Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Motherhood as an
Opportunity to "See Beyond"

On Friday, February 18th I had the opportunity to visit the Utah State Capitol and meet with Utah's Governor, Gary R. Herbert. There, he presented me as "2011 Young Mother" representing American Mothers (americanmothers.org) in the state of Utah.

Governor Herbert spoke profoundly of motherhood as an opportunity to "see beyond" -- as a way to see beyond present circumstances, beyond our own lives into the future.

The event was held in the State Reception Room, also known as the Gold Room. The Governor told us that this room was created to honor motherhood and Utah's mothers -- the jewels of our state. The ceiling is adorned with a beautiful mural "Children at Play,” by Lewis Shettle.

Louisa and Ella both had the opportunity
to introduce themselves to Governor Herbert.

Just after this picture was taken, I waved my parents and my mother and father-in-law over to be in a picture with us. As I did so, I accidentally hit Louisa - hard - in the face. She immediately started to cry and I thought, "How appropriate! Here I am being honored as a mother: I've just hit my child, she is crying and pictures are being taken by a professional photographer."

Monday, February 21, 2011

Utah State Senate Floor

In addition to meeting with Governor Herbert, I was honored (along with Utah Mother of the Year, Sally Olsen) on the Senate floor.

A picture taken by our friend
Dan Liljenquist, State Senator representing Davis County.

The Senate allowed me the opportunity to give an impromptu speech (!!!).

The audio recording of that speech is found online at:

You can click on "Part 1" (in the upper left-hand corner) to download the proceedings. If you advance to approximately 1:40:47, you can then hear my minute and a half of "fame and glory".

My remarks (cleaned up a bit and posted here for the sake of posterity), were:

"Thank you for having us here. We just came from meeting with the Governor where he spoke so profoundly about motherhood as a way to see beyond - as a way to see beyond present circumstances, as a way to see beyond our own lives and into the future.

After that meeting, we gathered together for pictures. I waved my parents and my mother and father-in-law over to perhaps be in a picture with the Governor. As I did so, I accidentally hit - hard - my daughter Louisa in the face. She immediately started to cry and I thought, 'How appropriate! Here I am being honored as a mother: I've just hit my child, she is crying and pictures are being taken by a professional photographer.'

Motherhood moments are often just like that. I've experienced many of those. I've experienced the sorrows, and I have experienced the great joys. I am so grateful for my daughters Ella and Louisa, as well as my daughter Eliza, who was stillborn, who leads the way for our family. I am thankful for my husband Steve - without him I would not be a mother. He is one of the greatest blessings in my life.

Thank you for being here today. Thank you for seeing beyond corporate life into public life -- the life of the community. Thank you for honoring us with your dedication of time and commitment on our behalf, as you make decisions that will benefit us today and beyond."

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Now I am Six...

When I was One, I had just begun.
When I was Two, I was nearly new.
When I was Three I was hardly me.
When I was Four, I was not much more.
When I was Five, I was just alive.
But now I am Six, I'm as clever as clever,
So I think I'll be six now for ever and ever.

A.A. Milne

Louisa celebrated her 6th birthday today!

Louisa loved waking to the birthday banner hung in her bedroom, and enjoyed eating breakfast in bed. This year, her special requests were homemade scones and honey butter with fresh berries and an orange julius.

After school, we ventured, along with two of Lulu's sweet friends, to lunch at Noodles & Co. and then to paint pottery at Color Me Mine.

Our sweet girl was thrilled to learn that she will soon have the opportunity to care for a little bird - a recently hatched baby budgie. She was also thrilled with the gift of a few new books. Louisa is so excited about reading!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Our Plans for Valentine's Day

Come join us!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Louisa's French Playlet

Louisa was thrilled that her Nanna could attend her Kindergarten program today, where the classes presented a short - but oh so sweet - French Playlet.

My favorite part was the song, "Merci":

Golden Birthday!

Ella celebrated her "golden birthday"... she turned 10 on the 10th of February!
We cherish the gift of Ella's life and love seeing her grow.

Ella's favorite gift came from her daddy: it is a golden bracelet adorned with sweet flowers.

As part of the days festivities, Ella enjoyed:
* Breakfast in bed (her pick of scones & honey butter along with bacon and orange juice),
* Lunch away from school (at her restaurant of choice: Noodles&Co.),
* Pink frosted brownies shared as a class treat, and
* A very special pioneer party at the Lion House.

Ella loved blowing out all 10 candles on her cake!

At the conclusion of the birthday party, the Lion House hostess said, "Ella it is now time for me to present you with a gift! I would like you to choose either a stuffed lion or one of the china dolls sitting on the mantle." To this Ella responded, "Oh no, I couldn't take either! I have been spoiled too much. I don't need another thing." After much coercion, Ella was finally willing to bring a doll home. As the years pass, when I see it upon her shelf, I will be reminded of this sweet girl and her special day.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Utah Young Mother, 2011

Yesterday I was selected to represent American Mothers Inc. (americanmothers.org) as the "Utah Young Mother of the Year" for 2011. I am humbled by the opportunity and looking forward to representing this great organization in the coming year.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

An Exemplary Life

Emma in 1933 at age 12

Today my cute Grandma, Emma Martin Schwartz, is 90 years old! Her life of service and strength - even in times of struggle - is one I hope to emulate.

I had the opportunity to compile photos from her life as well as messages from my parents, siblings, aunt and uncles and cousins into a beautiful book which we will present to her today. It has been so touching to see the impact that one good woman can have on generations.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

A Letter to my Grandma on the
Occasion of her 90th Birthday

Sweet Grandma,

For Thanksgiving this year, I made a beautiful lemon meringue pie – my first. I worked for hours to roll the crust, cook the custard and whip the egg whites. After hours of work, my pie was complete. And it was beautiful! I felt so proud of myself, and knew I would be the hit of Thanksgiving dinner. A few hours later, I proudly cut into my masterpiece… only to find that the custard had turned to soup. And although the pie tasted great, it just did not measure up to the ideal in my mind.

Now step back in time just a few years to the scene of my darling Grandmother arriving for Thanksgiving dinner. You are dressed to the nines with a homemade cheese ball, soda for the grandkids, and peanut butter kiss cookies packaged neatly in a Nordstrom box. In addition, you have come prepared with almost a dozen homemade pies of great variety: chocolate cream, banana cream, and pecan. And yes, even a perfect lemon meringue pie or two!

It is no wonder that I had a difficult time measuring up on Thanksgiving, with my meringue pie in hand, to the ideal. It is because that ideal is you. You are the ideal woman, and the ideal grandma. Not only are your pies amazing, your life’s work is a masterpiece.

I have been raised knowing that I was named after you. I will live my whole life trying to become the kind of woman that you are.

Grandma, you are my hero. Through your teenage years and beyond, you continuously cared for and served your mother, who suffered from a series of strokes that left her paralyzed and unable to speak. Later, you cared for your father who was also of ill health. You were a star student, an officer at Utah State Univeristy and a beauty queen. You married Grandpa and found great joy raising your children. But all too soon
your husband died. Yet, instead of wallowing grief (even though I am sure you could have “cried a bathtub full”), you went to work: focusing on raising your small children while also supporting your family by teaching school for 43 years.

Your life of service and your strength – even in times of struggle – are lessons I internalized when I faced the death of our stillborn daughter Eliza. And your example guided me when I cared for Steve throughout his recovery from a stroke.

Thank you Grandma, for teaching me by example how to cherish the inherent joy in life, and how to push through difficult times.

You have so many talents, gifts and abilities, which you freely share. You have always made me feel so important and so loved. You have lived a beautiful life – one worthy of emulation.

I love you dearly. Happy birthday, sweet Grandma. May you find great joy in all the remaining days of your well-lived life.