Friday, February 27, 2015

Be the Brave One

Dear Children of Mine:

In Albany, Oregon, near where we live, there was an event that could have been very sad this week.  In one of the middle schools a student handed out a pact that some students signed that said they would commit suicide this weekend.

Walktheline Kinchoi Lam
(Posted with Permission)
I heard this from my friend around 3 p.m. and I checked with my school to find out if they'd heard about it and they told me it was just a rumor.  Then an hour later my friend, Cristina, sent me the link to the article telling about it.

I was shocked. This was too close to home.

Then as I thought about it I thought about the child that told her parent(s).  I thought about how much courage that may have required. I thought about that parent calling it in to report it to the authorities and again I am grateful for their courage and determination to do the right thing.

When events like these happen, we seldom think of the stoppers or prevent-ers.  I am so grateful for them.

I thought of all the prayers for protection for and from dear ones of those students and I thought how those prayers had been answered through the actions of the prevent-er.  I thought how, we as parents near that place (and hopefully far away) will savor seeing the sweet locks of hair, those blinking eyes, and the nearness of their sweet ones.  Then realize they have them, perhaps because of the one who had courage to speak up.

If you ever have a time when you need to tell on someone because they are thinking of or are hurting themselves or others--speak up.  You never know the difference you can or will make.  It could make all the difference.  If a teacher or adult does not listen to you, tell me.  I will help tell the people that can stop it.

I love you!


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Anti-Grumpy-Gladness Game

Dearest Kidlets:

Sunday, T, you got to give a talk or a little speech in Primary (the time at church for children ages 3-11).  I did not realize that you were assigned a talk because you gave one last month.  You got up, rolled up your sleeve and showed everyone your elbow. "I got this scab in the chapel."  You grinned. Most people couldn't see the tiny rug burn you got from the pew.

"Nice elbow, T!" some children and teachers validated.

Then Sister Hoggard said, "Now, bear your testimony."

"I am thankful for our bodies!"

I thought you were asked to give the scripture or something and was still surprised.  You made us all smile. You had taken something that had been not-so-great: your rug burn on your elbow and changed it to something good--being grateful for our bodies.

Yesterday morning I woke up with this grand idea.  The idea was that whenever I had a grumpy, murmuring thought I would immediately replace it with something I was glad about the reason I was grumpy.

Within a number of seconds I had to be thankful for something right away. I couldn't find my glasses.  I instantly replaced my instant gratification thinking with, "I am thankful that I can find my glasses quickly and that I have eyes to look for my glasses."

Turns out, I realized that I complain a lot in my head and it is time for change.  It is going to change.

When I was thinking out this post it sounded so much better in my head.

Minutes later I heard hollering from the next room and knocking on my door, "Mom . . . . so and so did such and such."

Time to put my goals into action . . . with you.

"Mom, where did you put my shoes?" says T.

"Where did I put your shoes?!" says I.

Attempted rewind initiated.   "Aren't you glad that you have shoes?"

Let's just say, it is a work in progress.  Like everything we do here. :)

I think it was you, T, that planted the seed for that idea.  Love ya!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Spring's Wink and Freezer

Our plum tree in the back is in full blossom and it was one of the first ones in the neighborhood to bloom.  I love it!!  S, got some to show us the first day.  Our daffodils are on the verge of blooming.

T, you insisted that we take  this photo together.

I was so excited to get our freezer. Doesn't it just look like it's ready to take on the world frozen-food-wise? I think I will put a magnet face on it and call it Stan.

Friday, February 20, 2015


Dear Kidlets:

Lately, at night right before you go to bed you've been writing in your journals with great gusto.  Each of you have been writing and R, you told me that you want to write in your journal like you are writing a book or a history of your life.

It makes me smile so big and my heart rejoice.

Sometimes you tell me that you want me to read it.  Then there are times that you are upset at me (why do I have to clean and help?!).  You pour all your grumpy feelings onto that wonderful paper.  Then when you do want to share it with me, you read ahead and gulp and say, "Just a minute. I wrote this when I was really mad at you."

Honestly, I feel really grateful that you express your anger through the book instead of at me (though, let's be honest--I get a lot more than your journal ever would).  We are working on expressing ourselves peaceably, but it is quite the work in progress.

In fact, the other night at scouts we had, each of us, had an explosion of anger, and when I went in to talk to the other adults it took me a good thirty minutes to pull myself together and I couldn't truly think straight for the rest of the evening.

This is when you all decided to come and snuggle with us in Mom and Dd's bed. It made me so happy I wanted to remember it always. So here.
But, I have to say that I really love to see you writing.

T, you have decided that reading is public enemy number one.  But somehow in the evening, on non-graded work, you write wonderful words describing your day with no worries about showing it to a teacher.

R, you got a letter and a journal from your Uncle Jeff, who is serving a mission for our church right now.  It is a beautiful letter where he talks about how writing in his journal made a huge impact on his life.

S, you have more journals than the boys put together and you are writing in each one at different times.

R after you were born.
K, you add to anyone's journal that has a pen near it, any time and any date. Your writing looks like scribbles right now, but I love it. That is why when you read any and almost all of the journals that I have had since being a mother you will find a lot of scribbles.

R, you were about six weeks old and we were moving out to NYC area.  Look at your sweet chubbiness.  Just perfect! :D
I think it also helps that I have left all my journals on the shelf for your reading enjoyment (I haven't found another place to store them).  You also see me write in my thought book and journal a lot.  My thought book contains all the things that I want to work on including my film-making goals and thoughts to improve anything in our lives (you're in there a lot).

Just know that the words that you  write may inspire you and others in the future.  Also, marking out the unkind things is perfectly acceptable.

With love always,

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Opinion Please

Dear Readers:

Today is a break from my normal letters to my children.  I cannot make up my mind on something that is very important to me. 

As you have seen I am really trying to build my movie making skills--and I know that right now they are not, how shall I say this nicely--PBS-worthy (heehee). My goal is to accept my not-greatest work as skill-building work.  I am going to accept my awkward and not favorite work as stepping stones to a better place that I want to be.  

I am going to start building my movie making kit, work on writing scripts, improve my sound--but I have to be realistic.  

Motherhood is no small task and I would be lying if I told you that movie-making is my sole interest at this juncture because motherhood is my focus, my family is my focus--which is why they are in so much of my work and will likely continue to be in the future.

I am not going to look at people's work that are even less experienced than I and think how ludicrous it is that I am trying.  Sure their work may be better than mine, but I am going to cheer for them and their abilities and then turn to my goals. I will accept that our work is different. I will accept that our learning curves may differ exponentially. But I. Will. Not. Stop. Trying.

I make short movies because I want to build my family and my relationship with my children. I want to be able to make a difference, even if it is momentary, in the lives of the people who see my work.  I want to learn and grow in my abilities as a mother, an actor, a director, a cinematographer and a storyteller.

Now I am stepping off my proverbial soapbox and asking for your opinion.  Do you think that I should:
A: Use my Happy Extra blog to post my work as it is more established.
B. Use my Family Filmmaker blog as the blog to post my work.
C: Start a new blog focused on what I am learning, what inspires me, and what I am making.

I really appreciate your time to give me your opinion. I cannot guarantee that I will do the one you choose, but I would like to hear what your opinion is.  If you have another opinion that I did not list, please feel free to let me know what you think. :)

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Favorite Game

Dear Ones:

You are at an age where we can get more technical than we used to be able to do with the games that we play. Your new favorite game it to play hide and seek around the house, outside, in the dark.
Whenever I feel like we've been inside (phased out on electronics) I will holler out, "Anyone want to play hide-and-seek?"  There are, every time I have said it, shouts of "Yay!" and glee.
K, even you get into it.  Although, when you hide we are usually the first ones found--probably because of my loud shushes to quiet your squeals of delight so we can remain hidden (see the kindly way that was worded).

It makes me smile when we find each other.  R, you have some great places to hide and there have been many times we've walked right by you as you pretend to be a bush.
T, you're learning to take defeat with a grain of salt and to be happy for the ones who win.  Don't worry, with age and a lot of losing and some winning you'll get better at it.

Now our next goal is to see if we can out-hide Daddy. Heehee.


Wednesday, February 11, 2015


Dear Ones:

Do these picture journals mean much to you?  I mean, in some time in the future will you come to me and say, "Mom, do you remember that one time that we ..."  I may look at you in confusion and you'll say, "Remember, you posted about it on your blog?"  You'll faithfully look it up and show me with a look of pride and satisfaction beaming on your face.  I will smile.

Or will it be [cricket sounds].

I hope these posts mean something to you.  The memories that we have shared mean a lot to me.

Right now, we are trying to get you involved in some sports.  You are taking music lessons (R at school).  

K, you are learning to talk and your favorite book at present is Duck on a Bike.  

I am still striving to teach you to work, does that ever end?!  

T, you are going to be learning to find your own clothes and prepare them for the next day and to make your own lunch.  You tell me that my peanut butter and jelly sandwiches taste lots better than yours, but I am beginning to wonder if that is just a ploy to get me to make your lunch.

S, you are baking every day and since last week you have decided that you dearly want to be a chef.  You still talk about your birthday party (which I have not posted on yet). 

R, you are the first to obey, usually. Can I just tell you how much that means to me?!  A lot!!  It means I can trust and rely on you to accomplish what I ask you to do.

I love you! Each one. Individually. Dearly.


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

When A Photo Describes Exactly How You Feel

 Sometimes you feel just. plain, exhausted. Ta-day folks.
Very few things in the photo above are in focus--which is also how I feel at the moment.
"The future is as bright as your faith" (President Monson).

Do you know of a good photo that says, "My life is a work in progress." :D

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Antique Mall and Monkey Fridays

In our town there is an antique mall that I adore. It has the most wonderful knick knacks.  
This is a monk's mirror--where the monk could not look in the mirror more than a few seconds to avoid vanity.  The picture slides in and out.  Does it make you jealous?   I think I would paint something on it like, "You are beautiful!"
 Alright, when I saw this lamp I thought of the movie "Ozma of Oz" and I did in fact touch the lamp and say out loud, "Oz!"   But nothing happened--no scarecrow, tin man, chicken,  moose sleigh, or Jack the pumpkin head.  So, yes, I am a child of the 80s.
 I loved this painting because those eyes are just piercing.
But, this photo just stole my heart. The mother seems to be trying really hard not to beam at her sweet boy, but it is delightfully obvious that she is so thankful and so proud, just how I feel about you.  It is so beautiful!
We met up with our friends at the antique mall and then we dashed over to Monkey Fridays for their funky monkey sandwich--which is my favorite.  You ran around like crazy the whole five minutes you let me sit.  

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

If . . .

A guy walks into a bar and says, "Ouch!"

Why don't aliens eat clowns?
Because they taste funny.

Last night, T, you discovered a way to get your phone to tell you jokes. These were the two it kept repeating. We asked it a lot.

Yesterday, was a bit of a wake up day. You see, you may remember that I was in a bit of a funk.  I think I get into a bit of a funk every time I finish a short and I begin to wonder if ... the dot dot dot stands for just about everything.  If I should . . . If it would work better to . . . If. If. If.

Later, I got a little personal revelation (which I love). I needed it to refocus me. Seriously.  Here is what it was.  I am posting it so I do not forget.  
1. Optimism is around every corner. Look for it.
2.  My children are not going to be around me forever (gulp, sigh, tears in my eyes) and I am going to enjoy being with you and being your mother.
3. I will be able to make my master works.

I decided to write down somethings that I wanted to improve on mothering-wise.
A.  Discipline.  I need to be obeyed cheerfully--with mutual respect.
B. Recognizing and building talents.  I started a list of some of your talents.
3. Spend time with each one of you individually.  This can be really challenging because there always seems to be so many things going on.  

Last night you talked to me about your phone for at least 30 minutes T.  I loved seeing your eyes light up and you joy in the app discoveries and determination to turn off the wifi so that there will not be immodest apps on your apps.  

Today, R while T was at lessons and S was at a play date. It was really fun to visit with you and to go get ice cream together.  I loved hearing you tell me about your friends and your upcoming projects in school.

S, you and I practiced together yesterday, much to your chagrin. But when we practice together I can really see improvements. It means a lot to me to see you working hard and learning new things--plus today when we saw a booth on the side of the road selling cool lights.  You got out and looked at them so happily.  We got one for your room and you were in heaven.  

K, you are almost talking.  You have two complete sentences that I may have mentioned again, "What did you do?!" and "Where did you go?!" That you pull out appropriate times.  It makes me laugh.  Then you have times where I can barely not understand you.

No matter what "ifs"  come our way, we will weather it out.  The Lord is on our side. How can we fail?  

Monday, February 2, 2015

The Hobbit Challenge

Another contest entry. :)  We are going to look back on these and smile.  I love you, dear ones!