school started, I had to be picky!

Shopping wasn’t a hobby then like it is now. We bought essentials.

And, by the way, someone reminded me recently that when I was in elementary school and middle school, we had to wear dresses to school.

Yes, I’m that old.

Get over my age because we’re moving on with this story…

Shopping was an ordeal.

Remember problem #4 about how my mom didn’t drive?

Well, my dad was the town milkman.

See where I’m going here?

When we went school shopping, we piled into his one-seated Snow Dairy milk truck with the foldable door and had to either stand for a bumpy ride or sit on milk crates covered with gunny sacks full of ice to keep the milk cold. Dad drove us to Provo’s Main Street. Then, he pulled the handle to open the folding door and we all spilled out on the sidewalk to head off on our big annual school shopping adventure.

I had to share that one day of shopping with two brothers. (My sister came along later.)

A trip into one store and my brothers had new Levi’s, a bunch of shirts, socks, underwear, and shoes; and then it was my turn.

“How much longer are we going to be here?” the brothers started whining.

It went downhill from there.

Store after store, and no shoes I liked.

“Just get some! Who cares what they look like!? Here, take these,” they’d say as they shoved one atrocious pair after another at me.

Then came the worst thing of all from my mother: “We can’t spend all day looking for your shoes. Your dad will be here to pick us up soon, so you’re going to have to go shopping with Dad later.”

Did she say ‘”go shopping with dad?”

I begged her to give me more shopping time, but with two grumpy brothers burdened with bags of their new clothes, and my dad expecting us to meet him at the corner so that he could take us home in his milk truck, I was doomed.

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Thanks to Robert Lee Marsh from Springville for sharing this picture

He took me to Tip Top Shoe Repair. Remember the store with sturdy man shoes? “Hey Jim. She needs some good school shoes. What have you got?” Jim pointed out the saddle oxfords.

I’m not talking about the fashionable kind.

saddle-oxford-shoes-adult-800x507 “Noooooo. Dad, nooooooo. I can’t wear those.”

“Jim, let’s see them in her size.”

“Dad, seriously, I cannot wear those shoes. Look at them!”

Honestly, I would rather have worn the shoe boxes instead of those clunky shoes.

Jim brought them over to me and started threading the thick laces through the shoelace eyelets.

Podiatrist-approved orthotics, I was sure of it.

Seriously, nooooo. Dad!

I tried them on and they felt like heavy, immovable blocks of cement with white-tipped toes. “We’ll take ’em,” he said. “These will last you forever.”

What child wants orthopedic shoes that will last forever?

I may have worn them once. They were the most uncomfortable shoes ever made.

Maybe if I’d been a child in the fifties and wanted something to go with my poodle skirt, they would have been acceptable, but trust me, those were some bad shoes.

My dad was the most practical man that ever lived. I’m sure he thought Cinderella was silly and ridiculous with her glass slippers and magical life.

But at 10 years old, I could have used a fairy godmother who could sing some bibbidy-bobbiby-boo and transform my saddle oxfords into stylish shoes fit for a fourth grade shoe queen.

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Goodbye Grandpa Turner

Well, Grandpa, you did it.

You gracefully slipped out of this life today and reunited with the love of your life, Grandma Turner.

Every time I think of you seeing her again, I smile.

You told us you’d only give us until you were 90, and then you were going to get on your way.

You made it to 89 and a half.IMG_4786

Grandpa, it was a privilege to be your daughter-in-law and to become part of the Turner family.

I remember the first time I met your family, and I thought, “I want a family just like this.”

I wanted my house to feel as warm, happy, and full of love as your home.

Your life was marked with love, cheerfulness, optimism, service, goodness, friendliness, and faith.

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Doug mentioned yesterday that you didn’t just believe your religion and align your lives with it, you became the living embodiment of  it.

You were your religion.

It was you.

The night before I married Doug, Grandma came into my room and said, “I think you’re going to be very happily married. I’ve been blessed with a wonderful marriage because Claude is such a good, happy, man and the best possible husband. Doug is just like Claude so I think you’ll have a very happy marriage too.”

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She was right.

Thank you for teaching Doug how to be a good husband, an honorable man, and an ideal father.

Thank you for making us laugh, teaching us how to have fun and how to view life with a smile.

I’ll never forget that every time I said, “Grandpa, how are you doing?” You enthusiastically replied, “I’m doing wonderfully well. How are you?”

Wonderfully well for all those years you lived without your sweet wife.

Wonderfully well when your body was taken over by cancer and you were given only a short time to live.

Wonderfully well.

That’s how you lived your life, and how I hope I can live mine.

When I saw you for the last time, a few weeks ago, I said, “I’ll miss you, Grandpa.”

“Not too much though, right?” You asked.

The hospice nurse told us you were in transition – partly here with us and partly on your journey out of this life. She said it was important for us to tell you we were okay with you dying and to assure you we would be okay without you.

With that in mind, I said, I won’t miss you too much because I know you’ll be with Grandma and when I think of that, I am happy.”

We will miss you, Grandpa.

We will miss your sense of humor, your unbending faith, and silly, happy, giddiness every time you gathered your family together, but we will be okay because we will never forget everything you’ve taught us by the way you lived your life.

We will remember that the priorities in life are faith, family and fun.

You made life fun, whether it was by sending us homemade boxes of Christmas fudge and peanut clusters or building a fire in the backyard for a family party or dancing into the night on the deck of a cruise ship or on the dance floor at Annie’s wedding, you knew how to enjoy life and make everyone around you happy.

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Most of all, we will remember your selflessness. Even on your dying bed, you pulled me close and said, “Laurie, how’s your health? Are you sure you’re okay?”

“Grandpa, I’m fine. I’m healthy!” I said.

When Doug asked you if you were happy with the plans the family had made for your funeral, you said, “It’s not about me! It’s about you! Will you be happy with what you’ve planned? Will it comfort you?”

Oh, Grandpa, I love you. I will miss you.

But, don’t worry. I will miss you just the right amount and when I think of you, I will always smile, and gratitude will fill up my sad places because no girl has ever been so lucky as to have a father-in-law like you.claude

From the News, Home

In Like a Lion

Happy March!

Yesterday I woke up to a winter wonderland, again.

Felt like the movie Groundhog Day.

groundhog1Remember Bill Murray waking up day after day and experiencing the exact same thing over and over?

“I’ll give you a winter prediction: it’s gonna be cold , it’s gonna be grey, and it’s gonna last for the rest of your life.”

When I watched Groundhog Day, I felt a sensation of rising panic in my restless soul.

I hate routine and the idea of living the same day over and over endlessly made me feel like I was trapped in a funhouse that wasn’t fun. (Oh, that sounds like pregnancy..)

That’s how I expected to feel yesterday.

But, as I watched a heavy, endless stream of snowflakes dancing around in the sky and piling up on every outside surface, I actually felt happy, amazed really.

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Here we are in what is often considered the power center of the world — the all-mighty American bastion of democracy, and yet, snow — that innocent-looking white, fluffy soft stuff — manages to shut down the U.S. government, close schools, stop major transportation systems, and keep all the powerful people either stuck at home or stuck in a snowdrift off the side of a road somewhere.

You’ve got to respect the weather, not just here, but everywhere.

In a metaphoric game of rock, paper, scissors, it always wins.

There’s no controlling or subduing it.

What that means is that we need to stop and control or subdue ourselves.

So, yesterday, I thought, I can hate this day and whine about the cold and the cabin fever. I can rant about how it should be spring OR I can enjoy it and honor the fact that weather always wins and make the best of it.

So, that’s what we did.

We shoveled, scraped and chipped ice with everyone else, but we also marveled at the beauty of our neighborhood blanketed in what we hope was the last gasp of winter.

DSC_0001According to Al Roker on the Today show, it’s over. He’s getting ready to sport his pink spring coat.

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I’m ready for his pink suit coat. I’m ready for anything pink and flowery.

I’m choosing to believe Al and believe that yesterday’s storm was the last big hurrah.

Yippee! Spring is on its way.

Let the thaw begin!

I need to get the frozen Christmas decorations out of the planter on the porch.

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Bring on the tulips, the pansies, the daffodils, green grass and leafy trees.

Let’s “march” toward spring.

I’m so ready.