Welcome to my little ol' blog. I'll be upfront about it: I don't blog very often any more. If you found your way here because you read my book "Trailer Life," have a gander! But it's easier to keep up with me on Instagram or on my Facebook page. I have this long, drawn out theory on why I'm a terrible blogger, but that is a story for another day. Enjoy the ramblings of my life from the last 8 years or so.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

What Christmas Means to Me

Sounds like the title of a fourth grade essay assignment, right?
I happen to love three Christmas movies in particular. I admit that I have never seen some of the classics such as “It’s a Wonderful Life.” This is where I also admit that I am rather juvenile in my preferences for movies in general. I demand some laughs and entertainment, just like a nine year old. My top three Christmas movies are as follows: How The Grinch Stole Christmas starring Jim Carrey, The Muppet Christmas Carol, and Elf.
I know, I know. A lot of people don’t think of Elf as a “real” Christmas movie. Jim Carrey? The Muppets? REALLY?
Yes, really.
You see, although I am quite child-like in my love of Christmas movies, I sometimes like to pretend to be philosophical and attempt to extrapolate meanings where there might not be some. This happened two years ago when I had to answer the question, “What does Christmas mean to you?”
Like a nine year old, I had no idea what to say. Presents? Finding the tape so I could wrap presents? Cookies? Trees? The birth of Christ? Santa? The hustle and bustle and rush and stress of now being a grown-up responsible for the season?
The question put me in a mood. Not only did it force me to realize all the “stuff” I was responsible for doing and that I was likely failing at, but I didn’t even like my answers. Since we had lived in the trailer for so long, we had a tradition of not doing a tree (no room, and that little one I bought was tossed out the door in a fit of rage where it broke, and I knew for certain I had just ruined the holiday for my little ones for the rest of their lives). I tried to place the emphasis on the religious events that are the reason for Christmas. We would read Luke, chapter 2. We talked about the new star in the East. All of that.
But apparently, the lessons weren't sinking in! Or, at least they didn't have meaning for me yet. I heard the words, but didn't understand the significance. I was still caught up in the trappings of the holiday, even while keeping things minimal. Those who know me know that a little stress makes me super productive. Too much stress turns me into a Grinch. Or, a Scrooge. Or even, a Walter! Which one was worse? It doesn’t matter, because I was all of them. “Christmas is a stretched budget. It’s spending money on memories! It’s untangling lights!” I might as well have added an audible “Bah, Humbug!”
The question, “What does Christmas mean to you?” needed to be answered. Not for the person asking it, but for myself. I reflected on my favorite Christmas movies, and it hit me. What do they all have in common? The Grinch? He started with a too small heart and loathing for the holiday, but his heart grew and he changed. Scrooge? He was a bitter old soul who was shown his past, the present, and a potential future, and he changed. Walter, who is Buddy the Elf’s dad, was a hard working cheat who couldn’t relate to his family, and he changed.
Christmas is about hope and change.
Santa Claus is a brilliant figure and I love how he symbolizes thoughtfulness and generosity. Santa encourages good behavior because he checks his list, and acting good is a positive thing. But acting good and being good are two different things. We all have our faults, and we all have things in our lives we wish were different. These things are as vast and varied as the stars in the sky.
Those familiar with the New Testament in the Bible and Luke 2 know from whence this change comes. Luke 2 gives the account of the birth of Jesus Christ. Followers of Christ know this to be the earthly beginning of his ministry, and the New Testament is full of His works while on the Earth. He is the best example of what we should act like, of HOW we should be. We fall short because we are human, but true followers will strive to be like Him every day. Christians know that He died on the cross and atoned for all mankind’s sins, and his suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane covers not only our sins, but our grievances, our hurts and our sorrows. “BUT THAT’S EASTER!” my brain says. “WHAT ABOUT THE BIRTH?”
A birth is a new beginning. A baby is innocent. A new life brings hope for the future. I’m sure we’ve all looked at a precious newborn and thought, “I wonder what this baby will grow up to be like?” It’s those feelings of hope for the future that I try to remember when Christmas comes. I can have hope that I can change. If I mess up, I can repent and change my actions and thoughts. If there is something about myself that I do not like, that is not moving me in the direction I want to go, there is HOPE that I can CHANGE and become a better person. This hope for change came with the birth of Christ. This is the best reason to celebrate the holiday!
Like Walter, The Grinch, and Scrooge, it is a hope in the future and the potential for change of the present that makes Christmas so special. I couldn’t put my finger on it for so long: that “feeling” of Christmas. Even those who are not familiar with Christ know that the season brings feelings of something else, something more than Santa and presents. Those feelings are hope and change.
Hope and change came with the birth of a baby in Bethlehem thousands of years ago. Hope and change can still be felt today.
Merry Christmas to you all!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Christmas is Coming, and I'm Not Ready!

So what else is new, right?

I'm just not quite ready. I've been largely without a husband this month, since he transferred to a new area and is stuck with the afternoon shift. With the commute, that means he is gone from 10:30 am to 12:30 am. I see him just long enough to say "hi." And if he goes out of town to say, I don't know, work on one of our cars or something, or goes to his High Council stuff on Sundays (all of this "out of town" business means he drives to Bakersfield, which is an hour and twenty minutes away), we don't see him.

We have no tree. Not even a fake one.

I'm partially okay with that. We have a Christmas Table instead. I bought a festive (and cute!) tablecloth and we set up a train on it. The presents I do have wrapped are on the table. I suppose living in the trailer broke me of expecting much for Christmas. We do have lights up on our staircase...that makes it feel a bit Christmassy.

I'm attempting to craft for Christmas. I would like to say that I truly enjoy that and it's going so well! But I'm not sure I can say that. Nothing catastrophic has happened: I still have all my fingers, I haven't bled on anything, and I only messed something up twice. I'm more concerned with the reaction of the people receiving the gifts. They are mostly my own kids, so I think I'm good. But, still.

P.S. The diet I was on is blown up to a million little bits. I've eaten cookies for breakfast. Cookies for lunch. I'm dying in a sugar coma. I vacillate between being enormously happy and tremendously depressed. That's the sugar talking, I know it!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Planners, Failure, and Crying in the Morning

Let's start with the last of the subjects in my title. Crying in the morning.

So I did, this morning. A good, ugly cry. It came out of nowhere, sort of. Okay, not really. But to admit its source is to admit to something of a pity party for myself. I suppose it comes down to being worn out and just TIRED of feeling invisible to my children. I am invisible until they need something, and then it's my fault they don't have a) clean underwear, b)a good enough snack, or c) the right style of shorts for basketball practice.

It's kind of like a slap in the face to hear one of your kids mimic your voice as he expresses his frustration to his brother that he can't find the pair of shorts he wants. I suppose I just came mentally unhinged because I promise to you this was like the last straw.

On Sunday morning, three of my children showered, and not ONE of them used soap the first time. I remind my children two times a day to brush their teeth, and IF they do it, there is a 75% chance that they don't use toothpaste. (I should clarify. I remind them morning and night. And then I have to ask if they did it. And then I have to tell them to do it again. Twice a day.) I tell them to put their dirty clothes in the DIRTY CLOTHES BASKET and yet...they are on the floor. This is all so gross, I can't even handle it.

So, this morning I cried in frustration that one of my own kids could be so rude, and then I mourned the loss of my freedom because I'm pretty sure I'm gonna have to start brushing their teeth myself. I'm gonna have to put a chair in the bathroom while they shower and sit there and make sure the dirty underwear goes where it needs to, and that towels are hung up. I really thought we were all too old for this, but I guess not.

Perhaps I am just a lazy mom? Like, my expectations are too high, and I need to stop what I'm doing (being lazy) and physically help them do stuff.

Sometimes being the person who gets to cook everything and clean everything (because chores aren't always done) is just draining. Hello? We all live here.

Going on a vacation by myself sounds like a nice idea, except that honestly, that just makes it harder to come home to the mess. Lol.

Enough of that. That is whining, and it feels good to get it off my chest and out of my head. I can move on now. (Except that my kids are going to flip out when I am brushing their teeth tonight. I can't wait. Mommy boot camp, here we come.)


So, I failed at something. I knew deep down that I would, and the worst part is everyone else's expectations. I can fail myself because I'm used to that, but failing others is the pits! I did not pass the Bar the first time. It's a set back for us financially, but other than that, it's no biggie. I'm kind of excited to take it again, now that I've made a plan. And, maybe I'm excited because while I failed, I didn't do THAT bad all things considered. I was so overwhelmed this summer with the short amount of time I gave myself. That was fatal mistake numbers 1,2, and 4. I seriously thought that 7 weeks would be plenty. Trouble was, I wasn't remembering anything from three and four years prior. I was overwhelmed and trying to cram in the law. I did no writing practice. None. Zero. Mistake number 3 was this: bar writing is different than legal writing is different than all other writing. So, I have a plan, feel good about it, and am not at all worried about it this go around. (I found a website, in case you came across this post as a California Bar Exam failure (non-passer?): Make This Your Last Time  This guy nailed how I studied the first time and why I failed. Sound advice and a little swearing, FYI.) I am worried enough that I need to be done with the test and not take the dang thing AGAIN. But not at all scared or nervous. Last time I was on defense. This time, I am on offense, and I'm going to kick the Bar's behind so I can finally feel "finished" and like I'm not in this really weird state where I graduated but am nothing more than I was before I started. I am happy to realize that while last June I was drowning in a sea of "I can't do this! I don't remember all this!" I am now happily remembering all of it, and being able to use the information to my advantage.

It probably helps the kids are in school and it's quiet at my house, too! I don't have guilt about ignoring them.

It also helps that my heart is into this time. Last time, I wasn't sure I could do it, and wasn't sure I wanted to be a lawyer. I know now that I do, for sure. It took me about a day after failing to decide if I really wanted to do it; if it was the right path for me. Answer: it is. I feel like I can help so many people by easing their stress during their divorce. It boggles my mind how inept most attorneys seem to be in this area. Dragging feet to file paperwork? FORGET to file paperwork? Not return phone calls or give updates? I can't even.


I have planner woes. The perfect planner just does not exist for me. I found one that was REALLY close for 2015 and it has served me well, It's the MORMON MOM PLANNER. I totally recommend it! She has non-Mormon planners that are exactly the same, minus the Family Home Evening and Sunday Lessons Schedule, etc. I finally tweaked it to my liking just this last month, but it still isn't perfect. I find that I don't use all the boxes and spaces, and that bugs me. (I have issues, lol.)

I think I found the solution though. I received a Midori Travelers Notebook for my birthday. I love the leather! I've fiddled with inserts and didn't love what I had going on until now. I'll post pictures soon...but I've found that "bullet journaling" is a better use of my brain and paper space for planning. I also watched the bullet journal video, and the part where the notebook is eating up the post it notes is so ME. I have post-its and note cards EVERYWHERE. I love how plain and simple it is. You can look at bullet journaling on Instagram and Pinterest and see lots and lots of creative people being artistic with their planners, but I'm not that way. All I do is get jealous! But then I quickly remind myself that I have "other talents" and that is where I must focus my energies and not my envies.

By the way, I'm a big fan of finding your talents. Just do it. Try, fail, succeed, find out your can but don't enjoy something, fail again, become a master at something. We all have different skills and potential.


Just don't expect my planner to be artistic and beautiful, because it won't be. It'll be all linear with messy handwriting.


The rest of my day is going to be a good day. It will be, because I will make it so. I'm off: off to go write some bar essays, off to go fold towels, and off to go get myself organized so I can go and do all those things I need to do and want to do.