Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Oh hi.
Remember me.
The girl who used to be the author of this blog.
Sheesh: )
This year has been our year of many changes
and apparently for me with change comes a HUGE adjustment period.
And even though all of the changes have been great, incredible even,
I feel like I've been treading water since March.
Happily treading....like a crazy lady: )
You see, when I get thrown off my game, apparently I get THROWN OFF MY GAME.
And it takes me a while (read FOREVER) to get back in the swing of things.
But I am SO ready be back in the swing of things.
So here I am.

I've had a lot of interesting thoughts and feelings stirring around inside of me the last little while.
Feelings that have pressed on my heart strong and long enough to capture my full attention.
Bits and pieces of a bigger puzzle that have been slowly gathering, connecting, and coming together over a long time; years even.

Part of that puzzle, that bigger picture, has particularly come together lately in a way I never expected.
Funny how things most often come together in ways you didn't imagine.
But over and over this thought has come to my heart and mind...

"Make a video of you and your family's life every day for the next year of your life... and share it."

Man, that sounds like no big deal, lame even...
but you have no idea how scared I was to just speak that out loud.

Scared of what speaking it out loud entails.
Scared that is sounds ridiculous.
Scared of committing to something so big.
(For me it feels big, HUGE even.  As a mom of three little kids, I choose what I do with my time so carefully.  I recognize how precious this time is.  Adding something that feels so big to the things I'm already racing to accomplish feels like crazy talk.  Remember my whole treading water confession?  Imagine treading water while trying to record, edit, and post a video everyday.
Pretty much obvious drowning ensues; am I right?)
Scared of failing; of not following through.
Scared that it'll get hard.
Scared of giving up.
Scared of putting myself out there.
Scared to show you our crazy, goofy lives.
Scared people will see how weird we really are.
Scared to look like a fool.

But also scared to live bigger, deeper, wider.
Scared to leave this nice little comfort zone I've built for myself.
Scared to share my thoughts and heart.
Scared of rejection.
Scared to become more.
Scared to dream.


But despite all those things that sound like pretty darn good reasons to pack my little camera away forever and to not even try....
I can't deny the feelings I've felt to do this.
And to do it now.

I've thought a lot lately about reaching for dreams, about taking our lives in our own hands and living beyond what we thought even possible;
Of taking this one shot we have at life and making the absolute most of it,
Of loving and living to the fullest, of making a difference....a BIG difference.
And you know what?
We can never get to those places without stepping through those fears and just going for it.

So this is me...
stepping through those fears.
(Oh dear. Just keep breathing.)

I guess in reality, this is us stepping through those fears.
But pretty much Chad's not scared of anything.
Not even being home alone in the dark all night.
: )

And you know what, as much as I'm afraid, I'm also excited.
Excited to follow my heart.
(because so far it has never led me astray....cross your fingers)
Excited to do something hard and scary.
Excited to face some fears.
Excited to share this crazy little family of mine with you.
Excited to live and love bigger and deeper and wider.
Excited to connect.
Excited to reach out.
Excited to capture and cherish the moments.
Excited to somehow stop time for my kids.
Excited to create something that will mean so much to us someday.
Excited that maybe, just maybe, someone else out there is excited about this too.
(Even if it's just my mom:  ) Hi mom!)

I have to be honest though.
I'm not the first person who wants to jump in front of a camera or film myself.
But I've had a couple experiences that have got me thinking.

One day a girl I know posted something on facebook that really got me thinking.
She said, "Every day do one thing you're afraid of"
And then she posted a picture of herself makeup-less.
She was makeup-less and beautiful and brave.
And stronger than she was a day before.

Around this same time I read an article and had some discussion with my Power of Moms group about challenging ourselves to 'be in the picture' with our kids.
'Be in the picture' figuratively and literally.
Be in their lives today so you can be in their memories tomorrow
as well as, "Quit being camera shy and worrying about this or that and get your buh-tooty in the picture with your kids.  Someday these pictures will be priceless."

We've been following a family that has been making daily videos for a long time.
And as much as they're just entertaining and fun to watch and talk about and share a lot of really cool things, there's something more to what they're doing.

I remember one day watching one of their videos where they were at their son's band concert.
It was a simple moment really.
The dad was just filming his 8 year old son jamming out on the guitar, the whole time just cheering him on and saying how awesome his son was.
And suddenly my mind went back to the day after Chad's dad passed away.

We all got together in his sister's basements, the whole family, and watched home video after home video; reminiscing, laughing, remembering.
Every time Chad's dad made an appearance or some comment from behind the camera everyone would laugh and get excited.
You could just feel it, the room thick with love.

There were only a handful of videos with his dad in them; a priceless handful.
In fact, we only have one short, little clip on our computer that Chad took when he and his dad went fishing right before he passed away.
I can't tell you how often that one little clip gets played.

So in that moment of this dad filming his son's band concert, and really being there for him, I thought to myself,
"One day all of these daily videos are going to mean SO much to those kids.
More than words can even express.
They will have no doubt that their parents loved them, loved each other, taught them, cherished them, shared so much happiness with them, and were completely there for them
They are creating something so priceless." 

And honestly, it won't only be priceless just for their children, but for everyone who loves them and everyone they have loved back.

So pretty much what we're saying is we love people.
You, our kids, our family our friends, all ya'll.

If you're taking the time to even read this blog,
especially after my MIA,
then you are someone I love and I'm talking to you.
We love the people in our life; you people.
We want to be part of your lives.
We want you to be part of ours.

This is one way we really hope that can happen.

So it begins.
A whole year.
 A video every day.
(You possibly being completely bored out of your mind....highly possible)

But who knows...
This may just be our best year yet!

Here's the link to our Youtube page and our videos so far....
Take a gander and join us for the ride! : )
(due to excessive sick tummies and vomiting last week, we're already behind on the posts!
 But never fear, we are not giving up on this!
We have footage for every day so far and will get 'em up asap!)

Our Best Year Yet : Youtube Channel

"Always ignite your spirit, love life more than you fear it, dream big but work even more, and reach heights you never knew you could before."

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." -Mark Twain

"You control your future, your destiny. What you think about comes about. By recording your dreams and goals on paper, you set in motion the process of becoming the person you most want to be. Put your future in good hands: your own."  -Mark Victor Hansen

"You should never let your fears become the boundaries of your dreams."

p.s. Sorry this is so ridiculously long!  Honestly I could have gone on and on and shared things like the fact that I'll be staring down at my precious kiddos and just wish my eyes were camera's and how this will kind of let that happen.....
"Stop, Vandi.  Just stop!  You have 365 days to share your running random brain full of thoughts.  Give it a rest already!" : )

I'm done now.

Monday, October 1, 2012

*Originally written on 9/27 (last  Thursday)

I had a breakthrough of sorts with Em today.
She's had a really hard time since school has started.
Adjusting to the schedule was harder than expected.
She was tired, tired, tired.
And then she got sick, sick, sick.
And then she was sick and tired.....and sick and tired of being sick and tired.....
You get the point.

Plus, I think there is a lot more going on inside of a little six year old than we often realize.
Things you don't anticipate, especially when the six year old is usually very easy going, flexible, secure, and happy.
You think to yourself, "Oh they'll be fine. Starting school should be easy peasy for this kid. No biggie at all."

Welp.  I was wrong.
And now that I think about it, why didn't I conceive that even a secure, easy going child can get anxious and feel uncertain with such a huge change in their life.

I think of the butterflies I get in my stomach in new situations I'm faced with.
I think of how nervous I get sometimes to meet new people or be completely thrown out of my comfort zone.
Heck, I'm smack dab in the middle of a 'being thrown out of my comfort zone' situation right now,
and sometimes I have to remind myself to 'just breath',
settle my mind long enough get some sleep,
calm the gravy down,
and then breath again.

Heck, my eye has even started twitching.

Em has had to do a lot more facing the nervousness and butterflies head on than I've realized lately.
And she probably doesn't even have the understanding to comprehend or even define what all these crazy emotions inside of her are.

She absolutely loves school; loves it.
My mom, who is another kindergarten teacher at her school, says she peeks in on Em often and she's always doing so great, sitting, listening, obeying her teacher, working hard, being kind, etc.
Which is awesome.
I'm so proud of her, and honestly knew that's how she would be at school.
That's just Ems.

But that isn't the Em that has come home from school for the last four weeks.
And I'm just realizing.....
we can only handle the emotional jitters for so long, especially as a little kid.
We put our game face and courage on when we walk out the door....
 and then we come home, to our safe place, and let the walls down.

For Em that came out as way more frustration, impatience, and raw emotions.
And it's been hard.
I've been trying and trying to figure out the best way to handle things.
I am always second guessing myself.
Am I the only Mom out there always second guessing herself?
I sure hope not : )
I tried getting right on bad behavior first thing......emotional explosions occurred.
I tried ignoring.......hours of moping ensued.
I tried changing consequences.
I tried being more consistent and to the point.

And then finally, I sincerely got down and asked the One who really understands what's going on.
"Heavenly Father, I know you know Emyri perfectly.
I know you know what she needs.
She's having a hard time.
I'm having a hard time.
And I don't know what to do.
Please give me the wisdom.
In the moment, give me the wisdom I need to help her,
to make her feel loved and secure and accepted.
To know she doesn't have to be perfect.
To help her feel peaceful.
To help us feel connected again.
I love her so much.
I want to feel that camaraderie with her again.
Please help me to be what I need to be for her.
Please help me to know how to help her most."

That prayer was uttered last night.
And today has been a brand new day.

I woke up today and decided to abandon my old tactics.
(okay, well not completely abandon)
But I chose to focus so much more on some new things like......

-Greeting her off the bus with a huge smile and open arms.
-Not doing anything else for the first hour she's home from school but just being completely present with her, sitting by her, talking to her, no distractions (which translates as no computer or cleaning time for me).
-Making sure I take the opportunity to sit by her on the couch and cuddle with her while we either read or watch a cartoon.
(She is one who doesn't naturally cuddle much, but I had the impression that even though it's not second nature to her, she needs extra cuddles from us right now; physical reassurance of our love and security)
-Dropping what I'm doing to say "Yes" to playing with her.
-Saying "Yes" as much as I can.
-Having a more lightheartedness; making her laugh; making sure I laugh at things she's said or done.
(I think Em feels a lot of bonding in laughter and being able to make someone laugh, it's kind of how she feels and shows love.)
-Dismissing what negative behavior I can, and then gently, quietly, and calmly reminding her of her manners, or the family rules when needed; dropping the subject more quickly.
(man, I can sure drag some of our 'talks' on and on....I'm sure I'm a pain to listen to sometimes)
-Taking interest more in the moment of what she's interested in and doing; do it with her.

Today after school, I just sat on the couch with all of the three kids around me.
I just sat there and we talked and I listened.
They played doctor.
Austin and I were the patients.
It wasn't even hard.
In fact, it was so fun.

Later we cuddled on the couch and watched a show.
Again, not even hard.
In fact, I was totally loving just laying there with my girls.

And then before supper I was cleaning up and was about to vacuum when Em asked if I'd jump with her.
I almost forgot.....
I almost chose the vacuum over her,
But last second, I said, "Sure" : )
And I'm so glad I did.
We jumped on the tramp holding hands while she made up lyrics to a song; we sang her made up chorus together.....it was honestly magical.
Not even being cheesy.
Compared to the feelings that have been stirring between us lately, this was like a Hallelujah!

The day ended great.
No melt downs....nothing.
And the best part was,
The camaraderie came seeping back.
That warmth was there again.

And it meant so much to me.

I'm so thankful that these children aren't just my own.
That they're His children too.

I felt so much extra love and wisdom and help from Heavenly Father today.
It's amazing what a new day and some heaven sprinkles can do.

I love that little girl to the moon and back....

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Yesterday while all the cousins were here going on the waterslide and I was filming them, Brinely and her cousin went off to the side of the house to play on the fourwheeler trailers like they sometimes do.

I didn't think anything of it or worry about it because they play there often.
When I came up the hill from filming, my mom looked worried and told me she'd found Brinley playing with an antifreeze container that was leaking.
Brinley had antifreeze around her mouth.

She hurried and gave Brin a big drink of water and ran inside to look up poison control information on antifreeze.
I asked Brinley if the antifreeze had just been on her mouth or if it had gone down her throat.
She said it was on her tongue.

After talking to her more, we decided she'd probably just gotten a tiny amount on her tongue and around her mouth, but we watched her closely to make sure she didn't start showing any signs of poisoning.

She seemed fine the rest of the night, but my mind kept going over what would have happened if she'd gotten the lid off, or what if my mom hadn't checked on them when she did.

That night, I knelt by my bed and thanked Heavenly Father over and over again for whatever heavenly help watched over her and protected her that day and encouraged my mom to check on her when she did.

I felt terrible for being distracted and not being there for her myself.
I love that little girl so much.
I made sure to stare at her extra hard the rest of the day; take her all in.
And give her extra kisses that night as she slept.
Today could have ended so differently.

I'm so thankful that my children aren't just my own....that they're Heavenly Father's children too.
And that He is so aware of them and is here to help us protect and take care of them.

I love Him and thank Him so much for that.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Today has been a long day.
But a good day.
Chad left for the 6th Annual Boys campout this morning.
Boy was that boy excited: )
Brecon came and helped him load the truck and off they went.
I know they're gonna have a blast.....and I'm glad: )

Poor Em's though.
She cried and cried for an hour straight tonight before bed because she missed her daddy so much.
I think she genuinely had that home sick, longing kind of feeling.
I felt bad for her.
We said a prayer and sang some silly songs....
and she's now finally asleep.
It's 10:30.

And I finally get to eat dinner!
Did I mention it's 10:30.
Oh well, such is the life of a mother.
I wouldn't change it for the world: )

The girls and I went to the Osmond Elementary to play today.
My old stomping grounds.
Chad always jokes that Little Chiefs (his elementary mascot) kill Cougars (my elementary mascot) easy, peasy.
I just tell him Cougars stalk Little Chief's and tear there faces off in the night.
So yep.  Pretty much I win.

It was so fun watching the girls play together at the school yard and playground.
They ran through the sprinklers, rode there little bikes around as fast as their little legs would let them, and made up this super awesome game in which they had magical powers and I was the bad witch that stole their baby brother.
Of course I played along and ran away holding Austin while laughing my best evil laugh.
Austin totally nailed his role as kidnapped baby brother.
He's a natural. : )

But honestly, it's hilarious watching Em and Brin play pretend together.  They instantly jump into character. And all the expressions and the commentary......funny, funny stuff: )

After the magical powers game died down in intensity, they discovered the awesomeness of acoustics. We each took turns belting out songs at the top of our lungs in the big entry way of the school building. 
Heck, that entry way even had me sounding good.
They were stinkin' adorable standing on top of their cinder block stages, making up random words to random tunes.
I remember making up the same kinds of songs.

Only with more vertebrata: )

I think Em's song said something about not falling in love with someone you love because your sister loves them more than you.....and Brin's song was an eclectic mixture of completely random words ending with the word NATURE! (sung with both arms reaching out and her head held back).
At least it had some spunk to it.
I think it must have been hip hop: )

While the girls finished up their singing, I layed on the grass with Austin on my tummy and stared into his face.
Man, there is something about looking into this little boys eyes.
He is wise.
So wise.
I can just feel it.

We stopped and picked up snow cones on the way home.
Unfortunately, they didn't accept cards.
And as I was jogging between two different stores trying to find somewhere I could get cash back, while an awesome lady from an old ward of ours who just happened to be there held my baby and watched my girls  (Thank you so much awesome lady!)  I thought to myself....
We go through the chaoticness (pretend that's a word) and all the crazy moments because we love our kids so much.

On the way home, I watched Em and Brin through the rear view mirror as they slurped away on their snow cones and laughed like crazy about something or other.
All the jaunting back and forth between stores...totally worth it.

Yep, pretty good day.

But I'm still gonna miss sleeping by the ol' BFF tonight.
Kinda like that boy.

p.s. Tomorrow's goal: Post Austin's birth story.
Sheesh, he's only three and a half months old....you'd think I'd have it out by now: )

Monday, March 5, 2012

Isn't the fact that we can sit at a screen in our own home and connect with people and stories and experiences from all over the world pretty incredible? It's mind boggling if you actually think about it, but I just wanted to share some things I've read lately that have inspired me and changed me for the better.

The first is from a friend of mine from Snow College. She is pretty amazing if you ask me and her little family has taken on an adoption adventure that is completely inspiring. Read there story here. You can go back through her blog to read older posts up until her newest posts. I'm so excited to see their journey unfold. They remind me that you can do GREAT things in this life, even when you are young and that if you will follow the whisperings in your heart miracles will follow.

The next is another adoption story I came across. It's written so beautifully and brought a perspective and understanding that my heart and mind hadn't considered before. Read it. It's amazing. Start here and then click on "newer posts" to get the full story. It has 5 parts.

And finally, I came across this post on a blog I frequent. It's a story that speaks a lot to my heart. I get it. And I love it. She explains so much in a simple story and I'm grateful I had the chance to read it. Go ahead and check out her entire blog and story. You won't regret it. She is an amazing person who has been through and overcome so much. I don't even know her, but I want to be more like her.

Oh...and this is pretty awesome too: )

What have you read lately (or not lately for that matter) that's inspired you, changed you, reached you? I would LOVE to know, so seriously go ahead and share! : ) Love you all whoever and wherever you are.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

These little moments.....

Emyri encouragingly says, "Brin you want to try?!" as she hold her arms out to her little sister. Brinley excitedly smiles and ever so trustingly lets her big sister pick her up and lift her little body onto the rubber swing in the Boondocks play place. By the look of anticipation on their faces both of them know Brin is in for the ride of her life. Em pulls her back slowly, then lets her go with a burst of joy. Immediately they both giggle in delight as one sister steps back to watch the other twist and turn and swing. Neither of them can stop the ear to ear grin from spreading across their faces nor the abundance of happy little girl noises erupting from inside of them somewhere.

And I sit and watch in awe through the net barrier between us and soak it all in; the love, the trust, the sharing in each others delights. The smiles, the sounds, the look on their faces and in their eyes. I wonder how this simple moment can mean so much to me, but realize that's what being a mother is all about. These simple moments that reach to your core and speak a million thoughts and feelings all at once.

Heavenly Father knew what He was doing sending us here to families, letting us be parents. My soul has deepened and widened in ways I never even knew existed before I held one of my babies in my arms. My view has grown and grown and only continues to grow. My eyes are opening into His eyes, what He sees and how He loves. And I'm so thankful for the chance.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Baby Bump

So I entered Z103's baby bump photo contest and didn't make it to the finals, but thought I'd share our pictures anyway: )

They were fun to make.

And can you believe it? Only 9 weeks left 'til little bro-man makes his grand entrance!

I've officially entered nesting mode and am currently taking on reorganization of our entire storage room.

Yeah, pretty sure our front room is a disaster zone, but ahhh the satisfaction of de-junking and organizing.

I think I'm an addict.

And if you wanna go check out the baby bump finalists and cast your vote, you can see them