Friday, February 25, 2011

Then I Really Might Know What It's Like

I wish it were really possible to "walk a mile in some one's shoes."

I would love the opportunity to see things from a different perspective, at times. 

I try very, very hard to be a non-judgemental person. I'm not perfect and I don't always succeed...but, it is very important to me. It's important to me that I live my life that way and important that I become that role model for my children. I want them to live in a home where they are shown that love and acceptance for everyone, is the appropriate attitude.

It's hard when not everyone feels that way. Perhaps if I were able to "walk a mile in their shoes", I could see why. I could begin to understand what makes them act a certain way...so that I know the best way to react to it.

Is it fear? Is that why people respond with negativity to certain obstacles or situations? Because they fear that, which they don't understand?

I don't understand how responding with negativity, or the with drawl of love, makes the situation any better. Love isn't accepting a person only when they fit your standards. Love is accepting them, through all the choices that they may make. Even if you don't agree with them.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

That's One Smart Bird!

Playing in the car, on the way to school:

Avery: "It has a fin, it's wet and it can shoot water. What is it?"
Me: "It's a dolphin."
Avery: "Awww! Yup! You're right."
Me: "It has feathers, it can be very colorful and some can talk. What is it?"
Avery: "A chicken!"
Me: "Nope, a parrot."
Avery: "Parrots don't talk!"
Me: "Some can! But, uh...you know a lot of talking chickens, do ya?"

Silly girl.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

HATE Is So Useless

I'm prepared for the fact that I may piss people off with this post. I'm really not intending to and I sincerely am trying to get my point across, while having the utmost respect for both sides of this situation.

With that...let's dive in, shall we?

I came across an old discussion board online titled "Mormon Church and Gays". It was very short, with only nine, mostly heated posts, long. I would have happily posted my response there, but because most of the posts were over three months old, I assume it would have gone unread. So...I come here. My trusty venting outlet.

The board might as well have been titled "Oil and Water". That's about how well the participants meshed, regarding the subject. One part, of a particular post, really had me upset, however. The writer says:

"Honestly, I really do not care either way what your sexuality is. My only problem is that I have not met a discreet gay person. There's no reason to shove your personal business in anyone's face and demand that the world agree with you. I feel that it should be a personal choice you keep to yourself, and be happy in whatever your life is."

My first thought when I read this was, "Really? You've never met a "discreet" gay person? Huh. Maybe...just maybe... that's because they are living "discreetly", as you so asininely put it. Maybe they are choosing to hide their lifestyle choice, because they are scared of the torment, anguish, ridicule and judgement. Ever think of that?"

The second thing that turned my head was, "I feel that it should be a personal choice you keep to yourself..." Wow. I wasn't aware that a family unit was something that should be kept under lock and key. So, should gay people hide their family pictures at work? Should they make their partner duck down in the car, when driving through the neighborhood? I think that perhaps the brand of tampons I use, more correctly belongs under the category of "personal choices I keep to myself."

Now, back to this "never met a discreet gay person" thing. What if someone turned that around? What if someone said, "My only problem is that I have not met a tolerant Mormon." How does that feel? It probably doesn't feel good, does it? I know it wouldn't make me proud to raise my hand and declare myself LDS.  

Sadly, I think that may actually be the perception out there. Not because every LDS person is intolerant... in fact, I think it's very much the opposite. However, it always seems that the people with the most hurtful, judgemental things to say...speak the loudest and the most often.

Shame on them....and shame on the people who don't speak up. It is not necessary to always agree or understand some one's lifestyle choice, but there is no need to berate them for it, either. Hate and intolerance are so useless. I feel like I've really been driving this theme home lately, but I've seen so much of it recently, that I feel prompted to speak out.

Otherwise...if I don't...shame on ME.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

...Stays In Vegas

Well, we are home. We went. We saw. We conquered. It was soooo much fun and I cannot wait to plan to go again. Perhaps when it's a bit warmer....July?

We stayed at the Tropicana and it was beautiful! They've recently redone their rooms and they are gorgeous! We were very impressed with what we got, for the price we paid. They are redoing their whole pool area and it looks like it's going to be fabulous, so maybe we'll get to try that out, next time.

I'm not a big gambler, but I'm a lucky girl. :) (Look at my life...you can't dispute that!) I played $1.00. That's it. Three spins later and I cashed out, with my $61.00 and walked away. Not bad, for 20 seconds of work, huh? :)

We didn't really do all that much. Just being able to sit at dinner and talk without being interrupted, was amazing. We did a little shopping at the outlet malls and walked the strip a lot. We rode the bus to Fremont Street one night and watched the light show and the CA-RAZY people down there. One thing we would like to try next time, is the zip line. That looked like a lot of fun.

Aren't we cute??? :)
 
All dolled up, for dinner.

 One of the BEST surprises of the trip, was going to the Secret Gardens at the Mirage and seeing the white tigers!! Anyone who knows me, knows that I ADORE white tigers. We got to see the two new babies and a few of the older ones. I was in HEAVEN!!!




I wish we would have had one more day, or left the night before, so that we had two full days there. With so much to see and do, you just can't fit it all in. But...all the more reason to go back, right? :)

All in all, it was wonderful. I fell in love all over again and made some memories that will never be forgotten. I love you...forever and always. <3

Friday, February 18, 2011

What Happens In Vegas...

Tomorrow morning we head off to Vegas, for three whole days! I'm so excited to have this opportunity to spend time with Josh and get a break from day to day life!

(Random shout out to my awesome Sis and Bro who are picking up the parental slack in our absence. Here's hoping the kids don't have you tied up and in the closet when we return!)

With work, school, the munchkins and the myriad of other responsibilities that we deal with on a daily basis, sometimes it's hard to remember that we need to make time to connect as partners. We need time to have conversations that don't get interrupted. We need time to cuddle, without a child (or two! or three! or a cat!) squeezing in between us. We need time just be Leeann and Josh, without the demands of being Mommy and Daddy, at the same time.

This is the longest that we have ever left the kids. Prior to this, it was about 2.5 days...we're coming in at just about a full 3 days this time. It is for sure the furthest we have ever gone from them. That is a little scary, but I know that they are in capable hands and I'm pretty sure my house will still be standing, when we return.

So...adios! Mommy and Daddy have left the building! Hopefully, when we return, we will be well rested and ready to face reality. If not..perhaps there will be a little more hiding room in that closet... ;)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

It's Just One Of Those Days

I'm missing you, Mom.

There is so much I want to tell you. There is so much I want you to see. There is so much that you're missing out on. There are so many people that are missing you.

I get so mad...because it's not fair. Dammit, you should be here. I shouldn't have to watch my babies cry and I shouldn't have to answer their questions about why you're never coming home. I shouldn't.

Heaven may have needed a Hero...but we need you.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I Love You

You make it so easy to love you.

I love how hard you work to take care of our family. I love how you take all my crazy moods, in stride. I love when you leave me little notes around the house.

I love your smile and the way you stare into my eyes. I love the way you are always uplifting and always know the right words to say. I love how incredibly thoughtful you are.

I love the way you hold me at night. I love your sarcastic side, but that you know when to turn it off and be serious. I love holding your hand and hearing you laugh.

I'm such a lucky girl. I have everything that I want and need. I have more than I deserve. I love you.


Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day

What a silly little holiday.

I don't need a day to remind me how much you love me. I don't need flowers that die. I don't need a card that you'll forget to sign. ;) I don't need candy that I don't want. I don't need jewelry we can't afford.

I need you.

By my side.

Wiping my tears when I cry. Holding my hand on a bad day. Giving me a hug, when I'm down. Picking me up, when I fall. Making me laugh, till I cry. Encouraging me, when I run out of steam. Helping me raise our five, beautiful kids. Loving me.

And I know I have that.

365 days a year.

Valentine's Day.

What a silly little holiday.


 

I love you, bun boy.


Sunday, February 13, 2011

It's A Balancing Act

"I don't know the key to success,
but the key to failure is trying to please everyone."
 — Bill Cosby

I do my best in trying to be everything to everyone, and yet I always seem to come up short.

I just want to be happy. I want to go to sleep at the end of the day, feeling accomplished and like I've done my best to make everyone else happy.

I hate when I fail at that.

There is a fine line between living to please yourself and living to please others. Too much of one, makes you selfish...too much of the other, can make you unhappy. I try very hard to balance this and usually...I do a good job. What is hard, is when I fail at it, but don't know what I could have done to avoid it.  

Life is a constant balancing act. I'm constantly balancing my money, my time, my energy, my attention...

It's a good thing you don't have to balance love. There is more than enough of that, to go around.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

A First...For This Blog

I got called out on a recent post. I totally had it coming and fully expected it from the sisters that did it. You know who you are... :)

I know I shouldn't care so much about what the scale says. I get that. I really, really, really do. Sometimes it's hard to break old habits and seriously..."Hi, my name is Leeann....and I'm a scale addict...".

However, in an effort to be positive and uplifting...let me tell you some good things.

I. Feel. Amazing!! Really. I haven't felt this good in...well... ever? I have more confidence, right now, than I have ever had in my entire life. Granted, that is attributed to a few things, but the fact that I have worked so hard to get where I am right now, helps a lot. I'm proud of myself! I did this! I'm still a work in progress...but dammit, I'm gonna pat myself on the back for getting here!

Pink has a new song out...I'm sure you've heard it. I LOVE LOVE LOVE some of the lyrics in it: "You're so mean, when you talk about yourself, you were wrong. Change the voices in your head, make them like you instead. So complicated, look happy, you'll make it! Pretty pretty please, don't you ever ever feel like you're less than... perfect." This is the attitude I want my daughters to have, so I better work on myself, too.

So, I'm going to do something I've never done before. An absolute first, for this blog. I am going to post a
picture of my lower half. Yup. I've always hidden it. But, I just bought some cute new jeans, that I love. So, no more hiding. This is ME. Love me for all that I am. Or, don't. That's okay, too. :)



I will never be stick skinny, again. (Thanks for my French ass, Meme!) ;) Having kids has totally changed my shape. But...I'm going to be proud of how I feel, where I am...and where I'm going. 

Even when the scale pisses me off. ;)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Love Is Spelled R-E-S-P-E-C-T

There is something priceless, about being with people who love you, just for being you. There is no need to fake anything about yourself, to fit in. There is no need to pretend to be someone that you aren't. There is no need to pretend to be someone that you are. They love you...just because you, are you.

Another aspect of this, is that when you are with these people, you can truly love yourself...because you are being your real self. It's amazing, when you recognize...this is who I am. Love me...or don't...but I can't change myself to fit some mold, that you need me to be in.

However, I'm also discovering that finding out who you are, is a life long process. Every time I think I have things figured out, another layer of myself unfolds. I have to take time to learn to love this new layer and adapt it to my previous ideas of who I am. Things that used to be important to me, are no longer held with such high regard. Things that never before mattered, suddenly mean a lot more.

One thing I've realized through life, is that some people in life can't handle change. If I am not a particular version of myself, I am suddenly less worthy of their love or praise or respect. I've had to slowly understand that this is not my issue, but theirs. I can't control who loves or accepts me.

I can just be eternally thankful...for those of you, that do.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

I Know, I Know...I KNOW!

The one thing I absolutely hate about switching up my work out?

I always gain a pound or two, when I do it...before heading back in the right direction.

*sigh*

"It's muscle."

Yeah....I KNOW.

But, holy crap, it is frustrating! I pour everything I have into making the scale go one way...and when it goes another, I want to flip out. Give up. Go eat a cheeseburger. :\

P90X is amazing. It's working me out, like I've never done before and I really do enjoy doing it. It's fun and it's challenging. Josh and I have been doing it with a couple friends and that also really helps to keep us accountable. We've been doing it for just over a week and I'm already seeing changes in Josh. It's crazy...

And yet...I lost three lbs...then gained one lb back. Grrrr.

"It's muscle."

Yeah....I KNOW.

*sigh*

I just have to dig deep and not lose motivation. I know that this will work. I know that I'm doing everything I should be. I just have to trust it.

Right? :\

Monday, February 7, 2011

Happy Birthday, Avery!!!

My darling Avers,

Happy Birthday, beautiful. I can't believe that you are six years old today! Time sure flies when...you're making me laugh. And scream. :)

You are the most precious child. There is never a shortage of "Avery" stories and I pray there never will be. Your strong will and determination are what make your personality so absolutely...YOU. I have watched you grow up so much over this last year and it has been amazing. You are still headstrong as ever...but with a blossoming maturity that makes me proud.

I love you, my sweet, sweet girl. Your Daddy and I are so thankful that we were chosen to be the parents of such a vivacious angel. Happy Birthday!!

Love, Mommy!



Friday, February 4, 2011

I'm Creating The World

Do you ever wonder if you make a difference? I want to make a difference.

I don't want to just exist. (Although I'm pretty sure my kids are convinced that I exist just to make food and clean up after them...)

But, I digress.

I don't want to just endure my days. I want to LIVE. I want to change the world. I want to matter. I want to have altered someone's life, for the better. I want to know that I was someone, that somebody else counted on. I want to know that I changed someone's life.

Perhaps this is what fuels my desire to become a nurse. (Other than the idea of being able to hold newborn babies all the time!!) I have this innate desire to care for others, especially during those moments in their life, when great, overwhelming change is occurring.

Conceivably, it's because when I look back at my life, I've had people like that around me. During times of great stress and change, I've been lucky enough to be surrounded by people who carried me and lifted me up. The amazing thing is...most of the time...they didn't even know they were doing it. They weren't aware that I was watching them and learning from them.

That leaves me pondering...maybe I am making a difference and I'm not even aware of it. Maybe someone is watching how I handle things and learning from my example. Maybe how I react to life's situations and life's trials, is right now guiding someone else's reactions. Probably most importantly, how I treat others...could be setting an example for what I feel is acceptable behavior.

I hope that I am making a difference. I hope that it is a positive one. One day my children...and their children...will be adults in the world, that I have created.


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Inevitable

Inevitable: in·ev·i·ta·ble [in-ev-i-tuh-buhl] –adjective
1. unable to be avoided, evaded, or escaped; certain; necessary
2. sure to occur, happen, or come; unalterable

Certain things in life are inevitable. The sun will rise each morning and set each night. Children will get sick (especially the night before leaving on vacation or the morning you cannot miss work.) Pets will die. Cars will break down. There will be times that you will get stressed out.

And...one day...one of these cute little faces...will probably disappoint me.


That breaks my heart to think about...but I know it's true.

I know that as perfect as I am some of the choices in my life have probably disappointed my parents, but guess what? It's my life. I'm an adult and I have to live to make myself happy...no one else.

I have to make sure that as my child grow up and mature, that I afford them the same rights, that I expect for myself. Maybe they will choose not to go to college, even though they know how important I think it is. They may choose a spouse that I think isn't "good enough" for them. (Let's be honest...who is ever going to be good enough for one of MY babies?!) ;) They may even choose a lifestyle that will make their life more difficult than necessary. (Like...being a vegan!!) ;)

I hope I can remember that that's when I will need to step back and realize that I did an awesome job, as their parent. I raised a child so smart that they were able to identify what makes them happy, so that they could live their life in such a way that they are content. I raised a child so confident in themselves, that they were willing to stand up for what they want. Stand up, even...*GASP!*...to me.

At the end of the day, isn't that my job, as their parent? To raise them to become self-reliant, strong, courageous, kind, accepting people?

Why in the world would I raise them to be a certain way...and then berate them for living the way I taught them? Wouldn't I essentially, just be telling them that I raised them incorrectly and that I am at fault?

Things that make you go, "Hmmm...."

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Life Is Hard

Sit down. It's time for a serious talk. You ready?

Life is hard.

What? You already knew that?

Well...huh.

So, if we are all aware that life is hard...why in the world...do we make it harder? Why are we content with pushing other people down, tearing other people apart and making other people's lives miserable?

Life already throws at us, some shabby situations. Financial issues. Car trouble. The flu. Broken bones. Stitches. Unexpected bills. Unexpected household floods, due to a mischievous little boy. Ahem.

Then, on top of it, there are more serious hardships that get thrown at us, that we can't control. Like watching your six week old child almost die. Over and over. Like a recurrent cancer diagnosis. Like watching your little brother suffer for months...and finally let go. Like miscarrying a baby, you prayed so hard for. Like the day you realize that nothing else can be done...and knowing you'll have to watch your Mom die.

Life. Is. Hard.

Shouldn't we, as adults, be here to support one another through life? When did it ever become okay to hurt other people? To judge other people? To cause other people unnecessary pain?

I may not "approve" of every one's choices or decisions they have made in their life. But...when did it become my right or responsibility to "approve"? Instead, isn't it my obligation as a mature adult to accept people's choices, as their own?

I think that it comes down to the simple understanding that while people's life choices may not coincide with mine, if they do not affect my life, why would I bother worrying about them? There is a quote I love, that reflects this, perfectly: "I'm the one that has to die when it's time for me to die, so let me live my life, the way I want to."

Does this mean that I accept all choices? Well, no. Let me back track a minute. Will I ever accept the choices of a pedophile who preys on innocent, young children? No. May he burn forever in hell. Will I ever accept the choices of a man who hits a woman? Of course not.

It boils down to common sense. Are the choices that are being made, intentionally hurting someone else? If the answer is no...then what is the problem?

Why does the world feel that it is okay to judge things that doesn't affect them? If someone wants to have tattoos...how does that hurt you? If someone chooses to worship differently than you...why do you assume they are wrong? If someone loves someone of the same sex...how does that affect your life? If someone wants to breastfeed their baby in public...how are you caused a hardship? Plain and simple...you aren't. You, and you alone, are choosing to let someone else's decisions bother you. Why should someone else's happiness...make you unhappy?

*sigh*

Life. Is. Hard.

We can't control all the horrible things that life throws at us. One day, that person that you judge will be gone. There won't be a chance to apologize and you could realize too late, that being critical was a waste of precious time. Isn't it important that we all support each other, while we can?

You don't have to approve of some one's life. You don't have to even understand.

Acceptance and respect go a long way. <3

I'm A Work In Progress

I debated doing this post...because WOW does it suck posting these pictures and realizing how... *shudder*...I used to look. But, you know what? I've been through a lot and worked hard to get where I am...so why not celebrate my journey so far? It's not over...not by a long shot...but I think I deserve to be excited about what I've done in 4.5 years.

The top left picture was my absolute heaviest I have ever been. That was when I was pregnant with Luke. Obviously the top right was was when he was about a year old...and I hadn't lost much weight....ahem.
The bottom two pictures were taken within the last month, so 4.5 years later. (Keep in mind that I lost Carter and gave birth to Peanut during that 4.5 years...) Big changes, huh?

I'm not done! I'm still working hard to reach my goal...31 lbs to go, to do that!!! I can't wait to post pictures when I reach that. But, until then, I am going to celebrate the fact that as of today, I have lost a total of... 82 pounds. Crazy, isn't it? Josh says he didn't even realize that I was that big and to be honest...I didn't want to admit it either.

But...I can now.

Because...I'm not now.

And...I never will be again.

I can blame it on a lot of things.  (Like having 6 pregnancies in 7 years. Or having hypothyroidism.) But when it comes down to it, the reasons "why", don't really matter. All that matters is that I've done something about it.

Here's to the final chapter. The homestretch. The final  push. I know I can do this. :)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

That's Important To Me

My friend shared this song on Facebook a few days ago and I've been thinking about it, ever since. There is so much in this world that I focus my energy on...but what is really important to me? Do I spend enough time and effort on these things?

Maybe I need a little reminder of things that are important to me...



Tolerance...and teaching my children of love,
Reminding them always, of their Grandma, above.

That's important to me.

Working hard...for all that I own,
Providing my kids with a safe, loving home.

That's important to me.

Dealing with stress, without getting alarmed,
Talking it out, whenever things get hard.

That's important to me.

Learning to overcome and let go of the past,
Accepting that not every friendship lasts.

That's important to me.

Not being affected, by those who are fake,
Loving myself, even through my mistakes.

That's important to me.

Being true to myself and what I believe,
Being proud of myself, for the goals I achieve.

That's important to me.

Always doing my best and giving my all,
Because I know that they watch me, every time that I fall.

That's important to me.

Saying, "I love you", every single day,
Because at any moment, you could be taken away.

That's so important to me.