Be The Swede

I recently heard of a story where a young man grabbed his girlfriend at a party and teasingly taunted her by threatening to throw her into the pool.  He laughed and she tried to break free as the crowd around them chanted, “Do it! Do it!”  They both ended up in the pool and he surfaced full of pride and laughing.  However she came up, fully clothed with the look on her face that every woman knows.   It says, “I must pretend.  I can’t let them see how terrifying that was because I will be labeled ‘not fun’ or ‘too sensitive’.  Don’t let them see how you really feel.”

In this world, around every corner, there are Anonymous, scared faces, there are Brocks, there are crowds, and there are Swedes.  The Anonymous, scared faces have found themselves in situations out of their control.  Maybe they made a (or some) bad choice or maybe it is of no fault of their own- how they got there doesn’t really matter, what does matter is that they didn’t choose THIS moment at THIS time.  There are also Brocks, those who use circumstance, strength and power to force another to do something or be a part of something against their will.  No one should ever have to know the feeling of having their body used against their will.  There are also crowds.  They ignore they feelings and faces and only focus on “minding their own business” or “all for the sake of fun.”  These people have forgotten their responsibility to the soul.  They have chosen to ignore the pain and suffering and trauma of others.  And then there are Swedes.  They are the heroes.  They are the ones that despite the late hour or the darkness, they have taught themselves to not only be in a position to SEE but also to DO.  They provide the rest of us with hope. 

I have realized that I am raising a whole slew of white, privileged children.  I cannot promise you how they will turn out- that is yet to be determined and free agency is real.  But, I can promise you what I will teach them.  I teach them that they are NEVER to use their strength and power to take away the choice of another person.  This is especially true but not exclusive to the rights one has over his/her own body.  I teach my slew of white, privileged boys that as a man who is genetically stronger and larger (it’s biology), they have a solemn responsibility to respect and protect those weaker and smaller.  If roles were reversed and that young lady had tried to force a young man into the pool against his will, and he truly did NOT want to go- he would have thrown her in, and she could not have stopped him.  So why then is it ok for him to force her to do something, with her body, that she is powerless to prevent?  (Hint= IT ISN’T).  And just as important, I am teaching my boys that when they witness someone whose mother didn’t teach them this vital lesson (or that person chose to not listen to Mama), as the stronger, more capable and momentarily safe person, they have that same solemn responsibility to SEE and then DO something about it; to STOP the misuse of strength and power.  I teach them to please be the Swede. 

And if the day comes that my children do the unthinkable and cause harm to another and break my mother heart, I will stand by them.  But, I will not, ever cause further harm and trauma to their victim and sacrifice a soul in order to soften the natural consequences of their choices.  My love for my children and my desire for them to be truly happy just simply will not allow it.  Support does not equate consequence padding, it instead teaches them strength and integrity. 

Thank you Carl-Fredrik Arndt and Peter Jonsson for providing me real life heroes and role models for my children just by being who you are. 

Because of you I have a tangible example of how to teach my children to SEE the soul and then DO something.  And because of you, in our family doing the right thing,  will always be synonymous with #BeTheSwede


My New Year's Resolution

I actually think New Year's Resolutions are kinda funny.  If you don't like something about your life, why would you wait until the start of the New Year to change it?  But, it just so happens that the New Year is starting in a few weeks.  So, I am calling my goal a New Year's Resolution because it sounds more exciting than, "The Resolution I'm Starting Today", but rest assured, I will be starting it today, not in 3 weeks.

There are a few women in my life that I REALLY admire.  Women who I aspire to be like.  They are women who are charitable, kind, wise, and render service.  I listen intently to their every word because I want to learn all I can from them.  I want to use what I learn from them to be a better person.

But, it has become apparent to me lately, that not every woman admires the qualities in other women that they wish they could master themselves.  I have been shocked lately by the number of women I have heard beating up on themselves for their weaknesses or worst- beating up on other women to make themselves feel better.

We spend our days teaching our children to not fight, to be nice and not bully each other, so when did it become okay for us, as adults to glorify blogs like this, where women compare themselves to and them shred to pieces another mom for trying their best.  When, on earth did it become okay to "punch [someone] in the throat"?  Sure, it's all fun and games... until someone gets hurt.  And quite often, when you talk like that, Your. Words. Hurt.

We all have our own individual and unique strengths.  Sure, some moms have a Magic Elf, and others have no where near the energy even think about it.  But, that is because those moms are planning and throwing amazing holiday parties, for each one of their kids or they are spending their Saturdays at their son's ball games, with all the other kids in tow.  Some moms fill their homes (and the minds of their kiddos) with beautiful, amazing music and others ensure that their children are flooded with the arts.  Some moms spend hours of their day reading to their children, while others are constantly volunteering at their kids' schools.  Some moms even spend every Saturday teaching their children the value of serving others and how to become more Christlike.  But, none of us, do it all.  Nor do we need to.  We all have our own unique and individual talents that we share with our families, and the world around us, that makes us all AMAZING wives, women and mothers.

Life is hard.  Being a woman is hard.  Being a wife, can be hard.  And being a mother is DEFINITELY hard.  We are all just trying our very best.  We should be judging ourselves (and others) much less and relishing in our strengths.  We should be building each other up and encouraging one another.  We should be sharing what we have learned through our kind, humble actions.  There is NEVER a reason to tear someone else down in order to make yourself feel better.

As my very dear friend recently said, "If you don't like something, change it."  So, instead of beating up on another mom for trying her best, change your own life.  Or don't.  But, let's stop beating on ourselves and each other.

So, my New Year's Resolution, that is starting today, is to be more loving and more supportive.  It is to be less judgmental and more helpful.  And it is definitely to be proud of my strengths and change the things I don't like.

So, who wants to jump on my bandwagon?  If you too want to share my 'New Year's Resolution' than do just that- "share" it.  Or comment.  Or "Like" it.  Or better yet, send a card to another mom you admire and let them know you think they are doing a great job.  But, don't wait until January 1st.  Do it today.

Whaddya think?


Lessons learned from Corvettes and Luggage Carts

A couple months ago, I sat down, finally, with a mountain of clean laundry to fold.  I turned on day time tv which I generally think is full of trash,  but found "Dr. Phil".  I like Dr. Phil.  I'd like to ask him a few questions myself, but that is a different post...

He was talking to parents with troubled teens, just like he is on almost every show.  I don't remember what the show was specifically about, but he said something that really stuck with me.  He talked about how his son had really wanted a fast, fancy sports car for his 16th birthday.  A corvette, or something equivalent to it, and his son was all excited about the horsepower and torque the car would produce.  Dr. Phil must have been pretty wealthy by then because he wasn't concerned about the price but rather the power the car had.  He said he wouldn't buy the car for his son because we shouldn't place our kids in dangerous situations that they don't have the experience to predict the outcome.  We shouldn't expect our kids to respond to life's challenges based on our life experiences.  They haven't lived as long and learned as much as we have.

Makes sense.

Logical but often forgotten.

I think quite often I expect different behaviors from my children than I see because that is how a grown up would react but I forget to take the time to teach them the lesson that would lead to the appropriate response.

A month ago, I took all four of my kids and I traveled across the country with them.  By myself. (sucker).  We had a 5 hour flight.  A 2 hour layover.  A 2 hour flight.  And then a 2 hour drive.  We left at 8 am pst and arrived at 1:00 am est.  It was a long day.  I had: a 10 year old, 7 year old, 4 year old, 2 month old, 4 backpacks, 4 car seats, 7 suitcases, a stroller, a baby front carrier and a partridge in a pear tree.  Once the 2 hour flight landed, I had to get a rental car and load all of us, and our luggage, up and drive the remaining 2 hours, by myself (super sucker).  I figured I could carry Bubbles in the pouch while pushing a luggage cart with half of the suitcases, Buster could push the other luggage cart and Dodger could push Rascal in the stroller.  And all of us could carry a backpack.  In order to test my theory, when my sidekick, nervously, dropped us off at the airport, we "practiced".  I'm sure we were a sight,  all of us loaded down and my Sidekick holding his breath walking next to us, empty handed.

As Buster pushed his (heavy) luggage cart up a sidewalk ramp, he took it at a diagonal.  Now, any adult knows that if you take a 3 wheeled cart (1 wheel in the front, 2 in the back) up a ramp at a diagonal, you will not get favorable results.  So, when the entire cart tipped over and my Sidekick saw possible future events displayed before him, he was NOT happy.  We were loaded down and I couldn't put the cart back together with a baby strapped to my chest.  So, in the tense chaos, as we were reloading, I took a breath, lest it happened again while I was alone with them.  I said, "Buster, look at the wheels.  If you take the triangle pattern wheels at a diagonal, it will loose it's balance and tip.  You need to go straight, head on, up the ramp."

He looked at me, wide eyed, with a new understanding in his eyes, and said, "oh and that's different from my bike.  I have to go at a diagonal on my bike up a curb so I don't loose balance and fall."

And thus it is Dr. Phil.  We expected Buster to handle the adult situation based on our experience but he had not yet learned the lessons he needed to succeed.  He used the limited experiences he'd had in his young life which didn't get accurate results.

This was a luggage cart, not a dangerous situation, but the lesson is still the same.

So, as you place your kids in new situations, take a minute to look at it from their perspective and see if they have the skills they need to succeed.  Because one day, that luggage cart could be a corvette.

Whaddya think?


This Mother's Day

My life is complete.

Last year on Mother's Day, I never could have guessed the year we would have and the lengths we would travel this year.  But, now that the hard part is over, and I can look back and reflect on the journey that we have taken, I am full of gratitude to my Father in Heaven who has entrusted me with this journey.

As I reflect on the immense blessings in my life, my heart is full and swirling with so many thoughts.

I am grateful for the opportunity that I have to be a mother.  After spending 2 years with so many adoption hopeful couples who are searching for the children who will complete their family, I am keenly aware of all of the mothers today whose arms ache for the children they long to hold.  The ones they have lost and the ones they have yet to receive.  Having had Mothers Days with aching arms, I will always say a prayer on this day, for those who long to feel as complete as I do today.  Happy Mother's Day to you.  One day, your arms will be full.

I am grateful to all the Mothers in my life.  Due to the course of events that my life has taken, I have been blessed to have many mothers.  From each of them, I have learned special skills.  Listening, Loving, Organization, Happiness, Nurturing.  I am grateful to each one of them and the love and guidance they have shown me.  Thank you.

I am tearfully grateful for this Mother's Day.  It was a Mother's Day that she didn't get to have.  So as my children run and scream around me and test our patience to the limits, I am glad that I have the opportunity to be tested.  My life would be so dull and lonely without the noise and chaos.  I am glad I get to live this Mother's Day and so many after.

But, mostly, this Mother's Day, I am grateful to feel complete.  Last year, on Mother's Day, I remember sitting in church and feeling the ache in my arms for the life we had yet to add to our family.  A dear friend handed me a card that she had written me acknowledging the ache I must be feeling that day.  As I sat in church today, I saw this friend and remembered that feeling of incomplete that I had felt.  I had so much, yet I knew there was someone missing.  But, as I sat in church today, I felt that the weight of the last year had lifted and a feeling of completeness had taken it's place.  This year, for Mother's Day, my Sidekick and I had 4 children and we were a Complete Family.  The brothers have voted and we have decided that our caboose will be named Bubbles.  She is our special gift.  We all worked so hard to get her here.

This year, on Mother's Day, my life is perfectly complete.  I am grateful for all the mothers who have loved me, but mostly I am grateful for the gift I have been given to be a mother to Buster, Dodger, Rascal and Bubbles.

I love you all so much.

Whaddya think?


There's a chair in the restroom, just for you....

Lately, the news in Seattle has been bustling with the story of a group of mothers that are trying to pass a city ordinance to support breast-feeding in public. They are wanting it to be legally proclaimed a civil right. Since I am about to have a baby any day now, and fully plan of breast-feeding in public, I've been listening.

It is interesting to me that there is already a Washington State Law in support of breastfeeding. It essentially says that a mother has the right to breast-feed anywhere she has a right to have her baby (so- no bars) without covering up or excusing herself to the bathroom. Apparently this law is not very enforced due to budget cuts and staffing issues, so this group of moms have taken it to the city level.

Personally, I have never had a negative experience nursing in public, but since I am about to enter the nursing world again, I am very interested in this movement that would support mothers doing what is best for their babies. Which is why it infuriated me, when the news interviewed John Schmidt, co-owner of the Neighborhood Grill and he said 'that women sometimes breast feed in his restaurant and he's fine with it. But what if it bothers his other patrons? Would he want a city law to protect it?'

He actually said, "I support a women's right to breast feed her child," says Schmidt. "I have a problem with the city legislating how I run my business. We want to make a decision for my entire client base, not just one category."

When he said this, my sidekick and I just about blew our tops! I could care less that the fact that my public breastfeeding could make someone else uncomfortable. Should we ask every couple in love to not hold hands or kiss in public? Every parent with a busy toddler to never eat out? Or every every disabled person, who is missing an arm, a leg or an eye, to stay out of public eye?

My right to feed my child the most nourishing, stabilizing nutrition I can, is indeed my civil right, no different than my right to feed my toddler healthy grains, fruits and vegetables. The fact that it is made from my own body is completely irrelevant, but a definite plus for me. I know exactly what it is made of. And forcing me to nurse my child under a blanket is akin to forcing you to eat your dinner under a heat lamp.

So, John Schmidt, and every other business owner who thinks that their close minded patrons come before the health of my baby, I have the perfect solution for you. You should provide chairs in the restrooms. That way, when one of your patrons is "uncomfortable" by a mother breastfeeding, the "uncomfortable patron" can take their dinner and eat it there.

I look forward to eating at the Seattle Neighborhood Grill with my nursing baby, and I dare you to ask me to leave or cover up.

Whaddya think?

Due to some of the comments and emails I have received, I feel I should make a clarification. I do not believe that women should be able to nurse anywhere at anytime.

I think I should have a legal right to feed my child, uncovered, anywhere it is appropriate to have my child and anywhere similar activities (eating) are appropriate.

For example, if my child is not welcome (adult only restaurant, a bar, etc) I don't have the right to have my CHILD there, and therefore should not be nursing. In settings where eating or similar acts are not appropriate (some religious meetings, etc) it is not appropriate to nurse my child because EATING is not appropriate (in the same way it would be inappropriate for a grown man to eat a ham sandwich). Also, in religions where it is inappropriate for women to even show their face, or some similar belief that would make public nursing inappropriate, they should be allowed to claim a religious exemption in their house of worship.

I shouldn't ever have to leave or cover up just because some men/boys think my breasts are a sex object and are uncomfortable by my child nursing if I have a right to have my child there and other similar activities are appropriate.


that if you blog, post, email or tweet about the cookbook 2 posts down, you will be entered in the drawing to win a FREE COOK BOOK!! Please help support this amazing family by helping to promote the charity cook book below. Drawing will be THIS MONDAY, April 9th, so be sure and LET ME KNOW, if you blog, post, email or tweet about it.



This Christmas...

...my heart is full. There are so many unrelated thoughts and feelings that keep tumbling around in my heart and mind.

I am so excited to be having a girl! But, more importantly- this baby has brought a feeling of completeness and understanding. I've never heard of a child, in modern times, more foretold than this baby. Numerous people, at numerous times, in numerous ways, have foretold the coming of this little girl to our family. After years of searching and looking and pondering, I feel the completeness that she will bring to our family. The feeling that someone is missing, is gone, and I can focus on the family that I have. I know that she is in no way like the Christ child, but I can't help wonder how Mary felt, knowing that the child she was carrying held such a destiny. Knowing that it was her job to teach Him everything she could to help Him complete His destiny. He came as a baby, to a mother, just like all of our children, and I am grateful to her, and all mothers, for helping their children complete their destiny.

I am grateful for our modern day Saviors, who give their hearts and souls and reach the forgotten ones. My brother in law, whom I love, was born to a drug addicted mother, as was each one of his 4 brothers, all with different fathers. I don't know why some of our children our brought home to warm, loving and guided homes and others are left at the mercy of others to save, but I am grateful for those who step up and out of their comfort zones to find the forgotten ones. One sweet couple, with one son of their own, adopted all 5 of those forgotten little boys. A couple weeks ago, one of those little boys, now a man, lost his battle in mortality, but I believe that he has another chance, on the other side, to overcome the difficulties of his childhood and find the happiness he deserves. I pray that his family finds the peace and comfort that they deserve while he is pursuing his next journey and bless them, for having the courage to try.

I am grateful for the health my family enjoys and the joy they bring to me. I know that there are many families who struggle to find a balance in this crazy life and live a joyous existence. I LOVE my life. I LOVE my family and I LOVE my husband. I am grateful for the peace and joy they bring me. I know that there are others, who love their families just as much, and struggle to maintain the easy and carefree lifestyle with which I live. One of those families is an old family friend. I grew up with the Fish Family. A family with 8 kids who all have red hair is not one easy to forget. The fact that they were a huge part of our life through the death of my mother and the remarriage of my father, has cemented them into the endeared list in my life. Tyler was my age. We went to each others' birthday parties. I worked with his wife, Elisabeth, and her sister while I was in college, long before they were married. Two great people, from two great families, who have been dealt a hard life blow. They have 5 beautiful children together and 2 of those children (and possibly a 3rd) have an extremely rare immune disease. Leaky SCID, it is called. Essentially it means they have no immune system and the immune system they do have attacks their healthy body. Every little sniffle and cough, that our bodies easily fight off, brings them to the edge of death. It affects 2 children a year in the US, and this family has 2. The children will undergo bone marrow transplants (one of the donors is one of their other children and the other is an anonymous out of state donor) and hopefully after 2 years of seclusion to heal and mend, they can live normal lives. In the meantime, Tyler has quit his job to help in the healing and care of his children. Another family who cherishes each other and just wants joy for their family.

This Christmas, I am grateful for random, unrelated things. (or are they?) I am grateful for my unborn child. I am grateful for the Modern Day Angels that surround us. I am grateful for the health my family has and the joy they bring me.

If you are too, then be a Modern Day Angel in the Fish's life. As the children are being treated, the bills are mounting. You can read more about them here and show your gratitude and love by dropping into your nearest Wells Fargo and donating to the Fish Children Donation Fund.


Merry Christmas and may your heart this year be as happy and full as mine.

Whaddya think?


Feel the Magic...

Do you remember last Christmas?

When you came home from school to find that your house had been transformed into a beautiful Christmas wonderland with the exception of the ornaments and the star, which your mother saved for you and your siblings to help decorate the tree with.

The next day, the house would smell so delicious and you would get to assemble the plates of goodies and help deliver them to your friends neighbors.

Gifts for your teachers would be wrapped and placed in your back pack, but you had to remember to pull them out and give them to your teacher!

You saved your dollars and pennies for weeks so that you could buy some gifts for your family and best friends. You would hide in your room and meticulously wrap them and deliver them or place them under the tree.

And speaking of the tree, that magic tree, where beautiful wrapped presents, for you, would magically appear overnight!

Christmas Eve was filled with stories and family togetherness and Christmas dinner was beautiful and Divine! Sometimes you'd have to peel the potatoes or set the table, but most of it just magically appeared.

The weeks of Christmas were filled with joy, laughter and excitement! It was all you could do to wait for it to come again next year!

And then, you grew up, and became the mother, and realized where the magic of Christmas actually came from. Your mother.

And now, that you are the mother, it dawns on you that she had spent hours and hours shopping for the perfect present (and turkey and decorations...) Then the presents were hid until they could be wrapped (and re-hid because she suspected you of snooping). Teacher gifts were bought and assembled after the children were long ago in bed. After she'd bought the decorations, she'd spent days transforming the house and simmering the potpourri on the stove. Hours were spent baking and baking and baking some more. The Christmas Eve program had been planned and gathered and organized. Christmas day was spent in the kitchen, cooking the perfect meal, while you had played in the other room with your new toys.

And all this (and more) was done in addition to the dinners, basketball practices, laundry and cleaning that came with the regular day to day.

And as you try and replicate the magic for your own family, somewhere along the way, you realize that Christmas has become less magical for you, and much more stressful.

Sound familiar?

I've been amazed lately at the number of family and friends who spend every December, completely stressed. Last night, I was telling my Sidekick this and he said,"Well, it doesn't have to be, they just need to start early." and my jaw just dropped as I stared at him.

Seriously? You started 2 days ago. And your job, your only job, is to buy my presents. PERIOD.

I decorated the house. I bought ALL the other presents. I ordered and addressed all 100 Christmas cards (and had the picture taken and gathered all the updated addresses). I assembled teachers' gifts and made Christmas goodies. Me. The mom.

(My gift better be awesome.)

To be fair, I'm not at all upset with my Sidekick (I'd rather do it all my way anyway) and I'm not stressed out.

My secret- my Christmas is done by Thanksgiving. (this year, I was a little behind, since I was laid up during my normal prep time, but I'm almost caught up). My Christmas card pics are taken in August. (the sky is brighter= better light, and you have more time.) My Christmas cards are ordered and addressed and stamped in early November. Teachers presents, friends gifts, and 90% of Christmas is bought and hidden (and sometimes wrapped) before I buy my November turkey.

I LOVE Christmas and I refuse to spend the month stressed. I'm not big on stressing anyway- what does it really solve- but I want a magic Christmas, for me too.

My December is filled with magic elves, wrapping presents and making goodies. The month is calendared out at the beginning so everything I want to enjoy gets done. The house smells good, the carols play, and every night is a Christmas movie (well- most nights).

My Christmas is still magical. Even as a mom.

And when I do get behind, or a ball gets dropped, I don't fret it. Every day is filled with enough laughter, enough song, enough magic, enough giving, that I figure people will remember what I have done and never notice what I missed.

You have 3 weeks left. Make sure you take some time this month to remember what Christmas is really about and and relish in the magic.

The stressing, can wait until next month.

Whaddya think?