Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Something Left Behind

Dear(est) Holidays;

It was so fun to have you visit us for the month! Didn't we have lots o' good times? All those parties and craft nights, and all the baking! Oh, the baking. Ahem...yep, good times. But, um, remember those 4 extra lbs. I carried around for you during your stay? Ya, you left them. And to be frank, (and please don't be offended), I'm a little tired of carrying them. It just doesn't work with me. So would you kindly come back asap and take them away? Thanks a mil. Can't wait to see you next year!

With all the affection my heart can hold,

Sunday, December 20, 2009

We Can Hear it Still

It's probably a bad thing to admit this, but this is the first year in awhile I've felt the TRUE spirit of Christmas the entire season. I owe it all to this Primary song. (Ward buddies, you've already heard my feelings on this, so sorry for the repeat.)

Here are the words:

Stars were gleaming, shepherds dreaming, and the night was dark and chill.
Angels story, rang with glory; shepherds heard it on the hill.
Oh that singing
Hear it ringing
Earth-ward winging
Christmas bringing
Hearken we can hear it still. (There's a fantastic minor chord in this line that makes this song over-the-top.)

That last line kills me. It's so true! It's the same message today as it was over 2000 years ago-it's never changed. We started learning this song right before Thanksgiving, and I've had it stuck in my head ever since.

Today I found myself getting teary-eyed over several songs. "Silent Night", "Angels We Have Heard on High", and the afore mentioned "Stars were Gleaming" all overwhelmed me with such gratitude for that sacred night.

What an incredible story. And even more, what an unbelievable gift we've been given. Music touches my heart like nothing else, and I'm so grateful we have so many beautiful songs testifying and telling us of Christ's birth.

So as I look at my countertop filled with neighbor gifts to be delivered, presents to still be wrapped, and cookies to be dipped in chocolate, I can't help but smile. Despite my 4-foot long list o' things to do tomorrow, I feel at peace. It's amazing how little those things matter when there's such a miracle to celebrate. We have a Savior! We can live with Him again. We have someone to guide us through this life. We are never alone. And like that message the angels gave so long ago-HE WILL NEVER CHANGE. And that makes me giddy-happy.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have a bowl of melting chocolate that needs some taste-testing...

Monday, December 7, 2009

Global Blah Blah Blah

Dear Al Gore;

Hey, congrats on all your awards 'n' stuff you've received for your research for Global Warming. Seriously, kudos. Oh but wait, have you been to Utah? Did you know it snowed for the last three days, and it's going to keep snowing off and on all week? Oh, and did you know that it hits in the LOW TEENS at night, making an early morning run impossible? No? I didn't think so.

No offense, but I find your research a bunch of crap.


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

So Blessed...Honestly

There are lots of reasons I love being a woman. I love being a sister, a mom, a wife, a friend-I love the sense of empowerment I get when I read anything that mentions the influence we have on others in this life. But there's one thing that drives me crazy-

This bizarre need to outdo each other-even if it means lying.

Are you a "Seriously So Blessed" fan? I am-it's been awhile since I've checked her blog, but for those of you who don't know this gal, it's a blog written by "TAMN", and it follows her perfect life. The whole thing's a joke, and absolutely hilarious.

The other day I ran across another blog that was JUST LIKE TAMN'S. Oh, except it was real. ThE AuThOr EvEn WrOtE hEr SeNtEnCeS LiKe ThIs! (Don't worry-this gal doesn't even know my blog exists. So no, it's not you.) I had to keep checking the web address to make sure I didn't accidentally click on SSB. I was laughing the whole time, except it wasn't a joke. I think that's what I love so much about TAMN's blog. It's spot-on, and makes fun of the fact that so many women struggle with just being honest.

Why is that? Why can't we be a support to each other? Why do our conversations center around our children's accomplishments, our husband's perfection, our fantastic eating and exercise habits, and our material possessions? Why can't we share our failures, our sorrows, our fears, our struggles? Doesn't that build a connection as well? Why can't we just share without judgment, or the fear of being judged?

When we were having a hard time getting pregnant with Kallie, I remember feeling weird about sharing that with others, like our "perfect" life wasn't really that perfect. But then one day I thought, forget it. Who cares? When people asked I told. And I made a lot of good friends that way-friends going through the same thing. I still have friends come to me when they are struggling with it.

Now, I'm not suggesting we sit around and complain. I'll be honest-I feel very blessed. I do have an absolutely amazing husband. But here's a secret-sometimes he bugs. And sometimes I bug him. I have some cute kiddos, but here's a secret-Kallie has my personality and sometimes we butt heads. And sometimes I banish both kids to the basement so I can have some peace. And sometimes Kallie watches 3 hours of TV in one day, just so I can get something done. And sometimes I ignore Chase when he's yanking on my pant leg, whining to be lifted. Oh, and sometimes I give Chase a big sucker, just so he'll sit in his stroller and be happy. Sometimes I don't clean the bathroom that week. Sometimes I go days and days without making the bed. Sometimes I don't get to showering until 3:00 PM. Sometimes I go a week without exercising, and sometimes I go the whole day before realizing all I've had to eat was a 32 oz. Diet Coke and a piece of cake from the night before.

Sometimes I'm scared my kids won't get along when they're older. Sometimes I'm really, really scared about finances. Sometimes I'm worried I'm not doing enough for my, and the kids', spiritual growth. Sometimes I'm bored in Sharing Time at church. Sometimes I wonder why we bother bringing Chase to church. Sometimes I hate what having kids has done to my body-and then I hate that I care.

But despite all that I feel blessed. I just hope I don't portray a perfect life. It's a good life, but it's extremely chaotic, and we have our struggles, worries, and grumpy days. Besides, who wants to be friends with someone who's "perfect"? I personally find it nauseating. In fact, the older I get, the more I avoid these people. Not because I think they're bad, but because they tend to bring out this horrible creature in me. I start to care about things I shouldn't care about, and I start to make comparisons. And based on what? Lies. I can't be around that. I need people who will cry with me, laugh with me, share my anger, and share my triumphs. I need someone who understands what I'm going through, because they've been through it too. (And they're not afraid to admit it.)

More important, I hope I can be that person for others.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Letters to {Kallie}

My dearest, darling, daughter;

You are the joy in my life-the butter for my bread. I'm eternally grateful that you are part of my forever family.


We have been battling your picky eating for the last year and a half. It's getting old. Really, really old. And we've tried everything. So-

I curse you and your future family. I curse you with, TWO...picky eaters. This is no ordinary curse. Your children will not only refuse any and everything you put in front of them that doesn't resemble sugar, but they will sneak suckers and gum, defy every trick in the book, and drive you absolutely insane with worry about their health.

Now don't get grumpy about this! As I place this curse on you, I do so with all the love my heart can hold.

Good luck with that!

Love, Mom

Monday, October 19, 2009

Mirror, Mirror, On the Wall

I have this memory-when I was about 9 years old I had stayed home from school due to a sore throat. After a visit to the doctor we received a call later that afternoon, confirming my case was strep.

"Oh mom!" I moaned pathetically. I was quite dramatic.
Her answer: "You're fine!"

I don't know why I've always remembered that. It's not like it's a painful memory. I don't lie awake at night, wishing I could spill my guts on Oprah's couch, while the audience shakes their heads in sympathy. And yet it sticks out in my mind like it happened yesterday. To be honest, I don't remember a lot of sympathy growing up. I was raised that way-with a "Buck it up" attitude. I was never coddled. I'm the oldest; the guinea pig child if you will. All oldest children are, right? But I wonder if that plays into my shortcomings. Like, sometimes I think I could be more compassionate. I could argue that it's a choice-I could choose to be more compassionate. I will say I'm working on it. I'm improving. But am I where I'd like to be? Not even close. There were times I vowed I would show more sympathy for my kids, because maybe that was the missing link.

Today Kallie was, once again, spooked by some Halloween decoration. Today I had it. "Then go away from it!" I said. "You're fine!"

Gasp. You're fine? I say those words to her all the time, but for some reason today they had some insane grasp on my memory and all of a sudden I was 9 years old standing in front of my mom. And once again I realized; I'm teaching Kallie to "Buck it up". It scared me.

But then, I have a great mom. She's taught me a lot of things. Everyone loves her. She has a lot of spunk. She has a lot of passion. She's taught me the healing powers of chocolate. I know she loves our Savior. She's taught me what a prayer and a handful of faith can really do. And when it comes down to it, she's my best friend. And my "Press Forward" style of upbringing has come to my rescue several times. I found that I'm stronger than I thought I was, because that's the way I was raised. And (much to Jarum's chagrin) I'm an independent spitfire; sometimes it bites me in the you-know-where, but there are many times it has worked in my favor. I'm pretty sure I got that from my mom.

Mirror, mirror, on the wall.
I am my mother after all.

But maybe that's not such a bad thing.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Discussions with a Surveyor

There are two things about me that don't seem to really match -
1. I despise telemarketers. Especially if they call me on a Saturday or Sunday.
2. I like doing surveys - to an extent.

Saturday I got a call from a man who asked me, in very broken English, if I'd be willing to take a SHORT, QUICK survey on fast food places in my area. I'm in the process of trying to be more kind to telemarketers. After all, they're just trying to earn money to feed their families, right? So I told him I'd be happy to help. Here are tidbits of our conversation.

(3 minutes into the conversation)
Telemarketer: Have you ever heard of Carls' Jr.?
Me: Yes.
TM: Arby's?
Me: Yes
TM: Bulim....???
Me: What??
Me: Blimpie? Oh, yes.

(13 minutes into the conversation)
TM: How would you rate Taco Bell, on a scale of 1 to 5?
Me: What am I rating?
TM: Taco Bell.
Me: No, I know, am I rating the food, the service, the store, the value?
TM: All of it.
Me: I don't know, maybe a 2?
TM: A 2??
Me: Dude, it's Taco Bell. What do you want me to say? How much longer is this going to take? I have two hungry little kids and I've been on the phone with you for 13 minutes now. You said this was short.
TM: It is! It is! We're almost done! Just a couple more questions!

(20 minutes into the conversation)
TM: How would you rate Taco Bell's interior?
Me: A 2. (Uh-oh, stately Brooke is coming out...)
TM: How would you rate Taco Bell's value?
Me: A 3. (If this guy knew what was good for him, he'd hang up!)
TM: How would you rate Taco Bell's service?
Me: (That's it. Enter stately Brooke.) I guess a 2. I already answered this. Listen, you told me 7 minutes ago you only had a couple questions left. You really need to stop telling people that it's a quick survey when it's not. This is ridiculous, my kids are both yelling, and I need to go.
TM: But we're almost done!
Me: How many questions left?
TM: Just 2 more restaurants. (aka at least 10-15)
Me: Absolutely not. I'm done with this conversation. {CLICK!}

Augh! There goes my kindness goal. Do you think I was justified? I'd say I'd try harder next time, but there won't BE a next time. If I could call the guy back and apologize I would...I think. Maybe not. XO

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Crying Wolf

You know that story about the boy who cried wolf? I wonder how the villagers felt when they found that the boy was, finally, telling the truth. Were they angry at the boy? At themselves? Did they feel guilt? I'm assuming they felt a little bit of guilt. I would.

My picky eater Kallie told me today that she wasn't hungry, her tummy wasn't feeling good. Waaah! She says that every morning to get out of eating something she doesn't want to eat. But then her stomach magically heals itself in record time as soon as she spots some cookies in the freezer. And she amazingly has the energy to run around and wrestle with her brother. So I've learned to no longer believe her sad tales of sickness. And after she realizes I don't believe her she'll sit down and eat some breakfast.

Today was the same. She sat down for breakfast, and after drinking some orange juice and taking four bites of a waffle, she threw up. Oops! I guess this was the day she was telling the truth. So I'm sure those villagers felt guilty, because I'm feeling pretty guilty myself. Sorry Kallie!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Making My Grass Greener

I just finished a book yesterday that has me thinking. Unbeknownst to me, it was, in a way, a marriage improvement book. No big deal-I'm all about improving marriages. This last year Jarum and I have been working extra hard at making our marriage rock solid. Like everyone, we have a ways to go, but we've come really far, and things are going really well. So well, in fact, that I tend to get the whole "All is well in Zion" attitude. Which leads to more slacking and less working. Because let's face it-marriage is work.

Anyway, back to my book. There was a quote in there that I'd like to get printed on a large poster and hang it above my bed, so it's the last thing I see at night, and the first thing I see in the morning. (Don't act like none of you had a Backstreet poster up when you were younger. I'm totally admitting to that.) So here's the quote.

The grass isn't greener on the other side; the grass is greener where you water it.

Whoa. My favorite thing about it-it's from some guy named Mel from a sprinkler company! So profound. And it made me think-am I watering my marriage? Do I ever compare my marriage, or even my husband, to others? At times I do. And then I thought about the things I could improve on. I think I'm critical of Jarum, without really meaning to. So I asked him if he thought I criticized him too much. "Nope", he replied. "Really?" I asked. "What about that time you got Chase ready for church and I didn't like the outfit you put on him?" He thought for a minute. "That didn't bother me though." Ya, I thought. But it bothers me. Isn't it more important that he was helping me out on a crazy Sunday? Does my son HAVE to match? I should've handled that different. I have a lot to work on.

It's a pretty personal topic, but I share it in hopes that others feel the same. And maybe it's something that I can work on with others. Like dieting, ya know? It's easier with a friend. The book had a great idea of having "Marriage Celebration" clubs-like a book club, only you share ideas, tips, and accomplishments in your married life. Maybe I'll start one. Because I really have a great husband. Open invitation, girls, who's in?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

A Day to Remember!

So fitting that my first post on this blog would be an accomplishment I will always treasure.

I conquered the cinnamon roll.

Yes, dear cinnamon roll, I've won. I've figured you out. Ya know, I never understood why you and I didn't get along. You were fine with so many others, I didn't know what I did wrong. And I tried to be nice. But after 6 years of trying to be your friend I finally got angry and I admit, I started a little backbiting. I said some negative things about you. I know that whole "you catch more flies with honey than vinegar" routine, but I didn't care. And I didn't give up. Oh, you didn't know I was tenacious?

But I did it! I made a GOOD cinnamon roll. And part of me wants to play the sore winner side. Thoughts of "EAT THAT SUCKA!" are definitely running through my head, (and I ALMOST stuck my tongue out, with my thumbs in my ears and my remaining fingers wiggling.) But I'm going to be the bigger person. So I will just say, I welcome you. Oh, and I apologize for the mean things I said. I look forward to years of brown sugar swirls, vanilla icing, and sticky fingers.

(What, you think I'd be selfish and not share? Recipe below)

The BEST Cinnamon Rolls
1 1/4 c. warm water
1 1 /2 c. sugar
2 1/2 Tbsp. yeast

Add together and let set for 10 minutes. Then add-

1 1/4 c. melted butter (Hey, I didn't say they were HEALTHY!)
1 1 /4 tsp. salt
4 eggs
2 1/2 c. mashed potatoes
9 c. flour (1 c. at a time)

Knead until smooth, then let rise until double. Divide dough into two equal portions and roll each out into a large rectangle. Spread with softened butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon. (I don't use measurements for these, so...) Roll them up, cut them into 1 1/2 in. pieces, and let them rise a 2nd time, until doubled. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-16 minutes.