Monday, May 30, 2011


What is it about puppies and babies? My heart melts. I love them. But a baby isn't something I'm game for right now, so it looks like a puppy won out.

Welcome John Wayne. He's our new beagle. He's absolutely adorable, and I'm pretty sure he's a genius. He can already go up the stairs, jump from couch to couch, and goes right in his kennel and curls up for the night. Those are all things Bebe, our stupid Shih-Tzu could never do.

I was worried that the first night or two would be rough, with a lot of whining and crying, but he only cried for a minute before we remedied that with a night light. Not too shabby.

Now on to potty training. Oy. Not a lover of this phase, especially with all the rain we're having lately. But at least it's not winter, so I don't have to stand out in the snow! Hopefully he'll feel my angst and pick right up on it. Beagles are notoriously smart, and notoriously stubborn, so we'll see which attribute wins out first. Let's hope for smart.

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Open Dialogue

Around our house, we keep a very open dialogue about things. We've always taught the proper names of body parts, and keep a light yet educational mood when it comes to learning about life and our bodies.

Especially now that I have a Tween.

We tend to throw the word "Vagina" around a lot in this house. I mean, with 4 girls around, it tends to come up now and then. It comes up in the strangest places, though. Some of you know that my minivan is nicknamed the Vangina. So the kids sort of call it that, and I chuckle every now and then. Then there's the time Maggie and I were learning about China. Somehow it turned into VaChina. Yeah, so there's that. Then there's the time Maggie spilled water on her seat in the Vangina. She said it went onto her vagina, and asked if she watered it, if it would grow. That girl, she kills me.

Well, last night, Gretta got on a roll. She repeatedly had to go through the family stating who had a vagina. It was pretty hilarious, and I didn't want to scold her because I don't want her to think it's wrong, especially considering it's the correct term and all. But I don't want her to think she can just say it whenever she wants, because I know other people might not be as open about things as we are.

But for now, I'm just enjoying the innocence of a little one, and the fact that she's smart enough to know who keep the vaginas around here.

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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Well, The Food Storage Came In Handy

So you know that the world ends on Saturday, right? Yep, it does.

I'm currently finishing up my bucket list before I kick off this sad planet and jettison somewhere much more happening.

At least I got to see the season finales of most of my shows. That's a bonus.

I've had some seriously great family time the last few months, that should tide me over for a while in the hereafter.

Dang, I had just gotten a decent clientele at work. Oh well. Whaddya do?

My food storage situation is golden. I'm pretty sure we could go 2 more days on our stores of noodles and beans.

We don't have any student loans to pay off, so that's good. Or not good. Eh, either way, I guess.

I wish I'd been able to enjoy better weather before I head into the blinding white of heaven.

I might not be going to heaven. Hmm. I should work on that. Maybe I can cram for the next two days and just skim by.

I hope they have bowling in heaven. And ice cream. And coke. And books.

I guess mostly I'll try to make the best of the next couple of days, and live like I was dyin'. Did you see how I channeled Tim McGraw there? Yeah, I'm that awesome.

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Friday, May 13, 2011

Mother Of The Year

One thing I've learned as I've gotten older is that I'm pretty good at being me. I might not be what others expect, but I'm me, and I'm happy with that. I'm a good wife, a good worker, and a good mother. I mean, so far I've raised 3 daughters, and none of them have died of neglect. Yet.

I do fall into the trap of comparing myself to those around me. Probably more often than I should. And I never measure up to what I think they are. But then I remember that I'm me, and I'm the best me I can be.

The other day, I was watching Studio 5, a local crappy TV show. It's basically a crappy Mormon Mommy Blog on the air. They have their fair share of "How-To's" and Fauxlebrities. This particular day, they had on Justin Hackworth. Or as I like to call him, Nie Nie's personal photographer. He takes all her pictures. He does a great job. He has recently done a project where he photographed mothers with their daughters. It was lovely. I wish I had lovely pictures of me and my mom together. But his project was a perfect segue into the next topic, which was Mother Of The Year, and Young Mother Of The Year.

My jaw hit the floor as I was so stunned that there was actually a contest for this title. I thought it was pretty clear that I already held the title. So I had to keep watching, just to see what it was all about. Apparently there really is a contest for MOTY and YMOTY. Governor Herbert appointed these women, and I had to keep watching to see how fabulous they really were.


I'll focus on the Young Mother here, just because I can relate to her more, seeing as I'm still young and whatnot. She is beautiful. Smart. Obviously a loving mother. Mormon. Blonde. Blue-eyed. Soft-spoken.

I'm all those things. Well, except not blonde anymore.

I waited to see what set her apart from all the other young mothers I know. She had a baby that died at birth. I have a friend who had that happen. Tragic. She has a husband who at a young age suffered a stroke. I have a friend who had that happen as well. So tragic. She reads scriptures to her children daily. I know lots of people that do that. She reads books to her kids. Check. I'm still sort of at a loss as to what makes her so spectacular?

And mostly I'm wondering why in the Hell someone would take a job as tiring, rewarding, personal, and intimate as motherhood and make it into a competition? Aren't we already hard enough on ourselves without being compared to those around us? Can't we all win our own personal MOTY awards?

This really got me riled up, and those of you that follow me on FB know this. I was quite offended. Not that I wasn't chosen (duh), but that so many of the wonderful amazing mothers I know weren't chosen. I feel like all of you deserve a MOTY award. We all have our own crap to deal with, and so many of you handle it with grace and dignity. I want to go down a list of qualities in my friends and readers that I admire, and that make you all Mother's Of The Year in my eyes.

Some of you are or do the following:

  • Patient to no end with your children.
  • Conscious of making sure your family eats healthy most of the time.
  • Run crazy lives.
  • Run literally. Miles and miles.
  • Battle cancer and win!
  • Deal with hardships repeatedly and quietly.
  • Work and go to school and mother.
  • Work full time as the family's supporter.
  • Take in children that belong to others, either short term as babysitting, or long term as foster parents.
  • Drive old beater cars so your kids can be involved in sports or dance or whatever.
  • Reach out to help neighbors and friends without even being asked.
  • Sacrifice anything to stay with your children.
  • Make life lovely along the way.

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not bashing on the YMOTY. She deserves recognition. But so do the rest of us. I don't want to see motherhood become another tool of superiority. There is no perfect mother. There isn't. Even my own mother had her faults. And those faults are what make us all wonderful and special and deserving of our own awards.

So to all you mothers out there, you all win the Mother Of The Year award in my eyes. Keep on doing what you do best!

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Tuesday, May 10, 2011


This is a totally judge-free zone, mmmkay? Just so we're clear, I've never made any innuendo that I am actually mother of the year, it's merely a sarcastic joke. You'll see what I mean in a sec.

My name is Keli, and I'm a cusser. (This is where you all say "Hello, Keli," and nod your head approvingly at my desire to bear my soul to you.)

It's true, you know. I'm a cusser. I always have been. I remember distinctly the very first time I said a cuss word. I was in 5th grade. And it just came out. Just popped right out! I was as shocked as my friend that was on the receiving end of it. It was just a "damn", but it was significant. I still remember what it felt like, where I was standing, and even the book that was on the desk in front of me.

But honestly, 5th grade? Why was I even aware of cuss words in 5th grade? I have one answer to that. It's in my genes. My grandpa was a cusser, and my dad was a cusser. I don't think I heard my mom utter more than a few curse words in her life, and most of them were due to my misbehaving and they were usually muttered under her breath. But me? I just have it in me. It's not something I'm proud of.

I have made concerted efforts repeatedly in my life to overcome my curse word affinity, but I always fall back into the same patterns. It doesn't help that I have a bad temper. Those two character traits seem to feed on one another.

So why am I telling you this, you ask? Because I have become very aware of my use of curse words, and my bad influence on people (Jill). My kids notice, and say, "Mom, you shouldn't swear!" And I say I know, but I'm a grown up, blah blah blah. But that's no excuse. So mostly I'm just putting this out there to have it as a record for myself. I need to stop cussing. I need to work on controlling my anger. I need to be a better example to my kids and to certain people. (Jill).

Remember, this is a judge-free zone. I don't need snarky comments about how you never swear and people that do have an obviously lacking grasp of the English language, otherwise they could come up with better words than curse words. I need comments letting me know I'm not alone in my cave of curses, and that you totally get where I'm coming from, because you yourself find comfort in an occasional curse word, especially when your kids have been working your last nerve all day, and you JUST CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE!

See? Mother of the year, indeed.

That's what I need.

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Monday, May 2, 2011

All About Women

*I apologize for the length of this post sans pictures. Mostly it's just for my memory purposes. If you don't care to read all the way through, I totally get that.

Last week I had the privilege of not only attending, but being a part of, Women's Conference at BYU. I had been asked by a good friend and bowling buddy to help with the service project part of the conference. Being the giver that I am, I was anxious to help.

Let me say that I have never expressed any interest in Women's Conference. It's not something I would ever do on my own. It's just not my personality to want to better myself, or become more prepared. How can one improve upon perfection? Now if they offered a class in awesomeness, I would totally take that class. Are you sensing my sarcasm here? Because I want that to be abundantly clear. Okay.

So we had agreed to help with the Newborn Kits part of the Service Project, and attended meetings to prepare us for the work ahead. The humanitarian center people kept reminding us that it would seem a daunting task, but the women would come, and we would prepare adequate amounts of kits. We trusted them.

So Wednesday night, we headed to BYU to prepare our stations. We assembled 1,000,000 boxes. Okay, I might be exaggerating there, but it seemed like a million. I think it was somewhere around 5,000. Each box we assembled was to hold 8 newborn kits. You do the math. That's a lot of newborns getting needed supplies. We worked hard all night getting prepped. Around 10:00 we headed home, exhausted and bruised.

Thursday morning we woke up early to head to the conference. One benefit of being a volunteer is a free admission to the whole conference, so we thought we should take advantage of a few of the speakers. The first class I attended was called "Rising Above Depression". Although I remain medicated, I still struggle with symptoms of depression, and I thought this might be a good way to get a new outlook on treatment. The first speaker was excellent. She spoke about her lifelong struggle with her own depression, and even though she is well-educated, most of her life went by as if she was in a fog. That really resonated with me. She didn't get treatment and medication for her depression until her late 30's, and now she knows how hard it can be to overcome. Her thoughts were very practical; medication, therapy and a strong support group are all essential to overcome depression. The second speaker wasn't my favorite. She basically summed up her talk by saying if you're more grateful, serve more, and pray more you won't be depressed. Um, yeah, that doesn't always work. So I got a good 50% uplift out of that class.

The next class was about ordinary women doing extraordinary things. It was great. The first speaker was eh, not great, but the second speaker was phenomenal! I could have listened to her for the whole hour. I wish I was more versed in who I should and shouldn't try to fit into the packed class schedule, but next time I go, I'll definitely look her up.

That night we had the actual service project. We gathered at 4:00 for a team meeting and final preparations. The project was slated to begin at 5:00. 5:30 rolls around, and we're barely finding enough women to staff 1 station. We had 6 prepared. It wasn't looking good. I was so afraid that we'd be stuck filling all those kits on our own. But sure enough, just like the humanitarian center people promised, the women came, and before we knew it, the place was emptied out. If you want to see a great slideshow, including a rather unnerving close-up of yours truly, you can see it here. It really shows the scope of the project.

We ended the night exhausted, but very fulfilled. Honestly, I think I got more uplift from doing the service project than I did from the classes. There's just something about working physically hard, and going to bed completely beat, but knowing you've made such a difference, that makes you feel closer to God.

I'm so grateful to Tammis for asking me to be one of her helpers. I know that I was lead to be on her bowling team so this could all come about, and not just for this purpose. Tammis and Calleen have become very close friends of mine that I might otherwise never have had the pleasure of knowing. They are strong women who make me want to be better. I'll have a good bowling post coming up soon, so you'll want to stay tuned for that.

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