November 12, 2014

8 Reasons Why Spring is the Only Time to Have a Baby

By Amy 

Nature does things the right way.

In the Spring, babies are being born all over the place, right?  Well, nature is pretty dang smart, cause I've decided that the months of March through June are the only time that I ever want to have a baby.

What brought me to this conclusion?

Having a baby at the end of August.  Allow me to explain:

1: Sickness. RSV puts lots of little babies in the hospital.  Everywhere you go from October to February, you are walking into a cocktail of germs and viruses.  Stores, church, the library...they're just giant petri dishes of sickness waiting to infect your baby.  Ok, so that is a bit over the top, but I just spent 4 days in the hospital with my newborn who had viral meningitis.  It was terrifying.  Nine weeks is tooo young to be sick!  But being isolated at home for 2 or 3 months to get through the flu and RSV season is rough on a momma battling post partum hormones--it can be become very lonely.  However, if you have your baby in the spring when sickness isn't so rampant, you can enjoy getting out of the house and introducing baby to friends and family without such a high risk of sickness!

9-week-old Miles in the hospital
2: It is NOT fun to endure July or August 9 months pregnant.  It's rough having a bun in the oven when it's 95 degrees outside.  I thought ladies were exaggerating when I'd tell them my baby was due in August, and they'd be like, "Oh, you have to be pregnant in the summer, you poor thing.  It's SOO terrible."  But, I found out that it's real.  You cannot get cool!  You can't take off enough clothes.  A menopausal lady having a hot flash in a sauna can't sweat as bad as you.  You feel like you're having a heat stroke after being outside for 5 minutes...IN the SHADE!  I am not kidding.  The heat sapped all energy/desire to live from me. 


3: Easier to exercise!  If your baby comes in the spring, you have a good amount of time before the weather turns chilly--that makes it SO much easier to get outside and get moving when you're ready to lose some of the post-baby weight.  During the summer months, it's wonderful to take a walk with baby in the morning or evening when it's not so hot.  Gentle outdoor exercise, like walking, can be a game changer for combating the baby blues during that first month or two.  It's not fun to go outside when you're worried about freezing your baby (or yourself!)  But, when it's cold and I try to workout inside, it doesn't last too long.  The couch is in close proximity and that's usually where I end up.

Trying to work out inside.  Tummy time for baby Miles...
...and planks for momma!  Ha, my husband walked in and took these...he thought we were pretty funny.
4: Outdoor relaxing for Baby.  Most babies love to be outside.  I sat in the shade with my little Hayden and read books while he sat in his bouncer for probably an hour everyday of his first summer.  It actually kept my cranky infant happy!  Since they really aren't coordinated enough to play with toys in the early months, it's nice to be able to entertain them by taking them outside.

4-month-old Hayden relaxing outside

5: Self control around food during Oct-Dec is freakin hard.  Trying to lose baby weight and get back into your jeans when you are surrounded by Halloween candy and cookies is MADNESS!  And then comes Thanksgiving.  And I stuff my face.  And then Christmas.  I stuff my face again...the whole month!  Darn you, Christmas goodies!  Oy.  I wish I wanted to have self-control, but...who the heck wants to say no to holiday treats!?  (Or any treats for that matter.)  Maybe Jillian Michaels can say no to frosted sugar cookies or pumpkin pie, but not me.  What I need is Jillian to hang out in my chicken and slap goodies out of my hand while yelling, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING, WOMAN?!!?"  I bet that would help.

6: The Darkness.  I'm not trying to allude to anything creepy, I mean it's literally darker. If you have an infant waking you multiple times in the night, when 7 am rolls around, you feel like you got hit in the face with a sledgehammer.  Add the fact that in the winter it's still dark outside in the morning; it is really hard to get your poor body awake and moving (more like stumbling) around when it looks like the middle of the night outside.  Also, it gets dark so much earlier.  You can start to feel like a mombie living in a dark cave.  In my opinion, sleep deprivation is much easier to handle emotionally in the spring.  :)  The sun makes us happy!  

7. The Cold.  At birth, a brand new baby emerges from their warm, peaceful uterus hot tub, and suddenly...BAM!...they're in a cold, cold world.  It can be rough.  Like when I'm desperately trying to keep the carseat cover from flying around in the wind as I'm walking through a parking lot, and my unsuspecting infant gets a blast of frigid Idaho wind to his little tiny face and starts to bawl.  I feel so bad!  I don't like taking an infant out when it's really windy and cold.  I don't even like taking myself out when it's windy and cold!  I know if I had a baby in December, I'd become a hermit.  The thought of getting myself, an infant, and a toddler all bundled up, out into the cold weather, scraping and warming up the car, and braving slick roads...forget about it!  Not much is worth that effort to me.  Therefore I would talk myself out of setting up playdates, going to storytime at the library, I'd even skip cruising Fred Meyer and lounging on the gray sectional I covet. (I want that sectional so BAD.) I'd become hermit with cabin fever in no time.  As babies get older, it seems to be easier to get out....I'd brave the cold with a 9-month-old baby, but probably not a 1-month-old baby unless absolutely necessary.

8. Holiday visits. If your babe was born is the spring, hopefully by the time the holidays roll around they are sleeping a little better at night--which makes traveling and staying with family much easier.  Plus, a 9 or 10-month-old gets excited by pretty decorations and twinkling lights and is all cute and friendly with family...it's magical experiencing the holiday through their eyes!  An infant, on the other hand, couldn't care less.

9-month-old Hayden...first Christmas!

SO EXCITED! :)
Well, that's my list friends!  What do you think?  Which ones do you totally relate to?  Which do you disagree with?  What would you add?  Which month do you think is ideal for having a baby?  And... I must admit that there is one major pro to having a winter baby: you can hide a post-baby belly by wearing big slouchy sweaters during the winter months! :)

Now, I have to add that obviously we can't always choose when we become pregnant, or other factors make our choice for us.  Also, I know there are many women out there who have a difficult time becoming pregnant.  If this is you, you may be thinking right now, "Sheesh, you're pretty ungrateful!  I'd be ecstatic to become pregnant, who cares what month!"  Yes, you are so right.  These reasons are such insignificant sacrifices in comparison to bringing a baby into your family!  I'm just saying, if you have a choice in the matter, you might as well try for the situation that will be the most pleasant for everyone.  :)

Don't forget to give your feedback on these reasons!  I'd love to hear from you.

Ps. If you enjoyed this post, please Like, Pin, and/or Share! :)


October 31, 2014

Halloweeeeen!!


By Amy

Just for fun, I'm gonna show you a couple of my costumes as an adult.

Cause costumes are the best part about Halloween!!!

And creative costumes are one thousand billion times cooler than "sexy" costumes.  That is what I will teach my daughter if I ever have one.

Thriller zombie!!!  My roommates and I were all zombies and we won the group costume prize at our church's Halloween party!  Wahooo!!!  And, yes I know the thriller dance.

Bon Qui Qui!!!!  GURRRL, I will CUT you.  (Have you seen the "King Burger" MadTV skit?  If not, WHAT?!  You must watch it right now.)
At a super fun murder mystery party!  I was definitely single and definitely NOT pregnant.
My hub and I as HOMIES!!!  This is our first married Halloween.  (I have been told I look like Beiber in this pic.  Joy.)

This year!!!  I ran a Halloween 5K with my momma-in-law, hub, and two little bros-in-law.  I am a Mombie!  (Newborn making me sleep deprived.)  And, the race sucked, btw.  I despise running.   But we looked good! :)  Notice my toddler as a freaking adorable jester. :)  
My toddler and hub were jesters for the race the year before! :) 
As a kid, I'd draw out my costume ideas for months ahead of time.  One year I was a Jack-in-the-Box, and I walked around in a huge decorated box all night.  I had a handle to turn--someone would turn it and I'd crunch down inside and sing a tune till I popped out of the box!  It was pretty spectacular. :) The jester hat my hub and son wore in the race is from that costume...I've kept it since middle school! :)

I already loved Halloween and dressing up, but I'm pretty sure helping my kids come up with epic ideas as they get older will make me LOVE it even more. :)

Here's a weird trick-or-treating thing that happened to us last Halloween night: a couple teenage boys knocked on our door and asked us for cigarettes! WTFreak?  They weren't dressed up either...it was sooo weird.  Ha!  I was like, "Um...no.  Here's a sucker."

How about you?  Do you love to dress up or not so much?  What awesome/original/quirky costumes have you or your kids dressed up in?

Oh, and if you haven't seen it, you've got to check out this post about my sister's family and their INSANELY cool Halloween costumes!

Friends, have an awesome Halloween!





October 21, 2014

This is for You Mothers

By Kimberly (Kimbo)
Introduced by Amy

Kim is a blogger--but not a small potatoes blogger like me, oh no.  Her blog, "A Girl and a Glue Gun" has thousands and thousands (and thousands!) of followers.  So I pretty much feel like Oprah is on my blog today.  Yay!!  (I'm sure Kim just rolled her eyes reading this...Ha!)

Even though Kim is one of the popular kids of the blog world, she is amazingly nice and down-to-earth.  We live in the same good ol Ideeho town, but I met her through a high school friend's facebook group.  After checking out Kim's blog I was like, "Yowza.  This girl knows what she's doing!"  And since I'm still a newbie and we live in the same town, I really wanted to meet up with her so I could ask a trillion questions.  I felt pretty cheeky asking her for a personal tutoring session, but she was super cool about it!  So we hung out and she was so chill and nice that I forgot to be intimidated.  :)
Kim is a craft blogger, but I read her blog because of her voice!  Crafting isn't my passion, but if she wrote a blog about fly fishing or plumbing, I'd still read it, just cause she is so fun to read!  I'm excited she's sharing some of her mothering experiences with us today on SOM.  Enjoy! :)
-Amy

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This is for you mothers.....
The ones that said, "I will never buy a gun for my son."

This is a cheese quesadilla.

I have also been "shot" by: a rock, french bread, a flosser holder, a stick, my glue gun, a kitchen aid attachment, a kleenex, playdoh, a broken headband, safety scissors, a sucker stick, a...........


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If You Give a Kid a Binky...

Kameron started crying last night and I knew it was because I left her binky (the one with the clasp that will hook to her clothes and not fall out of her bed) at her grandmas. So she starts crying right when I am about to fall asleep..like semi coherent. And this is my thought process....If I go upstairs to put her binky back in her mouth, she will see me and want up. If I get her up, I will have to make her a baba to go back to sleep. If I make her a baba, I have to change her diaper. If I change her diaper, than I would have to turn on the light. If I turn on the light, than Jordan would wake up. If Jordan wakes up, she will get in my bed to go back to sleep. If Jordan sleeps with me, I will be uncomfortable all night. If I am uncomfortable all night, I won't get a good night sleep. If I won't get a good night sleep, I will beastly tomorrow. So, I had better stay right here and let her cry it out so my kids won't suffer tomorrow. And then Jordan came down and got into bed with me anyway because Kameron woke her up.


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Today, I have been shot by 3 different guns and played dead. I have been kicked in the shins twice. I have held a beautiful wedding on my floor between a unicorn and a pony. I started a water fight that did not end when I wanted it to and I ended up soaked. I was interrupted when I was getting ready and forgot to put on mascara on one eye, and noticed at 10:00 at night. I kissed one burned finger and two boo boos on heads. I got told 4 knock knock jokes that ended in pee pee or pooh pooh. I mopped the floor twice because someone was being "helpful" with the orange juice. I said the words, "do your homework" over 15 times. I stepped on a lego and I'm walking with a limp now. I have changed two poopy diapers. I killed one spider.

And I am thankful to be a mother...sometimes.



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The Chair.

Does this chair look particularly appetizing to anyone? Does is scream "Sit on me"? Does is look like the most amazing chair ever? Yeah, not really...but for some reason this chair (more like spot) is the cause of at least 3 fights a day (more if we have a treat at the table or do a craft at the table.) When I yell, "time to eat" Kaje screams out "I get the middle chair" and then they both run and dive for it. Like an extreme version of musical chairs...without music. Someone ends up getting pushed onto the floor and screaming, "I want to sit there!!" I started making dinner the other day and Kaje came and sat down and watched me make the entire meal...too afraid to move in case he lost the coveted spot. He seriously sat there for like 30 min. I just don't get it....it's like any excuse to get in a fight. You should see them at church over the sacrament. They literally got in a fight over who had the biggest piece of bread.

I will not sell my kids...I will not sell my kids.


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I was cool in high school.

Remember back in high School when it was lunch time....and there were 3 of you...and you all crammed into the front a vehicle because gasp! heaven forbid one of you had to sit in the back by yourself. So uncool! And when you drove to lunch you would gossip about what boy you thought was cute and you can't believe..{fill in the blank} wore that outfit, I mean it was totally uncool like totally?

Flash forward a few years...a few more. Okay about there. Back in the car, going to lunch. You are a taxi cab. You are now alone in the front while you have 3 kids in the back. I mean how uncool is that? And if anyone was going to gossip about clothes it would be about your clothes...because you just looked down and gasp! realized that you are still in pj bottoms or have mismatched shoes...(true story) and back in the day before you knew better you said that your kids would always look cute and their hair would always be done....but you now look in your rearview mirror to find that your son has insisted on wearing the same spiderman shirt three days in a row and he has decided to have an opinion on his hair...(He likes it FLAT!) and your daughter has also decided she is old enough to dress herself, which usually means something weather inappropriate and something mismatched. If there is pink in the shirt and pink in the skirt they match...doesn't matter that one is a plaid with red and white and one is hot pink with rainbow stars. And the gossiping? Nope..too busy looking for a volkswagen beetle (slugbug) out the window so I can call out the color before my daughter can.

Back in the day I had the coolest music..totally hip. (on cassette tapes of course) Now my cd player is filled with Disney cd's and a Junie B. Jones book on tape.

Instead of worrying about finding a date to the dance or finishing your homework in time for class....it is trying to make sure you got everything you asked for in your happy meal and especially...and this is important...going through the happy meal to make sure you don't get duplicates of the same toy. (I have had to knock on the drive through window to ask for a new toy...I have no shame.)

I was cool in high school.
-Kim

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Haha, I love her. :)  Thanks Kim for guest posting today! 

So check out her blog! (I highly recommend you follow her blog on Facebook...she posts awesome questions and stories and is generally entertaining to have in your feed.  Just saying.)

 agirlandagluegun.com II Twitter II Facebook II Bloglovin II Instagram

Here's Kim and her cute fam! 



Welllll, folks...thanks for chilling with us here at SOM today!  

Be sure to Like and/or Share this post if you loved it too!  And, which of Kim's stories do you most relate with?  My kiddios are still little (toddler and a newborn) so lots of these experiences are in my future, but I definitely have already watched my own coolness dwindle and die.  Ha.

If you're here for the first time, Welcome!  If you'd love to read more stories from other cool ladies (like you!) then Like and Follow this blog on Facebook or BlogLovin so you never miss a post!  We have a lot of fun around here. :)


October 19, 2014

Meningitis Blues

By Amy

*I am posting this a couple days after writing most of it...cause babies don't care if you'd like uninterrupted time for writing, so it's tricky to ever finish a post.  :)

Friends.  *Sigh*  It's been a rough week.  Last Wednesday night my little baby Miles started running a fever.  After a doctor appointment, a fever of almost 104 degrees, two trips to the ER, a three day hospital stay, a chest x-ray, numerous blood tests, a urine culture, and a spinal tap, we learned that our little dude had viral meningitis.  I can't even tell you how beyond grateful I am that it wasn't bacterial meningitis, which can be devastating in its long-term effects and can even be fatal.


It was terrifying to see my little 6 and a half week old baby so sick.  My husband and I switched off being at the hospital with Miles and being at home with our toddler, Hayden, who unfortunately was puking for several days during all this.  (Most likely they caught different strains of the same virus.)  All while my husband was supposed to be going to his classes. (He's a full-time Physical Therapy grad student in his last semester of classes.)

So, to say the week was rough seems like quite an understatement.

I cried a lot.  Emotionally, my husband and I went through the wringer.  We felt heavy, heavy worry and fear for our tiny little babe; the uncertainty of not knowing what was wrong while we waited and waited for a hundred different test results was exhausting.  Both of us felt helpless holding our poor toddler who was sobbing and writhing with tummy pain, stuttering through his sobs, "I don't don't don't...don't want pukes anymore!"  It was heartbreaking.  I couldn't help crying right along with him.  He kept saying, "I'm sorry, Momma." which made me cry even more!  I kept trying to tell him, "You didn't do anything wrong, buddy.  It's not your fault!  We just want to help you feel better!"  Plus, my husband and I were both so tired and overwhelmed.

But, I know that God was looking out for my little family.  We felt His help many times this week.  My husband and dad and father-in-law gave priesthood blessings to Miles, which gave us comfort and peace.  We had some amazing doctors and nurses who truly wanted to do whatever was necessary to get our little baby better.  We felt the prayers of our our whole extended family as well as friends and neighbors.  So many friends on facebook have given us encouragement, love, and support.  My amazing in-laws came to help, as well as my selfless mom, who stayed for a few days.  They basically saved our bacon and got us through this week, risking getting sick themselves by being in our home.  And a friend brought delicious dinner one of the nights that our babe was still in the hospital; she brought probably the most fabulous chocolate chip cookies that I've had in years.  I am not exaggerating people!  They were hot when she brought them, and I may have scarfed 5 in the kitchen as soon as she left.  (Ok, 6.  I was really stressed!)  It's kinda pathetic how much those cookies cheered me up! :)

We couldn't get his fever to go down, so we had to strip him down to just a diaper to try to cool him down.  

Little Dude feeling a bit better!  But, he's offended that they've got him in a dress.  Ha!

Now we are all home, and Miles is doing so much better!  I love to just look and look at him, alert and content, instead of flushed with fever and pain.  What a relief.  It makes me cry.  Guys, he is freaking adorable.  (Well, he's a little less adorable when he wakes me up wanting to eat every two hours all night, like last night.  Haha!)  And even though Hayden is still on the mend, he hasn't puked today or yesterday and that is a big deal!  He made some jokes, and even danced a little to the Daniel Tiger theme song.  We've been marathon watching it since it's Hayden's favorite and it helped keep his mind off of the nausea.  I'm pretty sure the Daniel songs will be stuck in my head till 2016.

I can't thank Heavenly Father enough for my sweet sons and for my husband Patrick, who would give anything to take care of the boys and I.  I'm a pretty dang lucky girl.

So, our week was rough.  But life is good. :) 

Ps.  Have you ever had a one of your children sick in the hospital?  Ever one of your babies?  It sucks, huh?  What was the hardest part for you?

October 7, 2014

Babies and Boobs and Poop...Oh My!

By Amy

Friends!  Long time no see!  :)  I miss you.  It's been a bit crazy in my home.  And in my brain.  Ha.  I can't seem to get my crap together enough to write a blog post.  But, baby Miles is officially 6 weeks old and my hormones have leveled out, and I feel like life is going to chill out a bit.  Hopefully I can get back to writing posts, cause I love how creative/therapeutic it is for me, and I miss hanging out with YOU!  Adult interaction, even the virtual kind, is nice when your life is a never-ending cycle of babies, boobs and poop.

Besides being in the newborn haze at our house, my husband is in his last semester of classes and writing his huge thesis-project-thing, which means he takes our laptop to class most days and uses it in the evenings writing his beast of a paper.  So, I've missed my blogging and writing time.  But, I've been so happy to share the last couple guest posts!  I hope you loved them as much as I did! :) Pretty amazing ladies, huh?

*PS. I am always looking for more guest posts!  I know you've got things to say, so email me, baby! (amy.the.graham@gmail.com)*

I've been asked for an update on how life is going with an infant plus a toddler...I'm working on a post, but it is slooow going.  Lots of scattered, sleep-deprived thoughts.  I'll share it when I can get it coherent. :)  So probably next year.  Ha!

For now, here's just a couple pics and stories.  

HAHA!  I was trying to get a pic of Hayden kissing Miles on the forehead, and I caught Miles's yawn!!!  HAHA!

Baby Miles on his blessing day.  Look at that HAIR!  I AM OBSESSED!

Momma and Miles.  Thanks Sherie for this sweet pic!

Dude just chillin.
It's been funny to hear all of Hayden's questions since we brought baby home.  His mind was blown when he first saw me use a breast pump...the whole concept of "momma's milk" is kinda throwing him for a loop.

Then, the other day he walked out of my bedroom and into the kitchen like this.  I died!





Man, that kid is so freakin cute.

Sorry the pics are blurry, probably cause I was laughing my bum off.  He said all distressed with his little stutter, "There's no no no...no milk in my tummy!"  And, today he put my nursing cover on and stuck Bob the Builder up his shirt. The WIC breastfeeding ladies would be so proud.  Haha!

Here's another "Hayden Funny":

So, Miles is a GASSY baby.  The poor boy cries like he's in pain and wakes up a lot in the night, so we're experimenting with different formulas to help out his little tummy.  (I supplement cause I don't make near enough milk.)  Well, he has constant and LOUD poops and toots.  (We laugh pretty hard every time!...Except when he poops all over my hands when I'm changing his diaper.  Then I dry heave. That boy is such a pooper.) Anyway, in church on Sunday, my hub was holding Miles.  Suddenly, during a quiet moment, my baby let out an impressive explosion from his tiny baby bowels.  I mean, it was loud.  So, I'm trying not to laugh out loud, when Hayden giggles and pipes up with, "Oh, Momma's woofin!"

UH...Whuuuuut!?  For crying out loud, I wasn't even the one holding him!  Why would he think I did that!?  And of course everyone around us heard.  The shoulders shaking with silent laughter gave them away.  My face was on fire!  The lady in front of me turned around and whispered, "Wow, Amy!"  Her whole family was cracking up too.  Ha....thanks Hayden.

Well, it's almost 10pm and I'm pretty much brain dead and sooo tired.  Until next time my friends!

Ps.  Mommas of two or more, if you nursed, how the heck did you explain it to your curious kiddio(s)?  Do you just nurse right in front of your older kid (kids) or do you cover up?  (K, I'm not talking about a twelve year old, obviously!)  Just curious.  :)  Kinda like I wonder when I should no longer leave the door open during the day when I'm going to the bathroom or when I get out of the shower.  What is the cut-off age? (Admit, you've wondered it too!)  I don't really want my son to have memories of seeing his momma nake...haha!


September 25, 2014

Motherhood and Ambition: How Art Fits into My Life and Family

By Crystal
Introduced by Amy

Friends!  How are you?  I've officially been a momma of two for a month! :)  I am definitely not accomplishing my days gracefully, but both my toddler and infant have survived (baby Miles is actually getting a little chubby!) and I've managed to take several showers this week!  Haha!  Miracle.  So, today's guest post is very timely for me, and I hope for you too!  It can be easy as mommas to lose sight of the talents and passions we were pursuing before we started raising a family--that's why I find it so inspiring to see a mom like Crystal who is giving her best to her family, but still able to carve out time to pursue her own dreams.  She is inspiring.  

Crystal and I were Art Majors at BYU-Idaho together...let me tell you, this girl impressed me.  Yes, by her artwork (she is sooo skilled) but I was most impressed by who she is as a person.  She is fun to be around and easy to talk to, yet she has this grace about her...it's hard to describe.  She is wise and intelligent and kind and works tirelessly to accomplish her goals (She graduated with a double-major...I would have died!)  So pretty much I admire her a lot.  :)

Since graduation, I've kept tabs on her through Facebook, so I knew that she's still putting out incredible artwork, though she is a busy momma of two.  I had to get her input on how she accomplishes all that she does while caring for her girls.  Her ideas are super helpful, no matter what you goals and dreams are!  Enjoy!
-Amy

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When my husband and I got married, four years after meeting in an oil painting class at BYU-Idaho, we entered the marriage with the understanding that his primary role would be to provide for and protect our family, and that mine would primarily be to nurture and care for our children. We also had a mutual understanding that children would be a high priority, and both wanted to have a large family. We had both graduated with Illustration degrees, and at first, we were both able to spend an equal amount of time painting.

But of course, having a baby changed things quickly. After Eden was born, I had no idea how to keep being productive in anything except keeping my baby alive. How in the world was I supposed to get stuff done if I couldn’t have a schedule? It was obvious right from the beginning Eden wasn’t interested in following my schedule. I started to feel like it wasn’t fair that I never got to paint anymore. I got upset when James would walk in from a long day of painting and tell me how hard it was. I wanted to paint sooo badly, but day after day, it seemed more and more impossible. I read the biography of Minerva Teichert, who milked the cows before dawn, homeschooled her kids in a log cabin on the Wyoming prairie and pumped out massive paintings like nobody’s business. How did she do it? I don't know how it worked for her, but I’ve started to figure out some ways that it works for me.

1. Own your own goals. 

By that I mean don’t set goals (esp. about developing your talents) that require another person’s time, work or sacrifice in order to be realized. “But,” you ask- “Shouldn’t my husband help support me in my goals?” Yes, that would be nice of him, wouldn’t it? But if your goal is dependent on him, then you’re shifting accountability for it onto him. That means if you fail, it’s his fault, and if you succeed, you might not feel much sense of accomplishment, because he caused you to succeed. When I told James I had figured this out, he let out a visible sigh of relief. And to my surprise, I instantly felt empowered.


2. Figure out what you’ll need to sacrifice to pursue your talent, and then decide if it’s honestly worth it to you. 

I had heard other versions of this all the time from Leon Parson, my painting teacher, but back then I had no idea how I would need to do this as a mom. For me the sacrifice was sleeping in. After three years of sleepless nights with crying babies (our second daughter, Ember, came 15 months after Eden), my body had become conditioned to crave sleep in the mornings. I knew I would have to give that up. If I wanted to paint, I would have to get the painting started before they woke up. Then I could come back to it when they were napping or busy with some activity for 30 seconds here and there. You’ll have to figure out what it is for you.

Painting after the girls have gone to bed.

3. Involve your kids in the pursuit of your talent. 

This is something I’ve learned from Torgesen Murdock, an oil painter who has raised a family while actively participating in art shows, demos, and other events. Her kids never resented the time she spent painting because they got to put strokes on her canvas sometimes, or do their own paintings next to her. She also did live drawings at their school events, which made her popular with their friends. My girls have a low painting table near my easel. After breakfast, they make a huge mess with watercolor while I sneak a few more strokes into the painting I started earlier. Eden loves mixing the paints so much that when I ask to see her painting, she holds up the mixing plate instead of the paper. She also likes to teach Ember the names of the colors and show her how to do everything. It’s fun to listen to a two-year-old tutorial. Even though making an actual schedule doesn’t even cross my mind anymore, my girls respond really well to having a routine. Throughout the day, I step over to my easel for a couple of minutes when they’re eating lunch, napping, or playing in their room and make slow but steady progress on the painting. Then I can go to bed satisfied with my small but actual progress and also know that my kids had my attention when they needed it.

This summer we came to a three-month period of unemployment. With the help of some good friends, James and I were able to make preparations to spend the summer living out of a camper, doing plein air (outdoor) paintings in Montana. We replaced the roof on the camper. I converted the dining bench in the camper into a crib by stretching a volleyball net across the open side. James and I worked out an arrangement for the trip that allowed us both plenty of painting time. I painted mornings while he explored and played with the kids. Then he painted afternoons while I made dinner and cleaned up camp with them. We caught wild rabbits, ate wild huckleberries, and played with wild cousins. James and I both came out of it with some decent paintings to sell, and we look forward to repeating the trip every summer. In the meantime, I’m just doing my best to use “downtime” moments to work on painting goals, so I can use my talents to bless my family and others.

Making dinner!

Helping Dad paint.


If you're also a mom who is trying to develop a skill, my hat’s off to you! May your nights be quiet, may your children nap at the same time, and may piles of laundry to fold not distract you (at least not every time) from your great and worthy goals.

-Crystal

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Such wise advice, right?!  Thank you Crystal!  Right now, I fear my only "great and worthy goal" is an afternoon nap.  Haha.  :)  What did you think of Crystal's tips?  (...And her gorgeous painting!)  Several other women I also look up to have told me their time to exercise, read scriptures, work on projects, write, etc. is early in the morning before their kids wake up.  *Groan.* I don't love to hear this, cause I am SO not a morning person.  I'd rather stay up late...but, right now that isn't really an option since I wake up through the night with my little babe, and a super late bedtime makes me too worthless and wiped out the next day to be a happy/patient momma.  But, early morning does seem like the most un-interrupted time!  (We'll see if I can ever get my sleep-loving self to quit pushing snooze till I am absolutely forced to get up.)

Since I'm still in the newborn haze, I pretty much feel like a sleep-deprived dairy cow and diaper changer with no other ambitions in life but to catch a little more sleep.  But Crystal has inspired me to set some (tiny) goals and keep moving forward!  (PS. Check out Crystals' amazing painting blog.)

Friends, I'd love to hear your input!  What are your passions/goals?  How do you pursue them while being a mom?  Or while working a busy job?  Or doing both?  When do you find the time?  Are you also a early morning accomplisher?  (I am in awe!)  Or week-ender?  Or maybe you're a night owl like me? :)  Also, if you appreciated this post, please Like, Share, comment, and/or Pin!  Thank you! :)

PS. Did you miss when we talked about our Secret Passions?  So many great comments!








Meet Crystal!

Crystal Oftedahl Johnson is a Christian, a wife, and a mother of two little girls. She graduated from BYU-Idaho with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration and a Bachelor of Arts in Art Education.

She and her husband James met in an oil painting class and are both artists. Crystal loves fine art oil painting, especially paintings of colonial America. She is also working on illustrations for a children’s book about free enterprise, while James teaches high school art near their current home on the Navajo reservation in southern Utah. 


Their little girls, Eden and Ember, love to play dress up and “cook” the sand in the backyard with measuring spoons and kitchen utensils. 




September 17, 2014

DIY Home Decor: Tween Bedroom!

By Sherie
Introduced by Amy

So, my sister Sherie has THE COOLEST house.  Have you seen it in her Home Stylin post?  If not, you are missing out.  Fer real.  You gotta check it out pronto.  So, after she recently re-did her daughter's bedroom I was like, "Um, this sweet room wasn't part of your home tour on SOM!  So, you must do another post." And she delivered!  My niece Livi is the coolest pre-tween ever...more into books, music, and art then boys, clothes, and shopping, so I love that this room is such a perfect fit for her.  She is close to my heart, cause we were best buddies when she was a little girl and we would always draw and dance together.  Plus, I too was more into books and the Beatles than the Disney Princesses at her age.  Her room would have been my dream. :)  I'm happy Sherie is letting us all see her hard work in this cool bedroom!
-Amy

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When Number 5 was on it's way, we decided we needed to turn the upstairs Craft/Scrapbook/Storage for anything/Black Hole into some sort of livable bedroom. It was decided that my oldest daughter Livi would get the room - banking on my motherly instincts that the baby was a girl, then girls would out-number the boys. (Motherly instincts NAILED IT.) As you can see, we let the kids have a little fun painting and writing on the walls. Why not, right? Behind the wood door is the furnace for the house… no we did not do that. The room inside would have made the sweetest closet, but alas… it holds a commercial-size furnace instead. At least her room is warm in the winter.

Here are some Before pics:







The walls had old, nasty wallpaper that was fairly easy to rip down. The kids had fun pulling it down after I soaked it with a rag. After we got off all of the loose pieces, I left the rest to just mud over. I fixed all the wood trim and repainted it, then textured the room (including the ceiling) and gave it two coats of paint. And don’t be fooled – that took weeks to accomplish.. with breaks every three hours to nurse the baby ☺. There's a big unused, chimney in the room, so we came up with the idea of making it into a tree which went perfectly with Livi's idea to put a hammock in her room. I liked the idea of very light blue paint which worked great with the look of the sky in the background.




After the walls were painted, Livi painted the trunk of the tree then I began filling in the branches, freehand. We had found the owl stickers at a craft store which roosted perfectly on the branches. My mom added the leaves afterwards.

The floor was a struggle. Originally I was going to sand the floorboards and stain them a dark brown to match the hallway. We realized the gaps between the boards were so big, we would need to put a lot of filler in between the boards and if we were to sand it and stain it, the filler would stain lighter and really stand out. So I rented a big sander and did the whole floor, then filled in the gaps one at a time with thin wood putty and sanded it with a hand-sander. There were still some gaps where the filler dried and shrunk back, so yes, I had to do the process AGAIN to fill it all in. It took hours and the sand blows all over the room and coats the walls and ceiling… plus yourself and breathing through a mask is just awfully comfortable…. But I got it all done! And yes… weeks again. We got the walls / ceiling all cleaned and I decided to paint the floor a pale yellow and seal it with a deck sealer. Thanks Sherwin Williams for the idea. Connecting the hammock to the chimney was interesting, but we just anchored it inside the chimney flue and bolted it to the other side. As long as you don’t weigh over 100 pounds, you’re good! So no, I’ve never been in it... Livi tells me it’s nice….

We had fun furnishing her room with refurbished pieces. We had a few new pieces, mostly from Ikea. Livi reads like it’s going out of style, so we set up her own bookshelf. We found an inexpensive clothes rack to hang her dresses with the rest of her clothes in the drawers under her bed. So Livi loves her room! If definitely reflects her quirky, modern style. I did almost all of the work in the room, so I was proud too! In a few years, we plan on putting a bathroom in part of her room, so the chimney/tree will come down, but we’ll have fun scheming the room out again.

Here's the room!
-Sherie







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Isn't Livi's bedroom so cool!?  I mean, who the crap doesn't want a hammock in their bedroom?  And, Sherie is pretty much the cool mom for working so hard to help Livi have an awesome room...Livi had shared a room with her younger sister for a long time (who is all about the pink! Haha!) so now she's pretty stoked to have her own space.  

So, let's hear about your bedroom growing up!  I loved mine.  I shared with my poor sister Laura till she went to college (I was a hoarder as a little kid...all sorts of "collections" of treasures -aka- weird crap that kids love, like marbles and a million crayons/pencils.  I was NOT fun to share a room with.) From middle school on, I quit my pig-sty ways and spent many hours decorating my room...I bought tons of cool records from the library basement sale and hung the covers in my room, along with a giant beatles poster, a collection of globes, and huge magazine collages I painstakingly made.  Oh, and I rigged up a string of lights and several lamps to all turn on with the same switch of a power strip.  (Lots of extension cords...haha, what a safety hazard!)  

How about you?  What was your room like?  Did you share with a sibling?  Did you do your own decorating or did your mom?  If you have kids old enough to care, do you let them have a say in their bedroom decor?  I'd love to hear. :)  Not that it's an imminent concern (my two kids are little little) but, I've wondered about how that will go down, cause I care so much about the aesthetics of my home--I'm a little leery to give a kid free-reign, ha. What if we end up with black paint or One Direction posters everywhere??  *shudder*...haha.

I hope you loved Livi's room!  Be sure to Like, Pin, Comment, etc to show the love. :)  Thanks friends!  Have a sweet fall day!