Monday, October 30, 2017

Death to the Super Mom

A few years ago while we were living in Tampa, I went to one of the best Relief Society activities of my life. The whole activity was good but one comment in particular made it the best Relief Society activity ever.

The idea of the activity was to get parenting advice from some experts--experts by way of education but also by experience. So there was a licensed therapist there who would take questions and answer them. There were also a panel of experienced moms that we younger moms could ask questions to.

Honestly, it doesn't sound fun but it was.

The therapist fielded some really tough questions. I remember her talking about when it is actually okay to tell a child they have to leave your home. Less intense questions were discussed as well--when it's okay for your kids to quit piano lessons, how to deal with nap schedules, etc.

Then one question near and dear to my heart came up, and it was directed at one of the experienced moms.

The question was something like--

"Scripture study. Morning and evening prayers. Callings. Sports. School work. Extra-curriculars. Healthy meals. Birthdays. Traveling. Chores. Exercise. The list goes on and on. How do we do it all?"

The experienced mom, who is one of my favorite people, laughed and responded:

"You don't. Get rid of the idea of the Super Mom."

She went on to explain that you just can't do everything and that you should just pick a few things--the most important to your and your family--and do those the best you can.

I was reminded of this the other day because I was simultaneously feeding Harris and having a reading lesson with June and trying to get Gwen to stop kicking me. Oh Gwen.

Dan saw the scene and took a quick picture. "Look at the Super Mom I'm married to!" he called out with pride.

While he honestly thought he was capturing a moment of multi-tasking greatness, I was at my wit's end. And after he snapped the pic, I snapped at my crew.

Just made me remember--I am not a super mom. Time to scale back a bit and focus on what's important. Which, yes, does include feeding Harris. And reading lessons with June. And trying to teach Gwen how to channel her rage. But maybe not all at the same time.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Homemade Donuts, A Catty Weekend and the Mint-cident.

 Last week we made donuts for FHE. I'm finding that most of my favorite cooking pins from Pinterest are the sponsored posts by Pillsbury. Because Pillsbury is easy and yummy. So, not very pinterest-y at all. These pumpkin spice donuts were made from a can of biscuit dough.


They were overcooked on the outside and still doughy in the middle, but since my kids are so used to my style of cooking, they think this is normal. Good, even.

June's school picture from this year:

A few weeks ago, we had a new couple in our ward over for dinner. We asked them which things they wanted to do in the city while they live here temporarily, and the wife (Sydney) responded that she really wanted to see Cats on Broadway before it closes in December. Her husband has no desire to see it. It's like Dan and I were looking at ourselves in a mirror.

So I pounced (cat pun!) on the chance to see Cats with her as part of my birthday present this year. I saw it in seventh grade and have been wanting to see it again. It's equal parts weird and fascinating. The actors are so great in their cat-like movements, with their heads darting from side to side as they respond to sounds throughout the show. They were able to tumble and perform acrobatics without making a sound. But the most fascinating part is watching how they continue to live and breathe as they wear the tightest body suits I've ever seen. I mean, I was wearing my pants I usually have to unbutton when I sit down, and I thought I was roughing it.

I can scratch this one off my bucket list: Buy and wear the world's most obnoxiously over-sized sunglasses. And do it every day. Chhhhhhheck!

We scored 6th row seats.

And someone stole my training bra for the set.

It was so fun! Happy birthday to me!

We both agreed that it was good we didn't take our husbands. I know Dan would be whispering questions in an annoyed tone the entire show: "So what the heck is a jellicle cat?"

Speaking of shows, today was the primary program. My favorite Sunday of the year.

In order to ensure a smooth morning before our early morning practice before our early morning church, I made sure to set an alarm for the wrong day so that I could wake up an hour and a half late.

As I was running around, I noticed something different about my simple hairbrush.

 Peek a boo!

That Daniel.

Our primary pianist had a family emergency in England, so I was asked to sub on the piano. I had planned to run through the songs a few times this morning at our house, but my late rising resulted in my racing to the church in a hurry, running past lots of friends to whom I could only shout a hurried hello and arriving to the piano huffing and puffing for a quick run-through of a special musical number. 

It was at this point that I looked down and saw that I had neglected to button about half of the buttons on my shirt. And I started to recall the groups of people I had run past just a few minutes prior to my realization. Free show at church this morning, folks!

Luckily(?), my front looks pretty much like my back and so no damage was done. I quickly buttoned up and zipped through the practice and was ready to start the program.

Our next door neighbors came and so did June's school teacher. It was touching to see so many come to support her. 

June knocked it out of the park. While practicing at home, she had been saying her part too quickly, and it was hard to understand. So we worked on saying it slowly. She said it verrrrrry slowly (maybe too slowly), but I would rather have it slow and deliberate than too fast. 

She said: When people hurt Jesus, He said, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do." Jesus forgave those who hurt Him.

I sobbed through the whole program. The Gospel truths spoken by young children always gets me.

At a particularly touching moment, my eyes wandered from the piano to see June.

Picking her nose. Almost violently.

I tried to get her attention to stop, but then it was time to play again.

At the end of the program, a counselor in the primary presidency came and found me. 

"Sorry about June," she said. She went on to explain that June was really squirmy through the last half of the program, so she gave her a mint to help her calm down. 

Well that child of mine stuck that mint up her nose and couldn't get it out. That's why I saw her digging like I'd never see her dig before. Finally, they had to take her down from the stand (I didn't see this because I was playing), and they asked a nurse from our ward to assist her. The nurse instructed June to blow out the mint. But June kept sucking it up farther. And farther. Until she sucked it up through her nose and was able to swallow it.


But hey--no trip to the hospital, so I'll mark it as a win.

And on that note: a cute picture of our mini-football player.

The end.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Welcome to the 90s, Mr. Bahhhnks

Growing up in the Beck household meant jumping on the trend bandwagon pretty late. My parents raised five kids on a tight budget and getting the latest gadgets or electronics never happened. I actually love this about my childhood because I didn't even anticipate getting a lot of the things other kids were expecting, and I think that has served me well as an adult.

So when we finally did get the "latest" thing--10 years after everyone else (and much cheaper)--it was pretty exciting.

This has continued in my life even now and is definitely not limited to technology. I jumped on the Instagram wagon pretty late (and continue to jump right back off of it from time to time). We didn't have the internet the first year of our marriage. Let me repeat that. We didn't have the internet the first year of our marriage. I don't know how we managed that, but we were really poor so we figured it out. Daniel lived at UNLV's library so that he could complete assignments. I went through my boy band stage in college. That's when I listened to NSYNC, a full 8 years after my friends had their obsession.

All this to say that I am just now using Pinterest. Honestly, I didn't need it before, and I know a lot of people who still don't need it. And I think that's great. But a few months ago, I started doing a special eating plan for a couple of months. I needed a place to store recipes. That turned into discovering easy crafts the girls could do with stuff I already had on hand. I also found the most ridiculous craft ideas on earth that are the equivalent of carving Fabio's face out of ice. I stay away from those.

I don't need more to do, but I do want to do some things differently, and Pinterest has been great for that.

We made these pumpkins with an apple "stamp" and some paint for FHE this week.

Also, we had jack-o-lantern quesadillas last night when Dan was out of town. This was especially special for me because my go-to when Dan is out of town is cereal or junk food. No joke. 

Gwen is extremely hard to impress.

 But June was thrilled.

 Harris--one week with the helmet and me--2.5 months with Smile Direct Club retainers.

She's Killing Me . . . with Kindness

June's primary program is a couple of weeks away. We've been working on her part every night, and she has memorized it fairly quickly. But I realized that she had no idea what she was saying.

Her part is: When people hurt Jesus, he said, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do." Jesus forgave those who hurt Him.

It's a pretty powerful part actually. So for Family Home Evening on Monday, we showed the kids a great video about forgiveness. We talked about being patient and kind and loving to those who hurt our feelings. 

I felt pretty good about this because my girls are constantly fighting and require lots of forgiveness from each other.

This plan has backfired enormously.

Later that Monday night, June was dawdling and wouldn't get in the tub. The tub was full, the water was warm, the bubbles were bubbling, the toys were still floating, and June was wandering standing outside the tub, looking at the ceiling.

"June," I said. "Get in the tub."

I said this several times, until it became:


To which June replied:

"Mom, I forgive you for yelling at me."

Another morning, I yelled again. I'm good at yelling.

June said, "Mom, when you yell at me, it makes me cry. But I'll be patient with you."

She's also getting smarter in our power struggles.

This morning, I did June's hair in two cute buns.

Of course, she hated it and begged me to take them out and put "just one ponytail" in. 

So, I offered her a deal.

"June, if you leave your hair in these two buns, I'll give you a special treat when you get home from school."

"Mom, I will leave two buns in my hair if I get a special Halloween treat when I get home and you promise never to bug me ever again."

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Pumpkin Patch and the Urgent Care

Oh fall. Autumn. If we had moved to New Jersey in the fall, I would have been sold right away. Fall here is beautiful. One of the best things about living here is that you have one of the biggest cities and all that offers about an hour away. Or you also can feel like you're as far away from that as possible, which is my desire about 80% of the time. We have been to several farms since moving here where you can pick your own fruit or take a hayride or practice being a "goater" (June's word for someone who takes care of goats).

So on Saturday, we headed to a pumpkin patch. To look at pumpkins. Because I buy our pumpkins at Aldi for $2.50 a piece.

We went with our friends, the Wilkes. 

Did you sense a feeling of foreboding in this last photo? There is a tale to tell about these two later in the post.

We went through a corn maze, and the kids enjoyed trying to get just far enough away to be out of sight and earshot. The maze was great interval training for the adults--walk at a steady pace for 2 minutes, sprint ahead for 30 seconds to find lost kids, walk again, sprint again, etc.

We played on the hay, fed animals and discussed how we would run the place if it were our business. Well, the kids didn't discuss that but Dan and I did. It's something we do every single place we go. We're great at parties.

After a couple of hours, everyone was tired. Actually, only I was tired. But everyone was nice to me and agreed to leave. The whole group came over to our house for pizza and a failed pinterest ice cream dessert. Par for the course around here.

At about this point of the evening, Gwen and Ruby were fighting over a toy and Gwen pushed Ruby off the trampoline. We even have an enclosed trampoline, but she fell just through the crack that was left open so the kids could climb on and off. Ruby cried and cried and cried. That's the only way I can ever tell when it's a serious injury--the crying just never subsides. The sweet Wilkes kept reassuring us that they were sure she was fine, but eventually they did decide to take her to the urgent care . . .

where it was discovered that Ruby had broken her collarbone.

Now the only thing that could have made this situation worse would have been if the adults didn't remain calm.

Which is why I bawled my eyes out for only thirty minutes instead of my standard ninety.

I don't think I'm a person who has a lot of drama in my life, but I am extremely emotional. So the evening ended up with Ruby's parents comforting me as I went through the five stages of grief about the injury that had taken place on my trampoline.

Kendra gave me a call, and I sobbed and sobbed. She kept telling me that it was fine and that Ruby was laughing and playing.

After I got off the phone with her, I ran to Dan and cried some more. He finally turned to me and said, "Why don't you do us all a favor and just go to bed?"

And he was right. The next morning was much better, and I only teared up once that day.

Poor sweet Ruby.

And poor Gwen. It's hard being the perpetrator.

But mostly--poor me.

Just kidding.

Thank goodness for great friends who love us anyway.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

The Jolleys Go Out

Update: I felt pretty yucky after I posted this and made it sound like we had the best weekend ever. Meanwhile, there was the sickest, most senseless tragedy in Las Vegas Sunday night.

We lived in Vegas when we were first married. We were married there. We know lots of people there. But even if we hadn't, we all have a connection to this event.

Monday morning, I started getting texts from Vegas peeps. A lady from our Vegas ward was texting me to try to get a hold of her son who is serving his mission here in New Jersey. He had emailed her in the middle of the night to see if his family was okay.

Anyway, we have been sick over it. And the stuff from this post was from before that. Just wanted to clarify so that it didn't appear insensitive to what is going on right now.

Here's the original post:

Dan's job requires that he occasionally attend nice dinners at nice restaurants with nicely dressed and nice smelling people. This is a bit of a contrast to what he comes home to. A bit. Honestly, I think there's nothing better that a businessman or woman can do for their career besides have kids because kids keep you humble. Dan can attend an expensive multi-course meal on the Hudson River overlooking the NYC skyline, but then he comes home to an overly excited child, awaiting his arrival so that she can show him what she just did in the potty.

Not that Dan would ever be anything different than well-grounded anyway; it's one of his best qualities.

That being said, I think Dan recently noticed that he and I were having extremely different cuisine experiences as of late. I guess I was too busily buried beneath corn dogs and mac and cheese to notice, but a few weeks ago, Dan announced that we were going to dinner Friday night, and we were going somewhere nice.

And not even somewhere nice like Red Robin or Chipotle or Olive Garden or "not fast food" nice. Like actually nice. He took me to Il Cappricio, an Italian place near us. We got dressed up and ordered appetizers and entrees and listened to the piano player and basked in the cloth napkin-ess and multiple forks-ness of it all.  A man had the sole job of brushing away our crumbs from time to time, and I almost reached over and touched his wrist to give him a knowing look. Because I know that job.

It was a little too nice to take a picture of without looking a little ridiculous, but I did take a picture beforehand to show my sister my jewelry, so please excuse the awkward selfie (which I don't really believe in).

We ate a perfectly wonderful meal. Dan had the lamb and I had fettuccine, and it was delightful. It came time for dessert, but we decided that we had had enough pretending and scooted out of there to hit up our fave ice cream place, Last Licks. If you ever visit, you must eat here.

What a terrible picture. It doesn't even show the ice cream.

Of course, leading up to this meal, I had been on this eating plan called Bright Line Eating, where I didn't eat flour or sugar for like 45 days or something. So this wonderful meal was not a friend to me for long and I was up most of the night sick from it.

We had several hours on Saturday morning before conference started (East Coast!) so we got into the conference mood by spookifying our house for Halloween. Yes, those two things don't go together, but we had lot of fun family time, and that does go with conference!

We have a motion sensor spider on the front porch, and the girls love getting spooked by it. They are Dan's girls and do not scare easily like their mother.
And then we watched conference. Oh conference, I love you! Just the refresher we need every 6 months. Some of my favorite quotes came from the Women's Conference the week before. Sister Joy D. Jones said: 

"The Lord assures us that when we have virtuous thoughts, He will bless us with confidence, even the confidence to know who we really are." 

And there were so many other gems too. 

The kids were all over the place for conference, but I did convince the girls to let me paint their nails and that kept things quiet for a bit.

This picture was taken by none other than my budding photographer, June Jolley. I taught her everything I know. Clearly.

The next morning we hosted a bunch of ward friends at the park by our house for a conference brunch. Dan the Man made four types of quiche (plain, ham, bacon and sausage--clearly we love pork), and I made two kinds of monkey bread.


 and pumpkin spice (with cream cheese filling):

The kids were able to play with their friends, and the adults ate themselves silly and it was a lovely morning.

Lastly, Harris finally obtained his helmet to correct his wonky head issues. Honestly, is there anything cuter than a baby in glasses or a helmet? I die.

The End.