My inspiration for this record of my days:

“The biggest mistake I made [as a parent] is the one that most of us make. . . . I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of [my three children] sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages six, four, and one. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less” -Anna Quindlen

Sunday, May 30, 2010

All in my head

Today has been a very busy day… in my head. 

I have designed and sewn a lovely dress, and paired it with just the right accessories.

I have solved one sister’s housing dilemma, and bought a perfectly thoughtful gift for another.

I have re-arranged the storage area to make room for a summer play room.

I have re-finished the kitchen island.  It’s just right.

I have updated my food storage and instilled  a deep sense of patriotism in my children.

And I’ve written thank you notes to several women whom I admire.

Unfortunately, now I’m exhausted.  I have not one ounce of energy left to actually do any of those things.

In fact, I feel so overwhelmed that I’m paralyzed.  All I can bring myself to do is eat some oreos  and watch an episode of LOST.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Nothing Clever

I’ve been avoiding this particular post, because I cannot think of any clever way to say what’s on my mind.  But I have had to learn this (following) lesson several times so far.  I’m hoping that if I write it down I will remember it permanently.

Lately we have been in a contentious phase in our family.  It seemed like the kids were always fighting, and nothing I was doing seemed to help.  The more they fought, the crankier I got.  The crankier I got, the more they fought with each other.  You see the vicious cycle.

I had started to take the attitude of  “I am going to put a stop to this once and for all!  I will not allow this kind of contention in our home!”  I would jump on them (not literally) at the slightest provocation, in hopes of “nipping it in the bud.”

Now that it is in writing, it’s easy to see how silly and ineffective that strategy would be, but it had gradually come to that.  I was feeling desperate, and didn’t know what else to do.

Knowing of my desperation, my friend Laura loaned me a book called The Power of Positive Parenting.  The morning she dropped it off, I sat down and read several chapters.

The theory behind the whole book is that children will continue behaving the way that is most effectively re-enforced.  The best way to get rid of bad behavior is to spend your time and energy praising the good behaviors.   Children will gradually gravitate toward the behaviors that are rewarded.

I know it sounds really simple, but it was a lightbulb-over-my-head moment.  Of course!  I was focusing so much on the bad, that it had become all that I could see!

The author also pointed out that we can never control our children.  Our job as parents is to control ourselves, and the atmosphere in our homes.  If we fail to react to our children’s unpleasant behaviors, instead remaining cheerful and consistent, we can maintain a positive atmosphere.  Children will adjust their behaviors to fit that environment.

OBVIOUSLY there are times when this doesn’t happen right away, and the book does address that.  But the principle rings true to me.

I began that very day to change my behavior.  When the kids got home from school, I immediately looked for things, even little things, that I could praise.   If I could sense a conflict coming, I would smoothly change the subject to avert disaster.   Almost instantly, the kids could sense a change.  They caught right on, and started being nice to each other.

I could not believe the difference!  That very afternoon the boys started to argue about who got to play video games first.  After just a few seconds of disagreement Josh said “It’s okay, Caleb.  You can go first.”  Caleb responded with “Thanks Josh.  After I’m done I’ll show you how to set up your own game.”  My jaw dropped!

I continued the strategy, and continued to see a HUGE difference!  A couple of days later Savannah said, “I don’t know why, but it just seems like we have had a really good feeling in our family lately.”  Amazing.

The only problem is… that places a whole lot of responsibility on me!  I have to be perfectly calm and in control of myself at all times.  Even when the kids are being rotten.   Sometimes I want to be rotten right back!

The book says “If what you are about to do or say doesn’t have a high probability of making the situation better… don’t do it!  Don’t say it!”  Several times this week I have found myself standing still as a statue, waiting until I have a response that will improve the situation instead of making it worse.  It’s really hard!

I think one of the most frustrating things as a parent is  not knowing  what to do.  To know that what I’m doing is not quite right, but not have any better ideas is the worst!  I feel energized and empowered now, because I have a good plan.  Even if I will have to learn this same lesson again and again…

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Good Mom

Today I sat and played LegoBatman with Jonah, even though I had 4 loads of laundry piled on my bed.  And I was actually in the mood to fold them.

I am a good mom.  (Patting myself on the back)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Happy Birthday to Savannah

Yesterday Savannah turned 11.  I’m so glad she was born!


Savannah has always been such a happy girl.  She has a great big smile that is contagious, and loves to make others happy.  When she was a little girl I secretly wished that I had given her the middle name of Joy… because she spread joy wherever she went.

She still does.  She has a hilarious sense of humor, and uses it to create some fun times in our family.  Often at night I have to close the bedroom door because the girls are in their room giggling so loudly that I can’t sleep!

She is a girl with many talents and a love for learning.  She is an excellent student and especially loves writing.  Other interests (and talents) include playing the piano, synchronized swimming, and cooking.  She’s so fun to teach, because she honestly loves to learn new things!


I can always count on Savannah to notice when I need help.  As soon as I start getting overtired or cranky, she steps in without being asked and knows just what to do.  She  has even scheduled every Wednesday afternoon to be a play-with-Jonah day.  What a sweet big sister!

I am lucky to have such a wonderful daughter!  I love you Savannah!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Jonah turns 5!

Happy Birthday Jonah!


I’m so happy that Jonah was born.  He is my little buddy.  For the past 5 years he has gone everywhere with me, and he’s usually talking the whole time.  He has lots to say, and keeps life funny. (See several of my other posts for good Jonah stories!)

He has a best friend named Grant.   They could play together every day and never run out of creative things to do.  Currently the favorite game is dragons, but I think this picture was taken when they were being superheroes of some sort.   He loves Grant so much that he even named his chicken after him!


He loves to bring me his pillow and blanket every morning to “cuddle up” with me.

He is an obedient boy.  He is easy to take places because he stays by me and is capable of sitting quietly for long periods of time.

Jonah reminds us all to choose the right.  Sometimes when the other kids are fighting he’ll say “Guys!  You have to stop fighting so you can follow Jesus!”

He is eager to learn.  He loves to ask questions, read books, and go to school.   He often comes home from preschool so excited to tell me the cool stuff he learned.

He tells us all, frequently, that he loves us.  He told me today “I love being a part of this flamily.”

Our family is a happier, better family because Jonah is a part of it.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

My Calling

I have often said that one of my “callings in life”  is to make other people feel good about themselves.  Unfortunately I don’t accomplish this feat by any extra effort or great charitable acts.  It just comes naturally.  When people look at me and my life, they can feel pretty good about how they measure up.

I’m not saying this in a self-depreciating sort of a way.  I’m just pretty comfortable in my own skin, (even if that skin is not as young and firm as it once was) and I don’t have the energy to try to impress.

I hope other women will be able to look at my life and say to themselves “Christi’s house is rarely clean, and she still enjoys being at home.  It feels welcoming there.”  Or “Christi doesn’t always look like a million bucks, but she seems to be confident and socially acceptable anyway.”

I hope that I can be one who breaks the cycle of women comparing themselves to each other, and feeling like they can never live up to the standard.

President Spencer W. Kimball said, and I paraphrase, that great things will happen when women [of faith] are seen as different- in happy ways- than women of the world. 

I don’t mind being different- in happy ways.  The being different comes fairly easily.  I just hope I can pull off  the happy and the socially acceptable, too!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Poor Angel Moroni

On Friday we went to Thatcher. Kami was graduating from Nursing School (yay Kami!), and we wanted to go to the open house of the Gila Valley temple.

On the way into town, we were all excited to see the new temple as we passed by. I mentioned how beautiful it was, and pointed out the huge golden statue of the angel Moroni on top.

Caleb was definitely impressed. “Wouldn’t it be cool if during the tour they let us climb up and sit on the top of Moroni?” he fantasized.

Josh immediately saw the problem with that idea. “But that would be disrespectful. Because if you were sitting on him, you might accidentally toot on him!”

Caleb continued to fantasize, “Ya, and then the toot would go in his trumpet, and be blasted out over the whole city!”

The thought made all of the boys roar with laughter and cheer. Literally cheer.

It was hard to put on my I-am-not-amused-with-tooting-humor face amidst such hysterical laughter!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Call me white trash…

But I LOVE my laminate peel and stick tiles in my dining room!

When I was deciding on the flooring, people kept encouraging me to spend the extra money and do something higher quality.  Well, in my last house I had travertine.  It was gorgeous, and cold, and hard, and I didn’t like it.  I wore shoes all the time.

Finally I had the courage to officially proclaim “I want laminate!  I just do!”

And I love it.  It looks nice.  It feels good on my feet.  It’s super easy to clean… even crusty stuff  just pops right off!  Plus, it was the cheapest option, and Jeff laid the whole thing in like 2 hours!

When we were getting ready to build our last house, we were driving through the neighborhood with some friends.   It’s gated and gorgeous and fancy-pants.   My friend looked around in awe and said “You are totally going to be the white trash of this neighborhood!”

I laughed and was secretly flattered.  I guess I’m just that kind of girl!

Monday, May 10, 2010


One of our Sunday evening family traditions is to watch America’s Funniest Videos together.  Laughing when people get hurt or do stupid things, now that is quality family bonding!

A couple of years ago, this is what Josh’s face looked like when he watched people falling off of trampolines or running their bikes into trees.


He could not understand why that would be funny.

Tonight as we watched, he was cracking up.  I felt a twinge of guilt.  We, his own parents, have helped to desensitize his little spirit.  We have corrupted him!

Maybe I deserve the fact that he is always yelling at me.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Belly Buttons

Today as I was busy around the house… putting laundry in, picking up toys, cleaning up after breakfast, etc….I noticed this little guy following me around.


He’s fairly new at walking, so he stumbled along behind me “like a drunken sailor,” as my mom would say. 

He kept calling out “Ma!  Ma!”  Finally I stopped to say “What do you need, Simon?”

His whole face lit up and he proudly said “Hi!”

That was just the little moment I needed today to remind me how much I love staying home with all these little ones.

When I sat down on the floor to hug and kiss him, he decided that he needed to see my belly button right then.  He LOVES belly buttons these days!

Yesterday I took off my regular shirt and looked down at my tank top.  The one that I wear under everything, so it doesn’t usually take the brunt of the handprints or snotty noses.  For some reason, this time it was filthy.

I was stumped until Jeff pointed out that all the dirty little prints were around my belly button.

Now it makes perfect sense!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Head banging

Trying to get Caleb to do anything that was not his idea is at least as pointless as banging your head repeatedly against the kitchen cabinets.

I should know.  I tried both today.  I prefer the head banging.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Can you feel the love?


Technically, Caleb, Josh and Jonah all share a room.  But in reality Jonah sleeps in the hallway on the hardwood floor these days.

He says “Mom, I just like to sleep in the hall because Josh gets mad when I talk to myself.”

And sure enough, he chats up a storm at night.  To himself.  I can see how that might be a bit annoying to the brother who has to share a bed with you.

This picture was taken after he had worn himself out singing “Can you feel the love tonight” at the top of his lungs.  Several times.  It was exhausting.