For My Critics

I remember the day. It was March 8th - a Friday - and I had taken off work to take Brielle and a friend skiing up at the Beav. We even celebrated Chris's birthday while up there, even though he wasn't with us.

We got home and while I was giving Brielle instructions on what she could do to help put away the ski gear, my iPad suddenly ended up on the floor of my garage. Screen, completely shattered. There was a little screaming, lots of tears, and I ended up in my bedroom trying to figure out what to do next. You see, this whole situation could have been avoided had Brielle just done what I had asked.

There needed to be a consequence.

Long story short, we came up with a plan. $150 dollars is what it cost to repair the screen and $150 is what she would owe me, by way of forgoing her weekly allowance for 3 months ($10 per week) and a $30 transfer from her savings account to my checking account.

Only a few people told me that what I was doing would teach her a valuable lesson, but most offered words of criticism.  "You are way too hard on her!" was something I heard a lot. "It was just an accident, it's totally lame that you are punishing her for that!" and "You are such a mean mom!" were also statements I heard frequently. I received so much criticism that I almost abandoned this punishment altogether!

But I didn't --- and I couldn't be happier with my choice.

To my Critics, my daughter learned valuable lessons (plural) as a result of this punishment. For one, she learned that bad things can happen when you don't listen. Rarely, if ever, do I have to remind her of this. Brielle will also own up to most of her mistakes (she is still a child after all). She will admit to knowing better, and take responsibility. If she continues with this mentality, she will be a better person that most adults I know.

Finally, she's learned the value of a dollar. $150 is a lot of money, especially to a kid. After working so hard for it, she had nothing to show for it, and this was probably the hardest lesson of them all to learn. Just the other day, shopping for school clothes, she didn't ask for much (which is not normal). She rarely asks me to buy things for her, not even when her birthday approached. And when she wants something for herself, she spends a great deal of time thinking about whether or not it's worth the cost that she will have to pay.

To those who think I'm the worst mom ever... the joke is on you. Because I am the "tough" mom (definition of which could be argued), my child is on track to grow up withOUT a sense of entitlement and WITH an attitude of responsibility and hard work. Qualities that seem hard to come by these days. 

Oh, and one more thing... if I wanted your opinion, I would have asked.


Letter To My Daughter

Brielle is about to start Middle School and I think I'm more nervous about it than she is! I feel as though we're at the stage where these kids are trying to figure out where they belong, who their friends are, how to fit in and so on. But mostly, I'm a little bit scared for her because I know how tender her heart is and how sensitive she can be to what goes on within her friendship circles.

I'm also clearly the mom to an "only child" (that term, of which, I hate, but that's another post for another time). With these milestones, I tend to freak out a bit. It's my first, last and only time I get to participate in these experiences with my child. I have no other previous experience to draw from, nor with this be my "learning curve" for getting it right the next time. This is it - I will either be successful or a complete failure.

Talk about pressure... right?

So, as with every other milestone in my child's life, I felt that this one deserved some special attention. Something to mark the passing from being a little kid with pigtails, to a young lady with class schedules, locker combinations and iPhone's. But it also had to be something to prepare her for the experiences (and challenges) that lie ahead of her.

I stumbled upon this necklace on Etsy...


I immediately purchased it and had an idea of what I wanted to do for her, but still needed to put some thought into how I would present it. After weeks of pondering, I wrote her a letter, taking snipits from President Gordon B. Hinkley's "Be" talk to the youth, along with some of my own words of advice and encouragement.

I seriously debated on whether or not I wanted to post something so personal on my blog, but in the end, I chose to share for my own remembrance, as well as hers.

Dear Miss Brielle,

It’s hard to believe that summer is almost over and that school is about to start again! But this year, instead of sending my sweet little girl off to elementary, I’m sending a beautiful young lady off to middle school.  *** Middle School !!! ***

But before you start this new adventure, full of new experiences, new friends & new challenges, I wanted to give you something. A special gift that will help remind you of a few very important things. 

The golden yellow stone attached to this necklace is called the “Citrine” (sit-treen) stone. The Citrine stone is considered to be a joyful stone with a very bright energy. Funny thing . . . that is exactly how I feel about you! From the moment you were born, you have brought so much joy to our family. You have a bright energy about you that lights up my life and our home. I truly believe that this bright energy is what makes you so special, and is what draws so many people to you. Everyone can’t help but love you!

This necklace also includes a little “Bee” charm. Sadly, there are some mean and ugly things in this world, and as you continue to grow, those things will become more visible to you. Making good choices will become harder, friends will start to change and you’ll begin to feel the pressure to fit in. This Bee is a little reminder on how to “be” to remain close to the Spirit and to stay on the path of righteousness.

“Bee” Smart. Your education is so important and should be a top priority. You need all the education you can get, both temporally and spiritually.  Heavenly Father wants you to train your mind and hands to be an influence of good in the world. Work hard and always do your very best at school.. If you put forth your very best effort, you will bring honor to yourself and show honor to your Heavenly Father. Don’t be foolish in class, bluff or cheat –- you’ll only be cheating yourself. Always be smart.

“Bee” Kind.  I ran into one of your classmates moms at the store one day and you know what she told me? She said that they had been praying for their daughter to find a good friend, because she was shy and sad at school. She told me that you were the answer to that prayer, all because you choose to be kind.  Kindness is a way of making our own lives, and the lives of others, meaningful. President Thomas S. Monson taught to always “have the courage to make certain everyone is included and feels loved and valued.” Always speak, think and act with kindness.

“Bee” Clean.  Staying close to the Holy Spirit will give you the will power to avoid things that aren’t good for your body or your mind. Choose your friends carefully, because those friends can influence your choices for good . . . and even for bad. There will come a time when friends want you to listen to bad music, say hurtful things to others or maybe even look at inappropriate things. Your body is a temple which should remain clean and pure. If something feels wrong, it is and that is the Spirit telling you so. Don’t waste your time on things that can be destructive to your mind and heart.

“Bee” Grateful. Two of the most important words your mouth can say are “Thank You.” Be grateful for the wonderful blessings that you’ve been given. Be grateful for the opportunities that you have. Thank your teachers for their efforts to teach and help you, thank your friends for their friendship and thank your parents and family for providing for and supporting you. Express appreciation and gratitude to anyone who does something for you. And most importantly, thank your Heavenly Father. Thank Him for the atonement, for His example and for His teachings. Never forget to say Thank You.

“Bee” Prayerful.  You have a Heavenly Father who loves you and knows your needs. Look to Him for understanding and for guidance. You need His help, and you will recognize this more and more as you grow. As His child, you have the opportunity to communicate with Him, and He does hear and answer your prayers. Prayer will help you become closer to God, receive comfort when troubled or scared, and give you the power to know right from wrong. Prayer is a great blessing that can provide inspiration in the lives of all of God’s children. Pray daily.

The final thing that I want you to remember. . . . . . . . “Bee” Yourself.  You are amazing just as you are - - beautiful inside and out! Whether you wear this necklace around your neck, hang it in your locker or place it in your bedroom, I hope that it will serve as a reminder of these things.

You are a daughter of Heavenly Father, who loves you. No matter where you are or what you are doing, remember to be smart, clean, kind, grateful and prayerful. If you do, you will continue to be successful and have the confidence to face all the wonderful things that lie ahead for you. 

Always remember the joy that you give to those around you and never let your bright energy fade. I love you and your dad loves you! We support you in all that you do and are SO very excited to see what the future holds for you! 

Love . . .
Your Mama
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

What a special moment I had when Brielle when she read this letter out loud and placed the necklace around her neck! Tears were shed, both by me AND her. If she remembers only one thing from that moment, I hope she remembers how much I love her.


Birthday #11

My only child... my baby... my sweet little girl... is 11! Sniff, sniff... whaaaaaaaa!

I know I probably say this every year, but I'm not quite sure how this happened. Just yesterday she was 5, a month ago she was a toddler and last year, she was just a newborn baby in my arms. At least, that's exactly how it feels.

Kneaders Chunky French Toast for Birthday Breakfast

I read somewhere that it costs $250,000 to raise one child to the age of 18. With too broken arms in the past year and a half, I think we may surpass that figure.

Our team, ReAL Salt Lake were playing in the US Open Cup Semi-Final Match at Rio Tinto ON Brielle's actual birthday. And since none of us wanted to miss that game on account of Brielle's birthday -- we made that game Brielle's birthday.

I had SO much fun planning this this day! Extra tickets were purchased for the game so Brielle could invite a few friends. Invitations were made to took like actual game tickets, VIP guest badges were made..... I'm beginning to think that $250,000 just seems too low.

LOVE those faces!

 RSL won! The girls had fun! Another birthday success.


Deja Vu

Deja Vu: French, literally "already see", is the phenomenon of having the strong sensation that an event or experience currently being experience has been experienced in the past, whether it has actually happened or not.

I've literally "already seen" this...

Buckle Fracture, Right Wrist, 2012 (9 years old), Blue Cast

Buckle Fracture, Left Wrist, 2013 (10 years old - for 1 more day), Blue Cast w/Sparkles 

Brielle has officially been banned from doing anything that she could possibly sustain an injury from that would require medical attention. She's no longer allowed to play on monkey bars, go roller blading with friends, ride her bike, walk down the street, etc.

Basically, she's no longer allowed to leave the house.