1.31.2011

i am enough



I just love this photo. I think the motto I am enough was an important one for me to accept last year. I let go of a lot of the guilt my motherly role tends to lug around for not being perfect at all the responsibilities I have. And it feels great to be free of such senseless baggage. Photo from doobleh-vay (ps is it wrong to have cleavage envy?).
I also LOVE this DIY alphabet poster! I imagine one for Evan's room with argyle and checked patterns of black, grey, and blue. Found on the lovely Design Mom.


1.27.2011

the great escape



One evening in November on my way out to dinner with some friends Mike casually mentioned he had some frequent flyer points expiring in December and that I should grab up some friends and have a weekend away in a nice hotel. The moment he mentioned The Phoenician I was sold on the idea and immediately made plans with the girls at dinner that night.

It would be ideal: no babysitters needed, no flights to arrange, no husbands taking vacation days to make it happen, no cost, and no kids.

I can think of at least a dozen more people I would have loved to invite, but the beds in the 2 rooms were planned that night plus an extra person already tossed onto a cot (sorry Mary!). If I could do it over again I would have hosted one of the nights there with a Passion Party and invited everyone we knew! Next time. For sure.

****

This will probably be boring to everyone else except those of us that were there, but lest I forget......


We rolled up in Alicia's husband's truck full of giggles and excitement for our adventures while our suitcases slid around in the back of the truck. It was funny to us we had SUITCASES for a weekend get-a-way in town.

We thought it was so funny for such a swanky hotel the only 'gift' our room got with Mike's travel status was a bowl of chips and salsa (who was the brains behind THAT random decision?) and a bowl of assorted nuts. We were sure to drink the complimentary Skinny Water in wine glasses. Just because.


They had a house made of gingerbread that was as tall as me in the lobby. I wanted to eat it, but didn't want to give Mike's point status a bad rep. I behaved. But had we been there on somene else's status I might have carried part of the house off into our room to enjoy with our chips and salsa.


We ate at at Culinary Dropout. Kind of a bust food-wise, but cool atmosphere. Until the band showed up. The setting and customers did not come close to matching the mood/ sound/ look of the band at ALL. I asked for The Go-Gos' song Vacation, but all he knew was Cindy Lauper. Yeah, that makes sense. So I had to stand while he told the whole place I requested it. I freaking hate Cindy Lauper.



We went to a comedy club that night just by stumbling upon it. Some great comedians, some not as great. It was a little bit less awesome when they told our table there was a 3 drink minimum per person that night. And none of us were thirsty nor were we planning on spending one million dollars that evening on soda.


We got back to the hotel late and headed down to the town of pools/ spas located on the resort. It was a romantic setting I would love to take Mike to sometime. No one else was there (ahem, winter and all). It took us a good 20 minute walk past all their pools to find their giant collection of connected spas. No one skinny dipped. I will save that trick for Mike.




{Angel with all our shopping bags}

The next day eating and shoppping. It was heavenly, and I am not even a shopper. I am learning how to be one. This makes my husband oh-so-thrilled. A lot of jeans were tried on. I learned I have some patient friends.



{Angel, Mary, Alicia, me, Dawn}
And then we got dolled up and got ready to go dancing. Something must have happened in my brain and I guess it translated to 'Liz is going to dress like she is going to study at the library'. I don't know what I was thinking, but it was not congruent at all with Scottsdale dance-club attire. I was lucky they let me in the door. My favorite was the 'bling' Angel tossed around my neck in an effort to help me (bless her heart) looked more like a peace sign which made it all worse as we were looking for a place to park the truck. At least my delayed realization I was poorly dressed for the occasion gave us some good laughs early in the night! Me and my freaking SWEATER shirt and grandma purse from Aldo 6 years ago. awesome. It makes me chuckle every time I look at this picture.


{dance floor! wootwoot!}



This poor dude rode us on his bike all the way back to the truck very early in the morning! He was smiling the whole time, so happy.






{ALL of us being pulled on a seat behind the bike!}

We stayed up late and talked both nights, I got my Christmas cards stuffed, labeled, and stamped with some great company. It was a relaxing, fun, wonderful weekend I don't want to forget. Espcially my introduction Sprinkles: I gained an addiction.

Alicia- you so get the Best Team Spirit award. You were cracking me up and never stopped with the energy and happy. I loved it.
Dawn- you were the one who got us to each place we needed to be. You were our brains behind the entire operation.

Angel- you were totally getting us in the door no matter what with your charm and beauty even if I was wearing a sweater.

Mary- We are try-on-jeans-together sisters for life. Let's shop for jeans more often together!

xo ladies! And thank you Mike for the idea and the points!

1.26.2011

Evan learns to skateboard




lesson by mommy
he wanted to wear the shirt Zane learned in when he was 3
he did very well
his is a rock solid strong kid with great balance
he just might be really good at this!
but it's okay if he isn't
or lacks interest
*
still was fun to share something with them i enjoy
despite the fact i cannot pull off any sick tricks

1.22.2011

today

I had the privilege of seeing Luke today. And while I cried and while I hurt and hugged and felt so much sorrow for the situation, the instant I looked at his sweet face the thought that kept running through my mind was: HE IS SO BEAUTIFUL! I hope I didn't smile, because that would be been wildly inappropriate and would not at all have matched my feelings for the day. He had this sweet smirk on his face like he knew all the special secrets of heaven we are waiting to find out about. I had the desire to reach out and touch his delicious cheek, but I did not feel it was my place. His sacred time on this earth was spent with a marvelous family and I have no doubt he knew he was loved!

The funeral service was painful and peaceful all at the same time. I wish it was recorded because I would listen to the incredible strength and inspiration that came from every speaker and musical number many times over. If it was on You Tube it would be so viral and change lives. It changed mine.

One man sang and for the first time ever I felt like my whole body was levitating; his voice was so astonishing. It was like we were in a dream sequence and time stood still. I have seen Swan Lake, Broadway Shows, and an Opera in New York City where the talent is rich. Yet none hold a match to the sound of this man. It was a pure gift for the family I felt honored to observe. The whole funeral service felt that way. Every single part of it.

***

I have spent the better part of the evening piecing together the words I heard today and organizing my understanding of death in my head. It's a constant challenge in our lives to realize the bigger picture of why we get bodies and come to earth. Luke is reminding all of us of this and ultimately reminding us of our faith in our Heavenly Father's plan for each of our lives.

I don't think too often about the temple sealing ordinances Mike and I made when we went to the temple in Washington, D.C. all those years ago. I take that memory and importance of that eternally crucial moment for granted.

***

It was a spiritually raw and sacred experience. I am grateful I got to be there for it.

1.21.2011

Luke Chapter 2

This week a little baby passed away in my ward. His name is Luke. I have never met him. Nor his mother. I have only met one of his three brothers. But I love them. And I am hurting for them. It must be an unfathomable pain my mind can't even pretend to imagine the experience to be. I have thought of them every single time I wake up in the morning, many moments during the day, and when I go to bed at night. I don't even know how to pray for a family suffering from such a loss. But I do. Even though it won't bring him back to them. Or make their pain go away.

I looked at the moon last night, it was a giant golden circle hovering low in the sky. I thought of Luke. And I wished he could send his Mommy and Daddy a message of comfort in addition to making his brothers giggle. Something to soothe their souls and let them know he's okay.

The moon tonight, again so bright and happy, reminds me of the process of The Plan of Salvation and how it's a bright spot in a dark sky. I am not fully certain how to comprehend or know, really, what happens to us at any age once we leave earth. But I know enough to trust it's important and grand and magnificent. It's the next chapter for Luke. One that has to be a much more important chapter he must be needed for immediately. Like the kids that leave regular class for accelerated learning. I was not one of them, but I always knew they were different and that they were doing something important according to the way they were made/ designed by our Heavenly Father. Maybe Luke was spiritually accelerated?

No matter what positive angle I try to turn it, the pain in my chest that a little baby is gone from its family on earth doesn't ease up. It's kind of impossible to find a positive collection of words for the seemingly injustice of how this must leave the family feeling.

***

I know this week as I have offered and watched everyone around this family (with eager hearts and hands) ready to help and support them I have seen Luke make us better. The way we all get to offer charitable hearts is what Christ wants us to do each day of our lives.

It's like their family, friends, ward members, strangers, and neighbors have all circled around this family- locking arms- and created a giant net to catch them and support them as they adjust to their new lives on earth with Luke waiting for them on the other side of the veil.

***

Russell M. Nelson has a nice article from the 1992 Ensign here. I like this part:

I remember vividly an experience I had as a passenger in a small two-propeller airplane. One of its engines suddenly burst open and caught on fire. The propeller of the flaming engine was starkly stilled. As we plummeted in a steep spiral dive toward the earth, I expected to die. Some of the passengers screamed in hysterical panic. Miraculously, the precipitous dive extinguished the flames. Then, by starting up the other engine, the pilot was able to stabilize the plane and bring us down safely.

Throughout that ordeal, though I “knew” death was coming, my paramount feeling was that I was not afraid to die. I remember a sense of returning home to meet ancestors for whom I had done temple work. I remember my deep sense of gratitude that my sweetheart and I had been sealed eternally to each other and to our children, born and reared in the covenant. I realized that our marriage in the temple was my most important accomplishment. Honors bestowed upon me by men could not approach the inner peace provided by sealings performed in the house of the Lord.

1.15.2011

hold fast to dreams

For school last week I ejoyed the opportunity I had of helping Zane understand and memorize this poem:

Dreams

by Langston Hughes


Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.

Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.



****

It was enjoyable to reflect on the meaning of this poem and also talk about Martin Luther King Jr. this week. What an inspiration and impact he has made on our society!

It was also enjoyable to speak to Zane about dreams in general. I tried to think of an example in my own life and explained how and why some came true. Learning to drum was the first example that came to mind as we talked about dreams on his way to school. Kind of lame after talking about King. So I made sure to expand the conversation to dreams of being the kind of person you want to become and how it takes effort and work. The skills or hobbies you wish to have. The type of work you imagine yourself to engage in later in life. Finding the dream is the easy part, creating the path is quite another.

That morning as I headed to the gym searching in my mind for my past and current dreams, his poem still fresh in my ears, I passed a daycare. The children were happily climbing and shouting and swinging with the exception of one little boy. He stood at the gate of the playground reaching through the bars for his mommy. His tears and cries broke my heart. His mother's eyes looked to the ground as she said 'mommy has to go' as she broke away from his tiny clutch and headed for her car.

Watching them was like a cold, wet rag slapped me in the face. Oh yeah, my dream of being a mom! And staying home with my kids! It doesn't always feel as though I am living a dream come true, but I am.

I was immediately brought back to the day I had lunch with Mike when we were dating. It was a window seat, a booth at Long Wong's in Tempe on our lunch break. I don't recall what I wore or the day of the week, but I remember a pleasant sunlight filling our table and the sweet taste of fresh lemonade on my tongue. We talked about what we imagine of our future lives (individually, as the relationship was still new). We both spoke of hoping to have children. I spoke of my expectation to stay home with my kids while they are small and to volunteer when they are all in school. His ideas for his someday wife were similar.

That mom leaving her son at the gate reminded me how lucky I am to be living so many of my dreams that I often forget to appreciate them. These are important to remember for me and talk to my kids about their dreams over the years. It didn't just happen by chance. It was a dream and it took planning and work. As I spoke with Zane about dreams this week, he shared with me his desire to be a dad. In addition to a race car driver, police man, and an astronaut. As I raise my kids I want them to dream as big and far and wide as they like. And I hope we can help them learn the paths and tools to guide them on their way and make decisions that will help them work towards the life/ skills/ hobbies/ character traits/ jobs/ etc they dream of. And most of all, I hope they never stop creating new dreams all the while!

1.08.2011

your heart on the line

For several years I have been trying to talk Mike into taking up the Bass Guitar. I would love to play music with him. And it's something he could teach the kids that they would probably enjoy. His interest in this idea has always been luke warm at best. So I finally asked him what HIS instrument of choice would be if he could choose one. His reply? The clarinet.

Um, no.

I told him no. Squidward plays the clairinet. There will be no boys in my family playing the freaking clairinet. How's that for being a loving, supportive wife? Lucky Mike, ay?

Time went on and I kept trying to get other ideas from him on instruments. I kept trying to train my brain to accept his love for the clarinet, but it just wasn't happening. Then! He gave me another instrument! The Banjo. This was a major step up in manhood from the clarinet, but still not what I had in mind for him and this family band I hoped to have one day. But an improvement.

***

Christmas Eve I enter Guitar Center, one of my favorite places to be. It's like Disneyland for my heart. It's full of magic and wonder and so many tools that have so much potential! I create wish lists in my mind of all the things I would love to learn how to play and in which order I would like to learn them. One day, I tell myself, I will have a lot more free time.

But I am there on a mission. I am approached by a sales guy filled with tattoos and large gauges in his ears- exactly who you expect to assit you in Guitar Center. My eyes feasting on beautiful electric guitars came back to reality as I told him of the gift I was seeking. He led me to a room filled with acoustic guitars hanging from the walls. At the end of the room were two banjos standing on a shelf. We stood together in silence looking at them, all those amazing instrument behind us. I had a conversation in my head Can I really buy a banjo for my husband? It's sort of, well, I dunno not very cool. But he really wants to learn. And learning something you are interested in is so exhilerating. I should get it for him. But...... O I dunno.

I let out a long exhale. My shoulders slumped and my voice slow, I opened my mouth and these words tumbled out like they were flopping down a staircase:

"I wanted my husband to learn how to play the guitar...........But he wants a banjo."

A dude in the corner checking out acoustic guitars chuckled. I confirmed he was laughing at what I said. He told me it was the best thing he had heard all day.

I bought the banjo. And I actually began to feel excited. I kept telling myself a) he will be so suprised b) Mumford and Sons is a cool band and THEY have a banjo c) at least it's not a clarinet





I let my failed attept at convincing him to learn what I want him to learn float away. My husband would be learning to play the banjo. And that would be okay with me. I am even supporting and encouraging him! Hooray!

And you know what, when I watch him with his banjo learning from YouTube it makes me smile and so happy to hear him play the instrument. It's not one I would like to play, but it makes him happy and THAT is always cool.

1.04.2011

at the bottom of everything

Today my oldest child learned how to tie his shoes! Many thanks to his therapist, Tish, who has been working with him on it for one week (in addition to several other goals). Hooray Zane! Hooray Tish!

In honor of Zane, a video of one of his old favorite songs he calls the happy birthday song by Bright Eyes. His Aunt Rachael will crack up at the memory of Zane loving this song and me realizing it's probably not so great to play songs about plane crashes to my children. This one's for you, too, Rachael.



A Canoe in Peru

2011 destination: Peru

hopefully our canoe won't have a hole in it

1.02.2011

Sunday Thoughts


It seems through phases of life we are always preparing for what is coming next. Elementary school gets you ready for what you will learn in Junior High. Which then leads to what's going on in High School. And you hope the High School expriences you had help you adjust into the highly challenging acedemic world of college and adult responsibilities. Those then prepare you for some sort of respectable career of choice or circumstance. Looking back I can see these steps in my life led me to each next step and how they connected and prepared me. Some transitions went more smoothly than others.

I remember transitioning from jobs of circumstance (to pay bills) into a job in the field I longer for and aimed to be part of: Human Resources. I remember the feeling of traveling to a site in another location and being trusted with projects and a company credit card and felt my wings extend to meet the challenges I had wished to be in a place to handle. I remember my smile on my face and in my gut when I had those moments in my career. The gratitude for the hard work and, in some instances, long suffering that finally led me to my ideal place. It felt good to look back and know it was worth it.

***

My transition from career life to non-working mom did not leave me feeling as though I was very prepared. I looked back and found few steps that led me there. I felt stranded. Confused. Lost. Alone. I wondered what the point of all those milestones in education and career were for when I would step away from them (possibly forever?) to sling diapers and vaccuum carpet.

I have since learned parenthood is a lot of learning on the job and the more children you have the more prepared you feel with each one. It's almost like the experiences you learn with your first child are a fast forward version of the my former education path and parenting teens must be the career part of parenthood. The things I am learning now with them are preparing me for how to teach them in older years as I understand their personalities and interests more as time goes on.

***

I remember when I was researching the Mormon doctrine as a young adult one of the main questions I kept running through my mind as I was pondering the things I was learning and praying a lot was this : Is this how I want to raise my future posterity? I did not take the decision to change my religion lightly. By any means.

Today my 6 year old son stood in the front of a room filled with other children (hard for him!). He read The First Article of Faith. And then he sat back down in his assigned seat in the front of the room (hard for him!). As he breathed the words into the microphone I had another moment where I was smiling on the outside and on the inside. He read: We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.
Our kids are living a religion we have chose to teach them. I was grateful today for the day I chose to be baptized and began the growth of my own testimony so I could lead my future children (along with my husband) the way we think is best for them. I knew as Zane read those words he understood what he was reading and he believed what he was saying in his heart.

***

It's such a great feeling to make a plan and see it happening after what feels like a long time of labor to see the results shine and happening. Those feelings were first felt for me in my career after weary schooling and now in parenting in little moments sprinkled out and visible on days I least expect it. We have family scripture study and it's hard not to be frustrated as the kids are a circus, but I know like these examples, it will pay off and there will be a day or moment we will see it.
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