Life of a Real Mom

Unedited Mothering


Wednesday – My Valentine’s Day

Search and find a duck.

– Yesterday was Valentine’s Day. The kids and I have a tradition of adding one or two trinkets to the Valentine pouches I made out of used manilla folders years ago. We have done so faithfully. You can see Kay’s above.
– The seminary kids had fun exchanging valentines. Dunc says I shouldn’t MAKE them do something they did in kindergarten. For his information, it was the seniors’ decision, not mine, and after a vote yesterday, everyone loved it except 2 very mature practical male students, who said, “There is just too much preparation needed for Valentine’s Day!” That is a valid perspective! Poor guys. All the shopping and writing everyone’s names and putting those heart stickers on 23 paper valentines is pretty dumb when you are doing it out of obligation. Yuck! We will definitely find a clear way to make the activity optional next year. I wouldn’t want them to have a sour attitude about the holiday when they actually DO have a sweetheart.
– Duncan and I had a relaxing picnic at a nearby park. (There was an adult league soccer practice going on behind us, which we completely ignored.) We talked and talked until the originally tall taper candle was completely burned out. We were both shocked to find out when we got back to the van that we had been talking for 3 hours! What did we talk about? Well, we talked about my institute class, his hike this summer, Kay and Chuck and then I had brought a box of conversation starting questions that kept us going the rest of the time. CLICK HERE for the seven questions we discussed.

Monday – Where has the time gone?

On a hill overlooking camp at Pagosa Springs, Colorado, 2002

– Yesterday was the 25th anniversary of Duncan and my first date! He took me out to dinner to JB’s Family Restaurant and then to the IMAX theater in Scottsdale. It was so easy being around him. It still is. We were immediately comfortable sharing food with each other, even. I had ordered chicken fried steak and since I couldn’t finish it, I offered it to Duncan. Of course he ate it up! He was wearing a cream colored sweater, so classy.
– Duncan and I went out to eat just this weekend to “Abuelos.” Man! That is yummy food. Neither of us could finish our food this time, so we took boxes and had lunch the next day. Score!
– Last night was a landmark night for Duncan and I, but I can’t tell you why. It just was. I am so glad to be sharing these memories with such a loyal, good, smart, handsome guy. Man Alive!

Tuesday – Hi

– Here I am at my computer for a few seconds before I run to the postoffice to return something sent to my daughter by an unwanted admirer. Remember my journal entry of having guys coming out of the woodwork, just when I was meeting and falling-in-love with Duncan? This same thing is happening to Kay.
– My kids need me and that is a good feeling. Curt had a weird nightmare last night. I listened to the whole thing and laid next to him for a half hour until he could fall back asleep. Adam and I are learning leadership and patience together as we work on his eagle project together. Clark came over after a doctor appointment to chill and get some food. J.D. texted me to know when his last Tetanus shot was. See? Once a mother, always a mother.
– I thought I was done with the Fairy Godmother cloak (high school spring musical costume committee), but NO. I have to add mossy fabric and grey hair to the inside of the hood. Man! This one piece has taken HOURS. Thank goodness Bri loves it! She is going to be a great Crazy Marie. Did you know the Fairy Godmother’s name was Marie? I didn’t.

Thursday – Remembering When We Met

Our Engagement Photo
(3 months after we met!)

– Today is the 25th anniversary of meeting Duncan. Details are HERE.
– To bring romance into any moment, Duncan and I like reflecting on our dating days and wedding. Try it! It works like a charm. 🙂
– Did you know that you can find TONS of full-length Hallmark movies on Youtube? I also recently watched a BBC Play of the Month: The Millionairess (1972) starring Maggie Smith that is fantastic. Here is the LINK.

Tuesday – Living Waters

– Yep, just like they say – I needed reading glasses suddenly. It was almost over night…3 years ago. 🙂 I have gotten use to searching for reading glasses before I can read ANYTHING.
– The Living Waters, as taught by Christ in John 4:1-30 are available to all of us. We must drink freely and deeply as is taught in Elder David Bednar’s talk “The Reservoir of Living Water.” Click here if you want more of anything. Your life will be enriched in so many ways if you read and apply the counsel in this speech.
– Speaking of truth from apostles, I was fortunate to attend both live broadcasts of Elder Ballard, Rasband, Robbins, and Costa’s devotionals in Gilbert this past weekend. Some highlights are HERE. Read them prayerfully. I am sure you will be inspired for ways you can be a better parent. I sure have been. REMEMBER, these are MY notes – not the complete talks or exact quotes. Any mistakes are my own, not mistakes of the speakers themselves.

Thursday – Where had he been?

– Today at 11:30ish a.m. will be Duncan and my 25th anniversary of seeing each other for the first time. CLICK HERE for details.
– I re-read the love story between Isaac and Rebekah in Genesis this morning. To review the story of when they saw each other for the first time read Genesis 24.
– I went to get my upper lip and eyebrows waxed yesterday as part of a pampering I needed. Did I REALLY just tell you that? Oh brother! ANYWAY, the technician was so sweet. She told me about her recent trip to Vietnam, her home country. She has plenty of nieces and nephews, she says. So many that all she needs is a dog for herself. No kids. There are a lot of people out there that feel the same way. We can all choose for ourselves, although we don’t have full control because God is ultimately in charge. I thank my lucky stars for my 5 kids. I am so grateful that The Lord saw fit to bless me with motherhood.

Monday – Green thumb?

– In my part of Arizona, if you are crazy enough, you plant winter grass. Then (Lucky YOU) you get to water and mow your grass through the entire winter as well as through the summer. The grass is green and juicy alright. I just finished mowing and our mower gets so gooped up that I have to get the green juicy cut grass out of the incapacitated cavity of the mower every time I empty the bag or it wads up in some weird way and doesn’t work right. JOY of joys!
– Much to my disappointment, Friday night’s traffic was worse than I allowed for and Duncan, Curt and I were stress wads weaving through traffic trying to get to our wonderful extended family singing gig. After an hour in the car (picking up Duncan from work included) we raced into the lobby of the performance hall and could hear my family singing over the intercom. We were TOO late. Man Alive! The performance was going on without us. I won’t bore you with all my thoughts. I just want you to know that I was sad and I know how life seems harder than usual sometimes and I sympathize with everyone who has ever been late, despite their best efforts. It is the pits.
– On a much better note, Saturday night Duncan and I attended the Religious Freedom Conference at the ASU Institute. WE WERE ON TIME. It was great! My notes are here.

Friday – Fight for Families

– Tonight night my extended family will be singing a song about families that speaks to the whole world. Click here to read the powerful lyrics.
– President Donald J. Trump was sworn in today. What a wonderful occasion! I was surprised about elements of his speech, but remember what he REALLY said, “Let’s work together.” “I am the president of ALL the people.” The power SHOULD be with the people. He will do a great job as president. I hope that the U.S. people will unite and support one another.
– The sweetest part of the news coverage that I saw this morning was President Trump signing the cabinet assignments while his grand daughters were playing with the pens beside him. He didn’t seem flustered or phased. He was so comfortable with little ones around him. His son, wife, and other children and grandchildren were behind him all looking very regal, yet comfortable. It sent the message to me that families are the most important unit in society and that no office or honor trumps that of father and mother. God bless families! God bless America!

Wednesday – Schools

– I enjoyed a lush bath bomb this morning for the first time! What a luxurious way to enjoy some reading this morning.
– My friend asked for my advise considering her child’s needs going into a declining public middle school in 1 1/2 years. The actual parent is the absolute best authority to make this choice, of course, because it is the parent that has stewardship over that child by God and has the right to receive revelation from our loving, all-knowing Heavenly Father (through prayer and study) for each of his/her children. Asking what I think is part of the study part, so I’ll say that when possible, I vote for supporting public schools. If all educated active families helped their neighborhood school, then the public school system would be much better off. Having said that and lived that motto, I realize that some public schools are struggling with behavior and societal issues that we have no control of. To protect your child and family from any number of damaging scenarios, charter schools are a viable option. The last consideration would be homeschooling, which is its own story, commitment, and potential solution. 1) Study the schools, 2) take tours, 3) ask around 4) discuss the pros and cons with your spouse and maybe the child, then 5) get on your knees, pray, and listen. Your thoughts and heart will guide you to the best situation for your child.
– Education choices are an interesting thing. I believe that there is more to consider than the quality of education when choosing a school for your child. Consider the family lifestyle and goals, the friend network variants, and the child’s emotional needs. Duncan and I have found that the best school for our kids isn’t the one that would give our kids the best education, although the schools we have chosen have prepared our kids for college well enough. Location, friend and church circles, convenience, and extra-curricular offerings are very important to us. Take this decision seriously and then once you have made it, make the most of it. Every choice has its own down side, so nothing is going to be perfect. Make the most of it and you’ll look back and see the Hand of the Lord preparing you and your’s for great ends.

Friday – Kids will be kids

Kay and Curt in our “new jeep.”

– Curt, like all kids, has loved playing with this big box left from the new arm chair we ordered last week. He turned it into a Jeep.
– Kay, like Curt, has loved the box creation – is it because she loves everything “Jeep?” Her own Jeep she named Jerry, which she loves and takes very good care of.
– No, Kay loves the box (I think) because she is just a big kid, like me. She and J.D. were drawing on the carport with sidewalk chalk just a week ago:

Thursday – BoooHoohoo.

– I am sick.
– My sore throat has led to a slight fever and coughing. I guess it is my turn.
– Yesterday’s lesson on Acts 7 was wonderful! CLICK HERE to learn of my brief reflection.

Wednesday – Sewing

“Sew Like the Wind!” – “The Three Amigos”

– I am part of the costume committee for the high school fall play. I have been assigned the fairy godmother’s cloak. This is no ordinary cloak – picture: camo, fur and forest. You’ll love Mr. McChesney’s version of Cinderella the first week in March.
– I also am sewing a dress for Kay. Do you know how hard it is to find a modest dress? (Not as hard as it use to be, thanks to many new sites such as jenclothing.comand Down East Basics.) I’ll show you Kay’s dress when I finish it.
– I also have a tall stack of mending and unfinished projects. “Sew like the wind, Kristin!”

Tuesday – My class went great!

– I didn’t want “Seminary Teaching Methods” at the LDS Institute to end today. Here is a link to a beautiful clip on how Jesus Christ is the Master Teacher. (This applies to all parents, teachers of all kinds, mentors, friends, and volunteers.)
– The facial moisturizer that I am enjoying is pretty good, except DON’T BUY IT! Evidently, my “trial” order is followed with auto shipments. Month 1 has arrived with an email and $189 charge to my credit card! This is a rotten way for a company to do business. I have called the 1-800 number a few times to no avail. I am out the money – no refunds and it is no use returning the merchandise. BEWARE: Complete Derma and Skin Cell is a tricky exchange. I regret ordering the trial for sure. Thankfully, my account has been cancelled (I HOPE I don’t get more auto shipments.) and I will continue to use the products that have arrived.
– I am sewing Kay a dress that is too small for her! – so! I have to add fabric to the back pieces, blah blah blah. What a pain, but Kay is worth it.
– Kay says her first day was stressful, Clark says that it was busy. He was especially talkative about it being his first day as a teaching assistant. Duncan was very chatty and cheerful. Kay is taking his class which was a fun topic of conversation. I left my cell phone in the seminary building, so I don’t know how J.D.’s first day went….yet.

Monday – 1st day of College Semester

– I am still in my P.J.s, but I have gotten a lot done! I have made lunches, sent out missionary letters to my nephews, cleaned out a ton from my email inbox, cleaned the kitchen, printed out a temple name (sent in an email from family search!) and reviewed the calendar for the month.
– Kay, Clark, Duncan, J.D., and Chuck all start their new semester today. Even I have a class that starts tomorrow! It has been a while. I am taking an institute class for seminary teachers at the ASU LDS Institute. Fun!
– Major breakthrough: strengthening my core has helped with my need to wake and go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Angela, my sister-in-law, introduced me to these exercises on Thanksgiving weekend. 7 of 7 things 7 times: 7 sit ups, 7 push ups, 7 squats, 7 lunges, 7 dips, 7 burpees, 7 back leaning twists.
– Where are you in the Book of Mormon (I try to read it once a year)? Don’t forget to read the intro and testimonies at the beginning. CLICK HERE FOR FREE ON-LINE COPY.

Friday – Video game addiction?

– How can they, Curt (11 now!) and Adam (15), look so calm when they are fighting a boss that may kill them any second? How are they not traumatized and stressed out after every fight? Are they going to have PTSD?
– J.D. made it safely back to BYU. This is his second time driving home by himself. I am relieved.
– Date night at Olive Garden was fun and delicious. How can there be such a crowd night after night? We had a gift card or we probably wouldn’t have endured the 30 minute wait. Man alive! It is really a popular place. …did I mention that it was delicious?

Wednesday – Back to the “Routine”

– School started yesterday and that means seminary did too. The seminary students were not thrilled about being back. Thank goodness we had the diversion of my amazing nephews. They were over practicing for a competition this weekend. HERE is one of Miles’s many clips on youtube 🙂 Here is Graham. AREN’T THEY AMAZING?!
– Duncan has been sick. It can be frustrating to hear him complaining, but I KNOW being sick is the pits. I also realize that it is kind of cute how he wants to be taken care of. I am trying to just look at the positives. He’ll feel great very soon.
– The Christmas decorations are boxed up and in the attic. MAN! What a job. It is interesting how excited we are to set it all up at the beginning of December, but how we dread the clean-up. Christmas will be back before we know it. I HAVE decided to downplay Santa next year and am already talking to the kids about it. We are giving most of our Santa memorabilia (including figurines, books and even dishes) to Deseret Industries, which is my favorite thrift store.

MORE “Today”s are HERE.


  1. Beautiful pictures, Kristin!!! I love your daily snippets. Do you still keep a journal in addition to this?

    • Kristin

      September 23, 2016 at 9:13 am

      Yes, actually. I keep two journals. One for everyday – well, notable events and the other for spiritual impressions, feelings, and answers to prayer. The latter I call my small plates after the Book of Nephi. 🙂

  2. I can relate to those library fines, Kristin! They sure have a way of putting a damper on a perfectly great day. But you’re right- it is still cheaper than purchasing all of the books your family is reading! I love your snippets, too!

  3. Kristin, thanks for posting a study guide if you will for Luke chapter 1. I don’t know how you do everything you do!
    Question-If Luke 1 was discussed today, does that mean that Luke 2 is on Mon? or do you jump around a bit?
    I hope Curtis is feeling better!

    • Kristin

      October 16, 2016 at 4:16 pm

      Yes, we are discussing Luke 2 tomorrow, Monday. I often wish that parents had the opportunity that their teens have, to attend a gospel study class each day. For adults who would like to study along with us, I will post study guides as often as I can.
      Luke 2 is the most thorough account of the Savior’s birth, which is sacred text for sure. In seminary we go chronologically from one chapter to another. Tuesday will be Luke 3, etc.
      Curt IS feeling better, thank you!

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    • Kristin

      January 6, 2017 at 7:19 pm

      Well, it is great that you stumbled upon my life. 🙂 I am glad that you like it. I enjoy sharing, so feel free to let me know any suggestions. … and thank you.

  7. Highly energetic post, I enjoyed that bit. Will there be a part 2?

    • Kristin

      January 7, 2017 at 9:24 am

      Yes, there is always more goofy feed when you are a parent in the real world. Come back again real soon. Really 🙂

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    • Kristin

      January 7, 2017 at 9:21 am

      Thanks. My goal isn’t to give my viewers good ideas, but give them the feeling of being understood. I am far from perfect. Being a good parent is hard work, but it is SO worth it. Come back anytime. 🙂

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    • Kristin

      January 10, 2017 at 9:41 am

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