#ItWasMom

it was momMother’s Day is right around the corner. Mr. Bird and I were asked to give talks in church on this upcoming day and we both thought, well that’s easy, we will just talk about our mothers… Trying to sum up what a mother does would take more than the allotted 15 minutes. Mr. Bird and I invited our parents to come listen to us talk. My mother’s response was, “I will come if it’s not sappy.” If you know the Kri, that fits her personality perfect. So this is this year’s tribute to my mom. I am not going to make it sappy, I will just provide the cold hard facts. As a recent bride, some of my past times include looking through wedding photos (I know shallow). I came upon this one and thought, this is all because of one person, my mom.

Facts:

She found a worthy man, and she married him… in the Logan Temple

She supports her husband through thick and thin

She has given birth to 6 children without any epidurals all by the age of 30 ( I will most definitely be drugging up and spraying some Pam down there)

She drove each child back and forth to piano lessons weekly from the time we started kindergarten until we could drive in high school. Unless you decided to bite the piano teacher, then you didn’t have to go…

I can’t remember a day during my childhood when my mother didn’t stop what she was doing and read to me and my siblings. We still gather around and beg her to read to us during Christmas time.

Five of her Six kids served  LDS missions

4 1/2 have been married (Max is engaged)

She has 4 1/2 grand kids who are loved endlessly and spoiled

She taught us to get an education:

LauriAnn has her Bachelors and Masters in History

Mitch has a Bachelors, Masters, and his PHD in Family Studies

Emily has her Bachelors, Masters (RD) , and is working on her PHD in Dietetics

Alex has his Bachelors, and graduated with his Masters of accounting today

Me, well I have my Bachelors in Communication, with a Certificate in WGS

Max is working on his Bachelors in Economics

Since I can remember, she has always gotten up around 545am to go running

She ran the Boston Marathon

Sometimes she gets into a laughing fit and can’t stop…These are some of my favorite memories

She poured us orange juice every morning before school

She came and silently cheered me on through “boring” golf tournaments

She never has to call her kids, we always call her to catch up (some daily)… I think she ends up spending at least 3 hours a day on the phone with her kids.

She can make popcorn with her eyes closed

We did family scriptures and prayers every day

She has mastered the art of distraction and can still use it on her kids and we are all in our 20’s and up.

She is humble, doesn’t like fluff and to the point.

Happy Mother’s Day to the best mom in all the lands!

That’s a fact Jack…

The missing grand kids and my sister is having another girl in June 🙂

evers mad hayes

Dear Mrs. Goldin- What My Mom Taught Me by Not Working

Kara HintToday I read a disturbing article that I found on LinkedIn. It was titled What Would it Teach my Kids if I Stopped Working. The article was written by Kara Goldin who is the Founder and CEO of Hint (flavored water). She tells the tale of how she decided to make flavored water (not original btw, propel ect.) and make a business of it. In the midst of her brilliant idea she had found out she was once again pregnant, with her fourth child… There must be something in that “special flavored water” of hers… I would question that, I think the warning label says “May cause pregnancy, and rash stereotypes.”

Now before I begin my “rant” I want to point this out, in 2013 Taylor Swift was at the brunt of some of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler’s jokes for finding a new boy to date. Lets be honest Taylor you find a new one as often as there is a sale at Khols. Taylor replies to the dream team with this: “You know, Katie Couric is one of my favorite people, because she said to me she had heard a quote that she loved, that said, ‘There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.’” Taylor what I want to point out here is by dating all these men, maybe you are not necessarily helping women out either. All I am saying is, there will always be a different opinion on what is right and what is wrong.

IPHONE JULY 2013 116Well Mrs. Goldin, I think you are wrong. There is nothing wrong with being a stay at home mom and there is nothing wrong with being a working mother. There will be obvious differences in a child who has a parent in the home at all times and a child with two working parents. Depending on who your deciding audience is the outcomes maybe positive or negative. You stated some very harsh stereotypes:

 

“The most difficult men I have managed: 1) had a mom that stayed home, 2) had lost their mom as a young child or 3) grew up with a father who spoke negatively about his mother. It’s sometimes hard for them to accept a woman in the work force much less as their boss. -Mrs. Goldin”

I would like to ask what method you used to obtaining this data? I had a stay at home mother, I have three brothers, none of whom fit your stereotypes of men being managed. One of my brother’s has his PhD in Family Sciences and is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and works mainly side by side and under the direction of females, I have done research with him under the supervision of his advisors, and have seen him interact both in a workplace setting and the behind the scenes. Never has he shown signs of difficulty, hatred, or spoken negatively of his female bosses. Again this is a bias view, but if you asked anyone who knew him, they would say the same (ask for references). Your stereotypes might be true of some men, but I don’t think that having a stay at home mom was the contributing factor. Perhaps I will do my thesis on it one day…

IPHONE JULY 2013 117Mrs. Goldin how dare you belittle what my mother has done for me and my 5 brothers and sisters. As hard as it is for you to leave your kids and go to work, it was hard for my mom to give up the nursing career she dreamed of, so that she could give us her best. I applaud you for working and raising a family, I hope to one day balance my life so I can do both. However, if I am fortunate enough to be able to spend all of my time with my kids, I will consider myself lucky. What my mom taught me about staying home is that the person is more important than the money. That I was wanted and needed in this world. My mother taught me that life needs a balance between work and play. She spent countless hours reading books to me, playing blocks, and making me lunch. She got up every morning and poured me orange juice to show she cared. I have learned to love people because of her. She stayed home and helped me with my homework that prepared me to get scholarships in college, and to obtain a degree. I never went a night with out a home cooked meal surrounded by family. The house was always clean, and I had clothes on my back. She stayed home to be my best friend when I didn’t have any other friends, she was always there for me, she provided a stable home for me to be raised in. My life would be different if she worked I am sure, I can’t say if it would be better or worse. What I do know is that she stayed home and taught me to respect others decisions, and to be what I want to be and stick up for what I believe in.

Rant. Over.IPHONE JULY 2013 174
(C)LV-B2014

10 Things I am Glad I Did Before I Got Engaged…

#targetpracticeI know… Another post about being engaged. To those who are not engaged or dating someone (especially around Valentine’s Day), I know you want to do a cornucopia of things to me, including but not limited to vomiting on me, punching me, or throwing darts at me.  I have included a picture to print off, including my face in the middle of the target. Sorry, darts are not included. But I know YouTube has a great selection on “How to Make Darts.” I didn’t actually watch any, so if you do, let me know what you think… #targetpractice

So if you are caught up on Life of a Clare Bear, you know I am becoming a bird. I am not suddenly morphing into another animal; I am just changing my last name. I have finally found my “other half” and we are going to be married for time and all eternity. I guess you could say that I am pretty happy. Our period of engagement will be 51 days. It’s fast, but when you know, you know! So I thought I should enjoy these days until I become an old married woman. I wanted to share with you the 10 things I was glad I did before I got engaged. I am not saying these are rules to follow; they are just things that helped me get ready. Everyone is different, we don’t come with directions and so there will be other opinions. All I can say is share them… if you dare 😉

1. Dated Around… I have been on plenty of dates in my single life career. The dates ranged from finding out he was a registered sex offender, throwing up on the boy after a carnival ride and being left 60 miles from home to find my own ride, I have even been on a date with someone who I found out was my cousin later… Now those are my extremes (they are pretty extreme). I have been on wonderful dates too. I have been to see Christmas lights, on scavenger hunts, rock climbing, and broken into a TCBY (he had a key, legal, Idk…) All of these dates taught me something. It taught me what I didn’t want in life. It’s a negative way to look at things, but it made me understand what I really wanted in a future partner. The part I needed most was I needed to be dated out. When I was younger I felt the urge to date everything that moved with no commitment. It took me time, but I realize now it is fun to go on dates with the same person and to have a commitment. Commitment can’t be forced, it can only come through desire.

2. Finished Gilmore Girls (a few times)This show is a guide to life. Okay not really, probably look for a more spiritual resource, but it taught me about boys. I learned that there was always going to be a Dean in your life. Your first love. He would have a special place in your heart, but in the end he would not have your whole heart and that was okay. You don’t have to end up with the first boy you date (you can, but you don’t have to). Then there are boys who are like Jess, the bad boys. They are going to sweep you off your feet and turn you into someone you are not. They will make you question life; you will fall fast and hard… But then you fall out of love in faster. And then there is Logan. Rory dated him for a long time. They were a cute couple and seemed to have it all. SPOILER ALERT, Rory did not accept the engagement ring, and that was her choice. I learned from Logan and Rory that love is a choice, if you make the choice to love the person, you are accepting their best and their worst.

satisfied dr3. Road Trip with your Best Friend… That’s a Girl…The summer before meeting Mr. Bird, I went on an adventure. I surprised my best friend Amanda for her birthday in Skagway, Alaska. I flew there and then we spent a few days making the road trip from Alaska to Boise, Idaho. If you have never been in the same car for 4 days straight, I can tell you that you are going to come out of it loving them or hating them. I came out loving my friend Amanda. One of my biggest fears of getting married was spending a lot of time with the person (because I am an introvert and love being by myself). This long road trip taught me that it was possible. I let down my guard and learned new qualities about myself. It helped me get over that fear.

4. Served in My Church… Now, this can be for any faith, any position, and for any time length. What I am referring to is my mission. I learned what it was like to live away from family and to make sacrifices. I learned how to do hard things and to rely on God. I built a firm foundation of what I believed. I saw families who didn’t live with religious beliefs and they struggled, they lacked something great. I learned and have made it my goal to find someone who wanted the same thing. A family and home built on faith and God. I also learned the value of serving and what it can do for relationships. Serving others can break down barriers and allow you to love someone even when you are mad at them.

5. Survive a Broken Heart. Everyone must survive a broken heart in their lifetime. It is inevitable. I never thought that I would have to. I always had the idea that I would date one person and that would be it. That wasn’t the case for me. My life was a hot mess after break ups. The relationships just never felt right. What I learned from having my heart broken a few times was that I had the ability to care for someone, that I could open up my shallow mind and let someone in. I needed to learn this so that when it was the right time with the right person, I knew I could let them in and care for them the way they deserved. Knowing what a broken heart feels like makes a heart full of love mean that much more.

grad6. Graduate College… One of the reasons I say this is because dating after graduation is a lot less stressful. You don’t have to pick studying for a test over a weekend away. The other reason I liked it, is because I had already defined who I was through what I studied at college. I didn’t have to change my career goals because I had met a boy. I was able to focus my time on school and was able to be successful. When you are spending so much money for your education, it is nice to have it not interrupted. I know this is not always the case, for me it was perfect. I have a one track mind 🙂

7. Have a Grown Up Job… Graduating college led me to a job. I have loved being able to use my degree that I put so much effort into. I have been able to build up a resume, network, and complete projects. I have learned how to work in an office. All of my experience is preparing me to work from home, something that I have craved ever since the snuggie was invented.

8. Build up a savings Account…I am not saying I am a sugar momma, but I am not worried about how many Ramen Noddle’s to buy for Mr. Bird and me. Having a grown up job means grown up money. I have been building up my savings account since I was 12.  Money is something that puts stress on any marriage, whether newlyweds or those who have hit 20 years. Beginning a marriage itself is stressful and it is expensive, saving as much money as you can before would be the smartest thing you could do…

9. Use Private Boards…   It is no secret that girls at a certain age (pretty much from the time they are born) want to plan their weddings. The greatest invention in mankind (not really) was the Private Board function on Pinterest. You are going to have those days where you just want to dream about your wedding. It is natural, but the whole world doesn’t need to know you are planning your wedding before you have met the boy. Let’s be honest, boy’s Google us before they take us on a date. Do you want the first thing for them to see is the 10ct diamond, the tiny baby clothes for your first born, and ways to get along with your husband? I know that they are super cute and you want it now, but scaring them before the first date almost always results in no second date… Perhaps go private on those 🙂

isingle10. Find Happiness in Singlehood… I have seen so many people resort to marriage because they are simply unhappy in their “single” life. I urge you not to make that the reason. Do it because you are in love. Being single is great, at times it may seem not so much, but you have your whole life to be married. Find out who you are and who you want to be, what you like and dislike, find your passions. Learn to be happy when you are by yourself, so that when you find someone you can make you happy you know it is genuine. Getting married doesn’t solve problems; solve some of your problems before your marriage becomes one.

There are so many other things that I am happy I did before I got engaged, but these are the ones that stick out. Valentine’s Day is coming up; I would recommend taking number 10 into consideration. Learning to be happy without a man/woman will make loving them so much easier. The last thing is timing; nothing will happen unless it is the right time, be patient. Now if you hate me even more, the target is below 😉

(C)LV2014

The Proposal.

StallionIt was in the middle of January that #clott decided to get married. We picked a date, a venue, a dress, and then a ring. Totally traditional, I know…. (for Mormons). While on our trip to McCall together  we were pleased to hear the news that my brother Max and his girlfriend Kara got engaged! The reason I mentioned Max a few times in my last post was because we literally do everything together. Classes, missions, and now marriage… Should we plan kids too? Now that #kaxwell was engaged we could make ours official. Mr. Bird definitely took full advantage of the anticipation that I was suffering from…

On Monday, Mr. Bird asked me if I wanted to go on a romantic date downtown to get hot chocolate. I tried to look as hot as I could just in case he was going to pop the question. After getting hot chocolate at the most hipster place in Boise, we headed to the next venue. Mr. Bird pulled over and said let’s go check out the Capitol Building. I thought how pretty, this would be the perfect place to get engaged. We went to every floor, read history, and even were able to sneak into the Senate… (BTW Boise, you could totally just walk in there and do what ever you wanted, maybe get some guards?) The whole night I was anticipating that he would get on one knee and ask me to be his wife. He did! Multiple times…Pretending to tie his shoe, or look at something on the ground. To a girl who is anticipating a real diamond on her hand, that was just mean :). The first night I took it like a champ. We found this large stallion statue and I thought this is it, he is going to do it here! He didn’t. We got back in the car, and I was annoyed and he could tell. The night ended and I fell asleep and had a dream that his sister came to me with the ring and she said, Mr. Bird wanted me to give this to you, he chickened out. Out of no where she yelled “JUST KIDDING, it’s not the right time,” and hid it under the piano. Clearly I was obsessing and I need to take up piano again.

On Tuesday I had to work late. I was running my first book Launch and didn’t even consider that night as a possibility. So I had decided that Wednesday would be the night, because we were going to the Temple on Thursday night and he knew I thought that meeting at the institute was already cliche enough…The Temple is a wonderful place, but I just couldn’t handle it. It couldn’t be the weekend because he was leaving town for a funeral. Wednesday was the night… I knew it!

On Wednesday, I tried my best to look adorable so when he came to pick me up I would be ready. He asked me to go get dinner with him. We went to Madhuban an Indian restaurant, at this point I was already on edge. I was easy to take offense and I did. After holding it in for so long I burst out with how annoyed I was! I said can’t you just propose yet? I know he is the right one because he just sat there and took it… Little did I know that he had something planned. He said something along these lines, “In my defense Clare, girls want a big production.” I have never been a girl with a lot of fluff in my life, I would have accepted his proposal in a fast food line or behind a dumpster. Now that’s love. To let my frustrations out he let me drive his car, which is stick shift, and I do very well until there is a car within a mile and then I stall and can not start again… We eventually made it back to my place. My parents were there and he brought up the idea of doing a #doubledate to the temple. If you thought I had reached annoyed capacity, you were wrong. Mr. Bird could see my innards cringing. Even though I didn’t want it to happen outside the Temple, I thought maybe I will just have to live with it. My parents thought it was a great idea to join us.

kisssOn Thursday, it was a pretty normal day. Scott had texted me and said that he would have to meet me at the temple because something with his calling had come up and it would put him behind. Even more annoyed I got ready to go with my parents. We were trying to make the 7:30pm session and we got in the car at 6:50. It’s about a 20 minute drive. Out of no where my dad says, “I need to drop a key off downtown.” At this point I had a sense that something was up. I kept saying (with passion) this is a FACADE, when my sister kindly steered me to a better word, rouse. I was convinced that I was getting engaged that night, until we passed the Capitol Building. My hopes were gone… It wasn’t until I saw his car in the Train Depot parking lot that I realized, I was right (which sums up marriage right?). I looked out the window and saw a rock path covered in candles, white roses, and pictures of us. I got out of the car and my parents took off. (They totally caught the 7:30 session) There was a note waiting for me that said “Follow the light, follow your heart.” I walked down the path and finally saw Mr. Bird in his gray suite standing on a red blanket next to the partially frozen pond. He had a dozen roses in hand, candles surrounded him. It was perfect. I yelled “YOU TRICKSTER!” I walked down and I fell in love all over again. He gave me the roses and said he wanted to be the only man in my life to give them to me. He then started to talk about the Train Depot and how it used to be a place of coming and going, and how people would find their way. He related it to how we both had to come and go from Boise to meet each other. He got down on one knee and asked me to marry him… I said, “well, mhmmm, maybe…YES!” I thought I should make him squirm since he made me squirm. After a few minutes of snogging, our friends started to cheer and came to congratulate us. They had caught the whole thing on camera and video… Yes Mr. Bird used his Go Pro in the bushes to catch this priceless moment in our lives.

Early I said I didn’t need anything extravagant to say yes to the man I loved, but I didn’t hate it, I loved it. It showed me that he cared about me and put time into it. I will always remember the night that he asked, and I said yes.

depot                                                                    #clott4ever   March 22, 2014

 

My Ducks are Finally in a Row.

Coincidence that I got engaged the same day I posted something on single hood? I think not. I knew that my engagement would soon be coming, but I didn’t know if it would be that night or next week. Mr. Bird and I had picked out a day and had already started planning, but I had no idea when the ring would make it’s debut. One of the main reasons I wanted to post one last SINGLE LIFE post was because it was a time in my life that I truly enjoyed and am grateful to have experienced. Mr. Bird and I were talking about how meeting each other was fate. We had grown up in the same town, our houses 15 minutes apart. We went to rival high schools. We even had mutual friends, but we never met. At points I have wondered why this was, and it’s pretty clear… We both needed to figure out who we were before we could find each other. When I was 17 I had a life plan. I was going to go to college and I was going to find my “stallion.” He was going to 6’6, 270 and he was going to have a motorcycle. He was going to be like “Babe, get on my bike…Want to marry me?” We would ride off into the sunset and have 6 kids by the time I was 30 so I could get my body back before the I hit the point of no return. I had it all lined up.

Like I said in my single hood post…Plans change, It’s a thing.

missionI turned 19 and was still single. I turned 20 and I was still single. 21 came and I had this feeling that I needed to go on a mission. It was a feeling I had never wanted. I fought with it for a long time, and then finally accepted the fact that God needed me elsewhere. I turned my papers in anticipating that I would serve for 18 months where ever he needed me to go (within the U.S for health reasons). Max (my little brother) and I opened our mission calls within one day of each other. He would be serving in Bahia Blanca Argentina, and I was off to Tirana, Albania. I had not signed up for that… My next thought was I don’t even get a husband, I am going to die on my mission. Max and I entered the MTC together on January 19th, 2011. He was excelling at Spanish and Albanian and I did not get along. I was so physically sick that I could foresee Albania was not going to be the place for me. My heart was broken, and I was reassigned to the Rochester, New York Mission. I started out strong, I was able to take hundreds of tours and meet people who changed my life. My health never really got much better. It got to the point where President and I decided it might be time for me to go home. As I pondered and prayed I realized going home early was what I needed to do. I was promised that it would be for the good of my future family. Whatever that meant…

I came home after serving 11 months and got right back into school. I started to take heavy class loads so I could graduate on time, I had felt that it was very important. During my senior year at USU I got a remote internship in Boise, Idaho. After graduating my internship turned into a full time job that would require me to live in Boise. I had sworn up and down that I would not go back to Boise, but I would go to graduate school, or find a job in New York.  Boise was the only thing that felt right though. Every time I went to sign up for the GRE I would get this little voice in my head that would say no… I was upset, but I listened.

mini chairThe summer before my big move to Boise I worked as a Coordinator for EFY. I was able to meet so many wonderful youth who have changed me for the better. I witnessed so much heartache, sadness, and sin in these youth’s lives. I also was witness to youth who had courage, strength and a testimony. I met people I knew I was supposed to meet. I thought this is my last chance to find someone to marry… I left empty handed, and moved to Boise. Throughout the Summer I would tell people that I would meet someone on Sept. 3 in Boise. I didn’t know how, when, or where, but I had a feeling.

————————————————————————————————————————–

recieptI moved back into my parents house and decided to do something I would usually not do. I felt like I needed to though. I signed up for an institute class…and I went. On August 27th I attended the first class and I said hi to Mr. Bird. He said hi back. I had thought he was cute, but he was a BYU boy…. BYU boy’s usually didn’t have much time for us USU girls 🙂 Throughout the week I started to think about this Mr. Bird. It was on September 3rd that he got my number and that is when it all started. As I relive some of these events all I can think is how lucky I am. I was literally led to my husband. If I wouldn’t have come home early from a mission, I would have still been in school. If I had gone through with the GRE I probably would have gone to grad school. I am sure Mr. Bird and I could have met through another function, but it was fate that we were both led to each other.

I am just so grateful for the path that led me here, the trials and the hardships and even the happy moments that got me back to the place I needed to be. My plan of finding a biker dude, didn’t happen, something better did. I found a man who loves me and is willing to do anything for me. He makes me happy, we can laugh and joke, and we can even be sad together. I have found my other half… I can finally say all of my ducks are in a row 🙂

How did he propose? That story next!

Single Adulthood-It’s a Thing.

My first encountering with a working woman wasn’t until I was older. I was a lucky kid, my parents had it worked out so that my mom could stay at home and raise the six hellions. She was with us constantly, and I wouldn’t change it for the world. Growing up, I thought that I would be in a similar situation to my mother’s. I would be married young,I would have lots and lots of babies, and I would enjoy spending time with my family. I wouldn’t be working. It’s not that working was a bad thing, but it was the only thing I had seen at this point in my life.

Single.When I graduated from college I realized that was not going to be the plan for me. I wasn’t married, I wasn’t even close, I mean I had Tinder but it was getting me nowhere. I couldn’t be a stay at home mom with no kids, that’s just creepy. I was in shock, reality had finally seeped into my life and I realized I was going to become a “working girl” (not a street corner one, but a business one). My first thoughts of becoming a working girl where ones of anxiety and worry, but all of these fears have now been shattered. I left college and I got a job. At first I felt disappointed in myself, because I had wanted to become a mom, that is in no way a secret, and thought that my singleness was my fault (it probably was). I forged a new path, I have become a business woman- I wear work pants. I work 8-5. I have PTO. I have a desk. I have clients. I have a 401(k). I just finished my first book launch, it was an adventure and I loved every minute of it. I am working with a new client and am setting up a social media scope of work for them. If you would have set this scenario up for me 10 years ago I would have laughed, it was something that I couldn’t even imagine at the time. I would have thought, it sounds great but it’s not in my plan!

Plans change. It’s a thing.

In the culture I live in, getting married and having children signifies actual adulthood. I am 24, not married (yet…), and am rarely recognized as an adult. It can be frustrating and limiting if you focus on it. Since graduating college I have tried my best to not let my ringless hand limit me. Marriage is something of worth and should be sought after at the right time for you. Until you reach that time in life don’t limit yourself, live a life that you can be proud of, that when you do get married you can look back and have no regrets. There might be some who don’t ever have the chance to be married. don’t let that hold you back either, there are so many great things to be done that can impact many.

Okay perhaps it was a ranting post, but you get the point 🙂

 

Being an Aunt.

I am a true millennial. You all know that. I live in my parents house and I don’t even get to live in the basement. In the past few weeks I have been trying to focus some of my time with my niece and nephews. I have realized how LUCKY I am to live with them. Even though they can keep me on my toes at 6 years old with their witty comebacks, I do enjoy their company.

best aunt everI thought without a doubt that my next roommate would be a husband. Boy was I wrong. On Sunday my newest roommate Madison moved in to the room right next to me. We share a Jack and Jill bathroom (she insists on calling me her roommate). She recently turned nine and is turning into a beautiful girl. It was so cute to see her move her things. I have never seen someone her age so organized, she definitely did not inherit her aunt’s messiness. She informed me that she would give me reminders about cleaning my room and will remind me to keep the bathroom up to her expectations. I was just hoping that she would leave me a passive aggressive note and then it would be just like college (that was passive aggressive)! I remember being her age and all I wanted was to be like my older sisters. She gives me a chance to feel like an older sister, something I never experienced. I can say she is one of my favorite roommates… She cleans, is quite, and calls me her aunt 🙂 Madison is wise beyond her years, I can unfortunately say that right now she would make a better housewife than I would. I love that she is always willing to serve those around her, even when she doesn’t want to.

hayes birthdayHayes…. It is hard to describe this boy. He is one of a kind. He is the smartest and most witty child I have ever met. He is full of good one liners and is protective of his siblings. Madison was his roommate before she moved upstairs. They spent every waking moment together. They are best friends. This morning I went down stairs to get my pop tarts before jetting off to work when I found Hayes. He was ready for school and hour early and looked kind of sad. I asked him how he was doing and he replied with okay… I asked him if he was excited for school, and he said kind of, and then it hit me… So I asked do you miss Madison? My seven year old nephew replied with yes, I do. Even though they live a floor away, they both miss each other. If that doesn’t melt your heart, I don’t know what will… Hayes has shown me so many things, but his pure love and passion is what inspires me most.

piercePierce, he is my little guy. When I say little, I in no way mean little. He is the size of a new born buffalo I am sure, his laugh and smile are more contagious than the plague.  There is nothing that makes me happier than when he comes and sits on my lap. Not only is it a good leg work out, but he is just so cute. He is a feisty little bugger with a tender heart. Some of his favorite things to do are to smell things and feel soft blankets. The other night I came home around 9:45 ready to go to bed. Pierce was still up and I decided it would be pathetic if I was in bed before my 1.5 year old nephew. He was wired and I was starving. It was the perfect storm. He followed me around and we enjoyed some mint Oreos. I couldn’t help but laugh as I watched chocolate cover his face. This kid can always eat no matter on a train, a plane, or in the rain. Pierce has taught me patience (in a good way) and has also shown me how innocent and precious God’s little children are.

I love being an aunt. There is no greater thing than being part of these little lives and seeing them grow up. I am one lucky aunt, not many people get to see their niece and nephews as the grow and learn every day. I have been very blessed to have them in my life!all three

Catching the Bouquet

Catching the BoquetWinter break just ended, and we all know what that means, the wedding rush is over. It is the perfect time to have a wedding because it is during college student’s Winter break. I can’t disagree, the time works out perfectly. The wedding happens, the multiple receptions, the honeymoon, and then real life starts when the semester begins. During the holiday season I attended two weddings. They were both beautiful, cold, and full of family and friends. The receptions turned out picture perfect and the couples were beaming with excitement at the start of their new lives. At one of the weddings the bride followed the tradition of throwing the bouquet. I was thrown into the pile of girls to catch the bouquet. The bride threw it, and my hands stretched out, I caught it… Did I mention it was my boyfriend’s little sister’s wedding? Pressure much? It reminded me about the catch of 2012 and the second wedding, my sisters. At previous weddings I have attended, the bouquet toss could be compared to the hunger games. I never fully understood what it meant to catch the bouquet, I just knew I needed to catch it, I didn’t know there were any stipulations. The competitor in me comes out and I have to go for it. This particular bouquet toss that I am sure will be referenced at my funeral happened not too long ago and has been referred to as the catch of 2012 a time or two. It was my brothers wedding, and it was the first time I realized that catching the bouquet was a thing. My older sister and I were both single as could be and so we were shoved into the melting pot of girls all hoping to be the one to catch the flowers, thinking it was just some party favor. I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into. I had no idea what would happen if I caught the bouquet and so I had no real passion, and then…I over-heard a friend of my new sister-in-law say she wanted to catch it so she would be the next to marry…. WHAT THE!? That was what magical power this glob of flowers carried? Standing in the mosh pit of girls, I decided I was already committed and if I got a husband out of it, I would consider it a win-win. My sister-in-law threw the bouquet. Once it left her hands, it was as if there was a BOGO sale on shoes at Nordstroms… CHAOS. I knew my only competition would be my older sister. The moment was fast, in my red, sister of the groom dress, I jumped for the bouquet and I had my fingers brush the stems, I thought Emily's wedding dayI’m next! Out of no where my sister body checked me to the ground. Her hands went for the bouquet, we ended up under a table taking out a chair.  Our dresses went up and I am sure people saw things that might make me blush if caught on camera (the photographer totally captured it). I checked my head for blood after my sister had tackled me to the hard floor. The good news of the bouquet debacle of 2012 was that my hands were still wrapped tightly around the long green steams, I was next. Now this whole thing sounds dramatic because it was. My sister and I still hear people talk about it (not always in the “impressed” tone our father uses to describe it). So it was official, I would be the next to be married according to the traditions from the 14th century. The reason I tell you this is because I can now consider myself a “myth buster.” Last weekend that sister who tackled me to the ground and came up bouquet-less tied the knot. She met her prince charming and together they started their lives. I am so happy for her and the person she has become. Her husband is one lucky guy, and we already love having him in the family. Together they will make great things happen, best wishes to you both!

 

First picture: Zach Mathers Photography-(not the catch of 2012)

What Makes a Mom.

the kriEvery year, 9 days after Christmas, my mom has a birthday. We both have a common understanding of birthday’s near Christmas (mines 9 days before) and sometimes we feel as if we get the “Christmas/Birthday” shaft. I have been thinking about what to get my mom over the past few weeks and everything I have thought of was just not good enough for my mom. How do you buy a gift for someone who has given you everything in this world? There is nothing I could give that could compare. I finally found some trivial gift that will soon be forgotten (which is okay). Today I wanted to reflect on the gifts my mom has given me.

She is selfless. The first gift she gave me was life. She carried me for 9 months and I know that could not have been easy. She went into labor during my dad’s work Christmas party on a snowy night, and had me without an epidural. I came out with the cord wrapped around my neck multiple times, but once it was cut off I was in my moms arms, safe. I have learned that to become a mother you must be selfless. My mother gave up her college education to have 6 hellions, who have become my family and my best friends. She provided a home for me where I could feel her love and learn from her and my dad. She has taught me the importance of being selfless.

She is kind. Ever since I can remember my mom has shown kindness to everyone who comes into her life. I have always been impressed with her ability to interact with people from all different life styles. She never lets a problem overshadow a person, she focuses on the person first and the problem second. She has taught me that I will never regret being kind to someone.

nutcrackerShe is compassionate. We always joke about how practical she is when it comes to us being sick. Most of the time she will say things like “you’re fine” or “you don’t have a fever,” but I know that she truly does care. I have not been given the healthiest body, it has required many doctor appointments and surgeries. I remember a particular day that my mom taught me a life lesson. I had just had my gallbladder, appendix, and fibromitiosis tumors removed. I was quickly released from the hospital with 5 holes in my stomach.  I was to stay in my Uncle Bret’s room in Logan before driving to Boise with my mom. Uncle Bret has down syndrome and is very particular about his routine. I was messing it up by sleeping in his bed. I remember laying in bed in unbearable pain, throwing up and having Bret wake me up every 15 minutes by saying “My room, you back better, go home.” I couldn’t handle it all, I just needed to sleep. My mom grabbed her pillow and slept in front of my door on the floor the rest of the night so I would not be bothered. She taught me true compassion.

When I think of all of the things my mom has given me, there is nothing I could give her to show her my true appreciation today. I think many times the role of a mother is over looked, or is looked down upon. I can say that without my mom, I would not be the person I am today. I hope that I can be half the woman you are, thank you for everything.  Happy Birthday to my best friend, my Mom, I love you!

 

Retirement for the Millenial Generation

Millennials Jam Workshop: Youth and ICTs beyond 2015I am a millennial, I was born between 1980-2000, I am part of the last generation of the 20th century, and don’t really remember a time without the internet. After graduating college, I quickly was introduced to an 8-5 job providing me with benefits. As a millennial, I am part of a generation who lacks financial independence, and literacy.  One of the areas I lacked knowledge about prior to working for a financial company was retirement planning. In a recent article written by Roy Maurer, he discussed the importance of teaching millennials worldwide about planning for retirement.  A research study done by Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies in collaboration with asset management company Aegon, found that 59% of workers between the ages of 20 and 29  located in 12 North American, European, and Asian countries are expecting to be worse off  financially in their retirement than their parents’ generation. Across the board employers are seeing millennials who desire to save money and are committed to save for a retirement, but are finding that millennials have a lack of education in finance. A solution stated by the report included “improving young employee’s financial literacy about retirement planning and create easier access to professional financial advice.” As one of Echelon Group’s newest employees, fresh out of college, working as a Social Media Consultant, I have benefited from working in a financial atmosphere. Prior to working with Echelon Group, I had little knowledge on what a 401(k) was and how a millennial, like me, would obtain one. Retirement was not something that had ever crossed my mind; it was focused more on graduating college and finding a suitable job/career to provide for myself now. “For twentysomethings, retirement is decades away,” Cathleen Collinson, president of the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, pointed out. “However, by making saving a priority today, their long-term savings horizon will help their savings grow with the compounding of investments over time. Getting into the habit of saving is not easy at any age, but the longer one waits, the harder it will be, especially with the need to make up for lost time.” Echelon Group encourages employers to continuously educate their employees on their retirement plans. It’s better to save now, than wait until it’s too late. “Twentysomethings have the ability to create their retirement destinies-They just need the opportunity and know-how to get started down the right path (Cathleen Collinson).”

This blog was also featured on www.echelongroup.com