Monday, December 4, 2017

This is the beautiful story and testimony of my sweet neighbor.
The Lord knows each of us.

Libby (left), Kristin, Shawn, and Mallory (right)

Shawn’s and my life changed completely on January 7, 2004.  It was the day our twins girls were born. It was the day we had been anticipating for months, even though it arrived sooner than we had planned. I need to go back about six months, to July, when I had a blood test done. I was scheduled for surgery to replace my pacemaker. (I was born with a complete heart block that has required a pacemaker since I was 19 years old.)

When the nurse told me the results were positive I remember thinking, “Positive for what?  What disease do I have?”

I had done about 10-12 pregnancy tests in the previous months and all of them had been negative. The most recent one was done at my OB/GYN office two weeks before. At that time, they put me on birth control pills in an attempt to get my cycle regular so they could put me on fertility medication in the Fall. Well, to say the least I was shocked. After the shock I was so excited and called Shawn to tell him the good news. Then it hit me: I was having surgery the next day! My battery was running out on my pacemaker and I am 100 percent dependent on it, so I needed it done.

I went in the next morning for the surgery.  Due to the pregnancy I couldn’t be under a general anesthetic, so they just numbed the area, leaving me wide awake throughout the entire procedure. That was a very long two hours! Through all of it, i just kept telling myself I was going through this for the baby.

A week later Shawn and I went camping with my family to Bear Lake. We got home Sunday evening and I was just laying on the couch resting. I got up and felt a rush of liquid going down my legs. I knew pregnant ladies could have some bladder control problems, but I thought this was a little early for that! I got into the bathroom and realized it was blood. I was scared I was miscarrying.

I called the OB doctor on call. He was so nice and told us he would meet us at his office. Here it was, 10:00pm on a Sunday night. He did an ultrasound and said the heartbeat was strong. I was so happy and relieved that I didn’t even hear what else he was telling me. Shawn kept waiting to see my reaction.

The doctor had just told us there were two heartbeats; we were having twins! The doctor said it three times before it registered.

There was a second shock: I was already 10 ½ weeks along! With all my negative pregnancy tests, I assumed I must just barely be pregnant.  What a wonderful night, not only finding out everything was okay with the baby(ies), but we were having two of them and a lot sooner than we thought.

That night, even before I had called the OB, I called my mom. So I called her again to tell her the news and that everything was okay.  She said she wasn’t surprised. After she had gotten off the phone with me earlier she had knelt down and prayed. She told me that she had an overwhelming feeling that it would all be okay and that there were going to be two babies in there. I never seem to be able to surprise her.

The next several months went along pretty smoothly and were uneventful. I just grew bigger and bigger! Shawn and I were getting more and more excited, yet I was very worried I would not be up to the task of taking care of two babies.

Fast forward to Christmas day, I wasn’t feeling very well which I figured was probably normal since I was coming close to the end of my pregnancy. I was just big, uncomfortable, and very tired. We were spending Christmas with my family. My mom is a nurse and kept checking my blood pressure throughout the day. It kept creeping up and up. I still wasn’t too worried, but my mom called Labor and Delivery and we were told to come right in. Again, I just thought everyone was overreacting, but Shawn and I packed up and headed to the hospital. During the examination, one of the nurses said, “You guys could be having some babies tonight.” Shawn and I looked at each other and I thought, “Oh no, this is a big deal!” I think some of assumptions that things are not that big of a deal is my lifetime of health issues, and that I’m just used to it.  But I had two other little people to worry about now!

Thankfully, we were sent home from the hospital, but I was put on full bedrest. I also had to go to the hospital daily for nonstress tests to monitor the babies. I would usually be there for hours, sometimes up to eight, because the babies wouldn’t react, especially “Baby A”.

Two more weeks went by and I was seeing the doctor on January 6th. The doctor asked if my ears had been burning that morning because his group had been discussing my case. They all felt it was time to take the babies. My blood pressure and protein had been getting higher and I had preeclampsia. I was now at thirty-five weeks. The goal had been thirty-four weeks, so I had made it an extra week. Yay!!!!

I had the babies via C-section the next morning. As soon as they were taken, it was clear that there was something wrong. The babies had what is called a Twin-to-Twin Transfusion. This happens when one baby is getting all the nutrients. We were so lucky that I had gone into preeclampsia since that made them take the babies early.
We were told that, if I had gone another week, “Baby A” (Libby) would have been a stillborn and very likely “Baby B” (Mallory), also.

When women talk about  the birth of their children being the best day of their lives, I really can’t relate to that. I was so sick and felt so drugged up I wasn’t even able to hold my babies. Libby was taken to the NICU in the hospital, but Mallory needed to be transported to another hospital to be put on a ventilator because she had a collapsed lung. That night, I was able to be wheeled down to the NICU to see Libby and hold her for the first time. She was only 4 lbs and I felt so weak I was afraid I was going to drop her.

After a few days I started feeling better except that every time I laid down I felt like I was suffocating. The night before I was to be discharged, I asked the nurse if she would listen to my lungs. The month before I had had pneumonia and I was wondering if it was coming back. The next thing I knew, there were several doctors there and they had also brought in an X-ray machine. Then I was taken for a CT scan. As they wheeled me down the hall, we passed the NICU. I could see that there were several nurses standing around Libby’s isolet. I was scared something might be going wrong with her. I already felt like I had deserted Mallory since we were not in the same hospital and now I was leaving Libby.

After all the tests were done, they found that I had cardiomyopathy and was in congestive heart failure. I needed to be in the ICU myself. I just started to cry. I was so embarrassed! I was thinking, “What’s wrong with me?” I had dealt with a lifetime of health problems, so why was I breaking down now? All the emotions of the last several days with the babies and my hormones going crazy was triggering a panic attack. I was panicking that Shawn was going to leave me alone in the hospital. (He, of course, was not going to leave.)

I spent the next few days in ICU and was finally well enough to be released. During my time in the ICU, Mallory was able to be transported back to be in the same NICU with Libby.

Once the girls were back together, they started eating better and gaining weight.

The girls spent two more weeks in the hospital. We were so excited that they could finally come home and we could hold them without all the wires and monitors on them, but I was also terrified! Especially since I was still not feeling well.

In many ways those first few months are a blur. I was always so exhausted! Around 10:00 PM every night, I would get very sad and depressed because that used to be when I would go to bed, but with the babies I didn’t know when I would get to go to sleep. Shawn was always great to help me, but neither one of us was getting much sleep.  

When the girls were four months old, I was at an appointment with my cardiologist for a check up. My heart had not improved since having the babies, and he told me we should not have any more children and that my heart could not handle another pregnancy. At the time I felt so relieved that I never had to go through that again. In addition to the heart problems, I was suffering from postpartum depression. I loved my girls, and I was so grateful to have them, but I felt I was in a black hole and I couldn’t get out. I felt my life would never get easier.  

Well, life did get easier! We all settled into our new life and our new normal. Shawn and I worked out systems so we could get more sleep. One night when the girls were ten months old they were both asleep in their cribs and Shawn and I were sitting on the floor in their bedroom. I looked over at Shawn and said, “I think I’m starting to like them and like being a mom.” Of course, I always loved them, but through everything it just took me awhile to love where I was at.

In the moment, we sometimes don’t always recognize all the miracles that happen in our life, but we had so many miracles during that time. From being able to get pregnant without the help of fertility treatments to having twins when my heart could only handle one pregnancy, and so many others.

Sometimes you don’t know how you make it through, but I know how we did. It was Shawn and I working together and relying on the Lord.

Fourteen years later I’m happy to say that the girls are happy and healthy, and so am I!

Monday, November 27, 2017

Life isn't fair!

By Danielle' Dimond

I’m gonna let you in on a wee, little secret. My mother is a philosophical genius of Aristotelian proportions. Now, I understand that if you know me, you probably don’t realize that I was raised by such a Queen of Wisdom, but it’s true. She used to say things when I was a kid that were so profound that it took years for the brilliance of those words to actually light up the dark corners of my less than Aristotelian brain.

There is one such phrase that she used to say to me very often when I was angry about some grand imbalance in my life. This phrase would make me positively mad with aggravation. She would say, “Danielle’, (my favorite child), life isn’t fair.”

Life isn’t fair.
Life isn’t fair?!
A blog post all about teaching kids that life isn't fair and that's okay

I abhorred it because it always meant I wasn’t going to get what I wanted, which was usually vengeance or candy. And she was okay with that! How could my mother be ok with me not getting every single thing that any other human being (or at least my siblings) got?! As a little kid this usually resulted in an elaborate temper tantrum with carefully choreographed maneuvers of flailing, weeping, melting to the floor and throwing my hands in the air as if I did, in fact, care. However, my tempers for life’s unfairness soon dwindled significantly. Eventually my anger at others and the powers of the universe when I was wronged became less and less raging and more and more shoulder shrugging.

I sort of forgot about this phrase until my third child made an entrance into this world and suddenly my parenting became grievously unfair to pretty much everyone. It came back to me on a day when my oldest daughter came home from kindergarten very upset because her friend had a sparkly new pencil set and she didn’t AND her little brother got to watch cartoons today while she was a school and this was all terribly unfair!! Up until this point I had fallen into a habit of trying to make my kids’ lives as fair as I possibly could. I tried to be sure they felt like they had things that their friends had and that they spent equal time doing things that their sibling got to do and making sure all portions of everything were exactly equal from all angles. But she came home in such a state this particular day and I realized that I couldn’t possibly make her life completely fair anymore. It was such an obvious impossibility. I suddenly understood that I hadn’t prepared her for this. She didn’t know how to cope with disappointment. I hadn’t even realized I would need to teach this technique! Clearly my metaphorical Motherly apple had fallen far, far from my Mom’s tree when I was born.

So my dear Mother’s words came to me in that moment and I uttered them to my child for the first time, “Avary sweetheart, life isn’t fair.” She blinked at me blankly for a moment and then understanding dawned on her sweet face and little, sad tears formed in her big brown eyes. So I added a little something to the devastating news that I have since added to this same heart breaking news a thousand times over the last 10 years, “but it’s okay! That’s just life! For everyone!”

I had no idea way back when I was a kid just how true my Mom’s words were! Life just really isn’t fair! If it was fair, we wouldn’t have a reason to be grateful or to feel blessed. Sometimes we get what we deserve (for better or worse) and sometimes we get what we don’t deserve (for better or worse) and our only concern should be what in the world to do with whatever it is we got or what in the world to do about what we didn’t get.

Life is full of disappointment. It’s full of blissful surprises and unexpected goodness too but boy, the disappointments are what can throw you sometimes. So why not raise kids who know how to roll with the dirty, street fighting, no rules and no honor punches life throws? Teach them that they happen; it’s a given fact. It’s nothing personal. Just because you broke your foot the day before Halloween and can’t go trick-or-treating does not mean that God (and all the fences in the world) have it out for you. It just means that you should listen to your mother when she says, “Don’t climb the fence!” and that you will get to learn to receive some service and love from your siblings when they share their candy with you. Not getting an invitation to Susie Simpleton’s birthday party does not mean every single kid in the school hates you, it just means that Susie couldn’t invite everyone in the third grade, so you get to make other fun plans that day. Life’s little imbalances cannot throw you off your course every time or you’ll never get anywhere fun!  

Obviously there will be instances when you will need to try to make things right for your kid. Disappointment is something to be learned, within reason of course and you’re the judge on that one. The idea is that when those times come, you think about what your actions are teaching your child. Are these hero moves teaching your child to take responsibility for their actions or teaching them that Mom will make things right every time something bad happens or every time they make a mistake. Be careful not to jump into reparative action every time our kids shout, “It’s not fair!” Take a minute to think it through. Is this something my kid can handle and should handle?

On the third side of this fairness-of-life triangle is the fact that sometimes we have to teach kids that some things seem unfair, but are actually called, ‘reaping what we sow’. So your son ate ice cream, donuts and chips and stayed up late the night before basketball tryouts. As a result he didn’t make the team even though he’s a way better player than Jimmy Jumpshot over there who did make the team. As a parent you can either, call the coach and try to talk your kid’s way back onto the team and teach your kid that Mom will come to the rescue no matter what choices he makes. Or you can hug your kid and do nothing, and teach that learning ball player that he needs to work harder and take better care of his body if he wants to make the team next year.

Because once in awhile, life IS totally fair and you WILL in fact get what you deserve. So work and live to deserve the best! Even though you might not always get it you’ll sure make it easier for fortune (or God, you know, whoever seems most giving at the time) to smile upon you!

Once upon a time our loving Savior sure did something for us that was the most unfair thing of them all. He was perfect and he paid the price for all of our sins anyway, even though it wasn’t fair. I’m so very grateful to have a Savior who didn’t give a second thought to whether it was fair that he should suffer for the things I did. The mistakes I made. The pain I went through and the misery I have born. He just did it because he loves me and he loves us and it wasn’t fair. I’m so very glad, it wasn’t fair because I want to be able to thank him one day and be with him always.
So here’s to a generation of kids who can shrug their shoulders when life is hard and unfair and just work harder or find happiness elsewhere. We can raise kids who can handle hard and who can snort at unfair and make their own luck!

Thanks for the simple and solid life lesson Mom! You really DO know everything!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Attitude of Gratitude

It is the thanksgiving season and the time that we get together with loved ones and family to express our love and thanks for each other and for blessing we've received.  

As we thought of ways to focus on thanks and giving this month we thought it would be a wonderful idea to express our gratitude and thanks to


That's right!  I think back to when we first started this adventure and I feel so blessed and grateful for your amazing loyalty and kindness through the years.  I have personally felt like you guys have been my cheerleader and have provided so much encouragement for me.  You have made me a better person and push me to keep improving.  

So, we want to tell you how much we love you!  And we are doing that through a fun giveaway.   


We would love it if you took the time to read this talk by President Thomas S. Monson and leave a comment below this post to get you started in the giveaway. Tell us one way you're going to try to cultivate an

To me, having gratitude and expressing thanks is equivalent to having joy.  When we feel joy we are grateful and when we are grateful, we feel joy.  They go together.  Pres. Monson tells us that gratitude is a divine principle and we are commanded to give thanks 
in all things and to

This is easier said than done though.  Sometimes, we just don't feel grateful because we are so caught up in what we are missing, what we aren't getting, doing, being, seeing, feeling, etc.  We scroll through countless images and enticing marketing that makes us all of the sudden realize all that we lack.  These are real feelings and normal, but we can't dwell in them, we need to quickly refocus our attention on our Savior, where we can see our divine nature, our individual worth and our own talents and gifts.  We can rely on our Heavenly Father to always give us those glimpses of our amazing potentials and of the blessings he has given us.  When we pray to Him, it becomes clear how blessed we are and our hearts become full of thanks.

This works in our relationships as well.  It is very easy to pick apart other people, especially our family members.  Sometimes we see another family that seems to have more fun, more money, more good looks, more house, more more more more.  This is not a good place to go.  Remember, comparison is the thief of joy and when we don't have joy, it is almost impossible to have gratitude and visa versa.  We need to rejoice in others especially their successes, their beauty, their talents, skills and gifts.  Remember, someone else's beauty, talents, successes doesn't diminish or cancel out our own. do we train our heart to be full of thanks?  Pres. Monson tells us that

and this...

and last one...

So basically, we feel more gratitude as we express more gratitude!  A lot like a testimony, the more we share and express it, the stronger it gets.  

Awesome stuff!
Okay are you ready for the giveaway?

Let's start with what the Instagram winner will win.

We thought that since it was the season for gathering, and whenever there is a gathering, there is usually food involved, we thought we would give away a ....

KitchenAid!  WAHOO!

but not only a KitchenAid (the winner picks the color), but also

some extra goodies from the new Hearth and Home Magnolia line. Yes!  But that's not all.  You will also get...

some amazing planner goodies to go with it, including your choice of a planner, notebook and all of our Mormon Mom Planner accessories.  Yes! Yes! and Yes!  

$700 value

So here is a shot of what our Instagram winner will get total

Awesome huh!  

Okay, so now I will show you what we are giving away on our Facebook page. 

We are giving away a....

Instant Pot!  These things are amazing.
We are also including these...

from the Hearth and Home Magnolia line including an apron.  So cute.
We will also be including all of these amazing goodies...

Holy smokes.  Along with a planner of your choice and a notebook and all of our Mormon Mom Planner accessories too.

$500 Value

So, there you have it.  We are so excited and this is going to be such a fun giveaway.

This will go on for 8 days and each day you will get new instructions. The winners will be announced the day before Thanksgiving.  But for today, all you need to do is leave a comment below telling us one way you're going to cultivate an attitude of gratitude.  Easy Peasy!

So you're probably going to want to follow us on

Make sure you are subscribed the blog as well to get alerts when we post something new.

Have fun and tell your friends.  

Monday, November 6, 2017

Record & Preserve

I was reading this article and came across the following little tidbit that really struck me.  It says:

After 400 years of intensive research into the life and works of William Shakespeare, we know almost nothing about the personal life of the most famous writer in the history of the English language. Only about a hundred documents related to William Shakespeare and his immediate family have been found: baptismal records, property deeds, marriage bonds, tax certificates, and court records—nothing about him personally.
Shakespeare’s works are all we know about him. We can study, along with the scholars, his plays, poems, songs, and sonnets and discover something of what life was like for him. “The songs in the plays themselves illustrate many sides of Shakespeare’s genius—his incomparable lyric gift, his ready humor, and his marvelous sensitivity to the sights and sounds of English life, especially the life of the country” (Norton Anthology of English Literature, vol. 1, 3rd edition [1962], 820).
However, because he did not keep a journal, we don’t know, and probably never will, if he was happy or sad, if he liked sunsets and long walks by the Thames, whether he liked music, what his favorite foods were, if he enjoyed company or preferred to be alone. Some of his plays are set in other countries, and we don’t even know if he ever left England.
Isn't that kind of sad?  It got me thinking about my own ancestors and wishing more of them had kept records of their thoughts and goings on.  There are many grandmothers in particular that I would've liked to have "met" through their writings.
Luckily, I had a couple grandfathers that did keep records and boy do I cherish those.  Ironically, they kept their records in little agenda books and planners (maybe that's where I get it from) and they are small and simple but they provide amazing insights into what they were up to and what they were experiencing. 
Here is a shot of of 4 generations, including mine of record keeping in planner books. 

 There's a lot more where these came from.  These are small planner books and a ledger book of my great grandpa Alfred that go as far back as 1891, my grandpa Wendall's history in the early 1900's and my own dad, John that he kept through the years. I even discovered my dad made his own very cool planner book when he was bishop that make me think this planning business definitely runs in the family.  Haha.  I love seeing their handwriting and I love touching these books and holding them knowing they carried them around as a part of their lives.  

 Check out three generations of memory keeping right there of a man, his son, & his grandson.  Little did great grandpa Alfred know his little journal would be featured on something called a blog, which will now preserve his journal on another level.

I want my posterity to know me.  I want them to know my goals, ideas, ramblings, challenges, sense of humor, etc.  I want them to feel connected with me just as I want to feel connected with my ancestors.  
I was chatting with my mom the other day when I went to pick these agendas up and she was telling me how much she regrets not keeping any kind of record of her own in regards to her thoughts and experiences.  I agreed with her how sad that is BUT, it is never too late.  My mom has decided she is going to write her history right now and give us that wonderful treasure and keepsake. 
Never think that nobody will be interested in your thoughts and ideas.   My grandma Ruby who lived her life in the service of others didn't keep any journals, but she has this cute little book of scraps, recipes, articles or jokes she liked that she glued into this little book and I adore it.  What a treasure.

Did you read that last joke?  So funny.

and she gave us one little glimpse of her handwriting on this little page.  Isn't that a great thought she wrote down?!

So...are you inspired to keep a record, ANY kind of record of your life? I hope so.  I even want to start keeping a political journal and record the daily news and such just because there is so much going on, it's hard to even keep up, but wouldn't that be a fun record?  
There are so many different creative ways to keep a record and preserve it nowadays.  Video, blogging, audio recordings, youtube, social media, memory keeping, etc. Whether it's daily, weekly, monthly or even yearly recordings, the important thing is to just do it and try to be consistent.

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