My Life

I really like my husband. Like a lot. He had to go out of town Wednesday last week and I could not have been happier to have him home late Friday night. I don’t sleep well and I miss snuggling and chatting with my best friend.

While he was away the kids had their school carnival, Sarah went to her first homecoming game where she got to be in the freshman float. And Jared got to go to the homecoming dance.

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PTO is pretty awesome. I love overachievers who do amazing things for my kids school. The 4 youngers were content for a good two hours. And they probably would have stayed longer if I didn’t have to get them home and to bed so I could head back to man my booth.

Jared decided it would be way fun to ask a friend to homecoming. Yay for sisters. Sarah helped him come up with this poster. Since Jared and her are both volleyball players it was perfect.

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Here is an up-close.

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She seems like a super cute girl. She sent me pictures of the night.

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The theme was casual white out. How great is that? Shopping for boys for a school dance was so much easy. I picked him up that shirt for under $10 and he was good to go.

When Jared told me about the dance he told me how fun it was to go with a fun friend instead of a girl that he liked or that liked him. I love this kid. He really wants to be a good.

Saturday we headed to the phoenix LDS temple open house. While there I experienced an amazing sense of peace and belonging. That sounds strange but I really felt close to my Savior. I could feel the reality of His life and that He lives for me.

Sarah and I are memorizing the document The Living Christ. Words were brought to my mind as we walked through this beautiful building.

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Pumpkin patch

Yesterday I got to go with Jacob on his field trip. He is such a fun kid. So many volunteers came it was a 1:1 ratio. Jacob got put in group with his best friend and it was fun day for both them and us as the moms.
Jacob took and edited this picture while on the tractor ride.

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I’ll upload more pictures next week from my camera.

Tomorrow we are heading to phoenix to go to the temple open house. I feel so grateful that my kids will get to experience this.

Mother of the year Award.

Today I heard that their really is such a thing as A Mother of the year. Wait what? Like we as women don’t already struggle with feelings of inadequacy and like we can never measure up, we now need an award to tell us so?

Here is the thing. I have spent the last 16 plus years trying to be ok with the way I mother. I am not perfect and I don’t always act the way I want to. But I am sure trying. Boy howdy am I trying. I’m learning to respect that others will mother much differently then me and that is totally awesome for them. Go be you women. Mother however you see fit for your children. But my children were sent to ME by God. He knows me and my weaknesses and He knows my children and their weaknesses and yet he still put us in the same family under the same roof. God ALSO knows my strengths. He knows that I want so badly to be a great mother, even if I often fall short of the expectations I set upon myself.

So with all of that in mind I decided to write myself a TRYING mother of the year award.

This is what it would look like.

This mother didn’t yell and scream at her children when they were fighting/brawling in the grocery store. She had the sense of mind to wait until they were in the privacy of her own car to heatedly explain why acting like little monsters is not ok.

Her house is clean when she has plenty of notice that someone is coming over. Well at least the main living areas. She has enough sense to shove everything else into rooms and closets where it will pile up until she almost goes certifiably crazy. But she doesn’t and we applaud her for mostly keeping her cool.

On Sunday’s she takes the time to actually put on makeup and do her hair. We are so impressed that she can do that 1 day out of 7. Finding that kind of time while raising 6 children is nearly impossible.

Her children know that she loves them even though she loses her cool and yells, is mean at times and doesn’t get up before them in the mornings.

She may resort to spanking when nothing else seems to work but she usually says sorry after she has calmed down and tries to talk it out.

This wonderful mother has taught her children the beauty of repentance by saying sorry, a lot.

She makes dinner for her family sometimes and her kitchen is often filled with dirty dishes to prove it. And sometimes her kids are lucky enough to get fast food and lots of conversations in the car while she drives all over town to take kids were they need to go.

Patience is a tool she is constantly TRYING to utilize. And effort is one of the highest values when it comes to a truly great mother.

She is one of the very best at making sure she gets a nap every day. And we all know a well rested mamma is… Well… Non existent so we celebrate her desire to try.

She even tries to be crafty and creative every once in awhile and her children thank her for it. How else would they get to watch so much tv?

She can instantly change her outward appearance from crazy screaming lady to calm and composed when someone rings her doorbell. How does she do it?

Let’s give an applause to a true mother. One who messes up over and over again but keeps on trying. One who lets her children see her cry simply because she is human and that gives them the right to feel and be human as well.

And here is to the Failing and Trying Again Mother of the Year.

I Am A Mormon

Saturday morning I woke up finally feeling a little better. My voice was coming back and I had energy again. The blessing of being sick is you really appreciate your health once you’re no longer sick.
Ryan took Emma, Joseph and Joshua with him for his 10 mile scouting bike ride. It turned into 13 and I didn’t think my kids could keep up. They all did it. And Joseph said it was the best day ever. I’m looking forward to doing this with them next time.

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While they were gone I continued to take it easy and made this invite for our church’s trunk or treat.

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Some women love to keep a clean house or exercise like crazy. Some are great scrapbookers and others make amazing crafts. I find it therapeutic to create these little invites with photoshop. It’s a free way to create and usually I am making it for someone else. Service and creation all on one.

The highlight of our weekend was when we went to the movies.

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It’s so expensive to take a family of 8 so we really don’t go very often. I try to wait for a show that is really worth it. And this movie did not disappoint. We went and saw Meet the Mormons. It’s a documentary put out by my church.

To me a good movie leaves you thinking about it for days. It sits with you and teaches you long after the credits are rolling. At dinner we sat as a family and discussed what we learned and what we loved. Each child loved different aspects and the message was different for each on of them. The message to me was that we are all unique and beautiful in the sight of God. Our challenges and gifts are so uniquely molded just for us. As Mormons we have a unique belief system but we are all still so unique. Their maybe the stereo type mormon but then their are the rest of us.

At the end they played a song by David Archuleta titled Glorious. You can listen to it here. It has become an anthem to me. During this stage in my life I am starting to understand more fully who I am and what I have to bring to the table. I listened to it on repeat as I ran today. I felt empowered and ready to face the world. Go listen to it. I’d love to hear if you love it as much as I do.

I kind of hide in my room for two days with the hopes of not sharing my sick so it felt really good to be with my family again.

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Then Sunday I was able to teach my lesson to the young women at church. They are the best. I really feel so lucky to be apart of their lives. Working with them gives me hope and peace and a desire to be better. Love those girls.

Then of course a Sunday nap was in order.

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I love this man. Like a lot. It warmed my heart to see him sleeping. This man does so much for our family. While I was sick he took care of everything he normally does plus all of my duties all while taking care of me.

Once the littles were in bed we heard a knock on the door.

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I am so grateful for the friends my kids have made since we moved here. It’s been especially good for Sarah.

And that was the weekend of this mormon mommy. It may not sound glamorous or fancy but it was perfect to me.

Sick

Sometimes my body is so mortal. I’ve been dealing with some bad headaches and IBS stuff lately. Plus I have just felt rather run down. My body is tired. No matter what I do I haven’t been able to kick it.
I was grateful to remember that in the past I have been vitamin D deficient and tiredness was the major symptom. So their is hope that I can feel back to my normal self soon.
Then last night I could feel a sore throat and cough coming on. I woke up to a very tight throat and pain.

I wish my body was well but today I am going to be grateful for what I do have. I have children who adore me. Being a mom is seriously the best. These little people make life so rewarding and I know my learning is expedited because of them.
EmmaLee brought me this in bed. She called it get well breakfast.

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My body may be frustrating at times but really it’s never anything major. I can handle all of it and for that I am grateful.
My Mr Man is more then I could have ever asked for. He loves me so completely and unwaveringly.
I have peace and a strengthening of my faith that comes from daily scripture study. I’m just so grateful to know I am a daughter of God.
My texting group shared this song with me today.
Such a happy and peaceful reminder of who we are. Go listen to it. So worth it.

Rainy day Fall break

Last night as I lay down I thought about my littles. The younger littles. I feel like they don’t get as much time with me as the older ones did at their age. A big part of this is that I no longer homeschool. I’m grateful for the time I had doing that and I’m grateful to not be homeschooling right now.
With the weather cooling down it would be a great time to head to the park and enjoy running around. I have missed that. We did a lot of park days in California. And it’s just been to hot here for me to really enjoy sitting at the park with my people.
So when I woke up I was feeling all excited about a fun filled active day with the kids. Ryan and I first went on a walk together and it started to rain. It rained for most of the day. I do usually love a good raining day but now… What were the littles and I going to do?
We searched Pinterest and came up with a couple easy halloween crafts. And then we had a disney Halloween movie marathon. Love these people.

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It was so messy and so much fun. I’m curious to see what they look like when they dry. We took cheesecloth and drenched it with homemade glue (2 cups water and 1 cup cornstarch heated in the microwave at 30 second increments until thickened. About 2 minutes)
They each went around the house and found anything round they could for the head and then put in inside a baggie for easy clean up. The ball was placed on top of a cup to give it height. Some of the kids glued on index cards rolled to make arms. Then you let is set for 24 hours. Super easy.

What would a craft be without a silly face?

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Then we found some old fabric and cut it into squares. Tied some cotton balls in the center for a head. Then with strong ties it to these awesome branches I already had. The boys thought it was cool how they really look like they are floating.

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And that will probably be he extent of my decorating. We might decorate the front door. If we get to it. That’s kind of how I roll.

Fall

My weekend was filled with lots of snuggles and uplifting words.

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We enjoyed pumpkin pancakes, I finally found a good recipe. You can find it here.
I substituted almond milk for the whole milk and coconut oil for the vegetable oil. So so good. I would like to try to make them with coconut flour and a more natural sweetener next time. Joshua asked if I could make it every single day.

The littles are on fall break. Who does fall break? We are grateful none the less. Jacob even made a schedule for himself.

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Every once in awhile you need a good Ugly Cry

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When I was training for my marathon I would listen to the mormon channel. Mormon channel is an app on my phone that is like a radio station. You can listen live or pick from a multitude of topics and/or speakers. Often I would listen to the live station and I was always spiritually feed as I worked my body.

I ran my marathon a year ago tomorrow. It was a most spiritual and empowering life changing event. I learned that I really could do hard things if I decided I wanted to. I could push through pain and go up mountains so to speak. You can read about my experience back here.

Today I can’t even run 3 miles. And I am ok with that. I’m working up to it again. 3 miles that is not 26.2. My goals are different now. I am different now. With the passing of time we hopefully learn and grow and strive to be a better person.

The last two months have been a time of learning and truly feasting upon the words of God. My study has changed for the better and I am so grateful for this post I found on pinterst that gave me the idea I needed to never miss a day of scripture study.

What I have gained is so much more then I hoped for. I had gone through sporadic scripture study. I wanted to be better, no I yearned for it. I wrote about when I first found this idea back here.

At that time I planned to read everyday then text to my friends a short message sharing my favorite part of my study. But it has become a time of true introspection and seeking. As I write I am given new and deeper understanding of what I read. I am handed exactly what I need to be better and stronger and often to be filled with the love our Savior and Heavenly Father have for me. Little ole imperfect me.

It has been for me a metamorphosis. I see the scriptures and conference talks different. I am beginning to understand the value they truly hold.

With this new understanding I had decided to listen to or read all of April 2014s General conference talks before conference starts tomorrow.

As I began my hike today I had 4 talks left to listen to. Again I felt gratitude for the Mormon channel app. The very first talk touched me so deeply. I was out in the wilderness crying my eyes out. The ugly kind that cause snot and all. My heart was full of thanksgiving for the inspiration that is given in our behalf. I couldn’t help but feel the peace that comes from knowing God is fully and completely aware of me. That he spends time on me. When I allow Him to He leads me and guides me.
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Being out in the “wild” I was able to let go of my worries and concerns. I allowed myself to trust more fully and hear what He wanted me to hear today.

I am looking forward to tomorrow where we will once again here the words of our leaders as inspired from above.

Thoughts in a waiting room.

Joseph has been home sick all week. Poor kid is so bored and missing a pretty fun week at school.
Enough is enough and we are finally siting in the drs office with hopes of feeling better soon.

My SIL sent me this article the other day. Click here to go read it. I highly recommend the read. It’s titled spandex and self esteem. Great title right?

The article had me laughing AND left me thinking about it for a couple days. I feel as a woman my identity is constantly in question. Is it really acceptable to just be me? The me that sings full blast in the kitchen and sometimes sleeps in the morning when my children are awake. The me that cries when I feel so deeply there is nothing left to do?

And is it also ok for me to accept the sides that are good along with the bad? Is it ok to say I love to teach my young women at church and I feel like I actually make a difference in a piece of their world? And can I embrace that my children really do like me, mistakes and all? And when my husband tells me I really am beautiful, even after having 6 kids and with the beginning signs of aging, I can believe him?

After I read that darling article I thought more about me. She spoke of this free spirited older women who danced like no one was watching all while wearing spandex and a sports bra. While I don’t have a desire to dance in my sports bra there are circumstances where I hold back for fear of what others might think.

Several years ago I was the young woman’s leader to this very independent free thinker. She was a little different from the other girls. She was comfortable being her. If she didn’t want to do something, she wouldn’t. If she had an opinion she felt needed to be expressed, she expressed it. One evening I commented to her how much I loved her bright pants and how I wished I was young enough to wear them. She causally asked me “if you want to wear them, then you should. Who cares what anyone else thinks.”

For years I have thought back on that comment. Why not? Why wait until I’m 82 to be a part of the red hat club if I want to wear a red hat today?

Right before I read this article I had bought myself blue running pants. I’m saying bright-look-at-me-blue. I have always wanted a pair but I didn’t feel skinny enough to buy them. Every time I would see a runner in her bright pants I wished I could wear them. While I was at the Nike store buying something for Sarah I saw a pair hanging on the clearance rack. The called to me. No the beckoned me to come purchase them. I didn’t even try them on. $110 pants for $20 in the amazing blue I have been wanting? I asked what the return policy was just incase I couldn’t really do it.

Shortly after I got home I read the article mentioned above and I was reminded of my sweet independent young woman. Wear the pants if you want to.

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The next morning I headed out for my run and boy howdy did I own my blue pants. I really felt like a million bucks. Not because I thought I looked particularly amazing. It was more like I was the little girl who’s mom let her go to the store in her dress up clothes. I felt sparkly inside while embracing that child like abandon. Hopefully accepting more fully who I am will give others the right to do the same. Go be you and have an amazing time doing it.

The Beauty of the Desert

I decided to take my camera with me on my walk the other day.  I was intrigued with the varying plants and so amazed that they could grow in this dry Tucson, Arizona heat.

hikeIMG_4003 IMG_4002Everyday I am commenting on the wonder of the clouds here.IMG_4038This little guy crossed my path.  Up-close he looks kind of menacing.

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I have been thinking and pondering on gratitude the last week or so. This morning I woke up with this overwhelming feeling of appreciation for my unique trials. I remembered that I wanted these trials. I fought for these trials. I knew that I could only reach my greatest potential by enduring life. I believe before this life I fought hard for the chance to come down to earth, trials and all. I knew I would fail, fall down, and then get up and try again. My imperfect self was going to hurt and feel deep pain but I believe I understand more fully then I do know that my savior suffered for me so that I wouldn’t have to suffer. That in my failings I could turn to Him and He would make me more.

As I think of this beautiful wildlife I am in awe that the plants and even the little caterpillar can thrive with the harsh conditions. It gives me cause to think that I to can thrive among my hardships. I can grow tall and strong with deep spiritual roots. Elder Uchtdorf said in his last talk found here,
“Could I suggest that we see gratitude as a disposition, a way of life that stands independent of our current situation? In other words, I’m suggesting that instead of being thankful for things, we focus on being thankful in our circumstances–whatever they may be.”

Thankful in our circumstances. I am going to write that on my mirror that I may wake up feeling that grateful feeling I am filled with today.