Wednesday, January 28, 2015

How my blog helped to save my marriage

That's right, my marriage.

It's kind of a big deal.

I started blogging back in (check sidebar history). We were shaky. I was full of discontent. I was peeking over at other people's lawns and their grass was DEFINITELY greener to me. I was slowly sneaking up on my 30's and felt a need to have things "just so" in my life.

I read on others' blogs things like "My hubby is just the BEST! Today he.... blah blah blah, shot a rainbow out his butt, etc. " and the like.

It depressed me.

Wait, I said that wrong.

I let it depress me.

I compared myself, my life, my children, my marriage to other people's.  Lord help the woman that starts to compare. She is about to become one unhappy chica.

And so I was.

But I didn't want to write, "So we got in this fight today and I handled it like a complete idiot but who can blame me because he is SOOO aggravating. Does anyone have advice on how I can change my husband? No one is treated worse than I am."

What is that attitude? It makes me sad & sick and disgusted to even write that paragraph.

But I wanted to blog. I wanted to keep in touch with loved ones out of state and keep them up to date on what was going on in our little lives. So I wrote only positive things. I stated facts about what we did. I started to look for ways that MY husband was actually the best husband in the whole wide world.

And guess what?

I found them. And there are a lot of ways that he is the best. The very best for me.

We have had it rough. I won't lie, and I'm also not going to go into it. 

A few weeks ago I said to Clay, "Oh my gosh, wouldn't it be awesome if we had the relationship we have right now at the beginning of our marriage? We would have had such a great time!" He pointed out to me that the reason our relationship is what it is results from years of knocking down walls, accepting & supporting each other, kids, fights, depression, self-doubt, crying, ugly crying, struggling, wanting to escape, & making some major mistakes.

Today it made me think of that greener grass. Sometimes we want it. It's perfectly soft & manicured for crying out loud!!! How could we not?!

But really, if a magical fairy waved a wand over my lawn could I even handle it? Would I fertilize it on time as many times as it required? Would I turn a sprinkler on the dead spot to give it some extra love? Do I have the tools to keep it perfectly edged?


So guess what-if that lawn were handed to me, I would ruin it. It would soon become a bit shaggy around the edges because I don't have an edger (even though I want one). I might spill a bit too much fertilizer in one spot and kill it (like I've done).

In my marriage, HALF, if not more, of the issues have been ME. Totally me. If we want to relate this green grass business to my marriage, the point is that I would not have been able to deal with perfection. Frankly, I don't even want perfection. There's so much growth in the work of it. The gardener that really cares and really slaves over that grass is the one who values it most because he learned how to do it and he does it.

He values it a million times more than someone driving by in their car.

None of that may have made sense to you, but I had to get it out.

Sunday, January 18, 2015


At our house there's an abundance of love notes from Brandt & Brooklyn.

 Hard evidence below: 


Notes in sneaky places...
Even notes directing others to notes that may not have been found in the expected time frame....

 I love them. 
They totally make my world and I leave them up. 
They make me smile every time I see them.

The other day I saw this. 
I thought it was an interesting spot for them to choose 
because it wasn't very sneaky. 
And they're typically into that.

When I got closer I saw this..... from my 4 year old.

 He asked if I had found it later in the day and said it was for me & Daddy. 
He told me it says "I love you." 
How many times can your heart melt before you're just a puddle of love goop? 
I love that he wants to be like his older siblings. 
Because they're good kids. 
I love that he thought to do this on his own. 
I love love notes.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Brooklyn's reflections

Every year at school a different theme is chosen for Reflections. I believe it's nationwide. The students are encouraged to interpret the theme in their own way and express their thoughts on it through, design, film, song, dance, etc. The theme this year was "The World Would Be A Better Place If...."

Brooklyn decided to write about about people being nice to each other. She thought of a handful of people she sees on a regular basis that are exceptionally kind without any other reason behind it except to be nice. None of them have to be as kind as they are. They go out of their way and it makes a difference. She has never received anything from these individuals except a kind word or smile. I love that she pinpointed that as what would make the world a better place. Here is her poem:

Linda is a baker
At the grocery store.
She always has a smile,
Is sweet down to the core.

I get a smile from her,
And then I smile too.
Sharing smiles with others
Is a simple thing to do.

On my way to school,
There’s a man who stops the cars.
He cares how our day goes,
Makes us feel like superstars.

The janitor at school
Is everybody’s friend.
He smiles as he helps us.
No one’s as sweet as Ben.

We can all be happy
Finding ways to be kind.
Complement each other.
A better world we’ll find.

-Brooklyn Hagblom, age 9

Saturday, November 1, 2014

M. Ward

Sometimes we talk about music. Okay- a lot. Clay has a knack for finding amazing things in music. I love that about him. I love how he really appreciates it and gets into it as an art.

A few years ago, let's say 5, Clay & I sat in our home office together just rocking back & forth slowly on a recliner in the dark, me sitting on his lap. And we just quietly listened to all of M. Ward's albums. 

Not very many people have heard of him. He's OUR music. We don't have one single song that is "our song" but there are many that I can't ever listen to without immediately thinking of Clay. But "Magic Trick" and his cover of "I Get Ideas" and "Never Had Nobody Like You" are some pretty strong contenders. At that time, he told me that M. Ward always makes him think of me. I was happy about that because I always thought of him and it's nice to hear that the person you like thinks of you.

Last year, M. Ward came in concert to Salt Lake on a warm summer night and we went together. We were with some friends who didn't know his music very well and when it was his turn to come on stage, we ditched our friends and worked our way to the front row and it's a night I'll never forget. We don't dance. :) But we danced, and he had his arms around me the whole time M. Ward sang to us.  This photo is from that night.

This week we listened to M. Ward again, and we tried to pinpoint what exactly the feeling is that makes us think of each other. Clay said it in such a great way and I don't want to ever forget it. So I'm writing it here. He said M. Ward's music is like the middle of a vacation or the highpoint of a sunset. He said the end of a sunset is tainted with thoughts of "it's almost over" just like a Sunday night is great and all but there's that lingering feeling in the back of your mind that it's back to work the next morning. I love that he described our relationship as the middle of a vacation, where you're having the best time. The part where you are so happy and it's not tainted by anything. It's just pure joy.

It's actually funny that I just wrote that sentence "pure joy" because as soon as I finished typing it, I realized that's another M. Ward song. :)

I love being married to him. I love learning new things about him all the time. I love peeling back layers. And I love how much mystery is still always there for me. No one has ever been that person for me and it's just what I need.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Crazy lady's talking to herself.

My friend Julie and I went on a walk. We both work and have kids and husbands and like a little getaway through the darkened streets every now & then. :)

This Julie friend of mine is a strong & confident woman. She is also one of the kindest people I have ever met.  She doesn't talk about people in a hateful way. She is frequently helping others and always has something friendly & kind to say. I like to be around her. She is incredible at neutralizing situations. That, to me, is the sign of a "drama-free" girl.

She mentioned to me a meeting she had attended recently. In her company, all the corporate positions are held by men and the distributors, promoters, and salespeople are women. She is a woman, obviously. She went with her business partner to the meeting and was briefed on how men and women approach business differently. They spoke in general terms to get a better understanding of the opposite gender and how to work with the differences to their advantage.

She said the speaker described a typical male approach & mode of thought and Julie found herself really connecting with that way of thinking. Then the speaker described a typical female approach & mode of thought. This included self-doubt & harsh self-criticisms. Julie was struck by it because she related to a lot of the female characteristics but had a hard time believing that women truly criticize themselves as harshly as the speaker implied.

It stuck with her. So she asked me about it; if I thought women really were that unkind to themselves. I think in general the answer is yes. Which is SO unfortunate. I used to do that. To a painful and debilitating point. Oh, it was so uncomfortable and self-destructive!

But I don't allow myself to do that anymore.

We determined (Julie & I-not experts) that since women in general have a stronger tendency toward that behavior, that it was something that could be handled just as any other tendency. We hear all the time about men & their porn addictions. Men, generally speaking, have a stronger tendency to utlilize/enjoy/rely on pornography.

Can that be destructive personally? Yes. To their marriage? Yes. To their families? Yes. To their career path? Yes.

So can demeaning self-talk for women. I think it can be equally devastating. Her comparison of those two tendencies was really quite astounding to me.

Many women, in my experience, usually have an unkind word or two to share about their own bodies. Many shut down a compliment with excusing away their accomplishment or talent by saying "Well, you should see my house, it's a disaster" or "I yell at my kids all the time" or "Well, I've been horrible at eating lately." All this is being said in an effort to avoid coming off as perfect.

What ever happened to graciously taking a compliment? What is so hard about a simple "thank you." I'm guilty of this too at times but I am always mindful of it.

Why is it?

Lately I was vacuuming and thinking about this concept of perfection.

Within the past week I had talked to my little sister on the phone & then we made plans to hang out later that afternoon. So, naturally,  I cleaned my house. I also made sure to vacuum EVERYWHERE because she has a bunch of littles and I'd hate to have them find some random thing on my carpet and choke. That was my intent in vacuuming. She walked into my freshly vacuumed house and paused and looked around. She uncomfortably removed her shoes and just stood there hesitant to even walk on my carpet. Then I realized that my vacuuming and cleaning the house had put her in an uncomfortable spot. (Seriously, when she finally did walk on the carpet she kind of leapt across it to leave as little footprints as possible.) It's like I could hear her think, "Oh my gosh, my kids are going to DESTROY her house."

That feeling she got isn't something I intended at all. I had safety in mind, not impressing people.

Are those wrong ways to feel? Bad things to come across? No.

But then I'm watching my sister leap across the room and forget what she's saying because she's turned her focus to my carpet. In an effort to help her relax and realize I am not a perfect person, I want to throw open my laundry room door and tell her how horrible I've been at keeping up on the laundry. I want to point out how my roots have grown out because I haven't made time for myself to get to a hair appointment.

I want to bash myself a little in an effort 
to get us back to an equal feeling.

So I was mulling that over while vacuuming later in the week and this is what I came up with.....

Perfection isn't relatable. Inspiring? Yes. Admirable? Yes. Relatable? No. I think maybe that's why "perfection" sometimes comes across as cold, unfriendly, unfamiliar, intimidating, overwhelming, & condescending. By no fault of its own. But all those negative thoughts on perfection are thoughts WE sometimes put in our OWN heads about it. Looking "up" & looking "down" goes both ways. But it's the same exact feeling.

Recently, I told a friend that I have psoriasis and what I was doing to deal with it. Her response was, "THERE it is!! I've been trying to figure out your downfall. You're so beautiful and perfect, I knew there HAD to be something wrong with you."

I am happy to be me. I have to remind myself of that fact often. I could go ahead and tell you everything I am not happy about with me. Everything that is "wrong" with me. But what does that do? Nothing for you unless you're looking for some pleasure in that fact that I'm a regular human being. But it certainly does nothing helpful for me! 

So, I tell myself I'm pretty when I get ready. I tell myself I'm strong when I exercise. I tell myself I'm talented when I work at things I'm good at.

Does that make me arrogant? Full of myself? You can think what you want. I hope I don't come across that way. But it is how I build my confidence. It is how I find happiness in being who I am. It is how I show appreciation for what I have and what I can give.

I accept the things that are a struggle for me or I change them if I feel up to it. :) BUT, if I don't feel up to it, I don't let those things hold me back.

I think everyone has so much potential & beauty. Look for it. LOVE YOURSELF.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Happy birthday Max!

"Mom, today is doggie's birthday. He's 5."

Actually, he's about 11 years old. He is the first toy I bought when I found out I was pregnant with a little boy (Brandt). Brandt was never really into stuffed animals, but Brayden has been ALL about this little blue doggie.  He has named him Max, but mostly calls him Doggie.

"Can doggie take a bath in the washing machine so he can be nice & clean for his birthday?" Max has been washed in the washing machine multiple times. But only ONCE today. :) He usually smells of little boy kisses.  His fur is matted and most his stuffing has been pushed into the head and limbs. He has a rattle inside. Sometimes Daddy ties his legs and ears in knots and throws Max. It makes Brayden giggle like crazy.

"Doggie just needs a birthday cake and some presents that I will open for him."  

Sometimes when we drive around I hear a little voice from the backseat say "Mom! Doggie needs to go poo poo!" At the next stop light, I roll his window down and then he holds Max out the window in his little hand, lets him do his business, and brings him back into the car with a "Thank you Mommy."

"Mom, will you take a picture of me with my doggie?" Can't say no to that.  

"After you're done scratching my back, can you scratch doggie's back?" And I did. I scratched a stuffed animal's back.

"What do you love about Doggie?"
"I love him smiling."


One time, Daddy put Max out the sun roof while we were driving. Everyone was in a panic that he would slip out of his hands onto the freeway. I think that would be devastating to all of us to be honest. Happy Birthday Max! We love you!!

Friday, August 15, 2014

super powers

 Conversation with Brayden while we drove around running errands:

 "Mom, how did my come alive?"


"How did my come alive?"

"Well, were a baby in my tummy and then when you grew enough you were born as a baby."


"No, but how did my get to be a baby?"


"Who maked me?"

"Me and Daddy."

"Ohhhhhhh................with your superpowers?"

"Yep. With our superpowers."

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Adios Ocho!

Brooklyn's 8th bday

Another birthday rolled around for our little Brooklyn. She is 9 now, believe it or not!

She is really particular about her hair, her clothes, her music, her room. She is a natural leader. She has a sweet heart and leaves notes for me everywhere. If a holiday rolls around, it's Brooklyn that makes a card for all of us to sign. She loves going to plays. She loves dressing fancy. She loves lip gloss. She's started doing a decent job of painting her own nails.

Christmas morning

She adores babies. I met with her teacher for this year just this week and was asked what I'm concerned about with Brooklyn. Nothing. Honestly, the girl is right on top of everything at school. She keeps people in line. She stays on task. She brings home her homework and busts it right out. She is always looking for a way to help out the teacher. She is friends to everyone in her class.
Hiking with Daddy

I took my kids to the pool & watched them interact with other kids their age. People just follow Brooklyn. It blows me away.

Trying to be pouty while being teased about her post-Halloween big hair.

Giving up on pouting and laughing with us.

I love that she openly talks to me about her crushes. I love that she still snuggles me. I love that she begs me to come eat lunch with her at school. She gets excited and runs up to me every time I see her at school. 

I love drying her hair for her. I love singing a bedtime song to her and love that she still begs me to. She loves to cook with me. She likes to be included in adult conversations.

She can be sassy. She can be bossy. She stomps around and slams doors when she's upset.  She doesn't love to be reminded to act like a lady. She sometimes thinks it's the worst thing ever to be the only girl.
With her bear she sleeps with.

She loves to spend time with her best friend Olivia. They sing and dance. Olivia is 2 years older. She gets along with Brandt really well and is excellent at taking care of Brayden. She is an amazing organizer. This year for her class talent show she organized a drawer of odds & ends to blasting music with a time limit. Her class thought it was awesome and chanted "Go Brooklyn!! You can do it Brooklyn!! Hurry Brooklyn!" It was great to see that they appreciated her talent even if it wasn't a typical performing talent.

She only gets shy for teeny tiny blips meeting new people. But other than that, the girl doesn't mind the spotlight a bit. She's afraid of dogs.

She has been doing gymnastics this year and LOVES it!!! When we go on walks as a family she will cartwheel all the way down the park strip next to us.

It was 80's day at school. She's out playing kickball with the neighbor kids (Luke inc.).
She is encouraging. She is a poser. She is a talker. She is giggly. She is the one we have to constantly remind not to get too wild in the car or around the house. Our house is SO quiet & uneventful when she is gone. She livens it up and louds it up. :)
Vampire for Halloween.

She has recently learned how to put in her own ponytail. She plans things WAY in advance. Outfits, birthdays, meals.
She freaks out that bees are going to attack her when she wears anything floral, like this skirt. And she loved & wore those red sparkly shoes to death.

 I love her. I love her heart and her enthusiasm about things and her giggle and her sweet smile. Sometimes she drives me crazy with how alike we are. I rearrange her room and then she rearranges it because she likes to do that as much as I do. But then it's not MY way! :)

Ah, my Brooklyn. :) I love her.
1st day of 4th grade

Monday, July 21, 2014

Lacey-Part 2

Last weekend we packed up and headed to Oregon for my cousin, Lacey's funeral. My parents & all my siblings went except Jenny, and Amy Ann came along as well.  We left Friday morning and had a great time in the 2 cars together. It was great to have a chance to talk to one another without being completely surrounded by children & our responsibilities as parents. I love my family so much!
me, Cheri & Karlee
Haley Bug & Amy Cakes
my dad
Amy Ann (Spencer's wife)
My little mamacita

Gma Billy & Gpa Thomason
We were able to swing by Gma & Gpa Thomason's home on our way and as soon as we stepped out of our car we were overwhelmed with the wonderful smell of juniper trees. It's like a coming home smell to me. I haven't been to their home in 11 years. It was wonderful! We had Abby's pizza & salad & cheesecake. We were able to visit, see Jane and the 2 little dogs, & look through old photos on their walls.

Then we were on our way to Springfield. I was driving and took a wrong turn that put us on the Oregon Scenic Byway. We had never been there before. It was BEAUTIFUL!!!  I think we would have enjoyed it much more if we weren't feeling nervous about being low on gas. We talked of what we might do if we got stranded. It was getting dark and the trees are so thick it feels like driving through a cavern. We joked that since we had 4 girls in the car all we would have to do is show some leg and we could hitch our way out. Cheri said "They would say, 'What?! Is that a TAN leg I see???'" Hahahaha! Anyway we made it to Sweet Home & were able to get gas. Weird to have someone pump it for you. :)

Then we drove on to Springfield. All of a sudden, things became familiar. We were giddy as we crossed the McKenzie bridge and turned onto Hayden Bridge road and curved past Westover's home, and Katie Zellick's, right on our old elementary school bus route. We drove past the field where they keep geese. We drove by Ms. Landrum's home (my 3rd grade teacher), and Larson's street and we couldn't resist making a quick turn down our own street, 33rd street, before heading on to Stockwell's new home.

When we arrived there we were met by Wren, Joel's daughter, out in the yard. She is adorable & spunky. Bouncy natural curls all over her head.  We went inside and I got what I went for, hugs from Aunt Toni & Uncle Reid.

I spent the rest of the time there talking with Joel, Lacey's oldest brother. I really love to talk with him. He introduced his children to me & talked to me about Lacey and what he had been going through. He has an excellent way of expressing himself. He said "If I were to design an angel, she would make the perfect template, but a little less mouthy." He told me about how she was as an aunt and a mother and how badly he wants that to stick with Cash, her 7 year old son. He told me he plans to move a tree in their backyard closer to the deck where they gather a lot as a family & where she used to as well. He told me she said she'd rather be food for a tree than food for worms. So they want to put her ashes beneath that tree and create a memorial for her. I thought that was such a beautiful idea.

Then we drove to Mindy Kephart's home. She was our neighbor growing up. She lived directly across the street from us. She invited us to stay with her and we stayed up late talking about how everyone is doing and our fond memories. It was immediately obvious to me why she & my mom got along so well. They are like soul mates. I remember them talking & talking & talking out in the middle of the culd-e-sac. Her children practically lived at our home. She is such a real & friendly & generous & fun person. She made our stay there so comfortable & enjoyable.

I shared a room with Amy Cakes, my sister. I'm so happy I got that chance since she lives a ways away from me & I never feel like I get as much time to chat with her as I'd like.

The next morning we woke up and got ready to head over to Lacey's memorial service.  Joel spoke about her life. I love how he broke it up into Lacey the sister, Lacey the adventurer, Lacey the mom. I have thought & thought about what he said. He emphasized her gift to make children feel loved and special. He reminded us of how much she gave herself to putting them first. I get distracted and selfish at times and push my own children or other children aside, I feel, in order to finish a conversation or to have my idea of a good time. But since Joel's talk I've been trying really hard to take a step back & think of how Lacey might approach the situation. I do enjoy children. It just doesn't come as nautrally to me as it did to her. But I'm trying Lacey.  It was one of the things that I was always amazed at and I think it's a worthwhile thing for me to work on.

Sterling, her boyfriend, spoke and then my Uncle Reid. And then, out of nowhere, Cash (her son) walked up to the microphone and said he had something to say. He said, "My mom was always the one by my side. She was the best thing that ever happened to me." And he said more. But that's what stuck with me. I want my kids to be able to say I'm the best thing that ever happened to them. I want them to see that I am trying to be that for them. During the closing song I looked down at the program with Lacey's face on it. I was folding it to put it in my purse. Folding it felt like saying goodbye.  Folding it felt final to me. And that made me cry.

That afternoon we visited with old friends & neighbors & family. We gave hugs to people who are huge blessings to have in our lives. We went as a family to a park with the river going right by. We skipped rocks and took pictures and talked about how awesome it would be at home to have raspberry & blackberry bushes growing everywhere like weeds.

We stopped at Grandpas' grave. We saw John & Neal's graves. We talked about them and our memories of them. I don't think I've been there for at least 22 years.

Then we went to my cousin Joel's house up in the forested hills. It was beautiful. We had a delicious dinner and I was so happy to meet his wife Lindy and their children. Andrea & Ryan and their family was there. Our family, & Taylor. Oh my gosh it was SO great to see and visit with Taylor.

Aunt Toni told me she used to check my blog every day. And, as you know, I have been slacking off big time on my blog. But it helps so much for us to have facebook to feel connected to our family there and the blogs as well. I love my family & want to do a better job of staying in touch however I can.

We stopped by my Grandma Barnes' house while we were in Springfield. The giant horse chestnut tree is gone. The huge gardens are gone. But my grandpa's shop is still there. Just as big as I remember it. The sidewalk with its texture that we love is still there. Some of the apple trees and the big huge trees are still there. It is in my top 5 favorite places in the world to be, or at least my memories of being there. So glad we could make that trip for so many reasons.