might·y: possessing great and impressive power or strength

tow·er: a place of defense; a protection

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Read It Wednesday

I love reading, or, well, I used to love reading. As a mom my reading time is usually spent with books like Molly Lou Melon and Pirates Love Underpants.

Reading stories with my kids is one of our favorite times of the day, but sometimes I need a little me time with a book. Thus, I am introducing the first ever Read It Wednesday. I don't know how often these will happen, but I'm just thrilled to have actually read a book!

Today's book is The Fault in Our Stars. In very brief summary it is the story of two teenagers with cancer and their journey together. The movie just came out but I wanted to read the book first and I loved it. It's one of a few books I can count on one hand which have made me cry. It also made me laugh so loud that my husband looked up from his book several times to ask what was so funny.

I really can't say much about this book other than go read it. Right now. Really, now. Check out a copy, borrow a copy, buy a copy...just read it!


Saturday, May 10, 2014

Mother's Day Reinvented

Mother’s Day. Some people love it, some people hate it. Some pretend like it’s any other day. For me, I’ve gone back and forth on my feelings about this day of honor, but I think I’ve finally figured out what it means to me.

I spent so many years thinking that Mother’s Day was supposed to be a day dedicated to me. I thought that for it to be a good Mother’s Day things had to go just right. When, inevitably, my children would fight, or the dishes were piled in the sink, or I would become frustrated at something my husband said I would think, “fail!”

This continued on for a couple of years, me with my high expectations and my family trying their hardest to make it a great day. I finally decided that the best way to have a happy Mother’s Day was to treat it like any other regular day. No expectations means no disappointment, right? Oh, how I was wrong. I went from being frustrated at not getting what I “thought” Mother’s Day was all about to being frustrated when people would wish me a happy Mother’s Day or see other moms and families celebrating in their own way.

Last week I was expressing my thoughts on this holiday to my mother, lamenting that no matter what I do I just can’t seem to get through it without frustration. In her wise motherly way she said, “Try going to church 10 Mother’s Days in a row wanting so badly to be a mom and yet not being blessed with that desire.” As usual my mom knew just what to say, this time, sharing her own experience of trying to become pregnant the first 10 years of her married life.

I too have had and still have friends who, despite their best efforts, are not moms in the traditional sense of the word. I have had conversations with them about how hard it is to attend church and see all the moms with their families and hear the talks about motherhood. Some of my friends choose not to attend church that day at all because it is simply too hard.

In that moment I realized that my idea of what Mother’s Day was all about went completely against what a mother is. Mothers are selfless, giving, loving, and understanding. We work what many would call a thankless job, all hours of the day all days of the week. We don’t get paid in money but rather hugs, kisses, and I love you’s.

Mother’s Day is not about making me happy. It’s not about flowers, or treats, or breakfast in bed. It’s all about how I make them happy. It’s a time for my family to say, “we know you love us so much and work hard to take care of us and we want to say thank you.” It is a day of love.

My mother continued by saying, “So you take those two children who are loud and fighting with each other and you hug them and love them and enjoy your day.” That is what Mother’s Day is all about because that is what being a mother is all about. Being happy and loving each other through the good and the not so good.

I used to think that my perfect Mother’s Day gift would be a day to myself. Maybe a trip to the spa or a day trip to a local city all on my own. While moms definitely need a break and time for themselves, I now have a different perfect Mother’s Day.

This year on Mother’s Day, I’m going to tell the dishes they can wait. This year, I’m going to say no to extra responsibilities. This year, I’m going to keep my phone put away. Because this year, I’m going to celebrate Mother’s Day by being a mother. I’m going to put the housework and email and all that on hold and really embrace what I love about being a mother to my beautiful children.

This year on Mother’s Day I’m going to snuggle with them in the morning. This year, I’m going to read their favorite books to them. This year, I’m going to paint nails with my daughter. This year, I’m going to laugh and sing and play with no distractions, no commitments, just my mother heart. This year I’m going to do those things that fill me as a mother and remind myself that while I am still a person and need to take care of myself, my greatest joy comes from nurturing and loving my children. This year is going to be the best Mother’s Day ever.

Monday, May 5, 2014

4 Simple Words

*This post was written last summer. I just stumbled upon it again and after a beautiful weekend at a Power of Moms retreat I thought it would be a great time to post. 

This past summer has been a long one. As a family we have been dealing with some tough stuff and I have not been as attentive or present for my family as I would have liked. As a result, the mommy guilt has been piled on pretty high.

I have been thinking a lot lately about the perfect mom and who she is. How can I be more aware? How can I be the perfect mom I know they deserve? How can I do it all?

There are so many examples of amazing mothers out there, especially in my circle of friends. I thought of the mom who is an amazing baker, another who can turn out a gorgeous quilt in a day, and another who is training for a marathon. I thought of the mom who embodies the word patience, another who creates fun craft projects to do with her children, and another who serves her family seemingly effortlessly.

As I walked to pick up my son from school I thought, “I just wish I could be like these moms, they have it all together.” I was sure that my family was getting less because I wasn’t doing all of those things (and more) and they were only getting my shortcomings and imperfections.

I saw him at the school gate and gave him a big hug. As we walked home in the beautiful sunshine I carried his backpack and asked all about his day. We laughed and held hands but it was a bit overshadowed by this feeling of not being the perfect mom.

After lunch he ran off to play and I sat at the dining room table a few minutes more. A long list of mothering “to do’s” came to my mind. Maybe I should be doing this thing more or that thing more. Things I had seen other moms do, things I’d seen on Pinterest, etc. Surely I should be able to do it all, right? That is what my children are wanting!

My son called out from the living room, “Mom, how do you spell love?” So I spelled it, not really paying attention. A few moments later I felt a small tap on my shoulder. As I turned around I saw my sweet boy holding up a dry erase board. On it he had written in his best handwriting a message, “I Love My Mom.”

Talk about a moment that stops you in your tracks! Here I had been, stressing all morning about how I was lacking as a mother and adding more stress by making a list of all the ways I’m not living up to my idea of the perfect mom. With tears in my eyes I gave him a hug, told him how impressed I was with his writing, and how much I loved it. Then, realizing he could have written a million different things and curious as to what had prompted this sweet message I asked, “Why did you choose to write this?” His response was like a message from Heaven and spoke to the core of who I am as a mother. He said, “Because I want you to be happy.”

In that moment, with his sweet five year old face beaming at me holding his sign proudly, he was sending me a message and I heard it loud and clear. It finally hit me after all these months of feeling “less than” that I have been the perfect mom for them all along! I am far from a perfect person and am continually working on ways to be a better mom. However, my “perfect mom definition” was way off from the truth.

This summer that I thought was filled with imperfections was seen quite differently by them.  They don’t remember the day I stayed in my pj’s as being lazy, but rather as the fun day we stayed home and played together. They don’t look at my dinner of cheese sandwiches and grapes and see “fail!” but rather a dinner of their favorite foods. When we gather together at the end of the day, put our hands in a pile, and say our family cheer, “Families are forever---Jenkins choose the right!”, they don’t see a mom who is exhausted and worn from a long day. They see a mom who puts them first, who prioritizes her schedule so she is home for this tradition. They see a mom who has worked hard for them all day and who is still giving when she feels like there isn’t much left in the tank.

The next time I’m feeling “less than” as a mother I know I don’t have to look to pinterest, or books, or blogs to find my meaning. I simply have to look at my beautiful family and their love for me and realize, I am more than enough.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Showing Our Disney Side

To say we are big Disney fans is an understatement. We love the movies, characters, and of course the shining star of Disney...Disneyland!

My kids recently learned how to make perlers, you know those things you played with as a kid making cute hearts and shapes out of beads and then ironing them? Well I don't know about you, but I always made simple creations with my perler beads. These kids? They make artwork. 

They wanted to show their Disney side so we made two different Disney inspired sets. 

This first one is, you guessed it, the sibling duo themselves Anna and Elsa from Frozen. This is what the Perler's look like when they are arranged on a tray before they are ironed together.

And who couldn't forget the simple yet classic look of Minnie and Mickey Mouse? I love the cute pink and white polka dot bow! There is a dime at the bottom right of the picture as a reference for scale. 

It's such a great activity to do as a family and really encourages children's creativity and helps with fine motor skills. 

Want to make your own perlers? You can find Perler beads at most local craft stores and online. If you want a full tutorial let me know! 


Linking up with Skip to my Lou's Made by you Monday and Funky Polka Dot Giraffe's Too Cute Tuesday

Skip To My Lou

Friday, April 4, 2014

Friday 5: Guest Host

This week I am excited to be hosting Friday 5 with the lovely Emmy Mom, who happens to be my beautiful and talented cousin-in-law! Be sure to head over there as I know you just can't wait to find out how I would spend $100,000.

5 Things

1. We took a trip to our local Lego store this week, much to the excitement of my 5 year old. We also happened to stumble upon the Easter Bunny at the mall which was interesting and scary all at the same time. Animatronic bunny that talks to you and knows your name? Kind of creepy.

2. April Fools day was a lot of fun. The kids snuck into our room very quietly that morning, got right next to our ears, and yelled, "Boo!" loudly. They thought it was funny.

3. We made our routine after school trip to Disneyland. I wasn't sure if we were going to make it this week as we have all been a bit under the weather, but it worked out. We left shortly after a downpour started and it was fun seeing everyone run for ponchos.

4. I was able to attend the General Women's Meeting for my church with my mother, daughter, and sister-in-law on Saturday. It was a beautiful meeting full of music, love, and inspiration. Such a fun time!

5. Hello fry sauce. If you've never been to Utah you might not know about this amazingly versatile and yummy condiment. It's like ketchup but even better and I found a local place that sells it! My fries have never been so happy.

5 Pictures

3 generations going to the General Women's Meeting

Grandma's Cookie Recipe

On the bus to Disneyland


He's a pirate.

Link up and share your Friday 5!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Choose Your Own Adventure

I loved Choose Your Own Adventure books when I was a kid. I loved the excitement of knowing that I could choose any of the options and they would all be a complete storyline. But what if I had looked at those books and tried to turn them into something they’re not? What if I had tried to take every possible outcome and combine them all together to make one story. Truth is, it wouldn’t have worked. Each branch of the story is written with exactly what it needs to fulfill that storyline.

Sometimes I feel like as mothers we try to do just that. We see Athletic Mom and Crafting Mom and Party Mom and Musical Mom (I could go on and on) and try to fit them all into one person: us. There are so many beautifully talented mothers that I know and with Pinterest and blogs it’s easy to think that some moms do have it all. In reality there is no “perfect mom formula.” We are just like the choose your own adventure books I used to love and we have everything we need to create our own motherhood storyline.

I was reading an article recently that talked about this very idea. The author was lamenting that she wasn’t this mom or that mom and felt discouraged. What she finally figured out was that while she wasn’t perfect at crafting or baking she was the perfect mom her children needed.

So what kind of mom are you? Maybe you’re Crafting Mom who makes beautiful quilts for her children. Or, maybe you’re Athletic Mom whose children do Crossfit and Yoga right along with you. Perhaps you’re Baking Mom who makes gorgeous cakes and even gets called on to help friends in their baking endeavors. Maybe you’re a mix of several “moms.”

Can I tell you a secret? I’m not any of those moms. However, there were definitely times in my life where I felt like I had to try and be. Sure I like to bake cookies with my kids, do 5k’s with my daughter, and have tried my hand at simple sewing projects. These are all interests that I have, but I don’t have to be perfect at them.

They say it takes a village to raise a child and in my village there are moms whose talents and abilities amaze me. The beauty of living in a village is that we can be the mom we want to be, not the mom we think we have to be, and the village can help whereever we lack.

When my daughter was six she really got into watching cake decorating shows. She loved baking and I have an oven that ruins anything you put in it, or at least that’s my story. When she begged and begged to decorate cakes I felt discouraged. There weren’t classes available for her age range in our area and I was not equipped to teach her myself. That’s when I thought of my lovely friend who is well known in our village for her amazing baking skills. A quick phone call later and she agreed to teach my daughter. I’m sure I could have looked something up online or read a book on the topic. However, I also realized that it takes a village and that I could utilize the beautiful talents of those around me.

In your Choose Your Own Adventure you get to be whatever mom you want to be. That doesn’t mean that you can’t have multiple interests or learn a new skill. However, it’s nice to take a moment and think about your strengths as well as the strengths of those mothers around you. It took me a bit of thinking to sum up what kind of mom I am. I thought about my strengths and personality. I also thought of when I have the most fun with my family and what moments speak to me and my deeper yes as a mother. The result?

I am fun outing mom.

I love going on outings with my family! Whether it’s a spontaneous picnic at the park or a day at Disneyland, I love it. These are the moments that speak to me as a mother. I love the planning of these outings and trips whether it be to museums, zoos, theme parks, foreign countries, or the neighborhood park. I love the planning I do with the children as we decide what we want to see or do while we are visiting a certain place. I enjoy doing scavenger hunts on our outings and taking pictures of our adventures. One of our favorite outings is a simple nature walk where we wrap a piece of tape around our hand and find rocks, leaves, petals, etc. along the way that makes a unique bracelet.

Of course, being fun outing mom I use a lot of other talents to plan and carry out these adventures. And perhaps as my children and I grow and learn together the kind of “mom” I am will shift and change. But for now, I am happy with being who I am and can appreciate and love myself for it.

Now it’s up to you to choose your own adventure. What motherhood adventure does your story hold? Remember that no one is perfect and that you are equipped with exactly what you need to be the kind of mom you are meant to be. We can’t combine all of the storylines to make one perfect motherhood story. But we can try out different adventures and focus on the ones that speak to us.  

Question: What things have you done today to shape your own motherhood adventure?

Challenge: Make a list of your own talents and abilities that make you the perfect mom for your children. If there areas you want to improve think of the moms in your own village who can help you along your adventure.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Running With Joy

*For Throw Back Thursday I'm re-posting an article I wrote for Power of Moms a couple of years ago. 


My daughter is one of my biggest inspirations. She is six years old and has such a positive outlook on life and an “I can do anything” mindset. There are some things she’s hesitant to try, but for the most part, she has all the confidence in the world.
Ever since I ran my first 5k last year, she has wanted to run one with me. She is young, so I wasn’t sure if she was up to completing it. Then a few months back, I found the perfect beginners race, a 5k color run, and signed us up. We were both so excited!
I told her that if she was going to run with me she needed to train too. Funny thing is, I do not enjoy running at all. I attempt to run here and there, but I definitely have to pump myself up as I’m tying my shoes.
Margaret, on the other hand, thinks running with me is the coolest thing in the world. She gets so excited and asks me every afternoon, “Mom can we go running today? Please!!!” Talk about inspiration! She motivates me every day.
When we went for our very first official “training” run, I wasn’t sure what to expect but I was determined to just have fun with it. It wasn’t my fastest run, and she didn’t run in perfect form, but we had the best time! It was so much fun. We would challenge each other and say, “Okay, let’s run to the brown car,” and then when we’d get to the car one of us would say, “Let’s keep going to the next car!” and we’d keep running for a few more steps.
The day of the race came, and we both had butterflies. I told her that it was our big day, and we were going to focus on having fun. As we took off on the course, we both ran with joy, colors flying everywhere. We walked a good part of it but because of our training she was able to run more than I ever thought she would. We spent the next hour talking, singing, dancing, and being covered head to toe in colored cornstarch and paint.
This special day with my daughter taught me so many things. It taught me to have confidence in myself and to pursue my goals. It taught me to focus on the positive, what I can do instead of what I can’t do. I could have easily looked at the race and focused on how we had to walk so much of it when others were running. Instead, I was able to soak in every moment and really focus on this one-on-one time with her.
While I still may not enjoy running and might wrinkle my nose at the idea of another race, I will say “yes!” every time to having confidence in my abilities, creating moments with my family, and spending the day with my daughter.
QUESTION: Has your child ever asked to do something with you that you thought they were not quite “ready” for?  Is there something your child is interested in that you could do together?
CHALLENGE: Find an activity that your child would like to pursue, and pursue it together. Maybe it’s something you are already interested in, and maybe it’s not.  Besides working on getting better at the activity, focus on the time you spend learning and growing together.

Monday, March 3, 2014

10 Things to Smile About in February

My beautiful cousin-in-law Emmy Mom hosts a monthly meme called 10 Things to Smile About. It all began several years ago when she was having a hard time after a long month to find things to be happy about. I love this idea and do it occasionally on my family blog but thought I'd start here as well. 

10 Things to Smile About in February 

1. Celebrating Miss M's 8th birthday at Disneyland.

2. Gathering with family and friends to celebrate Miss M's choice to be baptized. (For those not members of our church, children in our congregation are baptized when they are 8 years old. You can find out more about baptism here: http://mormon.org/

3. Going to see the musical The Wizard of Oz for date night.

4. Spending a weekend with my awesome sister-in-law

5. Getting to see our dear friends from the Bay Area. Love you guys!

6. Watching my five year old, Mr. N, fight Darth Maul at Jedi Training. 

7. Spending an evening with six 7-8 year old girls for Miss M's birthday party. We only moved here a few months ago and it warmed my heart seeing how these girls have embraced Miss M and become great friends.

8. A trip to the beach. As a girl who grew up near the ocean it was a long overdue trip.

9. Having fun handing out Disney Cast Member Thank You Notes from Power of Moms Disney Guide. Such a great idea!

10. Taking a road trip to Arizona to tour the new Gilbert Temple. Such a great family experience. 

What made you smile this month? 

Saturday, March 1, 2014

What is A Mighty Tower

I attended a social media conference recently put on by my church. As I sat through each class I felt like the speakers, though speaking on different topics, were all saying a similar thing: Find your voice and put it out there.

And so here I am, sharing my voice and putting it out there. I came up with the name "A Mighty Tower" based off of a quote that was read in the conference.

"Our Father in heaven has now provided us mighty towers—radio and television towers with possibilities beyond comprehension—to help fulfill the words of the Lord that “the sound must go forth from this place unto all the world.” - Spencer W. Kimball

Whether you are religious or not we can all agree that technology has come a long ways since 1974 which is when that quote was given. We have so many opportunities to find others who are, as one speaker put it, "our people," meaning people who like similar things and share similar values.

There is a lot of good in the world but there is also a lot of garbage. I like to think of myself as creating a mighty tower within our own home. I am trying to protect and teach my family while sharing my strength/influence to help serve and connect with those around me. 

Let's gather together as friends and as moms to do good in this world. I hope you stick around and share your ideas and thoughts with me as I share with you!