Artifact Motherhood | Making Sense of Today's World


Dear Boys,

The world seems to have turned into an extra crazy place over the last two years: a pandemic, riots over racial inequality, a war in Europe, super inflation, transgender issues, abortion laws, and now yet another mass school shooting, just to name a few.

As your parents, your dad and I shield a lot of the news from you.  We tell you the basics of what's going on in the world but leave it at that.  Your shoulders are not mature enough to handle it all just yet.

However, let me tell you this: when your shoulders are big enough to take on the problems of the world... don't.  You see, humans were never meant to know all that we know instantaneously now.  People were never meant to form well informed opinions about every economic, political, or controversial subject under the sun.  Nor were we meant to see and hear perpetual chirping about it all either.  It's simply unhealthy.

The news is a tidal wave of all sorts of polarizing political opinions.  Headlines are created to make you feel angry or depressed.  The media uses fire to fight fire.  I'm thinking they'd love to watch the world burn.

Terry L. Givens said, "We humans have a lamentable tendency to spend more time theorizing the reasons behind human suffering, than working to alleviate human suffering."

So use careful discernment, my boys.  Get your facts from several different sources.  And then leave the subject alone. 

Go live your lives and make the world a better place from where you stand.  There's no need to virtue signal from Instagram.  Instead, write to your senators.  Volunteer on the school board.  Serve at church.  Help a neighbor.  Raise a family.

I don’t think God is going to care about how much time we spend debating issues and posting about them.  I think what He will care most about is the time we spend mourning with those that mourn, comforting those who stand in need of comfort and alleviating the suffering of those around us. 

I'm imperfectly trying to live my life by example, my boys.  So follow me.  Do as I do.  But do it better. Add to my example as you become men, husbands, and fathers. 

The world wants to make policies that accommodate sin.  It will tell you that the way to happiness is to look out for yourself.  The world has it backwards.  It asks, "What's best for me?"  However, Jesus taught that we must love our neighbors; we must do what's best for someone else.  Real solutions, my loves, often involve some level of sacrifice.  "Whosoever will lose his life for my sake, shall find it." (Matthew 16:25) 

I wonder what wisdom a person who lived a thousand years would say?  Would that person reassure us and say it's all cyclical?  Or perhaps these problems we face really are speeding up and getting worse today?  All I know is that wars end.  Recessions come and go.  People treat each other unfairly.  But God always wins.  Redemption to this crazy earthly mess can only be found through Jesus Christ.  So simple and yet so intangible that it seems unreal.

President Nelson said, "Don't demand things that are unreasonable, but demand of yourself improvement. As you let the Lord help you through that, He will make the difference.  I am so grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ that gives me strength in these tumultuous times."

These are my thoughts and testimony, boys. Jesus Christ lives.  Your Heavenly Father loves you.  Please remember what matters most; set your priorities.  Don't forget who you are and your purpose.  Work hard.  Love more.  You have nothing to fear.  You're going to be better than fine.   Now go make a difference.

Love Always,



This is Artifact Motherhood -- a project shared with other female artists around the world who are documenting our journeys as mothers and creating memories for our children through our photographs and words.

Please visit the next wonderful artist LEILA BALIN to read her post in our blog circle.

2 on May 22


We celebrated Ezra's 2nd birthday on Sunday!!!  I am so grateful to have this 4th little boy and I am so thankful that he still has wrist rolls and chubby little knuckle dimples.  He makes me feel like he's still holding onto his babyhood, at least a little bit.  He's just happy to be alive and along for the ride!  Little people are the best.  

His birthday was bittersweet for me.  Ezra is growing up, one day at a time.  I don't want any more babies, but I would sure give anything to snuggle each of my children when they were newborns just one more time -- feel their weight on my chest, smell the tops of their fresh heads, listen to them suck as they nurse, and watch their yawns and stretches.  Oh, that was heaven on earth!  But so is this current reality, just in a much more chaotic and messy way.  

Ezra is a boy of few words. His vocabulary mostly consists of "go" "shoes" "more" and "mom".  But what he lacks in words, he more than makes up for in personality.  Of all my children, Ezra is probably the most ornery and stubborn.  He makes messes faster than I can clean them.  But he's also such a tease!  Ezra loves to laugh and get a rise out of anyone.  His favorite game is to pinch my naked behind when I get out of the shower!  The boy loves his groceries, especially milk and strawberries. He will never turn down a meal, thus his deserved nickname: Chungus.  I enjoy watching his little diaper butt run -- I mean waddle -- in excitement towards the bathtub or his daddy.  The song Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes is Ezra's jam.  Every time it comes on his tonie box he goes bananas and starts dancing. 

Ezra is the reason I feel a bit more tired at the end of the day, but he's also a ray of sunshine who brings so many snippets of joy.  Happy 2nd Birthday, Ezra!!!  You are so loved.

A Mid May Update


^^For some reason, I was really feeling many of these photos in black and white.  A little nostalgia, maybe?^^

Talking about three recent happenings:

1. The warm weather has finally arrived between the rain storms, which means I am in my happy place as a mama.  I absolutely LOVE taking my boys to go adventure or play outside and during the first week of May we made it to the park four different times. That week, Ezra learned how to climb ladders and careen down the slides like a bullet, laughing the whole time. And Conrad learned how to cross the monkey bars. He is so proud of his new skill. We had to make time after our grocery trip to town just to do them again.  I'm soaking in this phase of motherhood.  They'll both be in school before I know it!  It makes these park trips all the sweeter.

Also of note, this has by far been the coldest, rainiest, and windiest spring we seem to have ever had while living here.  Winter just won't stop coming around!  Fortunately, I *think* yesterday might have been the last of it.    

2. Our new ward put together a Work Hard, Play Hard Day on May 7th for the youth.  The young men and women met for lunch and then split up to do various outdoor yard work as a service activity for several hours.  I enjoyed meandering around to different groups of kids to help them work and to chat.  Afterward the work was done, we gathered all the youth to go swimming at Nat Soo Pah.  It was so much fun!  Our friend Owyn won the belly flop contest off the high dive!  Kid committed.  He also said he had no idea how much it would hurt!  Lol.  The young men happened to help a woman who had locked her keys and son in the car.  Then we stuffed our faces with brats and cookies and chips and enjoyed a fireside led by President and Sister Funk.  I think it was a successful activity!   

So how is it going as the young women's president, you ask?  Well, I feel like I am finally finding my groove; I have finally won the girls' trust and am getting to know them and their individual needs.  It's been a trip learning how to juggle this calling.  I learned early on that I need to be assertive -- though sometimes I worry that I'm making the wrong decisions?  It's weird to be in charge.  There's a lot I do not want to do, like micromanage.  But it's also nice to be able to make changes or switch things up just because something isn't working or something better comes up!  I realize I will never be able to make everyone happy.  I occasionally get push back from parents who do not want to drive or other mildly lame reasons.  Sorry.  This is what it is.  We have a humungous ward, but it's a healthy ward.  And I will do what I think is best for these girls as I work closely with Bishop England, who has been good to get to know.  He's a go, go, get-it-done kind of a person.  So understanding his personality along with his leadership position has had me adjusting.  But I think I've got it now.

Anyway, I will sing praises about my presidency all day.  Chalet, Lisa, and Genesa have been the best group to work with.  They each communicate well and run with their responsibilities.  I never have to worry if they will come through!  They always do.  It's been so helpful.  I honestly think I did have divine inspiration when selecting them.  I mean, I had no idea who Lisa or Genesa were!  Never met them.  But Genesa is a whiz with all things secretarial.  Wow!

Young Women's president is a time consuming job.  I actually silenced all of my young women group texts because they were so distracting.  Now I get to it when I get to it -- which is a few times a day.

Nothing like a learning curve to give a girl some stress and keep her on her toes!  But I'm excited for what's next in the program this summer and to have some fun with the girls.      

3.  The boys have been making us parents absolutely miserable the last few weeks.  They've been lazy and fighting incessantly.  Nothing is ever quite good enough; they want more.  When Levi lamented that he wanted to do something fun, Bron and I just about kicked his tushy.  We explained that everything we have been doing has been for him and his brothers.  Those lacrosse tournaments in Idaho Falls and Jackson?  Those were for you!  The 4H cows (and subsequently the new fence we put in), the mountain biking program... it's all for you!  Bron and I never did celebrate our 15th anniversary properly.  There hasn't been time to do much else.  Then over the weekend, after watching a few hours of TV, Jed and Levi complained that they didn't have time to do anything fun for themselves.  "There's no time to shoot my compound bow!"  And that was the last straw.  

No TV for a week.

Monday evening, Jed and Levi were mad.  Levi just sat on the couch next to me, in tears.  He had no idea what to do with himself!  I made a few suggestions, but nothing sounded good to him.

Wednesday night, Jed needed to be at a mountain biking meeting and I needed to be at young women's.  That left Levi to babysit his two little brothers at home.  And do you know what happened without TV as an option?  The boys played outside.  They rode their bikes and drew with chalk.  Then Levi remembered he had chores to do.  So he and Conrad put their folded clothes away, did the dishes, wiped the counters down, and even swept and mopped the floor!  I came home to a clean home and was astounded.  Levi totally deserved to be paid for his efforts.

Thursday night something similar happened again with Jed.  Also, Levi decided to get a puzzle out and put it together.

No TV suddenly turned my boys into responsible agreeable human beings!  It's a parenting win!!!  

A Weekend with My Cousins in Tetonia


I got to sneak away with just Ezra in tow for an unexpected visit with my cousins and their families in Tetonia for the weekend.  When my Uncle Jeff's mother passed away, his family had a graveside service for her burial under the Tetons where she grew up.  I'm not exactly a part of that side of the family, but when my cousin Rachel invited me out to see them, of course I dropped everything to see her!  

These girls feel like a second set of sisters to me!  I love them so much.  I hadn't seen their kids in years.  I got to meet Emily's little Declan for the first time; he's just six months younger than Ezra.  The pair were a funny little duo together, stealing each other's sippy cups and jabbering nonsense.  And Rachel's oldest, Luke, is now 15 and is a totally awesome kid!  I wish he lived closer so his coolness could rub off on Jed.  I arrived Saturday afternoon, just in time to hug Grandma Smith and my Aunt Mari before they headed back to Utah.  The whole group of us stayed in an oversized cabin, ate too many sweets, and did not get enough sleep.  It was exactly everything a family reunion is supposed to consist of!            

On Saturday evening, Rachel whisked Necia and myself out of the cabin during golden hour for an impromptu moose hunt.  We spotted 11 moose!  Admittedly, I had more fun taking pictures of my cousins taking pictures of the moose than I did actually seeing the moose. 😆

It took all morning to get the family moving on Sunday, but we eventually made it to Teton National Park.  Ezra woke up from his nap in the back seat and excitedly pointed out the window at the Tetons.  He intuitively knew those peaks are something special!  We hiked around Jenny Lake to the waterfall.  There was still so much snow on the trail!  Ezra held onto a tiny truck and happily jabbered in my ear most of the way.  He loves to go, go, go!  It was just beautiful.  We could not have asked for a more beautiful day for hiking. 

The 10th Annual Day in the Life Post 2022


Who knew back in 2009 when I started this 'ol blog that it would become a family journal of sorts that I would still be using today thirteen years later?  This blog means so much to me.  I have many of the years printed into hard covered books.  The other day, Jed and Levi were lamenting that I don't love them as much as I love their little brothers.  I busted out the books and proved to them that they were each my whole world at the same ages as Conrad and Ezra are now.  They lit up with big grins, reading through what I wrote about them and seeing their pictures.  That is why I blog.  Or at least one reason.  My memory gets hazy.  This blog brings me so much joy to see pictures and read passages that bring back precious memories I otherwise would have forgotten.  And so I am determined to keep blogging, keep journaling, keep putting my thoughts and experiences to virtual paper.  It helps me process my feelings and is a safe place to store those things that are most precious to me.

Anyway, enough sentimental blabbering.  Welcome to the 10th annual day in the life post!  I chose Thursday April 21st this year instead of waiting til May.  A cold and rainy day just felt more authentic to document.  This winter has felt long and never ending.  Spring just keeps teases us only to disappear!  I wanted to remind myself of the beauty and the fun that really does exist right under my nose.    

Puppy in a Carrier


The other day, Conrad approached me wearing a plastic garbage sack like a leotard! 🤣  He had his arms through the handles and over his shoulders.  Somehow he managed to poke two holes in the bottom for his legs.  "I'm going to put Gus in the sack and carry him around!"  Conrad announced holding the sack away from his body to make a pocket.  So I told Conrad I had a better idea. 😉

Conrad is a five year old hoot.  He is a big inquisitive personality in a little body.  Conrad is enthusiastic, funny, and creative.  Sometimes it's exasperating.  The tape is always used up and there's constantly some mess he's made out of paper and string that I cannot possibly throw away.  But Conrad makes my life so much brighter and happier.  I'm so lucky I get to call him my son.   

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