I have so much to do, but I have wanted to blog for weeks now and have not found a moment. I am squeezing this in anyway. I said I’d keep you posted on how the bishop thing is going and today I will. Also, today was crazy and I have to share.

When Daniel was called as bishop, my mom told me, “the Lord takes care of his bishops”. She was, of course, right. I have felt blessings poured out on us and I wanted to document what I see happening. It’s mostly small things, but it makes me feel less alone. I feel like someone is with me, helping me out.

For a couple Sundays in a row now, the nursery leader has taken Ray to nursery. I am usually frantically picking up the massive mess that is our row at church when he comes by and says hi to Ray and then asks if Ray could come with him to nursery. I don’t even know his name, the nursery leader, but I just love that he’s so kind and helpful.

About 2 weeks ago Daniel went out of town for one night. That one night happened to be back to school night. It also happened to be one of the 3 nights I was watching the Clark kids while Jeff and Christina went out of town. I had a babysitter all lined up, then something happened and she called me hours before and said she couldn’t. Nancy Rowley found out and jumped in and came over and watched all 7 kids so I could go to back to school night. Nancy is the previous bishop’s wife. It was so incredibly kind of her to do that.

One night a week ago, I was losing it. I was near tears and stressed out from the invasion of ants we’ve had all month. I feel like all I do all day is find ant lines, trace them back, caulk the area, spray it with ant killer and vacuum the ants up, then repeat in a different portion of the house. It drives me bonkers. It’s never ending and an urgent need all. the. time. And I wanted to scream. The boys had also been fighting. I talked to Daniel on the phone as he was on his way to the church and just cried to him. After I got off the phone, I sucked it up and tried to figure out what I was going to do about dinner. 10 minutes later Daniel walked in the door! His interview had been cancelled and he was able to come home and be with me and help me. It was so needed that night.

I still miss Daniel madly but I also feel like I can do this, with the help I feel like I’m receiving. Just when I feel overwhelmed, I receive assistance.

Today I had a LOT of errands to run. We were all out of food, it’s the first day of the month and I had to do Costco shopping. I also have preschool at my house tomorrow morning and had to get things for that. I prayed last night to be able to accomplish everything I needed to do today and planned on getting an early start today. That was the plan …. until I found ants. again. It really blows my mind. I just sprayed the exterior of the house 2 days ago. The ants were coming out of the inside of the sink and up through a crack in the carpet. for reals. I had also just spent an hour the night before cleaning up ants in the boys’ room … and in their bathroom, and in the laundry room … and in Ray’s room. I wanted to cry this morning when I found them. It set me back. I spent an hour and a half cleaning them all up. I didn’t leave the house until 10:30 am. I had just 3 hours to do everything and I just thought, “well, I’ll do what I can and see what happens”. I wasn’t sure there was anything I could cut out so I just moved forward. And it happened. All of it. It was amazing.

I had to go get some things printed at Staples for preschool and knew they got busy sometimes, so I called them. The girl said they were reeeeeeally busy. But I knew I wouldn’t have any time the rest of the day to go there before they closed tonight, so I just went anyway. And guess what? I walked in and the girl was helping one other person, which finished in a couple minutes and then literally there was not a single other person there but me. I showed her what I wanted printed and she said, “were you the one that called just a few minutes ago? Because you just barely missed the rush!”

There were green lights and things moved smoothly. I even found all of my library books for preschool quickly! This is everything I accomplished in 3 hours with Ray by my side:

– I went to Rite Aid, returned something and picked up my meds (no line)

– I went to the library and checked out books for preschool

– I went to Lowe’s and bought sand for preschool

– I went to JoAnn’s and bought supplies for preschool (paper, glue sticks, treasure boxes and foam)

– I went to Staples and printed out stuff for preschool

– I went to Costco and got in and out in 40 minutes. No joke. I did a Costco trip, with Ray, in 40 minutes, start to finish. Should I say that again? That’s unbelievable! Buying, checking out, unpacking it all into my car …. unreal.

I was even able to go home after Costco and refrigerate the perishables before picking up the boys from school. I know that miracles are often hard to recognize. The word “mira” means “to look”. Miracles are only seen by those who are looking. I was looking, hoping and praying for one today.

begin again

I recently finished putting together a blog book … from 2012. I’m a little behind I guess. I really had the intent of creating a blog book each year that I blogged, but I only have two books printed. One from 2008 (Daniel did that as a surprise gift to me one year) and 2012 now. Anyway, I got it printed and it came in the mail last week and I love it. I really kind of treasure it. It’s my journal and a picture book all in one and it documents our little lives. Daniel and I poured over each page when it came and read through a few entries and by the end of 147 pages Daniel looked at me and said, “you should blog again”. So here I am.

I’ve been so busy since I moved to CA with family stuff and trips and everything has been so happy that I haven’t really needed to blog like I did in MI. I did it before as a form of therapy and it was so nice, but I still enjoy writing and I want my kids and family to have a record of the good times too. So let’s get going.

Funny enough, I’m writing because I’m a little sad. It’s Monday and I miss Daniel. I always miss Daniel on Mondays because I’ve had him near me all weekend and Mondays I always have separation anxiety :) But this Monday it feels especially poignant. We met with the stake president yesterday and Daniel has been called to be the Bishop of our ward. We’re both dreading it. We’re nervous and worried and I’ve been weepy on and off since we were told.

He accepted the call to serve, as did I to support him in this call but I couldn’t get the words out when President asked me, I just whimpered and nodded. I’m sure we caused some alarm to our stake president, or maybe not. Maybe he sees this kind of reaction a lot when calling Bishops. Daniel looked flat out scared and I was crying. It was a strange experience – to be called to serve as a Bishop, like one of those that feels like it’s imprinted in your mind. It felt like things slowed down and yet your mind is racing. I was hearing the words our stake president was saying, but didn’t really know what to think about it.

And now it’s the day after, it’s Monday and he will be sustained on Sunday and he already has two meetings this week before it happens – Wednesday and Thursday night. This Monday feels worse without him because I feel like I’ll never see him again. I’m being dramatic, I know I will see him, but his attention and time will be severely divided from me and the boys. He will have a lot more stress and responsibilities. Which is crazy because he already pulls 12 hour days at Amazon – 7am-7pm and that felt hard. Now instead of having his evenings and the weekends, the boys and I will probably get a couple nights a week, no Sundays and I have no idea what to expect for Saturdays. It just makes me want to cry …. again. And I miss him already.

I’m writing this all out now, but won’t post this until after he’s been called on Sunday, since we were asked to keep this to ourselves until then. So I can’t tell Christina, because she’s in my ward. I told my parents yesterday. Daniel and I called them together, mostly to get advice since Dad has served as bishop twice now. It was good. Mom said some things that really helped Daniel – that he would know what to say and be inspired in the moment to say things he wouldn’t normally know how to say. She also said that the Lord blesses His bishops. Dad gave some great advice also – to ask for help from the stake leaders, Elders Quorum president, Relief Society President, High Priest Group Leader, and even other bishops in the stake. Deferring as many responsibilities as Daniel can.

As for me, I have felt a slight shift already. I feel a greater sense of responsibility in the home. I feel like I will be leading out in everything. I thought I was already but I have felt it even stronger just in the past 24 hours – making sure we did our family scripture study before the Google hangout and family prayers. It won’t just be dinners alone, but now bedtimes too and everything really. It all makes me so sad. Just really sad. I picked out my husband, I didn’t just somehow end up with him. I picked him out and desired to spend every waking moment with him and the longer we’re together, the harder that becomes.

There’s only one thing that seems to stand out in my mind over the past 24 hours and it’s something Daniel told me. Before we went in to meet with the stake president on Sunday morning, Daniel and I were talking about what we thought he wanted to talk to us about. We were worried that this bishop calling was on the table because our current bishop has been in his calling for over 5 years and his time is about up. So as we talked, I asked Daniel what he was feeling and he told me that he kept worrying it would be a calling he wouldn’t have time for but the thought occurred to him that his time was consecrated to the Lord. He made promises with the Lord to give all that he had – his time and talents and life to the building up of the kingdom of God, and because he had already made that commitment, the answer for whatever calling it was, would be yes. The Holy Ghost bore witness to me that this was true and it’s the only thing that seems positive in all of this.

Everybody is asked to serve the Lord in different ways and everyone has their own personal struggles. Nobody chooses their trials. Trials change you because they are harder than you think you can handle. Change doesn’t seem to happen any other way. At least not for me.

So here we are. I keep kind of thinking that maybe they’ll ask someone else this week and tell Daniel and I that we’re off the hook, that the Lord had different plans, that all we had to do was make the choice to accept the call …. that’d be awesome right? I guess we’ll see. I’ll keep you posted.

the guest room


There are a couple rooms in my house that I love. They are usually the ones that are less used. So I will clean them up and organize them and decorate them and they stay that way for a while because hardly anyone goes in there to mess it up. Ray’s room is one of those rooms. Much to my dismay, Ray doesn’t spend a lot of time in his room, except for when he’s sleeping. I worked so hard to make it cute and fun and everything at his eye level and …. he never hangs out in there. sigh.

The guest room is another one of those rooms. It’s really my craft room, so whenever it gets messed up it’s because I did it :) I cleaned up the guest room from a recent project explosion in there because Ian is coming to visit next week for the whole week. I can’t wait. I really love Ian. He is Daniel’s youngest brother. He’s fun and cool and easy to be with. Also, I know the boys will love having Uncle Ian around.

Since I feel the need to document things once I clean them … I did it again here. I will tell you why I love this little room – because it’s mostly white with lots of pops of color everywhere. It has meaningful things in the room too. Like the stool I sit on while sewing is an old piano stool that my Great Aunt Si used. The yellow lamp in this room was a lucky find at a thrift store. The handprints on the wall are Daniel’s from when he was 5 and 6 and then Noah’s and Liam’s. The photo above the nightstand is of Daniel holding Ray when he was a baby and they were both sleeping. The tiny flags on the small wall by the door are flags that Christina made. She used them to decorate a box of food that she and Aria gave me on the first day I moved to southern CA to live here. The magnetic board on the wall is one I framed from an old frame I found on the side of the road in MI and I covered the board with our daily preschool stuff – the alphabet, weather and date. There’s so much love in this room. It’s so specific to me too. I just love having people come stay in it. I hope they feel it.







Tired and guilty

I should have practiced singing today but I didn’t. I’m just pooped. And I’ve missed talking to myself in my journal so here I am.

I have a few performances coming up in a few weeks and so I feel impelled to practice all the time and I’ve been overdoing it. But today I was supposed to and I just couldn’t find the time.

I went on a field trip with Noah’s class and didn’t get back until almost 4 pm after I picked up Ray and Liam from Christina’s house. But I loved watching my Noah all day.  I don’t know how to express it but I was just delighted to see him participate and answer questions. He is so good. He seemed so happy. It made me smile all day long. I caught myself quietly clapping one time when he answered a question that no one else could in his class. No joke.  What is wrong with me? I don’t know but it was wonderful. He even seemed happy that I was there too. He came up after lunch and hugged me and kissed me. I love that he’s not ashamed or embarrassed yet. He was blissfully unaware if it was not cool to kiss your mom in public! And he’s such a beautiful thing too. I found myself stroking his hair into place, pinching his little curly lips and telling him he was beautiful. Ah, my little Noah.

Once I got home, I thought I could squeeze in some practice time because I gad Ray down for a late nap but no. Liam needed homework help.  Then it was time to make dinner. Then it was time to eat and Daniel came home and wanted to go to REI for FHE to buy Noah some hiking shoes and get Liam a helmet. Sigh. Singing went by the wayside again. And I found myself entertaining Ray in REI. And I wasn’t even mad about it.

I pulled out this balance bike for Ray and he plopped on it and rode that thing around REI for an hour and 20 minutes! He was so content to ride/walk around on that thing and call out to me, “mommy, come on!” So I followed him. And he talked to me. “I going THIS way mommy”, “see me mommy?!”, “oops! I do it … Uh, (struggling) uh, I DID it! Come on mommy, you coming?” And I was.  I watched his tiny toes grip his little red flip flops hard to stay balanced. And I loved every minute. It didn’t even feel like over an hour. I just followed him and he talked to me and that was it. Something about watching him learn his balance and talk through it was mesmerizing. And super cute. What a little love. Once he realized there were seats all over the store too, he’d ride over to a pair of seats, get off his bike, put it down, then scramble up on one seat and pat the seat next to him and demand that I sit down. So I would. Then he’d look at me, smile and wiggle down off the seat and get back onto his little red balance bike. It was beautiful.

So now it’s late, 10:30 pm and I’m exhausted from the day and also cuz I started my period today. Ugh. And singing didn’t get done but so many good important things did. I’m gonna call this a win today anyway.




time management

Maybe I’m just impatient. I think that’s why I’m not as loving a mom as I could be. Either way, Noah had a project yesterday and it drove me crazy.

He had to create a poster for the Cub Scout Pack meeting we had last night. We both knew about it weeks in advance. And I was prepared. I had the poster board and on the way home from school at 2 pm I told Noah that he needed to stay on track and finish his homework quickly so that he could have time for making the poster before the event at 5:30 pm.

Staying on track. sigh. Not one of his strong suites. Or Liam’s either. As soon as we walked in the door from school, I went upstairs and put Ray down for a nap. I was gone from Noah and Liam’s presence for about 5 minutes, maybe less. I came downstairs and found them on the floor, Noah had has arms locked around Liam’s neck, Liam was half laughing, half yelling and their things (backpacks, lunches, sweatshirts) were strewn across the room like someone had stood in the middle of the room and joyfully thrown everything as high as they could in the air. Total chaos …. how long as I gone??? I had to check, yep. Five minutes. In order to do this, they must’ve come inside and immediately gotten to work acting like maniacs.

We got them on track, putting away their things and …… PAUSE. I need to say something:

As I have been writing the past two paragraphs, things have fallen apart. It’s only 8:30 am and things are a disaster around here. I feel like this whole motherhood job requires one to be a certain kind of person, that I am not. Ya know how in job descriptions it says stuff like “self-motivated, Excel training a must” etc (I actually can’t even remember what job listings look like, but go with me here), I feel like motherhood has the requirement of being a morning person. A non-morning person cannot handle what needs to happen before 8 am. I get up at 7 am and that’s because Daniel has already gotten up with the boys at 6:30 am. I USED to get the boys up at 6:45 am but I couldn’t maintain that and it wasn’t enough time for them to get ready. It wasn’t enough time because they would get distracted and start playing with Legos. That’s why. We have to get them up 15 minutes earlier to account for their shenanigans. Anyway, 6:30 am??! I can’t handle that and be a happy person. So Daniel does it, but still. Being up at 7 am is not my bag baby. One of the reasons I struggle with motherhood is largely the sleep issue and the early mornings.

Beyond just being up (which is too much for me anyway) I have to deal with insane little creatures at 7 am. Reminding Noah and Liam what they should be doing, making lunches, making sure the boys don’t forget the basics (shoes, backpacks, lunches, water) but then I also have to make sure they’re prepared for tests for the day, homework in their bags and of course answer thoughtful questions Noah asks (he’s a morning person and his brain is awake and inquisitive at 7:15 am) and then I’m also keeping the boys from arguing. You might say, “you could cut out half of that by preparing the night before, by making lunches and checking backpacks”. Ahhhhh, yes, you’d think so. But last night was the scout thing that kept us out until bedtime and I was exhausted from yesterday’s events and went to bed at 9 pm! It’s one eternal round of prep work and reminders for these boys.

But things have fallen apart just while I’ve been writing. As I’ve been writing, I have had to get up 5 times to get things for Ray, who has decided that he’s no longer supposed to sit in his high chair, but he will now sit in the counter height chairs next to me, at the bar. He’s almost fallen out of the chair twice and he keeps yanking and leaning on my arms as I write. During the time I’ve been writing, Ray has also dropped an entire bowl of dry (thank heavens) cheerios on the floor. He’s also started walking all over the cheerios. So, during the time I’ve been writing, I’ve also had to stop and sweep the floor. During that time, Ray has been put in his high chair and he’s crying about that. He’s also started crying and asking for “more cheerios”. I told him they’re dirty because he dropped them all over the floor and he’s now mourning the loss. Crying and wailing in his high chair. Just while I’ve written the first two paragraphs.

But enough of that, back to time management. After much prodding, constant reminding and after finding both boys playing at 17 separate times and places, it was 4 pm and time to start the poster! I thought this would be the easy part. The homework part was hard enough. Just getting to this point was exhausting, now it was just time to write and draw a poster.

I read the description of what he needed to do: illustrate the Leave No Trace frontcountry guidelines. There were 6 guidelines. I left him to it and started working on things I was planning on doing for preschool on Friday at my house. I came to check on Noah 25 minutes later. The poster was empty and there he was, sharpening every last colored pencil and even some crayons (which are not supposed to go into the electric sharpener … but that’s another problem all together). I told him to stop sharpening and to get going on the poster. This time I stayed close, working on my project side by side Noah on the floor in the kitchen. I watched anxiously as he painstakingly used a ruler to write each letter of the first guideline: plan ahead. He spent probably another 15 minutes doing this.

Now, I am admittedly a bit of a control freak. Motherhood has only enhanced this issue because I feel like, “If I don’t do it, it won’t happen at all and we’ll be stuck up a creek without a paddle”. So, on projects like these, I try to stand back and let the chips fall where they may, to teach a lesson. But when it came down to the last half hour and Noah had nothing actually “illustrated” like the directions asked … I had to step in. I told him to divide 5 (the rest of the guidelines he had to illustrate) into 30 (the minutes he had left to accomplish this), he came up with 6. Six minutes per guideline. I had to time him from that point on. He’d ask how much time he had as he drew and I’d tell him. We did it. It was finished.

I never wanted to be one of those moms that “nagged” but man, nothing gets done. Speaking of nothing getting done ….. I gotta go.