Monday, December 23, 2013

What I Know For Sure

I will be the first person to admit that I don't have all the answers.
I frequently question if I'm doing a good job at this thing called life.
I hope that I am.
I am beyond hesitant to even attempt this blog post, but given the circumstances, I can't help but feel compelled to. 
Last Friday same sex marriage was made legal in Utah by a federal judge.
I am a Mormon by faith, no secret there.
If you know anything about Mormonism, you know those two things don't mix.
It's like oil and water.
I believe in my faith, The Bible, The Book of Mormon and living prophets as much as I believe the sun will rise in the morning. 
It's a part of who I am, I truly believe I am who I am and where I am today because of my faith, it shaped my life and I live it as much as I possibly can.
If you know anything about how I grew up and my family circumstances you will believe me when I say my faith literally saved me.
I clung to it like a lifeline when everything else unraveled around me, it saved me from dark paths and bad choices.
I wish I could go into more detail about that, but this is not the post for that, maybe another time.
As much as I am Mormon, Mr Bird's sister is lesbian.
She and her partner have 2 beautiful sons.
Their lifestyle is just as much a part of their life as my Mormon faith is to mine.
They live it, they breath it, they love it.
They have been together since before Mr Bird and I even met, I don't even know for sure how long they've been together.
I do know their oldest son was 3 years old when I met the Weaver clan.
And can I say, he was absolutely the cutest little boy I had ever seen to that point.
 He literally captured my heart from day one.
He was always so happy and kind and giving.
And his eyes, they were to. die. for.
I could go on and on about him.
A few months before Beano was born they had another son.
Their second son is Beano's favorite cousin.
They are our favorite people to go camping with and to Bear Lake with and to have at Weaver Sunday.
So can you see my dilemma?
The dilemma the Weaver family has faced for over 15 years?
This week in particular I am feeling torn between my faith and this part of my amazing family whom I love dearly.
It feels as though a gaping whole has opened up and is dividing our family in two.
It breaks my heart and I have no idea what to do about it.
None of this changes how I feel about my family.
I still love them to pieces and would do anything for them.
With opposite views on this hot topic in this state it's easy to think that one of us is wrong.
One of us has to be wrong, and I honestly don't know which one of us it is.
I have not seen an angel or heard the voice of God telling me one way or the other, and as far as I know, neither have they.
I guess it's just one of those things we'll have to wait and ask when we stand before our maker when this life is over.
But for now we each think we are right, respectively.
So again, like so many times in my life I admit I don't have all the answers.
But here are a few things I do know for sure:
  • God loves each and every one of us the same, no matter if you're black or white, rich or poor, Mormon or Jew or Muslim or lesbian or anything in between.
  • I only pretend to know what I am doing most of the time.
  • It is not my job to tell people what to do, I have a hard enough time deciding what I should do myself, let alone getting these 5 small people who call me mom to do what I tell them to do.
  • I love chocolate so, so much and eat it anytime it's available to me. 
  • I am not perfect, nor will I be in this life nor will any of you, so can we all just get on with the serious business of loving each other already?
  • Christ is the answer, I have complete faith that He is the only one that can and will make sense out of this for us one day, and it will be all right.
  • Every single person was placed on this earth with agency and the right to choose and to live the best life we can, the life that makes us happy. We answer to no one but God.
  • My Mormon faith is my truth and makes me happy just as much as their life makes them happy and is their truth.
  • I have no idea how those two things can both be truth, yet they do seem to be. Or  are they? I'm so confused.
  • This life is short and we find happiness when we love one another and find ways to bridge the gap.
  • I have enough of my own sins to worry about without worrying about if what someone else is doing is a sin or not.
  • All we need is love, and chocolate. Every single person craves love and acceptance (and chocolate, unless you're one of the weird ones that doesn't).
  • This is getting really cheesy, embrace the cheese.
  • Being hurtful and judgmental and even having a greater than thou attitude are not attributes I want to have. 
  • Family First, always and forever and no matter what!
  • I can not stand the thought of having this issue divide our family or ruin future camping trips.
  • I would do anything for my family, even attend a same sex marriage, because I love them and I know that that act speaks volumes of the love I have for them, I really would do anything for them.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Beautiful Burdens

Today is Winter Solstice. 
The shortest day of the year, and the first day of winter.
From here on out, slowly, the daylight will linger a little longer until eventually there will be enough sunlight to call the days Spring.
In Utah the winters are long and cold and stunning.

We had freezing rain the other day in the wee hours of the morning. 
By daylight the drops had turned to flakes which stuck, then froze fast to the ice encrusted world at our fingertips.
The result was nothing short of stunning, magical and breathtaking.
Every time I look outside this is what I see.

 I can not think of any thing more lovely for Christmas, which is just days away.
Talk about a Winter Wonderland, up close and in person.
But if you look closely at the trees you'll see something else.
Some of the branches are bending beneath the weight, literally breaking off and crashing to the ground.
A huge branch of one of the gnarled together bunch of trees at the end of our road broke beneath the heavy snow and ice, blocking the road for a short time.
Other branches on our tree lined road are hanging so low that our suburban hits them as we drive past.
How can something so beautiful be so heavy to bear?

This time of year, as we celebrate the birth of our Savior, and thus the putting into motion the grand plan of salvation God has in store for each of us and our families, I find myself asking the same question. 
His plan is simply stunning.
The love, the simplicity, the design.
To think He sent a Savior so that each of us could overcome sin and death takes my breath away.
I wonder that He suffered for me.
For my shortcomings and blatant sins, which are many.
For my heartbreaks.
At times I feel as though my heartstrings strain at the weight and are ready to snap, much like the fragile branches under the thick snow and ice.
A few short days ago my dear brother-in-law, Brad, lost his battle with cancer, and did he ever fight the good fight!
He never backed down, not for a second.
I still can hardly believe that such a mighty man as Brad can possibly be gone.
He is the newest angel in heaven, watching over his beloved wife and children and grandchildren.
He was too young to leave us this way.
How could he go with most of his grandchildren still unborn, one in the womb this very moment?
Then, a couple days ago was the anniversary of my mother-in-laws passing.
The sting of my children's sweet grandmother being taken is still so fresh.
It's been six years and their memories of her are beginning to fade, which absolutely crushes me.
The loss of my mother figure, my example of how to be a wife and make a marriage with a difficult man last, seemed more than I could hold.
My heart is broken.
I haven't made it thorough a day this season without the tears falling in torrents.
I seem to be going through the Christmas motions, mostly for the kids.
But along with the tears there is incredible joy and peace and gratefulness and beauty.

At times like these it's vital to think of God's beautiful, flawless plan.
Logically we know that death is a certain part of that plan, it simply would not work if none of us ever faced death.
I can't help see the beauty of it, as well as the burden of this life, which for those of us still here, must go on.
It's up to us now to square our shoulders and bear the weight of it all. 
But we need not bear it alone.
"Come unto me!" He said, "For my burden is easy and my yolk is light."
So here's to yet another Christmas season encrusted in sorrow and joy and beauty and life and grief and gratitude for a tiny babe born in a stable.
I wonder if Christmas would be so beautiful and meaningful without the depth and weight of all the sorrow and our absolute dependence on His Only Begotten Son.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Mini Me

Lately  M&M is Doodle's little shadow.
She loves her big sister so much and wants to be like her in every possible way.
As soon as Doodle gets home from school the two of them are stuck together at the hip.
I love watching the two of them together so, so much.
It does my mother heart good.
Doodle wanted a little sister for so long, and now she's finally big enough to play with.
Doodle will crochet leashes and attach them to her little sister and lead her all around the house.
And M&M just eats it up!
She becomes a doggie one minute and a horse the next.
Anything to have time with her big sister.
I think Doodle's really excited to start her own sister Saturday just as soon as the two of them are big enough.
It wouldn't surprise me if she started it the Saturday after she gets her driver's license!
Doodle has taken harp lessons for the last year and a half.
Just like everything else, M&M follows her to the harp as she practices.
She sits in on every lesson, most of the time on her teacher's lap.
Whenever Doodle leaves the harp uncovered M&M is right there, plucking the strings.
It's not long before Doodle or Mr Bird or I comes over and tells M&M not to touch the harp.
It is easily the most expensive thing in our home.
Our rule is that you have to take harp lessons in order to touch the harp.
Doodle is very protective of it and even gets upset if Mr Bird or I touch it.
Thant's one thing about harpists, to say they are protective of their instrument is a gross understatement.
They can become like a mother bear protecting their young.
So it was no surprise that when we went to play music at my sister in laws house one Sunday evening (her daughter, my niece, is Doodle's harp teacher) and they let M&M play the tiny harp she immediately became very protective.

Little man came over and sat next to her on the couch and the first thing she did was look him straight in the eye and with a glare that would stop a terrorist cold in his tracks said, "DON'T TOUCH MY HARP!" 

Ah, the sign of a true harpist!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Thanksgiving on Baker Street

It's this time of year I start to crave turkey.
I know Thanksgiving is close and the anticipation is killing me. 
I can almost see myself standing it the kitchen, pulling the first bit of turkey skin off the meat and watching the steam pour through the new opening in the bird.
Now that's Thanksgiving to me.
That and the bacon green beans my grandmother used to make and my sister-in-law, Laura's stuffing.
It's the best in the world.
And then there's the pumpkin pie, on Thanksgiving no other pie will do.
It's easy to associate Thanksgiving with the food, however, it's more about family and traditions.
 It's funny to see how these things have slowly changed over the last 15-20 years. 
When I was a child we spent every Thanksgiving and Christmas and Easter and birthday dinner at my grandmother's house.
All the cooking was done there in the small kitchen on Baker street.
We went over early to help.
I opened cans of olives, scrubbed and peeled potatoes and cut the ends off the fresh green beans.
I helped fill pies and washed mounds of dishes when the feast was done.
The holidays could not get any better.
Then, when I was in high school, my grandfather passed away too young for any of our liking and things slowly changed.
Grandma moved away from the little red brick house on Baker Street.
Then she remarried and Thanksgiving was never the same again.
The holidays were shared with her new husband's family. All the food was brought over, already prepared.
Then I finished school and got on with my life. 
I spend two Thanksgivings in Canada, away from family, where it is celebrated in October and is barely more than an afterthought.
Canadians don't make a huge deal about Thanksgiving like we do here in the states.
There, boxing day is more of a big deal than Thanksgiving.
I still have not spent another Thanksgiving in California or with my grandmother.
When I returned from Canada, I moved to Utah within a few short weeks.
A few months later I married a local whose roots are so deep here that we'll never leave. 
Before I knew it, I was spending my first Thanksgiving with my new family.
Those first few years were an adjustment for me, finding how I fit in this new family.
We had millions of small nieces and nephews and they were very loud.
Lots of laughter and babies crying and there was a general sense of contented chaos.
But it was not Baker Street.
Now all my sisters live close and we like to have Thanksgiving with my family, too, so we trade every other year.
I love it, but I hate it.
I want to have it all, Thanksgiving with the Angels AND Thanksgiving with the Weavers.
I want my angel mother-in-law there and my sweet, now very old grandmother.
I wish there were a way to meld the Thanksgivings of my childhood with the ones I share now with my own children.
I wouldn't trade the Thanksgiving traditions I have with my own family now, but I'd give almost anything in the world to have just one more Thanksgiving on Baker Street.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

That's My Boy

This fall we enrolled the oldest three children in a Montessori charter school.
If you don't know what a Montessori school is, you must find out about them, I am completely in love with this method of learning.
But that is a whole other post for a whole other day.
My point is that for the first time ever I got to attend parent teacher conferences.
Most of what I heard from all of their teachers was what good children I have, areas in which they could improve and how they are all multiple grade levels ahead in reading.
In fact, Doodle's teacher banned her from working with the grammar station because it's just too easy for her, she has to find other ways to challenge her in that area.
I think I'm raising a family of book worms.
All except Dubs.
I think he's still finding how he fits in a school setting, but is still doing well academically.
He is a very smart kid.
During our chat with his teacher she informed us that our middle child has acquired a new skill since starting school.
What fabulous new thing could this be? Fractions? Contractions? Cursive?
Nope, none of those things.
It was burping.
You heard me right, belching, discharging air through his esophagus.
Over and over and over, all day long.
He learned from another student how to suck a gulp of air into his stomach, then regurgitate it instantaneously.
Back to back burps All. Day. Long.
Loud, distracting, annoying burps.
Yup, my son is that kid.
His sweet teacher had to tell him multiple times a day that his behavior was not appropriate in the class and asked him kindly to stop.
When he continued, she explained that burping is a natural thing and that if he really, truly needed to relieve the gas in his tummy he could walk out of the room, belch, then return to his work. 
He took this as permission to go burp in the hallway.
Over and over and louder than ever.
So loud in fact, the teacher of the neighboring classroom heard this strange sound coming from the hall and had to go check to see if a child were choking and dying in the hall way.
Her entire class was distracted at the sound.
Yup, that's my boy.
Correction, I blame this one entirely on his father.
Remind me to tell you about the time Mr Bird was in elementary school and was sent home for farting in class.
Yup, Mr Bird, that's your boy!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Daylight Savings is for the Birds

This time of year it is so fun to listen to everyone complain about the sudden change of time.
Facebook is filled with it.
Some say their kids still wake up at their regularly scheduled time, their little bodies don't know that the clock changed, despite going to bed an hour later.
Some complain that now it's dark by the time they get home from work.
Others just like to complain, so they jump right on the bandwagon with everyone else.
My complaint?
I'm hungry.
Meal times are now an hour later and my stomach has no idea why it must wait.
I wake up starving and so I fill my belly. Then, by snack time I am ready for lunch.
By the time lunch rolls around I feel like I could eat a bus.
Last night before dinner my whole family thought I had forgotten to feed them.
I had to remind them about 500 times to look at the clock and that it was not time to eat yet.
But you want to know my biggest complaint?
It's not the time change, I am usually OK within a few days.
My tummy gets the message that it will get food and that I am not intentionally starving myself.
My complaint is the cold.
It has nothing to do with moving the clocks back.
Cold and winter would come no matter the digits glaring from my clock's display.
When the cold hits I'm ready to fly South with the birds.
Florida or Arizona or even parts of California beckon me.
I want to bundle up in ugly sweats and slippers and never leave the house.
And then there's the snow.
I love how beautiful it is and one of my favorite things it watching from my nice warm house as the kids build snowmen and laugh and play in the snow.
But I don't want to be in it.
I don't want it to touch me.
And I don't want to drive in it.
Or walk in it.
But, silly me, I went and married a local who has no intentions of ever leaving this place.
He actually (*gasp*) likes the snow and winter.
In my humble opinion, the only thing winter is good for is to make me fall that much more head over heals in love with Spring and Summer and Fall.
 During those times of year I literally walk on cloud 9 because it's not winter.
So here I sit, listening to people moan about day light savings while all I can think about is the impending doom of the seemingly ceaseless cold about to envelop my world.
I'll still be here in the Spring, waiting for the warmth of the sunshine to thaw my bones.

Thursday, October 10, 2013


I have a love, hate relationship with fall. 
I love the cooler weather, soup for dinner to warm my bones, and ripe apples falling from the trees.
I love making pumpkin everything.
I even put a blob of pumpkin puree in our homemade mac and cheese.
I use white cheddar so it gave it a nice comforting orange hue, but it was not enough to get the distinct pumpkin flavor.
I love the fall colors and the pumpkin patches.
I love the feel of change in the air and pulling out the warm sweaters and flannel sheets.
I love watching my children make huge leaf piles, perfect for jumping in.
The one thing I hate, hate, hate about this time of year is all the tiny home invaders who are pushed inside looking for a warm retreat.
And by home invaders I mean spiders, I shudder at the very word.
If you've ever read anything on my blog, you know the extreme arachnophobia from which I suffer.
It's not rational, but how many phobias are?
But this time I feel like my fear is valid.
This time, it's not just any ordinary, harmless arachnid running across the floor.
This time it's black widows!
Yes, plural.
We have had 2 of them in the last week and a half, both in the same vicinity.
 I'm pretty sure there are more of them, just waiting for the right moment to emerge.
I literally have not slept the last 3 nights.
 They are both funny stories of screaming and dancing on our toes, but the second one, which was exterminated late yesterday afternoon, was a particularly funny and embarrassing story.
And since I love you all so much and have sorely neglected you all, I'll share my humiliating story.
For some reason black widows are the creepiest of the creepy little buggers I have ever come face to face with.
OK, they are tied with the tarantula, but only because of the sheer size of the later.
So it's almost 3:30 and Mr Bird would be home any minute from picking the kids up from school.
I was trying to hurry and finish putting away a load of laundry so it would be out of the way for our nice evening at home.
I had just picked up a bath towel to fold when the door bell rang. 
Our small town is in the throws of a mayoral election.
It was one of the candidates, a well know, respected man in the community.
He was going to homes talking to voters and sharing his views and I admit I had some questions I wanted to ask him.
As he and I stood in the doorway taking, Little Man and M&M were playing near our feet, trying to get a look at who was at the door.
Not even a minute into our conversation, Little Man screeches at the top of his lungs, "BLACK WIDOW!!!"
He instantly darted into the living room screaming with M&M in hysterics at his heals (yup, I'm raising a bunch of little arachnophobes. Actually, he kills my spiders most of the time, but he's a smart kid and is afraid of the poisonous ones).
Now just imagine what my reaction was to his words.
I knew we had just had one a few days before in this very corner of the house, so I knew this was no bluff.
I hollered and danced on my toes and ran into the house, leaving the poor mayoral candidate standing in the doorway watching this crazy lady acting like the house was on fire.
I'm sure he had not understood what Little Man had said and had no idea of the emergency.
After a few seconds I collected myself and realized this kind man was still standing there looking totally baffled, where were my manners?
I tried to be calm and walked ever so carefully back to the door to explain to this poor man that my son had seen a black widow and that we had actually had another in the house and that we were indeed wooses.
Seeing my panic, he did what any knight in shining armor would do.
He hunted down the beast (it was a big, fat one, bigger than the first), detaching it from the door jam with his foot, then squished it dead.
Crisis over, mayoral candidate on my doorstep not knowing what to do next.
He quickly and awkwardly excused himself and left.
I was so flustered and embarrassed that I couldn't think about our conversation and I have no recollection as to what I may or may not have said to him as he was leaving.
I hope I thanked him, but I can't be sure.
It wasn't until a good 5 minutes later that I realized I had not asked him any of my questions, and just how awkward he looked when he left.
Every time I think about our exchange, I put my face in my hands and shake my head.
He must have thought me insane.
But the worst part?
We have a huge sign in support of his opponent spiked into the front lawn. 
I am really tempted to change my vote.
And douse the entire house in RAID! 

Monday, July 22, 2013

And So, I Bake

Almost a week ago a sweet friend (and distant Weaver cousin) buried her baby boy.
Only he wasn't a baby anymore.
 I'm pretty sure if you ask any mother she'd tell you her children will always be her babies.
Still, he was far too young to leave this life.
He was nearly 28 years old.
His death was a shock and extremely hard to contemplate.
Tears were quick and painful last week, still they're too close to the surface.
I can't even imagine the grief  that comes with losing a child, I pray I will never know such heartache.
As I thought of my friend and her family I desperately wanted to do something to help, only I was at a loss as to what I could possibly do.
 I racked my brain for days, tormented by the desire to help but not wanting to intrude on their family at this time of loss.
And so, I did what I do best, I baked.
I baked up a couple loaves of bread and some chicken broccoli bombs and set off to their house.
As I dropped off the food and chatted for a few minutes with this sweet boys father, I could not help feeling shallow.
It did not seem enough.
They lost their only son and I offer them bread?
How is that supposed to be any compensation at all?
I felt like I had cheated them somehow, like what I had to offer could never fill the chasm this life event had left in its wake.
It just felt really trite.
As I drove home, sobbing the whole way, I hoped this family would know what I was really bringing that day, what those few short hours of baking represented.
Wrapped in plastic was a piece of my heart, my love, my shoulder to cry on, my deep desire to lessen their pain, impossible as that may be.
Those rolls were not only filled with chicken and broccoli, but with hope that the sun will come out tomorrow, that these dear friends will know they don't have to shoulder this burden alone.
Those cracks on top of the bombs were not only to let out the steam, but to show that our hearts are also broken for their loss.
I thought about the symbolism of bread and He who is the bread of life.
The bread I brought this family will  perish.
But the bread of life is eternal.
"And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst." ~John 6:35
The bread I offered up has power to only fill their bellies for a short time.
This bread, however, is the power to heal that which is broken, that which I am powerless to fix.
That is the bread I want that family to eat.
That is the bread I want to eat every day of my life as well.
"And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day." ~John 6:40
What an incredibly beautiful promise.
A promise I am powerless to make, but one given to them from a loving Savior who I am sure is holding my Wonderful Wendy in the palms of His hands.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Firsts and Lasts

We all know the thrill of watching a baby do something for the first time.
I remember as clear as day the first time my niece, Alyssa, said my name for the first time.
She could not say it very clearly, so for about the next 7 years I was know throughout the whole family (and even a few friends) as "RaRa".
Then I had my own babies.
As a young mother I waited patiently for Doodle to do something, ANYTHING besides just stare and sleep all day long.
The first time she grasped a toy and waved it all around, practically bruising her poor forehead, I could not have been more thrilled. 
I took a million pictures, called Mr Bird at work, ecstatic to finally have something to brag about, and played with her for what seemed like hours.
Really, it was probably 20 minutes, then she went right back to sleep. 
I could not stop smiling from ear to ear. 
It felt better than putting a man on the moon.
I remember her first bath right after I brought her home from the hospital.
I could not believe how slippery she was, I was so worried I'd drop her.
Then came the first smile, the first time she rolled over, the first time she slept through the night, the first froward crawling motion, the first cold bug and so on and so forth.
As the first child, I worked with her everyday developing new skills.
Just 8 1/2 months after she was born she took her first steps.
Oh, the party we had, we were so excited.
And with each new baby came new firsts.
All just as thrilling as the last.
The looks of adoration, the chorus of, "awwwww" in unison when baby is suddenly cuter than ever before.
Then something strange happens.
Before you know it the last baby is not a baby anymore.
All the baby "firsts" are done.
Now I am noticing the lasts.
The lasts seem to slip by unnoticed and uncelebrated.
A dear friend of mine has a little boy just a few months older than Little Man.
Those two are best buds, always begging for play dates.
One Sunday afternoon as we were leaving our church services, I past this sweet friend still sitting on a pew with her 5 year old son fast asleep on her lap.
I mentioned something about her cute sleeping boy, which was met with a look I will never forget.
You see, this man child is her youngest of 6 children.
For over 20 years this amazing mother has wrangled children through church meetings.
She vocalized her realization that she just did not know how many more times she would be able to experience that precious occasion of holding her sleeping boy.
That thought caught a hold of my thoughts and has not let go.
How many lasts have already slipped by without notice? 
My children used to sleep on my lap during the longest of church services, but none of them have done so in quite a while.
Sadly, I don't even remember the last time it happened.
What other lasts have slipped away?
My older kids are always changing and developing and on to some new adventure.
It is the thrill of my life to watch how they change and grow.
I just really don't want to miss even one moment.
But I am starting to forget the little things.
How Beano used to pronounce helicopter.
How Doodle would run on her hands and feet and rear up and neigh, just like a real horse.
How Dubs truly believed in fairies.
How Miss Mae would fall asleep in my arms in 30 seconds flat.
How they all called Little Man "Zebee" (it was their way of saying baby with wrong pronunciation) when he was a baby.
Those things have all stopped, but when?
Was I not paying close enough attention?
When was the last time Doodle impersonated a horse, I honestly can't remember.
Horsie sounds have been replaced by beautiful harp and piano music.
Each day they slip further from babyhood and childhood and ever closer to puberty, then adulthood, then comes college and moving boxes.
 I am powerless to stop it.
But deeply honored and thrilled to be a part of it.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Sleepless in Riverdale

I know, I know, it doesn't have quit the same ring to it that Sleepless in Seattle does, but hey, just go with it.
Now that all of my children sleep through the night it is my personal goal to catch up on all the sleep I lost while nursing new borns and trying to sleep train babies. 
I make it my personal mission to get at least 9 hours of sleep a night.
You heard me, 9 glorious hours.
Don't judge, this momma has a lot of lost sleep to make up for.
Plus, we're all happier when mommy is well rested.
Most nights that means I'm in bed by 9:30 so I can be up by 6:30 when the 5 year old decides it's time to wake up and awaken the rest of the house by being as loud and as annoying to his brothers as he possibly can.
Sometimes my plan does not work out as I would like.
Take tonight for instance.
I was doing so well, I curled into my soft welcoming bed at precisely 9:33.
The light in the sky was fading fast as the last bits of daylight tried desperately to fight the darkness.
This is my favorite time to go to sleep, just as darkness takes over and the whole world seems to rest.
I leave the blinds open so I can watch the sky turn to grey.
I'm out before I even realize the light is totally gone.
An hour later I am vaguely aware that Mr Bird has joined me and we sleep.
Then, a little later, Little man awakens to go potty.
I hear him, but drift off again.
 I hear him again a few minutes later, getting back in bed.
I notice he left the bathroom light glaring.
I try my best to ignore it and stay asleep.
Twenty minutes later there is no denying I have lost the battle.
The light wins and makes me fully awake.
I rise to turn it off and return to my repose.
No luck, the light in the brain is not so easy to turn back off.
So, after just an hour and a half of sleep I'm wide awake, blogging for lack of anything better to do.
Been awake for literally hours.
Dreading the thought that Little Man will be running a muck in 3 short hours.
I'm too old for this nonsense, and I don't even have a baby to snuggle for company in the wee hours of the morning. 
I have a feeling it's going to be a really long day!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mommy Me

To say motherhood is totally different that I expected would be an understatement.
I had no idea I could love another mortal like I do these little beings.
It's like having 5 little pieces of my heart on parade.
I watch them fall and it breaks my heart just a little, every single time.
I watch them mess up and I feel like a failure.
They laugh and my spirit soars.
Their pain is my pain.
Their joy is my joy.
All I want to do is protect them and keep them safe and happy and fed.
Like a mother hen.
Like a mother bear other times.
I am constantly amazed at how intertwined our lives are.
I can only pray is stays like this forever.
I want to be present in their lives for the rest of mine.
I never knew the depth of a mother's love until I became one.
I never knew the sheer frustration of a mother until I became one.
I never knew the sleepless nights, the total commitment, the sheer stress of a mother until I became one.
I never knew that laughter could come from your toes or that the tears could be so bitter.
I never knew a gooey sticky child could possibly leave that much destruction in their wake.
I never knew that magic was alive and well in this world.
I never knew little boys could eat so. much. food.
And they're not even teenagers yet!
I never knew music could sound so sweet.
I never knew butterflies and snakes and doddle bugs were so fascinating, until I became a mother.
I never knew the sheer joys of a sunny day bike ride or the total pleasure of dipping hot sweaty toes into frigid river water could be sheer bliss, until I saw those things through the eyes of my children.
I never knew that my Mr Bird and my children would complete me.
That they would complete me in ways I never even knew were incomplete.
They are my life, my everything.
They are the good and the bad, the bitter and the sweet.
They are better and worse than I ever imagined possible.
To my sweet babies on this mother's day I say, 
Thank you for making me a mommy.
I love you from here to eternity!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

See's Candy and The Secret to Happiness

Every year my grandmother and my mother jointly send me a one pound gift certificate to See's Candy for Christmas.
Those of you who have had the pleasure of tasting these sweet morsels of chocolatey goodness, you know they are the Rolls-Royce of the chocolate world.
As a self proclaimed chocolate addict, there is nothing better than a whole pound of the best chocolates of my choosing.
The only problem is that during the Christmas season we are literally bombarded with other sugary goodies.
The See's becomes just another sweet treat amidst all of the others.
Plus, last Christmas we the children were off sugar, so we put the certificate on a shelf and all but forgot about it.
And when I say forgot about it, I mean I thought and dreamed about it every single day, but I knew that the moment I redeemed it I would have 16 ounces of my drug of choice literally at my fingertips and I'd lose all control.
I'd hide it from my family and eat it locked in my bedroom until I was sick.
I simply could not bring myself to fall into it's grasp.
Until today.
As I walked into the tiny corner See's store I was hit with the sweet smell of chocolate that I have come to love about them.
Right as I walked through the doorway I saw a display with Easter candy, marked down to 50% off.
My mind raced!
Two pounds of chocolate all wrapped in Spring time clothes for the price of one!
  I found some cute dark chocolate, cream filled eggs with a cute yellow rose bud on top, I could not resist the cuteness.
I bought 4 of them (as gifts) and still had enough left to buy a few of my all time favorites for the ride home.
It was the perfect scenario, because I needed a few small gifts, I could still enjoy a couple of my favorite treats without gorging and becoming sick.
As the cashier bagged my goods and took my payment, she said to me with cheerful sunshine in her voice, "Enjoy your bag of happiness!"
My fist thought was, oh yes, I certainly will!
I thought about that cashier's words all the way home. 
 If only I really could purchase a bag of happiness.
I'm not talking momentary pleasure that melts away like chocolate in my mouth, I'm talking about the real deal.
The stuff that gets you out of bed in the mornings with a smile on your face, excited to face the day.
The stuff that makes everything better, even when life is hard.
The joy that comes and fills all the broken places in these ever so fragile hearts.
The assurance and peace that lights the days after we lose loved ones.
Not only that, I thought, if only I could buy true happiness and wrap it up in Spring time clothes to give to someone I knew was having a hard time.
Someone I could see struggling with the weight of the world on their shoulders, who just needed a little push into the light.
I could give it to them knowing it would not melt, or fade away, but would wrap their soul in joy that would fill their spirit instead of just their belly and fat cells.
Oh, how much easier life would be if I could buy happiness from a chain store and spread it all around.
If only if it were as easy as giving a gift of fine chocolates.
But the gift of happiness has already been purchased.
It is a gift that is wrapped in the love and hope of Spring time.
It is given to all, free for the taking.
The price was not a gift certificate to a store in the mall, but the blood of Christ and given 3 days later with an empty tomb.
That empty tomb fills my soul with warmth and sunshine and, dare I say the word, happiness.
It has healed too many cracks in my heart to count.
It has dried my bitter tears and brought sweet tears of joy into my eyes.
It gives me the courage to fight the good fight, each and every day.
All because of Him, all because He is risen and promises life and salvation to all who believe.
 Because He lives, so do I.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

San Diego, Again

For those of you who are regulars here on my blog, you know that Mr Bird has an annual conference in San Diego in the Spring.
You would also rememebr that for the past 5 years or so every time he goes on this Spring 4 day business trip something horrible happens while he's away.
It has become a joke around here.
Oh no, the San Diego trip is upon us, what can possibly go wrong this year?!?!
Last year Doodle got deathy ill, I have never seen any of my kids that sick before or since.
The year before that I was pregnant with M&M and my water broke 2 1/2 weeks early (I had gone over my due date with ALL of my other children). 
One year we had the fire department at the house.
One year I ran over a tricycle and punctured a hole in the nearly full 40 gallon gas tank in the suburban.
Seriously, you'd think we're jinxed.
It's like the heavens are testing me to see how much I can handle while he's away.
Apparently I have finally passed the test.
Because guess what?!?!
Mr Bird was in San Diego this past week and nothing happened!
Well, things happened, but nothing strange or stressful or scary.
Everything was normal, smooth sailing.
A little boring, even.
 I did not dare say anything about it out loud until he was safe at home and in my bed late last night.
We both laughed a giddy kind of victory laugh that we had beaten the San Diego curse!
How did I do it, you ask.
We barely left the house the entire 4 days. 
We are so out of groceries right now since its been 2 weeks since I last shopped, but I did not want to leave the house and give the cosmos a chance to explode all over us again.
We hulled up like the end of the world would happen if we left the house.
We did venture out one day to go to scouts and activity days and to buy our traditional Spring baby chicks.
Even then my mind raced at the possible bad outcomes.
But we survived, all of us, even the 6 new fluffy baby chickies!
It's a miracle, Praise be to God!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Anatomy of Love

Love is a many splendid thing. 
Poets write sonnets about it.
Singers sing about it, movies try to portray it.
People through out the ages have tried to define it.
Every one has an opinion about it.
As we all know Valentine's Day is the national day of love.
Since getting married eons ago and having children, my definition of love has gone through several metamorphosis. 
Love is a living, growing thing.
This week, it underwent a new, totally unexpected change.
We all know there are different kinds of love.
The love of a child, the love for your lover, love of friends, family, etc.
They are all different, all just as important.
Since having children Valentine's Day have shifted as well.
It's no longer about just Mr Bird and I.
We include our children in our Valentine's Day extravaganza.
We make whatever meal we're having shaped like a heart, exchange Valentine's and enjoy the night as a family.
And yes, chocolate is always involved.
I now have 6 Valentine's instead of one.
Lately I have been baby hungry, for those of you who know me, this is no huge secret.
I am beginning to wonder if the baby hunger will ever go away.
It seems no matter how many babies I have, I just want more.
But, it's not really feasible for us to have more at this point.
I'll spare you the boring details.
So instead I hijack any baby that I can get my hands on.
M&M stayed home from church with daddy the other week because she was sick.
Since I didn't have my hands full with a very busy toddler I had time to sit and listen and think.
I found myself scoping out the congregation in search of a baby I could  steal, just for an hour or so.
There was one 3 rows up, but I could not think of a way to get at her in a discrete manner.
So I sat day dreaming.
Then the other night I was with a group of friends, one of whom has a 2 month old boy.
He is absolutely beautiful, just at the age where he smiles huge grins at anyone who will look at him.
Can you guess who dominated that baby?
We had a grand time together.
So why can't I get enough babies?
I think I found the answer.
Babies are pure love, straight from God.
And I am addicted.
I used to think I needed a new baby because I LOVE the newborn stage.
And I love the squishy baby stage.
And I love the toddler stage. 
The 2 year olds are my favorite, I can't get enough of the cuteness.
They grow up too fast and then I don't have any more babies.
You've heard this all form me before, right?
Well, here's the Epiphany.
I also love the 5 year old stage and the 9 year old and the 11 year old stage.
Turns out, it's not the stages I'm in love with, it's the children themselves, whatever their phase in life.
I have a suspicion I will adore the teenage phase and the young adult phase and the married children phase as well.
I get giddy thinking about the grandma stage.
Not to say any of those will be without challenge, but none of the a fore mentioned phases has been totally smooth sailing, either.
For me, It's love at first sight and I can't get enough of them.
My capacity to love grows with each new baby.
My love grows right along side my children.
It has been the biggest joy of my life to have these little ones come into my home and to see them grow and change and it melts my heart at each and every phase of their little lives.
So the reason I can't get enough babies is because, to me,
 babies = more love and joy.
And who wouldn't want more love and joy?
So, at this phase in my life I have to be content with the love of my nearly 2 year old (I plan to relish this next year with her to the fullest!), and my 5 year old, and my almost 8 year old and my 9 year old and my soon to be 11 year old.
I love it all, even the hard times.
Even I have to admit, I have more love in my life than I probably deserve.
And every day I thank God for it all!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

A Little Excitement for These January Blues

Does anything random ever happen to you?
Whom do you tell when it does?
Your BFF? Your Neighbor? Everyone you know?
Well, this is me telling everyone I know about this random thing that happened yesterday.
The good news is that it did not happen to me, I just watched the events unfold.
 Granted, at the time I felt I was a little too close for comfort.
Then, after the ordeal passed, I had enough adrenaline to power 10 Energizer Bunnies.
I had a few errands to run after lunch.
Abby likes to practice babysitting so I've been leaving the children home alone for short periods of time if I know I'm staying near by.
They actually do really well, I could not be more pleased with my children. 
In my most humble opinion, I have some of the best kids on the planet.
While I was driving up Riverdale Road a siren caught my attention.
I looked in my rear view and saw a police SUV behind a white SUV, advancing quickly.
I did my duty and pulled over to the right side of the road until they passed.
As they passed I noticed that the white SUV was still in front of the cop.
"Pull over, DUH!!!", I was thinking to myself.
I wondered how this guy could miss the fact that the police man wanted to get past him.
The more I watched I noticed that the police car was literally inches from the SUV's bumper.
It became obvious.
This guy wasn't going to stop.
Just then the light turned red.
I few cars in font of the SUV stopped, so he did too.
I have no doubt that if those cars were not there, the SUV would have gone through the red light.
That's when all the action started.
The police officer was out of his car like a flash, guns drawn, running to the driver-side door of the SUV.
I could hardly believe my eyes.
Just then I hear more sirens, then more. 
Within seconds 3 more police vehicles had arrived on the scene.
Since the light was red, all I could do was watch this all unfold.
I prayed the biggest prayer I have ever prayed that no shots would be fired.
Nervous adrenaline, anyone?
I watched as the cop kept his weapon pointed on the perp all while he yanked him out of the SUV, slammed his face against the back of the wet glass and handcuffed him.
I have never been more grateful to see handcuffs in my life.
 It meant the danger of any stray bullets coming my way was most likely gone.
Then the light turned green.
I was sort of frozen for a moment.
Was I just supposed to keep going? Yes, that's it! Green light means GO!
Nothing left to see, just get on your way.
Sometimes it helps to listen to the voices inside your head.
I could hardly believe what I had just seen.
Had I really just witnessed a real live police chase?
 Indeed, indeed I had.
And I lived to tell about it, to boot!

Monday, January 21, 2013

A Million Flecks of Light

photo by
Last Saturday it snowed.
Considering it's January in Northern Utah, that's not at all surprising.
It was a very light snow, hardly a flurry.
It was not enough to pull out the snow shovels or the plows. 
If you weren't paying attention you may have missed it all together.
It was barely enough to cast a glittery shimmer over the already snow covered ground.
As I was pulling out of the driveway (long before I even wanted to be out of bed) in the early morning light, a gleam caught my eye as I looked over my shoulder and into the rising sunshine.
Glitter was literally falling from the sky. 
I sat and marveled for a few sweet moments before I went about the busyness of the day.
An hour later I found myself waiting outside in the car for my kids to finish their piano lessons.
As the minute snow flakes fell I watched as they landed intact on the windshield.
Each snow flake fell individually, perfectly, beautifully.
We all marveled at the detail as we studied their minute structures.
It was a frigid 5 degrees outside, so the tiny ice sculptures were in no hurry to melt.
We spent a few more sweet moments lost in their trance.
They held us spellbound, in complete childlike wonder.
But to me, those 6 pointed masterpieces were more than mere snowflakes.
You see, Someone upstairs knows I like it when the snow looks like glitter.
It makes me smile, and He knows it.
It was a gift from Him to me.
It could have not been more personal a gift had He wrapped it and left it on my pillow with a big red bow on top.
The glitter snow is quite literally what got me through the hard, dark, frozen winter in Mascouche.
We'd drive along the open fields all glowing with glitter snow and it brought the light to my soul that He knew I needed.
Two days later and the temperatures are as frigid as ever.
The cold makes me feel hopeless.
Spring, the promise of going outside without the Michelin Man coat, is still light years away.
Winter has only just begun, the reality hits me like a brick.
These long winter days, separated by a sheet of ice from my mountains and my sunshine that I need like breath, put me in a very bad mood.
I get restless and irritable, cabin fever at its worst.
Yet, as we drove past the open fields near our home after a peaceful Sunday service, the glitter snow made me smile.
It said to me, "I am here, I hear you, I am your light."
That sweet glitter snow, it makes the winters bearable.
It brings light into the darkness.
"Darkness can not drive out darkness only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate only love can do that."~Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 He is my light, my million flecks of light.
He is my comfort, my peace, my warm apple pie, my snuggle from a sleepy babe.
He has lit my life in innumerable ways.
As I watch the open fields all swimming in glitter snow, all I see is His love.


Friday, January 11, 2013

Banana Milk

Do I have the perfect treat for you!
Only if you like bananas though.
I have a weird relationship with bananas.
I can not and will not peel a banana and eat it.
They make me gag.
But I LOVE banana bread and banana pancakes.
Artificial banana flavoring is probably the nastiest thing man has ever created.
Those banana Laffy Taffys? I'd rather eat dirt than one of those horrendous things.
But this banana milk is splendid, and probably the easiest thing to make.
It's perfect for a quick breakfast when nothing else sounds good to eat.
It's perfect for an afternoon snack when you know it's still 2 more hours until dinner time but you are starving right now.
It's perfect with a peanut butter and honey sandwich at lunch time.
It's really just perfect any ol' time.

Perfect Banana Milk

1 Cup milk (I use local raw milk from cows that have not been treated with antibiotics or growth hormones and are grass fed)
1 large banana
1 splash vanilla

Place all ingredients in the blender. In my Blendtec I push the whole juice button. Blend until smooth. Enjoy. I usually quadruple the recipe for my children and myself. When Mr Bird's home I make two batches.
For an extra tasty treat I peel bananas when they are getting too ripe and put them in the freezer (in gallon size freezer bags). Then when we want an all natural healthy dessert we pull out the frozen bananas and they make the best banana frosty you'll ever eat. My kids beg for these a couple times a week. And since we almost always have frozen bananas (I buy 15 pounds of bananas every week!) it's perfect! Totally guilt free and delicious!

Monday, January 7, 2013

The REAL New Year's Resolution

It's January 7th, exactly one week into our New Year's resolutions.
So, how's it going for ya?
Statistically speaking, if you made a resolution to lose weight, you've probably already cheated.
You've gotten really hungry by now and you've caved to temptation at least once.
Your body thinks it's time to go into starvation mode and it's just too much to resist. 
Plus, who can blame you? Food, the wrong kind specifially, is literally everywhere, 24/7.
There's literally no escaping it.
That's precisely why I never make my New Year's resolution to go on a diet.
I do, however find a certain aspect of my health that I can improve.
I do that all the time, even in June.
It's a daily decision for me.
In case you don't know me, I'm a huge health food fiend, but I'm also a huge sugar addict.
If you live in America, most likely you're addicted to it, too.
I struggle daily, hourly, practically every minute.
I am constantly thinking about when I can get my next sugary treat.
It's time for change!
A friend of mine posted about this documentary on facebook.
I love health food documentaries.
They light a fire under me and motivate me and inspire me to do better.
Some of my favorites are Super Size Me, Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead, and Food, Inc.
This one is a new favorite. 
It's called Hungry For Change.
No more diets, pick one thing you can do tomorrow to improve your health, just one.
Drink 8 glasses of water, cut out white flour, eat 7 servings of veggies and fruit.
Then in a week or two pick another thing. And then keep on doing that until you are perfect.
Crowd out the old habits with new, healthier ones, one at a time.
Make it truly your lifestyle. 
Guess what? That could take quite a while.
I have been doing that for years and I'm still not perfect.
But I keep on trying again and again and again. 
You know why I love this last one so much?
It's real.
It's honest and goes down to the root causes of overeating and even why we crave and eat the foods that are so bad for us that we do.
It gives simple solutions, maybe too simple, but they're worth a try.
Many of these things I've incorporated into my life over the past 7 or 8 years. 
Many of the things I'm still working on and struggling with.
I honestly believe my lifestyle is the one and only reason I am not on heavy duty antidepressants. 
Listen to what the doctors say about it in the movie, I could not agree more considering my family history. 
So take an hour or two and relax and be prepared to be inspired.
Who's ready to be healthy and happy and literally start glowing?
Let the real change begin!

P.S. Most of the aforementioned documentaries can be found in their entirety on Netflix.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Top 10 of a Dreamer

2012 was a great year.
Full of ups and downs, highs and lows, joy and heartache.
I don't want to forget a thing, but I know I will, it's inevitable.
So in the spirit of remembering and keeping these things close to my heart, here are my top 10 memories from a life that is oh, so blessed.

  • Soft sandy beaches in Florida with my baby girl and the best niece on the planet.
  • Seeing my Doodle sicker than I've ever seen anyone. Overnight vigils, hospitals, wheelchairs, loads of fluids. And a full recovery!
  • Celebrating our sweet baby's first birthday. Full of smooshed cake and sweet snuggles and lots of laughter and joy.
  • More sandy beaches in San Diego with the whole clan. Not to mention Sea World and Knox Berry Farm and the U.S.S. Midway. Fun, fun times and not wanting to ever come home (Guess what? I totally forgot to blog about San Diego! whoops, I'm a total slacker!)
  • A hundred hikes and horse rides in my mountains, basking in the sunlight with amazing friends and family.
  •  Sending the oldest 2 to charter school, then taking them out 6 weeks later. Realizing we are home scholars through and through and that there's not a thing wrong with that.
  • One minor house fire in which they saved the baby, even though I was not home.
  • A stage 4 cancer diagnosis to one of my most favorite brothers-in-law ever. 
  • A magical Christmas season having Mr Bird home tons for the holidays and enjoying new Christmas memories with my children.
  • A thousand and one precious moments spent holding my children and watching in awe and wonder as they grow right before my eyes. Wow, what a ride!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Let Them Eat Cake

It's a brand new year.
Full of hopes and dreams and possibilities.
I love the energy and endless optimism of a new year, new beginnings.
For the Weaver family it's also a time to account for the goals of last New Years.
Remember this post?
Well, shortly after I wrote this a dear friend of mine, and fellow health food addict, emailed and said her husband (who completed a 90 day water fast this year and lost 100 pounds) offered to sponsor my year of no sugar. 
Not only did he offer to pay me $100 for not eating sugar, but another $100 if the kids would join in and another $100 if Mr Bird would as well.
300 clams if the whole family would do this together.
They did add another stipulation though, no food coloring.
That one was pretty easy since we've been avoiding that for years already. Funny how most of the food coloring we got came from candy anyhow.
As soon as I proposed paying the children $25 each for a whole year without sugar they were thrilled, on board in an instant.
Mr Bird on the other hand laughed in my face and said, "not a chance!"
So there we were, the kids and I with a whole year ahead of us with no sugar or food coloring what-so-ever.
So, now is the time for reckoning.
The big question, how did we do?
My kids have totally amazed me.
Their will power was truly something to behold.
They all learned to read labels and their favorite question of the whole year was, "Does that have sugar in it?"
Samples at Costco, birthday parties, Easter egg hunts, treats in primary, parties, Valentines Day to Christmas and every single holiday in between.
They were die hard.
They fed off each other, willed each other along.
 I heard stories from their church teachers about how they would ask if the treat had sugar and then reject it if the answer was yes.
All on their own, without mom in their ear saying, "don't eat that!"
They amazed their teachers and friends and cousins and me.
I have been blown away by their commitment and I could not be more proud.
Dubs did slip up once at Easter time.
He snuck a tiny foil wrapped chocolate foot ball from an Easter egg into his pocket and ate it while no one was looking. 
Then someone smelled chocolate on his breath and his secret was out.
He and I had a long talk about how hard this is, especially when it's just right there, and especially when it's chocolate.
Turns out watching out for each other played a huge part in their success.
Another part of their success was the fact that every time one of them refused a treat with sugar in it, we would come home and make a healthy treat we could all eat, one made with a whole foods and natural sweeteners.
They became the hero when they said no because then the whole family would get to enjoy something together.
One of our favorites became a coconut oil, honey and cocoa powder concoction that tastes amazing.
Tropical chocolatey paradise on a spoon, yum-o!
As for me, sadly, I did not do as well as my kids.
I did make it all the way to June.
I was on fire.
Then, during our anniversary dinner at our favorite restaurant the waiter brought us a complimentary dessert.
We tried to tell him no, but he would not take no for an answer.
I guess I still did not have to eat it, but he caught me at a weak moment and I did eat.
After that it was all over for me.
I had messed up, no use in trying any more.
Sounds silly even as I type this.
I still did better than before, but I would eat sugar when my kids were not watching.
I became the worst closet chocoholic ever.
Shameful, I know, but they were doing so well and I did not want to derail their success.
Still, I have to be proud of the 6 months I did make it.
That was huge for me, HUGE!
I am choosing to celebrate my success rather than feel like a total loser for not being able to keep up with my kids.
I feel like now we have the keys we need to make healthy along with tasty food choices.
I still want to strive to make good choices and to inspire my kids to do the same.
Or rather, be inspired by them to continue to do better. 
And now the next big question, will we be eating sugar this year?
Well, let's just say we all stayed up until midnight and had a bowl of store bought ice cream.
So ya, occasionally we'll have a sugary treat.
I'll continue to live the lifestyle I live. 
I don't buy sugar or candy or soda.
I'll make our food with natural sweeteners. 
But if we're at a party or a celebration we will eat cake.