Phones and hard lessons

A couple of weeks ago I read an article that has been rolling around in my head.  I read a few more studies and articles in the past week and it has be hard to read, truly.  All of the articles and studies have to do with smartphone usage in kids, specifically 10-17 year-olds, and it has be eye opening.  All of the articles usually start with the story of a teenager or soon to be teenager that was bright, funny, smart, and outgoing but attempted suicide or became severely depressed.

One article talked about about between 2010 and 2016 (where nearly every American owned a smart phone) major depression, suicide, anxiety, and an overall feeling on hopelessness has jumped at an alarming rate.  Teenagers especially have be affected and another article which dubbed this generation (1995-2015) iGen is not completely unfounded.  Instead of teenagers getting together to hang out (which back in my day was to talk and talk and talk, eat something, maybe play some games and watch a movie) has turned into teenagers shutting themselves in their rooms with their phones and mindlessly browsing, posting pictures on social media, googling whatever comes to mind, and texting.  There is little need for human connect it seems like.

But the interesting thing that I pulled out of each of these articles is that the teenagers are actually looking for acceptance, someone to talk to, and need social interact but do not know how to get it.  Many times in the stories that started out the articles, the teenagers telling their stories, decided to try and commit suicide because they knew they needed help but didn’t know how to get it and/or ask for help.  Instead of our next generation learning social skills and ways to interact with people, build a network, have people around that like them for them, relax, and be fine with just reading a book, there is a new norm. They are expected to look perfect all the time, never relax because there is always someone watching, fear social interactions because they might say something wrong, have a network of “friends” on social media, they are never sure is someone really likes them or is just being nice because there is rare face to face interaction.  Now, I am not saying that every kid is like this but man, all these articles and studies I have read was so sad to me.

Now, I am totally an introvert, and would much rather text someone if I am just asking a question really fast or want to set up a play day, but I also value talking to real people.  I love having my husband home and the talks that we have at the dinner table, or what we call “couch talks”, it is valuable time and time that I love.  I have a friend that just makes me feel happy every time we get together (and every time we get together we always talk about how we need to get together more than once a month:)).  The value of interaction and face to face contact is so incredibly important but when people are looking to screens for friendship and acceptance, it is not always truth.

I guess this stuff all hit me hard because of another reason.  My phone randomly died a few months ago and through fighting with the company and shipping and yada,yada…I was without a smartphone for like 3 weeks.  It was great for like the first 3 days, and then it was just rough.  I am sad to admit that I felt disconnected from outside life.  I just had my little life here, in my house and it was hard.  I didn’t realize the effect technology had on me.  When I got my phone back, I didn’t do it on purpose, but I was ALWAYS on my phone.  It was like my brain was addicted and I had to make up that time lost.  This past week, as I have been reading these articles I have felt a lot of guilt about being more present with my screen than my kids at times (lots of time on my phone this week trying to find clothes for a wedding).  I have already made new goals and have moved forward with them.

Truthfully I am sad that this is happening, that not just kids but adults as well, are relying so much on what social media has to say and how it is hurting all of us.  So, I am not telling you to throw away every smartphone but set limits (for kids and yourself), stick to the limits, be parents to your kids, pray about how to help those around you, and most of all make memories with those you love and tell them that they are worth it and just how much you love them!


Lately, I haven’t felt much like writing.  When I started this blog I promised myself that I was not going to be one of THOSE people who started a blog and loved it for awhile and then left it. Also, my introvert has been coming out and saying that no one really cares and who knows how many people actually read this blog and why do I share things with people who don’t even know me.  I am not leaving…I have just decided that some things are more important that others.  I have found myself the last month reflecting on how important each day is and have been living in the moment, instead of always thinking ahead to what is coming.  I have done that for most of my life.  When this happens…I can’t wait until….I wish it was Saturday.  If I just keep looking toward the next thing, I am truly missing the journey of it all.  It has been amazing to just enjoy what is happening today, NOW, and watch my cute kids as they are learning and growing.

Some kid observations, if you don’t mind… First, my 4 year-old son. He is a constant question, he has questions about everything.  I am so grateful that his little brain is working, and learning, and growing, and sometimes it gets annoying to keep hearing questions but I have become more mindful of his questions and have started answering them truthfully and he is learning that mom AND dad don’t know everything!  Then we get to learn something new!  How fun!  He has also been learning sight words and has been reading.  It is amazing to see him connect all that he is learning and see him realize that HE CAN read!   He has been totally empowered by that!  He is a tender hearted, sweet,tickle lover, rule following and rule stretching kid and I sure love him!

Second, my 2 year-old.  She is such a girly girl.  My other daughter is not, but we are experiencing everything pink and princess.  Some days there are fights between her and her brother because he is calling her by her name and she insists that her name is “Princess Ana”.  She loves to wear a dress and will cry her eyes out if she doesn’t get to wear one . She decides what princess she is by how she wants her hair done.  Two braids or pig tails= Princess Ana, one braid with a beautiful bow=Queen Elsa, hair down=Rapunzel and on and on and she will tell you, “I am a beautiful princess”.  When I ask her if her bed is warm and snuggly, she always responds with “No, my bed is cute.”  She has been picking up on songs, and if she catches you at the piano, expect to stay there.  If she catches you on the couch by the library books, expect to stay there until all are read.  Her first question almost every morning is, “Will you read me a book?”  And if you think a 2 year-old can’t talk, well let me assure you, she can talk, a lot!  She is sweet, super cute, feisty, has her own opinion, and loves to eat condiments and I sure love her!

Lastly, my first born.  My 6 year old who will say, “I am almost 7!!!!!!!” She loves to read.  Over Christmas, Great-Grandma gave her an abridged version of “Anne of Green Gables”.  She has read the whole thing twice, so we decided to get the movie from the library.  I remember waiting for it to come on PBS when I was little and they always had to continue it the next day because it is so long.  Well, we finally got it from the library (we actually had to put it on hold because it was ALWAYS checked out) and started watching it this weekend.  She laughs and laughs and keeps saying, “I won’t tell you what happened next, because I don’t want to ruin it for you.”  I have forgot how great the movie is and it is way more funny now too!  She is learning so much at school and it was awesome to ask her a couple of days ago what the difference between a long “a” and a short “a” is and she totally knew the answer.  It made my English loving husband so proud!  She is sassy, has the greatest belly laugh in the world, is a thinker, creative, a bookworm, and tells me what to do some times, and I sure love her!

Lately I have just been enjoying life.  It has been great to also spend more time with my husband and to read.  Have I told you that I love reading, well I do.  So instead of day dreaming about a post to write, my mind has been busy with being in the present.

Fruit Snack Attack

This week I got to go on a field trip with LOTS of 1st graders.  It was actually really fun and the time went too quickly.  I was in charge of 3 of them, and those three girls keep me running.  It was fun to see things through their little 6-7-year-old eyes.  So fun. Normally the kids eat lunch at 11:40 when they are at school. Well, the field trip was LONG for them.  At about 11:30, you could see them kinda get glassy eyed and slow down.  When we climbed on the bus to come back to school it was 12:10 and we had a 45 minute drive back to school.  Luckily the 1st grade teachers knew their students well.  They passed out fruit snacks and water.  Normally, I HATE fruit snacks, but I had some any way and they were the best fruit snacks I have ever had.  I think I just needed some sugar to boost me through the craziness.  So, sometimes you just have to be flexible.

There are many things that I said I wasn’t going to do when I was a parent, but I have learned to be flexible.  We don’t have the financial security that I thought we would, we don’t buy the expensive mac and cheese, and my kids don’t love vegetables.  But, we have fun, we smile, we laugh and we read together.  I love my life and am so grateful for every day.  But, I still don’t buy fruit snacks.

Strawberries and Shrimp

I am allergic to shrimp.  If you want to be more technical, I am really allergic to shell fish.  And you know what?  I am glad.  Shrimp, especially, always freaked me out.  It just seemed wrong.  Actually, I adopted a line from “Finding Nemo” which I repeated often, “Fish are friends NOT food.” Ok, so you got me.  I actually do like fish, but shrimp is another matter.  So imagine my surprise when my daughter’s 1st grade teacher asks me about a “real pet shrimp”.  Haha.  The definition of REAL for my little silly is a little stuffed shrimp (that is in reality a lobster) whom she named, Shrimp-loctaver.


Well, this past summer we learned that one of my kids is allergic to strawberries.  That is right, strawberries.  It is really sad because everyone else wants to just gobble them all up.  But it was not something that I really wanted to mess around with because every time they were eaten by said kid, throw up would ensue and dry heaving for HOURS!!!!  It was horrible.  Every time my kid saw strawberries it was like replaying the sad part in a movie.

So what is the difference?  I am actually happy about not eating shrimp, but my kid is terribly sad about it.  And that is where the thought comes in about why not having it (the offending food) makes us better.  We tend to avoid things that we don’t like, but what if there is something that you really do like but when you partake in it, you end up dry heaving for hours.  It is a lot like life. There are just some things that I can stay away from no problem and that helps me to become better.  But there are some things that I REALLY like but that are not good for me physically, mentally, or emotionally, but I still partake in them. Sometimes it is hard to protect from an offending food, but what precautions will you take to stay away from the trigger?

What is your weakness?  What are you willing to do without to make you a better you? Are you willing to put a measuring guide up before you choose?  What will be on your list of blessings?   I choose no shrimp, I choose more sleep, and I choose to do the best that I can every day.

Keeping up with the reading habit

First of all, thank you to all of you who have reached out to me about concern for my daughter.  We have definitely felt your prayers this past week.  Some days are harder than others, but we are fighting the battle!  Thank you so, so much.  You don’t know how much it has meant to me!

When I was little I couldn’t get enough of reading.  I hid a flashlight in my bed, between the side of the bed frame and the mattress, and would get it out almost EVERY night and read.  Sometimes I would put a sheet over the top of me and let the flashlight light up my little cave.  Other times I would just bust out the flashlight and get to the task at hand.  I couldn’t tell you now what books I was reading but I can tell you how important reading was to me.  It kinda goes with out saying that it drove my mom crazy.  Many nights my reading party was interrupted by my mom.  She never took the flashlight away though, I always wondered why, but I think she was trying to tell me that she trusted me to do what I knew I should, and I usually did.

Fast forward to my life now, as a parent.  My six-year-old taught herself how to read when she was two.  It was a surprising revelation to learn that she could read.  We were at my mom and dad’s house and my mom had her old-school “Dick and Jane” books out.  My mom was a reading teacher in an elementary school, so naturally she got to work with said two-year old.  The only problem was, my mom didn’t have to do anything except point to the words and our daughter was reading.  I remember thinking, “what just happened?”  My husband got out his phone to capture the moment on camera and I just kinda of sat there stunned.  I remember my mom looking up at me with this look on her face which said it all…”You have no idea what you are in for.”  Well, she was right.

Guess what my sweet daughter figured out when she was four (way earlier that I thought of it)–night time reading parties.  She would get really clever with her use of a flashlight though, since she didn’t have access to them.  She would use her turtle nightlight (her name is Sprinkly), she would sit really close to the plugged in night light, and she would sneak things into her room that had some sort of light on them.  Sometimes it was just plain amusing and other times I was thinking, “now I know how my mom felt.”  Isn’t it funny how some things come back to bite you in the behind.

Mostly, I didn’t mind, until she started school and the next day it was obvious that she did not get enough sleep.  Part of the nightly bed time ritual now, is to check for books and make them unavailable until the next day.

I love that she loves to read.  I love to read.  Some days I long to sit down on the couch by her and we are each reading our separate books, but are together doing something that we both love.  She is definitely my daughter in that aspect.  I can usually tell when she has had a hard day at school or has had to be really social at school because at home she takes respite in getting lost in a book to recharge.  I love when she reads to her younger brother and sister and that her excitement for reading has them trying to aspire to learn.  We have lots of books in our house and the library is a common staple, reading together is a cherished time for every one.  My youngest loves for anyone to read to her.  Lately I have found her pulling off book after book from the book shelf “reading” in her own two-year old way.  I love to see the piles of books around her.  My little guy is learning sight words now and actually teaching someone how to read is new territory for us.  He is doing great for a four-year old and he gets so excited when he knows words and is “reading”.  Reading is an important skill.

In the words of Thomas Jefferson, “I cannot live without books.”




This week of motherhood has been a huge learning curve.  Last week my daughter got sick, I am not going to go into details, but it is not something that just goes away over night.  It is going to be something that we deal with all the time.  There is a family tendency towards it, but every person is different.  And it is hard.

It is not that her condition is necessarily hard to diagnose and there are things to help, but it is basically try and fail and try and fail and try and make progress and the pattern repeats.  You know what the hardest part is, though?  Watching your child suffer.  It is hard to see my daughter wrench in pain, scream because it hurts, and not be able to do ANYTHING about it.  At times I feel worthless.  All I can do sometimes is just give her a hug and tell her to calm down.  But you know what I want to do?

I just want to take it away and have my happy girl back.

I am sure that is what Heavenly Father feels like at times with me and probably every one of us.  I know that He doesn’t like to see us in pain, but that it is part of our learning curve.  I am sure that He longs to take away our pain, sorrow, and heart ache, but knows that it will teach us so much more then just taking it away.  I also know that He has given me a hug and told me to calm down.  Sometimes it comes in the form of another person who is being His hands, and sometimes it comes as a feeling in my heart.  He never leaves me, unless I turn away.

I plan to be there for my daughter, and know that Heavenly Father is there right now for her and for me.  Sometimes it doesn’t make it any easier, but I am so glad I don’t have to do this parenting thing alone.  I always have someone to turn to and I always can talk to Him, in prayer.  If you didn’t know, prayer is power.  Literally, prayer is power!

My prayers are for my daughter and for ways to be able to help her.  And I know that there will be many hugs for both of us.

Henry hole-in-the-wall and kindness

I want you to meet Henry.  This is Henry.20160909_210243

He used to be a hole-in-the-wall.


The reason we have Henry is because we found a leak on the outside of our house and the warranty we bought when we bought our home, doesn’t cover anything on the OUTSIDE.  I will spare you the rant and the details about the warranty, believe me I could go on for lots of words.  Well, I called my brother.  Yep, my brother Eric who lives less than 4 miles from me, because he seems to always know what to do.  Eric cut a huge hole in the wall and found the leak and fixed it for less than $50.  It was amazing to me, to say the least.

Well, every time I see Henry, I think of my brother.  Every time my 2-year-old sees Henry she says, “Uncle Eric fixed for us!”  It makes my heart happy.  Not because Eric is filled with knowledge of how to fix things, but because of what it means to me.

Eric and I have always been close.  We have always had a bond.  It is hard to describe really.  We were two siblings that happen to be willing to listen to each other and spent a lot of time together, despite the almost 10 year age difference.  Growing up I always looked up to him and wanted to see what he was doing.  He spent a lot of time outside fixing things, but I have never really been good at fixing anything.  I am good at helping Eric though. I can get a tool, I can hold something and I can start the car when he is making sure he fixed a car right.  He has also always had an uncanny ability to help others.  Whether it is fixing or helping or listening or being able to have all the family history stories in his head.  He really is amazing.  He won’t tell you that he is amazing though, so I will!


Eric works for an airline and while I was growing up and he had “left”home he would work 4 days on and 3 days off.  He would come home a lot for those days off and we would be buddies.  I would always try to tag along, but realized that I couldn’t always.  But I figured I could learn something from him.  I learned how to reload bullets, wrote out all of his checks for him, ironed his clothes, learned how to drive a stick shift when I was 14, went on TONS of adventures in the desert with him, shot a lot of bullets with him, and spent lots of late nights talking together.  One thing we seemed to always do was load up and head out for a drive.  Sometimes we would go to our regular target shooting spot and then drive for hours through the desert with no where particular to go.  We spent a lot of time talking as we bumped through the hills and listened to a lot of classic Billy Joel songs.  The time is a treasure to me.  I am sure that he got sick of me sometimes, but I loved it.  Sometimes I didn’t know if we would make it home in one piece, but we always seemed to.

As we both got older, we would still make time to see each other.  We always had late night talks and I loved getting his insight on things.  He truly was a good friend and still is.  He was always the one I would go to to talk about things in life.  He was always so giving to others as well.  He was close to both sets of our grandparents in ways that I am sure I will never know.  He used to spend summers with my Grandma and Grandpa DeMille and it is amazing now to hear the stories from those summers and to hear about all the information he learned from that time.  When my Grandma and Grandpa Nelson moved closer to his home, he always made time to go and help out or just to be with them.  He was and is always a force for good where ever he goes.

When I flew home from a mission for my church, he had an outpatient surgery in the morning and then drove 4 hours to be there when I arrived.  I moved in with him after my mission when I found a job and it was fun to see his kindness in action again.  His kindness didn’t just stop with family. He lives in a neighborhood where there are a lot of “grandmas and grandpas”.  In the winter he wouldn’t just snow blow his drive way, but like 5 other people’s driveways because he wanted to make sure that they were able to get out.  He was good friends with one set of neighbors and they invited him over to Sunday dinner, like every week.  He went to all of their family get togethers and loved to help them out as well. He is always out serving to help someone else out.

When I moved to a neighboring state, Eric loaded up his truck and drove me there and then helped move me to another state after less than 2 years.  He is just that kind of person, through and through.  And you better believe that when I started dating Scott seriously, it was Eric who was asking all of the important questions!  The crazy thing was that Eric started dating Denise (his wife now!) shortly after I started dating Scott.  It was Eric that Scott was more nervous about meeting the first time!  It was fun to be at the same point in our lives as we continued to move forward, we had MANY late night talks around this time.  I remember staying up late with him the night before I got married and talking about how even though things were changing, we always needed to help out each other and to be able to give to those around us.  100_0012

When he married is wonderful wife, Denise, the ability to help people out multiplied.  Now they work together and serve so many people, it makes my head spin.  We also have kids around the same age and that has been fun too. Then when we were going to buy our house, I called Eric again and again and again…and I am sure that I will call him again because he told me I should.

I am so, so grateful for Eric.  Not just because of all the things that he has done to help me out, but for being a great example of kindness in action in his whole life.  I love that my home has little things to remind me of certain people and certain times of life.  But I love most of all, Henry and that my kids can see their Uncle Eric is a “helper” not just to us but to so many.  I am not ready to paint over Henry, I still have a lot to learn about kindness and helping others.

Skinned knees and bikes

This summer my six year old learned to ride a REAL bike.  We were hoping she would learn to ride last year, but she just wasn’t interested.  This year, she wanted to do it and had it down in 5 minutes.  There were definitely a lot of skinned knees though, like A LOT! She figured it out in 5 minutes, but in the ensuing days I think she fell more than that first glorious day.  Normally she is a little bit of a drama queen when she gets hurt, but this time it was different.  She would fall or sometimes jump off her bike before the fall and get right back up.  I was seriously impressed with her determination to become a “master” bike rider as she called it.  I love to see my kids succeed (who doesn’t?) but I loved even more to watch her truly self-motivated to accomplish her own goal.

This summer we also tried to teach our 4 year old to ride his scooter.  Now, you are probably thinking, can’t he just figure it out?  Well, it is a totally new concept for him.  I would say that he is not uncoordinated, but he was having a hard time connecting all the dots.  But there was a HUGE difference…I wanted him to do it.  HE didn’t want to do it.  The more I pushed, the more he pushed back, sometimes literally.  So I gave up trying to help him, and told him he needed to figure it out for himself.  Well, he doesn’t want to.  He uses his scooter to build construction sites and uses it as a wall to make his sisters crazy when they are trying to ride their bikes.  He is definitely more interested in building, digging in the dirt, and teasing his sisters- which is totally fine!

Then there is the two year old.  Yep, she actually took the trike from the 4 year old and took off leaving him sitting in the dirt.  “But mom that is my trike!” Haha, now you know the attitudes of my little ones.  They are all great, but this past year has been the first time when their little personalities are becoming more dominant and the sibling rivalry is coming out. In a way I totally love it, I love to see how they problem solve, or have a LACK of problem solving.  Never a dull day here.  One thing I have really been learning with my kids though, is to just let them be kids.  Sometimes I totally group them into a group called, “little adults.” If you want to read a good parenting book, you should look into “123 Magic.” You can check it out here. I expect them to do things like a rational adult would when their little brains are still just trying to figure out things, like problem solving.

In a way though, I wish I was more like them.  I wish I had the internal motivation to do things like my 6 year old.  She came with that drive, I didn’t teach it to her.  I want to jump right back up when I fall so I can become a “master.”  I wish I could not be afraid to share my opinion like my 4 year old.  And choose to do things that matter to me.  I want to learn from the good around me and laugh like my 2 year old.  I want to have fun EVERY day.  I think that is why in the scriptures we are counseled to be more childlLIKE.  Not childISH.  To be more trusting, more loving, less likely to harbor hard feelings and to go to time out and forget about it.  One of my favorite scriptures related to this is in the Book of Mormon (want to find out more about what I believe?  Go here or here).

Mosiah 3:19 For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child,submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.

Sometimes I do “inflict” on my kids my little temper tantrums, but they love me just the same when I tuck them in at night and sing songs.  I need to be more like that.  I want to be full of love, ALWAYS!

I can learn a lot from my kids every day.  This summer I am choosing to let them be kids.  I didn’t go crazy with schedules or rules or enforce summer homework, I didn’t need too.  My 6 year old will read for hours at a time by herself without me bugging her.  If anything with her, I have to take books away.  Although I did request book reports and she doesn’t really like that.  My 4 year old has decided that he wants to learn to read and is memorizing sight words, because HE wants too.  He has also become very creative this summer, he will color for hours and create silly things EVERY day.  My 2 year old, she is figuring out that she doesn’t have to scream all the time, but she can watch her brother and sister and do what they do, and most of the time they give her what she wants.  Each one of them are different in so many ways, but they are alike in that they are just kids.  I want them to enjoy their childhood and enjoy each other.  Here is to many more skinned knees, bike rides, stories, coloring, problem solving, endless block towers and much, much more love!