on self acceptance and forgiveness (leg edition)

confession: i do not like my legs. correction: i did not like my legs.

the earliest i remember noticing they were different was in middle school. oh middle school, what a disastrous event you were in my life. the beautiful, tall girls (with busts of course) were getting all the attention. the girls that played volleyball with their super short booty shorts and the cheerleaders with their non existent skirts. i could never wear something like that. luckily, puberty hadn't hit yet so even though my legs were short, so was my torso, thus i sauntered around evenly proportioned.

after puberty, which happened at an age that is hilariously late, i had a long torso, a chest (finally!) and short legs. short, stumpy legs. ugh. but, i was in soccer again and track and so even though i wasn't kind to them or liked them, they were always there and got me to a lot of great places. you always feel like you fit in in soccer with big thighs.

then i majored in Ballet in college. yikes. if i had a nickel for every time someone guessed 8 times what my dance emphasis was only to tell them "ballet" and see their face change, well, i probably wouldn't be trying to make money by writing on a blog. laugh out loud.

after college, a wonderful friend named CHARLOTTE DUNNE! (how are you? we never talk anymore!) taught me how to run for fun, and thus my next 8 years of marriage running would be my main cardio. even in running and teaching zumba for 4 years, my legs still fell short of my delusional idea of perfection. At this point i blame BARBIE and the media.

the point of all this mumbo jumbo is this, this morning i slapped together a sandwich for ty's work lunch, stumbled back into my room and got dressed to work out. i sat down on the rowing machine to warm up (i know, so incredibly spoiled to get to use one) and looked down at my legs. what?

those are not my legs! they are strong! and beautiful! i suddenly was aware that i do not despise my legs anymore. and it's not because they look semi ok in this picture (my cottage cheese is on the underside don't worry)  it's because they are amazing! they have always been there and carried me throughout every crazy thing i wanted to do. cliff jumping, running half marathons, snowboarding, hiking, relay races, dancing for hours and hours and hours, carrying 4 babies around, running after toddlers, and for the last year and a half, squatting lots of weight on my back.

even though i can't wear jeans in the fall with boots over top (there is just no way i could walk without circulation, i've tried) and even though i will always look like an orange on a toothpick in high heels at church, and even though i have beautiful big dimpled thighs, i LOVE MY LEGS. I LOVE MY BODY. I am so incredibly grateful they forgive me for always wishing them to be different. i am so grateful I have this body for forever. what an amazing gift i have been given. it's such a freeing feeling, to actually want what you already have. i suggest trying it sometime.

i love this shirt from here, its so liberating to find out how strong you can be. my birthday is coming up for anyone who is behind on gifts: hint hint


weeds in my garden

as i walked out the trash the other day i looked up and enjoyed the beautiful view of our canopy of oleanders, cottonwoods and green grass we are blessed with (believe me, green grass around here is unique). as i walked down the broken sidewalk (that needs to be repaired) to the front door i looked over at my roses. OH! my poor neglected babies. this is what they looked like.

choked out by weeds, too much water and no one had pruned them this fall. i blame that on my mom not here, she always kept me on task with my roses. i did fertilize though mom! i promise! so i put on my adult mom pants and went to work on the task. i estimated it would take between 1-2 hours to de-weed, relay a liner and pour new mulch. and true to form, i underestimated the task by about 5 hours. go me.

i got to work on the first weeds. good gracious they are pernicious little devils. they were EVERYWHERE. they had grown right into the "weed barrier" liner and their roots were wrapped around my rose bushes and drip system. they were strong, like, my huge muscles had a hard time ripping them out strong. i finally evolved to a system of the spade in one hand hacking at the deepest root while i pulled with the other with all my might. i am 2/3rds of the way done at this moment.

this question ran through my head with each and every devilish weed root i hacked away at: how did it get this bad? i started to backtrack in my mind (not an easy task mind you) and i realized that i have seriously neglected this rose bed. when i would weed,it would be after it got really, really bad and even then i would just pull out the tops and didn't even worry about the roots. obviously the weeds themselves enjoyed this immensely as they grew an entire 6 ft substructure under my roses.

as usual, i automatically applied this as a life lesson because that's just what weird people like me do.

 in my personal life, how often have i just tried to address only the part of the problem that was showing? how often have i taken the time and effort to keep digging and get to the roots so i can be rid of it forever?  how often have i tried to lay down a "barrier" only to find that it yes, it did hide the problem but also encouraged unseen rampant growth?

for me, all of these questions are answered with an astounding, ALL THE TIME. my self deprecating thoughts, self-abuse with food, self defeating behaviors and family issues have all been addressed with a mere barrier or plucking of the green shoots coming out of the ground. it's almost scary to try and think about addressing the real problems underneath, but it's coming to the point where i just may have to. it's affecting my day to day life now and affecting my spouse and children so it's time to dig a little deeper. oh, i have a feeling it will be worth it but extremely painful in the meantime.

for now, i will keep pondering this issue and this weekend  i will be working on my rose bed and hope to put up a beautiful picture of my hard work. let's stress the word "hope".

i will keep weeding, and i will keep addressing my personal "issues" every darn day.


updaterific and spiritual message

guess what? ANOTHER FLOOD. Here is Ty and our friend Darren making lemonade out of lemons and having some fun after sandbagging all night and working all day to keep the water out of the Meeks' house:

I know, our poor little valley is just getting hit from every possible side.

but, it was phoebe's birthday
and ty's birthday
and a lot of wonderful in-between, like my pants finally buttoned after SIX MONTHS
But all that matters is that we are happily (most days) making our way through each and every day. 

i've pondered a lot lately about what is most important for my kids right now, and our home, and me, and ty and and...well. Lots of pondering.

I would say the most crucial thing i've figured is what really matters, and what really matters is really quite simple:

* reading scriptures every day (alone and as a family)
* prayer every day (alone and as a family)
* family home evening once a week (as a family we do a fun activity and teach one spiritual lesson)
*attending church every week
*attending the temple as a couple once a month

and that's it really. our lives can get so utterly complicated and full of just, STUFF. 

and that stuff can be awesome things that enrich our lives and we love doing, but in the end, they are still stuff. i think making sure these crucial things happen NO MATTER WHAT and then filling in the gaps with awesome stuff is the only way to help my kids know that God loves them, no matter what. NO matter their choices, (good and bad), their dress size, their family problems, school problems or test scores.


you never know

oh my goodness, this little short clip is for tired mothers everywhere. if you aren't a tired mother then you can skip the entire thing, and drive down to refill your meth prescription. hahaha, oh dear that was awful. seriously though, please watch and know you are amazing, especially the single mothers and military mothers.

moving on, getting ready for my church lesson this month has been daunting. i feel like every topic is especially tailored to humble me to an especially low state. but i do enjoy learning about the process of becoming a better person, each and every day. even if it is two steps forward and one step back (which is always the case for me)

i have a few friends (*fabulous friends i might add) that also teach the same exact lesson every month that i do. it has been wonderful to connect with each of them and share our feelings, experiences with each topic. one such friend shared this talk about self esteem and it is a game changer ladies and gents, GAME CHANGER.  block out 15 minutes of your time and read it instead of perusing Facebook.

have a lovely sabbath day. mwuah!



Gah, i've been neglectful to my sweet baby here. But I have a good excuse, I've been taking care of another sweet baby for awhile and all other projects are on the back burner. Thank goodness I can work out at home because that is the only thing keeping me sane right now!

Our poor friends' house was severely flooded this past week and we are watching baby R during the daytime to help out. Rodney is ok with it now, but I still can't leave him in the room alone with her. hehehe.

My parents are on their mission! 
I dropped them off at 5am at the airport and had a good little cry fest on my way home. Rodney has been the most confused and wanting to play with Grandma and have "popsiples" at her house (and of course play angry birds), but he is doing better. Yesterday he asked, "Momma, are you sad?", and I asked him "sad about what?" and  he said, "Sad that you're mommy isn't here anymore?". bah! Whoever thinks kids don't know what's going on has another thing coming to them.

Here are a few random pictures of life around here lately.
Phoebe started preschool!
She loves to draw and play with our cat at home, I think 4-5 is my favorite age
Daddy has been busy a lot with work and helping out wih the flood, it was nice to have family Movie night again. 
After working out I practice handstands and push ups. Two things I'm not very good at. It's fun to learn new things and see how you can get stronger with just practice.


motivation or mutilation?

many many a time, when i've found myself post partum and not fitting into my clothes, i have looked for motivation to get "in shape".  and several of those times i have made "vision boards" of what i wanted to look like.  judge away my friends, judge away.

the first few times there was nothing at my disposal to the likes of Pinterest or tumblr. Nope, just your friendly Athleta magazine which I would cut apart and paste super buff moms onto my notebook. And at night I would look at them for motivation and then eat an entire bag of peanut m&m's.

I know, I know.

After my ectopic pregnancy 6 months ago I made another one on pinterest in my "secret" board. I didn't even know they had those until one book club night! So I pinned away all of these amazing chiseled 20 year old bodies like this:

and then, again, ate myself into a chocolate oblivion feeling sorry for myself because i have cellulite on my thighs.

i still can't believe i'm writing all of this down.

so, long story short, I got tired of mutilating myself and stopped looking at my vision board. yes, I kept working out EVERY MORNING and i started getting better at my eating.

actually, my eating has never been this good... ever. when i consider what to eat the first thing i think now is, "How will this make me feel tomorrow?". because guess what? 3 monster tacos and a piece of chocolate cake a good squat session does not make.

for me, waiting to exercise until i have lost weight by eating better would be like never going to church until i was 100% with my scripture study and prayers. DUH, it just wouldn't happen. they go together hand in hand for me.

and so, i deleted my inspiration board and i'm eating pretty ok and exercising and my body is changing! i am getting stronger and i feel fantastic!

have I lost weight? nope.
do i fit into all my clothes? nope.
do i care anymore? nope (ok, a little about the clothes because i love them)

i wake up happy and motivated and clear headed.
for years I would wake up groggy, irritated and depressed, just ask my kids.

i'd say i'm doing just fine without wanting to look a certain way. i guess what i'm saying is, if you are always looking at pictures of fit people (or perfect decorated houses, or new cars) and wishing (and eating) yourself sick because it isn't happening, maybe take a break? let go of those dreams of looking like someone else (or having something else) and start a journey of loving and wanting to be YOURSELF and be happy with what you have instead of what you want.

it's really quite liberating.


farewell and family

 we did it! 5 out of the 7 kids made it to get together for om and dad's farewell. so grateful for everyone who made sacrifices to get here.
 i will admit, becoming a great aunt was scary. it felt as though everything needed to sag an extra 2 inches or something (heaven forbid!). luckily baby Will is the CUTEST thing i ever did get to squishy for hours and hours.
 i haven't seen my lucy goose smile like this in a very, very long time. she was in cousin heaven.
 justin was super with cousin tyler, he was willing to lend his finger for any app!
my baby ells bells is all grown up. can't stand it.
 russ and dad, a great picture and photobomb by dj
boy cousin heaven

tyler isn't a huge fan of selfies apparently
 danna did so great with tyler, he was awesome and it really made an impact with my kids being around  him. such a great kid.
grandma and some beautiful granddaughters, annie and emma. it was a great weekend, in 2 years we are shooting for all SEVEN OF US TOGETHER. take note siblings :)


it's golden

mission farewell 2014 (rodney and ty are hiding)
FIFTY years of marriage for my parents today. 50! What an amazing accomplishment.  I'm positive that I have absolutely no clue the obstacles they have overcome and the compromises they have made to make a marriage last for 50 years, but I am grateful for them. My kids have humble examples throughout both of Ty's and my families of strong and lasting marriages.

saturday morning my parents leave for the Missionary Training center for our church in Provo, Utah. After their training for a week they leave for Guatemala city where they will be overseeing dental work for all of the missionaries in Central America and many orphanages in Guatemala.

to say we will miss them is a ghastly understatement, so today i will pretend like i will be able to see them all the time still and not cry into my big, fat pillow. i can say that i'm grateful for modern technology and that we can face time with them every day. i guess it's time for me to brush up on my spanish, because last time i checked it was muy mal.


glorious things

life is still going on here, even though it's not manifest on the blog. i had a wonderful and meaningful discussion with the two costco checkout ladies about weddings and marriage and how people make it work. it's my parents 50th wedding anniversary this week and you cold tell by the looks of my purchases that we are celebrating, hence the discussion. we all agreed that marriage (and LIFE) is hard, it has ups, it has lots of downs, and i think the key is keep putting one foot in front of the other. even if that day, or that moment, you can only move it an inch.

we have to remember our goals, our beliefs and that through consistent small efforts, there are glorious things ahead for us in our marriages, in our personal lives, in our friendships, in our futures.

via pinterest


lehman's cave

the Leavitt family had a mini reunion last week and it was a blast. we all headed up north out of the heat to camp and visit Lehman's caves. i probably sounded like a broken record, but up there in the aspen and pine trees i feel at home. and i couldn't stop commenting about it! camping up above 5,000 feet takes me back to camping as a young girl and i treasure those memories.

the kids were awesome. super great travellers and campers. there was a small 3 minute moment when rodney had a night terror because of lack of sleep and then i threatened to murder phoebe if she woke him up again. whoops.  lucy helped them all explore the little creek and grandpa took them fishing and shooting. they saw two beaver dams and that was the highlight as far as creatures came.

lehman's cave is a MUST SEE in Nevada. i have been to a fair share of caves and this one was amazing. besides being the largest one in nevada the hour tour was entertaining and memorable. even Rodney behaved the entire time. milestone!

we ate smore's galore and had a wonderful time, i LOVE camping so much. (Just not the clean up)

 grandpa leavitt is the best shooting guide ever, ever ever.
rod has a gallery gun that shoots mini 22's bullets. it sounds like a little "puff" in the air.
 perfect for kids learning.
 some got more into it than others, scary.
 watching rod with rodney was the cutest thing in the world.
 checking their target 

 in the middle earth
 the girls soaked up every bit of info

our guide was funny and quirky all at once. he's been a ranger their for 20+ years and he loves it.
 why do we even try? SMILE TY.
 i don't know who was more scared of whom
 baker, nv is a quaint little town full of unhygienic hippy artists.
we were just bitter because they didn't serve ice cream

all in all it was a great trip. i highly suggest Lehman's cave if you are in NV or UT


end of summer thoughts

the other afternoon i shuffled around the house doing the afternoon dash, pick up toys, think about dinner (again) harp on the kids to get off the tv/computer and help out. i was also exhausted. i've been waking up at 5am for my workouts and i didn't get a power nap so by 4pm i'm running on empty. this is when i wonder why i don't guzzle diet coke? the jolt would be appreciated right about now, but it has and always will taste like butt to me.

the list in my head about what needs to get done and what i have left to do is overwhelming. laughable to some, but for some reason it feels just like i said, overwhelming. the weeks are flying by and the days drag on. before school starts i'm trying to move the girls all into one bedroom, buy all the school supplies, organize the bedrooms and toys (AGAIN), take a huge load to charity and plan a farewell for my parents. Yes, my parents are going on a service mission for our church to Guatemala for 24 months! They leave in just a short 3 weeks also.

We went camping last week and it took me 5 days to clean up. I hope you feel better about yourself now.

while i figure out how to finish everything up, here are a few short links of some great stuff i read this week via the world wide web:

give me gratitude or give me debt: look around at your house and see it with gratitude

a look into depression. a good friend posted his link, granted i'm not a huge hockey fan like her but this was a great article to read if you have a hard time understanding mental illness. my depression comes and goes as it pleases, i'm lucky that it is always mild.

this short video is great for a family home evening lesson and to show to your kids. we have watched it dozens of times, it's a simplified version of the truth about sugar and our society.


real life

let's get real here people and talk about some stuff. blogs are not real life! i hope that i have not tried to persuade readers on this little thing in any other direction. i try to be honest about our life (to a point, i obviously edit out a lot of personal things) around here and my feelings as a mom. i really hope that readers understand i'm not trying to portray a different picture of myself. i'm quirky, and flawed, and funny (well, i try) and honest.

so, real life. i gained a lot of weight with pregnancy #5, the loss and the aftermath of all that. 20 lbs. i've lost like, 5. yes, FIVE. but for the last 12 weeks i have been busting my buns with an online personal trainer (more on her awesomeness later) and am feeling stronger and HAPPIER. yes, happier!!! sure, most of my clothes still don't fit and the scale refuses to budge, but I am happy! and i sprinted yesterday and my butt and tummy didn't jiggle or flop. that is real progress people.

anyways, i definitely only show nice pictures of myself on instagram and here because, hey! i'm human and i want everyone to think i'm a smoking hot mess. but in reality, there is one good angle of this woman and it is profile. everything else is, shall we say....crop worthy. haha.  so for the sake of my readers (all 22 of you) and myself here are a few good photos that i of course took myself, and bad angle pictures that ty's family always so graciously snaps of me all the time. ALL THE TIME. my posterity is just going to love all of those ones.  for your viewing pleasure and i hope you have a great weekend knowing how awesome your photos always are right? riggggghhht.

this is my "i am sucking in so hard it almost made me pass out photo"
and this is my, "i've been working out like crazy and this angle makes me look good" photo.

this is my "front squats are awesome. so there" photo.
*these next ones are the self esteem boosters:
i chose this apron specifically for it's ability to slim your waist, or er, rolls.
 "paul bunion meets grunge meets 80's bangs" photo
someone please, for the love, burn this shirt for me.
but not the shorts, they are the only pair that fit. yikes. 
"hi, i'm bloated and on vacation and born in the 80's" photo
this is my, "i was feeling so awesome i skipped the spanx for the wedding" photo
sheesh megan, you make me look bad woman

in all good sport, i know that i am way too hard on myself. i am an active and healthy mom who exercises more than regularly and eats pretty darn healthy. i don't drink soda or eat chips, i don't drink caffeine or alcohol or smoke. i don't eat out at fast food more than once a month and we limit dessert around here. but PIZZA? just give me an entire box and get out of my way. hahaha

there are good photos of anyone, and there are less flattering ones of anyone. all that matters is that i know i'm working hard and am strong and happy. i challenge you to find some unflattering photos of yourself and share them, it was actually quite liberating. 

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