Life is Bliss

Feeling so joyful this morning as I send my kids, Ethan (10) and Ivy (7) off to school! They woke up early this morning just because they were happy about a few things:

1. It's Friday
2. Lunch on the Lawn: A day where I come to school with lunch and we sit together and eat and they run around with friends. Today I'll bring Subway for Ethan and Little Ceasars pizza for Ivy and her friend Dani.
3. Ethan has a Walky Talky that his friends gave him so they can keep in touch from house to house. (WAY better than texting in my opinion!)
Anyway, this whole morning (It's only 7:20am) has been so fun and wonderful. I love being with my children. They know me better than anyone else, and somehow they still see the best in me. The other day Ethan told me I remind him of Grandma Nancy! I couldn't have felt happier about that compliment. To think that a small part of angel Grandma Nancu came through in me just made my day. Ivy takes time to crawl into bed with me in the morning and cuddle. We hug and she tells me she loves me so much!

Lately these two have not wanted to eat school lunch. They don't like the food served at school and would rather eat a simple peanut butter and honey sandwich. That way, they don't have to waste time waiting in line and have more time playing with friends.

The other day I got a text from Eli's mom (Eli is one of Ethan's good buddies). She told me that her son had a hard day with his math at school, but as soon as he saw that Ethan had brought a "cold lunch" and could play longer, he felt happy. His stress from the day washed away when he could be with Ethan. My heart leapt with joy when I heard that about my loving Ethan. He is SUCH a good boy and GOOD friend. Ethan is a leader among his friends but not in the way you might think. His friends know that he won't stand for bad words or inappropriate behavior so they rise to be good when they are with him. He is at an age where there are many changes. There are so many influences, evil and good, coming his way and he is wearing the "Armor of God" and being a light for his peers. They look to him for guidance as well as a fun plan of what they should do or play. I see him being this source of light as he grows older.

I went to Ivy's class yesterday to meet her teacher and have our 'parent-teacher conference'. I wasn't prepared for all of the good I would hear about my lovely and good daughter. Mrs. Mier just gushed about how Ivy has a maturity about her and a sense of leadership in her. She saw that Ivy was wearing her CTR ring the other day and that inspired a connection between the two of them. Mrs. Mier's sister is a member of the LDS church too. Her sister lives in Utah and is a wonderful woman. She has been a great example of a Mormon in Mrs. Mier's life, as have all of the Mormons Mrs. Mier has come in contact with. She loves us. She couldn't be prouder that Joe and I are raising our daughter in the church with those values. It made me feel so warm knowing that Ivy has been a good example of our LDS values in class, so much so that her teacher noticed her 'light'.

We live in California so there really are not members of our church lining the streets or neighborhoods nearby. They are few and far between. The other day our family went to eat at Subway and an older woman approached us because she was just so happy to see a family with a Mother, and Father, and children all eating and spending time together. It was then that I realized the power of A FAMILY. The Family, A proclamation to the world is such a beautiful document. It seems so ordinary to me because I have been learning it's principals my whole life. But for the world, for many people right here in Santa Maria, it's a standard that they have not seen. Simply spending time with my little family is in a way, doing missionary work.

In conclusion (for today) I just want to say I'm grateful. I'm joyful. My heart is full.


Mommy Daughter Talk

I wanted to record a moment that I had with my sweet Ivy this morning. She is 7. We were working on her homework. It is Spring Break, but since we leave for a cruise in two days, the school gave us work to do so we don't fall behind when we go back. Anywho, Ivy and I got to talking about class time and she told me that many days after lunch at school, she cries. I asked her why, and she was very shy to tell me. Apparently there are some kids who sit at the"friends table" at school, and when she tries to sit by them to have lunch, they say things like, "There's no room." If Ivy goes to sit somewhere else, sometime they will yell, "Ivy is weird." It hurt my heart to think about that happening to her. It makes me feel sad to think that things like that are being said to her and she has to navigate her sadness and loneliness all by herself. It brought me back to my days in elementary. There were MANY days when I myself felt lonely and weird. I can remember the moments when kids were mean to me. I can remember many recesses spent alone. I also remember that I survived those days and learned that my weirdness was actually a very GOOD thing and has been a great asset in my adult life. I find other WEIRD friends and we have a great time together. So I used that lesson that I learned and shared it with Ivy. I told her how those kids calling her names means that they are uncomfortable with who they are and that nothing that they said was true. If she still felt "weird" then that was a good thing! Next time they tell her that, she needs to yell, "Thank you!' to them. I went through and listed all of the weird stuff that I do as an adult that makes me a special person and makes me who I am. The times I sing really LOUD in public, the times I do the happy dance in my pink dress, the times I try to be funny, but I'm not. At one point, Ivy started laughing and then she reached out to me to give me such a big long warm hug. We hugged for a while and she said, "I love you so much Mom!" I said, "I love you too." Then I asked her how she felt. She said she couldn't put into words the way she was feeling but that she felt happy! I was so relieved. I always want her to know she can talk to me and that I might have some small way to help her through life's craziness and hardships. I worried that as she got older and problems got more complicated, I wouldn't have the right words to say. Today, I did. Heavenly Father blessed me with that today. Now we are going to make her a T shirt that embraces the "weird" and has some kind of unicorn on it! Being her mom is the BEST!


Ivy's hand-drawn coloring page

This is Ivy's coloring page! She is hoping that you will find it on google and print it off and have your sweet daughter color it! Ivy is 6 years old, and loves to color!


When someone else's happiness is your happiness, THAT IS LOVE

I love my children so fiercely. They are everything to me. Their joys are my joys and their struggles are my struggles. I’ve found lately that the same goes for them - Ethan (9) and Ivy (6). If one of them is sad or sick, the other feels sad and worries and prays for the other till they are better. Ethan’s allergies have made it so that he coughs a lot at different seasons of the year and has other symptoms. This makes Ivy feel so sad for him, and so in all of her prayers she asks that Ethan get better soon! The love that is there is so sweet.

Somehow, lately, Ivy has been struggling with sadness. I wish I knew where it came from or what is causing it, but she struggles with self-confidence and knowing that she is loved. Night time is the hardest for her, because she is extra tired, so the sadness is magnified. Each night, Daddy and I struggle to find ways to help her stay positive and upbeat so she can fall asleep with a happy heart. Most nights, however, the smallest things trigger her little tears and emotional break downs. This drapes a cloak of sadness over the house, and Ethan is there (as are Mommy and Daddy) watching, wanting to console her in one way or another, but not sure how.  

Last night he found a way. After a rather tear filled and stressed out Ivy ran into her room because of her sadness, Ethan followed her in. I followed and just stood outside the door. What happened next was something I could only dream for in my mother heart. Ethan encircled Ivy with loving arms and just cried with her. For a moment, they were suspended in silent tears. Then, he began whispering words of encouragement and unending love. “Ivy, I love you. You are such a good girl. You always will be. You do such wonderful things. I love you. You will always be my sister, I will always be your brother. I will always be here for you.”

As the moments passed, I could see Ivy grasping more tightly to this brother who was there offering nothing but tender acceptance and love. He taught me by his actions, as he does so often, of Christ’s love. That is how He would love. I’m richly blessed with these two angel children.


More pretty moments!

I never want to forget the beauty we had right in our tiny backyard there in socal. I never really had to do anything to keep them alive either. We barely watered! They just grew and were lovely. I would cut a few and put them on the table so we could admire them indoors.


USS Midway- pre board

Even before we entered the huge ship, we found beauty. There were pretty trees and landscapes to shoot photos near.

Daddy and Ivy

These two spent a lot of time together in the kitchen in So cal! Daddy would make eggs almost EVERY morning and IVY wanted to help. Then she would want to eat some too!


Not much going on!

Oh how I love how these two LOVE each other. There is a bond between them that is tangible and wonderful. Of course, they fight and have their issues, but they always come back to this! It's fun to watch them grow over the years and still see this goofy relationship!


Quick visit with the Rodgers

Mom and I appreciate someone else doing our hair!
Seflie with Becca! Oh how I love her.
Grandma and Ivy, lovely!

Mom, Dave, and Becca would make quick trips whenever they could to say hello! We always loved when they would stop by. We would make time for lunch or just a chat!

Furry Friend

This little cutie crept into our backyard and scavenged food and made a little home under our fake grass. We had fun watching him for a few days and then he disappeared....

Easter and other things!

Two cuties with their eggs
mommy in the kitchen
A scooter king!
Lovely new glasses and smile!
On the hunt!
Nice find buddy!
He was so proud to find the Golden egg!

Easter was a bunch of fun! Even though we had a tiny backyard, there were plenty of places to find the Easter bunnies eggs! Ethan was 8 and Ivy was 5.