ABCs of Me

March 12, 2015 in Junk Drawer


Just for fun and because I’m a huge fan of lists, I’m going to share a little bit about me today in an ABC way. I’m pretty sure this list was one of those blog tag games that went around years ago when everyone had a blog. Then we all got on Facebook instead, and family blogs kind of disappeared… but I miss them. So please feel free to start up your family blog again and send me a link!

Addictions: kissing my husband… seriously can not get enough. Also Cadburry Mini eggs which we buy in “6-girls-live-in-this-house” size.

Bed size: king. We tried sleeping in a queen for a few months, and it made the search for a new king go even faster.

Chore you hate: cleaning. Oh wait, a specific cleaning chore? So many to choose from… scrubbing tubs and showers. Blah.

Dogs or cats: meh, not a pet person, but I love that there are neighborhood cats that hunt the mice in the field behind my house.

Essential start of your day: kissing my husband (see Addictions)


Favorite color: red, like a deep, dark red/burgundy, not fire engine red

Gold or silver: gold, but it’s not like I’m going to say no to jewelry

Height: 5′ 11″ since I was 15, and I always thought I was cheated out of that last inch. I mean, if you’re going to be freakishly tall (I was 5′ 9″ when I was 11 years old), why stop just an inch shy of 6 feet?

Instruments you play: Do vocal chords count? piano, string bass (I was even in a jazz band once), I know how to play violin but not well, and I attempted to play the tenor sax one summer but failed miserably

Job titles you’ve had: receptionist, data entry robot, call center punching bag, medical transcriptionist/editor, and currently mom-chauffeur-cheerleader-nurse-counselor-chef-referee-maid-owie kisser-bedtime story reader-and chief tucker inner

Keepsake: I’m on a quest to collect every Disneyland button this year. Not sure how I’m going to convince the cast member I was “Just Engaged” and “Just Married” AND celebrating my anniversary…


Live: I live in Utah where I love that we have 4 seasons… even if Mother Nature is completely bipolar. Where I grew up in Arizona we had 2 seasons: hot and oh-my-goodness-why-do-we-live-here HOT.

Mom’s name: Marilyn – I’ve always loved it, she’s always hated it. We were going to use it for Babs’ middle name, but my mom really didn’t want us to do that to a kid, so we just used the Lyn part.

Nickname: NOT Mel – I really, really hate being called Mel. My dad is the king of nicknames, and I’m pretty sure he hardly ever actually called me Melanie – the closest he got was melba toast, which was also not a favorite. Spiedra-umbeda-umbeda (repeated times infinity) was probably the most common. Where did that come from? I have no idea.

Overnight hospital stays: For myself only when I’ve had babies. But I stayed with Babs when she had her hip surgeries, watching Aladdin and the Ducktales Movie over and over again. That was the first time I realized they’re pretty much the same movie. And I may have stayed with Steve when he had his appendix removed – he’s not a fan of hospitals.

Pet peeve: when I’m tired and cranky, just about everything… But when I’m being more reasonable, not quite as many. I really hate loud chewing – blech. And when people stop in the middle of walkways blocking everyone else who is trying to get through.

Quote from a Movie: We quote movies constantly around here. There was a time when we couldn’t get through a meal without reciting the entire Lego Movie. When we were dating, I thought Steve and I were so cute to quote “I love you back” from While You Were Sleeping. My latest fave is “I am not fast” from Big Hero 6 – because it’s so, so true.


Right or left-handed: right, but that doesn’t stop me from trying to take pictures with my left hand while being my own hand model with my right

Siblings: 3 brothers and 2 sisters. They are my best friends. Most of them went and got married and gave me even more awesome siblings! We’re all going to Disneyland together next week and I can hardly wait!!!

Time you wake up: when I’m being good – 5 am, when I sleep through  my alarm – 6:27 when Steve’s alarm goes off

Uncertainty: I wonder if I’m teaching my kids enough and preparing them enough to succeed in life

Vegetables you Dislike: bell peppers and eggplant – ew

What makes you run late: When I don’t want to stop what I’m doing. And losing my keys. all. the. time.

X-rays you’ve had done: um… I can’t think of any, although I think I broke my ankle once when I tripped over some laundry I was carrying and fell down the stairs. I went to the doctor so I could get an x-ray, and he wouldn’t take one! He said it was just a sprain, but it took a year to heal. Is that normal?

Yummy food you make: everything! Seriously, I’m a pretty awesome cook. Ok, every once in awhile we try out something that no one wants to eat, but mostly we have ridiculously delicious food around here.


Zoo animal: giraffe – just because.

Now choose a letter and tell me something about you! Bonus points if you do the whole list on your blog and send me the link!

I Know

October 10, 2014 in Family Room

I am so excited to be part of this amazing group of bloggers celebrating our faith today!

Pinable Image

We belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints otherwise known as “The Mormons”. We are proud of this part of who we are!

We are excited to team up with over 65+ of us strong… to extend an invitation to see a film. A film entitled “Meet The Mormons”. This film is not meant to be an “in your face” – you must join our church film. It is simply designed and produced to uplift and inspire you through six stories of those of our faith who have followed promptings to follow Christ more fully in their lives. We hope you take the opportunity to enjoy this film.

We hope your hearts are made light as you feel the goodness that comes from following our Christ and Savior. All proceeds from the film will be donated to The American Red Cross. So not only will you be uplifted and inspired, your money will be going to an amazing charity!!

We also would like to take a moment and share our personal testimonies, stories of our own personal conversions, and our own stories of how following our Savior, Jesus Christ has changed our lives.

The light of the gospel of Jesus Christ offers a joy and hope that only following him can provide. We hope as you click through and read our stories and testimonies of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, you will feel uplifted and encouraged. We are by you! We love connecting with our readers, that is why many of us do what we do!

Please be kind and considerate in your comments. It takes great bravery for us to open our hearts and our mouths to share with you such a tender and personal part of who we are. We share because we feel strongly the need to share the peace and the hope that is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I'm A Mormon #1

Adrienne | Free Time Frolics , Camille | Chicken Scratch n’ Sniff , Natalie & Rebekah | House of Sprinkles , Kathleen| Fearlessly Creative Moms

Emily | The Benson Street , Staci | The Potter’s Place, Alyssa | Alyssa.Marie , Kristen | Capturing Joy , Aly | Entirely Eventful Day

Katie | Clarks Condensed, Larissa | Just Another Day In Paradise , Camille | My Mommy Style , Candice | She’s Crafty

Anita | Live Like You Are Rich, Landee | Landee Lu , Tara & Devin | Salt & Pepper Moms , Mallory & Savannah | Classy Clutter Kelli & Kristi| Lolly Jane

McKenzie | Girl Loves Glam , Pam & Lisa | Over The Big Moon , Melanie | Forty Eighteen , Sky | Capital B Adell | Baked in Arizona

I'm a Mormon #2

Andie | Maybe I Will , Shatzi | Love and Laundry , Robyn | Create it Go , Rachel | R & R Workshop

Tiffany | Feel Great In 8 , Katelyn | What Up Fagens? , Brittany | BrittanyBullen , Ginger | Ginger Snap Crafts , Stephanie | Crafting In The Rain

Chelsey | Cee Me Be , Amber | Crazy Little Projects , Kallie | Smitten By, Elyse, Kristen, Lauren, Steph, Kendra & Camille | Six Sisters Stuff Annette | Tips From A Typical Mom

Amberly | Life With Amberly & Joe , Taralyn | Keep Moving Forward With Me , Jessica | What Does The Cox Say? , Lisa | Mabey She Made It , Kiki | Kiki & Company

Kierste | Simply Kierste , Tayler | The Morrell Tale, Jennifer | My Daylights , Cambria | Live To Be Inspired, Danielle | Today’s The Best Day

I'm a Mormon #3

Amber | Dessert Now Dinner Later, Natalie | The Creative Mom, Bobbie | A Vision To Remember , Becky | Babes In Hairland

Lisa | Pebbles & Pigtails , Mandy | Sugar Bee Crafts , Krista | Reclaim, Renew, Remodel , Wendy | Musings, Miracles, and Mayhem

Nat & Holly | My Sister’s Suitcase, Britni| Play.Party.Pin , Montserrat | Cranial Hiccups , Heidi | A Lively Hope , Ashley & Meegan | Flats to Flip Flops

Alexis | We Like to Learn As We Go, Amy | The English Geek , Mariel | Or So She Says Carrian | Oh Sweet Basil

Kirtley | The Gist of Fit | Aubrey | Dreaming of Someday, Natalie| The Messanos, Angela | Handmade In The Heartland

I am so happy to be a part of this ‘testimony train’ and to take this chance to share what means the most to me.

As a young girl, I lived the gospel because my parents taught me that was right. I believed because they believed.

As a teenager, that wasn’t enough for me. I’m not good at doing things just because someone said I should. It has to be my idea. I have to choose for myself.

One Sunday afternoon, a young man was speaking in church. He was someone I looked up to and admired, so I really listened to what he said. He sounded a lot like me – he wasn’t content just to believe what everyone else believed. He had to know for himself. He wanted to know if God was real, if He was really listening, and if He really knew this boy individually and loved him.

I wanted to know all of those things, too, so I really listened up now. And then, my “ah-ha moment” happened.

Do you know what he did? He asked.

So simple. So profound. He wanted an answer from God, so he prayed and asked God.

I realized that day in my teenage girl heart that I had never just asked.

I didn’t run right home and drop to my knees that day, but a little while later when I had spent the day studying and pondering, I did just that.

I was at BYU Campus Education Week with my family and had spent the day listening to youth speakers who taught the gospel in ways that I could relate to. I was amazed with the way they could have us cracking up one second and completely filled with the spirit the next. I had been taught all about who I am as a child of God and that He knows and loves me, and I wanted to know – for myself – if that was true.

I knelt down next to my bed in the student apartment we were renting for the week, and poured out my young girl heart in prayer. I asked my Heavenly Father if He was really there, if knew me, if he loved me, and if he really listened to me and answered my prayers.

I hadn’t even finished saying the words when I could feel arms wrapped around me. I was filled with an overwhelming feeling of love and peace, and I knew that my prayers had been answered. I knew that in fact God really is there. He is my Heavenly Father. He knows me. He loves me. And he hears and answers my prayers.

That was a life-changing moment for me. It didn’t change how I was living, but it changed why I lived the way I did. It didn’t change who I was, but it changed the way I felt about who I was. It didn’t change how God saw me, but it changed how I saw God. I knew who I was. I knew I was His. And I knew I would always be.

That moment was the first of many experiences I have had with my own personal revelation that have become my unshakable testimony of the gospel taught by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I know it is true. I know living the gospel brings happiness and peace. I know it is worth every sacrifice and effort we make to live it. I know the Book of Mormon is truly the word of God. I know Joseph Smith was a prophet and that he really saw what he said he saw. I know Jesus Christ is my Savior.

I’m a Mormon. I know it. I live it. I love it.

Thanks, for the great images!

You can join the testimony train by linking up your blog post, profile, favorite conference talk, or any other way you want to share your testimony.

If you want to know what all the fuss is about, I would be happy to help you get a free copy of the Book of Mormon. Just leave me a comment and make sure I have a way to contact you.

I know it’s true.

It’s Time that I Make Time for That

May 25, 2014 in Family Room


As I have noticed time marching lately, I have realized that I don’t always use the time I have in a way that I won’t regret. I can’t imagine looking back and wishing I had written one more  blog post or checked one more social status or even kept a cleaner home.

But I can imagine looking back and wishing I had made one more memory with my little cuties before they were grown and gone. Wishing I had done one more hard thing that taught me a great lesson and helped me grow. Wishing I had strengthened one more relationship that really mattered.

So in the spirit of making time for the things that really matter, here are the TOP 10 Most Important Ways to Spend My Time. Or… “It’s Time That I Make Time for That” Top 10:


♦ 1 ♦

Take every chance to hug and cuddle with the kiddos


No matter how much I think the whining and mess making will never end, I know one day I will look around and my house will be empty and my arms will ache to hold those little whiny mess makers. So while they are here now, I will ignore the whining and messes and cuddle up with those little cuties and get plenty of sticky kisses and grimy hugs — and love every second of it.

♦ 2 ♦

Make date night more than just a nice idea


Before we were Mr. & Mrs., we were the cutest little college couple in the history of college couples. Seriously. Random people in elevators and total strangers on campus would tell us what a cute couple we were. All the time. One of our secrets to being such a cute couple was that our relationship was so important to us. We moved schedules and changed plans to make time for each other.

Then we got married and thought “responsible adults” had to put everything else first. Over 16 years later we understand that our relationship really should come first, and we can move scheduled and change plans to make time for each other and still be “responsible adults.”

“I’m sorry, I have a previous commitment” is my new favorite phrase. I don’t have to explain myself or justify my reason for not committing to every demand on my time or obligation that is thrown at me. My family comes first. Period.

♦ 3 ♦

Fill my own bucket

dreamer silhouette

Do you ever feel that you put everyone else’s needs first and spend all of your time and energy for everyone else until you have nothing left for yourself? How can I help my family when I have nothing left to give? I have to take some time to do something for me, to grow as a person separate from my roles as wife and mother and chauffeur and cheerleader and chef and on and on…

So for me, I am finally going to learn how to take beautiful pictures with my fancy camera. I am going to write — really write — just because I love it. I am going to get outside and enjoy the beauty and majesty all around me. And I am going to find a way to prove to myself that I am still just as smart as I was before childbirth turned my brain to mush.

♦ 4 ♦

Be consistent even when it’s hard


We all have those things that we KNOW we should be doing, but it’s so hard to actually do them! For me the number one thing is piano lessons. Not to be braggy, but I really am a great pianist. So when I had kids I decided I would teach them all to play. Think of all the money we would save on piano lessons if I was their teacher!

I remember sitting in music class in 6th grade when my music teacher asked anyone who takes piano lessons to raise their hand. BUT, he said, if your mom is your piano teacher, that doesn’t count. I thought that was rude. My piano teacher was someone’s mother, and she was amazing!

I totally get it now. Beth started taking lessons when she was 4, and she’s on level 3 now. Yep, 11 years to get to level 3. Why is that? Because when you teach your kids — and only your kids — piano lessons get pushed aside for everything else that is going on. I am pretty sure there have been years when she has only had 2 lessons throughout the entire year.

When I taught piano lessons to other people’s kids, we always had our weekly lessons, but with my own kids, I am not nearly as consistent. Therefore, even though they can all play something, they really can’t play much of anything. That’s all going to change, baby, no matter how much kicking and screaming we have to deal with (even if I’m the one doing the kicking and screaming).

♦ 5 ♦

Yell to save a life; otherwise, keep my voice down


Our city library is located on the corner of Center and Main. Center is a lazy small town street with hardly any traffic, but Main St. really is the main road running through town and by far our busiest. One day a few years ago, we were coming out of the library. The car was parked on Main, and Chuck took off running straight for her side of the car, which was on the street side, not the sidewalk side.

So in my fierce mama voice reserved for life preservation, I yelled to her to stop. I got some of the dirtiest looks I have seen in awhile from people walking into the library who couldn’t believe I would dare yell at a child, but I didn’t care because I saved my baby girl’s life.

Unfortunately, there were times earlier that day when those looks may have been completely deserved, and that’s when I need to learn to keep my voice down. Yelling to “encourage” getting the chores done, stop the sibling squabbles, or keep the tired little kidlets in bed is not the right time to bring out the screaming banshee in me. So, life-saving yells are in. Non life-preserving yells are out.

♦ 6 ♦

Read one more story. Sing one more song. Give one more kiss.


Is bedtime really so vitally important that a few minutes are going to upset the delicate balance of life? They’re not going to be asking for *any* bedtime stories soon. They won’t want me to sing silly songs to them. They will think they’re too old and too cool for kisses. So while they are still asking for stories and songs and kisses, one more couldn’t hurt. In fact, one more is a great idea. And maybe one more after that.

♦ 7 ♦

Capture the magnificent and mundane moments


If the reason I take photos is to capture moments I want to remember forever, why not capture the everyday moments that I so often take for granted. I won’t always have little girls enjoying tea parties, having sleepovers in each other’s rooms giggling about nothing late into the night, or even all my young family together at the dinner table talking about the day. It’s fun to capture the special events, but I want to remember the non-events that I know will mean even more when they’re gone. I’m sure I won’t take a photo every day, but I will take photos more days than just holidays.

♦ 8 ♦

Be at the crossroads


I have noticed an amazing phenomenon in our house, and maybe you have seen the same thing in yours. Steve can walk through a room and everyone keeps on doing what they’re doing. They know he’s there, but it doesn’t disrupt their focus and they happily stick to the status quo. I can walk through the same room, and I get bombarded with “I want…” “I need…” “Mom, will you…”  Steve can find a quiet place to be alone. As soon as I follow him there to enjoy the quiet, the entire gang follows me.

Instead of being frustrated at the complete lack of solitude, I have decided to embrace the magnetic qualities of mother hood and put myself in the middle of everything. If I am in the middle of all the comings and goings in our home, then my girls will know I am there for them. If I make myself available for the small things, they will trust me to be there for the big things. If I listen to the trivial things, they will want to talk about the heavier things that really matter. If I put myself in the crossroads of our home, I will find myself in the crossroads of their lives.

♦ 9 ♦

Have more dancing days


Really great days in our family always seem to involve dancing — whether it’s the girls and I dancing to make the chores more bearable, Steve dancing me around the kitchen when he gets home from work, or the girls just being silly dancing for fun around the house. When we’re happy, we dance. We need more dancing, and more of the kind of days that make us want to dance.

♦ 10 ♦



I am a smiler. Well, maybe not as much as I used to be, but I want to be. It’s amazing how quickly a smile can change my whole outlook and attitude. I wholeheartedly believe in “fake it till you make it” when it comes to smiling. Even when I don’t feel like smiling — or maybe especially then — I am going to smile and let it work its magic in me. Even if I have to fake it at first, I know after awhile it will be the real deal. A smile is one of those things that you can give away and it keeps coming back to you. The more you give, the more you get.

What do you need to make some time for?


40 Things About Me

January 18, 2014 in Junk Drawer

I thought it would be kind of fun for the first EVER installment of 40 Things to be 40 things you may not know about me. Just a little chance to get to know me better. So here it is:


About Yours Truly

  1. MeI grew up in a family with 3 girls and 3 boys – just like the Brady Bunch! except we weren’t a blended family…
  2. I’m the oldest girl, and therefore considered myself practically the oldest kid in the family (although I did love having an older brother)
  3. My oldest daughter is closer in age to my youngest brother than I am
  4. I used to tell people my older brother and I were twins like Luke and Leia because I wished it was true
  5. I asked my mom to do my hair like Princess Leia when I was in first grade… because I was super cool
  6. I own every Star Wars movie… because I am still super cool
  7. I’m kind of claustrophobic. If I have anything over my face – including a blanket or even my husband’s shoulder when he hugs me – I think I’m going to suffocate and die
  8. I’m a little bit scared of sleeping bags
  9. Because they could kill me
  10. I hate sleeping. There is so much I would rather do with that time. I have to force myself to go to bed every night
  11. Plus, the blankets are dangerous and I could die…
  12. I’m a thrill ride junkie and dream of riding every awesome roller coaster in my lifetime
  13. So far, The Hulk at Universal Studios Islands of Adventure is the best roller coaster I’ve ever ridden
  14. Even though it doesn’t have a lot of thrill rides, Disneyland is my favorite theme park
  15. I have been to Disneyland more times than I can count
  16. When I was 13, I sang my way around Disney MGM Studios so someone would “discover” me and want me to star in a Disney movie
  17. It didn’t work
  18. We’re only in our 30s, but my husband and I already have our retirement plan all figured out
  19. We’re going to retire to Disneyland – he’ll be a security guard like the guy who asks all the costumed kids for their autographs, and I’ll work in the baby center with the nursing moms
  20. I’m the same age as Katie Holmes, but I never once dreamed of marrying Tom Cruise. I DID, however, have a major crush on Pacey Witter
  21. I can sing any jingle or TV theme song from my childhood
  22. I am a Netflix junkie and tend to have my latest show on in the background whenever I’m on my laptop
  23. I’m on my laptop A. LOT.
  24. I love making lists and planning things.
  25. I have been known to spend a day doing nothing on my to-do list and then adding what I actually did to the list so I can cross something off
  26. I was the bass player in a jazz band
  27. I *hate* doing hair. When I was younger and girls were having hair parties, I would always offer my hair to be played with so I didn’t have to play with anyone else’s
  28. I have 5 long-haired daughters (see above)
  29. Sometimes I tell my kids to clean their rooms just so I can have some peace and quiet. I know they’ll be entertained for hours with the stuff they just discovered under the mess
  30. I don’t pre-wash my dishes before I put them in the dishwasher
  31. I’m great at keeping our laundry clean – and that’s where my greatness ends
  32. Right now there’s a pile of clean laundry on my couch that needs to be folded
  33. I’m on my laptop instead of folding them
  34. I love old movies, especially musicals
  35. I like going to sporting events but HATE watching sports on TV
  36. I really don’t watch TV very much
  37. Except Netflix, but I don’t really count that ‘cuz it’s on my laptop, not a TV…duh
  38. My favorite food is steak
  39. My favorite restaurant is Texas Roadhouse
  40. I drive a minivan and I’m okay with that

Tell me something about you!

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