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LOL: Is not! Is, too!

Bill Harley

I’m working in the mud room this morning and a song comes into my head:

“Is not!” “Is, too!”

“Is not! Is not!” “Is, too! Is, too!”

“Is not! Is not! Is not! Is not!” “Is, too! Is, too! Is, too! Huh!”

And I remember what it’s from: Bill Harley‘s song from “Favorite Stories” night last Friday that Lane and I attended. And sang. And laughed!

That song! Boy, do I wish I had a video of that night. Not only Bill singing it, and the ASL interpreter signing it, but both halves of that whole amphitheater singing and signing together and laughing over how funny sibling arguing can be.

Children bickering is not often funny in the moment, and it can nearly drive a parent crazy, but it sure is funny to sing about later.

Saturday one of my children tracked me down to file a complaint against a sibling who had just done xyz. I started singing a song off the top of my head (an adaptation of one that’s stuffed in there) that went like this:

Be like a duck! Quack!
And let it run off your back! (repeat ad nauseum until your child begs you to stop)

Wooeee! It’s good to have songs and funny stories to remember to make light of stuff that isn’t as heavy as it feels in the moment. Maybe the next time my children start to argue, I can remember Bill’s song (or the instaDuck song) and start singing it.

Happy Laughing at the Silly Stuff,

Liz :)

*Sandra Boynton’s “Be Like a Duck” is from her songbook Philadelphia Chickens. Very silly stuff.




MF: Best gift ever!

Elder Livi with printer

(Elder Livingston sent this one for his dad, especially. He always has a sense of humor and enjoys sharing the things that make him smile. Eliza said recently that since he is gone, somebody had to pick up where he left off on the teasing and movie line quoting….)

No, Elder Livi isn’t sending me an Apple printer from bygone days. Today he emailed me, and it made me feel so happy! It is the best gift ever to get an email like this.

He wrote:

I want to tell you how much the gospel has blessed my life. The purpose of being here on the earth is to get a family and live and choose and achieve covenants and blessings. Family is the reason. And I have a wonderful family, and I want to share the blessings I’ve received with others here, and that’s why I came to Peru. Otherwise I would’ve picked like Alaska.
One time Julia and I were kinda fighting, and I wasn’t happy, but then Momma told me to take her golfing.  So we went to [the golf course], played a round, and then we were best buddies. It made me feel so good. And that’s what a family is about.
But the story goes like this: After we went to [the grocery store], big brother [treated her to] of cheap ice cream. but then on the way home, the lady in front of us stopped way too fast, and we got in a wreck that totaled the car. Were were both unhurt (the burb [Suburban] was a tank) but it was pretty scary. I was so scared that Julia was ok. In that moment, I didn’t care if I had Ice cream covering me, or if the car was ok, or how much it would cost, or if the chocolate would come out of my favorite golf shirt. I cared about my family. That’s the love that grows in families. And if one of us had been hurt, or even died, I would have been comforted knowing that the convenants we had made allowed us to live together forever. I knoe this is true. And that’s the Lord’s hand in my life, blessing me with a family, and a testimony to share.
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Mmmm: Melanie D’s mint brownies

photoRemember: I’m not a food blogger. Nor am I a food photographer. But take my word for it: These brownies are the best mint brownies EVER. They are my favorite brownie recipe. And this recipe makes A LOT of mint brownies. That’s why when we make them, we have to give at least half away, or I will eat them all. It doesn’t help to put them in the freezer. They are very good frozen. They seem to be my nemesis when it comes to food. Ugh. But they are absolutely at the top of my favorite desserts list. And if I make sure each of my children knows how to make these, I can go to my grave a happy woman.

(OK, there are few more important items to teach them. But knowing how to make a delicious dessert IS a an important life skill! Just ask Amelia Bedelia!)

Happy Making and Eating Your Favorite Dessert,

Liz :) 


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YM: The chemistry of delicious


(I started my Raising Amazing Children back in 2008 (on Blogspot back then). And I thought it might be fun to re-post some of those posts, since it was a private blog while I kept it, and it was a very different stage than I’m now in–much younger children at home.  So here’s a “YM (Young Mom)” post. Enjoy.)

What a quiet morning can do for a person’s soul.


My parents let the children come sleepover last night so that Lane and I could have a day together. (It was my gift to Lane to arrange it, but it is really my parents’ gift to us.) Sleeping in until you wake up on your own…Reading scriptures in bed with just quiet, quiet, quiet….Breakfast together in the kitchen with placemats and 2 glasses each, toast and Hero jam, cold milk and yummy almost-fresh-squeezed OJ, and piping hot oatmeal with diced Granny Smith apples. And nobody getting mad at anyone or anyone’s arms reaching across the table and across your plate or having to ask someone if they need to be excused to have a time out.

It’s a vision of years to come.

It’s almost TOO quiet.

What am I saying? No, it is NOT. It’s only going to last a few hours before all of the noise rushes back in. All of the giggles, crying, accusatory tones, gentle kind words, nagging and expressions of love. The whole package deal.

I was spreading my delicious Hero blackberry jam on my warm buttered toast and reflecting on how those Swiss know how to make jam. I just had to think: isn’t it going to be awesome to know the actual chemistry–I’m talking about post-mortal life education here, folks–of how to make something delicious? Like a blackberry? It’s not that Ienjoyed studying chemistry in highschool, (Wait! Did I take chemistry? Or is this a figment of my imagination?) but I think somehow it’s going to be much less tedious to understand then. So much of wonder will be clear. AWESOME!

Until then, the chemistry of delicious for us this morning is:

one thankful husband,
one rested wife,
one delicious breakfast,
two generous babysitting parents, and 
one quiet house.

The end.

(Note: My parents gave us this gift for Christmas. I think they had the children stay over at their home the day after Christmas, and at the time it was the most wonderful kind of gift. Preparing for Christmas in a large family can be exhausting, and the rest and quiet and time to simply be together as a couple was a rejuvenating gift. As I look back, I can say that some of the most precious gifts I have received have been gifts of time, and my parents gave me and Lane a number of those time-together gifts while my step-dad was still on earth. That time away as a couple strengthened our marriage, and I am really grateful for my parents’ kindness to us.)

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Baby photo Liz

(This is one of the few pictures of me as a baby. I definitely learned how to smile from my mom. She smiles all day long!)

You know I love alliteration. President Monson has said a few things using alliteration that I love. One is, “The lessons learned in the home are those that last the longest.”

One of the lessons I learned at home that has lasted was the one about my birth. My mom went into labor with me on Labor Day a number of years ago. (According to a young neighbor last week, it was 15 years ago. She asked me how old I am, and I replied that I was pretty old. with Then I asked her how old she guessed I am. She said 15. Love it!)

So she went into labor on Labor Day, and she and my dad headed to the hospital that evening. They learned that if they checked in before midnight, they would still have to pay for that day at the hospital, but if they came back after midnight, the new day’s charge would begin then. So they decided to go to the movie theater and watch something to pass the time while saving some money. And once the movie ended, they headed back to the hospital, where I was born, the Tuesday following Labor Day.

The lessons? It’s OK to endure some discomfort to save money. Be frugal! Be tough! I was child number four, and obviously my mom wouldn’t have taken a chance if she were too far along in her labor to leave the hospital, but she had grown up in a home where frugality was honorable, and she figured she would be fine a while longer.

What a woman.

Having been through a few labors of my own, I really admire that. Mom is no pansy. She is not afraid to work, to endure personal discomfort, and to use her resources. Both of my parents have been very hard workers their whole lives. I hope that my life will mirror their commitment to working hard. I especially admire my mother’s dedication to working hard on behalf of her family. Now in her seventies, she has a better and more prolific garden than I do, cans the best dill pickles and raspberry jam and peaches, and will gladly send home some fresh produce after working out in the sun, or with arms full of quarts for our family to enjoy after she sweated it out in the kitchen canning. That’s just a glimpse into what she does for others. She amazes me. She is always working, always ready to help, always thinking of others, and always quick to smile and laugh.

What a woman! She is the best. Thank you, Mom, for laboring and bringing me into this world, and to both of my parents for their examples of frugality and hard work.

Happy Teaching Lessons that Last,

Liz :)


Timp Storytelling Festival

Some incredible entertainment doesn’t have to be all bells and whistles. Take storytelling, for example: you’re sitting, listening, and one person’s voice takes you on an adventure that is just as good as any movie you’ve been to for a while. THAT is what I love about the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival.

Lane and I went to the “My Favorite Stories” event last night for our date, and we laughed and laughed and intently listened for 90 minutes, outside under the stars in the grassy amphitheater.  We traveled off a high dive, through a hail storm, down a river, into a dentist’s office (taking a ride towards the ceiling in the dentist’s chair), and heard a baseball, condensed version of The Odyssey. It was incredible!

This morning, Peter and I headed back over to hear of our friends tell his tall tale as one of the featured “Youth Tellers.” He was impressive! And we really enjoyed the telling of how the cookie crumbles at the “Post-Holiday Cookie Cook-off” as told by Kim Weitkamp. (Kim came back into the audience and sat down next to me. I asked her how much of her story was true, and she said she almost all of it except for the ending. Squirrel farms and squirrels who bring nuts to you on clapping command? Squirrels being shipped back from the Holy Land? Cookie-baking rivalries that include squirrel losing? HILARIOUS! Truth is stranger than fiction…)

(Of course, after hearing about Kim’s grandmother’s black cookie discs, I had to recommend to her Rattlebang Picnic!)

I highly recommend the festival for parents and children of all ages!

Happy Listening,

Liz :)

P.S. I also have to tip my hat to the incredible ASL interpreting that happened last night at the Favorite Stories event. It was so enjoyable to watch the story be told at once by the tellers and in motion by talented interpreters.


jumping in the fridge

We’ve had some family quotables popping up lately.

When I was a teenager, and my mom said something funny, we’d called it a “mommily.” Now that I’m the mom, mommilies are prolific. When I have a lot on my mind (when do I not?!?), I’ll say something that I don’t mean at all, such as when I discussing how I wanted Anna to do something the other day while I got ready. I said to her, “I’m going to go jump in the fridge…”

Peter piled a dinner plate with chips and shredded cheese before heading to the microwave. As he passed, I raised my eyebrows at his plate. “Some people like to eat,” he defended, “and I might be one of those people.” Let me tell you: this 10 year old’s appetite is certainly matching his growing. Maybe he will have his dad’s genes after all! (I’ve wondered if my genes for shortness must be predominant, since none of our children have “shot up” so far.)

Rebecca tried out for the musical “Cinderella.” When she came home from school, and I told her I needed her help with cleaning up the kitchen, she said, “Now I really wish I had a magic wand.”

Amen, sista.

Peter made up a great joke the other day:

“What do you call corn on the side of the road?” (Corn on the curb!) We decided he might be world famous for that one.

Lane was starting to sauter something in a pan the other night and stuck a very generous portion of butter in the pan. Peter, surprised, cried out, “Dad! That’s too much butter!” Lane whispered, “Shhh!”

So fun to remember the funny things we say in families! Happy Remembering,

Liz :)


LOL: Oh, I’m so embarrassed!


A mom apologized to me recently for the way her children were behaving while we visited together the other day. Even as I stood there chatting with her, I knew of the internal angst she might be feeling. I have been in her shoes so many times! It seems that whenever a mother answers a phone call or begins visiting with another woman, the children have an internal honing signal that flashes on, and instantly they are at her side, vying for attention.

I told her to please not worry about it. How well I could relate!

This morning I was thinking about how sometimes when people see a child in a certain setting acting well-behaved, they cannot imagine them acting any worse–as if they were somehow immune to the normalities of life and developmentally-typical behavior.

So not true.

I thought it’d be fun to make a list of the behaviors we’ve dealt with in our home that are on the more unsavory side of raising such amazing children:

  • shouting
  • speaking unkindly
  • defiance
  • hitting
  • whining
  • complaining
  • tantrums and major meltdowns
  • anxiety
  • shyness
  • spitting
  • out-of-control anger
  • slamming doors
  • messy rooms
  • opened jars of food in drawers and snack/treat wrappers in all kinds of places
  • laziness
  • “I HATE YOU, MOM!”
  • lying
  • threatening
  • negativity
  • more negativity
  • breaking things
  • ignoring chores or homework
  • ruining furniture
  • putting holes in walls
  • coming home after curfew
  • taking off without letting Mom know where, (including sneaking out) etc.

That gives you an idea.

And then there have been other little (or big) challenges, such as:

  • refusing to get up or go to bed, school, music lessons, sports, church, birthday parties–you name it
  • forgetting lunch, homework or P.E. clothes, etc., at home
  • bedwetting or clothes wetting/soiling
  • backwards letter writing (when learning to write)
  • not wanting to learn to read
  • procrastinating homework
  • faking being sick
  • haircutting (like cutting off their bangs when they are 2)
  • running outside naked (thankfully only little children)
  • pulling off diapers when they are in their crib
  • yelling in church
  • months and months into years and years of a continual flow of illnesses, one child to the next (colds, flus, childhood diseases, etc.) (I even had the city come check our water one year just because I was so at my wits’ end with common illnesses!)

Ya know.

Looking back, I am grateful for all of the little things (and bigger issues) that we’ve dealt with so far, because they are just so normal. It helps me relate to other parents and children, and I can say to someone, “Don’t worry about it!” with far more empathy than I ever could when I was unmarried and said I’d never have a child with a nose running out of control in the grocery store line.

Now I can laugh with other people as we swap stories and share understanding. I love that!

Here’s something else I love: seeing how far children can come! They learn to overcome the behaviors that come (to most of us) naturally. I watch in awe at how much they learn and improve, even when I am not always the best model for what they need to learn.

Way to go, guys! You are amazing!

Now if they would just flush the toilet…

Happy Breathing a Sigh of Relief,

Liz :)


3T: Seek early


Sleep feels fairly precious to me these days since insomnia is something that I deal with. Some mornings, I feel like there is no way on earth I can get up early. I decide it’s not wise for me to get up as early as I’d like, simply because I need that extra 30 or 60 minutes sleep.

But when I have gotten enough sleep to get by, I feel so blessed to wake up early and to study in the quiet of the morning.


Today’s studying moment reminded me: I get answers.

This morning I read a particular verse in Alma that struck me, and so I decided to go the church website to research a topic further. I saw a link to the recent trainings on teaching in the home, and I watched one of the videos about informal teaching. I had another idea come to mind for helping one of my children today. So I feel grateful that I had got up instead of staying in bed, even though sleeping is one of the true joys in my life.

Another reason I love it is that without fail, it sets the pace and tone of my day.

Sometimes, at the end of a day, I notice that I’ve struggled to be as kind or hold my tongue with my children. I might feel like I kind of floundered my way through the day. And then I will remember that I neglected to study my scriptures that morning–for whatever reason.

I don’t think that it’s God punishing me that my day doesn’t go as well. I think it’s simply that I didn’t choose to access that extra heavenly help that comes with God’s promise “Ask and ye shall receive.”

So I love to get up early and read and ponder and search. The ideas come for how to approach my challenges. Peace and comfort can come. I feel a steadying power. It’s not an earthquake.  It’s not rocket science. It’s simply better. I’ve plugged into divine power, I’ve put on the armor of God, and it helps me.

Consider the consequence of Joseph Smith’s searching the Lord early in the day! “Oh how lovely was the morning….”

Happy Studying Early,

Liz :)

P.S. When searching for a quote that I couldn’t remember, I found this great post,  “How a busy mom can study her scriptures.”


SOS: Family Search Memories app

Family Search Memories appTonight for FHE, Julia was demonstrating how to upload a photo to Family Search. While she was waiting for the umpteen thousand photos on the laptop to load (ah, the beauty of digital cameras), I went to the Apple App Store on my phone to see how the Family Search app works. I found that there is a new Memories app, and it is GREAT! I was able to start uploading photos from my phone directly onto my account. Love it! I love how easy it is getting to do family history for my OWN family! It will be so much easier for families to avoid the piles and piles of photos and stuff that we have collected over the years and simply upload memories directly to their family’s online resources.

I was even thinking that perhaps couples just beginning their families won’t even need to really create a physical personal history box, as I did for our children, but instead simply set up accounts online.

Such a time and money saver!

So cool.

It’s fun to think about one of Lane’s mission companions who has worked for years on Family Search and helped all of these fabulous tools be prepared. Thank you!!

Happy Memory Recording,

Liz :)