Life of a Real Mom

Unedited Mothering

Author: Kristin (page 1 of 8)

25th Anniversary

Duncan and my 25th Anniversary is TODAY!

I am so blessed to have built a life with Duncan over these last 25 years. It isn’t easy, but wonderful. I wrote this song for 50th wedding anniversaries, but it applies to 25th wedding anniversaries too. I love you Duncan!

“Hold My Hand”
By Kristin Shaeffer
(50th Wedding Anniversary Song)

Once upon a time he met her.
He gave his heart and she gave too.
‘Mid tears of joy and rings of laughter,
They were wed as young hearts do.

“Hold my hand, I’ll walk beside you.
Our love can weather any storm.
‘Til the clouds of life are lifted,
Our love will keep us safe from harm.”

Well, life enfolds not as you plan it.
Yes, there were bumps along the way.
At times they felt that they were sinkin’
When times were rough they had to say.

“Hold my hand, I’ll walk beside you.
Our love can weather any storm.
‘Til the clouds of life are lifted,
Our love will keep us safe from harm.”

Years have passed, love’s still around them
They are the envy of the town.
The people ask, “How did you do it?”
“We don’t give up when life is down”

“Hold my hand, I’ll walk beside you.
Our love can weather any storm.
‘Til the clouds of life are lifted,
Our love will keep us safe from harm.”

“So many joys are all around us.
God truly hears and answers prayers
We’ve come this far, let’s keep it goin’
Our hopes and dreams we freely share.”

“Hold my hand, I’ll walk beside you.
Our love can weather any storm.
‘Til the clouds of life are lifted,
Our love will keep us safe from harm.”

They should live forever always.
And all their lofty dreams come true.
The sweetest memories of their lifetime
Will be their love that grew and grew.

“Hold my hand, I’ll walk beside you.
Our love can weather any storm.
‘Til the clouds of life are lifted,
Our love will keep us safe from harm.”

Peach Fuzz

This is a funny email conversation I had with a few of my sisters. I share it to let you into our world. This is the real deal. (Sorry ahead of time if I offend anyone. I was emailing way to late when we were having this exchange.) I ask you this: Do you peel a peach before you eat it?

Carol: I just read the funniest thing on Facebook that cracks me up. My friend that I’ve known for 10 years just put this on Facebook. She has 62 comments and all but four say to “eat the peel”. The ones that said “peel the peach” are mostly from the South or hate fuzz.

Carol’s friend on the friend’s Facebook page: “Poll time. I just recently found out that some people eat the peel right along with their peaches! Mind blowing! I have always peeled peaches so now I’m curious, do you peel or don’t you?”

Alison: That’s funny! I have never thought to peel it unless I am making something with them!! Ha ha

Janet: Of course, I say eat the peel. It’s not even that fuzzy if you wash it. However, Rob would disagree. He grew up with peaches right in the backyard, but rarely ate a fresh peach! If he did, it was peeled and sliced for him, put in a tiny custard dish, and served with sugar on top. They were all bottled and eaten bottled! He has slowly squired a taste for fresh peaches since we’ve been married, but he still rarely eats them (unless I peel them, sugar them, and serve them w cream).

Kristin: It is mind blowing to me that so many DON’T eat the peel! What can I say without sounding narrow minded? I will just say: I think that being comfortable with eating a fresh peach with the peel is a reflection of your stamina, gratitude for all living and your personal righteousness. (just kidding!!!)

Maybe next time someone asks, “Why do you have such an awesome family,” we can simply say – “We eat our peaches with the peel on them to build character, courage and charisma. It makes all the difference.” (Sorry for making fun. It is too late.)

So interesting, though, for sure.

Carol: Right????!!! So funny!! But there you have it–Rob ate very few fresh peaches at all unless with the peel off…and they were in his own yard!!!! And to have your own orchard you must have stamina. 😄

Janie, do you have tiny custard dishes???

Janet: Hilarious. I don’t really eat in tiny quantities…

You’ve probably all heard my story about when I went to dinner at the Duncans for the first time and we had ice cream – one, perfect, small scoop – in the little custard dishes. They scooped it out of one of those big plastic buckets, by the way, and I thought it was a joke! They were surely playing a joke on me!! I ate mine in a flash and expected them to offer me more, but they put the lid on it and put it back in the freezer! I was shocked, confused, mystified. It was not a joke. I came to learn, though, that Alldredge ice cream quantities seem to shock, confuse, and mystify lots of people. Haven’t you all found that as well?

Carol: Cracking up over here!!! (In Vienna, in the youth hostel with three bunk beds so my kids are cracking up, too)

Actually, Fawsons eat tons of ice cream every single night. So my kids actually come by it honestly. We eat gelato over here on a daily basis. Ricotta with pear is my favorite flavor over here…

Delene: Haha! Yes, I remember that custard dish story, Janet. I remember eating six pancakes at the Roseberry’s once, and they were all staring in wonder;)
Food quantities and food crudeness, are both at a shocking high in our household. Nathan ate a bell pepper like an apple at work one day and shocked and amazed his colleagues (fellow teachers in TX). Other parents have been envious of my toddlers’ eating habits: “I need to have my Johnny spend time at your house and may be he would eat as robustly as your George! I can’t get him to eat anything but graham crackers.” Of course, they want to keep their distance when I’m also allowing my children to cut their teeth on sticks and small rocks at the playground;) I’ll be careful not reveal that we also eat our peaches…..peel on!!

Kristin: LOLOLOL! on all accounts! I am feeling very prissy since we have somehow reduced our ice cream quantities to one scoop in recent years (and we have little custard dishes, I am embarrassed to say, but we don’t have huge buckets of ice cream in contrast. I don’t remember hearing that story! how funny!). I have witnessed the Seamans eat ice cream and it is a sight to behold. Deek – I love how you word it “robustly” “Your George” “cutting teeth on sticks”… LOL!
The Shaeffers LOVE watching us eat, especially Adam, who has a reputation that puts many to shame. He can eat more drumsticks, fried eggs, or ham than the rest of the extended Shaeffer family. Adam is definitely a carnivore.

Carol – you cultured sister you! Ricotta with pear? wow. a youth hostel in Vienna! – how cool is that?!

I have received a lot of comments on what good eaters my kids are too. Desiree, Ben, Chuck … they all are amazed at the variety of foods we eat and how I know how to make so many things.
I remember Desiree, when she first moved in asking about our water drinking habit. “Your kids will drink water?!” Yes. “Do you have any juice?” No, I don’t buy juice or soda. “What do you drink then?!” We drink water. “That is all?” Yep. She quickly got use to it and I would imagine was quite liberated by the thought of having instant satisfaction to your thirst by turning on a facet.


Delene: So funny! Yes, the drinking water thing comes up a lot here, too. I’m so glad I know life does not have to be so complicated. I’d love to have someone point out the ways I do complicate things. I’m sure I do. “First-world problems” is a phrase we catch ourselves using to own up to the frivolity of some of our “necessities.” I account for much of our culture as a product of growing up in, and/or raising, a large family–no time for peach-peeling with so many hungry mouths;)

Kristin: Hugs!

More from my mother-in-law:
When I first married Marty, the Shaeffers were big into peaches. They had 5 acres of peach trees and we had peaches at every meal. Peaches for breakfast, peaches for lunch, peaches or peach cobbler for dinner. The peaches were so big and juicy that if you peeled them the juice would run down your arms and drip off the ends of your elbows. Nanny ALWAYS peeled her peaches! I ate them both ways.
PS: I am craving peaches right now!!!

to E.C.:
That’s awesome! Wow! What a description! I am craving them now too! Thank you for your experience.
Peel or no peel, peaches are a gift from God! Isn’t it miraculous that something can be so juicy and delicious? Especially when grown in Colorado. Yum!

to me:
More peaches: One day about 7 or 8 years ago Kay and I were at home alone (at your house) and you had a full jar of peaches in the refrigerator. She got them out and served us each a bowl of peaches. Then we had another. We couldn’t stop, and we finished the whole quart of peaches. Can’t tell you how many times I have wished for another jar of peaches just like that! We didn’t tell anyone. Till now. Kay probably confessed so this may not be news to you! But if it is, please forgive us.

Kay’s Wedding

Some of Kay’s engagement photos:

Wedding at the beautiful Mesa Arizona Temple:


Our family is getting bigger and better!

Cucumber and Pickle Season

An easy way to make dill pickles: Mrs. Wages: Quick Process Pickle Mix. Follow the directions on the package.

I bought this pack of mix at a Kroger’s grocery store and my Aunt Kathy has become famous in our family with this exact method.

My beat up canning steamer works like a charm – 23 years old. The process time is only 15 minutes for this recipe!

I know I am brave/wreckless to try it with Armenian cucumbers, but I bet they will turn out great like the ones I made out of little garden pickles a couple years ago. These Armenian cucumbers are young and fresh and are easier to grow in our area. One pack of mix makes 7 quarts.

The Book of Mormon

by J.D. Shaeffer

I finished the Book of Mormon again last week. It’s a truly remarkable book. I always look forward to the very end of it all, Moroni chapter 10. I love Moroni’s promise in verse 4, in which he basically says that if we ask God humbly and sincerely to know if the Book of Mormon is a true book of holy scripture, then “he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.” I love that promise and have seen it vividly in my life.

One of those times happened on my mission. I was in my last area called, Tayasuape, in Paraguay, and I had just finished reading through the Book of Mormon for the third time. I arrived to the end again and read Moroni’s words. I knelt down at a bench in our little house and I sincerely asked if it was true.

I kid you not, I felt like a huge warm blanket was surrounding me instantly. It was wrapping around me slowly and I could feel its immense comfort. It was truly amazing. It suffices me to say that I know that was another confirmation that God gave me to know that the Book of Mormon is truly another testament of Jesus Christ.

The Book of Mormon is true, therefore, it’s my humble belief that everyone in the world should read it and delight in its teachings.

Thank you!

Nutrition Books

I am learning from a few professionals that my diet effects my mood, my thyroid, my joints and much much more. These books were referred to me by Dr. Duane Ostler, my awesome chiropractor.

Nutrition Books:

The Deflame Diet
David R. Seaman, D.C., MS

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: Lifestyle Interventions for Finding and Treating the Root Cause
Izabella Wentz, PharmD

Grain Brain
David Perlmutter, M.D. (neurologist)

Brain Maker
David Perlmutter, M.D. (neurologist)

Wheat Belly
William Davis, M.D. (cardiologist)

I All Starts With Food
Melissa Hartwig


Food Matters
Forks Over Knives
Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead
Hungry for Change


“Throid Disorders Masquerading as Mental Health Disorders”
Dr. Kelly Brogan, MD

Mistakes Make Life a Bit More Interesting

by J.D. Shaeffer

Hey there.

I think you’re pretty cool. Here’s a scripture:

“…Continue in patience until ye are perfected.” (D&C 67:13)

I know you’re not perfect or anything, so I apologize if you ever felt that I judged you for something I didn’t know about. Being perfect is overrated, anyways. That can wait.

Speaking of perfect, it’s really starting to come to my attention that perfectionism is seriously a bad predicament. Not only does it feed anxiety and depression quite readily, but it mocks Christ just a bit. Not to sound harsh, of course, but it really does ignore the purpose of Christ’s wonderful sacrifice. He had zero plans for us to be perfect (free from mistake, free from max progression) while we are here on the Earth. He 100% meant for that to be in the next life.

I believe that to be true.

Like I said, I think you’re pretty cool. Being perfect is overrated. You can wait for it.

Besides, making mistakes makes life a bit more interesting.

Jesus Christ HAS and WILL Come

by J.D. Shaeffer

Speaking of the First Vision, Joseph Smith said, “Truly this is a day long to be remembered… a day in which the God of heaven has begun to restore the ancient order of His kingdom to bring about the completion of the fullness of the Gospel… to prepare the earth for the return of His glory,” (emphasis added).
It’s marvelous to remember these few truths:
1) Heavenly Father and/or Jesus Christ can visit us physically, if they so please.

2) Christ had His kingdom upon the earth at a time, and it’s returning to us as we speak (the Restoration continues).

3) He is coming soon to present Himself in His full glory, and we need to be prepared.

These are bits of truth that I know are plain and simple. My word on this? There is genius in your mind that He needs. Believe that! God’s kingdom is not fully prepared for His coming, and you can contribute immensely to that. Be creative in finding what that is that you can contribute. I promise you that a plan will come to you if you have a burning desire and faith to accomplish great things.

Past Todays Continued …

Wednesday – Big League Chew

– We are enjoying a great little-league baseball season. Curt is improving each practice and because of a kind experienced coach, is having a great experience.
– Curt fell on his bike yesterday, thus currently sports a black eye.
– Adam leaves on orchestra tour tomorrow morning at 4:30 a.m. for San Diego. Tours are SO expensive! We have discussed the pros and cons of these extravagant trips for years. At least this year is only to California, but it still cost over $600! for 3 nights! Man Alive!

Tuesday – Over a week has past.

– Puerto Rico was wonderful. The island life is real and inviting. We were busy seeing Old town San Juan, the beaches, and the rain forest. Kay’s friends in Puerto Rico, where she served her mission, are loving, kind and generous. We love them! CLICK HERE for more on Kay’s mission.

– Curt got third place in calf riding. Here he is with cousins at our favorite rodeo, where we pretend to be country folk. I even volunteered to be a judge for the goat dressing. This is a video of me looking quite new at the job. Can you tell I don’t know what I am doing?
– Now I am recovering from a sprained neck I got in a mighty Caribbean wave. I can relate to people who have suffered from back injuries. Oh! The shooting pain! Thank goodness for a good chiropractor. I have a number of visits ahead of me still, but look forward to moving normally again soon. Life is full of TWISTS and turns.

Monday – Puerto Rico, here I come! (I am going to shower first.)

Kay’s birth story is posted…
– Just in time for a landmark trip that Dunc and I and Kay are leaving for today…
Kay served her mission in Puerto Rico and we are going to see the island and its people that Kay fell in love with 3 years ago.

Friday – Spring BREAK

– Duncan and I are going to Puerto Rico with Kay for Spring Break, this upcoming week, – to see some people that she grew to love on her mission. We are really looking forward to it. I’ll tell you more when we get back.
– This week has been life changing because I taught seminary at another high school for practical experience and observation. I learned a lot about teaching by the Holy Ghost and developing report with teens in a quick amount of time. Most of all, it was a turning point in my decision to apply to be a full-time seminary teacher. More HERE soon.
– Date night interrupted. I think this is for a good cause, but you can’t tell anyone. Curt has a party around a campfire at a park tonight to celebrate making it into NJHS! Well, Duncan and I were going to drop him off and then go on our date, but now we know (shhhh, you can’t tell) that … Noah I almost spilt the beans! ANYWAY, We are going to the Lehi Family Rodeo Dance tonight with the kids. We are going to go and watch Shaeffer history be made. Check out my Facebook page this weekend: Kristin Alldredge Shaeffer.

Thursday – BABIES!

– Nils, who is almost 10 pounds, was born yesterday (a new nephew!)

– Oliver was born yesterday (a CLOSE friend, Ben’s, first son.)

– Jane and Nathan found out they are having twins!

Thursday – Gag.

Before the snake venom eye cream

After 2 months of sometimes remembering to put the eye bag gel on. Really this is a testament to the foundation and makeup I am wearing in the second pic, not to the gel.

– The snake venom gel stuff didn’t help the bags under my eyes at all. It is hard to publish a picture of myself not smiling. I look even older. This is my own version of before and after, though. Bless all those “before and after” ladies hearts. I feel for them.
– As you know I am not perfect. I am disgusting sometimes. How do you spell disgusting? Just look at the photos above or read this.
– I cleaned the bathrooms and kitchen. It is Adam’s chore to keep the hall bathroom clean, but I can’t wait any longer. I even started a scholarship application for him this morning. I am getting way too soft. (He has been so busy though… excuses. excuses.)

Monday – Be Honest

– Even though this blog is titled “Life of a Real Mom,” and I tell you my embarrassing moments and you see me without makeup, etc…I haven’t been completely honest. I have told you that I am not perfect, that may be obvious or not. It is true. It is up to you to believe it or ignore the fact. I make mistakes (burn dinner, judge unrighteously, gossip, waste time, disobey speed limits, think naughty things, and spank our dog, Sally, when I am frustrated with her – to name a few). Here is the truth: Duncan and my kids aren’t perfect either. MORE HERE.
– On President’s Day I hoped to stay in bed and read. I haven’t done that yet, and I know it is my fault. I CHOSE to help or do or blog today. I own that.
– See you later – I am going to get in bed and read for an hour (5:09 p.m.!). Eeek. What about dinner? Oh, forget it! We will just have to go out.

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.

Good, Better, or Best?

by J.D. Shaeffer

We had stake conference over the weekend. For those of you unfamiliar with what that might be, it’s a large meeting where many members of the Church that live in close proximity of each other come together to hear from their leaders. It’s always a time filled with immense learning and I appreciate it dearly.

One of the men there asked us to reflect on an old talk by Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, titled, “Good, Better, Best.” His talk explains a principle that there is something better we can do with our time once we avoid the bland good ones, not just the bad. This couldn’t have been more relevant for me. I’m always concerned about living the best life, always appreciating the moment, and never wasting time.

Take Acts 20:35 for a good example:

“I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (underlining added)

Receiving service is good of course, and giving it is better.

This led me to reflect on how I may improve my life – it led to amazing insights and effective prayer during the weekend.
I hold myself to a cautionary statement though. I won’t always be able to do the best thing, or even the better thing all the time. Being a perfectionist doesn’t help anyone or anything, apart from your own anxiety.

May we hustle and work hard at getting to the better and best things in place of the good, and may we be careful not to go to the extreme and demand them 100% of the time.

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