Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Lovin Our Little Liam

William Joseph Patterson was born...well, 4 months ago. He sure is a bright little star in our lives. Everyone just loves and adores him. He laughs easily and everyone just loves to make him laugh. He is starting to like bath time, especially when one of his very willing siblings takes a bath with him. He's a good sleeper and sleeps mostly through the night! Yeah!

This boy is skinny and he has really long legs. Really. I will be surprised if he is not tall. He loves all the action that happens around the house but he is easily startled if you come up to him to quickly or too loudly. Spencer and Rob are the main ones to make him cry. :)

He has adjusted to the crazy life of having 4 older siblings and misses them all when it's a little too quiet around here.

My sister took these pictures when he was 2 months old. Isn't he just amazing?

Friday, January 24, 2014

My BIG To Do List

1. Try to ignore the STRONG nesting instincts I'm having (which is funny...because right now, I can't do anything about them, and every other time I've been pregnant, I haven't had nesting desires as strong as this pregnancy...while I can't do much about it)
2. Find a house to move into.
3. Pack up this house and move into other house.
4. Have this done by Feb 28ish, because our landlords want to put this house on the market.
5. Unpack. At least minimally.
6. Get ready for wee little baby coming sometime in early April.

Right now, everything is hinging on item #2. And even though I'm not the biggest planner, I do like to envision my future and have a basic plan as to what to expect. But I can't plan much beyond item #2 because I have no idea where or when we will be working on items 3, 4, and 5. Do we start packing things up so as to plan for a temporary move...somewhere to live while we have this baby and I get through those few months of post-partum blahs (or blues)? (I remember enough to have recommended to Rob that we try not to make any major life decisions right before or after I have this baby.) Or do we just start packing things up for a more permanent move?

I just dunno.

We have looked all around town for a house since the end of November, never feeling quite right about any of them. Although there was one house I actually felt like I could have lived there, but...it's at the top of our range and there are enough oddities about the house that we wouldn't want to pay that much for something that isn't amazing. We've looked at houses that would push our affordability limit and houses that are fixer-uppers (but still...not at the price they are listed at!). And we've looked at houses that we could live in for a few years and potentially use as an investment home. We even put an offer on a great house and property. But it was turned down, and we both felt quite relieved (that was one that would have made us house-poor). We felt relieved because we still have a bunch of student loans that we need to pay off and one big reason why we haven't felt too comfortable with the idea of buying a house is the idea of getting into more debt.

Sometimes I wish I could be like Rip Van Winkle and go on a hike in the mountains, sleep for about 6 months (instead of 20 years), and come back to life in another house and already past the hormonal post partum time.

But such is life. To roll with the punches. To have faith that things will work out and not fear. To not be afraid to ask for help (that's probably what I need right now...). The other day I posted on Facebook...when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. When you get more lemons, sometimes you need to have a good cry before you can make the lemonade again. That's how this house hunting experience has felt like. But, oddly, I also feel like it's preparing me for the future.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Recipe for Success

I've been taking a class the past few months about fine tuning our family vision, focus, systems, attitudes. It's been quite awesome. We've created a family mission statement. I've been reading, A House United: Teaching Children Self Government, by Nicholeen Peck, and I've been working really hard at how I instruct the kids and get them to do things through using the power of "calm"...she has some pretty cool techniques like how to effectively give a child an instruction but also giving them the option to "disagree appropriately." It really cuts down on whining and complaining and yelling on my part. It's awesome.

I just need to work on consistency. Still lacking in that department.

My mentor just asked the following question and I felt a desire to share my answer: 

What does it mean to let a child fail. Is it ever appropriate? When wouldn't it be?

I believe it is absolutely appropriate to allow our children to fail and not raise them in such a way that they feel entitled to doing things right and succeeding. There are several ways we can do it. One father I know purposely sets up challenges for his kids that are just beyond their capability. If they succeed, the success is very sweet. If they fail, they learn. That may be extreme, but once I learned why he does it, it makes sense. He doesn't want his children to be afraid of failure. He wants them to realize that failure is an important part of the pathway to success. And he doesn't do it maliciously or as a punishment or to get a power trip (all of which would be wrong reasons to allow your children to fail), but he does it as a way to teach his children.

Most people who succeed in life only do so after failure, after failure, after failure. The Facebook-idea-turns-college-boy-billionaire scenario happens very rarely. But so many of us look to that kind of example and hope for easy success like that in our own lives. We forget that most successful people in history had to accept their failures time and time again. Thomas Edison tried over 1000 different ideas of materials and bulb shapes before he successfully created the electric light bulb. Michael Jordan is slated to have a quote about failure leading to success. And there are so many more examples.

Our children shouldn't be afraid of failure. If they have experience with it, they won't be. And when they fail, they won't stay down for long and they won't sink into depression. They'll use their minds to figure out what went wrong and try it again. Or realize they lack experience and knowledge and seek to obtain those things. I think the best ways to teach failure are through natural consequences of ideas they have especially if you show them confidence that the next time they try, they will do it better (that idea for the lizard trap was awesome…for some reason, though, it just didn't catch a lizard…try a new design! So your lemonade stand didn't sell much lemonade. What can you do differently next time?) Another way to teach failure is consequences in the home for disobeying family rules. Isn't that an opportunity to ask the kids to carry out the consequence and try again to follow the rules, try again to succeed?

Of course, we should definitely allow our children many opportunities to succeed so they don't think that life is full of disappointment. And we also need to accept their own feelings of success as adequate. For example, my kids love to play soccer during the soccer season. However, we have never measured their success on the field by the number of goals they make. And that's a good thing, because they hardly ever score. In fact, I don't remember any of them scoring this year, except when my 5yo daughter accidentally scored for the other team. But they all enjoyed playing on a team, exercising, and being a part of something for themselves. My oldest learned a lot of new skills and became more aggressive and confident on the field. In each of their own eyes, the season was a success. I shouldn't label it as a failure because they didn't score goals. I should celebrate their feelings of success, too.

As I've been writing this, I've realized that one aspect of failure is sin. Of course we don't want our kids to ever sin. But we can't expect that. Some of our kids will sin very grievously. So…do we sink into depression? Do they sink into depression? Do we cut them off? Do we feel ashamed for their actions and feel like we didn't measure up as parents? Those are all signs of accepting the failure and not seeking for success. Or, do we teach them that they can alway turn to the Savior so when they are trapped in sin, they will know where to turn eventually? Do we, ourselves, seek for the Savior's help in showing them love and not anger/frustration/contempt for their actions? Do we seek the Savior, as did Alma the Older, to turn our child's heart back to Him? Should we not ever give up? Those are seeds of success through the power of the Atonement.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

We Have What We Asked For...

A little over 200 years ago, a group of Americans set up a government that would represent the people. Really, it is quite amazing that this republic democracy has lasted as long as it has. But this week, we can see that, although laws are constantly being passed without regard of the Constitution, we still have a ruling body that represents We The People.

Is it any wonder that our national ruling body can't make the hard, responsible decisions needed to back away from this debt crisis when The People don't want to make their own hard, responsible decisions in their own lives? How often have your heard yourself say, or hear someone else say, "there should be a law about that"? Really, though, more of us should take responsibility for our own actions instead of making laws about every little last thing.

We have a people very apathetic about our government. Well, it seems like we have a government quite apathetic about its people.

We have a people wanting government to regulate and rule everything. So we have a government that regulates and rules everything...even without passing laws (hello FDA, TSA, Dept of Ed, FCC, etc).

The problem with wanting someone else to be responsible for personal choices, like education and health care, is that you lose freedom. You become bound to what they think is best. You are bound to their expertise. You no longer have the opportunity to make it better...or worse...for yourself. You lose the opportunity to have a choice in the matter.

We asked for it. We will have to pay for it. And it will hurt. It will hurt financially or it will hurt revolutionarily. Or probably both...

And the sad thing is that this has been going on for years, even decades. Actually about a whole century. So we can't wholly blame our generation, nor our parent's generation, nor our grandparent's generation. We just get to be on the side where everything is beginning to fall apart. Lucky us.

So, this is just a rant. I have no solution. Except one. We The People need to change. But it's a far-out solution. We need to take personal responsibility serious again. We need to learn and understand what liberty and freedom really mean, and what it really takes to have it. We need to really understand what the early Americans fought for. Really, they fought hard for less than what we deal with now. Responsibility is one big part of that freedom equation. Just like when you were young, your parents would give you more freedom if you showed responsibility and were trustworthy. We need to stop passing the buck onto the government and take more personal responsibility for ourselves. And it's gonna have to take over 175 million Americans to make that change.

But in the end, majority rules. So, right now, we've got what we asked for.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Treading Water in Stormy Seas

That's what the 1st trimester of pregnancy feels like sometimes...ok...most of the time.

Today I just read a chapter with the kids from the book, By the Great Horn Spoon, which is about a boy and his butler who travel by ship from the East Coast to San Francisco in the 1847 Gold Rush so they can strike it rich and save his aunt from having to lose her house. It's a really fun book. Anyway, their ship is racing another ship to get to San Francisco, and of course, the other ship is ahead on the Atlantic side. So the captain makes the bold move of traveling through the treacherous Straight of Magellan at the southern tip of Chile instead of taking the safer but longer route around the Horn. For 38 days, the ship and its passengers are tormented by storms, high seas, high winds, and low visibility with a few hours of respite here and there.

38 days...that's a long time...and for an odd reason, it reminded me of my pregnancy. It's like that. And I remember it being hard with my others, I just forget how hard it really is. Oh well, no turning back now. And each time Spencer does or says something just totally cute, I'm reminded about how worth it this all is. I'm deep in the process of creating a LIFE! A complex organism with intricate details of structure and function...no wonder why it's exhausting and difficult!

And then I'm just me...even though I do fall apart emotionally some days and let the house go to pot and just have the kids eat cereal all day long, I have to pick myself up again the next day and at least try to do better, try to BE better. Even if it's just having more patience with myself when the house looks horrible and no one is eating balanced meals.

So one thing I've been trying to do better this pregnancy is to try to eat better things for pregnancy. Early on, I found this website:


and this one:


So neither one of them is from a medical journal or written by a doctor, but they are written by pregnant moms who are trying to provide adequate nutrition for their bodies and their growing babies. One of the first things that was interesting to me, that I found agreeable, is the need for a pregnant mom to eat a high amount of protein (80g a day!) and healthy fats (like coconut oil, butter, olive oil). Proteins are the building blocks of life, so that makes sense. And healthy fats are actually good for you. Not to mention some of these foods are high in iron...something I'm usually short with during pregnancy. Sometimes I find that a piece of buttered bread/toast just hits the spot. I'm eating about 2 eggs every morning and they always taste so good. And that hamburger I got from In N Out the other night? That mostly chased away the sicky feeling I was having several hours before that.

Instead of waking up and having a few crackers to start my day, I have a small handful of pecans. And two odd things are happening...so far, I've only gained 4-5 pounds (usually I gain 10 almost instantly). The other odd thing...I have food aversions to highly sugary food. Like the Gatorade my kids make? It totally repulses me. The cookies Rob made the other night? I could hardly stay in the house. It's so weird. So I don't know if this has something to do with the high protein diet I'm eating or if this baby of mine will be sensitive to sugar in his/her lifetime (it's a possibility...I have a couple of nieces on Rob's side who can't handle sugar very well).

One thing is for sure, you don't know how strong you are until you're stripped of your strength and have to battle things out in your weakness. At least, that's what I'm telling myself. I'll get through this. And I'm also a bit glad my family needs to take on extra responsibility. It's good for them, too.

Sunday, April 21, 2013


Pulling the Van out of the mud. Even the tow truck got stuck. Quick story...Rob really wanted to go shooting, but it had been a rainy/snowy weekend. That didn't stop him. He thought it wouldn't be a big deal. We got stuck in mud that acted like suction cups. Even the tow truck got stuck. A friend, who lived down that country road, had her farm hand help the tow truck out with their tractor. And the tow truck finally got us on the road. The next day, our friend's father told us a story of a tractor they had stuck in that mud for about a week before it got out. Never again will we go shooting in wet weather!

This is a year where there are supposed to be a lot of changes in our lives. But so far, not much has changed. So we're in limbo on most of the changes. I don't like being in limbo. But one thing I have learned, it's often a good idea to take big things one at a time. I'm not very good with being overworked and overstressed. I fall apart easily so it's best for me to tackle one big thing at a time.

Since January 1, we knew that we were going to make sure 4 big changes happen this year...one is opening a second office location for Rob's practice in Prescott. Two was for us to finally purchase a home. And three was for Rob to stop working down in Phoenix and focus his time up here and hopefully have more time off for enjoying life. And four is to not prevent baby number five from coming.

In February, I read a great book, the Power of Less, and took to heart the challenge of working on one goal at a time. A surprise change came along with this. So I made a big list of all the things I'm consistently working on...like decluttering the house, keeping a routine/schedule, exercising daily, making my bed daily, educating the kids, and communicating better with Rob. That last one was something I just jotted down at the end when I realized how much other people (like Rob's siblings) have encouraged us to communicate better. So when I prayerfully asked which goal I should work on in March, the answer was to work on my communication with Rob. It was a bigger bear of a goal than I had realized. I shared my goal with him and he gladly agreed that we both needed to work on it. We tackled some poor communication habits we had formed...and we realized many communication errors we have based on our upbringing. On my side, I suppress many of my feelings and thoughts in favor of keeping peace in the family. However I sometimes felt like my thoughts or feelings aren't as important and I would feel resentful about my needs not being met...which, as Rob points out, is hard to meet my needs when I don't communicate them. On his side, he'll shut a conversation out when it gets too emotional. So when I would finally open up, and I would just about get to what I would consider a resolution, he would shut the conversation down and want to deal with it later. Bad combination. But we have made a lot of progress. And the most important thing is that we're working through this together. We have also agreed, out loud, that if we can't overcome this on our own, we'll seek professional help.

It feels so good to be married to a man who will do something that's hard so that our relationship can get even better.

Change one is happening. And it's big. It's consuming our lives right now. Rob has signed a lease on a second location and we're working hard to get it ready and inform the community about the new location.

We're trying to get things in order to make change 2 and 3 happen. In March, I was looking at houses and showed a few to Rob. He suggested that we call a realtor to see the houses. But I told him that I didn't want to start that process until he was settled in his second practice. I just didn't want to overload us too much when I don't have to. And that was a good decision. Uncle Sam wasn't as kind to us this year with taxes so we'll have to save more aggressively than I had anticipated.

And number 4. You're still reading because you hope I have an announcement. Well, I don't. I'm not pregnant yet. And it's okay. I'm grateful to have energy right now to focus on making these changes happen. I also had a mammogram screening 2 weeks ago (something I feel like I need to do regularly now that I'm 34 because breast cancer runs in my family...the results were normal).

Another good change was a change of heart. Between me and Rob, one of us always has a big calling/responsibility in our church. We willingly accept them and believe them to come as a request from The Lord. But often, after a few months, we aren't as eagerly engaged in our callings. They become more of a burden than a blessing. So we've been coming around and realizing that we need to be more appreciative of the opportunity we have to serve others and serve the Lord. We shouldn't grumble about the time our callings take us from doing other things but instead find ways to incorporate family time and renewal time through serving in our callings. Yesterday, Rob and I got to escape on an overnight retreat where the leaders spoke with us about teaching, strengthening, and leading the boys and youth in our church. I'm so glad we were able to go. And I'm so thankful for the friends who watched our kids so we could both go.

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Man vs wild

The wild is beating us. The clay mud is keeping us prisoners. All we can do is await a tow truck.