Friday, January 30, 2015

Tell Me A Story Interview Series

My friend lay weak in her nursing home bed, pain and sickness her constant companions.
I sat talking with her and began probing into some of her past experiences.
And as I did so, I was astounded.
This sweet, darling woman, with no children of her own, had an incredible history, fascinating in so many ways. But to most of the world, she was just another elderly woman surrounded with sterile white walls.
I wished I had the means to record her sharing these experiences to preserve them, as she would leave behind no family members to share them.

And with that wish was born an idea...
an idea to interview others and share their stories through this blog
with the hope that others may be inspired as I have been.

One thing I have definitely learned over the years is that everyone has a unique, interesting story to tell.
We can learn great lessons from the experiences of each person we encounter.
So I am very excited to share with you my upcoming series!

"Tell Me a Story" Interview Series will feature individuals with particularly interesting stories and experiences and the lessons they have learned from them.
I've got a fascinating list of people to start with, and their stories are incredible.
I hope you'll join me through this series and learn from the lives and experiences of others as I have!

Join me next Friday as we begin our series with the story of my cousin, who nearly died when he was hit by a car several years ago. Learn of his miraculous story, challenges of his recovery, and how his experience changed his life for the better.

Thursday, January 29, 2015


In October of 2007, Henry B. Eyring spoke of how he had felt impressed to start a journal wherein he wrote each day a way he had seen the hand of God in his life.
As he did this, he said, "More than gratitude began to grow in my heart. Testimony grew. I became ever more certain that our Heavenly Father hears and answers prayers."

Sometimes, I have been a totally dedicated journal-writer,
and other times I've been much more hit-and-miss.
But over the last 5 years, I've been able to mimic his example with reasonable consistency.

At one point, I was feeling like my faith wasn't where it needed to be.
I was overwhelmed with questions and doubts began to creep in.
I attended the temple--our most holy place of worship--and there began to pray fervently for an answer from the Spirit like those I had received in the past.
I plead for a strong witness once again.
There came into my mind a distinct answer:
"You don't need more answers. You need to remember those you have received."
As I thought on this, there seemed to flash through my mind images and experiences from my life when I have known God's hand was involved.

And then there came an impression to comb through my journals and compile a separate document of those powerful experiences--
experiences that have no logical explanation but to attribute them to God.
And as I did so, my faith grew and I more fully recognized the immense power of remembering.

Revelation and light doesn't typically come in a constant, powerful stream.
It is our responsibility to remember the answers we've been given and to trust and believe the way we felt at that time.

"Take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life."

Read/watch/listen to President Eyring's full talk here.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015


our living room looks like this:

And every Type A, list-loving, order-obsessed, neat-freak part of my nature starts to hyperventilate.

But then I see smiles like these:

And they quickly hush all those rational thoughts
and urge me to enjoy this while it lasts.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Daddy Crush and Trust

Yesterday Sam was playing with the boys.
They were sitting on our giant LoveSac, and he very soberly approached them and said,
"'s time for Daddy crush."
The boys looked up expectantly.
"Lay down," he continued in seriousness.
With anticipatory smiles, the boys immediately lay back.

I was both amused and touched as I watched the scene.
Although they had no prior experience with Sam's spontaneous game of "Daddy Crush,"
they had absolute, implicit trust in him and the fact that whatever he was going to do was going to make them happy and not involve being crushed.

Because they have come to know his nature, and they have had other experiences that have taught them that their Daddy loves them and wants only what is best for them.
And that understanding and experience was all they needed to follow his instructions without any reservation or hesitation.

As Sam dropped himself onto the LoveSac, catching himself inches before he hit the boys,
and then roughhousing with them and enjoying their giggles,
I yearned to have their sincere, submissive trust and faith in my Heavenly Father.
Because I too have come to know His nature.
I too have had experiences that have taught me that He loves me and wants what is best for me.

And when questions or uncertainties arise,
that really ought to be enough.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Nutrient-Packed Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies

Eating cookies for breakfast is a pretty sure way to start the day happy, don't you think?
We love this recipe!!
These cookies are easy to throw together, super tasty, and packed full of nutrients!
They are perfect for hikes, camping, snacks, or just a quick breakfast to eat fresh or from the freezer.
I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

Recipe adapted from MOMables

1/2 c. mashed banana (about 1 large)
1/2 c. peanut butter (or other nut butter)
1/2 c. honey (can reduce a little)
2 tsp. vanilla
1 c. quick oats
1/4 c. whole wheat flour
1/4 c. ground flax seed
1/4 c. powdered milk
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4-1/2 c. raisins or chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Mix together banana, peanut butter, honey, and vanilla. Add oats, flour, ground flax seed, powdered milk, cinnamon, and baking soda. Stir until just combined. Stir in raisins/chocolate chips. Spoon onto a greased cookie sheet and cook for 14 minutes or until lightly browned. Makes 12 cookies.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Baby vs. Vacuum

I think the highlight of today came when I was busily vacuuming and pulled out the hose attachment.
Lincoln stared with inquiry, so I held the hose out for him to evaluate.
He leaned over for a closer look and suddenly jammed his mouth down onto the hose opening!
His lips and cheeks were immediately sucked in.
I quickly jerked the hose off his face, expecting his cries to compete with the vacuum for volume and anticipating his look of traumatized fear.
But instead, he burst into laughter, grabbed the hose from me, and spent the next 15 minutes or so sucking up his own lips with the vacuum.
His brothers quickly joined in and we were all laughing hysterically for a while.

Until, that is, Mommy turned off the vacuum and the fun trick no longer worked.
His cries of fury and frustration as he held the hose up to his mouth and nothing happened still made me suppress laughter.
Ah, the joy of little children and life's simple pleasures...

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Brite Music Free Album Offer

Did you grow up listening to Brite Music?
Safety Kids, Watch Me Sing, Take Your Hat Off When the Flag Goes By, the little yellow Standin' Tall tapes...
do any of those ring a bell?
These tapes/CDs/mp3 files were classics in our home growing up and remain favorites with my kids today. They teach wonderful values in such fun, entertaining ways!

Thanks to "Safety Kids," a series that teaches general safety rules and information about drugs and pornography, my kids knew their phone number at age 2.
Thanks to "Take Your Hat Off When the Flag Goes By," my kids have been able to learn about their nation's inspiring founding and history, along with basic principles of democratic government and free enterprise.
Thanks to the classic song "Who Broke My Window?" they've had the principle of honesty reinforced through an engaging story.

And the list goes on!
Whether you want to teach your child about moral values, safety rules, patriotism, holidays, nutrition, early reading skills, self-esteem, or family, or you just want to have some good, fun music to sing along to, Brite Music probably has something for you.

Because of my involvement with Brite Music in the past, I was just e-mailed an offer--
I can send one free album (of your choice) to an unlimited number of families!
If you're interested, check out their products on their website and comment here, send me a message on Facebook, or e-mail me at kaitlynwbrady(at)gmail(dot)com. Just let me know what album you want and what your e-mail address is.
But hurry--this offer ends January 31!

Note: I was not compensated for this post. I genuinely love Brite products and want to share the offer with anyone interested.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Transition to Parenthood

I wrote this blog post on my former blog when Talmage was about 6 weeks old. It was interesting to look back and read my thoughts at the time--and 2 more babies later I still agree with most of what I wrote then, although I could add many more lessons I've learned over the years!

I do still maintain that having children has brought us increased stress (especially as they have grown old enough to really misbehave), but that having children has brought us closer to one another than almost anything else could.

First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes...the baby in the baby carriage! And with that little bundle of joy comes a new level of responsibility and an abundance of new stressors. Studies have shown that the vast majority of couples experience a decline in marital satisfaction with the birth of a new baby. After hearing this repeated over and over again, I wanted to figure out how to prevent that from happening, since we were expecting our first child. So when I was given the task of writing a lengthy research paper on a stressor families experience, I jumped at the opportunity to study the transition to parenthood. 

I was dismayed, at first, to notice that every study I read, every paper I perused, indicated that couples decreased in their marital satisfaction. After researching for quite some time, my professor indicated that he knew of a study where couples whose marital satisfaction increased with the birth of a new baby were analyzed (Shapiro, A., Gottman, J., & Carrere, S. (2000). The baby and the marriage: Identifying factors that buffer against decline in marital satisfaction after the first baby arrives. Journal of Family Psychology, 14(1), 59-70.)

This study found that there were 6 common factors among couples whose relationships improved with the birth of their first child:
-husbands expressing fondness and affection toward wives
-husbands' high awareness of spouse and relationship
-good quality of marital friendship (surpassing romantic infatuation)
-high level of marital adjustment prior to the birth of a baby
-high pre-natal marital satisfaction
-positive perception of parenthood

I was so happy to see the keys to avoiding that decline in marital satisfaction. Of course Sam and I don't have a perfect marriage, but I think being aware of these factors has helped the transition to parenthood go more smoothly. 

Additionally, there are two things my parents were examples of that I have learned are essential for a strong family relationship:
-a weekly date
-not allowing anything--even your children--to come between you

When my dad was in graduate school and was not able to be home much at all, those weekly dates helped keep my mom sane with five small children and countless other responsibilities in Church, school, etc. Now, as Sam is in graduate school and is gone from approximately 5:30 am to 7:00 pm every day and often comes home only for 30 minutes or so before he has to dash out the door again to fulfill one of his Church callings or other responsibilities, I have learned the importance of that weekly date. When we were married, our sealer told us to continue our courtship through our marriage. Striving to do that, especially after the birth of our baby, has really helped us.

I remember that whenever we were sitting together as a family, whether it was at Church or another activity, none of the kids were allowed to sit in between my parents. They always sat next to each other. This was just one way they taught us that nothing would come between them. Additional studies have shown that there is an increase in divorce after about 25-30 years of marriage, because the children leave home and the couple is left alone and realizes they no longer know each other--they had lived through their children. Nurturing the marriage relationship first, before the relationship with the children, is crucial.

Of course I realize that I am still a newlywed, and don't really have experience with how to make a marriage last. But I just wanted to share some of my thoughts and some things I have learned about making the transition to parenthood a pleasant one. So for all of you newlywed couples out there, although the world will tell you to expect your marital satisfaction to decrease with the birth of a child, don't let that scare you off! Being a parent has truly increased our joy and our love for one another.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Family Pictures 2014

I mentioned back in November that we had family pictures taken.
I've posted several around the blog, but I never made a point of sharing them--and I love them!
So, even though it's a bit belated, I thought I'd do so now.

I had been wanting updated family pictures for some time,
and when I remembered a friend from long ago who takes gorgeous pictures,
I quickly looked her up and we made plans for a photo shoot on a very chilly afternoon.
Alyssa does beautiful work (see it here) in both photography and painting.
I love the way she captured our personalities so perfectly!

Not only did the pictures turn out wonderfully,
but she was kind enough to bring snacks to bribe smiles out of cold, reluctant boys.
And she was very open to ideas and requests I had about our pictures as well.
If you're anywhere in Northern Utah, I highly recommend her!
(Her contact info can be found on her blog, linked above.)

Photos were taken at Memory Grove in Salt Lake City.


Thursday, January 15, 2015

Dental Drama

Today I went to the dentist.
This is always a bit of a dreaded event, simply because I can guarantee the news won't be good.
Somehow I got the awful-teeth gene,
and no matter how hard I try, my teeth always have problems.
I am usually told the same thing--"Great hygiene!...But bad luck."
Today was no different.
I walked out with a tube of prescription toothpaste and a long list of work that needs to be done, including two root canals and a couple of crowns.

(But needless to say, it was a much better prognosis than the last dentist I saw gave me. He told me I needed a whopping TEN crowns! We laughed and laughed because there was no way graduate school was going to allow for that, and then we never went back.)

When I was in high school, after spending many thousands of dollars on fillings, braces, a palate expander, an implant (I was born missing a tooth), a crown for a tooth that only developed a stub, wisdom teeth removal with crazy complications, and numerous other dental procedures, my mom told me, "You'd better smile a lot, because that's a ten thousand dollar mouth you've got there."

It's a good thing I've got so many great reasons to smile!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

5-Minute Banana Muffins

My boys hate eating dinner.
Each of them, at about 15 months, became so incredibly picky and began to spit out anything remotely resembling normal "dinner" types of food...
even those that are supposedly "kid-friendly" like chicken nuggets or pizza.

We've tried just about every method in the book of handling the picky-eater syndrome,
but nothing has really made a difference.
For a while we even tried feeding the boys pb sandwiches--their favorite!--for dinner every night, but they would still only pick at them.
Apparently they just aren't very hungry in the evening.
For the past year or two, we haven't forced the kids to clean their plates,
but they can't leave the table until they at least try one bite.

While I still try to expose their palates to a variety of food combinations
and work hard to plan nutritious, well-rounded menus,
I also try to make sure there is one thing on the dinner menu they actually like.
And often, it's muffins.

Muffins, muffins...they have become a staple in our home,
and all of our boys have said "muffin" as one of their first 50 or so words.
At just over a year old they readily recognize that dome of deliciousness and chant, "muh-muh!"
I have several fairly nutritious recipes I love to make,
(like this one--more recipes to come!)
but when I'm in a rush this is one of my favorites.

You can have them mixed up by the time the oven preheats,
and the recipe is highly flexible--it really doesn't matter how big the bananas are, and you can play around with other ingredients. I've adjusted the sugar amount, added peanut butter or chocolate chips, used whole wheat flour, etc.
And these make fabulous mini-muffins as well, a favorite at our house!

5-Minute Banana Muffins

3 bananas, mashed
1 c. sugar
1/4 c. butter, softened
1/4 c. applesauce
1 t. baking soda
2 c. flour

Mix together butter, sugar, applesauce, and bananas until smooth. Add baking soda and flour and stir to combine. Spoon into muffin tins and bake at 350 for 20-22 minutes (full-sized muffins) or 12-15 minutes (mini-muffins). Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Dressed and Pressed

In our church, the children attend a class called Primary.
Each January, they get to move up a class (divided by age groups),
beginning at age 3 and continuing on up to age 11.

We were all home sick the first Sunday of the year,
so this past Sunday marked Wesley's first day of Sunbeams! 
(Sunbeams is the title of the 3-year-old group.)
He cried almost every Sunday for the 20 months he was in Nursery.
Here's hoping his excitement about Primary will change that habit.
I had to snap some pictures of my little guy in his snazzy suit,
and of course big brother wanted in on the photo shoot, too.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Hill Air Force Base Museum

On Saturday morning, thanks in part to a friend's suggestion about structuring family activities on Saturdays (thanks, Alyssa!),
we loaded the boys up and headed to the Hill Air Force Base Museum (it's free!).

It was the perfect winter family outing,
and the boys loved every second of studying fighter jets and their associated displays.

My grandpa fought as a tail gunner on a B-17 during WWII.
It was sobering to visit the B-17 in the museum and tell my wide-eyed boys his story.

The tail gunner is generally accepted as the most dangerous position in these planes,
with the highest fatality rate.
The average life of a tail gunner was only 2 missions.
My grandpa had a new bride and a baby son he'd never met waiting for him at home,
and every time he got into the plane he was convinced his life would end.
He would tell himself, "Well, if I die this time I'll never have to go to the dentist again."

And with that, he would climb into this tiny cavern surrounded with windows
on the back of the plane,
sit on a wooden bicycle seat with his legs doubled over,
his feet balancing his weight behind him,
hunch way over, and fly, at times for more than 5 hours, with no idea what was happening to the front of the plane.
In those precarious circumstances, my grandfather beat the average of 2 missions
and completed an incredible 34 missions as a tail gunner.

There were several times that shrapnel broke the windows and flew into the plane around him.
He miraculously survived even though his frame filled almost the entire cavern and there was little room to spare.
At one point some shrapnel entered the plane, went through the inches-wide gap between his head and the ceiling, pierced through the wall behind him into the main airplane cavern, turned in mid-air, went through another serviceman's foot, and then exploded out the bottom of the plane.

It's difficult to grasp the incredible sacrifices that have been made to keep this country free.
It is both humbling and gratifying to teach our children to appreciate these sacrifices.

What a wonderful experience this was for our family,
and a great opportunity to teach our children some more about their heritage and their nation.
I'm sure we'll be visiting again soon.

How grateful we are for the freedoms we enjoy.
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