Tuesday, April 24, 2012


So, I heard a very profound (at least to me) quote in Relief Society on Sunday.

~Sometimes 'hard' isn't bad.  Sometimes 'hard' is just...hard.~

I loved this.  I'm not sure what struck me so deeply about this quote.  I think sometimes we wander through life thinking that every single hardship is associated with either a punishment or a deliberate lesson given to us by God, and thinking that way can almost make us feel attacked!  That's not the way it's supposed to be!  When we made the choice in the pre-mortal life to come to earth, we read the fine print, and we signed to contract.  We knew that we were going to, yes...be tried and tested, but that we were also going to be subject to "incidentals"...and there would be a LOT of them!  We'll never be able to separate and define which is which, but we don't need to.  We just need to do our best.

And hard, well...hard is always going to be hard, and that's OK.  But it doesn't always mean we are doing something bad.  Sometimes hard is just...hard!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Mon Petit Jardin-Le Début

Perhaps using the French language to introduce my very little garden so very early in the game may be a bit misleading.  French is so eloquent and lovely, and my garden, well....it's not quite there just yet.  But, I've been making progress and that deserves a blog post, no?

I've planted some flowers in these pots and the ones in the back pot are doing stupendously.  I have a few little sprouts in the middle pot, and the lavender in the front pot is taking it's sweet old time to do *anything*.  I have one tiny sprout in the pot to the left...*le sigh*.  Once they start taking off a bit better, I'll move them out from under the porch.

 Indeed, this is, so far, a less than lovely garden!  I have just a few things started outside now-the cold weather veggies.  The front line is spinach, which is coming up...hooray!  The middle line is carrots, and I *think* I see some tiny little sproutlets coming through, and the back line is my spring onions...I transplanted those, so they don't really count.
 Look veeeery closely....my spinach!  All those white flecks you see are crushed egg shells for the soil.
 Can I enter another *le sigh*?  My sad but somehow working potato towers.  I found an idea through Pinterest on how to grow potatoes in a tower, so you don't have to dig for them come harvest-time.  I didn't exactly have the same resources the girl did on her tutorial, so I improvised.  They look terrible, but as of today, I'm quite pleased with them!  I bought two of those tomato towers or what-the-devil-uses-to-torment-gardeners towers and attempted for over half an hour to stick the metal rods fully into the ground.  Clearly it wasn't working, so my husband told me to just stick them upside-down...which I did.  I used zip ties to fasten some cardboard to the rims to keep it dark on the inside.  Then I buried the bottom part a little to keep it on the ground.  I put my sprouting potatoes on the bottom, covered them with a little soil and waited for them to grow.  Once I saw some green, I tossed on some dried grass clippings and dried leaves (the girl used hay) to simulate a dark environment and encourage the plant to keep growing UP.  I'll keep doing this until the plants reach the top and then let them do their thing!  The idea is to essentially simulate a dark environment with the (hay) dry grass clippings so the potato tubers will form inside the tower.  It seemed to work for that girl, so I'm crossing my fingers!
 My little pea plants are my pride and joy so far.  They are doing so well, and are such perfect, hardy, cold weather plants.  We have some inside that Marin planted about a month ago and they are already almost 2 feet tall!  If you want to grow something with the kids, peas is the place to start.
 And finally, the tender little seedlings.  I started some peppers and tomatoes and chives inside about a month ago.  The peppers are doing great, the tomatoes...they have got to be the wimpy-est seedling out there, oy vey...making me crazy!  Man-up there little seedlings!  And my chives are nil.  I'll have to try again.  Once they are big enough I'll plant them outside.
I'm hoping to get some strawberry plants in a few weeks to put outside.  I would LOVE to have some strawberry plants, and I had tried to sprout my own seeds, but evidently it's a tricky process...and mine grew mold, so I'll just buy the plant.

Hopefully my little garden will continue to grow and I can share some updates later on!

Friday, April 13, 2012

You Are Enough

Every so often I have these intense moments of clarity that allow me to see the sparkling surface of whatever pond or puddle of self pity I've been drowning myself in and shoot up to the top for a long breath of Christlike perspective.  It's absolutely invigorating to have those moments when you finally see, and realize.  When you are able to see the whole picture and feel like you're...enough.

It's no secret, I'm a woman, and women as a whole, really struggle with self-identity, self-esteem and self-worth.  It's just who we are and how we're made.  And it's OK.  But, I just have to write it all down before it vanishes...and this is what I have to say; to myself, to every woman in the world.  You ARE enough.  Right here, right now.  As you sit and read this blog, the person reading this blog IS enough.  You always HAVE been enough, and you always WILL be enough, and golly-gee, you ARE enough right NOW!

Our measure of success has NOTHING, hear me again...NOTHING to do with achievement.  Did I throw you off base?  Did I shock you?  Has your world just come crashing in on you?  Our success and who we are is based on our EFFORT.  You heard me, our effort.  We let ourselves be judged by a very dirty and immoral world who bases success on tangible and worthless achievements.  Achievements that mean nothing and lead us to believe that we ourselves are worth nothing.  Why?  Because we're expected to achieve the exact same standard:  Pretty homes, skinny bodies, smart children, full bank account...is any of this sounding familiar?  We bombarded day after day after day with media....media everywhere telling us how to be better.  And it masks itself as "inspiration".  "Inspiration" to help us have a better body, a prettier home, smart kids, more money...which are all great things to work for, but we lose ourselves in the game.  We forget that it's not the world that really matters, it's our Savior.  He could care less about our pretty home, or skinny body, or smart kids, or full bank account.  Our Savior doesn't have His home decorated with the latest styles, He doesn't have a wardrobe full of the latest fashions, and I'm betting He's never run a marathon.  

Those are all things we see that other people have, and we think we need to have it too, and when we try and we try and we try and we try and we try some more...and we don't achieve those things, we feel like a failure.  Can I say again that our measure of success has NOTHING to do with achievement.  Our Savior sees our efforts and we should too.  We should see that how hard we are trying is worth far more than what we can actually accomplish.  Let me give you an example:  I do NOT like to run.  I do it anyway because it needs to be done, but really and truly, I don't like to do it.  I struggle with running, it's a challenge for me...it's...not....easy for me.  So, if I were to run a marathon, that would be an absolutely amazing, world shaking accomplishment.  On the other hand, some people LOVE to run, and it's much much easier for them, and running a marathon, well, it's just another day for them.  THEIR accomplishment of completing that marathon is SOOOO vastly different than mine would be, because we are different people.  The world sees that accomplishment as the same, but our Savior, well...He knows, and He understands. 

And so, I come to my final point.  "Be ye therefore perfect.".  Our Savior's plea to each and every one of us is to...be perfect.  If we take this the way the world wants us to take it, we will be horribly frustrated and will soon give up.  This is what the world decrees:  "Be ye therefore, the same.".  Did you catch the difference?  I sure hope so!  They are totally different.  Our Savior has not, nor will He EVER ask us to be 'the same' which is the worlds definition of perfection.  Perfect...and hear me when I say this...is subjective in the Lord's eyes.  Every single time.  We are all different and all aspiring to be like our Savior, but our road to get there including mileage, roads, car type, detours, collisions...it's ALL different, and if we are comparing our trip to someone else's then our trip will ALWAYS be a failure.  

We don't have to be like anyone else.  We don't have to feel like a failure if we can't get dinner on the table 6 nights a week, or if we can't run 10 miles.  We don't have to feel like a failure if our home isn't like the homes on Pinterest, or if...after ALL of our best efforts, we haven't accomplished our goal.  You WIN because you TRIED.  You earn the merit for your effort.  You ARE enough.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Easter Sunday

Ok, you can't blame me for the lack of pictures.  It was a super busy Easter Sunday and I'm usually the photographer, so we are working with the bare bones pictures this time.  Church is at 9am (yup), so we had a very hurried egg hunt and a quick look at the Easter baskets before we headed off to church.  And, Church was fantastic...we actually had a fast (as in fasting) Sunday and testimony meeting, and it was wonderful.  A great way to hear so many testimonies of Easter and our Saviour's love.

Marin and the Easter baskets!

 Checking out the goodies.
 And, Marin's skirt...I did it!  Well, I made it from another skirt.  It caused me some serious grief, and don't look on the inside, but it's super cute and springy, PLUS, I had a matching skirt for me...which I didn't get a picture of :(

 We had some family; Trine and Barry and Melodie and Justin over for Easter dinner, and it was so great!  I made an apricot dijon glazed ham, parmesean potatoes, scalloped corn and asparagus with shallots.  I'll toot my own horn for a moment just to say that is was super yummy!  PLUS, for dessert, I made this amazing triple layer coconut cake, it really was divine and all from scratch.  I was super proud of myself.  I've stowed the leftover cakes in the freezer for my free-food day (Saturday's). 
I'm super bummed that I didn't get any pictures of my little boy looking super studly in his new Easter Sunday outfit.  I'll get one soon!  We were so happy to have family in our home to help us celebrate Easter.  Hopefully you all had a wonderful Easter as well!

Pre-Easter Fun

So, Friday...here in Salt Lake, I woke up to an inch and a half of snow on the ground, yuck!  I was so irritated as I looked out the window and saw my freshly spouting flower seeds covered in snow.  BUT....the very next day, all was sunny and well, and we took the kids to an Easter egg hunt in the park.  It was *packed*!  Regardless, Marin was able to snatch up some eggs, and Owen, well, he shared his eggs with big sister.
 Can you see the crazy masses of people?!
 Hey, little sleepy boy!  He was missing his morning nap.  I keep thinking he's getting too big for morning naps, but every time he misses one, the poor fella looks like he's been hit by a bus!
 Here's my basket!
 Let's get that pesky egg out of there....
 I love her little hat.
 And, here's the eggs I swiped from my little brother's basket.
 She had one run through the bouncy house before the line reached Disney-Land length.
 And later that afternoon, Grandad and Sallie came with a big red present!  A wagon!!!  This wagon is just amazing, it comes with a tiny trunk to store stuff, cup-holders, AND a sun cover...thank you Duane and Sallie!
 We all went (with the little red wagon) to This Is The Place Monument and park, where they have a bunch of animals to interact with...and since it's springtime, there were plenty of baby animals to boot, so cute!
 Marin was obsessed with the baby ducks.  She tells me almost everyday that she is going to get a baby duck and name it Daisy (haha, yeah), and that she will feed it and take it outside to go potty in the grass and take it for walks and in the bathtub with her.  I don't know where she got this notion, but it's pretty cute.

 Oh my goodness, these baby bunnies were about the *cutest* things I have seen, and they were ridiculously SOFT!  They were so snuggly and sweet, and it was adorable to see these four baby bunnies in their pen with their mama bunny, it reminded me of the book, The Runaway Bunny.
 Snuggling the baby bunny.
 And, back to the ducks.
 Owen was not as impressed with the animals.
 Cute boy, he likes the wagon, too.
 This picture is squished for some reason, but here's Marin having a pony ride!
 Awwww, Grandad and Owen.
 Marin and mama being crazy.
 Sweet girl
 Little boy.
 Marin got a little chilly on the train ride, so daddy wrapped her in his sweatshirt.
 Ok, this cabin...so random, I know.  This cabin is 8 feet by 8 feet, and our train tour-guide informed us that a man and his wife raised 7 of their 13 children in this (replica) cabin.  Really?!  How is that even possible?!  Where does everyone sleep and what do you do in the wintertime when there is 3 feet of snow outside?  Twiddle your thumbs until spring?  I just thought it was crazy and funny.
We had a super fun Saturday and are so grateful to have family near.  Easter Day to follow!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Job

I have some exciting news...I have a job!  I may have mentioned that I would be endorsing my RN license here in Utah, which I did...and I've been looking for a job as well, which I found!

As a mom with two kids, my priority will always be at home, with my children.  Does it sound strange to you that I still decided to get a job?  I know, I struggle(d) with this often, as well.  It's always a tough decision to go back to work, believe me, I know....I've done this a few times before.  And I want to be sure I'm giving my kids what they need and deserve, and that I'm not cheating them out of a mom. Dilemma much?  

I think about that quote:  "Life is not about the number of breaths you take, but about the moments that take your breath away.", I that helps me to best clarify my decision.  My success with my children isn't necessarily calculated with the number of days I am just present in the home with them, but about the moments I am acutely focused on being an A+ mom.  We must breathe...we must spend time with out kids, no question there!  But my success is better measured in meaningful moments with my kids...not just being in the house.  I'm writing this only because I know there may be other mom's out there who struggle with this same decision.  

I could spend a lot of blog-space talking about my decision, but I'll spare you those parts.  In the end, I feel very, very, VERY at peace with my decision.  I've pleaded with the Lord to let me know if I was making a bad choice to work for 16ish hours a week, because like all good moms, I have the mom-conscience.  The little nagging voice that ALWAYS questions whether of not you are making the right choice for your kids.  

After my prayers, I received a call for a position I applied for which I *thought* I wanted, only to find out it was a night shift position.  I semi panicked and told the recruiter that I would need to call her back.  When I hung up, the true panic set it.  My mind and my heart were very tumultuous and after praying and talking to my husband, they were just as tumultuous.  I turned down the position.  

A re-applied online for a job I  thought I had already applied for, and received a call about 4 days later.  Everything sounded great on the phone, although I was a little nervous about being fully qualified for the position.  I prayed and talked with Kristoffer, and felt pretty good about it.  I interviewed for it and still felt very ok.  I waited for an offer, and still....I felt ok.  I received an offer and accepted it, and even now, I feel very peaceful.  I think this is where I need to be.

SO....what is my job?!  I will be working per diem at Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake City as a sedation nurse in their imaging department.  Which means I'll be responsible for a good number of outpatient kids as they have procedures; they'll need an IV, monitors, sedatives and monitoring while sedated, recovery and NEXT pt. please!  I'm excited, and I'm realizing that I'm totally qualified for this job (I'm a GREAT nurse, by the way.).  The hours are typically two, 8 hour shifts a week, but some weeks I could have no hours, and some weeks could be more hours.  This is just what I expected though, having a per diem job.  It will be tough finding someone (read: no daycare for us) to watch the kids with such an erratic schedule, but I'm thinking that if the Lord has guided me this far, he won't abet me now.

This means lots of happy things, a more balanced Samantha, an increased opportunity to fly home in September for my 10 year class reunion (!!!!), a chance for my kids to experience new faces and socialize, and an ability to follow our prophet's counsel and pay off some debt (who doesn't have debt these days?!).  

I start in two weeks, and hopefully that will give me enough time to find a great sitter!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Full Ducks

Saturday was such a perfect day, it was absolutely gorgeous outside, and it was General Conference weekend...yes!  We had some friends over for a BBQ in between sessions and it was so nice to be on the back porch with a grill and hamburgers and watching the kids play in the yard.  After conference was over, we took the kids to Sugarhouse Park, just to get out of the house.  We took some leftover rolls for the ducks, but let me tell you...I think everyone in Utah had the same idea to feed ducks that day, because they could have cared less about the bread!  We ended up feeding the seagulls, and I suppose they were fairly grateful. 

 A little girl and some big mountains.
 Can I get out now, mama?
 My sweet girl, she is such a cutie.
 Most of the ducks were sleeping off their all-day-bread-feast.
 We gave Owen a roll and showed him what to do....
 He thought that was a waste of bread, so he ate his piece.

And I'm so grateful for General Conference, I really love Saturday sessions, for some reason the talks have a special 'zing' to them, and that Jeffrey Holland, boy do I love his talks.  He has a way of speaking to my heart and I am grateful for his inspiration.  His story about a weary widowed mother to seven children spoke to my heart.  I'm not widowed, and I don't have seven children, but there are frequently moments when I look to the heavens just as that widow did, with tears in my eyes and say that it's just too hard...I just don't have the strength to keep giving.  I can't leave my post to come to Him for rest, but He, can come to me.  In moments when there is nothing more to give, nowhere else to go, we can know that all we need to do is invite the Lord, and He will come and comfort our weary souls.  How MUCH I need to remember this!!!!!  It's a daily struggle, but I am working on it.  I'm just so happy I have General Conference every six months to remind me.

Boy in a Box

I love my little guy.  Really and truly, he makes my heart melt...every day.  He is so easy to please and so HAPPY!  No girly-drama with this little dude, he is all smiles so long as he is fed and dry.  He loves the simple things...finding a racquet-ball and tossing it around just so he can chase after it himself...banging things on the floor, sitting in a box...it makes him a happy boy, and I am not complaining!  I don't know how I landed such an 'easy' baby.  I'm literally waiting with much trepidation for the not-so-easy-baby to come along!

So, that's my little boy, sitting in a box, and loving it!  Such a sweet boy, we are so, so, SO happy he came to our family!