Tag: Life Lessons

Little Mom Moment that Made Me Want to Laugh & Cry at the Same Time

Just a Moment

My little mom moment happened so fast. They all sneak up on me that way. It seems like the faster being a mom slips by, the more a little mom moment will surprise me. It was one of those times that I couldn’t even really get a picture or video to remember it. I got one, before the magic really happened.

Grocery Shopping

We had to run to the store to go grocery shopping and my son had slept so late that we had run into Siena’s nap time. I decided, well I might as well try and push her nap back a little so they take their afternoon nap at the same time and we are not stuck inside all day once summer hits.

We went shopping and the whole time Siena was sleepy, but she was also in a good mood. She was a trooper.

When we got back in the car, I knew it would be a struggle.

The Car Battle

We got inside and immediately she looked like she was going to crash. I told her STAY AWAKE!! She just looked at me sleepily. If she falls asleep in the car, she will not take a nap when we get home. That’s just the way it is and I have come to accept it.

After commanding her to not give into her drooping eyelids, she would give me this cute, tired smile. I told her to keep her eyes wide and this is the great face I got:

right before my little mom moment
My little zombie trying to stay awake.

Out of desperation, I turned the music up and started singing and dancing the way that only a mom can. Oh yes! I was grooving! My moves could have embarrassed the most confident of teenagers. I’m sure anyone who saw me wondered if I was oblivious to the rest of the world. And the answer to all of them is yes.

Because as soon as my daughter saw me dancing, she started moving her shoulders and grooving with me. I pointed my fingers and she pointed hers too. I did the wave with my arms and she stuck her arms out too. After she heard me singing at the top of my lungs terribly to the song I didn’t know the words to, she started singing too.

My Little Mom Moment

And I just kept watching her and every time I saw her start to dance again, my eyes burned and I wanted to cry because I was so lucky! I got to hang out with my little girl all day long.

I was suddenly filled with gratitude that my husband goes to work every day to support us so that I can have these little moments where I see my daughter trying to be like me. He frequently misses the little moments and he sacrifices the opportunity to be with the kids all the time to provide for us.

I can’t believe how much Siena has been growing up and it is only a matter of time before this phase is gone. One day she’ll roll her eyes at her embarrassing mom. Then maybe she’ll rock out again with me when she realizes that I actually am cool. But she will not be the little girl in the car seat who is discovering how to bust a move while being strapped in to a car seat for that much longer.

I wish I could have gotten a video, or even just a picture. Because the only one who saw her busting a move like her mama, is her mama. And I hope this mama never forgets.

 

I have more Mom Moments that were not as heartwarming, but just as memorable.

5 Mom Moments that Were NOT Funny at the Time

Most Important To Do on your List Every Day

Cheesy Post Alert!!

Don’t care. Sometimes you need a little cheese. Today, it’s all about the cheese… and cute pics of my babies.

Most of my days end up just like today. I have a long list of things I should be getting done, but I don’t really get many of them done. But that’s okay. I think I did the most important to do on my list. I didn’t finish folding the laundry, or write this blog until super late. Dinner happened, but it was just Macaroni and Cheese, nothing special.

It seemed like a lot of things just got left undone. Some days I get even less than that done. But I always try and accomplish my most important to do. I try to remember to keep it at the top of my list. Because if I only do my most important to do every day, then my day is successful. If I accomplish it, I know that I am still One Helluva Homemaker.

In the House

Especially during the winter, most of the time we just hang out at home. Our home is our children’s world. They get to be in the place where they are most comfortable and can act like themselves the most. At home, it’s super easy to do your most important to do. And being at home all day, I love watching my babies just be. They are 100% themselves and they are so full of love!

toddler watching television in the middle of laundry
Sometimes, the laundry doesn’t get put away for a long time, so it becomes a nest for my toddler to watch TV in.
showing my toddler my most important to do
Her favorite spot to hang out while I try to whip together 3 meals a day.

My little boy

my daughter sporting some tude
I don’t know how I got a photo with so much attitude, but I absolutely love it!
most important to do in action from my son
This is what he looks like right before he goes to sleep. My heart!
Siena helping her brother
The little mommy helping her brother.
both my kids in the crib
Siena always loves to get in the crib with Grayson and play with him. He loves it too. I love watching them play together.

I love going out and letting them explore too. But, sometimes it is great to just be homebodies and enjoy being around each other.

Most Important To Do

That brings me to the most important to do. You could get absolutely nothing done ALL DAY LONG in terms of getting stuff done around the house, cleaning, shopping, whatever and still have a productive day as long as you do the most important thing on your list. Love your family. Just show your babies you love them. Show your spouse you love them. That’s all you got to do, and your day just became one of the best days ever. Literally, it is the BEST thing you can do every single day. That is what makes you One Helluva Homemaker.

most important to do shirt
Customize your shirt with different colors or choose from so many of the other products!

Remember it!

So, because I wanted you to have a way to remind yourself that you are amazing just because you loved your family today, I designed some shirts, water bottles and phone cases! I love how they turned out.

Check them out! 

 

March Madness – 7 Tips to Help a Spouse Cope with a Loss

You see evidences of March Madness every where you look. There are commercials, brackets to be filled out, social media posts bragging about their teams and tweets galore as the NCAA tournament is underway.

Personally, March is my favorite time of year in the sporting world. I love March Madness! I can totally handle a two hour basketball game. It’s the four hour football games that give me a hard time.

Excitement of March Madness

There is nothing more thrilling when it comes to sports viewing than filling out a bracket with your anticipated champion at the top and making all of the stars align so that they destroy all of their opponents. You’ve anticipated their success and revved up for the coming games.

march madness excitement with daughter

If this has all been lost on you, I am addressing this post to you. Some spouses, male and female, just aren’t that into sports. And maybe the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament just isn’t their thing. That is all fine. Not everyone has to get it. But, you should understand a couple of points if you wish to be supportive to your other half who is.

Coming to an Understanding

At first, I didn’t get it. We didn’t watch a lot of sports growing up and so prior to my marriage, I had NEVER filled out a bracket. That’s right. I was a bracket virgin. March Madness meant nothing to me. Well, it meant that summer was around the corner.

When I saw the mania that filled my husband’s soul come March time, I started going along for the ride. In our third year of marriage, I finally filled one out. Guess how exhilarating it was when my team one! AMAZING! Yep, for anyone doing the math, 2015 the Blue Devils destroyed all in their path. How fortunate that at the time, Austin was A STUDENT AT DUKE! Could there be a more all-encompassing way to get introduced to the NCAA tournament? I don’t think so.

The next year, we were not so fortunate. And this year… I’m sure you might have some idea of the devastation we might feel right now. But only if you get it. If you don’t, here are some tips.

1. Never Make a Joke the Night of their Despair.

You might think it is fun to kick the horse while it’s down. But, let me try and provide you with an accurate analogy:

It’s like something has died. And you may think, it can’t possibly be that bad. The team will be back next year. They’ll play again and one day they may win. Don’t make this mistake. IT IS THAT BAD. The team will never be the same. Do you think Jayson Tatum is going to stick around for the next March Madness? No. He will be off to the NBA draft. Is Amile Jefferson going to be back? No. He’s a senior. Will you ever get the story of them working through the hardships of injuries, suspensions and character building experiences to finally come together as a team just in time for the tournament? No! Next year it will be a different team. A whole different story.

2. Maybe don’t say, “There’s always next year.”

As mentioned before, there may be a next year. But the team won’t be the same. And on that note, what if there’s NOT a next year? Are you 100% certain the world is not going to end this year? Don’t give your spouse false hope. Time for another example:

Say you are really into Buffy the Vampire Slayer. You love the show and then all of a sudden, the bomb. They’re not making another one after season 7?! And then your well-intentioned friend says, “well, you can watch Angel.”

ANGEL?! That’s not the same. Not even close.

Your spouse wanted THIS team to win THIS year. And next year, they will want THAT team to win THAT year. You can’t compare apples to oranges. Everyone knows that Buffy was better than Angel. Who knows if next year will be better or worse? Live in the now for your spouse.

3. Maybe don’t say, “They had a good season.” or “It’s Okay.” or “At least they made it this far.”

Again, as well-intentioned as this is, it doesn’t matter. The fact of the matter is, them having a good season doesn’t matter. As my husband says, “There is only one happy team at the end of the season.”

And with, “It’s okay”, it’s NOT okay. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be reading this list about how to tiptoe around your broken spouse.

And for the last one, making it far is not the same as winning. Do you think you would be okay with Harry Potter dying and the Dark Lord still reigns in the land? What if your spouse leaned over to you and said, “Well, at least he made it this far.”? Did that help?

4. Learn How Your Spouse Grieves

As I mentioned before, pretend as if they have experienced a great loss. If they need to vent and talk through it, just listen.

My husband just needs to be left alone. He wants time to get over it all on his own.

I need a hug. If you are reading this and you are suffering, it is important to let your spouse know how they can help. Communication is key.

5. Don’t Cheer for their Opponent

Now, there is a caveat to this and I will get to it in a second. If you do not care who wins, cheer for your spouse’s team. Support them and want what they want. This will help them feel like you care about what they care about, even if you don’t get it. You care about them, therefore, you care about their team.

If you DO happen to GENUINELY want the other team to win during March Madness (not out of spite or jest), it is appropriate to want your team to win. However, both spouses need to come to an agreement about how to interact when the game is on. Maybe you need to watch it in silence.  Or maybe in another room.

Perhaps cheering is fine, but arguing with the ref and knocking your spouse’s team is not. Again, communication is key. This can be a very delicate situation so it should be handled with care.

6. Maybe don’t say. “It’s just a game.”

You may want to say this with every fiber of your being. DO NOT SAY THIS. “It’s just a game” invalidates their passion for the game. By saying this, you are essentially telling them, you’re stupid for getting so invested in a trivial thing like basketball.

It is not just a game to them. It’s months of watching their team succeed and fail and hoping that they are going to do something great at the end of it all. This is a story of epic proportions. Even if their team is frequently a winner, no one knows how that team has struggled as much as your spouse does. They have been with them through their failures and they want to see them overcome. A tournament is about the hope of overcoming.  They feel a part of the team, and the team feels a part of them.

7. Have Love

If your spouse is one of those special people who really gets invested in the game, let them get invested. It’s who they are. The game is how they relate to the world. Let them experience victories and failures through another team and allow them the transcendent experience of a sweet victory at the end of a hard fought battle.

And when it doesn’t turn out, recognize that it is like Frodo dying before dropping the ring in the fiery pits of Mordor. It’s like that horrible moment in chick flicks when it seems like they are never going to get back together and then they DON’T. Watching their team lose is like staying up all night to see the sunrise and then it never comes.

Your spouse needs your love, especially during March Madness. Though it may seem trivial to you, try to see it from your spouse’s point of view.

All Sporting Events

I hope this helps for the rest of March Madness and also for all sporting events in the future. Now you have a guide to helping your spouse cope with loss during sporting events and hopefully, you will not have to. Hopefully your experience will be like my first and you will get to embrace your spouse as they jump up and down for the buzzer beater that wins the game.

supporting Austin outside of March Madness

 

If you don’t get basketball at all but want to get in on some March Madness fun, check out this girl’s fun blog.

Leave any other ideas for how to help your spouse in the comments below!

Grandpa’s Last Words and how they Changed my Life

It is not very often that you get to hear someone’s last words. This experience, though special, is not something most people want to experience. Because inevitably, it means someone has died. I never really got to hear a ‘last words’ speech with either of my Grandmas and my other Grandpa is still alive.

Me and my Grandpa before he died and gave me his last words
Being with my Grandpa Haroldsen one last time before he passed away.

Getting to Know my Grandpa

My Grandpa sitting on the couch before his last words
I was impressed at his flexibility at 80 years old!

My Grandpa Haroldsen was a stern man. He always liked to be on time and he frequently didn’t have patience for the crazy antics of me and my four siblings. And to his credit, we were rambunctious kids.

He worked an egg farm and had spent much of his life working hard. Every morning he had a hearty breakfast of bacon, eggs and toast. He read the paper and when we would come and visit, he would wake us up way too early in the morning by rubbing his unshaven, prickly whiskers on our faces. If you think an alarm clock is bad, you should try that.

One of My Memories

Because we grew up in Alaska, he and my Grandma would frequently fly up to visit us. This allowed us to spend some time with our grandparents without my parents having to drag all of us to the Lower 48. (And yes, that is what we call the continental US. My husband makes fun of me and says that we must refer to ourselves as the Upper 1)

One Christmas, when my grandparents were visiting, I woke up early to go sneak a peak at what Santa had brought for us. It was around 3 in the morning. And to my surprise, and honestly, disappointment, my Grandpa was sitting at the kitchen table with my sister’s globe that she had gotten for Christmas. He spun it on the table, obviously caught in some distant memory.

I said, “hi Grandpa.” Hoping that that would be my only required discussion with him, I anxiously looked around him to the couch where my presents were hiding.

“Good morning, Jennifer.” He then asked me if I knew where he and my Grandma had traveled.

I shook my head. And for the next 3 hours, he regaled me with all of his journeyings throughout the world. He pointed all of them out on the map. At some point I had to sit down on the floor, because I had gotten tired.

At 6 am I was rescued by my brother who emerged and distracted my Grandpa long enough for me to FINALLY see what presents I had. I will never forget that lecture of his world travel, at least the fact that we had it.

When My Grandpa was Dying

I was a sophomore in college. Right before I was about to go back home for the summer, I decided I would drive up to Idaho and keep my Grandma company for a couple of weeks. I wanted to be there for her and help her out.

Spending time with my grandma while i received my grandpa's last words

I also wanted to spend time with my Grandpa who had been diagnosed with cancer a year and a half ago. He had been put on hospice, and I knew it was probably the last time I would see him. That trip holds some of my most tender moments with both of my Grandparents.

Aside from my Grandpa’s last words, I remember being by the dining room and kitchen when my Grandma got off the phone with someone. She held the phone and let her hand fall to her side before looking at me. “I wish people would quit asking me how I’m doing.” She started crying and I held her while I cried too.

She gave me that. That impossible urge to cry when someone else does was her doing. My mom has that curse too.

My Grandpa’s Unofficial Last Words

My Grandpa right before he passed away and gave me his last wordsTo me, they are his last words, because it was the last time he tried to impart wisdom to me. He said them to me in full awareness that he wouldn’t be seeing me again once I left and I wouldn’t be seeing him until I died.

He had just let me win a game of Twenty Thousand with him… I know, because I tried to let him win and was finding it extremely difficult to do so. And he was lying on his hospice bed and I was lying on my Grandma’s daybed that they had put in there for her. We were mindlessly watching some TV show. And while we’re both laying there, he says, “Honor your Marriage Covenants. That is the most important thing.”

Kissing my grandpa on the head before he died and gave me his last words“Okay, Grandpa.”

And that was it. His last words were short. I wasn’t even looking at him when he had said them, but they stuck. I guess that’s the thing about last words. They are impactful enough to stick.

Understanding His Last Words

If you are unfamiliar with my religion, I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. This is important, because it will help you to understand the impact of what my Grandpa’s last words were when he said, Marriage Covenants.

my grandpa following his own last wordsWhen we are married, we get married in the temple. We believe that as Husband and Wife, we are sealed toget her as a family unit for Time (life on earth) and all Eternity (life after earth). This means that we are bound together, our children will be bound to us and nothing will be able to separate us, unless we break our covenants.

That means at the end of my Grandpa’s life, the last words that he felt were essential to share with me was his over arching wisdom that when all is said and done, our family is the most important. Family is the most crucial thing to fight for. If you honor your Marriage Covenants, you will get to be with your family FOREVER. And my poor Grandpa, knew that that is what he wanted after he passed.

He was going to be separated from my Grandma for a time. But he loved her so much and his children so much, that fighting to keep that bond in place was the most crucial thing he could have imparted to me, even though at the time, I was not married.

Keeping My Promise

My husband and I adhering to his last wordsHis last words still pop into my mind from time to time. Keeping your marriage covenants includes commandments such as being faithful to each other, loving God and loving our fellow man. The best part about these covenants is the more we adhere to them, the closer we grow to each other, the more we want to be together and the stronger our bond on earth becomes.

I love my husband so much. He is my strength and my support. There are many times when I feel like I am weak and he is there to lift me back up again and cheer me on.

My grandpa’s last words were not just important for the eternities, they are essential for me now. They remind me of my love for Austin. And by adhering to them, we become better friends every day.

A Note to My Grandpa

I know you’re not physically here now. I’m so happy that now you get to be with Grandma. But I hope you know that by having the courage to share some last words with me, you have impacted my life for the better. I know it was probably scary to share them with me, acknowledging the fact that we weren’t going to be together that much longer. You broke the unspoken rule and brought attention to the fact that this was temporary. I am so grateful that you did. It probably didn’t seem like it made much difference to me, but it did. I heard you and I’m trying to do as you instructed. I love you Grandpa. Save a spot for my family next to yours.

To read about one of the ways we are trying to honor our marriage covenants, you can visit: My Imperfect Husband & His Imperfect Wife