September 7, 2016

The Best Planner I've ever Used

So, things are CA-RAZY around here lately.  School is back, football's about to start, school musical rehearsals, preschool, orthodontist appointments, church stuff.  It's insane.  I've been working off the calendar on my phone for a while and for the most part it's been great.  My husband and I synced our calendars so that when either one of us adds something, it goes on both calendars. It's been great for preventing miscommunication.
But, here's the thing.  The phone is so great for keeping track of appointments and activities, but not the personal stuff.  Like which days do I have time to work out? Am I caught up posting on my FB Author Page? Did I fill out that form for Healthy Mom's Magazine yet?  And I realized that there is too much to keep track of in my head and on my phone. I need something to write stuff down and see it all laid out.  So, I hopped on Amazon and ordered my favorite planner. (I swear, this is not a sponsored post.  I just love this planner SO MUCH.)
day planner, mom planner, busy mom planner, scheduler

I had the same planner last year and I used it a ton, but never quite got around to ordering a new one in January. Good thing it's a 16 month calendar and starts in August because it has saved my life the past couple of weeks.  Seriously. I have been so much more productive with this thing. I've been marking things off my list, I've been making goals.  It's awesome.
I just thought that I would share on the off chance that there are other moms out there who feel like their brain is about to explode.

organize, planner, day planner

The weekly pages on this planner are divided into six separate rows to keep track of different kids activities.   I love the way it's laid out. It makes it so easy to keep everything straight. 

*So, not a sponsored post, but does include affiliate links. Just FYI.

August 29, 2016

Song of Summer's End

My daughter goes to first grade tomorrow. And it feels like I am saying goodbye to her. I have spent every day with her for the past 6 years. Every day for at least 21 hours. I got to be there for it all. The first smile. Laugh. Word. Tooth. Joke. Time out. Tantrum. The good and the bad. I have been there. And now I have to give that up. The first spelling test. I won't be there. The first lunch in the lunch room. I won't be there. She will learn so much without me.

And more than just spelling and math. How to make friends and keep them. How to decide to be a bigger person and not make fun of less socially adapt kids. How to deal with disappointment all by herself. I won't be there for those moments. I will only get the leftovers. The few hours between school and bed. Those precious hours that homework has to be done, dinner has to be made. Chores have to be done, baths have to be taken. Those precious hours are not enough for me to soak in the goodness of my girl and to keep her close to me like I want to. And so I have to say good bye until next summer until she will spend every glorious hour with me again.

Maybe I'm selfish. Maybe I'm a bad mom for not wanting to let her go. But she is my baby and I don't want to give her up. Not yet.

*Originally published 2009

August 28, 2016

Stream of Consciousness

What am I going to make for dinner?
Pasta. No. We had pasta last night.  I wonder how much is left downstairs.  I bet I need to restock.

No-you cannot have a snack. I am just about to make dinner.  Okay. One tomato. But that's it.  No, wait let me wash it first.

Okay.  Is there any chicken left in the freezer?  What can I make with canned chicken.  Nothing that John likes. Life would be so much easier if he wasn't so picky.  It's like 100 degrees.  We can't have soup.

Shut the door!

Stupid flies.  I swear they wait for the door to open.    Did we really use that many dishes today? Maybe I should wash them before I make dinner.  Dishwasher is still full.  But if I ask the girls to come clear it right now, they will be in the way.

We have lots of beans. I should make something with beans. Beans and rice. John will have to deal.  I wonder if I can find a new recipe online.  Ehh. I'll just make something up. Should I make cornbread?

Eric, do you stink?  You do, don't you.  Go get me a diaper.  No kicking!  You don't kick mommy!

Now the living room stinks.  Two cans of beans.  A can of tomato sauce.  Is that it?  Hmm. Maybe I should have made cornbread. I could make biscuits. No. The food processor is in the sink.  Not washing that right now.  Oh, well.  I wonder if there is a way to make better rice.

I should put some brown sugar in there. I wonder if the cajun seasoning will clash with the barbeque sauce. What is in cajun seasoning anyway?

Shut the fridge please. No. You don't need any cheese right now. Shut the fridge.

We are having beans and rice.  You like it.

Put it down!  No! Put it down.

Everyone out of the kitchen! Out! Now!  I will call you when it is time to eat!

Sigh.  I should really fold the laundry. I'll have to do that tonight. Onions!  I forgot.  Garlic too.  Okay.  Rice is done.  Beans are done.

Guys. Come set the table.  No, just set the table. If you can't sing and set at the same time, then don't sing.  What did I just say?


*originally posted 2011

August 26, 2016


This week I had one of those days. I didn't feel all that great and my motivation was nada. So when my baby fell asleep on me--which doesn't happen often I didn't try and set him down so I could go get some work done. I sat on the couch and let him sleep on me for 2 hours.

This is a rare occasion for me. This baby does not sleep for two hours of the day EVER. And it usually takes lots and lots of work for me to get him to sleep while I'm holding him. Strange, I know, but that is who he is.

While he was asleep I watched his face. He is so beautiful. They are all beautiful when they are sleeping. The term angel here is cliche but appropriate. As I was gazing at his face I got a glimpse of what he might look light as a little boy, as a teenager, as an adult. And he will always be beautiful. But the thought of him growing up breaks my heart a little. And thrills me at the same time.

Motherhood is so full of moments like that. They can be hard to find in all of the screaming and running and dancing and singing. The quiet moments when you catch your child making a face and you know that they will have that same face as they grow. And you hope, desperately, that the person accompanying that face will live a good and happy and worthwhile life. And that your influence in their life will be for good.

And so I held my baby, sitting on the couch for two hours doing nothing but willing my baby to grow up healthy and happy. And loving him like I know he won't let me love him once he learns how to walk. Once he learns how to run. Once he learns how to drive. Hoping that loving him like that now will seep into him and nourish him for the rest of his life.

August 25, 2016

Why Harry Potter is So Amazing

I recently discovered a new podcast. Harry Potter and the Sacred Text.  And it's just bringing up my intense love of Harry Potter.  Generally, I try to keep my crazy under wraps, but I just can't anymore.
 I love Harry Potter.  For the following reasons:
1. Have you ever noticed anything about the names in Harry Potter?  JK Rowling didn't just make up funny words to name her characters.  Here's a few examples:

  • Sirius Black: Sirius is the Dog Star
  • Minerva: The Roman goddess of wisdom
  • Dumbledore: Old English for Bumblebee
  • Remus Lupin: Remus was a son of Mars, left to die along the banks of the Tiber, but saved and nursed back to health by a she-wolf.  Lupus is the Latin word for Wolf. 
  • Voldemort: Comes from a French phrase that can be interpreted as "one who flees from death." 
Right?   Right?  

Why yes.  I am a super nerd. 

2. The themes are amazing.  Tolerance. Love conquering death.  The power of friendship.  Faith in a greater purpose.  Everything you want to teach your kids in seven volumes. 

3. The writing.  THE WRITING.  My favorite line? "Tom Riddle hit the floor with a mundane finality."   Mundane finality.  After everything, after all he has done and all he has put the world through, he is just a human being like the rest of them and he has died like the rest of them.  You see now why I keep my crazy to myself?

4. The characters.  How do you read these books and not love them all? I cry for Harry, laugh with(at) Ron,  and just want to give Neville a hug.  And the twins.  And Hagrid! 

I think that's enough for one day.  Please let me know if you are a Harry Potter crazy person too.  We can chat!!

August 11, 2016

Dear Jane Blog Tour

Below is a list of fantastic bloggers who are participating in Dear Jane's blog tour over the next couple of weeks.  Be sure to stop by and say hello!

“Dear Jane” blog tour schedule:
August 10: Rockin’ Book Reviews
August 12: Wishful Endings
August 13: Singing Librarian Books
August 14: Courtney’s Book Nook | Jorie Loves a Story
August 15: Tristi Pinkston
August 16: Emmy Mom
August 17: Live to Read
August 18: Fire and Ice Reads
August 19: Mylissa’s Reviews and Book Thoughts
August 20: Getting Your Read On
August 21: The Things I Love Most
August 22: My Book a Day
August 23: Mel’s Shelves
August 24: Robyn Echols Books
August 25: A Bliss Complete
August 26: Katie’s Clean Book Collection
August 27: Inklings and Notions
August 28: Heidi Reads
August 29: Overstuffed
August 30: Literary Time Out
August 31: Mormon Mommy Blogs

Thanks again to all of these great bloggers for participating in the Dear Jane blog tour.

August 4, 2016

Book Review: The Ship of Brides

Every so often I'm asked by friends or family for book recommendations, and I can never think of what I have recently read off the top of my head. So, I thought that when I read something worth recommending, I should do a quick review on the blog.  That way, I can refer people to that rather than looking like an idiot.

I read The Ship of Brides by JoJo Moyes recently while on vacation. This is a perfect vacation book.  It's not so flighty that you feel like it wasn't worth your time, but it isn't a heavy subject that you don't want to deal with while lying on the beach. The Ship of Brides offers a glimpse into what it might have been like for Australian war brides after World War II.  The war has been over for a few years and the world is just starting to find a new normal.  In order to do that, countries must find a way to reunite women who married soldiers during the war.  This particular story deals with brides traveling from Australia to their husbands waiting for them in Great Britain. This is more of an ensemble book, with several protagonists instead of one.  Ms. Moyes uses this strategy to great effect, as we have the opportunity to see through the eyes of women through all walks of life as they try to readjust to their new reality.  

The writing is very well done, and the story moves along quickly, keeping the reader entertained. I have read several other books by JoJo Moyes, and this tends to be the case through all of her books. She is a skilled writer and story teller.  If you like a good romance with a little bit of history thrown in for good measure, you'll enjoy The Ship of Brides. 

August 1, 2016

Church with Littles

Church is no longer a calm and peaceful experience. Would you like to know why?

1. I have six children.

2. Two of those children are 1 and 2.

3. Church starts at 1:00

Did you know that a family of 8 takes up pretty much an entire row?  We do.  Which means that if we don't get to church early enough to be able to snag an entire row, we are stuck in the very back on the folding chairs. And no one, not a single one of us, likes to sit in the hard chairs.  Just kidding.  The babies like to sit on the  hard chairs.  Do you want to know why?  Because when you bang the hard chairs with your match box car, your colored pencil or your sippy cup, it makes a loud, echoing sound throughout the gym.  And that is super awesome.

Because we moved at the end of last year, we landed ourselves in a two year stretch of 1:00 church.  Can I explain to you why 1:00 is so awful?  It has very little to do with the four older children. They are totally fine with it. They, however, are entirely capable of dressing themselves, feeding themselves and dealing with their own bodily functions.  The two people who live in my house and are not capable of any of those things make 1:00 church a nightmare.  The biggest problem is that it is smack in the middle of nap time.  It doesn't just overlap a little. It's straight up nap time. And those two littles NEED their naps.  I am firmly convinced that if church were at 9:00 I would occasionally get to sit through an entire sacrament meeting. As it stands, I haven't been able to stay in the chapel for a full hour stretch since about April of 2015.

Don't get me wrong, I adore my babies.  I don't want them to grow up. I want them to stay little for as long as possible. At home.

July 28, 2016

Try Everything

My older boys, Eric and Seth, feel like they should just know how to do something. There should be no practicing involved, they should be perfect on the first try.  Which is why it took so long for either of them to learn how to ride a bike without training wheels, why neither one of them can tie their shoes, and why Eric still insists that he doesn't know how to read. (He does.  I promise.)

So, while sitting in a dark movie theater watching Zootopia, this song punched me in the gut and I knew that it needed to be our family's new anthem.

I messed up tonight, I lost another fight
I still mess up but I'll just start againI keep falling down, I keep on hitting the groundI always get up now to see what's next
I knew that this needed to be drilled into their little heads. And not just my boys, but my girls too.  All of my children seem a little too prone to giving up.  When things get hard, they don't want to work harder to make it happen. 
'Til I reach the end and then I'll start again
No I won't leave, I wanna try everything
I wanna try even though I could fail
I know that listening to a song isn't going to create some magical reaction.  I know that watching Zootopia isn't going to solve all of their problems.  But maybe, just maybe, coupled with my encouragement, it will give them a little push in the right direction. 
I'll keep on making those new mistakes
I'll keep on making them every day
Those new mistakes.

I won't give up, no I won't give in

July 25, 2016

Growing up is hard to do. . . .

I threw a birthday party for my daughter. She's pretty particular about things and she knows what she wants. She also gets her heart set on it.

That's the problem.

She has a friend, a cute girl, who tends to be less reliable than others.  They haven't been able to get together all summer long, every time because this friend has cancelled at the very last minute. And I hate to see her face when she finds out. She tries to be strong, because she's too old to cry about silly things like friends not being able to come and play, but it's still painful.

When my kids were smaller, there were certain friends that you could almost count on to cancel. And when they're little, all communication goes through mom, so I learned really quickly it was better to make playdates a last minute surprise, than to build it up all day only to have someone break their little hearts.  And I know that kids have to learn to deal with disappointment. I know this. And she is.  But there are so many other disappointments that I can't control, that in this one thing, this one little thing, I can keep them safe.

But now I do not hold the power I once did. She makes her own plans, with her own friends. (With my approval, of course.)  She has to figure out which friends she can count on to be there for her. And which friends will regularly let her down.  I just wish she was still the cute little three year old, dancing her way through life without a care in the world.  That's all.

Copyright Trapped Between a Scream and a Hug

Meaning all content on this blog is mine. So you better not steal it. Seriously.