SLIDER

And the winner is...Caroline

Monday, May 19, 2014

Last weekend, the four of us got to hang out at our stake's track meet.  We had a great time all together (in the ward's color red because you know we show our spirit) - first joining in at the beginning of the 5k and then cheering on the finishers from the sidelines:
Not our girls' most favorite staging for a picture

And then THE MAIN EVENT for us happened.  Each age group got to do a 100 yard dash.  When the announcer called out the 7 & 8 year olds, I was just coming back from getting Ivy fresh water at concessions.  I heard the announcement and thought it's too bad Caroline can't participate.  But as I got closer to the track, who do I see but B wheeling Caroline onto the track?!?  He was going to run her in the race!

The rest is commonly known as history --


Lining up to start - the other kids were curious and weren't too worried about Caroline until they saw the gleam of ambition in her dad's eye - and her wheels.

And they're off!  I asked B afterwards if he had any thoughts about letting the other kids win.

He did not.


He wanted Caroline to win.

Running w/Caroline against 7 year olds was harder than he thought it would be.  It was a bit touch and go at the end...

But, she crossed the finish line first!!


The victor

Proud mom with her gold medal girl
We will always remember that race, and I will always remember and love the moment when Caroline's daddy only saw and acted on her possibilities.  I'm so proud of my girl and her exceptional dad.

Lest you think Ivy was equally engaged in such a tender moment...she was not...she had a whole track with bleachers to explore of course.  I played entourage most of the time, but B got his turn too --


She was tired of us not letting her go under the bleachers, in the street, or on top of the concession tables.  Such a cute wiggle worm! 


Bryce got in one last sprint before we packed up for home.  He didn't quite win but he's still got that running form and he didn't even train --


It was a lot of work for us to get both girls to the track and keep them safe and comfortable while there.  But we made such amazing memories - so glad we got out of our usual routine!

Easter in Vegas

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Happy May everyone!  Lately, I've had writer's block with my words and Ivy block (she's a great sleeper at night but her naps are hit or miss) with my time, so I haven't gotten to write as much as I'd like to.  

Well, Ivy's taking a long nap this afternoon, I'm home waiting for a furniture delivery (new sectional!), so it's carpe diem time.  I've been wanting to share the fun we had for Easter this year.  Enjoy!

Ivy waiting patiently for the relatives to arrive - she likes to watch comings and goings at this little nook.

Cousin Ollie made it!!!  He and his parents traveled a long way to be here and he's still all smiles.  Adorable. (And look at the strong resemblance btwn him and Caro!)
Gma and Gpa S came to visit and they brought presents - #yes
While Bryce was at work and Caroline was at school Friday, we all hit the Strip.  I think you'll agree Ivy's first visit to Bellagio's flowers was successful --

(photo by my brother Jack)

"I rather like my hair in a high pony"
We of course ate very well this weekend, and while arriving at Archi's Thai for a delicious-as-usual lunch, GrGma couldn't resist a few cuddles with her littlest bug.  

I love this pair! 

That night, Jack, Mel, Ollie, Bryce and I made the trek to the Strip again because what better way to celebrate Easter than to hang out with masses of inebriated tourists?  

We actually had so much fun - got to see the High Roller for the first time, grab some Serendipity frozen hot chocolate and watch the Bellagio fountains.

Also that night, the grand kids got dressed up in their bunny jammies and ears from Grandma.  Warning - this following is "Too Cute":

(photo by my brother Jack)
After church Easter Sunday, we did a tiny Easter egg and basket hunt - lots of laughs and smiles all around -
 
Closed eyes but still it shows she's very curious about her basket

Finding eggs

Smiley Caroline loves this little person from the Easter bunny - a fellow redhead!

 
#becauseofHim Bryce and I get to be with these two beauties forever and one day Caroline will have a healthy body and mind and get to express as much of her personality as Ivy does :).

Organization for Moms - Review and GIVEAWAY

Monday, March 10, 2014

I love to be organized, but you know what I love more than that?  GETTING organized : ).
Filing, tossing, sorting and streamlining - it's just my bag.

A few years back when I was a new business owner, I got overwhelmed with all of the tasks on the docket.  Handling office set-up, hiring, relationship building, etc is stressful!  To help me cope, I got into David Allen’s Getting Things Done and loved it.  It helped me take that love for organization and turn it into something that could help my business and keep me afloat professionally and personally.

When I backed off from ownership of that business to consult from home and be a professional mother of two, it was a little difficult to translate those skills.  Days would  fly by in a blur of smiles, diapers and "Don't touch that"s. Some days I knew I'd done SO much but my actual to-do list didn't get touched.  I started to realize that it was going to take more than a to-do list to manage my tasks.  Especially because babies and toddlers don't always allow you to keep your personal and professional priorities at the front of your mind.  Now that's as it should be of course - babies are only babies once - but not wanting to forget or lose track of other priorities and not wanting to let the stress of undone tasks seep into moments with my girls, I revisited getting truly organized.
Men: If you ever wanna know what a woman's mind feels like, imagine a browser with 2,857 tabs open. All.the.time. | someecards | #funny
I started looking for other parents who'd found organization solutions while in the unique environment of being in the thick of raising a family.  After some searching, I found a mom who had taken the genius that is Getting Things Done and created a step-by-step guide for parents! It's called Mind Organization for Moms.

The ladies at Power of Moms (a site that incidentally several great resources including some life-saving articles on parenting stubborn 11-month olds who won't nap - not that I would know a THING about that ;/) have laid out every step of your organization system that really works for busy moms (and dads).  This simple but effective plan allows you to manage all projects on your plate - no really, ALL of them: kids birthday parties, work marketing plans, finishing baby books, or creating lesson plans for church.

It also helps you get your routines down pat.  Don't you finally want to be able to plan your meals and grocery shop regularly, have a budget that you run and doesn't run you, or and/or do laundry on your terms ?  M.O.M will help.

It even helps you get a handle on those nebulous tasks/goals that hang out in the back of your mind ("What school should my child attend next year?  Am I where I want to be with my career? When can I finally write that book? How can I improve my marriage?")

Setting this great system up does take a few days (it took me much longer because I've had an especially illness-prone Caroline this winter) and it also takes some concentration on the steps, but once you're done - you have a way to track all that's going on in your mind.  Because I have all my tasks/goals/routines on paper, I don't get so stressed when the day doesn't go as planned.  I can be IN THE MOMENT with my girls and my husband because I know that all deadlines are calendared and I'm choosing to put my true first priorities first. 

The M.O.M. Program is now available for $75 and includes the following:
An Instant Download of the Mind Organization for Moms eBook–available in a short form (printable version) and a long form (full of photos, case studies, and all the details you’ll need to get your organizational system set up).
  • An Expandable, Online Version of the eBook, which combines the short and long versions with a slick open/close feature for each section–allowing you to tailor your online reading experience with plenty of additional examples and visual aids.
  • A Professionally-Recorded Video Tutorial that will walk you through the whole program and show you how it works.
  • Access to a Full Library of Ever-increasing Exclusive Resources like a video tour of April's paper planner, a photo tutorial to help you set up your project cubbies, video instructions for implementing this program digitally, processing videos to help you empty your inbox, quick podcasts to walk you through your Weekly Review, and a special Excel spreadsheet that you can customize to get your cleaning routines in place.
  • A Regular Coaching Email from our M.O.M. Team that will provide you with additional videos, audio downloads, photos, and examples from other moms who have successfully implemented this program.
  • An Additional Coaching Series Called M.O.M. in Two Weeks which will provide step-by-step instructions, delivered through a series of emails linking to powerful podcasts, videos, and PDF downloads that will help you implement this life-changing program in just two weeks! 

This program is fabulous.  It's a fun way to get organized (which I love) and stay organized (also good).   I've gained more control over all of life's details so I can focus on the big picture.  

And guess what?  It's your lucky day.  We're giving one full membership to Mind Organization for Moms away for the first Love from Las Vegas giveaway!  If you win, you'll get all of the information on this amazing program - worth $75 - FREE.

It's a breeze to enter and you can rack up a ton of entries to get more chances to win. Here's what you do**:

1) Leave a comment saying why you want to get more organized (1 entry)


and/or if you're already an Instagram follower...

3) Share the post of the image I'm posting today on Instagram and tag @lovefromlv
(4 entries!)



6) Register on Power of Moms
Their site gives you tons of free articles and ebooks.
(5 entries!!) 

7) Follow @PowerofMoms on Twitter (2 entries) 

8) Follow Love from LV on BLOGLOVIN (2 entries)

** Each time you enter, make sure to comment here letting me know you entered. For example, once you like "Love" on Facebook, leave a comment here telling me you did.  You can leave one comment listing all of your entries.  Make sure your comment has your email address so I can contact you if you win (or email it to me privately at erika@lovefromlv.com).

Winner will be drawn March 24, 2014.

Hooray! Can’t wait to get this to one of you. Tell your friends and finally get organized.

The Magic of Potential

Thursday, February 20, 2014

My brother and I grew up on movie musicals (he'll own it too!).  We watched other shows too of course, but we loved Oklahoma, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Singing in the Rain, Annie, My Fair Lady, and The Music Man.  (I always thought we watched them because my mom really liked them, but, a few years ago when I told my mom how nice it was that we got our love of the classic musicals from her, she said she actually wasn't much of a fan but she discovered that they kept us entertained so she kept renting them.  Whatever it takes to keep your kids happy, even if you have to listen to "It's a Hard Knock Life" over and over again :).

I think this love of musicals even helped me have an 'in' with Bryce's family.  Once when we were dating or engaged, The Music Man came up around the table and I recited most of the words to the "Trouble" song  - "with a capital 'T' that rhymes with 'P' that stands for 'Pool'.  Either their smiles showed that it was pleasant surprise to hear me sing/say one of their favorite musical songs or they thought I was a crazy person...or a little of both.


If you're not familiar with the movie, a bored, unhappy small town puts their faith in a likeable swindler-turned-fake band leader who promises he can teach their boys to play with the added benefit of keeping them out of mischief.  His conman ways are exposed and he's arrested.  In a last ditch effort to save his skin, he conducts the boys in a song and they actually play it - not well at all but they play it.  The town forgives him for being a fake, and the band - which has magically multiplied and been decked out with amazing uniforms and primo instruments - triumphantly leads the whole town, now united and happy, in a fantastic parade.  "Seventy-six trombones led the big parade with a hundred and ten cornets close at hand..."

Until just a few months ago, I'm embarrassed to say that I'd taken that part literally.  All of the sudden the band is transformed into a huge marching band that can play amazing music.  What's implausible about that?  I guess I hadn't really thought about it.

But recently Bryce was telling me about something (maybe a church lesson or a work story?  can't remember) and he compared it to the ending of the movie, saying that it's like the MM where you see someone's potential rather than what they are right now and that's what you focus on.  What they're doing in the moment is magical to you because you love them, you're thrilled for them and you see what they're becoming.

Uh, yeah, Bryce - that's exactly what I got out of that movie too : ).

Immediately, my mind went to Caroline.  Most people see her and I imagine they see what their mind lets them see.  Some ignore her.  Some are afraid of her because they don't understand her medical issues or because she's not like everyone else.  Some just feel pity for her and think she probably should've been 'taken care of' before birth because her body's not perfect (it's a harsh thing to even mention but it's the view of many in our society).

Finally there's family, friends, teachers and nurses who know she's a sweet, wonderful girl who has an indescribably strong spirit.  We're catching a glimpse of her eternal potential - whether or not folks are religious, when they see her personality and her soul, they see her for who she can be - because we are all eternal beings having a mortal experience.

I can't express how hard it is sometimes to have a child who has this body and mind.  It's not easy.  When I remember how brief things are here and how we all have hard things to deal with and all will be made right because of Jesus Christ though, I feel peace. 

Just like that brass band, Caroline's my sweet little girl who every once in awhile is transformed before my eyes into a beautiful, strong healthy person - someone who will hug me back one day and tell me all about her thoughts and feelings.  She's amazing and I know I don't even understand how whole and perfect she'll be.  I can't wait to see it.






Happy Thursday

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Hope you've had a throw-your-head-back-laughing kind of day!*

Ivy loves swinging fast and high. Laughing so much. #tbt

*I haven't been sleeping very well lately and was a zombie today.  Most of the late afternoon I felt like I was walking through a fog of sleepiness.  But I did get Ivy to do lots of belly laughs today and did the laundry, so overall it was a big smiles, big yawns, small whines to Bryce around dinner time (; /), and throwing-my-head-back-laughing-that-I-get-to-go-to bed-soon kind of day. 

My jazz hands are better than my singing

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Have you ever sung in a choir?  Despite my hesitancy to own this, I've always seemed to find myself in some kind of choral group.   Mainly through school and church.  What can I say?  I've just gotta sing ;).

Middle School Singers: Something tells me the boys next to me didn't want to be there... also, I remember thinking these shirts were really cool

Sunday, I practiced with a church choir that's going to be performing at stake conference (a semi-annual meeting where several different congregations meet at once and hear uplifting words and music).  I could tell the altos by me really knew their business.  They understood music, sang on pitch, got timing, and allowed the choir director to lead and correct them.  Their skill made it fun to sing

There's something about singing as a group that's powerful - especially when you sing about something you care about.  The sound itself is great, but singing like this teaches me other lessons too.

For instance, a song we're singing is pretty familiar to everyone in the choir, but the changes in the arrangement makes it slightly new.  Some notes go up when you expect them to go down and vice versa.  At first I'd pay attention and sing the right note, but if I let my mind wander or get distracted, I went back to the way I'm used to singing the song.  You could tell other people were doing the same thing, and it would make the sound clash.  So the choir director had to point out the differences to us a few times.  Some latecomers who didn't get the changes pointed out to them would sing the wrong notes, probably believing they were right, even though they can read music and realized their mistake after singing.  They just sang out of habit.

Other times, we hit the right notes, but the diction would be off.  Apparently, if you say your 'A's or 'O's a certain way, your choir sounds a bit too Duck Dynasty.

You get the idea.  When we're off even slightly, no matter if we think we're right or we aren't paying attention or whatever, change needs to be made by us as individuals so the group can be at its best.



I'm continually trying to be of one mind and heart with Bryce and with the rest of my family and friends.  When I've been whole as a person, unified with Bryce, and on the same page with my friends and family, that's when the best things happen.

I get to that place by changing for the better, in other words repenting. The Bible Dictionary starts its definition of repentance like this:


The Greek word of which (repentance) is the translation denotes a change of mind and a fresh view about God, about oneself, and about the world

I love that definition of repentance or reconciliation - change in one's mind (and heart) to have fresh view.  Such a hopeful thing to be able to start anew.  The two quotes below ring true and especially help in the context of being unified with a spouse or close family member:

"When we choose reconciliation and it's sincere, there is nothing that brings the Spirit (of God) faster in a relationship.  When someone is honest and sincere about apologizing and/or extending forgiveness, and the Spirit comes in so quickly and helps that reconciliation be possible." Jean Stevens
"Anything that's fake pushes us apart.  Mark E Peterson said, 'Honesty is a principle of salvation in the kingdom of God and without it there can be no salvation.'  (We need to say) 'I'm going to be up front and honest about this because I want to change.'  It's not all at once but you begin by choosing to turn your heart to God." Matthew Richardson

Unity is not a matter of agreeing with the other person to keep the peace.  It means you're both seeking to be your best self (the exact note with the exact diction) so you can make the most beautiful sound together.  

Reconciling a relationship, even making a good relationship better, can be hard.  For me, it's especially hard when I have to repent and seek to change the same things over and over.  I get discouraged and give up sometimes.   But when I do turn my heart to God (and for me I especially feel this when I pray and serve others) I've felt that "fresh view"in all areas of my life.  I feel like my voice helps add beautiful sound with all the people I sing with.

Let your voice grow to make the sounds around you beautiful.




"He'd be the champion"

Monday, February 10, 2014



Tonight during Men's Moguls, NBC highlighted Alex Bilodeau - Vancouver's gold medalist in the event - and his brother, Frederic who has Cerebral Palsy.  If you didn't' see this feature, WATCH - it will lift your heart and help you understand families like mine:


I just loved this.  Some favorite things:

- These brothers have equal value.  Alex is a two-time gold medalist, advancing his sport, bringing his country glory, etc, and yet Frederic, who can't do any of that, contributes and inspires as much if not more than his brother.

- They share, love and serve each other.

- Frederic said to their mom once: "Would I be at the Olympics if I wasn't handicapped?" (2:30) and Alex says with strong emotion that if Frederic wasn't handicapped, he'd be a three time Olympic champion. 


A person's spirit is not what her body looks like or what it allows her to do.  Disability is a hard limitation, but souls are unlimited.  Someday I'm confident we will see that those who've endured life with weak bodies are actually some of the most amazing spirits - we will be in awe.

Caroline's handicap is different from Frederic's so it's not an exact comparison*, but we can say like their family - we are SO lucky.  Caroline lifts us; her happy and smiling face makes our life.  She teaches me every day (again and again because I keep forgetting the lesson) that people are all different and to love them (and myself) even when we are not as we wish we were. 

Ivy may or may not be an Olympic skier one day (who knows?) but I pray that she will have the relationship Alex and Frederic do.  

Looks like she's off to a good start with Caroline already...


*Honestly, I wish she could express herself as much as he can.  Someday, I'll learn why she has to be in the body she's in...


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