Find-A-Friend Friday: Meet Cat

Our new friend this week is Cat, writing from my home state of Georgia.  It’s been great to meet so many new people this way. Here’s Cat:

Hello Ladies– My name is Catherine, but I go by Cat. I have the best job in the world, mother of three beautiful kids; two boys {4 and 2} and a little girl {10 weeks} I love being a mother and feel it is a sacred calling that is to be treasured every moment. My husband and I just celebrated our 5th anniversary last week and I love that even still he makes me feel like the goofy 19 year old I was when I fell in love with him. He is my best friend and quite honestly the best part about me. Did I mention we also celebrated two birthday and mother’s day that same week as well? May is a busy month for us. We currently call Atlanta home and have for about 4 and half years, but are longing to move back north. Maybe Philadelphia or Seattle?? Who knows where the life we are living will lead us, but I know that as long as we are together it will be grand.

I grew up in south Florida. I don’t recommend living there. Sorry, I’m just being honest. It was great growing up there; surfing and lounging in the sun, eating ice cream on a dock some where, as you are always surrounded by water living 10 minutes from the beach, or hanging out with friends. Living there as a working adult, totally different story. Don’t move there expecting to feel like you are on vacation. Don’t say you weren’t warned…lol. I have one brother who is 13, which yes, means we are 12 years apart. It’s really cool actually and neat to see him growing into a young man that I can talk to about something other than legos. Love ya bro.

What’s your favorite part of motherhood?

My favorite part of motherhood would have to be a toss up between cuddling the tiny newborns during their first 3 days and watching their own different personalities start to develop. Love it!

What part of motherhood would you subcontract out if you could?

Discipline. I don’t like to be the bad guy. Ever…

Name 2 or 3 items on your “bucket list.”  (Some things you’d like to do before you die.)

They all have to do with travel;

1. Stay at the Ice hotel in Sweden. My husband served his mission there so I’d get the “non-tourist” point of view.

2. Spend a few weeks with my husband in a rented farmhouse somewhere in Provence, France.

3.  I want to go camping with ALL our kids at Quoddy Head National Park {Maine} – It is the most eastern point in the continental United States. You may remember a Subaru commercial a few years back with the guys camping at the most eastern point of the US on new years eve so they can celebrate first? I so want to do that!!

Brag for a minute.  Do it.  What are a few things that you’re pretty good at?

I am an excellent speller. I’m no Scripps spelling bee contestant, but just the regular verbiage of the daily tongue, I’m pretty good.

This one is silly, I know, but I’m a good driver. I’ve never been in accident or gotten a ticket.

Any finally, one thing I prize myself at being good at is that more often than not I have a very positive attitude. I learned early on in my life that the power of positive thinking can get you far in life. That when things are not going your way or you are just plain down about something its better not dwell on the horrible, instead formulate a plan to slay it and journey onward to happiness. “You have five minutes to wallow in the delicious misery. Enjoy it. Embrace it. Discard it. And proceed…”

What are you loving lately?

I am loving getting all my ducks in a row with my home school agenda. In the last year I’ve been studying styles, curriculum, and gathering GREAT ideas and advice from all you great moms out there in the blogosphere. My oldest boy (4) thrives on learning and craves knowledge. I am so excited to dive into the great adventure and study things that interest him and learn through living.

Do you have a favorite scripture or quote?  Why?

One of my favorite quotes is, “Having a baby is like getting a tattoo on your face. You really need to be certain it’s what you want before you commit.” Elizabeth Gilbert

My favorite scripture is D&C 76; 22-24

And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives!For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father—

That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God.

What do you gravitate toward during your unscheduled time?

Reading and writing. I was NOT a reader growing up; I’m serious, my bookshelf had like 10 book on it. A few summers ago I tripped and fell into a “Chick-lit” hole with a side of young adult reads and I’ve never really resurfaced. Favorite author plug: Emily Giffin…check her out:) There’s also a part of me that has this silly notion that I can write a book. So I decided to try my hand at it an currently 100 pages into my first manuscript. Go me:)

Tell us some of your best mom-tricks  (things you’ve figured out that work well for you).

One of my best mom tricks is to remember to take some time for myself. I love my children, deeply, but in order for me to be a patient, kind toned mother I strive to be I have to take some time to myself and regroup occasionally. Whether it’s sitting in Barnes and Nobles surround of piles of books on my to-read list, going to a movie by myself, or being honest with my husband and telling him I could really use and extra hour of sleep once in a while. When mama’s happy, every ones happy.

Consistency is also another biggie in which I’m sure I’m not the first to mention, and that’s probably because its TOTALLY true. There are of course moments that do not want to follow through with something for one reason or another, but the 2-9 steps back {depending on the day} are so not with it. Follow through! Follow through! Follow through!

If you were in charge of a girls’ night out, what kind of activity would you love to plan?

I really am a big fan of a couple of close gal pals sitting around a table at Maggiano’s sipping on some Pellegrino and talking about love, life, and learning.

What parts of your testimony are you the most sure of?

My testimony is constantly growing and I try really hard to remind myself that the more I share it, the more it will in fact grow, however, I have the hardest time gaining the confidence to share it. That’s a story for another day though-  So I try to live by example. I am sure without a shadow of a doubt that Jesus is the Christ and that he lives. That he has the power to bless us in our time of need, heal us when we are broken, and provide us with tremendous joys.

Give your best advice to a newlywed or expectant mom.

NEW MOMS: If you get an epidural have your nurse standing by with a benedryl because you are gonna be UBER itchy afterwards. Also, if you are fortunate enough to be able to nurse, stick with it and don’t be afraid to ask for help because it’s one of the most rewarding privileges you’ll ever have. And finally even if you are a type A wonder woman who likes everything in its right place always {I’m not like that at all..lol} Stop it for as long as you can, or at least the first few days and take the time to just hold and cuddle with your baby. They will grow so fast, and you will most likely have less time with the next child cause you’ll already have a little darling running around.

If your life had a theme song, what would it be and why?

They can’t take that away from me; Ella Fitzgerald.

First off it’s the song I danced to at my wedding with my husband, so obvious special place in my heart there. Another reason is because all the special things I’ve been given in my life will stay with me forever. They are my memories, my love, my lessons learned, and will be with me eternally.

Tell us about your blog:

My blog is known affectionately as Her Eclectic Life. It’s my baby, literally; I just started it a few months ago and then I had my daughter. So now that I’m back up and running in most areas of my life I update as regularly as possible. With what you may ask? I love giving free food alerts because I am a big couponer. It saves my family money and also gives me  the ability to build our 3-month food supply. Preparedness is another thing I love to talk about, because its something all of us can use in our lives. I love craft projects that make my house a home, finding a cheap piece at Goodwill and turning into a Pottery Barn knock off, a good pair of shoes I just can’t help but share, and recipes that will change your life, even if it didn’t come from my brain. I love taking a little of this and little of that from over here and over there and improving my life and sharing them with you. That’s her eclectic life.  Hope you enjoy and I LOVE comments and new friends. 🙂

Thanks, Cat.  As always, it’s been a pleasure. 

Say hello to Cat in the comments below or drop by her blog to spread some love.

Tell me you’re torn too.

In less than 3 weeks, school is out.  Children will be home full-time for the summer.  I can’t figure out if I’m thrilled or terrified.

No more frantically getting children out the door to the bus in the morning.

No more papers to sign and return or send emails about when I lose them.

No more volunteering at the school and putting books in to ziploc bags for two and half hours straight.

No more packing lunches.

No more backpacks and their contents scattered on my kitchen floor.

versus:

No more one-on-one time with the kids when their staggered school schedules send them out and bring them home at different times.

No more quiet, alone time for 6 blessed hours a week when they were actually all in school and preschool at the same time.

No more leaving my children’s education and daily schedule up to some one else.

No more dealing with them in shifts.  It’s all three, all day, every day.

Yah, it’s a tough one.  I acknowledge this makes me a total mom wimp.  I had all three at home all day for several years and a few summers after that, but you know how it is.  Once you’ve tasted the sweet flavor of freedom, it’s hard to go back.  I admit there’s parts about it I enjoy, but I’m determined to have a plan.  I  need a routine in place or we will all drive each other absolutely nuts. “Mom, I’m bored. What can I do?” I’ll be able to face that first week they’re back home if I know how the summer will go.  Here are my ideas so far:

  • 30 minutes a day of summer reading
  • 30 minutes a day of workbook pages or writing exercises
  • daily chores
  • Some kind of scheduled activity each day of the week, probably mid-day, some spilling into the afternoon.  Ideas for now:  1.  Library and lunch (picnic or eating out),  2. Creative Projects (art, crafts, sewing, gardening, etc.), 3.  Meal planning and grocery shopping (I’m going to let each child choose one dinner recipe a week and buy all the ingredients for it at the store.  Then the day we eat it, they can help me make it.), 4.  Service (I’m looking for some kind of formal volunteer opportunity we can all do together.  Hoping for Meals on Wheels.),  and 5. Outings (preferably free.  Parks, canyons, walks, …. any suggestions here?)
  • Free time and play time in the afternoons.  Hopefully lots of sunny days for swimming and outside play.
  • Quiet time (ha! I’m really going to try) while I’m fixing dinner.  Kids in own rooms doing reading, listening to books or music, quiet play, etc.
  • I’ve been tossing around the idea of teaching them some Spanish this summer.  I was a darn good Spanish teacher in my pre-kids life and I’ve got all the materials I need.  I should do it.
  • We’ll do one family camping trip a month.  It’s hard work, but we love it.
  • I also thought about making a “bored box” with ideas in it that they have to pick out and do if they ever tell me they’re bored.

Some people will think all that’s just craziness, but it helps me a lot to have a blueprint to work with.  There will be lots of flexibility.  Plans will change on any given day due to weather, sickness, laziness, holidays, calendar events, or children spending half the day in time-out (I’m a realist.).

What are some of your summer plans and strategies?  I’d love to hear them.  Are you excited?  Worried?  Seriously, are you torn too?

If you ever needed a DVR …

Today and tomorrow, some principal talks from last month’s Women’s Conference will be rebroadcast on BYUTV.  I really hope you can watch them or at least record them to watch later.  They should all be wonderful, but I cannot emphasize enough how much you need to listen to Sister Beck’s talk.  It is phenomenal.  This schedule does not break down the exact times of each talk, but they will be broadcast consecutively over a 3-hour block.

Monday, May 16, 8:00 to 11:00 a.m. MDT (BYUTV)

“By Small and Simple Things”
Virginia H. Pearce

“Ideals Are Stars to Steer By: They Are
Not a Stick to Beat Ourselves With”

Barbara Thompson
President Cecil O. Samuelson

“The Best Measure of True Greatness Is
How Christlike We Are”

Kathy K. Clayton
Elaine S. Dalton

Friday Morning (April 29) Opening Session
Julie B. Beck

Tuesday, May 17, 8:00 to 11:00 a.m. MDT (BYUTV)

“We Are Going to Do Something
Extraordinary”

Elaine L. Jack, Bonnie D. Parkin,
Mary Ellen Smoot, Barbara Winder,
Sharon Eubank (moderator)

“The Legacy of Relief Society”
Susan W. Tanner
John S. Tanner

“Visiting Teaching: Making a Difference
by Small and Simple Means”

Bridgette Blackwelder Server
Mary Ellen Edmunds

Wednesday, May 18, 8:00 to 11:00 a.m. MDT (BYUTV)

Friday Afternoon (April 29)
Closing Session

Elder David A. Bednar

“The Plan of Salvation:
One of Heaven’s
Best Gifts to Mankind”

Rosemary M. Wixom
Jean A. Stevens
Cheryl A. Esplin

“I Did Frankly Forgive Them”
Lolly S. Osguthorpe
Russell T. Osguthorpe

You can’t help but feel inspired as you listen to these messages.  If you’re feeling left out because you don’t live in Utah and don’t get satellite TV, I’m pretty sure you can watch them live on the internet here.  If watching them isn’t an option for you, you’re still not out of luck.  Transcripts should soon be available here so you can at least read them.

Good luck, and have a great week!

GCBC Week 7: “Waiting on the Road to Damascus” by President Dieter F. Uctdorf

Did you get your conference Ensign in the mail?  Yay.  Now you can curl up on the couch and read the talks with the Ensign in hand, not to mention the joy of marking them up.  This week we will study President Uctdorf’s talk.  I loved the message of moving forward with faith and not getting hung up on doubt or hesitation.  I’m interested to hear your thoughts on this one.

“Waiting on the Road to Damascus” by President Dieter F. Uctdorf

What stood out to you as you read?  In what ways do you think he’s asking us to apply this message?  Share your thoughts and conversation in the comment thread below.  If you’re new to GCBC, check out the club here.

Find-A-Friend Friday: Meet Tristan

I’m happy to introduce you to Tristan.  Tristan is a new blogging friend of mine, and I think you’ll agree that she’s doing some extraordinary mom work.  Thanks Tristan!

Good Morning everyone, my name is Tristan and I just turned 30 last month.  I finally feel like a grown up!  I’ve lived in Ohio my whole life and love it.  I met and married my husband Jason almost 11 years ago, at the ripe old age of 19.  We were sealed in the Columbus Ohio Temple.  I worked full time driving a forklift during the early part of our marriage, until partway through my first pregnancy.  Preterm labor sent me home and I’ve been there happily ever since.  I’m grateful for a husband who does all he can to make it possible for me to stay home with the children.  Let me introduce you to them, they are some of my favorite people:

1.     Makayla, who turns 10 next month, is becoming quite the young lady and helper, when she’s not trying to boss mommy around.  She loves to read as much as mommy does.

2.     Joseph, age 6, is my sensitive boy.  While he was a wall climber when younger he has settled into his boyness and loves to build things with Legos.

3.     Right on his heels comes Emma, age 5.  She’s my stubborn child, but she’s also very independent.  Learning comes easily to her and she keeps me running to keep up.

4.     Daniel is my charmer and at 3 ½ I am already wondering where his acrobatics and grin will take him.  He’ll either be in the special forces of the military or become a salesman who can get you to buy anything.

5.     Oliver comes next and he’s 2.  His talent at the moment is getting into everything, even if it’s higher than mommy can reach.  He still loves to snuggle with mommy and his favorite book this week is Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Eric Carle.

6.     Caleb is the baby right now and will be 6 months old next week.  He’s been a happy baby from day one and is a joy and delight – even when he wants to play at 2am.

We’re a homeschooling family and always have been.  It’s a busy life, but a blessed one!  I found a few minutes to answer some questions, so read on to learn more about me.

Brag for a minute.  Do it.  What are a few things that you’re pretty good at?  I’m great at organizing – be it a house, basement, paperwork, or food storage.  If you let me I’ll happily come organize and declutter for you.  I’m also good at teaching all ages, it’s something I even enjoy doing.  I love homeschooling, teaching at church, or anywhere else.  Need a lesson taught because the teacher didn’t show?  I’ll do it – just give me one minute to think and we’re set for an hour’s class.

What are you loving lately?  Lots of things!  I love that my children are all growing and becoming little people who can do so many things.  Though I must be honest that finding the 2 year old climbing on the stove or stripping naked every hour or two IS getting a bit old.  I’m loving the 70 degree weather, can’t summer stay like this instead of getting really hot?  I also really love my Kindle and being able to read so many good books anywhere we go, including on a blanket in the back yard.

What’s something you don’t usually want people to know about you, but that they need to know if they’re going to be your friend?  I’m bossy and pretty opinionated.  I’m pretty good at keeping the bossy part to interactions with family members, but those opinions just seems to slip out all the time!  I really don’t mean to offend, but I will tell you what I think, especially if you ask.

If you were in charge of a girls’ night out, what kind of activity would you love to plan?  A book club!  We would all read one of Jane Austen’s books, talk about it, and maybe even watch one of the movies.  There would also be chocolate involved, the darker the better.

What parts of your testimony are you the most sure of?  I know Jesus is our Savior and that He truly understands our sorrows and pains.  I am never alone, and there is always someone who understands what I’m going through or struggling with.  I am so grateful for that!  I also have a testimony of the power of the priesthood and priesthood blessings.

What’s your favorite part of motherhood?  I love hearing my children’s faith in everyday conversation, that unwavering trust in God and His word.  If God says it, it’s true, as simple as that.  O that I could be so unquestioning!  I also love the snuggles, hugs, and kisses – especially right after they wake up.

What part of motherhood would you subcontract out if you could?  I would be completely happy to let someone else do the cooking, or at least plan the meals.  I don’t mind baking, but the day in day out thinking up meals and cooking just wears my brain out.  That and the never-ending dishes that go along with said cooking!

What homemaking job/task gives you the most satisfaction?  I really love it when my kitchen counters are clean.  Having things piled on them just makes me cringe and feel like running out of the kitchen.  So I love it when the dishes are all done and everything has been wiped down.

Tell us some of your best mom-tricks  (things you’ve figured out that work well for you).  Quiet time is my best mom trick, followed by the power of a family working together.  I’ll explain:

Quiet time happens every day.  Right around 1pm everyone in the house goes to a quiet spot with books and they stay there until 2:30pm.  The children are welcome to sleep, nap, read, sleep(or nap!), or listen to an audio book.  Mommy gets to do the same.  I’ve found that with so many people in the house every day all day we need that time to just be alone.

Family Work – from the moment they can crawl or walk the children begin doing chores.  First they are welcomed to help anyone older.  We encourage them to work with us, even though it makes the process take a bit longer.  Then as they grow they know how to do a job independently.  For example, my 2 and 3 year olds can load and unload the dishwasher all by themselves because they’ve been doing it since they could crawl over to it and get things out.  Here is where the power comes in.  When my husband and I gather six children to clean the house or do a job together we can accomplish so much in a very short amount of time.  We work well together, and the older children are gaining wonderful skills when training the younger ones.

Desert Island Question.  If you were stranded on a desert island (most moms would actually crave this) and could only take 3 items with you, what would they be?  My 3G Kindle to have access to all the books I want (including my scriptures!), ice, and something to cook in.

What’s something unexpected in your life, and how have you dealt with it?  I’ve always thought I would have a lot of children.  Growing up I thought ten was a good number.  However, I never expected to have difficulties during pregnancy.  In ten years of marriage I’ve been pregnant nine times.  Three of those times God filled my heart with love for a child but has asked me to wait to hold that child in my arms until eternity.  Three times I have had a miscarriage.  The first was devastating.  I had one child and it took several years to get pregnant again, only to lose the baby.  It was at this time that I truly became thankful for the power of priesthood blessings and for the presence of the Comforter.  I was in a very dark place, I felt forsaken and broken, but God gives ‘beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning’ (Isaiah 61:3)

Since that first loss I have had bleeding during various pregnancies that still ended with healthy babies.  I have also walked into an ultrasound for what I thought would be a routine check up only to find the baby had died.  It was unexpected and my heart broke all over again.  Over the years I have learned to celebrate every moment of pregnancy, from that very first positive test, through months of morning sickness, to swelling feet, sciatic nerve trouble, and exhaustion.  Because I know that those times may be all I have with the child growing in my womb, until the Resurrection.  I am joyful now, content to create bodies for God’s spirit children for however long they need them.  I do not have all the answers, but I know the one who does.  He sent His Son to atone for my sins and provide the ordinances of the temple to seal families for eternity.  I am blessed.

Give your best advice to a newlywed or expectant mom.  Treasure every moment of pregnancy and life because it truly goes by so quickly and there are no guarantees in life.  You are the mother, so while others may give advice, you are the one who knows your child best.  God is the best place to seek advice, and he is waiting for you to ask.  He will answer you or send someone to do so.

Tell us about your blog:  I love to write and you can find me blogging at Our Busy Homeschool pretty much daily.  There you’ll get a peek into our life and homeschool.  We keep it real, so you’ll hear the good, the bad, and the messy.

Thanks again, Tristan.  You can respond to any of her interview here or drop by her blog to say hello.  Next week our new friend could be you…. 🙂