Fun And Funny Moments Of Motherhood!

Fun And Funny Moments Of Motherhood!

Motherhood is a funny thing!  As chaotic and frustrating as it can get sometimes…it can also be equally delightful and fulfilling!  In the day in and day out battlefield of messes and whining, the lighthearted and hilarious moments of motherhood tend to get lost.  So let’s take a step back and consider some of those occasions that, as mother’s, have made us smile–and even provided some wonderful, spontaneous belly laughs!

Mother’s seem to know the right thing to say in any predicament!

My husband grew up in a large family of nine children.  As you can imagine, mealtimes were a lively joust of food being served, thrashing elbows and boisterous chatter.  He says that there was an ongoing joke in their household that you had to have at least one foot firmly planted on the floor at all times as you “fought” to get your portion of food!  While that is obviously a bit of an exaggeration, my cute hubby does have the starring role in a minor dinner mishap that has become part of his family’s folklore!  But like any good mother, his mom saved the day with her fast thinking and quick wit.

My husband has shared with me the funny story of how one evening as his family sat down for supper, he started shaking a bottle of Italian dressing to put on his salad.  He didn’t notice that the lid wasn’t tightly secured and his dad became the direct target of the errant dressing as it spewed from the bottle.  For one fleeting moment…there was pure silence at their usual bustling dinner table as the tangy liquid dripped from his dad’s glasses and nose.  Without missing a beat however, his mom handed the salad bowl down the table and said in a laughter-filled voice, “Well, pass your dad the salad so he can have some lettuce with his dressing.”  What could have been a very tense and stressful moment, turned into lighthearted laughter while everyone gave their napkins to their dad so he could wipe himself off.

Mother’s will work for hugs!

Children seem to have an innate way of knowing when their mother’s are most in need of one of the happiest dividends of being a mother.

My little grandson, Elliot, is a precocious two-year-old with an infectious laugh and boundless energy.   Days with him are busy and active, but are always punctuated with those priceless moments when he propels himself into his mom’s arms and offers warm hugs with unabashed love and trust!  Obviously, occasions like these provide some major smile moments with our kids when we take the time to truly enjoy them; they definitely make the sacrifices of motherhood all the more worthwhile!  (My son and daughter-in-law waited a long time for these hugs from this special little guy. You can read their adoption story here.)

“My favorite place is inside your hug!”  Winnie the Pooh

Kids say the darndest things…because they learn from their mothers!

If we’re lucky the wisdom and sass of our mom’s will rub off on us and set us up for being able to tackle life in the “real” world!

As a pre-teen, my brother was begrudgingly helping my mother with some chores one Saturday morning.  The story goes that when he held the dustpan as she bent down to sweep up some dirt and crumbs, he inspected the top of her head and noted aloud the number of gray hairs she was getting.  My mom rhetorically replied that they were a result of her children’s bad actions and the worry they caused her.  It’s been embellished over the years, but apparently my brother responded with great satire and drama in his voice, that that explained why grandma (my mom’s mom) had only grey hairs on her head!  Ever the gracious person that she was, my mom just stood up and smiled…then added a few extra chores to his list!

♥ Playing with children is happiness therapy!  

How many times have you found yourself cracking up at something your kids said or did while they were playing and thought, I’ve got to write that down before I forget it.  In today’s society, playtime is often thought of as a time for children to have a short break from other, more serious, learning.  But if we stop and think about it, in some respects, creative play is the crucial framework of childhood that can help kids become productive, well-balanced adults!

Recently, my daughter captured this sweet scene as her two year old daughter had full reign of the toys while her older sisters were at school.  Bunny beauty parlor was in full swing, complete with ear curls!  Not only is this hilarious on so many levels, (check out the very attentive look on her face) but it also created a neat moment for my daughter to join this precious girl on the floor to get an update on all her clients!  Watching our children use their nurturing abilities in these types of situations, can’t help but give us a glimpse into the effectiveness of our own mothering skills.

“Play gives children a place to practice what they are learning.”  Mr. Rogers

♥ Mother’s know that laughter is the best medicine! 

My mom was an avid proponent of viewing motherhood through the veiled, tongue-in-cheek parody of renown editorial humorist and author, Erma Bombeck, who wrote about suburban home life in a nationally syndicated column from 1960 until her death in 1996.  Like Ms. Bombeck, my mother occasionally bemoaned some of the absurdities of life that were often embraced by modern society, but lacked the common sense of a wise mother!  As mother’s, we try not to take life too seriously and just go with the flow–that way we don’t embarrass our children too much!  We also learn to laugh a lot along the way–mostly at ourselves!

Guilt is the gift that keeps on giving!

I’m going to stop punishing my children by saying, “Never mind!  I’ll do it myself.”

The term “working mother” is redundant!

Seize the moment!  Remember all those women on the Titanic who waved off the desert cart!

Who in their infinite wisdom decreed that Little League uniforms be white?  Certainly not a mother!

To all you neat women out there…do something to celebrate yourselves every day!

This is my kind of Mother’s Day greeting!

I’d love to hear about any fun or funny moments you’ve experienced with your mom or children! 

Much love, Mary

The Art Of The Small Gesture!

The Art Of The Small Gesture!

Recently, I watched an interview being conducted with entrepreneur, Ken Langone, founder of Home Depot.  I was impressed with his unlikely rise to fame and fortune from a hard-working teenager digging ditches and collecting used cardboard, to becoming a highly regarded and upstanding businessman that often doesn’t fit the mold, so to speak, of conventional Wall Street executives.  I believe, however, that it’s his philosophy of life that ultimately set him on a course of true greatness…

While Mr. Langone has decidedly dedicated his life to grand scale gestures of philanthropy, which include awarding college scholarships to many dedicated store employees, overseeing afterschool programs for underprivileged youth in Harlem, New York and pledging funding to New York University for medical research and free tuition for medical students, he is just as diligent at pursuing smaller gestures of kindness, in fact, he attributes the many lessons learned in his youth for helping this simple notion become the main emphasis of his life.

Mastering The Art Of The Small Gesture!

I figured that the month we celebrate Valentine’s Day was a good time to work on the art of the small gesture–hopefully we’re already focused on wanting to show some thoughtful kindness to those we love, as well as those we meet that might need a little positive boost!  I certainly prefer heartfelt acts of kindness to chocolate and flowers…okay, I’ll take a little chocolate too!

It’s the little, everyday gestures that really matter! ♥  

After a particularly hectic shift at the hospital a few weeks ago, I walked into our home to see low flames burning in our fireplace, the carpet vacuumed and a simple, but lovely dinner prepared by my sweet hubby–obviously he’d heard the strain in my voice when we had talked briefly earlier in the day.  I couldn’t help but step back a moment and take in the scene before me and feel my stress ease.  Getting in the habit of learning to think outside our own needs to do some of the little things that we know will make others feel special is one of the best ways to make sure that small loving gestures are an everyday occurrence!  And if we’re on the receiving end of a small gesture…showing genuine appreciation is a small gesture that will not go unnoticed!

♥ Small gestures help us stay connected! ♥

As the world gets busier and more digital, small gestures become increasingly more important…the emails we don’t respond to, the texts we forget, the “likes” we don’t give, the comments we choose not to write.  We have no idea how much these would mean for those on the receiving end.  Small, thoughtful gestures help us stay connected in a world where we all long for acceptance and a sense of community.  So let’s send those thank you notes, look someone in the eye, give support and encouragement, and offer a helping hand when given the opportunity!

The small gesture of touch is powerful! ♥

Who doesn’t love the small gesture of touch?  Did you know that according to neurologist, Shekar Ramon, MD, human touch stimulates receptors under the skin which increase oxytocin levels in the brain and results in lowering blood pressure and cortisol levels, which effectively reduces stress…and over time, lower blood pressure reduces a person’s risk of heart disease.  The power of a compassionate touch of a hand or a reassuring hug or pat on the back can literally take away our fears, soothe our anxieties and fill the emptiness of being lonely…ultimately leading to more happiness and joy!

  “I love the kind of hugs where you physically feel sadness leaving your body!” Charlie Brown, Peanuts” comic strip

Small, kind gestures give us strength!♥

There may be times when acquaintances, friends or loved ones have problems that we can’t help them with, but this is when I’ve found that thoughtful gestures seem to have the most impact.  We can’t necessarily make their problems go away, but our kindness can help give them the strength they need to get through whatever they’re facing.  By doing small things for others, we are more likely to create the kind of relationships that help us better weather the storms life can throw at us.

Lastly, I feel another important component in offering small gestures is to give them freely without expecting anything in return.  People may not take notice, much less return the kindnesses, but we can take heart in the fact that we are doing our part to create the kind of world we want to live in.

“Amid the chaos of everyday life, we need to be reassured that goodness exists; we should let it fill our souls, then do our part to pass it on.”  Tribute Journal 

I’d love to hear about any small gestures you’ve received that have made a big impact on your life!

–With love, Mary

The Best Advice…For A Happy New Year!

The Best Advice…For A Happy New Year!

A brand new year seems like the perfect time for the second edition of my “Best Advice” series that was so well received when I posted the first one clear back in August of last year.  Whether you’re one to make New Year resolutions or not, (you can read why I’m not here!) perhaps the sage advice shared here by some more of my lovely friends, wise mentors and gracious family members will be the perfect catalyst that helps you find your passion and embrace the opportunities you’re given so that 2019 proves to be the best year of your life!  At the very least, let’s all vow to do something we’ve always wanted to do but never took the time to do it until now!

A New Year is 365 days of opportunity!

Advice To Help Kick Off The New Year!

Anticipating the beginning of a new year is sure to ignite the age-old debate of “resolutions vs. goals”!  Aren’t they really one in the same, you ask?  Well, I define a resolution as a firm decision to do or not do something–and therein lies the dilemma for me…too often people vow to completely change a behavior on the first day of a new year like some magic motivational switch is flipped at 12:01 on January 1st.  Resolutions seem to be indicative of an “all or nothing” approach; failure seems guaranteed.  Whereas, I see goals as less ridged and more meaningful intentions, where the commitment and effort required is more realistic, resulting in the improvement of a person’s overall lifestyle with lasting, long-term effects, despite some inevitable hurdles and setbacks.

Resolutions vs. Goals.

“Dream big.  Start small.  Act now.  Robin Sharma

I like the insight and advice my good friend and long-time neighbor, Alison, gives on the subject of setting goals.  She and her husband are serving a mission for our church in Sacramento, California, where they oversee approximately 180 young missionaries ranging from 18-20 years of age.

I love the New Year as a time to refocus on new goals and ways to live my best life.  I have come to appreciate the importance of goals even more since we have been serving our mission.  I’ve seen how those young people we work with who make a habit of setting goals and understanding that they truly help them progress in life, are not only the most productive, but usually the happiest, as well.  Goals that make us stretch, even a little bit, help us become better versions of ourselves.  A favorite piece of advice I offer our ever evolving group of missionaries is:

“We are striving for progression not perfection.”

(Scott and Alison Hymas with missionaries in Sacramento, California)

I love my career as a NICU nurse, and I work with some incredible neonatologists who are not only wise in the medical care they offer the precious preemies on our unit, they are very intuitive about life in general, which makes sense when you think about it, since they often see first hand how truly fragile life can be!  On one occasion, I commented to one of these physician’s, Dr. Shannon Jenkins, how his ability to really listen to the concerns of anxious parents seemed to calm their anxieties and allow the hospital personnel to do their job more effectively.  His reply renewed my desire to make sure my patients (or in this case, the parents of my patients) are a strategic part of the care plan.  Dr. Jenkins said, “Learning to listen is the first step in formulating the best care plan for each patient beyond their immediate medical needs.  As knowledgeable as we’d like to think we are as doctor’s, you don’t advance in your career if you do all the talking!”  He went on to elaborate that by listening, he learned how to better involve the families so that they felt like they had viable roles in the care of their sick little ones, despite the fact that touch and other stimuli often has to be restricted.

“One of the sincerest forms of respect…is actually listening to what another person has to say.”  Bryant McGill

As a nurse I also have the privilege of mentoring many student nurses as they work through their rotations in the various areas of the hospital.  It’s wonderful to see my profession through fresh, eager eyes on occasion–and truth be told, I’m often the one who learns as much, if not more, from these future candidates of an amazing career path.  One such opportunity came last year when I worked with Lauren, a darling 2nd year student who proved to be wise beyond her years in her innate ability to care for our little patients with ease, while still paying attention to all the meticulous little details that are so important to maintain in a NICU unit.  Lauren recently graduated and received her hard sought Registered Nurse status, so of course, I had to ask her to share her best advice for surviving a rigorous nursing program and life in general.

Here’s Lauren’s 3 key points on what helps her live a happier life:

1.  I always try to give people the benefit of the doubt.  I know I make many mistakes, most of them unintentionally, but I also know I don’t want to be defined by those mistakes.  I truly believe that if we can look for the best qualities in others, it will not only help us to be less critical, it will allow others to overcome their weaknesses and learn from their mistakes.

2.  I try to live by the quote in the book, “Girl Wash Your Face” by Rachel Hollis, (which I highly recommend) that says, “If you are unhappy, that’s on you.”  It’s such a good reminder that we should always take charge of our lives; what defines who we are and how we want to live!       

3.  We live in a world of instant gratification, where seemingly little effort is required to get ahead, but there’s just something to be said for putting in the hard work.  It sounds cliché, but the early mornings and long nights worked as you devote your life to reaching your goals really do build a special strength in character.  I always strive to have at least one aspiration, whether it be physical, mental or spiritual, that I work hard for every day, because when I accomplish it, there’s truly no better feeling…and it’s great incentive to achieve even more!  

With this great outlook, I’d say Lauren has a bright future ahead!

(Lauren Huff, 2018 Nursing Graduation at Weber State University) 

One of my favorite television news contributors is Ed Henry, Chief National Correspondent on the Fox News Station.  He seems to take pride in the delivery of news information without making it biased to his own personal views.  I recently became even more enamored with him when I read about an interview he did once where he was the one being questioned, and his wise response to being asked about how the general public could be better news consumers so they could make more informed decisions, politically and otherwise, came without hesitation.  He said,  “I’ve always felt that if people were even 10% more attentive to others and the world around them than they currently are, we’d be a much happier population.”  My interpretation of this sage advice is that if we are willing to take time to look outside ourselves more and serve one another to the best of our ability, we’d be able to better offer some of the basic kind gestures that are so necessary for all of us to really thrive in this life!

Ed Henry, Chief News Correspondent for Fox New

(Ed Henry via Fox News Channel)

Perhaps some of the best advice to heed for those of us who are hibernating to a certain degree during the wintry month of January, is to take advantage of this time to look around and truly ponder the beauty of this glorious world we live in…even when it’s adorned in snow drifts!

Snow drifts in Utah.

“Like the whole earth, we must rest and be quiet.”    Isaiah

And lastly, several years ago when I was going through some of my mom’s files, I came across an old newspaper clipping she had saved written by the late renown columnist, Ann Landers.  I love the witty way Ms. Lander’s had of putting common sense ideas into clever quips that always leave you nodding in agreement as you read them, while at the same time vowing to somehow implement every last tidbit of wisdom into your daily habits.  I still have the original article folded in the back of my personal journal so I can pull it out and reread it on occasion when I’m at odds with myself.  I’ve made a modified version of it for you to download and make a copy for when you’re feeling the need for a little positive reboot in your life!

Advice For A New Year by Ann Landers

Make a copy HERE.

Please share any sage advice that helped you when you needed it most in your life!    

Best wishes to you all for a blessed and happy new year!

–Mary