How To Maintain A Happy Family

I am terrible when it comes to car maintenance. It is one of those things that I just don’t really care about. I love when my husband takes my big ol’ sexy van and fills it up with gas. Sometimes, I even send my 17 year old out to run errands in my car, so he can fill up the gas for me too. I drive as far as humanly possible before taking the 5-10 minutes to fill up with gas.

I also never do the oil changes. I just tell my husband that it needs to be done, and he takes it in for me. He really is the greatest. I strongly dislike going to car places. I feel like they are talking to me in a foreign language and I just stand there looking stupid.

However, maintaining your car by keeping it full of gas, consistently getting the oil changed, and checking the engine helps your car to run better and longer. Problems may arise, like a flat tire, but if you keep maintaining all the major stuff your car will work better.

Our families are the same way; they need to be maintained.

When they are well maintained, then most of the time things run pretty smoothly. Problems will arise, but when you’re not in panic mode all the time you can more easily navigate through the problems and then get back to maintenance.

I was thinking about this as we had our FAMILY MEETING yesterday. Problems were coming back up because I hadn’t been maintaining things as well as I could be.

One of the problems that has come back up in our meeting is the messy kitchen. We decided in Family Meeting months ago that if you leave the kitchen a mess that you would be charged a cleaning fee. Simple as that. However, I was starting to feel bad for charging the kids cleaning fees, so I started reminding kids to come back and clean up after themselves. They didn’t want to come and clean, so it would end with me being frustrated AND still having a dirty kitchen.

We had already fixed the problem; I just need to maintain things to keep it going.

We did just that in our meeting yesterday. I told them that I will stop reminding them and will just go back to charging them. They were all fine with it because they were the ones to pick being charged in the first place.

Here are a few steps to help you maintain your happy family:

  1. Have FAMILY MEETINGS. They help your family to be on the same team. Everyone has a voice and everyone gets to help solve all the little bumps in the road.

  2. Do your kids have a clear plan of what’s expected of them? This is where I love using LEVELS OF LIBERTY . It lets each kid know what is expected of them and what liberties they will have once they have mastered those skills.

  3. Keep your own emotions in check. Sometimes when we are feeling upset over something else our kids or spouse take the brunt of it. Stop it. If you’re dealing with something, be open and honest that you’re struggling, but don’t take it out on your family. Let them be your biggest cheerleaders not your emotional whipping boy.

  4. Do your best. Your best will be different whether you are healthy or whether you are sick. Maybe you were up the night before with a screaming baby, or maybe you’re feeling fantastic. So sometimes your best will be to just not say anything at all, and at other times it will be to create something fantastic that will be helpful to your family. Just remember to always do your best.

What if your family is a disaster?

Some of your families might not be in maintenance mode; they might be a full disaster. Instead of just going in to get your oil changed, what if your whole car is on fire? You may think that your family has no hope because it is so crazy, but there is always hope. For those of you needing some one on one help you can set up a free call with me and we can help get your family on a better path. Simply click on the button below and we’ll set up a time to chat.

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Dream Big in 2019

Recently I read the book, Smarter Faster Better by Charless Duhigg. I enjoyed the book, but one part that I especially liked was his chapter on goals. I like setting goals, and I’ve read about SMART goals, but SMART goals don’t allow you the opportunity to set big goals.

In case you are not familiar with SMART goals, I will quickly explain. SMART stands for: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timeline. (I have seen the acronym used in other places with varying words, but they all mean the same thing.) Basically, define the goal as much as possible, be able to track the goal, how are you going to achieve the goal, can you do the steps necessary to hit your goal, and when will you be able to complete the goal.

In the book it talked about a bunch of workers who were using SMART goals, and completing them, but they weren’t really progressing. They were making really simple goals, so that they could always accomplish them. Then they were challenged to make big goals or a goal that would stretch them and use SMART goals to achieve them. This way they could dream big, but still have a clear plan of how to actually achieve it.

Let’s say that you want to run a marathon, but you don’t even own running shoes, and you’ve never ran more than a mile. You create smaller SMART goals to help you achieve your big goal. For example, your first SMART goal could be that you want to be able to run five miles.

Specific-run five miles

Measure- you can track how many miles your run

Achievable- run one mile three times a week, then slowly increase distance

Realistic- get up earlier to go running

Timeline- within three months, run five miles

Once you’ve completed that SMART goal, create a new one to get you closer to your stretch goal.

I love to dream big, and this is something for me that made a lot of sense. I also like to use FEMPSS to set my goals, so that I can live a balanced life. So, I have combined the two things and made an awesome FREE printable you can download to make 2019 your best year yet.


It’s easier to remember to stay on track when your goals are out and in your face, so on the first page it has all the FEMPSS listed out. You can write your stretch goal on top and then put your current SMART goal underneath. When you complete them, just print another page with your new SMART goals. Also, there is a page for each FEMPSS, so you can write out all your SMART goals to hit your stretch goal.

I am loving this! I use it for myself, I’m giving one to all my kids, and then we’re doing it as a family too. We talked about it in our last Family Meeting and we’re giving the kids a week to think about what their goals our before we decide on our goals.

You can download your FREE FEMPSS here:

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What To Do When Your Kid Is Disappointed

My daughter is disappointed this Christmas.

She likes that we do trips for Christmas, but she also really wants some presents. We were talking the other day and she was expressing her frustrations. I immediately felt like I was being attacked and I tried to explain to her how expensive it is if I do presents and a trip, and that I’m too exhausted to go shopping and wrap everything. I really wanted her to see that I’m doing the best that I can, and assure myself that I haven’t failed as a mom.

Then I stopped.

She wasn’t attacking me, she was just feeling disappointed.

I went back to talk to her and apologized. She can totally feel disappointed and it has NOTHING to do with me. My job as a mom is not to make anyone happy because I can’t. I am not that powerful. All I can do is show up as my best self, teach my kids good principles, and love them.

Even if I bought my daughter a lot of presents AND took her on a trip, she still might be disappointed. So, instead of trying to change her opinion I told her to go ahead and feel how she wants to feel. I personally have been working on leaning into any negative emotion I have instead of avoiding it, because when we avoid feeling something negative is when we turn to our buffers to “feel better”.

So instead of teaching my daughter to avoid feeling any negative emotion I would much rather teach her what to do with that emotion when it comes.

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What To Do

When your kid is disappointed

Here are a few steps for yourself, or to teach your kids what to do with an emotion when it comes:

  1. Identify the emotion. Not just good or bad, but go more in depth. I feel frustrated, excited, determined, irritated, and so on.

  2. Sit with the emotion. Where do you feel it? In your stomach, head, chest? What does that feel like? Describe what it feels like.

  3. Feel the emotion without reacting to it. For example, if you feel annoyed with someone, and you identify that you’re feeling annoyed and you can describe where and how you feel it, it does NOT mean you then get to treat others poorly because you’re feeling something.

So when your own kids are feeling annoyed, frustrated, or overwhelmed, let them feel it and teach them what to do with it instead of avoiding it and then using their own buffers to try to “feel better”. It’s always easier said than done, but luckily it’s just a skill, so with practice anyone can master it.

6 Tips To Have A Great Christmas

About seven years ago I decided I absolutely hated Christmas.

As a kid I LOVED Christmas. I loved the anticipation of presents, I loved the decorations, I loved seeing the lights, I loved all the Christmas parties, basically I loved it all. I thought as a mom it would still be as equally exciting.

But I was wrong.

My super sexy husband isn’t a big holiday guy; he thinks they are over commercialized, that people get too uptight, and that people spend way too much money that it makes the holidays lame. So, if anyone was going to spread some Christmas cheer it was going to fall on me.

At first I was ok with that. I didn’t mind be in charge because to be honest, I really like being in control and I could just do whatever the heck I wanted to do. And it worked for us for the first few years of Christmas.

Then, one Christmas I decided I hated everything about it. I had five kids at the time and I wanted to make Christmas super special for them. I would homeschool all day, then after I put everyone to bed I would go Christmas shopping late at night. I put a lot of thought into their presents and went to several different stores trying to find the right thing. After I purchased everything, I then spent the next week or two late at night wrapping all the presents.

Did you know I am not a night owl? I go to bed super early; I’m not really functioning past 9:00pm. The late night shenanigans were completely wiping me out, but I told myself it would be worth it, so I kept plugging along. Christmas morning came and I was so excited to give my kids all the toys and awesome things I bought for them.

They were super excited for about half a day; then, nobody cared about what they got anymore. Within a week most of what I bought them was broken or pieces were already lost. I had huge expectations of what Christmas was going to look like, and I was incredibly disappointed when it turn out the way I had planned.

Right then and there I told myself I would never do that again.

Over the years I have made Christmas what I want it to be, which is fun and peaceful. I quit buying presents, and instead the kids unwrap a destination of where we’ll be going on a trip. I now look forward to Christmas because I got rid of anything that was stressing me out. Will my kids hold it against me for not doing presents? Maybe, but that is between them and their therapist. :)

You don’t have to stop buying presents to have a great Christmas, but I am giving you six tips so that you can enjoy your holiday season.

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Here are 6 tips to have a great Christmas

  1. Lower your expectations. Expectation is the root of all heartache, so lower them. Think of a time when things didn’t go the way you thought they would or should, so you were disappointed, angry, or frustrated. The decor didn’t work out, you burned dinner, the kids are fighting, SO WHAT? Is it really worth getting worked up? The best stories are always about when things didn’t go as planned, IF you can have a good attitude about it. Come what may and love it.

    Now, people usually get this confused with letting people just run wild and let the house fall apart because you’re not having any expectations. That’s not what I’m saying. There are always consequences to everyones’ actions. So, if the kids are fighting they still may lose privileges, but it doesn’t have to ruin your day.

    I’ve also been asked about having no expectations with your spouse. That doesn’t mean you let someone yell or be mean to you. But, let’s say that your spouse isn’t helping you while you get things ready. So what? What are you making that mean? You can choose to make it mean the he’s a selfish jerk, OR you can make it mean A-B-S-O-L-U-T-E-L-Y nothing. For me, I choose the one that brings the most peace.

  2. Don’t hint at things you want, just say it! Have you ever been guilty of hoping to get something for Christmas, but you didn’t get it? If you want something, then just freaking say exactly what you want. Your husband and children are not mind readers.

    What if you tell people what you want and they still don’t get it? Then, you go back to tip one and lower your expectations.

    One Christmas I asked for white plates. I thought it would be something inexpensive my kids could get me and it was something I wanted. Did I get them? Nope. They decided to go in with dad and get me something else. I chose to be happy even though it wasn’t what I had asked for. If were being honest, what dad got me was WAY better than white plates, but I still had to make the choice to not be disappointed.

    And, if you really want something, buy it yourself. Who said you can’t get yourself something for Christmas? If you’re super picky then you would probably rather pick it out anyway.

  3. How do you want to feel about Christmas? If you know how you want to feel about Christmas, then you’ll know what actions to take to get you there. I want to feel peaceful and have fun. So, I got rid of buying Christmas presents. I don’t like shopping, I don’t want to wrap presents for my large herd of a family, and I don’t want to spend a bazillion dollars. That brings me peace.

    Then it leaves more time for fun. More time for parties, more time to just hang out, and more time for Christmas movies and popcorn.

    Choose how you want to feel and do what needs to be done to get there.

  4. Be honest with your emotions and just feel them. We had an interesting conversation in Family Meeting right before Thanksgiving. I was hosting Thanksgiving for my very first time and during Family Meeting I said I might be a little antsy this week trying to get the house ready. My husband jokingly said, “might be?” I laughed and said that he was right, I was totally going to be antsy this week.

    During the week I just owned feeling antsy. I didn’t get mad at people, I didn’t yell, I just felt it. There was no shame about feeling something, I had been open and honest that I was going to feel that way, and we ended up having an amazing week.

    What do you usually feel during the holidays? Do you feel nervous about seeing certain people? That’s fine, feel nervous. Do you feel sad or lonely? Ok, feel sad or lonely. When you just own it, and you’re honest with yourself and your feelings it doesn’t have to consume you.

  5. Dealing with “difficult” family members. The word difficult is relative. Just because you think someone is difficult does not make that true, because someone else might think they are the greatest person. So, you get to decide if someone is difficult or not, but know that it is only your opinion, not truth.

    Anyway, so what do you with someone you find difficult? Did you realize that difficult people are the most consistent people ever? You always know what you’re going to get with them. They’ll be the first to complain, the first to tell you that you’re wrong, and the first person to cause problems, so why are you surprised when a difficult person is being difficult?

    If you have a family party and you know your difficult uncle is going to be there, just plan on him being difficult, he most likely will be, you’ll be fine because you planned on that anyway, and you can still have a great time and not let it effect you.

    Also, if your difficult family member is someone you see often and it’s not just a once a year grin and bear it situation, you are more than ok to give them some boundaries. Boundaries are out of respect to yourself. You can be open and give them boundaries before hand, or if you have decided ahead of time what your boundaries are, you can just enforce them as needed.

    For example, if you have a boundary that someone can’t make inappropriate jokes around you. You can tell them before hand that you’ll leave the conversation if they make those jokes, or you can just leave the conversation if they make those jokes. It’s not a way to control someone else, but for you to look out for you.

    Also, who said you had to go all the Christmas parties that you’re invited to? If you don’t feel comfortable or safe around the difficult person in you’re life, then don’t go. There is no law that requires you to go be with someone you don’t want to be with.

  6. Relax. Have I said that before? Yes, only about a million times. Seriously, just relax.

    Am I great at this? Nope. I am terrible at relaxing. Isn’t that funny? Who doesn’t like to relax? Me. I like to go a million miles a minute; I’m pretty sure that is why I go to bed so early and why I sleep so great.

    But being able to relax about problems is such a great skill. Did you know when you are uptight and stressed about a problem your brain hyper focuses on the problem and you literally become closed minded so you cannot see a solution? If you can just relax, calm your mind down, it starts to open up and you can start to find solutions.

I hope these six tips are helpful to you to have an amazing holiday season! If you need any additional help just email me at thehippiemamablog@gmail.com.

Why Do I Bother?

Have you heard the saying, “The days are long, but the years are short?” Well, today feels like an eternity. When my alarm went off at 5:40am a little piece of me died on in the inside. I sluggishly got out of bed, put on my workout clothes, and half heartedly completed my workout.

As soon as I got home we read scriptures as a family and I started breakfast. After breakfast was all cleaned up, I washed the stank off of myself, I threw on some awful sweats, a dirty old sweatshirt, and I started school. I laid in the recliner, half asleep reading Kidnapped in my terrible Scottish accent and then with the energy of a sloth, I started our study of an explorer.

Master George ended up losing his mind and was screaming so bad that no one could hear me, so I threw in the towel. I put him down to bed, told the kids to keep doing their independent study, and I was out to go and take a nap.

After my glorious nap I woke up to wild shenanigans. No one had worked on their school, the kitchen was a disaster, and now the house was a mess too.

Why do I bother?

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Why Do I Bother?

Two tips for helping you when you have one of “those days”

My son, who is in a band, and I were talking the other day about bassists. His opinion is that if there isn’t a bass in a song everyone notices, but nobody really cares about the bass itself. I laughed and said, “Oh, so it’s the mom of the band?” Nobody cares about her, but everyone notices if she isn’t doing what they want her to be doing. I thought that was hilarious.

I have two pieces of advice for myself, or anyone who has ever had one of “those days”.

First, it’s ok to have an off day. Life isn’t all rainbows and butterflies, some days are long, hard, or just plain suck, BUT if we didn’t have those days we wouldn’t appreciate the amazing ones. When you are having an off day, go ahead and just feel it. Don’t avoid the feeling because when we do that, we usually go to our buffers, which may bring temporary happiness, but usually leave us feeling worse. So really just feel whatever you are feeling. You feel annoyed, anxious, frustrated? Where do you feel it? I usually feel it in my stomach; it feels like a big heavy rock just sitting right in my gut. Just sit with it, and feel it. Having a negative feeling doesn’t make you a negative person.

Second, when you can see that your day just isn’t going to go as planned, decide right then and there what does a successful day look like for you? What if success for you was just that you took a shower? Or, what if it is that you were kind even when you wanted to get mad? Then who cares if dinner was sandwiches, or my favorite dinner, feed your own face? Step back, throw away what you think you “should” (my least favorite word) get done that day, and decide to just do a few things. The dirty clothes will be there tomorrow, but sometimes if you don’t step back when your day is off, your sanity won’t be.

If we’re being honest, I decided a long time ago that I am an amazing mom. I even have a post it note on my mirror to remind me everyday, so when the crap hits the fan I know I can just do what an amazing mom would do, because that is what I am.





Levels Of Liberty

Years ago some of my homeschool mamas attended a class about teaching kids responsibility. I wasn’t able to go, or more honestly I probably didn’t want to go, but then when I heard them discussing it I knew it was something that I wanted to try.

It is a whole system of teaching your kids skills, giving them an opportunity to master it, and then giving them more freedoms because of their mastery.  

I created my own version based on what I learned and called it Levels of Liberty. It has been a game changer for my family. My sweet husband, who normally does not like charts or systems, was on board with this because it showed the kids where they are, what they need to work on, and what their liberties will be when they master their different skills.

The Principle Behind Levels of Liberty

One of my favorite scriptures is, “I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.” This is the principle behind the whole Levels of Liberty system. When my children do what I ask of them they are promised certain liberties. 

What I like about this is that I’m not the bad guy. I’m the one trying to give them certain freedoms like a cell phone, later bedtime, or the freedom to drive. They know what is expected of them to be able to do the things that they want to do.  

One of our freedoms is to be able to go out with friends without an adult present and some of my kids hadn’t earned that liberty yet; this gives them a clear guide of what they can do to be able to go out with friends without an adult. When it is important to them, they’ll work on mastering the skills.

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Levels of Liberty

Teaching kids principles that will last

Creating Your Levels

I wish I could give you a template of the absolutely best way to create your levels, but your family is not my family, and what might work for us, won’t work for you. I will share with you some of our levels to give you ideas, but know that you can change it to fit your family’s needs. 

The biggest thing to know with creating your levels is that it is a living document. What does that mean? It means that it is constantly changing and evolving. You are not locked into anything. You can make one, see what works and what doesn’t work, and then change it up.

I highly recommend creating your levels together in Family Meeting. From Stronger Faster Better it says, “If you give people an opportunity to feel a sense of control and let them practice making choices, they can learn to exert willpower. Once people know how to make self-directed choices into a habit, motivation becomes more automatic.”

 Basically, by having your family help create their own document it gives them a sense of control and then they are more inclined to become motivated to complete the skills they are working on. Obviously some kids will grasp this quicker than others and one of your kids might be too young to really help create it. That’s why it is a living document so it can be adjusted for all the “what ifs”.

Last tip in creating your levels is to individualize it for each of your kids. We made the mistake of making our levels the same for everyone and it did not work. One of the basic skills to master was to pick up after yourself. Everyone was quickly able to master it except one kid and it wasn’t the youngest one. It was a skill that was just too advanced for him at the time. So we scratched the whole thing, I interviewed each kid and they helped me create what skills they were going to work on.

Now that we’ve been doing this for a while I may bring to family meeting what the new skills are to advance and everyone can approve them or help edit the document.

During a family meeting we decided how many levels we wanted, which ended up being seven and the kids gave them all fancy names like: Tadpole, Padawan, Yellow Belt, Soldier, Texas Ranger, Ninja, and Sensei.  Being able to think of catchy names is a beautiful skill that I have apparently passed down to my monkeys.

Using FEMPSS to Create What They’re Mastering

How do you pick what each kid is working on mastering? We use FEMPSS as way to help know what skills we want them to know.  Quick recap, FEMPSS stands for financial, emotional, mental, physical, social, and spiritual. You can read a much more in-depth explanation HERE.

I will share with you what some of my kids are working on right now and what age they are, so that it can give you some ideas of what you want them to master. We also work on some of their skills during family meeting, especially the emotional skills. 

George, 18 months

  • Currently not working on any skills other than general adorableness.  

Brigham, 7

  • Finance-paying tithing and savings without reminders

  • Emotional-learn what to do when frustrated

  • Mental- high quality work with chores, complete your extra chore without reminders

  • Physical-shower four times a week, brush and floss two times a day

  • Spiritual-read scriptures five times a week

  • Social- balance time with family and friends

Tess, 10

  • Finance-paying tithing and savings without reminders

  • Emotional-learn what to do with strong emotions

  • Mental- high quality work with chores

  • Physical-shower four times a week, brush and floss two times a day, cook 2 breakfasts unassisted

  • Spiritual- read scriptures five times a week, family history one time a month

  • Social- balance time with family and friends

Joshua, 12

  • Finance-paying tithing and savings without reminders

  • Emotional-learn to express yourself, especially when upset

  • Mental- finish schoolwork in a timely manner, high quality work with chores, make your bed, complete extra chore without being asked

  • Physical-shower everyday, brush and floss two times a day

  • Spiritual-read scriptures five times a week, attend the temple one time a month or complete family history

  • Social- stay the same whether you are with friends or with family

Bella, 14

  • Finance-track spending, paying tithing and savings without reminders

  • Emotional-learn what to do with your anger

  • Mental-maintain a B- or higher, get chores done on time and do high quality work, study one book every year, put your stuff into the calendar

  • Physical-exercise two times a week, cook three dinners and one breakfast unassisted, shower everyday

  • Spiritual-read scriptures five times a week, attend the temple one time a month or complete family history

  • Social-limit time on social media

Porter, 15

  • Finance-track spending, save $3000 for mission

  • Emotional-learn to express emotions in a positive way when upset, learn how to deal with stress, take 100% responsibility with how you react

  • Mental-maintain a B- or higher, get chores done on time and do high quality work, study three books every year, put your stuff into the calendar, check on buddy’s work

  • Physical-exercise three times a week, cook five dinners and three breakfasts unassisted

  • Spiritual-read scriptures everyday, attend the temple one time a month or complete family history, study one religious book a year

Ethan, 17

  • Finance-track spending, save $3000 for mission, pay tithing and savings without reminders

  • Emotional-express emotions when upset/angry, take 100% responsibility with how you react

  • Mental-maintain a B- or higher, study at least three books a year, check on buddy’s work

  • Physical-wear clean clothes, shave without reminders, brush and floss two times a day, exercise three times a week, cook five dinners and three breakfasts unassisted

  • Spiritual- attend the temple one time a month or complete family history, study one religious book a year

  • Social- attend one social activity a month, at least one time a month sit with other kids during lunch

Ideas for some liberties

Here are some ideas for liberties that we have for our kids, but it isn’t a one-size fits all mold; different beliefs and parenting styles change this greatly. But I would like to give you some ideas, so here are some of our liberties.  

Level 1 Tadpole- love, clothing, shelter, food, and all basic needs met, 8:15 bedtime

Some of the other liberties we have are: a later bedtime as you advance until you don’t even have a bedtime because you have mastered your time, can play at other’s homes, can have friends over without mom and dad home, know the computer password, can go with friends without an adult within a certain proximity and then advances to further out proximities, being able to drive for own pleasures, dating, have a social media account, cell phone, and when our kids advance to Level 7 they have complete independence.

If you don’t have older kids I would recommend not filling in all the levels. When they’re young their liberties are so much different than teens, so I would just adjust it as they grow.

What to do when someone advances?

When someone advances we make a big fuss about them in family meeting and announce what their new liberties are. Then within a week or two I would give them their new skills.

How do you know when to advance them? Unless they are an older child who obviously has some mastery, I would recommend taking it slow and have them master a skill for at least six months, if not longer. Some of my monkeys have been on a certain level for over a year. It’s about mastery, not how fast you skim through stuff.   

What if someone digresses?

This is a great question, as I have seen it in my own kids and others. They work really hard to master a skill and then when they pass a level they go back to old bad habits. I never have my kids go back down a level, you can only go up, so what we decided as a family was if someone who had mastered getting their chores done on time doesn’t get them done they lose certain liberties, just for the day. It’s usually just not being able to play with friends, and turn in any electronic.

If you have any questions or need some help creating your Levels of Liberty send me an email at thehippiemamablog@gmail.com

FEMPSS, Living A Balanced Life

Many years ago I was asked to speak at a homeschool conference. My topic was on the organization and time management of my homeschool. I sat and tried to prepare, but it wasn’t working for me and I realized that because if you want to build something you first have to have a strong foundation.

I ended up scratching my whole topic and decided to give principles of building a strong foundation and helping you live a balanced life. My husband came up with FEMPSS, and that is what I based my whole presentation on. I have since used it as a way to set my goals, what subjects my children are learning, how we parent, and I have even used it in homeschool co-op classes to teach kids how to be an adult.

Are you dying to know what FEMPSS stands for? They stand for:

Financial * Emotional * Mental * Physical * Social * Spiritual

We picked these six different principles to help anyone live a balanced life because if one of these are off, then it effects other areas of your life.  

I will go through each of them and how we use them in our FAMILY MEETING.

Each week we go through all of these. Sometimes we take a lot of time, and other times we quickly skim over them. It just depends on what each kid is working on. We also use these as a way for our kids to learn principles and then allow them to govern themselves. I will do a whole post on Levels of Liberty, and how we have our kids pass off different skills, so that they can have more liberties. It is seriously the best thing ever, so I am incredibly excited to share it.

With each item in our FEMPSS we have an end goal of where we would like our kids to be. I will give you some ideas of what our goals are, but it doesn’t mean that they need to be your same goals; they are just to give you ideas. A lot of the goals we have are there to help our kids to create positive habits, so that they can have a better life.

Also, this is a living document. Meaning that it can change and adapt with each child.

Financial

My husband is a financial guru. Thank goodness because I am the worst when it comes to finances. Not because I overspend, but because I would live like a pauper. I didn’t come into our marriage with great habits with finances, but luckily my husband has made it his career, and he is a huge help in this area. A book he recommended to me to start understanding some principles with money is Richest Man in Babylon. Great book.

One of the principles in the book is to pay your self first. We encourage our kids to first pay 10% of what they make to the Lord, then 10% to their savings, and then live off the 80% of what they have left.

We also encourage our kids to have at least $2500 saved up in their long-term savings by the time they graduate High School.

The final habit we are teaching our kids with finances, is to track their spending because when you track your spending, you control it.

During family meeting we make sure the kids’ finances are up to date. Check to see how they are doing on their spending, and go over anything else that someone may need help with.

Shameless plug, if you need financial help from the best check out my husband’s site HERE.

Emotional

I don’t know about you, but for me I was not taught anything on how to deal with my emotions. This is one that I’ve spent a lot of time studying so then I can turn around and teach it to me kids.

Our goal is for our kids to have tools so they know what to do with strong emotions. How to feel them, process them, and eventually let the negative ones go. We also want our kids to take responsibility for their emotions, meaning that they control how they respond to any situation instead of letting a situation control them.

During family meeting this is where we would help teach some tools to the kids. If the little boys had been fighting during the week, we would break it down and teach them better ways to deal with their anger or frustrations.

This is also a great time to look at your own shortcomings. During our family meeting before Thanksgiving we talked about how I would be anxious getting the house ready for Thanksgiving. It was interesting. I had been upfront that I would want the house a certain way, so there wasn’t contention when I had everyone helping get it ready. Then during the next family meeting I was able to thank them for being patient with me. Example truly is the best teacher.

Mental

I find it amusing that as we go through life that we encourage children to learn and to grown, but then stop once we’ve become an adult. The mental category is where we encourage them to all continue to grow and develop.

Some of the goals we have for our kids are to complete their schoolwork on time, maintain a B or higher, master an instrument or subject, and to constantly be learning.

Physical

This one is my favorite because I love being active. I believe that everyone has one of the FEMPSS that speak to them more than the others, and if you can get yours on track, then the other ones will more easily fall into place. Mine is physical. When my physical life is in a groove, I do a much better job at getting in a groove with the rest.

Some of the things in physical are: exercise 4-5 times a week, be able to cook five dinners and three breakfasts, taking care of your own hygiene, and eating treats of any type in moderation.

The exercise doesn’t have to be intense. My girls don’t love exercising, so we encourage them to find something they can do just to be active. It could be taking a walk, going on a bike ride, or some yoga. We don’t care what it is; we just want our kids in the habit of moving their bodies.

Hygiene is one that we have to talk about more with the younger kids. Their skill they are currently working on is brushing, flossing, using mouthwash without reminders, and combing their hair. Then, as they get older we include things like showering everyday, shaving, deodorant, and just generally taking care of themselves.

Social

The social category is a mix of knowing how to manage your time on social media, balance how much time is spent with friends, and learning skills of how to interact with other humans.

Only a few of our kids have a social media account, so we work with them on not going to bed with their phone, to avoid checking out instead of dealing with a problem, and appropriate ways to post on social media.

Some of our kids would hang out with friends from the time they wake up until the time they go to bed. We also have kids that would never go out with friends. This is where we individualize it and encourage our homebody kids to get out at least a few times a month and our social butterflies to be content with not going out everyday.

We also work on different social principles. I really like the book How To Win Friends And Influence People and I use that as a reference to teach some of our skills.

Spiritual

The habits that we’re trying to help our kids to create is to read their scriptures everyday, pray twice a day, pay their tithing, attend their church meetings, and to fulfill their callings.

My husband recently had the great idea to make our spiritual stuff into a competition. You can get a point for reading your scriptures, saying prayers, giving service, writing in your journal, and a few other things. We then had a draft and made two teams. Just so you know my team is killing this competition!

FEMPSS is a big part of our foundation in our home. It helps us to live a balanced life and it is helping our children to become functioning adults. I know I said this already, but it deserves to be repeated. The best way to teach your kids to live a balanced life is by example.  

Need some help creating your FEMPSS? Just send me an email and I’ll gladly help you out!

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Being Grateful

I think Thanksgiving gets the shaft. It is so often overlooked by Christmas and I think it is an awesome holiday. You get together with family, eat large quantities of food with no judgment, and you get to focus on what you’re thankful for.

 Did you know being grateful can make you feel happier?

When you are grateful it opens you up to feel more positive emotions, when you feel more positive emotions, you act from a place of love and happiness, and then you end up being happy and content with what you have.

This isn’t to say that if you are grateful that you won’t ever feel negative emotions because inevitably things will happen in life and you will feel negatively about it, which is fine. What I am saying is that if you learn to be grateful you start seeing things in a more positive light and when you can see things in a positive light you are able to see your options and are able to problem solve a little better.

I’ve put together four different things you can do to practice gratitude.

Four Ways To

Practice Gratitude

1 Gratitude Journal- I never considered myself a journaler. Is that even a word? It feels like it should be, but I’m pretty sure I just coined it, anyway, my journal writing felt bland and just a list of things I did that day, so I would get bored with it and quit writing. However, over the last few years I have been a lot more consistent with writing. I think you could officially call me a journaler now.

In my journal I may set an intention of how I am going to be more grateful that day or something that I am already grateful for. I don’t do that every day, but if it is something you want to focus on, that is a great place to do it.

You can also have a family gratitude journal. I think this is a fun idea. A little book where people can write, or draw pictures, of things that they are grateful for. It would be such a treasure to look back over it when you’re old and grey and you could see all the silly things your kids put in it. Also, when you’re having a bad day it could help you to find some things to be grateful for to help you to feel a little bit better. 

2 Thank You Notes-I love getting thank you notes. I have some that have been so heartfelt that I have even kept them. I don’t think you understand how big that is because I don’t keep many things. When in doubt, throw it out is my motto. But I have received some messages of little things that I did that I didn’t know made such a big impact on someone else.

When you write one to other people, you’ll probably never know what it meant to them, but it will help you to focus on the nice things that they did for you. And it’s a lovely thing when you can see the beauty in other people. 

3 Serve Others-I use to tell my kids that if they ever felt sad to get out and serve someone. What a great way to be content with your lot in life when you stop thinking about yourself and think about someone else.

It could be as simple as making cookies for a neighbor, making dinner for someone who just had a baby, watching someone’s kids so they can run some errands.

There are so many organizations that need help where you could serve as well. There is an app called Just Serve that will have service opportunities in your area.

4 Tell people what you appreciate about them-This is just like writing a thank you note, but doing it live. I love talking to people, so I really enjoy this, but if you’re more introverted, pick something that you feel more comfortable with.

 One of my goals in life is to live a high quality life, and by being grateful I feel like that is one of the ways that I can achieve my goal.

The Most Important Relationship

A lot homeschool moms put in a lot of time and effort into their relationship with their kids. To be honest, I think it’s awesome. I hang out with some really cool ladies who have great relationship with all their kids, even their teens.

These awesome moms read great books that inspire them to connect with their kids, they have support groups where they can go when a problem does arise, so they know the best way to handle the situation. Seriously, these ladies amaze me!

I think there is nothing wrong with trying to be a good mom and connect with your kids; the only problem is when you worry so much about your kids that you push your husband off to the side.

Here’s the problem. At the end of the day your kids are going to move out and you better like the guy that you’re now home alone with. So, in my opinion your relationship with your spouse is the most important relationship.

This amazing lady I know was an awesome mom. She loved her kids, she gave them a great childhood, and when her youngest left home, her husband left her. She had put so much effort into being a great mom, that she forgot about being a great wife. She had devoted all her energy into the kids that she and her husband had completely grown apart. There was no adultery, no yelling, but there was also no connection.

Staying connected with your husband doesn’t have to be difficult. I’ve put together five things you can do to help keep your relationship on track, or help yours if you’re struggling.

  1. In February I did a 14 day Love Challenge, and it was amazing how much more I adored my husband after that challenge. He didn’t change, but the way I saw him did. It was just doing some type of service for him every day, without expecting anything in return and it was awesome.

  2. Read Wife For Life by Ramona Zabriskie. Life changing book, I loved it!

  3. I also had an opportunity to share some tips on how to Rock Your Marriage. You can watch the video here.

  4. Continue to date your spouse. Just because you’re married doesn’t mean that you stop dating. Dating looks different when you have kids, but do your best to put in some effort to date him.

  5. Learn his “love language” and do something sweet for him in his language.

If your marriage is really struggling, don’t be afraid to seek some professional help. I’m a big fan of therapy and coaching.

Before we got pregnant with our bonus baby, we had started to take little weekend get aways. One of the things I struggled with when I became pregnant was that these were going to end. It’s easy to stay connected when you’re getting good, quality time together. Now that baby is getting older, we tried sneaking away for the night, and it was awesome.

We didn’t go far, but we had so much fun just being together. Remember, at the end of the day your babies are going to grow up and leave the house, so if you want to enjoy the man you’ve married make sure that you continue to work on your most important relationship.

If you’re marriage needs a little boost, feel free to sign up for a free call!

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Being On Auto Pilot

Saturday morning my seven year old, Brigham, had a basketball game. I decided to run to the game, and just meet my family there. As I got to the Rec. center I was greeted by a very upset little boy who told me that his game was at 8:00am, not 9:00am.

What?!?

At first I was kind of upset too. The coach doesn’t send reminders, so you’re on your own to figure out when the game is every week. And now, because of his lack of communication, I have to deal with a super sad and mopey kid.

If we’re being honest I wanted to send a passive aggressive text to the coach letting him know that he made my kid cry, and I’m sure I would have really like to imply how incompetent he was that he couldn’t send a simple reminder text.

But I didn’t.

One of the functions of our brain is to save energy, and one of the ways that it does that is it goes into auto-pilot. So, if someone does something that you don’t like, your auto-pilot, or subconscious, kicks in and you respond in your same usual way.

Here’s the great news. You can override your auto-pilot.

At first, it takes some pretty intentional thinking of how you want to respond, until one day your new auto-pilot just kicks in.

What’s even better is then you can help teach your kid how to respond to situations that don’t go your way. So, instead of telling Brigham that his coach is dumb and he’s now a victim; it created a great teaching opportunity to help him learn to manage his own emotions.

I could not find a picture of Brigham playing basketball, because apparently I’m too busy talking to everyone to take a picture, so I’ve included a picture of him in his basketball shirt instead. :)

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It's All An Experiment

Everything is just one big experiment.

Marriage.

Parenting.

Homeschooling.

All of it.

Everywhere you look there is some “expert” telling you how to have the best marriage, how to be the best parent, or how to be the best homeschooling mom, ever! If you’re like me you’ve probably tried some great ideas from trusted experts, only to have it completely flop.

Why?

Because, someone tried a bunch of ways that didn’t work, until they found the one that did work. They experimented with different ways to homeschool until they found one that was a great fit for them. Usually, they are so excited that they found something that worked great, that they want to share it with the rest of the world, so they too can have the same success.

Here’s the catch.

It might not work for you.

But, it also might work for you.

You never know what the “right” way for you is until you simply start trying. If you’re having a hard time homeschooling or parenting just mark that as one of your experiments that didn’t go the way you thought it would, and then try a new one.

One of my favorite quotes is, “You have not failed until you quit trying.”-Gordon B. Hinckley

I will post things on my blog that have worked for me, but they may not work for you. Or, you may just need to adapt them a little bit to be better suited for you. Hopefully, something will help you in some way and it can make your life a little easier, but just remember to keep trying and you will never fail.

**I included this picture because it made me laugh so hard when I found it. I am only 10-12 weeks pregnant, but I look like I’m much further, and my kid is lying on the ground with a bloody nose. I have no idea why someone is taking my picture, why is there a kid on the floor with a bloody nose, and why I am I not helping him? Apparently, this experiment was being angry that I’m pregnant and I don’t feel like playing mom right now. Spoiler alert, it was an experiment that didn’t work….

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Writing It Down

I’m sure my darlings are not the only ones who sometimes come to mom with a problem that they just can’t seem to fix. Sometimes, it almost seems comical because the solution often seems so obvious.

I’ve even experienced this with other adults. I was coaching a client and she was struggling with her relationship with her children. She felt so stuck and had no idea how to make it better. As an outsider, I can see the situation without bias and help her to understand what she could do to make it better.

Yes, it would be nice to have someone help you every time you get stuck, but it isn’t always feasible.

So what do you do?

You write it down.

It’s funny how the simplest answers are often the ones that work. When we write down our thoughts and feelings we can look at it from another perspective and without our mind jumping from one problem to another. It also is a good way to understand the problem and therefore help you find the solution.

On our fridge we have an airing of grievances list because we’re classy like that. Any kid can write on that list during the week and it will be discussed during family meeting. The first few weeks that we had the list, there were many grievances listed, but what started happening is they figured out that they weren’t as big of a problem as they thought it was. So one thing you could do during your journaling time is write out some things you are struggling with and then revisit them at a later time. More often it was just nice to get it off your chest.

I like to also try out different thoughts when I’m struggling with something. I can write down my new thought, try it out for a while and then check to see the progress I’m making.

Usually when people start taking control of their health they start to track their food, their weight, and possibly their exercise. The same goes with people who are getting ahead in their finances. They track their spending, their earnings, and set goals for things they want to do. Our mental and emotional health is no different. There is a power in writing things down and it is a great way to start to see growth in your mental and emotional health.

And as always, your kids will more often follow your example instead of what you tell them to do, so it’s a great way to teach them some more skills to master their emotions.

Connecting With Your Kids

I just started listening to Sarah Mackenzie's podcast, Read-Aloud Revival. I love it! If you have been living under a rock, like I was, and are not familiar with the podcast, do yourself a favor and go and listen to it. The premise of the podcast is that you can connect with your kids by reading aloud to them. 

Anyway, I was listening to her podcast and she had Dr. Meg Meeker on as a guest (episode #102). It was a brilliant podcast and I've listened to it three times. That's big for me, I rarely reread anything or re-listen to anything. In the podcast she talks about what kids really need and it's not (a big shocker) more stuff, or put in more clubs or activities, they need you. That's it, it really is that simple. Your kids, my kids, they just need some quality time with mom and/or dad. 

I've thought a lot about this. My husband and I feel like we have a really good relationship with all of our kids. It's possible that we're just naturally amazing parents or that we naturally just have the coolest kids ever, but I know that isn't true. The reason we have such a great relationship with our kids is because of the time we spend with them and we intentionally do things to foster a loving relationship. I hope you know I'm not trying to pretend that we're perfect, but we like to remind our kids that we're pretty darn close. :)

Anyway, why does it matter if you and your kids have a good connection? First of all, let's establish that connection is just something in your mind. Don't believe me? Think of someone you have never met, like a celebrity, but you just love them. How can you love someone that you've never met? It's because feeling connected to someone is just a thought in your own head. So, you can decide that you have a connection with your kids even if they don't feel the same way back.

So back to my original question, why bother having a good connection with your kids? There are many reasons but some of my favorites are: it makes a much happier home, which is something I am always working towards, and it also benefits your kids for their whole lives. Kids who have positive relationships with their parents have better health as adults. Also, it has a positive impact on kid's physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

This doesn't have to be something difficult. You don't need to take your kids on a fancy vacation or buy their love, because that doesn't work. It's the small and simple stuff that makes the biggest impact. Here are a few ideas of ways to connect with your kid that requires little to no money:

  • Sitting and listening to your kids with no cell phone 
  • Go on a bike ride
  • Read a great book together
  • Work on a project together
  • Really hug your kid
  • Go on a date together
  • Homeschool or do homework together(with a good attitude)
  • Go on a walk

Now this isn't going to work if you're angry, being mean, or yelling. It's difficult to connect to someone who isn't nice. So, do your best to show up as your best self, but also be understanding that you too have bad days. When you are making sure that on your good days you are trying to connect with your kids, they're a lot more understanding if you need some alone time.

Within the last two weeks I've canned green beans and grape juice. One of my monkeys helped me pick the beans and then all the kids helped snap the beans and helped with the grape juice. It wasn't necessarily the funnest activity, but we had a good time doing it; even though people were throwing beans and attempting to make outfits with the grapes. Bless their weird hearts. 

It doesn't always matter what you're doing to spend quality time with your kids; it just matters that you are.

Failing As A Mom

I have been failing as a mom. 

My oldest boys have decided to get a High School diploma so they are taking some summer classes to get caught up. My oldest, Ethan, is in a math class. He didn’t understand the math, but instead of telling me he just stopped doing it. One day I was checking to see how he was doing and saw that he was over a month or so behind.

I was incredibly annoyed, but I kept telling myself that I have to help him either way so I might as well have a good attitude. For countless days I sat with my son, for HOURS, helping him to get caught up on math. Somedays we spent over four hours of just sitting, doing ridiculously complicated math. 

One night I came to my husband in tears saying that I can’t do this anymore. I felt like I was neglecting the rest of the family and I’m hardly understanding what I’m trying to help him with. I begged for him to take it over and help him with his assignments at night. He said that he was too busy, but that he would be happy to pay for a tutor.

Pay for a tutor?!? And openly admit that I can’t do this? Admit that I’ve failed as a mom? If I had only done more math with him when he was younger then he could have understood it better. If I were smarter, I could easily help him get caught up. If my husband had more time he could help him. If, if, if….

Why in the world was I making this about me? Because it’s not.

This is all about my son and what he needs to learn from this experience. He now knows that when he doesn’t understand something it’s about 100 times easier to just admit it in the beginning. He knows he can do this math, he just needed a little help in understanding it better. And I hope he has also learned how much his mom adores him and wants to see him succeed.

This was never my problem, but I sure as heck tried to make it mine; because if he failed I was so worried how that would make me look. I can be so vain. 

So, what have I learned from this experience? I learned that my son sometimes has to struggle in order to learn and grow. I’ve learned that I’m not as terrible at math than what I thought I was. I’ve learned that I LOVE spending time with my kid, even if it is finding the hypotenuse of a triangle or solving for X. I’ve learned it’s ok to ask for help, even from tutors, I don’t have to know everything or be able to do everything. Most importantly, I’m learning that I need to allow my kids to have their own hard experiences so that they can grow and I don’t need to jump in and save the day.

I haven’t failed as a mom because I keep loving my kids day after day no matter what.

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Doing Hard Things

I recently took a ballet class. 

I took dance all growing up, I had my own studio before I had children, and I helped run a dance studio when I only had a few kids. I have always loved dancing and I thought it would be a fun skill to brush up on. I scoured the internet looking for adult ballet classes. 

I thought, (huge emphasis on thought) that I had found the perfect class. They had pictures posted of other cool moms, like myself, wearing regular work out clothes and they looked like they were about my same age. So, I left the pool early, which is impressive that I would even do that, and hightailed it over to the class.

Well, it turns out I was duped because it was the ADVANCED adult ballet class. There were three girls in the class and then me. One of them was probably still in High School and was just there to get some extra practicing in, and the other two were young twenty year olds who had never had kids. They were all in their leotards, tights, and ballet shoes.

What a fun surprise when I show up in my leggings, tank top, and socks for crying out loud! Then as another fun bonus the teacher, who actually was truly kind and amazing, had a very thick accent shouting out French ballet commands. He would shout out what we were supposed to do and the other girls just nodded at him and then they would proceed to do it. I stood there dumbfounded, doing my best to mimic whatever the girls were doing.

Also, we had to do some jumping around. Mind you, none of these ladies have had children, so they are unaware of some changes your body goes through after giving birth. One of the fun changes about my body is that if I start jumping around a little toot might escape, and lo and behold a little toot did escape. At first I was relieved that it was silent, but then mortified as the toxic fumes floated up to me.

Everyone knew it was me. 

The teacher then proceeded to run to the door and crack it open and asked if anyone needed to go potty? Uh no, I’m fine now. I apparently just got it all out. 

Several times throughout the class I wanted to leave. I tried to find an excuse and get the heck out of there. At one point I almost started crying because I felt so embarrassed that I was in this class making a fool out of myself. But I stayed, I stayed through the whole hour and half class and made a complete fool out of myself. 

I went home and told my family. Everyone has had a good giggle about the class, especially the tooting part, but that night when we said our family prayers one of my kids said that he was proud of me for trying new and hard things. I was stunned.  I hadn’t even thought what my kids would think about it.

We tell our kids all the time to try hard things. Take a risk, better yourself, try something where you might fail, but do we follow our own advice? That day I did. I went to something that was beyond me, it was hard, and I felt like an idiot the WHOLE time, but I finished it. That class probably isn’t the right fit for me so I started to research and found some videos on YouTube I could do and after looking more I found a beginner class that is closer to me and starts at a more convenient time. 

It can be so easy to push our kids to become better and forget about making ourself better at the same time. We can encourage them and tell them why pushing themselves will be better for them, but if you want to make a bigger impact, show them.

So if you want your kids to do hard things, then you need to show them how to do hard things. Mark Twain says, “Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.” So be that good example of what you want your kids to be or do.

One of the hard things we did together as a family was a triathlon. It was fun to do this with the kids. They got to experience doing something really hard with a huge support group!

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When Your Day Doesn't Go As Planned

Last Sunday my son spoke in church. He’s 15 and doesn’t need any help, so it was extra exciting to hear what he had to say because it would be coming from him. Well, he gets up, makes a joke about the other kids being short and then proceeds to quote Mike Tyson. My little mama heart got worried; what in the world was he about to say? Here is the quote he shared: “Everyone has a plan ’til they get punched in the mouth”.

He then proceeded to tell a story about scout camp and how one of the boys stepped on a stick and it embedded into his foot. The boys had a plan and then someone “got punched in the mouth” or got a stick stuck in their foot. It was a great talk and it has left me pondering that quote.

How often do we have a perfect little plan and then, BAM, life punches in you in the mouth? 

I have had many great plans of how homeschool “should” look in my own home. I have strong feelings against the word should, but that’s for another day. Anyway, I have planned several times for my monkeys to sit quietly and listen so sweetly as I read aloud to them or that they would eagerly get their school work done so we could go and play, but more often than not my days don’t look like that. I have days where kids get sick, where babies cry, tantrums are thrown, and kids are angry.

What are you going to do when that happens? Are you going to get mad at the kids and yell and scream? Or are you going to roll with the punches and figure it out?

I like to think of what do I want my end result to be? It may be my end result that day or my end result of my children leaving the home. If I don’t know where I want to be, then it doesn’t really matter what I do.

For example, if I’m not really quite sure who I am as a mom or what kind of relationship I want with my children; then it doesn’t really matter how I respond when life throws me some punches. But, if I want to be the best version of me and I want to build lasting relationships with my children then I know that when the crap hits the fan I don’t want to yell and scream; I want to do my best to be patient and figure out each little obstacle that tries to get in my way.

I want to challenge you to write down what kind of mom do you want to be? If you know what you want and where you are going then you’ll know what path you want to take when life doesn’t go as planned.

There are a few things in life that you can count on, taxes, death, and things not going as planned. You may not have control over the things that go wrong in your life, but you can sure as heck have control of how you respond. Yes, you will make mistakes, you’re human, I hope, but learn from your mistakes, apologize to those you’ve hurt or offended and do better next time.

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To My Favorite Human

I’m not an eloquent lady. I would love to be, but I think made up words are funny and as my husband likes to remind me, “I grew up by the tracks." I married a linguist who is incredibly eloquent. Not only is he eloquent in English, but also in all the other languages he speaks too. When he writes me cards or a little note they are so beautiful; he has quite the ability to be able to express how he feels in a very lovely way.

Whenever I try to write something deep or very meaningful it just comes out all wrong. I’m much better at being sarcastic than being sweet. So, please bear with me as I do my best to express how I feel.

I used to completely loathe Father’s Day. I thought it was the dumbest and worst day of the year. My own dad left when I was young. He would move in and out of the house until my parents’ divorce was final. He tried a little bit to see my siblings and me after the divorce, but soon he was completely out of our lives. As a kid it broke me. I felt that if my own dad didn’t want me, how could anybody else?

So every year when Father’s Day would roll around it was just another painful reminder that my dad wasn’t part of my life.

Years later when my own husband became a father I was very torn over Father’s Day. I wanted to celebrate my husband, but I still felt very bad for myself. The day would usually be an emotional one and end with me in tears.

Fast forward to now. My own father still is not a part of my life. I haven’t really spoken to him in years, other than a courteous hello if I happen to run into him. However, I can now honestly say that I truly am excited for Father’s Day to celebrate my amazing husband and what a great guy he is. 

What changed?

Me.

I don’t have some beautiful story where my dad came to me and said sorry, or that he wants to reconnect and get to know my kids or me. He actually only lives a few miles away from me and we have no contact with one another. What changed was that I realized that I don’t need someone to say sorry or beg for forgiveness in order to feel happy or at peace.

Would it be nice to have a dad in my life? Absolutely! But I don’t have one, so I can choose to continue to feel sorry for myself or choose to celebrate all the other amazing men in my life. 

Today I choose to celebrate my favorite human, my husband. I adore him. He is the greatest blessing in my life. Is our marriage perfect? Nope! Perfection doesn’t exist, but when I focus on all his amazing traits it helps make our marriage amazing. 

Because he doesn’t like gifts, and he’s incredibly difficult to shop for anyway, my gift to him is to let him know the top ten ways that I adore him.

  1. He is incredibly intelligent
  2. He is super sexy
  3. He is a family man
  4. He loves to woo me
  5. He is fun
  6. He is a great dad to our seven monkeys
  7. He is an excellent provider
  8. He is truly happy
  9. He loves to help others
  10. He loves to laugh

Mr. Thomas, I love you, happy Father's Day.

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Misery Is Optional

I have a screaming baby and I'm losing my mind.

My baby has been screaming, no joke, for a week. You probably think that I'm exaggerating, I wish I was. Last Wednesday, when I was on a conference call, I finally had to leave because I couldn't even hear the other people because he was so loud. 

When my husband finally got back into town we had to take him on our date because he was screaming too much to leave him with our oldest daughter. 

He screamed so much on Sunday that my husband skipped church to stay at home with him.

Today he continues to scream because, who knows why?

I have tried every hippie remedy I can think of and nothing seems to be working. I even tried traditional medicine to see if that would help and it didn't do anything. So, last night I cried. I cried because I knew that when the morning came I would be greeted by a crying one year old who is very difficult to soothe and calm down.

This morning when I woke up and left the house to go to the gym I had some alone time to think about the best way to handle this.

My husband is a financial planner and whenever he gets stuck with what he should do with our personal finances I ask him, "If this were your client, what would you tell them to do?" So, I asked myself the same question this morning. "If my client came to me in this same situation what would I tell her to do?"

I would tell her that she is making herself miserable. Yes, her baby is crying, but her baby isn't making her miserable, she is choosing to do that all on your own. 

Years ago I had two friends who both had husbands that traveled for work. One of them was completely miserable and the other one was happy. I asked the happy friend how she was ok with her situation. She told me that she knew that her husband's career would require him to travel and so she decided very early in their marriage that she would still choose to be happy.

Today, I'm coaching myself with the same advice. Just because my baby is crying doesn't mean I have to be miserable too. There are three steps to help when you're stuck in the whoa is me trap.

  1. Smile. I know it sounds super cheesy, but changing your face into a smile can actually help you feel happier. No one knows yet why smiling can influence our mood, but it does.
  2. Stop being so darn negative and focus on the positive. I sat and told you all these negative things about my baby. You probably had sympathy for me, but what if I rewrite my story and focus on the positive instead? It is a much better space to be in than looking for all the ways why this is so hard.
  3. Get curious what this experience will teach you. What am I going to learn from this? Life is all about growing and learning and sometimes you have to go through difficult things to reach your full potential. 

Hard things are going to happen, I can guarantee that, but being miserable is optional.

Here's a highlight of my week. The only way to get him to calm down is to just sit and hold him. I don't love sitting, doing nothing, but I'm trying to treasure the moments I have with him before he doesn't want to be held anymore.

 

 

Watch Me Weekly-Disappointment

Because you are human you will most likely encounter disappointment at some time or another. Everyone experiences it at one point or another in life.

But what do you do when you experience disappointment? Do you get angry, overly emotional, check out? In this video I give some tips of some better ways to deal with disappointment in your life.