Monday, September 8, 2014

Sooo...What do you do?!

 I don't know if we've met, but I'm Sonya, and I'm (what some people refer to as) a S-A-H-M!
If you are unfamiliar with this term, it stands for  Stay At Home Mom.
Which means it is my "job" to stay at home, while my husband gets (yes I said "gets") to go out into the world, interact with other adults and single handedly (well....single handedly with both his hands) earn the money for our entire family, of five, to live off of.
Am I happy with this arrangement?! Not always. I envy his work relationships, his conversations that don't require him to ask if someone needs a snack or a run to the bathroom or why they thought burying their sister in the hole they just dug was a good idea. I envy, what I perceive as, a daily break from the chaos of running a home. I envy that he gets paid to do what he does all day - and I do what I do for the occasional penny my 6 yr. old decide to pay me for his Popsicle.
I am not thrilled with the crooked look  I get when people ask "So what do you do for a living" And I reply back with "I stay home with the kids" I would like very much to say to people, I went to school for (insert desired degree here) and now I'm working as a (insert specialized degree position here).
But the truth of the matter is - I stay home with the kids, and there isn't enough time in the day to stand here and tell you all the things that I do, and am responsible for, but here's a taste of what I do:
It is my job to make sure everyone has clean, and tidy clothes to wear.
It is my job to make sure there are clean dishes to eat off of, and cook with.
It is my job to make sure everyone has eaten breakfast before school, and packed their lunch if their tiny little hearts desire a cold lunch that day.
It is my job to make sure that the homework (that dad helped them with the night before) is in their back packs, that they know where their back packs are!
It is my job to keep track of shoes and clothes - do they fit, are they worn out, do you need new ones?!
It is my job to make sure they make it to the bus stop on time, and if they don't I gotta bust some booty to get them to school on time.
It's my job to make sure there is food in the fridge and that the food in the fridge won't give you tunny aches, or kill you!
It's my job to make sure they have a safe place to come home to after school, and a clean place they can sit and do their homework.
It's my job to make sure they have a clean bed to sleep in, and a clean pillow to sleep on!
It's my job to make sure they grow up to be responsible adults, realizing these things don't magically happen.
It's my job to make sure they are nice to each other, taking turns - waiting their turn.
It's my job to raise kind, gentle and loving human beings who know how to stand up for them selves and always do what's right.
It's my job to make sure they understand that I will love them unconditionally - I will always be there for them.
I stay at home, because it is my job! That IS what I do for a living! 
It is my responsibility as their mother, to make sure they know - no matter what, I am here. I am ready to help them, teach them, and learn with them!
I GET to do this! It's not always easy to realize, or remember that it's a blessing that I don't have to work to help support our family! I give out mass props to working mom's who work all day and STILL Have to do all of these things!! More power to ya!! I get to stay home and help our children learn. I get to be the one they come to when they've had a bad day at school, or if they've fallen off something I told them to get off of, and now they need a band aid and a hug (even if it comes with a bit of a scolding). Our children are my living - taking care of them is what I do all day.
In  "The Family: A Proclamation to the World" put out by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, it clearly states "By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners."
So while I don't always like my job, who actually likes their job 100% of the time?  It is my job, and it is the most important job on the planet! It is a tough, messy, annoying and extremely rewarding job.
So to all my fellow SAHMs out there - Keep doing what you're doing!
Thank you for doing what you do! I know that we are where we're supposed to be, and our kids will thank us for all we do, even if it's not until they're older and doing what we're doing now.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Dear THAT Mom;

We all know the mom I'm talking about.
The mom wandering the grocery store with her kids in their pajama's practicing their latest karate and WWE moves in the aisle while she stands there deciding if the budget allows for nutritional substance over price value.
The one who is barely dressed, with the zombie eyes - 1,000 yard stare, thinking of all the lovely places she could be relaxing with her best friend (be-it her hubby or best girl friend) instead of fighting with the children over which portable yogurt and juice pouches they want in their "back to school" lunches.
That mom who is on the verge of tears if one more thing goes wrong that day.
The one who is struggling to remind herself why she doesn't just go get a job so that someone else can fight with them all day.
I see you!
I hear you!
I'm with you!
Today, I was THAT mom with THOSE kids!
We all are at some point in our parental lives!
At some point, we are all that mom in the store who's kids might look a little homeless, because let's face it, getting dressed just wasn't a fight that was on the menu this morning. After cleaning up mess after mess after mess from the very inquisitive 2 yr old, at least all the children are fed and have some form of clothing on!!!!
It's ok to be her.
It's ok, if your kids are your least favorite people for a day....or two.
As long as we are still providing food, clothing, a hug and a good job through out the day, it's ok to have a bad day, to be a grouch and just want to crawl back into bed.
We are all human, and deserve a freebie day. A day where we can all just wear pajamas and if all we get done is the grocery shopping then, Good for you!! You accomplished something! Now go put you pajamas back on and find a movie that your kids will snuggle down too! After a shopping trip like that, it's all your kids really need - some popcorn, a movie and an hour and a half where their mom isn't too busy to snuggle them.
I gaurentee you, you will feel better, and they will be back on your top (however many people are in your family) favorite people list.
So, now that I've accomplished the grocery shopping, and done a load of dishes (I'm unstoppable today, I know) I will locate the Muppet Treasure Island movie, pop some corn for my munchkins and we are turning the rest of the world out....because I need a "mommy love" recharge!!!!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

An awfully big adventure

For our 10 year anniversary we decided to be adventurous and embark on a 15 mile (roundtrip) Backpacking hike up to Echo Lake. I dropped the kids off at my parents for their annual week of "Papa's Pirate Camp" and we shopped for fun camping stuff, and packed our packs and headed out Sunday after Church.
It's all very exciting and fun when you first start out!!!
Pumped up and ready for our adventure, we started down the trail!!
We hiked for about 2.5 miles before we stopped to camp, just past the 2nd Greenwater Lake. The spot we camped in was surreal. It was the kind of beauty you don't realize even exists until you are there to experience it. Picturesque doesn't even BEGIN to describe it.
We had to cross a fallen log, over the river to get to this hidden gem of a spot, but it was SO worth it.
We did take pictures of it, but the flash wasn't on, so they didn't come out.
We had to cross over the river, back and forth, many times. Not all the bridges were fun to cross, but at least some had a hand rail to hold on to!
The next morning we got up and got going about 9:45am. It was going to be about 4.5 miles, and a 1300 foot elevation climb, so we wanted plenty of time to do it. We took our time, stopping to rest our bodies (which are pretty out of shape) several times along the way.
This was one of the scariest bridges we crossed. The original bridge had been washed out, so the WTA was working on this new one...I don't do well with bridges w/o sides, but what's life without doing a few scary things once in a while, right?!
I made it across the bridge, and felt pretty proud of our accomplishments so far.
The rest of the hike was pretty brutal.
1300 feet in 4.5 miles, you can imagine how intense the uphill action was.
I don't know if you can tell, but we got pretty soaked with sweat (Shexy, I know)!!
There is a magical feeling that overcomes you, when you finally reach your destination. After such a treacherous climb, that moment we first saw the lake, we heard angels sing!! It was a magnificent sight to behold!
We made the rule when we started, "No pictures unless one of us is in it" When we reached the lake, we made an exception. After 5ish miles, It was amazing! 
 We hiked up to the tip of the lake and found a good spot to stop and have lunch about 2pm, before finding a spot to set up camp.
The beauty that surrounded us was breathtaking!!
Almost....ALMOST made us forget about the hike, ok! Who am I kidding. We didn't forget, we just appreciated a place to sit and eat.
After lunch, we hiked back down to the base of the lake and found the most perfect spot to set up camp! The view of the lake was outstanding! We were able to set up our tent so that it was the first thing we would see when we opened the tent door. It was perfectly romantic and worth the hike!!
We (and by we, I mean HE) set up the tent, filled water bottles, quickly got out snacks, hung our bear bag, set our sleeping bags out, took our shoes off (my feet literally sang with joy), and laid down!
The feeling of relaxing was incredible. Our bodies were worn out, pushed to, what we thought was, their limit! Our bodies needed, and deserved this beautiful break!!
Loved this view!!
 After about 30 mins of relaxing, we heard some people hike into the camp site. It was plenty big for 2 tents, so we had already decided that someone else could take the other half of the site, if they wanted to. Who doesn't enjoy making a few new (human) friends, while enjoying nature, right?!
They weren't fellow backpacking for the "fun" of it, they were forest rangers, coming to bring news of a forest fire "just on the other side of the ridge". We were asked to pack up and evacuate the mountain.
My heart sank clean into my toes. My gut twisted as I turned around and saw the smoke, billowing up behind the trees. My brain went to mush. I couldn't think clearly, I was in full on panic mode.
Luckily Greg sprang into action, getting everything gathered up, and letting me know what he needed help with. He packed my sleeping bag for me, I went and got the bear bag, and we loaded our packs back up. Fortunately we just filled our water bottles, so we didn't need to do that.
It took us about 45 mins to get everything packed up and head back down the mountain, we made it out of camp around 4pm.
(Keep in mind that by this time we have already hiked close to 5.5 miles, if you count the 1/2 mile up and back down the lake)
The sun was emanating blood read beams, that shone on the trees as a terrifying reminder (as if we needed one) of what we were hiking away from.
We only had about 3-4 hours until it was dark, and 7ish miles until we were back to our car.
Forest fires is a huge fear of mine, well, getting caught in any fire is a big fear of mine. So needless to say, stress was running a bit high. I felt like we were running down the mountain. We weren't. We had to go at a somewhat slow pace, because of how narrow and rocky the trail was in some places, but we hiked down as fast as we were able to. We had to stop because our bodies were already exhausted and in pain, but we had no choice, we had to push on and keep going.
We made it down to the car about 845ish.
We were so exhausted. I don't remember ever feeling so, completely wiped out.
In my mind, we still weren't in the clear, we still had an hour, hour and a half car drive home, that we needed to stay awake for....but, with each other, and a few prayers, we made it!!!
Through all of it, we never fought, argued or got cross with one another. We motivated and encouraged one another. It was an incredible bonding experience for us! We definitely made it out stronger as people and stronger as a couple. It is incredible what your bodies are capable of, the unknown limits they have. The ability to push forward until we got home, into our beds.
It was an experience we will never forget, and an anniversary story we'll probably never stop telling.
Here's to one decade down, and an eternity to go!!!!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Boredom is underrated

I have been seeing a lot of "Summer Boredom Buster" posts lately, all captioned with something along the lines or "Don't let your kids get bored" or "Boredom doesn't exist in our house, here's why" or "Combat the Boredom Bug with these simple crafts". It got me thinking...
Is being "bored" really that terrible for our children?!
What are we doing?! We are killing ourselves all while pumping ourselves full of chemical mood enhancers...all for what?! So that our darling child, is constantly entertained?!
To this I say NO!
Kids need to be bored. They need to learn how to self entertain! They need to know how to be sitting in a room, without the TV on, and be able to come up with an idea! If we are constantly telling our kids what to do, and spoon feeding them the next activity on the agenda, they will never learn how to think and plan for themselves. They will never figure out that it's ok to not have anything to do, and maybe that means you should read a book, take a nap, pick up some clothes, go outside and invent a new game......

I am no "expert" in child rearing, I have not formally studied psychology or child education, but I am a mother to 3 kids, who occasionally get bored. I don't plan out their summer with a list of 100 things to do. The entire school year is planed and scheduled out, summer vacation should be just that....a VACATION!! We fly by the seat of our pants. I don't tell the kids "tomorrow we're going to the zoo!!!!!" Because what if tomorrow comes, and Bubba didn't sleep well, or Bear woke up entirely WAY too early so he's going to need a nap, or we get an hour into our day and Bug decides that going potty in the toilet is overrated....I have the option of changing plans, and the kids are none the wiser. We go to the zoo a different day, a better day, and no one is mad at me because life happened and we had to change our plans. Some days are just meant to be TV/Jammy days.

While I believe that children need to learn how to be adaptable, they also should be spared disappointment when at all possible. 

Am I saying you should never do fun crafts or activities with your kids? Of course not. Hanging out making silly animals out of cups is fun, but it's also fine if your kids are bored once in a while. Let them figure out what to do when there is nothing to do.

Now, if you will excuse me.....I have a mess or two to clean up....because I'm a mom, and my kids are messy.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Why Summer is the best ever

Anyone who knows me knows I am a summer child. I live for summer!
I freeze all Winter, endure the depressing rain of Spring and Autumn, all because I know that just around the very long corner, is a glorious, hot day!!!
Something magical happens in summer. Everyone seems to be happier. Even people who don't do heat are happier, because the sun is out!!! I love nothing more than filling up some water balloons and squirt guns and heading out to the back yard for some "at home water park" action!! The kids are screaming and yelling and giggling and laughing and no one cares, because all the kids are outside playing in the warm weather. The colors are magnificent!! Neon and jewel tones fill all the shops. Happy colors that say, "let's go out side and eat popsicles and drink from the hose. Let's go to the beach and play baseball in the park. Let's eat watermelon and corn on the cob. Let's roast marshmallows and cover ourselves in smooth and sticky melted chocolate from our S'mores.
Summer makes me happy to my very core. It makes every part of me want to run screaming and laughing as if I were a small child. It brings out the kid in me.
I want nothing more than to wear my swim suit and flip flops every single day (that's about 80), because all you should have to do in summer is be outside playing. Boating, fishing, camping, watering, enjoying this amazing earth that our Heavenly Father has blessed us with. Given us to tend and enrich our lives!!
No chores! The house shouldn't be that messy because you're never in it!! No dishes because you only eat outside on paper plates and napkins you burn that night over the campfire. No laundry, except the swim suits and towels after dinner, because that's all you wear anyway!
Sunscreen and water balloons should be permanent items on your grocery list because you go through them so fast!

Summer is like a great big, giant hug. Just don't let it kiss you, that can get a bit painful.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


Every Monday night we have Family Night. It is a night where we gather as a family, and have a uplifting and spiritual lesson.
We try to make them fun for the kids and try to include some sort of game or fun concept to work on for the rest of the week or month.
This month we talked about relationships and the different kind of relationships there are;
courteous, affectionate and intimate.
We decide the boys are old enough now to be in charge of the lesson with some help from mom and dad.
Last night it was Bear's turn to have the lesson and Daddy helped him
The concept we are working on is Loving Out Loud. Bear cut out letters and we pinned them to the dinning room wall where we can always see them.
We played a game with the hearts and then added them to help us remember what LOL stands for
We brainstormed things we can be doing for each other that will show our love
Things like:
Letting Mommy sleep in
No hitting
Helping with homework

No name calling
Helping Mommy clean the house
Listen and talk, but more listening

Be patient
Play with each other
Read to each other
It's something that we need to work on. The kids have been arguing a lot lately, for reasons still unknown, except for the fact that they're brother's and sometimes that's what they do. So it's been nice to have this up on the wall as a constant reminder that we need to constantly be finding ways to express our love for each other.


To learn more on Family Home Evening and how we, as Latter Day Saints support families visit

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Consult the "experts"

Disclaimer - I am NOT an expert in anything except being a tad sassy and a snarky relief from life!
Just a mother of three crazies trying to figure out life in this world of "experts"

Now then, on that note....I would like to know how you become an expert in something.
It seems that every other day there is a new article on "the best way to raise your kids".
The one I can't stand are the experts telling us to quit telling our daughters they are beautiful, or that our kids doing a "good job" While I agree that we need to raise well rounded kids, who know that looks and a mediocre effort aren't everything. I also believe we need to raise - well - well rounded kids!
Girls are girls, plain and simple. They want to know that they are beautiful. I want my daughter to grow up believing she is a beautiful girl. Inside and out, she won't believe any future husband when he says "You are the most beautiful girl I have ever seen" if she doesn't believe it herself.  I'm not saying she needs to be self centered, or that beauty has one specific look, but she needs to believe that she is worth, and deserves a prince charming type guy!!
I have always been self conscious. Everyone has always been better looking than I am. My parents are amazing and they fought me tooth and nail to get me to believe I could be the kind of girl, and woman they saw in me (essentially, who I am today). I didn't believe them, so I didn't believe anyone else.
I want my daughter to believe it when people say she is a beautiful person. I want her to know what that means. I want her to believe she is smart and talented. I want her to grow up to be confident and  successful in her family and whatever else she wants to do. I don't want her to settle for someone because she thought she didn't deserve someone better.
I want her to marry the kind of man I did. The kind who treats her like royalty and gives her what she needs, and provides for her and their children. The kind of man who believes in her, and supports her in all her endeavors, no matter how crazy they are to him.
I want my sons to grow up being confident gentlemen, who know what a beautiful woman is, how she acts, how she treats herself and others, how she will stand up for what she wants and believes in. I want them to know that they deserve a woman who is confident and compassionate, one who will support him and stand by him. 
So from the outlook of a simple mother of 3 - Here's my thought on the matter.
*If you see a girl, no matter what she looks like, tell her how nice and pretty she looks that day! Girls want to hear they're pretty. That they look nice!  It's not the only thing they hear and it's not going to damage their outlook on life. In addition, tell them they are smart, they are capable of whatever they want to do, whether it's coloring or rock climbing. They can do whatever they put their mind to!
*If you see a boy, allow them the opportunity to be a gentleman. Let the 6yr old boy at church, the store or wherever hold the door open for you. As a mother of 2 boys, I encourage them to run ahead and hold the door open, obviously they are not a door stop, but they are gentlemen.
*Take your kids, all of them, to the opera, ballet, musical, concerts, church, movies, museums, the zoo, the park, library and the mall. I believe that kids are smarter than most people give them credit for. They know and understand FAR more than we think! At age appropriate times they are able to comprehend that there is a time and a place to be crazy loud, and a place to sit quietly. Both are fun, both are necessary life skills.
*Tell them "Not right now". Nothing is more important than your kids. Dishes will still be there, the laundry doesn't need to be started right this very moment, the bathroom will still need to be scrubbed after the game, but at some point - you're out of dishes, every one looks homeless, and you now need to don a biohazard suit just to open the bathroom door.
   There is always the argument, "that's what nap time and school is for", but I was raised in a "self cleaning house" You make a mess, you clean it YOURSELF! Kids need to understand that if they want mac and cheese for dinner, they need to let you take 10 mins and get the dishes loaded into the dishwasher.  If they want to bathe and do their business in a clean bathroom, they either grab a rag or give you 5 mins to wipe it down. If they are tired of being out of clean pants, then give me 5 mins to roll the laundry, and if you help me fold it, I'll be done sooner.
I always like to try things out, especially if an "expert" says so, I like to give it a whirl. So for one whole day, I tried to be careful with my "good job" handouts.  I have never, NEVER in my entire life seen so many crushed faces. At one point my 5 yr old, big eyed, little bear, literally said to me "did I do a good job?!"
"Good job" is something kids also need to hear!! I have found it builds their confidence, it reassures them that you love them and are proud of them!
So there it is, for what it's worth - Those are my 5 parenting tips.  Kids want to hear that they are good lookin, smart, capable kids, and that they are doing a good job!
If all else fails, you can always count on Aibileen Clark from The Help "You is kind, you is smart, you is important" and for kicks, just to stick it to those "experts" tell them their pretty or handsome! Cuz you know they are and they need to know it too!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

There's a rocket in my gutter!!

These are my kids. I love them dearly.
My kids, and anyone who has spent at least 1 day with me knows this: I am not a morning person, and my kids are. 
They like to get up before the sun, I like to wait until the sun is confidently above the horizon before I roll my snooze deprived, worn out, mom body out of bed.
I, however, enjoy a bit of peace and quite in the morning. You know, that magical moment when the husband has left for work, everything is still and silent, except the few mouse ticks and keyboard clicks, and all of your precious angels are still precious and angelic because they are still asleep. That one moment you have the house to yourself and you can hear your own thoughts, and then just about the time you get bored and lonely - you hear a bed squeak. The next few moments are just as magical. First the bed squeaks, then a thump as their tiny, groggy feet hit the floor, then the door knob twists and the sound of tiny, stumbling steps gets closer, and closer. If you are anything like me, and your kids are anything like mine, the next thing you hear is "Why are you up so late Mom?"
Why am I up so late?!
It's not late at all. See. My kids know I am not a morning person, so when I am up before them, they just assume it's still night time and I must be up late into the night. The next conversation goes something along these lines
"I'm not up late dear, it's morning."
"But the sun isn't up"
"Then why are YOU up?"
"Uhmmmmm my body told me it was time to get up....?"
"Probably because it is. Good morning!"
"Good morning Mom, What's for breakfast?"
Why must they get up so early?!
Why do I force my worn out, tired body out of bed before it's ready?!
Because I am their mom.
We all do things for our kids that are more than unpleasant. We also get to do the fun things with them.
Friday night, Isaac took me out on a date. He is 6. He came to me and said "Mom, would you like to go on a date with me?" And then upon whipping out a gift card from Cold Stone (I'm assuming came from his Dad's secret stash of gift cards) continues with "I'm paying!"
So hand in hand we were off to Cold Stone for a Mother/Son date I won't soon forget, complete with awkward silence.
After the 2ish minutes of awkward silence I did what any good girl on a date would do, I reached over - turned off the radio and asked him how he was doing.
He replied that he was good, and I could hear the smile on his face.
I began to ask him about how school was going and after about 3 randomly vague questions, the flood gate opened and I got to hear all about  his 6 yr, almost 7 yr old world. Who plays with who at recess, where he sits for lunch, who gets hot lunch all the time (and wishes they could have cold lunch), who always brings a cold lunch (and wishes they could get hot lunch once in a while) and how apparently he has it the best because he gets to pick his hot lunch days and gets cold lunch the others. I, as many parents do, "mmmhmmm'd" and "uh-huh'd" my way through his tangled, random comments and remarks. Then it dawned on me. As I sit here, admittedly pretending to listen, but thinking about the 1,000 other things that need to be thought about, a thought came to my mind;
This is his life. It may seem petty and unimportant to a "grown up", but to an "almost 7 yr old" Who gets the swivel chair in class is headline news!! The new game at recess is what's on the sports channel!! This is his life you are pretending to listen too!
Being a parent is more than just making sure your kids have a house to come home to after school, it's about making sure that when they are in that house they know and understand that the responsible adults in that house care about them, love them and will listen to them when they need to talk.
Being a parent is about listening to the seemingly small details and realizing that they are huge deals to these children you brought into your family. This is their LIFE they are talking to you about. This is their life you are pretending to listen too. It's about  more than just recess and lunch and swivel chairs. This is their real world. They seem small to us, because we are looking at mortgage payments, vacations and what the next pay check looks like. Their tiny world isn't as big and grown up as ours. Every year it gets bigger and more grown up and if we don't listen to recess, and classroom stories now, what makes you think they will want to talk about boys/girls, dances, dates, drugs and school schedules when they are older?!
They won't.
If we don't fix the broken train tracks, or get the Nerf rocket out of the gutter now, they won't come to us when they're failing a class or when they just got back from the worst date EVER!!
Being a parent is redundant, your kids never stop needing you.
Even as a grown woman, I still call my mom almost daily. My mom still takes time out of her busy life to stop whatever she's doing and talk to me, or put me on speaker phone and do what she needs to do while I yap on the other end. I vent about the not so new and latest thing Ashley has decided to get into and ruin. I vent about how loud and high strung Gary can be. I vent about how sassy and 7 Isaac is getting.
But I also get advice on how to handle these things in strides, and about how it's a nuisance now, but in reality, it will all be over in a moment. She laughs when I complain about the very thing I did when I was "that age" and she reassures me when she can tell I'm having a bad day and just need someone to remind me that I'm doing the best I can.
I call my mom because I've always been able to talk to her about anything and everything. From the time I was 7 to tomorrow.
Talking is more than just communication. Talking to your kids is parenting. You will never know their struggles or heartaches if you don't listen to them.
The words "grab a towel and dry these dishes" were not uncommon in our home growing up, because after the 2nd or 3rd plate, you just start talking and pretty soon you're spilling your emotional guts to your parents and they are there and seem to have all the answers, because they too were there once.
Am I a perfect parent?! OF COURSE - She said sarcastically!
My goal this year is to listen to my kids. Really take the time to hear what they are saying. Encourage them to "grab that towel and dry", go on more dates with my kids where it's just the 2 of us to talk and listen. I want them to understand that their parents are here for them no matter how small the problem or exciting news is to us, we care about their lives and what is breaking news for them!!