Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Project 365 + Kid Update

I have a ton of pictures to post, so bear with me. Six weeks' worth, in fact. And an update on the kids since I haven't done that in too long.

But first, a caveat. In my last post, I said no one warns you about 3 year olds. I meant that in the proverbial sense; I was warned, and I heeded the warnings.'s one thing to heed a warning, and another to actually experience it. No warning can fully prepare you for the reality of having a 3 year old.

I also had the naive notion that MY perfect angelic child would never do that. Ahahahaha. I know, right? Pretty silly of me. Three year olds are three year olds, after all.

Despite all the insanity and talk-backiness that comes with the 3 year old territory, there are so many fun and amazing things Emma can do and learn.

She's fully potty trained, but for awhile she refused to use the big potty. She only wanted to use her little potty. This all came about on a shopping trip when the big potty at the store had a little sewage water-coming-back-in-the-potty problem. It scared her. And then there are the auto-flush toilets...those things are potty training's worst enemy.

We humored her for awhile. We didn't want her to be afraid of going to the bathroom in a grown-up toilet. But quite frankly, I got sick and tired of cleaning out the little potty every. Single. Time. It gets old - fast.

So in order to transition her from little potty to big potty, I made another chart for the big potty. I basically re-did the original potty chart with a different digiscrap kit. Every time she goes in a big potty, she gets a sticker.

And you know what? It worked. Or rather, is working. I printed it out this weekend and we've had amazing success. She almost always uses the big potty now. Sweet!

Of course, the only time she doesn't is when she has to poop...she insists on the little potty for that. Kind of defeats the purpose since poop is way grosser to clean up than pee, but oh well. At least we're going in the right direction.

Most of the Emma updates are in the form of Emma-isms. I've got a we go:

- "Hyrum take that off too, and he try to eat it, and that's silly."
- "I got Play Doh for my birthday!" - before her birthday...she didn't know we bought some for it.
- "Daddy don't wear pigtails. Emma wears pigtails."
- "I wanna watch it again when it's over."
- Emma: Mommy!
Noah: I'm right here! - over and over again. Funny kids!
- "It's a mess in here, Mommy." - thanks...
- "No I don't wanna talk to Daddy anymore." - we were on the phone with John and she wanted to call Grandma V instead.
- "No I don't want dinner. I want chocolate, Mommy." - haha, nice try
- "Don't eat the potty, Hyrum!"
- Me: Emma, how old are you going to be on your birthday?
Emma: Cake!
- "No he don't want to do homework anymore." - haha, true, but he had to. She wanted Daddy to play with her instead.
- "Look, I made a church. Of Jesus Christ."
- "Mommy, I crack you up. I wanna crack you up again."
- "Lion smells like dogs." - ?
- "Once a far away." - her version of once upon a time. So cute.
- "No that's Daddy's diaper."
- "No you not big, you a big girl."
- "You not a boy" - to Daddy
- "It makes Daddy better."
- "Mommy, what you doing? For my birthday?" - during birthday party preparations
- "I need M&Ms, Daddy" - how she told us she pooped. Funny girl.
- "Nemo's all gone. It means he's dead. He needs his mommy and his daddy and his brother. The boy one is all gone. Next time, we get a girl one. He's with Heavenly Father and Jesus." - when her fish Nemo died
- "My fishy is dead."
- "I flush my fish in the potty, in the big potty."
- "You get a new one, when you get home." - telling John he'll bring a new goldfish home
- Me: Emma, do you want your potty in the living room?
Emma: No, in the kitchen so you can vacuum the living room. - what a great helper!
- "I want to smell poop, in the big potty."
- "She needs to put more clothes on to be modest." - talking about Tinkerbell, haha. We've been teaching her about modesty.
- Me: I'm sick of cleaning up this mess.
Emma: No you not sick, you feeling better.
- "Sponge Bob is gross. But Noah likes Sponge Bob." - heehee, I hate Sponge Bob.
- Emma (when Daddy wouldn't let her have her way): I want Moooommy!
Me: Emma, Mommy's going to say the same thing as Daddy because we're united.
Emma: No don't be united!
- Emma: Do you eat poop?
John: No.
Emma: Yeah, you do!
- "Mommy and Emma are 2 girls and Daddy and Hyrum are 2 boys."
- "I turn the warm air on." - when the furnace turned on
- "Uh oh, someone needs help with their car. Jesus needs help with their car." - after hearing a siren
- Emma: No I don't want to be happy!
Me: Then you can be grumpy in time out.
Emma: No I don't want to be grumpy in time out!
- "Emma was born in a temple."
- "They built a boat, just like Nephi. Nephi built a boat. And the Lamanites were naked."
- "Pee starts with P, and poop starts with P."
- "Is it ok I sit here?" - she asks this a lot these days, especially when she wants to sit at my desk
- "I have a big back pack." - she put the straps of a mesh laundry basket on her shoulders and wore it like a back pack
- "I have long hair, like Tangled."
- John: Do you want to see Tangled?
Emma: Yeah. Maybe when it's in the cheap theater."
- "I'm done with my potty." - while still going...uh, no.
- "E-m-a spells Emma. No, E-m-M-a spells Emma. I have 2 Ms in my name." - yep, she can spell her name!
- Emma: What is that?
Me: They're gingerbread cookies. Maybe we can eat them after dinner.
Emma: I wanna eat dinner now.

Aside from that, she loves to draw, sing, play with Play Doh, and play with her dollhouse.

As for Hyrum, he's learning (and getting into) so many new things. He just learned how to climb on the couch! Eeep! Scary! He crawls and cruises all over the place, and climbs on whatever he can. He hasn't shown any interest in standing alone or walking. He stood unsupported for about half a second once, but that's about it. I think he'll be a little later on the walking front than his big sister. She stood alone and took steps at this age.

Hyrum's favorite pastimes include: pulling books and DVDs off the shelf about 20 million times a day, opening cabinets and playing with whatever he finds there (mixing bowls and pots and pans, mostly), playing with toys, playing with Emma, and eating any kind of food. It's impossible to eat anything around Hyrum without him begging.

We're trying to teach him to ask for food nicely instead of just fussing/whining for it. I know, he can't say it in words yet. We're trying to teach him the signs for please, more, and food/eat. He's not showing much interest in picking them up. When he whines for more food, we tell him to ask nicely and wait until he stops fussing before we give it to him.

Hyrum is working on tooth number 4. It's sooooo close to being in. I really hope it pops through soon. I am at my max for fussy teething tolerance. Ugh, and to think he'll have 16 more baby teeth after this...and Emma is still working on her last molar. Thankfully, he started the teething process earlier than she did. She got her first 2 teeth at 11.5 months; Hyrum is almost 11.5 months now. He got his first 2 at 8 months.

Hyrum is such an expressive little boy! He makes some of the funniest faces. I love the flinch and nose wrinkle he does when the camera flash goes off. So funny. He's a very happy, sweet boy.

But when he's grumpy, oh, is he ever grumpy. And teething makes him grumpy, especially when he's tired. He has a harder time falling asleep while teething. That's been rough. Oh I hope this tooth comes in soon!

We are so blessed to have such sweet, adorable, and intelligent children. They are both SO smart! They never cease to amaze me. Of course there are challenges; that comes with the territory. But the blessings far outweigh the difficulties.

You probably want to see just how cute they are, huh? I'm sure you do...if you've read this much, anyway. Well I promise I won't disappoint. We've got 6 weeks' worth of daily photos to share. Here we go!

November 3
November 3
We did some rearranging of the kids' room. Emma's bed now goes the other way in the same corner. The toy corner is more easily accessible this way.

November 4
November 4
Emma goofing off on our bed.

November 5
November 5
We babysat Noah and Anna. The kids all had a blast with the toy food. Emma and Noah cooked, Hyrum and Anna ate. Anna already has a love for chocolate. Smart girl :)

November 6
November 6
Aw ♥

November 7
November 7
Hyrum playing with a balloon.

November 8
November 8
Fingerpaints! She loves making hand prints...but then she paints over them.

November 9
November 9
Making a snow angel!

November 10
November 10
Heehee, Hyrum wanted to play with Emma's dollhouse while I worked on it. I let him play with the daddy.

November 11
November 11
Messy boy! He fed himself fruit and cereal. A necessary bath followed.

November 12
November 12
Emma's potty charts. The pee section is completely filled out.

November 13
November 13
The kids and I walked to a stake primary activity. This was on our route. I love the snow, the almost-falling leaves, and the berries together here.

November 14
November 14
Emma gave her first talk in church! She did great. Of course, I helped her, but she repeated most of what I said. The funniest part was when she pointed to the microphone mid-way through and asked, "what IS that?"

November 15
November 15
Racecar toyboxes! Very fun FHE activity. The kids loved it!

November 16
November 16
Preparations for Emma's birthday party. Goody bags, crown, homemade pinata, and pin the wings on the fairy.

November 17
November 17
Wrapped presents, all but one of which were for her actual birthday. But they made cute party decor.

November 18
November 18
Party day! Getting ready for the party. She was SO excited! The party turned out great :)

November 19
November 19
Hand turkeys with what we're thankful for. Emma wanted to do both hands. I love that she said chicken, macaroni and cheese, movies, and baby dolls. Funny kid.

November 20
November 20
Hyrum eating puffs. Such a cute little boy.

November 21
November 21
This is how I found Hyrum sleeping in his crib. What's with my kids moving all over and never keeping a blanket on when they sleep?

November 22
November 22
Playing with baby dolls. I love her expression.

November 23
November 23
Learning to ride a bike at Walmart. Someday we'll get one for her...

November 24
November 24
She climbed on John's back while he did push ups. Talk about a workout!

November 25
November 25
Hyrum's first Thanksgiving! And oh, did he love the food.

November 26
November 26
Emma's dollhouse, complete and ready for wrapping...

November 27
November 27
The birthday girl! She was SO proud of her cake decorating. I don't even want to know how many sprinkles were on that thing.

November 28
November 28
Trying to get a good picture after church while she still had on her pretty dress...she wasn't very cooperative.

November 29
November 29
Christmas tree!

November 30
November 30
How to keep the baby out of the Christmas tree.

December 1
December 1
Eating the toy knife...

December 2
December 2
Straws go in my nose, right?

December 3
December 3
We switched desks. We moved my computer to the living room and John's to the bedroom. This way, he can do homework quietly in our room and I can be on the computer during the day while the kids play. Why didn't we do this sooner?!

December 4
December 4
Got milk? Hyrum "helping" us put groceries away.

December 5
December 5
Happy birthday, John! My boys dressed up in their Sunday best :)

December 6
December 6
We went to see Santa up on campus. Emma loved it! She told him she wanted a baby doll and a computer. That's my girl! You can't see in this pic, but her shirt says, "who needs Santa when I have Grandma?"

December 7
December 7
Our little fashionista, modeling a tutu/skirt from Grandma and my black fuzzy scarf.

December 8
December 8
Christmas party! Emma and her friend rode the sheep...

December 9
December 9
Caught red handed! One of many obsessions. He kept pulling out my mixing bowls. He even tried to put a lid on them!

December 10
December 10
Lovin' that dollhouse.

December 11
December 11
Pancakes for breakfast! He often makes this face when the flash goes off.

December 12
December 12
We had our ward Christmas program this day. I had a blast putting it together! Aren't they cute in their Christmas outfits?

December 13
December 13
We decorated gingerbread houses this day, but this picture of Hyrum with the sword was just too cute NOT to use as the pic of the day. Gingerbread house pics coming later.

December 14
December 14
Emma and I made this Christmas tree out of construction paper. She's showing it to Hyrum. They love it! Please ignore Emma's messy slept-on pigtails.

December 15
December 15
Uh oh, look what Hyrum can do! He climbed up on the couch, then climbed up the arm to reach the counter! Gotta keep an even closer eye on him now. Eeep!

And now we're all caught up! 2010 will soon draw to a close. I'm thrilled to say I've taken (at least) one picture every single day. I totally plan to keep doing Project 365 every year. It's been so much fun! My photography skills have definitely increased. I still would love to have a fancy expensive camera, but that's just not going to be an option until after John finishes school, gets a good job, we buy a house, etc. But someday, it will happen. For now, I'll have to content myself with my point-and-shoot Canon and work on my Photoshop editing skills.

Anyone want to join me with Project 365 next year? I'm so doing it again!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Two Vs Three

Everyone always warns you about the terrible twos, even before you become a parent. They say that it's so hard, how much your patience will be tested.

They must never have had a three year old. Oh. My. Goodness. So much harder. The talking back, the tantrums, the attitude...everything is magnified.

No one ever warns you about the treacherous threes.

By three, most kids can talk. Really well. And that means they can talk back.

And they're better at imitating everything...the good and the bad.

So to those who say the twos are the are soooo dead wrong. Maybe your two year olds were so challenging that once the insanity of the threes hit, you got post traumatic stress and blocked it all out?

Because threes are so much more challenging.

Granted, some kids are c-r-a-z-y at two. I can think of several who are/were at that age.

But for us? Twos were a breeze. Soooo incredibly easy.

At least in comparison. Of course we had our share of meltdowns and tantrums. But overall, the twos were a wonderful and joyful time.

But the threes...oh, the threes.

Our three year old no longer naps. She sometimes throws a huge fit over the most inconsequential things. Like wanting to climb into her car seat by herself, or wanting to look at a specific toy in the store. Or insisting that she doesn't want to wear the pants she previously said she wanted to wear - after she's already in them, of course. And she is very vocal about telling us what she's upset about. So over-dramatic.

And she talks back. When we're trying to discipline her. Of course, she gets time outs for inappropriate behavior. But my goodness, the fits she throws about going into time out. "No I don't want a time out!!!!" - repeatedly screamed at the top of her lungs.

Heh. Of course she doesn't want a time out. It wouldn't be much of a punishment if she wanted it!

She used to be sooo amazingly good about going to time out. She would even put herself in time out. Seriously, how awesome is that?

But now? I literally have to carry her, kicking and screaming, to her room and close the door and put up the baby gate.

She opens the door. And tries to climb over the gate. Or knocks it down. Mostly, she just stands at the gate, crying and screaming to get out.

Nope, not gonna happen. We don't let her out until she calms down and we can talk about it.

Seriously, there are days I want to pull all my hair out. Or spank my child; something I really don't feel comfortable with, mostly because I don't trust myself not to spank in anger. And if I were to spank, it would be in anger. So I set up a no spanking line for myself that I never want to cross.

My patience has been tested so much since she turned three - and it hasn't even been two weeks! Albeit, behaviorally speaking, the "threes" started a couple of months ago.

The last couple of days have been super challenging with tantrums. However, I'm sure we're partially to blame for that. We've gone somewhere for the last 5 consecutive days; and the last 3 have pushed back bedtime. As such, she's been overtired.

And she's slowly working on that very last molar. Yes, she still doesn't have all of her baby teeth. Just one left, and it's partially in now.

Naturally, the baby is working on tooth #4 at the same time. I swear they coordinate their teething schedules.

However, despite all those caveats, threes are still much more challenging.

I wonder how much gender plays a roll in it. My only extensive experiences with a two or three year old are with Emma. Most of the crazy two year olds I've known were boys. We've had virtually no destruction from her - at least nothing major. But girls tend to be more dramatic in general. It'll be interesting to see how my son is at two and three.

Of course, every child is a unique individual. Some kids are crazy at two...and some aren't. Do the crazy two year olds settle into easy three year olds? Or do they just get crazier? I don't know, but I think it really depends on the individual child.

That said, there are some definitely wonderful things about having a three year old:

1. No More Diapers. Hallelujah. Soooo wonderful. There is the occasional accident, but it's pretty rare. It's most likely to occur when she's busy playing with friends.

2. The creativity. Extensive pretend play, artwork, cute and entertaining. Emma is a very talented artist...for a three year old, anyway.

3. The knowledge and understanding. Wow, so amazing. To think about how much a child this age can's astounding. Numbers, letters, songs, memorization, remembering past events and being able to describe them in full detail...seriously awesome.

4. The application of knowledge. I love that she is more able to understand - and remember principles of - the gospel now. I love hearing her say, "Tinkbell needs to be more modest" or "they built a boat, just like Nephi. Nephi built a boat, and the Lamanites were naked." (The naked part was from John reading the war chapters aloud, where the Lamanites were naked except for a loin cloth.) It's truly amazing how much she picks up.

When she calms down after a time out, we talk about what happened and such. Then later, she tells us what happened, that she fussed, and why what she did wasn't ok. So I know she gets it. It's just that the consistency is lacking...but she's three.

Then again, I'm 29 and I'm not always consistent, either.

Speaking of, I'd better get to bed so I can be a good mommy tomorrow. A sleep deprived mommy is a grumpy mommy...which inevitably rubs off on any three year old.

Especially one as aware as mine.

So, goodnight all. Or rather, good morning.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Introspection: Change

When I graduated from college in 2005, I never ever ever thought I'd come back here. I certainly never expected to live here again.

Then, of course, I met my amazing husband...who went to school here. We got married, lived in my parents' basement for 8 months, and then moved back to my college stomping grounds.

At the time, I thought he had 2, maybe 3, years left. Ooooh boy was I wrong. We've been here 3 years and still have another year and a half to go. And then comes grad school. He takes 12 credits at a time; we don't think our family could handle more than that. He's in school, works part time, and we have 2 kids. Not to mention church responsibilities.

I didn't really want to move back here.

For one, winter is way too cold. I grew up in a nice, temperate climate where snow is rare. Here, it snows 5 months a year. I'm not even exaggerating.

While in school, my only modes of transportation were bike and my own 2 feet. Walking to the grocery store in the snow isn't exactly on my fun list.

And I didn't exactly have the best roommate experiences. Ahahahahaha, boy is that an understatement. There's a reason I don't keep in contact with most of my past roommates. And it's not laziness...

But now, I have a car and the best roommates possible. No more walking to the store in the snow. The kids and I walk to the store in the summer, but that's because we want to.

Of course, there are stresses to family life, too, but it's infinitely better. It helps that I love my family.

And I don't have write my name on my food and wonder if my roommates will respect me enough to not eat it anyway. I can fill the fridge and cabinets with food I want. I don't have to share my space with anyone who doesn't like me.

Winter here is still way too cold. Nothing will change that. Not even the supposed "global warming." But at least now I don't have to go out in the snow everyday. I can stay in my PJs all day. It's 3 PM and I'm still in them.

My attitude about this place has changed. I don't think I'll ever enjoy how cold it gets, but I do enjoy living here.

I used to scoff at the sign near the freeway that says, "America's Family Community." After all, it's a college town.

But there are a ton of fun activities for families. Lots of parks, community events, college events, etc. It really is a great community, especially for families.

We've had a wonderful summer and fall. We did so many fun things. We went on walks, went to fairs, walked to the library and the park, and more.

I still don't want to live here forever. I don't want to spend more winters here. I'm already on my 8th winter and we'll be here next winter as well. Winter barely started and I'm already sick of it.

But overall, this is a great place to live - at least temporarily.

I never thought I'd say this, but...I'll be sad when we do leave someday. It won't happen for a long time, but I know I'll be sad when it does. At least to some degree. I'll be more excited than sad. I'll be excited to move on with our lives, for John to go to grad school, to be one step closer to him landing a good job and buying our first home.

We've had so many friends come and go since we moved here. Our ward has literally completely changed since we moved in. There are only 2 other families in our ward who were here when we moved in - and one of them is moving soon, and the other moved away for a year and came back.

We've only been here for 3 years.

It seems that as soon as we make friends and get to know them, they move away.
I long to have nearby friends who don't move. To be friends with the same families for 5+ years. I'd love to be in a less transitional time of life.

We don't really have many friends here. Well, we have a lot of "see at church" friends, but no "hang out all the time" friends. We don't really hang out with anyone who isn't related to us.

I suppose that's our own fault. We don't invite people over very often, so people don't invite US. We try, but something always comes up. Last time, our kids got sick, as did the family we invited over.

I think people get intimidated by the fact that we have kids. We're in a married student ward, chock-full of newly weds. The oldest child in our Emma. And she JUST turned 3. Thankfully, there's another little boy who turned 3 a few days later, so she won't be the only sunbeam next year.

Most people we know don't have kids. Or if they do, they only have one, and that one is usually a baby. There are a few with kids semi-close to Emma's age, but not many. And the age gap is over 6 months, except for the little boy who's a few days younger.

I think people assume that because we have kids that it's "too hard" for us to do things. Ha! SO not true. We love to socialize. We do all sorts of things. I run errands with both kids by myself all the time. While I do prefer to have John come along, I can totally manage it by myself.

It's either that or people just don't like us. And I'd like to think it's not that. Not that their approval really means much; as long as I'm doing what I should be, it doesn't matter what other people think.

But I still want people to like me.

I still want that approval, even though I know it really doesn't matter.

Funny how that doesn't change, when so many other things do.

Happy Birthday, John!

Yesterday was John's birthday. He is officially old...haha, or rather, as old as me. I'm 3.5 months older than him. Now we're the same age again, number-wise.

He had an awesome birthday. We went to church, which of course was wonderful. The Relief Society lesson was exactly what I needed.

After church (and choir), we prepped for his party. John had to stay after for awhile (he's the financial clerk), which gave me a chance to wrap his presents.

We did some last-minute cleaning. I spent most of the week cleaning it seems. But with 2 small children, it doesn't stay clean for long. The living room is littered with toys again already. But we DID have 2 additional children over for the party.

Saturday night, we picked up 3 Papa Murphy's pizzas and a cake for the party. We started baking about 45 minutes before it started.

Victoria and Adam came, as did Nathan and Jessica with their cute kids Noah and Anna. It was a really fun family party. We ate pizza while watching the Christmas devotional.

Then John got to open his presents. My parents got him some clothes and a book, the kids and I got him a DVD, and Nathan and Jessica got him a book and some homemade cookie mix.

LOL, after John opened his presents, Jessica asked Victoria what she got John. Victoria said, "our presence is a present." Haha.

Speaking of, Victoria and Adam got engaged over Thanksgiving break. Woohoo!! So exciting! They're getting married in April. Yay, a family wedding this spring! Every time we mention Adam to Emma, she says, "he's gonna be my uncle, and they're going to get married." So cute.

While we ate cake and ice cream, we pulled out the Nintendo 64 and played Mario Kart. So fun!

After everyone went home and we got the kids in bed, John and I watched a movie. We relaxed and just enjoyed each others' company. All in all, he had a great birthday.

John truly is the best husband, father, and friend I could ever ask for - and more. Happy birthday, sweetheart!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

By Small and Simple Things - The Allegory of the Vacuum

It's amazing how sometimes the smallest, simplest things can make the biggest difference. A new haircut, a good night's sleep, an hour of time alone, a nutritious meal, a date night.

Or how a new baby can completely change the entire dynamic of a family in one instant, whether it's baby number one or baby number ten.

Take my vacuum, for example.

I know, I know, it sounds totally weird and it's a choppy transition, but, hear me out. It's an allegory from a stay at home mom. There really is a point here.

For a long time, our vacuum didn't really work very well. Ok, at all. It turned on, made all the motions, but never actually picked anything up. As a vacuum repair novice, I had no clue what to do. I cleaned all the filters, tried different settings, but nothing made a difference.

It turned out to be a broken belt. A vacuum won't vacuum without the belt. And it's a super easy fix. I thought it would be really stressful, since my only prior experience with vacuum belt replacement was watching my mom get stressed out, with the vacuum in shambles all over the floor.

However, even after everything was fixed and it worked again, it didn't quite pick up everything. It did a much better job than before, definitely, but it wasn't as thorough as I'd hoped.

Finally, I thought, "hm, maybe I need to change the floor setting to high carpet." So I tried it...

Oh. My. Gosh. It made a world of difference! It really CLEANS now! Not that my carpet stays clean for longer than 2 minutes...but still. It works! I'd tried that setting before, but that was when it had a broken belt.

Who knew that such a small, tiny change of setting could make such a huge difference?

And I honestly feel kind of dumb for not trying it sooner.

The same principle applies to me. The things I do or don't do can make the biggest difference in my day.

I recently found that when I read the scriptures at night, the next day goes SO much smoother than when I don't. I'm more patient, more tolerant, more understanding. I'm less likely to get frustrated, stressed out, and grumpy. I can get a lot more done in less time. I'm a much better wife and mother when I do.

I used to be skeptical when I heard people say that they could totally tell a difference between days they read and days they didn't. I didn't think it could possibly make THAT big of a difference. I know better now.

It can literally determine if I have a good day or a bad day.

I've even thought, "ok, tomorrow I have a ton to do, so I'm going to read my scriptures tonight so I'll have a good day and be able to do it all."

You'd think I'd be smart enough to want every day to be a good day, and therefore, read every single day.

Of course I want every day to be a good day. My brain finally kicked in and realized what it takes to make that happen.

And I've been reading. I'm not perfect at it; sometimes I miss a day, or sometimes I kind of gloss over the reading. But I've definitely gotten better at it.

And you know what? It really makes a difference. Such a small, simple thing. It really doesn't take that much effort. But it makes all the difference in the world.

The more often I read, the more effort I need to put into it to see the changes in my life. Reading each day doesn't magically make my day perfect. It takes work from me. Reading scriptures each day is just a part of the work required. And even so, something will always come up to test me. If it's not a teething baby or a 3 year old's attitude, it's something else. There will always be something.

I wouldn't grow if I wasn't tested. The better I become, the more I am tested. I need to constantly re-align myself.

Just like how my belt-less vacuum wasn't very effective until it got the repairs it needed and the settings changed, I am not as effective when I don't align myself where I need to be. Like my vacuum, my filters need constant cleaning to work properly.

Then, and only then, can I get closer to being who I want to be.

But I definitely need a lot of help along the way. Reading the scriptures each day is a huge part of that help.

It's such a simple thing, but it makes such a huge difference. Truly, "by small and simple things are great things come to pass."