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Next week I go back to school after twenty-two years.
This is a huge step for me. I wish I could say that I went to college the first time and finished, but I didn’t. I did, however, have a grand time living with roommates, dating my boyfriend, and skipping class to do who knows what. You could say that I still learned a lot during this time in my life, it just wasn’t anything that helped me finish my degree.
Now I have children going to college with me! I took my first class last January. I decided to hit it head on, and I began with the one subject that has given me grief my entire lift – MATH. I’ve never liked math and I knew that if I could prove to myself that I could overcome this obstacle, I could do anything. I took the class with Whitney, Kinley and Ethan. The timing was pretty crazy, as Ethan and Kinley were married the week after our finals. This class moved very quickly because it started on a junior high level and worked all the way through college algebra in one semester. I only cried three times in math lab, but I finished.
During summer semester I decided to take two block classes. This was also a miserable decision because the classes moved very fast, and it was summer! My kids wanted and needed my attention, but I knew I couldn’t get into my program this fall if I didn’t plow through and finish my Psychology class (a class I had dropped once 20 years ago) and my Health class (a class I dropped three times 20 years ago). So I did it. My grades weren’t perfect. My grades have never been perfect, but I finished with an A- in Health and a B+ in Psychology. I enjoyed both classes and I wish they wouldn’t have gone so fast. I also believe I would have enjoyed the lectures and interaction with other students, if I had the class at the university.
But it was all worth it! I finally get to start into my program next week! I’ve decided to get a degree in Integrated Studies with emphasis in Psychology and Leadership. I believe this will help me to build the Parent Advocacy Council and give me more knowledge to help run our companies. I’ve wanted to learn Spanish for a long time because we have roughly 1,500 employees that speak Spanish! My goal is to stand at the Christmas party this year and speak to them in their native language. I want to do this to show them appreciation for who they are and what they bring to our organization.
Cross your fingers and toes for me, I’m sure there will be more tears! Some tears will be because I’m proud of what I’ve achieved and other tears will be because I’ll be sitting in Statistics for the next nine months.
Last week I went to the Thanksgiving Point Gala. It was lots of fun and we came home with some pretty great stuff. This picture is of myself with Jeanette Bennett (Owner of UV Magazine and Mike Washburn, CEO of Thanksgiving Point).
I was asked to dress to look like I was attending the Grammy’s in the 40’s. First I went to Hale Center Theater to rent an outfit, but as they pulled several options for me, I realized I had the same thing in my closet and it would actually fit me right. So I went hope and pulled out one of my formal gowns that I recently bought, and watched a YouTube tutorial on how to do my hair in pin-curls. It all came together and we had a great night! People often confuse Jeanette and myself because we do look quite similar, and we attend a lot of the same events. Jeanette joked that we are the “Sequin Sisters”, because we rarely see each other in anything other than formal gowns.
I feel like since I stopped blogging consistently for several years now, I’ve lost huge chunks of my life. I know they still happened and I have glimpses of memory, but it’s hardly the same as being able to look back and read my thoughts. I want to change this.
Do you remember when you were young, and all you wanted to be was a princess?
We knew we were pretty. We believed that the world was full of adventure, just waiting to be discovered. We understood our talents and what made us special. And when people gave us compliments, we accepted them whole-heatedly. In fact, we often reminded others of our achievements and strengths. Do you remember?
After I agreed to do the first sponsored post on my personal blog – ever – I pushed myself to discover why. But when I learned more about this company, Little Adventures product I was so impressed and I knew how excited my nieces and nephews would be when they received their favorite princess dress! And to make it even better, the new Beauty and the Beast movie was coming out right after I receive the dresses from Little Adventures and so we decided to go to the movie all dressed up!
“Little adventures started when two moms discovered the lack of clothing-quality dress-ups and princess costumes available for their children, they decided to take action. Jenny Harrison, mother of ten, and Heather Granata, mother of five, began their own little adventure by sewing and selling their very own dress-ups at local craft fairs. They made them soft and machine washable! They engineered them for everyday, all-day adventure! It didn’t take long for Jenny and Heather to realize the potential of their little endeavor. During their first year in business, they sewed over 2,000 dresses in Jenny’s basement…and with that, the Little Adventures brand was born.”
My favorite part was watching their faces glow, because they knew they were beautiful! We can all learn a thing or two from little girls. Often we push them to grow up and act more mature, but in that moment, something is lost that never really comes back. Sure, we can re-learn that we are beautiful, smart, funny, and fantastic, but once girls become older, we are inundated with ideas that challenge our self worth.
That’s why it’s important to enjoy our little ones while they are young. Tell them they are wonderful, every chance you get! I’ve heard some parents say that they “Don’t want their daughters to get too high of a self-esteem”, but NEVER worry about that! There are plenty of other people in the world that are willing to take hits at your daughter’s self worth and you don’t want to be one of them. Having raised six daughters, I can tell you this is true.
Carefully choose your words when complimenting them. Celebrate their personalities, not only their physical beauty. Although girls want to feel beautiful, this shouldn’t be the way they judge their worth. Talents aren’t only the ones that are easily spotted, like piano, soccer or ballet. We need to also share things like “strong”, “happy”, “giving”, “funny”, “patient” etc. You know your child better than anyone, so tell them the things you admire. When we study our mind, we understand that if we focus on our positive traits, we are more likely to strengthen ourselves overall. Basically, it is not uplifting to focus on our weaknesses all day, everyday, yet often when we listen to our self talk, we do it!
When you get the chance to dress up, do it! Dance with them, sing with them, play with them! I’ve spent time running away from my kids mentally and physically before, and I’ve spent time actively running toward them mentally and physically. Parenting is WAY more fun when you purposefully engage! We had so much fun at our princess party and we planned it just for fun. Just look at their faces! Oh, and the boys were so jealous about our party, we let them come last-minute and enjoy balloon swords and crowns.
AND I WANT TO GIVE A HUGE THANKS to my nanny, Kenzie! She has an amazing wedding planning and events company, and I take full advantage of her skills when I can! She is so talented with everything she does (do you remember my Harry Potter Halloween Party?!) Well, when she found out I’d be hosting a Princess party, she offered to decorate it so she could refer to our pictures when talking with clients. Her website is Kenzie’s Events – go and check her out to find her information. She’s priced wonderfully and oh, so talented! And finally, my daughter, Whitney, took all the photos and I edited them. She is so naturally talented and it gave me a chance to wrangle the kiddos and keep things flowing.
Oh, and remember to find Little Adventures online by visiting and liking their FACEBOOK PAGE.Their products are very well made and can even be washed in the washing machine! I can’t help but wonder why this is so uncommon for children’s dress-ups!
Kinley is engaged to be married to Mr. Ethan Brown on May 6th, 2017.
I’m pretty sure she was just born and so my timing must be off, somewhere.
On New Years Eve, 2016, we went bridal gown shopping with all of the girls (minus Sydney because she’s living in Florida) and let me tell you, I battled the thought of having six daughters for so long but when occasions like this come up, I’m always a bit overwhelmed with emotions.
“Come one girls, get in the car! We are going to be late!”
“In the back.”
“Right here Mom, you’re talking to me.”
“Oh, right, where is Whitney and Brighton….and our bride?”
When we were all in the car I turned around and said, “Girls….(“Here Mom goes again…”) This is a day we will all remember! Look how much fun we are going to have shopping for wedding dresses! I feel so blessed to be with you all on this special day.”
And with that, I slowly backed out of the garage while one of them got our music going. You see, we can’t drive anywhere without music. We have our favorite play lists and I’ve always prided myself on raising kids that appreciate the best hits from all generations. We decided which order we’d stop at the bridal stores, and we were off!
I’m not going to tell you that every dress was perfect or that the kids never got annoyed with one another, but I will say that it was a perfect day. We laughed and I was a little teary just coming to grips with the realization about what was happening. It was like her first day of Kindergarten, all over again, but in her woman body. I remember being excited that she was starting school because she was SO positively ready to take that next step in her life. And as we prepare for her big wedding day, it feels pretty much the same way.
Kinley is sure in her choice of husband. Ethan is going to be a wonderful addition to our family and I’m so proud of them both. Together they are building a unit that I believe will last through all of the crazy experiences this world can throw at a married couple. They will be wonderful parents someday and I couldn’t be more excited for them! They dance and sing together, they enjoy many of the same things, they are patient and kind with one another, and I’m most impressed by the time they take to genuinely tell one another that the love each other and do small acts of kindness, everyday. Of course they drive each other crazy at times (let’s be honest, who doesn’t) but they find ways to work through their problems. As a mother, I couldn’t ask for more.
Kinley tried on a ton of different dress styles, and by the end of the day she was determined to have someone make her dress. Honestly this stressed me out a bit because the woman she chose lived in St. George, and I kept having thoughts of a box showing up with her dress … that she didn’t like. I would rather her find a dress that she could try on right from the beginning so she could see if it was absolutely perfect. Well, we didn’t find that, but we had a great time trying!
That night we rang in the new year in a pretty chill way because some of us have been sick. Jon bought cazoos, party hats, and confetti guns – along with lots of food. We played scategories and toasted in 2017 with a little dancing, our traditional running in the snow without shoes or socks on, and watching the ball drop.
Well now here we are on January 5th already! Jon has been struggling with his back going out – even to the point that we took him to the emergency room to check for kidney stones. After many hours and tests, it came back negative. Although this may seem like a relief, we were very surprised and now I’m more worried about him because back problems have always been a struggle for him. He’s visited the chiropractor now and set up tests for an MRI to get more information.
Yesterday Kinley, Brighton and I went to another dress store. She wanted to try on more styles to see what dress cuts would work the best for her so she could begin the process of getting her dress made. To be honest, when I saw the dress shop that she made an appointment with, I was scared. It was beautiful…. too beautiful for words. But let me try.
The bridal store is in Salt Lake City and it looks like a boutique for wedding dresses. It was an old vintage house that had been remodeled for the bridal store. There were lots of windows around the outside walls, and beautiful dresses hanging on racks around the perfectly staged room. There were dressing rooms in the center of the big open area and to separate sitting areas where the bride could come out and stand in front of you on a beautiful stand, surrounded by mirrors. They interviewed Kinley about the type of dress that she was looking for and we were shocked to hear that they had an almost exact replica of the dress on Pinterest that she’s been wanting made! They brought us water, and the show began.
The first dress they brought out was the one from Pinterest and I could hardly relax as she tried it on because I was scared of the price tag. It was beautiful, to be sure. She was beautiful. As she spun around, asking for our feedback each time she tried on a new dress, I kept picturing her doing the same thing in her white baptism dress and holding her in her white baby blessing dress. Times flies…
And then it happened. Kinley walked out in a dress that settled the busy room into a hush. Tears filled my eyes as I looked at my baby girl in the most beautiful gown that seemed to be made for her. Every bridal dress is beautiful for someone, but this was Kinley’s dress. It was simple and elegant. It fit her body perfectly in all the right places and it was easy to imagine her wearing, perfectly.
Kinley’s face flushed red and she became teary… and Brighton and I began oooooing and ahhhhhing…. I saw for one moment that Kinley saw her own beauty. This world is so harsh on women and their self-esteem, but for that special place in time, I saw that she saw what I see every time I look at her. She looked pleased, excited, and at peace. I wish I could bottle that feeling up and give all of my girls a dose of it each morning before school. A mother’s prayer is that their daughters feel confident in their own skin, knowing what they know, that they are truly beautiful.
And then I had to ask the inevitable…. “So, what does the dress cost?” and when she told me, I wasn’t surprised. We deserved it. That’s what you get when you find a dress that was hand beaded in Israel. And so we talked for a moment about how much she’d budgeted and saved in other areas. Our venue will be an on old park with huge trees and cobblestone walkways, and it was really cheap – SO we decided that since she saved money there, we’d better spend it here 🙂 but I really didn’t want to say yes to a more expensive dress unless she was absolutely, positively sure that THIS was the one. When she agreed that she was sure, she tried on her other dress options again. When she walked back out in the dress of her choice, we all felt magical again, and so it was done.
The cute girls helping us said, “Kinley, do you say yes to the dress!?” and so I quick got out my cell phone and video recorded her… “Wait!” I said, “Start again!”
“Kinley, do you say YES to the DRESS?!”
And so, with a huge smile and spinning on the top of the platform, she exclaimed, “YES!”
Maybe someday I can post that video, but not yet 😉