Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Spokane Washington The Power of Moms Retreat

You know how you plan things and really hope with all your heart that you actually follow through with them?  About a year ago I set a goal for myself to accomplish something that I thought would actually really require time and effort but I was going to actually DO it this time.  I set a goal to hold a The Power of Moms Retreat in Spokane, WA, where I grew up.  And to top it all off, I decided I would be a co-presenter with my cousin Saren Eyre Loosli, who is also the co-founder of The Power of Moms.  I DID IT!
This last weekend Saren, my sister Karley and my daughter Morgan and I drove to Spokane where Saren and I held a Retreat with about 35 amazing moms in attendance.  It was wonderful and the moms there were just like the other moms we find at these retreats...beautiful, deliberate, creative, friendly, compassionate and humble.

Me, Daisy Phillips, Chatol Sego, Saren

As I look back on the small miracles that happened in order to make this Retreat possible I have to share just a few things.  When I was in the planning stages we were in need of a host location that could accomodate a lot of women.  We like to hold retreats in homes so this requires a good sized home.  My friend had graciously offered her beautiful cabin, but we felt it might require too much travel for those coming in from Seattle and outlying areas.  With no place in mind we threw a request out to the moms on our Power of Moms Facebook page and so quickly, a willing and excited Andrea Hainsworth stepped up to host.  As retreat approached and it was 2 days previous, a family tragedy occurred for the Hainsworths and another amazing friend and neighbor offered her home in exchange.  She wasn't even going to be in town, but KariAnn Roland opened her home and accomodations to us.  Willing trainers stepped up to purchase the food and help with the logistics and everything came together beautifully.

My family has been so supportive of me through all of the craziness, I work part time and added this to my schedule, but I hope that my kids are learning that it is ok for you to pursue your passions even as a mother.  They have been amazing and excited for me.  Each time a registration for the retreat came in they would at least feign enthusiasm for me as I did a little happy dance with each registration.
And so my point that I want to leave you with is this:  Don't let anyone, including Satan, tell you that you can't make a difference and do what you are passionate about.  I am passionate about helping moms that are in the trenches of the most important thing they will ever do.  Giving them tools to make the job easier and above all, sharing with them that we are all in this together.  We all share the same trials and frustrations and even though we are not CAPABLE of doing this job perfectly, the learning and the joy is in DOING IT REGARDLESS.  You can make a difference, but not if you don't try.  I can't wait to present again, to learn more to share and share what I learn.

I am so thankful to Saren for making this happen with me and for believing in me.  Our mothers are sisters, my birth mom, Lenna and her mom Linda.  They are amazing women that give me identity.  Saren has become one of my dearest friends.  Thankful as well for my friend Kim Claypool for being there.  Seeing her and embracing her was just what I needed that day.  She is the wind beneath my wings after 27 years and counting.  Deborah Thomason White for making what was a strained relationship in our teenage years, now a bond that I will treasure.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Our Own Personal Olympics

Like most Americans we are intently focused on the Olympic games.  I don't know if I am just sappy but I can't get through a victory without crying.  Especially when the camera finds mom and dad in the audience.  There we were watching last night as those amazing little gymnasts performed so amazingly well and before I knew it I was in a puddle of tears as they showed those mothers twisting and turning and jumping and crying as they reacted to their kids' performances. 
I grew up, probably like you, dreaming that maybe one day I could be an athlete at the Olympics.  As that dream drifted into the sunset with age, I again dreamed, this time that one of my kids could achieve such success.  Apparently not going to happen as my kids feel abused if they have to walk home from school two miles!  All in all, not looking good for the Reynolds to become amazing athletes. (I might still be holding out hope for Taylor with basketball and Chance for ... something). But as I cried with those parents last night I was reminded of dance recitals and school programs that have brought me to tears annually.  I can't help but be at one of my children's performances without getting emotional.  Not because they are amazing, truthfully, but because they are my kids.  
Each deliberate parent, no matter what their child's skill level, becomes the cheerleader, the believer and the admirer.  Every time we are put into a position to actually sit, (hold still in one place) and focus on our children, how could we help but be misty-eyed?  These are our families' Olympic moments, our turn to reflect on how far we have come with each child, whether it be emotionally, physically or socially.  We think about all that they have learned and all that we have learned from them. 
So although I'm sure I have many tears ahead as the Olympics play out this Summer, I am even more sure that I could not be prouder than an Olympic parent with each event that my children compete in through this Olympiad of life. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Our Visit to the "Audition and Campaign Hot Place"

So maybe you are asking yourself, "Self, where has Taunie been lately? She hasn't blogged in eons!!"  Funny you should ask, (even if you didn't) because I am going to tell you where I have been.  I have been visiting the Audition and Campaign Hot Place.  That place devoid of any sanity, any reason and any time.  
We were sucked in at the beginning of March with Maddie's ambition to run for SBO officer for 9th grade.  If you have ever visited Campaign and Audition Hot Place you will know that your initiation begins with the creation of several, very original, very creative and, in our case, very time-consuming posters.  For a weekend we were immersed in pictures and catchy phrases, which all of course were tied to our amazing overall theme.  Cutting and pasting and approving and relenting and late nights all ensued. 
After our poster constructing initiation we were quickly whisked into the Fight for the Best Wall Brawl which begins at 7 am on a chosen Monday morning. But, fortunately we learned last year, if you come at 7 you are too late! For those of you who saw Hunger Games, it is not unlike the run to the Cornucopia.  There are few friends on this morning.  Mothers, fathers and anxious students alike rush to the most popular walls in the school -ya, who knew?-to hang their works of art before the spot is taken.  After securing said spot you tape the bejeebers out of your wall art so that no student may mangle or dismantle your poster. 
Then, lest you think the drama is scaling down, begins the CAMPAIGN WEEK!  For the student it is a week of reminding all of the people you ever sat next to, or laid eyes on, or lockered next to, how amazing you are and how much they want to vote for you.  For the parent it is a week of unrelenting stress.  Stomach pain, nausea, and anxiety over the much awaited day of Primary elections where your beloved child will come home with little to no confidence intact (tears to follow), or you will get the victory nod and move onto the final election.
Our first run with Maddie ended in disappointment, but not to be beaten down she moved on to Class Elections joined by Taylor who would run for 8th grade office.  And....you guessed it...back to Poster Brainstorming and late night creativity cramming.
The following Monday it all began again...and I mean, ALL.  So by Friday when I was away visiting my mother, my heart was in my stomach when we got the news that once again, Maddie was defeated, but we were thrilled that Taylor would be moving into the final election.  There was a rainbow that day because not only were we in the throws of Campaign conundrums but we were also knee deep in Madrigal Auditions.  Maddie was putting  her efforts into her musical talents now along with Linzie as they were passionately practicing for Madrigal auditions--Maddie for 9th grade, Linzie for High School.
Taylor actually admitted to me that week that she might be trying to brown nose Heavenly Father.  Can you do that? After listening and singing along with each other more times than should be legal, the Madrigal auditions came and went with Maddie making first cuts.  Linzie didn't get a reprieve, her auditions were all or nothing.  There was much rejoicing as we focused our sights on Friday when all would be weighed and our fates would be known.  ( Are you holding your breath here?)

I was at work when I heard my phone ring.  I was with a patient so I let it go, but I always know it's important when the office phone rings immediately following.  Sure enough, the ring came.  I knew it was for me...it was Taylor..."Guess what?"  I squeezed my face and sucked in, "What?"  "I MADE IT!!  MADDIE MADE MADRIGALS TOO!!!"  I could have screamed if it wouldn't have looked really bad in an Orthodontic office but I did the crying mom number and my own little dance.  Yay!!!!  Then it felt like forever until I heard from Linzie.  Odds were not in her favor.  Only 4 alto spots and 2 soprano available and she was auditioning alto.  She is a Sophomore which would lower her odds.  Finally, the phone call....."I MADE IT!!! I CAN'T BELIEVE IT!!!"  Only 1 Sophomore chosen for alto and only 4 Sophomores altogether made cuts.  Tears of joy for my kids and tears of gratitude that my visit to the Audition and Campaign Hot Place had ended streamed down my cheeks. 

This was last week.  You wonder where I've been?

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Bank of Reynolds

So we have started something new in our family- or another "PROGRAM THAT MOM WILL DO FOR A WEEK" as Linzie called it.  Actually, despite her lack of faith in me (or her too sharp memory)  we have been doing this for over a month I think now and I see the fruit is forming on the tree!!!  Are you so curious now?  We have started a Family Economy.  So now you are probably wondering what that is.  The short version is that we now have a family bank called the "Bank of Reynolds" that is the funding for all of the Reynolds children's purchases.  The way to earn money is by completing  your jobs and responsibilites throughout the week.  The payment is quite generous, at least for a kid, and even more so if all of you finish all of your jobs.  but in return the kids have to buy all of their wants and needs. 
I can't take credit for the plan, it actually came from Richard and Linda Eyre.  They have inspired me to teach my kids to not be ENTITLED!! I read the book "The Entitlement Trap" and my daughter kept telling me I should put that book down, it was giving me strange ideas.  Now don't get the impression that this has gone smoothly.  It has not.  Don't get the impression the kids love it.  I think they love to hate it but love it.  The cool thing is that they no longer come to me for random purchases and actually think twice about how to spend their money.  In fact, I have heard such phrases as "I'm not paying that much for shipping!" and "I don't want to spend my money on that" thrown around the house... It is like music to my ears!!!
In the long run, I think I actually am spending less than before on kid's wants because they have to make their own purchases rather than asking me for things and the money they are earning is really just the money that I would have spent on them for the same items.  Of all of the methods we have tried in our family to teach financial responsibility, I have to tell you, this is the first one that I feel has really worked.
I especially like that the kids are able to make a goal for something that is important for them and actually feel the satisfaction of earning their own money to purchase it over time.  It is teaching patience and rewarding with personal satisfaction.
The last great thing I found to go along with this is a wonderful phone app called "Bank of Mom" that keeps track of all of my kids' earnings and purchases so we have our own "virtual bank" and the kids always know how much they have and have a record of where their money has gone.
So any of you moms out there looking for a financial solution for your kids, I really recommend this method.  Handling finances is so tricky anyway, I am convinced that start some independence early will pay off (literally) later.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

What I have been up to...besides the obvious

This past week was a really exciting one for me..so I thought I should let you know why.  I recently joined the board of an organization called "The Power of Moms".  I was not sure just what my fit was in the organization but knew that if I got my foot in the door and they got to know my strengths that eventually I would find a fit.  My cousin, Saren is one of the founders of Power of Moms and she has been really good at letting me find my niche.  I started as their Twitter person, finding time through the day to post once or twice and retweet some great posts.  The more I learned about the organization I began to gravitate toward possibly writing and speaking (training) for them in online and in workshops and retreats.  This, I knew, would require a lot of familiarity with the messages and some time to attend a retreat for some training.
Well, last week I was able to attend the retreat in Southern California.  I flew out and stayed with my big sister, Beverly.  Not only did I get to have a great visit with her and her husband, Terry,  but I was also able to see Amanda, her daughter and her husband, Kyle, and their sweet daughter, Remi.(Amanda cooked us an amazing dinner!)
I rented a car while I was out there and faced my fear...driving in Southern Cali.  I actually got some help from Bev's GPS (they call her Martha).  Martha and I were great friends by the end of my trip.
On Friday afternoon I drove out to the retreat in La Canada.  We had three hours of training on M.O.M. (Mind Organization for Moms).  If you know me very well you definitely know that I can really use this!! My mind was reeling with all of the info., but I knew that this was gonna be soooo good for me to finally get my schedule and life as a mom more organized and stop missing important events.
Saturday was a full day of training about differents subjects including family economies, discipline ideas, love languages and taking care of mom.  The women were amazing, so many brilliant, beautiful and unique people that all came together to learn from each other and really reach out to meet new people.  We talked about really important things and felt such a sistership while we learned together. 
I came home with a brain full of ways to make my life easier and to help my kids develop into great adults.  The kids have really wondered this week what they have gotten themselves into with mom doing all of this.  But I do feel like I have been empowered to do better and be better.

I plan to begin working toward holding my first workshop in the next couple of months.  I recently wrote an article for the website that I found out will be published soon! I am soo excited to find something like this that I really believe in and that embraces me as much as I embrace it.  I have felt the Spirit pushing me this direction for some time now and definitely know that this is what I should be doing.  I hope to have more to tell you in the future about my new venture.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Science Fair and other tragedies

The enthusiasm is fake
Okay, so I don't want to give you the impression that I don't support the public school system.  In most cases I can happily coexist with someone taking my kids for lots of hours during the day and sending them home smarter.  Ok, maybe not always smarter, but at least more educated.  But I really have to dig my feet in when it comes to Science Fair.  Just the words make me feel sympathetic to how the Grinch must feel at Christmas.  I hate Science Fair.  I abhor Science Fair and I really detest so much more that my third grade boy this year had to do stinkin' Science Fair.  After all, who are we kidding?  No kid does Science Fair solo!! It is basically homework for mom and dad.  Own up to it educators!!!  And if by chance you have gone to a Science Fair with your kids you know what I mean when you see these beautifully laid out and decorated, detailed, so extremely ingenious project that no kid could honestly say that he did on his own!  To make things worse, my husband came from a family of Science Fair phenoms!! His brother went to Nationals for Science Fair (who does that?!)  So clearly the bar has been set thanks to my dear mother in law who actually confessed to me the other day that she loved doing Science Fair boards.  That is all fine and dandy but when we first started with projects my husband wanted to endorse and encourage a project that had more science than most college classes,  then it would land in my lap to see it to fruition.  He learned right away that if mom was doing the support he'd better dummy thing down like a hundred times.
I believe that if a child is doing a project, (hold on now) HE or SHE ought to do the work!!!  That in itself is mind boggling, I know but before you get the impression that this would absolve the parent from doing the work, let me follow that up with the fact that just getting my boy to work on his project this year became more exhausting than reasoning with an Alzheimer's patient.  Now I don't rule out that Chance may have a little ADHD when it comes to focusing on school work, but at any rate the process was EXTREMELY PAINFUL!! So when I asked him what the title to his project should be he looked at me like I was asking him who painted the Mona Lisa.  My teenage daughters kept suggesting the title "Science Fair Sucks"... so naturally we named it "Science Fair Suds" tying in the soap he had used in the project along with our tongue in cheek to the whole system.
Painfully, like pins under my fingernails, we plodded through the writing/board summation last night.  Chance would type two letter, erase, type three letters, play with the printer, type a word, erase three letters, talk to the dog ........are you getting a visual?  Keep in mind that I am the kind of person that when I do something, I do it fast.  I really can't spend more than the essential time on a project and fully believe that I can cram four hours into one.   So you might as well have been doing chinese water torture to me. 

Trying to hold it together

waiting for each page
In the end, we managed to get 'er done.  I survived -- just enough to move onto my daughter's research project and her tears and frustration.  But at the end of the night I have one consolation; I have survived Science Fair for another year!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Things We Don't Say

The things we don't say are often, I have found, the most important things to say.  Why don't we just say them?  I mean, for Heaven's sake, out with it already!  I guess I am learning that the reason we don't say them is because we have said them so many times to ourselves we actually don't realize we haven't vocalized them yet.
Parents seem to be the biggest offenders in this situation.  Why?  Because their kids depend so much on what they think and how they feel.  That is how they create their own values and self esteem.  Scary as that may seem, think of all of those times you just wanted to hear your mother tell you that she appreciated what  you did or dad tell you how proud he is of you.  Isn't that the way kids are wired?  For better or for worse, parental acknowledgement can lead to a child's success or the lack of which can lead to the child's serious downfall.
I keep in my scriptures a precious treasure.  I realize this may be a precarious place to keep a treasure as it has a much higher likelihood of getting lost but I do it for a reason.  Several months after my father passed away I was really missing him and found myself asking him out loud if he could see me and if he knew how much I missed him.  That very day, if my memory serves me right, I was in church flipping through my scriptures rather inadvertently and came across a yellow sheet of paper.  The fact that it was a yellow sheet of paper was significant because I really knew only of one person who used that yellow paper.  I slowly opened the folded letter and recognized the handwriting right away, although I was somewhat dumbfounded because my father rarely sent letters and I didn't off hand remember when I received this letter.  What I will always remember is how overcome with emotion I was as I read the words "I want you to know that I think you are the best mom there is"  and, "Love, your Dad".  That wasn't all the note said but it was what I needed to hear.  I had to excuse myself from the room as I was so taken with emotion and gratitude that my dad was telling me he was there and he did see me.  These sweet words were something my father had never told me face to face.  I would never have known he felt this way, yet I often go back and reread these words and I feel all over again the sense of satisfaction in knowing no matter what anyone else thinks, my dad says I am a good mom.
I pride myself in being a pretty open book to my kids.  In fact, I am often accused of being too much so.  It always seems so obvious to me that they know how I feel about them.  But, just as any other inept parent, apparently there is still a communication breakdown when it comes to taking what I say in my head and actually verbalizing it to the child who needs to hear it.  Case in point:  This week my Morgan was struggling and once again we were there on her bed discussing what was going on and why couldn't she see the good and be happy.  I felt impressed to tell her how proud I was of her and her accomplishments this past year.  How I could see how hard it had been but she had really made a difference in her own life by consciously making choices to not let other's decide how she felt about herself and by choosing to believe she has value and can stand up to anyone in a positive and assertive way.  I told her that I could see such a change in her and that she had done that on her own.  I literally watched a light go off in her eyes.  I had said the magic words.  How ironic that I had said them so many times before... but just not to the right person.  I have felt that sweet girl change before my eyes these past few days and our relationship has taken another positive turn.
I'm going to try this out this week on my other kids.  I am going to make sure that when I have a positive thought about them that I tell them instead of assuming they already know.  Imagine the difference in your own life if friends told you more often how much they appreciated the way you listen to them, or if your husband mentioned that he was so glad you respected his choices, or whatever it is that you need to hear from the person whom you need to hear it from.  You actually have the chance to change lives with the things you don't say.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A Little Tender Mercy

Add caption
Just wanted to throw on this darling pic of my Linzie ready for the stake dance the other night.  For several years now I have worried so much about her as she quit dance for a while and fell into bouts of depression.  There were friend issues and self-esteem issues and I worried as her weight seemed to reflect every emotion she was dealing with.  I have walked that fine line with her for a while now between encouraging healthy eating and excercise and basically having her interpret that as me telling her that she is fat.  It didn't help that friends said things and of course siblings just have to get their digs in as she would down a huge bowl of ice cream.  We have discussed balance in life and all of the other things the "experts" recommend to encourage healthy living and yet not obsess about body image.  At the end of the day I don't have any real answers other than the most important thing I have found is encouraging talents and dealing with the emotional issue before the physical one.  Health seems so reflective on the outside of what is happening on the inside.  We are back in dance this year -- for the fun of it and the past few months I have seen a transformation in her as she is on her way to a normal, healthy shape.  Just another reminder that things can and sometimes do work themselves out in the end.

The Joy of Dejunking

The Junk!
I have a confession to make. I may not be the housekeeper that I used to be.  Obviously I have had all kinds of help in this...I can think of 5 reasons.  I like to consider it a personal strength that I can overlook the mess and deal with the nitty gritty of parenting but at the end of the day parenting does consist of teaching how to organize and pick up after yourself.   I get that, even if it is not as often as I should anymore.  The messes left everywhere DO bother me, it's just that at times it is such an emotional battle to decide if I should just clean up after everyone and save the fight or if I should face the bull in the horns and get everyone involved in picking up after themselves.  Usually after I have fought this battle in my head I really would rather ignore it and move on to other issues.
So once again I am revisiting the goal of doing a better job of being consistent and riding kids' backs until the house is presentable on a daily basis.  To kick things off I started with the Great Christmas Put-Away and turned it into a Christmas and whole house dejunkathon.  It felt like an episode of "Hoarders" with my huge black trash bags stuffed to capacity. Trash bags with donations. Trash bags with garbage.  The kids were cheering me on with comments like "Don't get too close to mom, she'll throw you away!!" I thought I was being so original until I saw on Twitter all of the tweets about dejunking and New Year's resolutions to organize your home.  So much for individual thinking.  I decided there is a direct correlation between all of those Christmas decorations staring back at me for a month and then right after the presents are opened they begin to close in on me like a trash compactor.  The only thing I can think about is making it all go away...fast!
After a huge drop off at Deseret Industries and filling every empty garbage can in the neighborhood I am well on my way to having the upstairs done and then I will try to wrap my brain around the basement.  I cannot describe the relief that comes with getting rid of "stuff"!  You really should try this!