Season's Greetings!

Merry Christmas!  Here's our card from this year...  I hope that you're all enjoying this holiday season and especially that you feel the love of our Savior as you celebrate His birth. 
2013 was a good year...here's to another great year in 2014!
love you all,
xo, Shari


Aleksander is TWO!

This sweet boy turned two last Sunday...  I can't believe how fast time flies!  We chose to celebrate the following day with cupcakes and presents...thanks to Pinterest for the amazing Elmo cupcake idea!  I love how they turned out...and they were super easy!  Aleks was in heaven!  His big brothers were very excited to celebrate with him and help him open his presents...he is so loved! 

I took this after church on his actual birthday...some of you may have already seen it on Instagram or Facebook, but I wanted to include it with this blog post.  His dimples and big blue eyes just melt my heart!  I can't believe we have TWO blondies!

Happy Birthday little man!  We love you so much!  


back update and personal peace

First of all, THANK YOU to all of you for your sweet notes and messages of concern and encouragement!  :)  I truly appreciate the advice and offers to walk with me...it really buoys me up knowing I have a support system!  thank you thank you xoxoxoxo

I have started chiropractic treatment and have already seen a difference.  I am feeling very optimistic about being back to "normal" soon!

on another note...

I spoke in Sacrament Meeting today, and am SO GLAD THAT'S OVER! 

PHEW!  what a relief. 

It's so emotionally draining for me.  I was part of a group of members in my ward who were asked to speak, and to take a new approach to how we give talks.  We were asked to base our talks on a specific conference talk (we were each assigned one) but not to regurgitate the original talk.  We all know that when a speaker is reading a lot, or quoting right and left, we tune out.  We were asked to live the principle being taught (I had 2 weeks to prepare, others have longer - I was in the first group) and pray for inspiration to have experiences living that principle.  Then they wanted us to share more personal experiences of that principle - and only use bits and pieces of the original talk by the general authority.  I was super nervous.  And  on top of that, I was sure I was going to fall to pieces and cry and blubber the whole time because the personal experiences I chose to share were 2 very difficult times in my life.  So, I practiced and practiced and cried and cried, and hoped that when the time came to actually present my talk at church, that all the tears would be cried out and I'd be fine.  But, of course that didn't happen :) 

I cried.  a lot.

And so I've had a headache all day :( Blah! 

But, I digress...

I wanted to share those experiences with finding peace during a trial here on my blog... in the hopes that someone else out there will be touched by what I have to say.  However, I am not up to it tonight... still have puffy eyes and a headache... and well, let's be honest, it's past my bed time. :)  yes, 9pm is generally when I start to shut down! 

So, stay tuned for another blog post from me sometime this week... 

love you all! 



being fat hurts

Over the past 4 years, I have gained around 50-60 lbs. All of which I had worked hard to lose after I had Drew at the end of 2007. Several factors led to this obnoxious weigh gain, but that's not what I'm here to talk about today. I'm struggling. Big time.

My major issue over the past 18 months has been severe chronic low-back pain - debilitating back pain. It makes me so irritable because it limits what I'm able to accomplish as a mom and plus, just being in pain is a HUGE PAIN! My doctor is convinced that it is a muscle problem, and that once I lose weight and strengthen my core, my back problems will subside.

 I am hopeful that it will, but you see, it's really hard to exercise when you're in pain and constantly afraid that your back will go out. It can happen by just the slightest movement. Reaching into the washing machine. Twisting to put dishes away in the cupboard. Carrying my (30 lb!) baby. And yes, obvious stupid things like moving/carrying heavy objects.

  So, I have made a deal with my doctor to start using My Fitness Pal to help me be accountable for what I'm eating. (Haven't started yet, shhhh!) And he suggested finding friends/family who also use it so we can help encourage each other. Anyone out there use it? I've found a few friends on there, but if you use it also, and would like to add me, my username is "sharibeth78" - please add me!

I made a goal to walk for 30 mins/day. Shouldn't be hard, right? 30 mins is nothing.  This has been hit or miss over the past month - but now that school has started, I've tried to at least walk the boys to or from school every day.  I haven't quite gotten into the to AND from routine yet -- mainly because it's been really hot and I don't want to walk in the afternoon!  I was walking with my friend Tracy for about 2 weeks before school started, but with our busy schedules/kids at different schools/etc that kinda fell to the wayside.  Walking with someone makes the time go by so much faster, and its also a bit therapeutic to have a girlfriend to talk to!  But for now, walking the boys to school is good enough.  It's a little over a mile, which isn't much, but is plenty for the state of my back right now. 

I am currently doing much better, but today marks 6 weeks that I've been in pain - constant pain.  If any of you out there have ever suffered from sciatic pain, you understand how terrible it can be!  Shooting pains down both legs, starting from my butt, all the way through my thighs, down my calves into my feet - sporadically.  It's so annoying!  My tailbone/low back is still very tender and sore, and my butt muscles/hamstrings are EXTREMELY tight and I can hardly stretch at all.  However, when I keep moving, I feel better. 

Which leads me to one of the main problems with this dumb back issue...sitting for long periods of time makes me super stiff and makes the sciatic pain worse...so I've been avoiding a lot of editing, which is just ridiculous because IT HAS TO GET DONE! and I'm the ONLY ONE WHO CAN DO IT!  So...I'm finally grinning and bearing it the best I can, because my dear, sweet friends and clients have been so extraordinarily patient.  I feel awful making them wait for their pictures. 

This trial has given me time to reflect on my personal strength and my stubborn desire to be independent.  It has made me humble myself and receive service.  It has taught me to be grateful for this "imperfect" body - and not to take it for granted and not to abuse it by over-eating and not exercising. The obvious motivation for me to lose weight and strengthen my core is to be healthy and to feel good and be pain free.  But there's another reason I have to do this.  I want another baby.  And I just cannot imagine being pregnant on top of dealing with this back pain - not only that, but I'm unhealthily heavy, and will 100% have gestational diabetes again, which is risky for me and the baby. 

So my friends and family, if any of you are still following this sad blog of mine, will you please say a little prayer for me?  Check in with me occasionally and see how I'm doing... keep me accountable!  I feel like I'm stuck in a fat suit.  It's time to set my body free!




I doubt anyone still reads this blog seeing as I haven't posted anything since February! This poor blog has been terribly neglected. Mostly because I haven't had time (haven't made time!) and haven't been inspired/motivated to blog. But that doesn't mean I don't think about it frequently...I come across thoughts and ideas quite often that I think would make great blog posts...but then when it comes down to it, it's just not important enough on my list of priorities/responsibilities, so it just stays neglected. So tonight, in honor and celebration of my TWENTIETH move, I am posting again. And I'd like to share a haiku about my blog: my poor lonely blog quietly unattended is waiting to scream I imagine having duct tape over my mouth, and because I'm bogged down with so many other things, I can't pull the tape off to give my thoughts and ideas a voice. Here's to hoping I will find my place back in the blogging world... I miss it...


Jakob has a blog!

Some of you might find it fun to check out Jakob's new blog... He will be posting pictures that he has drawn every Monday, and has also already posted Chapter 1 of his Amazing Comics of the Mighty Inch-Worm!  Go check it out!  He would LOVE some comments :)  (Link below picture)



xo, Shari


Lyme Disease really TICKS me off!

I've been campaigning for signatures on a petition to change how insurance companies will cover treatment for people with Lyme Disease for the last week or so on Facebook, Twitter and even sending emails to celebrities who also suffer from Lyme begging for their help.  


Because of this story about my cousin Justin:

Lyme disease is the 2nd fastest growing infectious disease in the world. But it gets no attention.
I showed classic signs and symptoms for 4 years. I was finally in a wheelchair before I got a correct diagnosis.
They predict it will take 4 years for me to recover to the fullest amount my body will allow.

Lyme disease mimics and can cause permanent diseases; Type 1 Diabetes, MS, ALS, CFS, IBS, CHRONS, CELIAC, FIBRO, RA, MIGRAINES, DEPRESSION, ANXIETY, all of which I have been diagnosed with. 

The Center for Disease Control will not allow doctors to treat patients longer then two weeks with antibiotics for this chronic infection;  yet, they will let doctors prescribe years of antibiotics to people for acne. 

The CDC says Lyme is cured with 2 weeks of antibiotics. 

That is just a blatant lie. 

(I am getting better slowly, after months, and coming up on my first year of taking antibiotics everyday).

The disease is commonly known to be spread by a tick, but it can be spread as a SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASE. I know... I gave it to my wife. I try not to remind myself of that EVERY day. We had been married two years before she, my sister and my dad diagnosed me, and then she tested positive about 6 months after me.The CDC denies that it can be spread this way... like they denied AIDS was an STD in the late '70's.

I have been encouraging my friends who have been chronically ill to get tested. 9/9 have come back positive for Lyme disease! 

You can get this disease anywhere, and sometime in YOUR life, someone you know, besides me, whether closely or distantly, will suffer from this.

It is inevitable. For my age group, this is our generation's AIDS. 

Let's CHANGE this. I am fed up with all HELLTHCARE (Health care)! 

I have experienced the socialized medicine in Canada  and was losing two pounds a day to diabetes for weeks before I was taken seriously! My companion had to carry me into the ER!

Ask yourself how you would respond if someone you loved had a problem like this?
Do a good deed for the day, it ONLY takes about 2 minutes. 

1. Create an account (your name, email, and zip code)
2. Click the link sent to you in your email.
3. Sign the petition. 

Please help spread the news!  

We still need nearly 16,000 signatures by TOMORROW, February 10th.

These are the things we should be bringing awareness to. 

Click HERE to sign the petition.  THANK YOU!



I've been a wife for 11 years, a mother for 10 years, and a an unorganized hot mess for my ENTIRE LIFE.

There was a time that I was proud of my easy-going housekeeping style...but I think it's finally catching up with me and I am just not happy.

I lack discipline and motivation.  Yet, when I DO take the time to clean and organize, I feel SO MUCH BETTER.  I feel happy.  I feel like I accomplished something.  I feel like I've done something that shows my family how much I love them.

Sometime within the last few weeks, we sang a hymn at church that pierced my soul..and I've repeatedly gone back to the phrases in the first verse for inspiration...

Today, while the sun shines, work with a will;
Today all your duties with patience fulfill.
Today, while the birds sing, harbor no care;
Call life a good gift;  call the world fair.

It's always the small, simple messages that hit me the hardest.  It's like a DUH moment, right when you need it, but in a nice way because it's from the Lord.  

I have been known to complain endlessly about the messes at my house...yet hardly ever DO anything to eliminate said messes -- by eliminate I don't just mean clean or tidy up, I mean TEACH my children how to keep things clean and how to MAINTAIN cleanliness.  

Maintenance is my true weakness.  Lack of maintenance is what makes cleaning so overwhelming.  EVERYTHING is a project... not just a 15-20 minute tidy-up job...  

So, my question friends, is HOW do I learn better habits?  I have been lazy and angry about cleaning for so long that I just avoid it and it's definitely NOT something I am proud of.  

I have over 100 pins on Pinterest in my "Cleaning/organizing" board -- it's pathetic.  I find inspiration and examples of great ideas all over the place - yet can't seem to execute them!

Is there such thing as a cleaning therapist?  I mean, sometimes when I watch Hoarders, I secretly wish that those therapists would come to my house -- even though I am not a hoarder...  

Ultimately my guilt and shame about this comes down to the fact that at my core, I truly believe that one of the biggest acts of love and service I can show my husband and children is by making our home a clean and comfortable place to be...a place that they LOVE to be.  And when I don't LOVE to be in my home, I am betting that they don't either.  

Part of this dilemma stems from the fact that we are perpetual renters.  I daydream about decorating, renovating, and putting my own personal stamp on our home - yet, because I'm renting, I am extremely limited in what I can do.  

I am surrounded by gross flat-paint dirty walls (I have a house full of BOYS - do you think white walls stay clean very long here?  NO!) that I ache to paint, but I don't because "who knows how much longer we'll be here" and "why waste the money on decorating a rental?"   

Am I a total mental case?  Maybe.

Am I the only wife/mom/homemaker out there who struggles with this?  No.

So, I am asking for help - yes, I am SOLICITING your advice, tips, experiences, etc.  I know many of you are great at organizing and keeping your homes running smoothly...  This (and many others!) is an area that I want so badly to change in my life, PERMANENTLY.  

Thanks for listening to my rambling!


Jakob is TEN

My sweet Jakob turned 10 on January 4th!  I love this boy so much!  How did he grow up so fast????

I wanted to share some answers from his VIP Interview that he did for his 4th grade class...

What do you want to be when you grow up?  Scientist

One adjective to describe yourself:  Smart

What are your favorite foods?  Orange Chicken, Pizza, Taquitos, BACON

What is your favorite band?  The Killers

What is your favorite car?  Corvette and Camaro

What is your favorite color?  Scarlet

Who is your role model in life?  Dad

If you had a million dollars what would you do?  Buy a mansion, a paintball gun, guards and a butler.

If you could live anywhere else where would it be and why?  Texas because everything is bigger in Texas!

What is your favorite sport?  Soccer

What is your favorite fruit?  Cherry

What is your favorite movie?  Wreck It Ralph and Hugo

If you could have a day off from school and your parents weren't home, what would you do?  Play DS and computer and have friends over

Jakob's birthday fell on a Saturday this year, and so we started the day off with a yummy breakfast of pancakes, eggs and lots of BACON - his favorite!  Then he opened his cards and presents before we headed off on our adventure for the day.  In true form, Jakob requested that we go and visit the California Science Center for his birthday, which is where the space shuttle Endeavour is on exhibit.  It was a really cool place, and like all museums, you can't see everything in ONE day...there's just too much there!  So I hope we will go again soon...

They have a really cool timeline that spans 3 walls of the exhibit showing each shuttle journey...  It was sobering to see the picture of the crew from the Challenger... I will never forget watching that terrible explosion in my 2nd grade class.  We took pictures next to the launches that were closest to the boys' birthdays... Jakob was sad about the Columbia...  That boy!  He got teary eyed and almost wouldn't let me take this picture.

Drew was happy to oblige...but Josh just wasn't feelin' it... little stinker.

I should have brought a wider angle lens with me...  This is my attempt to stitch together multiple images to get the whole shuttle...  It is ENORMOUS.

The big boys wanted to try the climbing wall...Jakob was super excited!  They had never done this before...

Both Drew and Josh gave a valiant effort...but only made it up part way...

Jakob FLEW up that wall like nobody's business!  I guess we found a new sport for him to try!

I love this picture... You can see his shaved eyebrows, his dimples, his freckle on the palm of his hand, and his quirky personality...


spice it up with a scarf!

Cute video from Stella & Dot -- have fun with your scarves ladies!

Source: youtube.com via Vanessa on Pinterest

Happy Wednesday!

xo, Shari



Came across this blog today...and it has the most beautiful message...one that I needed desperately to hear!  I'm sure many of you could benefit from it as well...so take 5 minutes, and go uplift yourself!


Happy Friday!

xoxo,  Shari


dualing blogs

i posted over on my photography blog today -- go see it HERE.  

thank you 
happy thursday

xoxo, shari


Our 2012 Christmas

This year we spent the week of Christmas at my family condo in San Clemente.  We were so excited to see a sign posted "Santa Here 12/23 7pm" at one of the houses in the neighborhood.  We missed our ward Christmas party this year, and we never made it over to the mall, so I was happy that we'd get a chance to snap some pics with Santa.  We never got one with Aleks last year, which makes me sad because it was his first christmas!  Aleks wasn't too happy about sitting on Santa's lap...but we got a pic anyway!  These neighbors were really sweet, and Santa even gave a toy to each of the boys.  They had cookies and treats to share, and fun decorations in their yard.  

Aleks really loved looking at all the fun Christmas lights and decorations!  Funny side story:  When we walked up, the lady saw me with my boys and Aleks in the stroller, and said, "Oh! You finally got your girl!" LOL  This is the first time I've had a stranger think that Aleks was a girl...  She said it was the shoes...  LOL They are red and black plaid - I guess they are girlie-looking?

On Christmas Eve, the boys built graham cracker houses...with all the icing I made for Jakob to take to school, but he never got to use it because he ended up being sick and missing his gingerbread party at school!  

A closer look at Joshy's gingerbread fence :)

We had a lot of fun with this, and Jakob designed a very complicated house (no surprise!) but it ended up quite well with some help from mom :)   He wanted to give up, and we had a nice little teaching moment about following through and finishing what you start.  :)  He has such an incredible talent for building things, Aunt Heather kept saying he should be an architect!

I love that he added the helicopter on the roof!  When he was in preschool, Santa came in a helicopter...so this was a fun detail.

There was lots of time spent in PJs and game playing - as usual!

We had fun "Fa-Ra-Ra-Ra-Ra" Chinese food for Christmas Eve dinner with the Hanson family - Grama Jo-Jo, Ken & Bev, Nathan & Evaly, Uncle Todd, Aunt Heather and all the cousins.  Then we dressed up the little kids to act out the Nativity story.

Our angel was getting sleepy :)  Jakob played Joseph;  McKell played Mary; Cody played Baby Jesus.

Carter and Kylie were shepherds, and Meg was the angel bringing glad tidings of great joy!

Joshy and Drew were the Wisemen bearing gifts for the babe.

Cody wasn't too happy to be part of this...and the kids were quite squirmy, so I didn't get a great shot of the whole group...but this will have to do!

After the Nativity, Joann read a really sweet poem that a friend sent her, called "I'm Spending Christmas With Jesus This Year" -- you can find it HERE.  This was our first Christmas without Bruce, and it was such a touching message...  While she read it, I couldn't help but think of all of the families who lost loved ones this year (Sandy Hook in particular), missing them and picturing them spending Christmas with the Savior.  It was a tender moment when I noticed Jakob wiping his tears, and I know that we all felt the love and comfort and peace of our Heavenly Father in that moment.

Later the kids spent some fun time watching videos with Aunt Heather... and I styled Aleks's sweaty hair to look like he was from Whoville :)

Christmas morning was quiet, but fun.  I made this sign to keep the kids out of the area where the gifts were - but they completely ignored it - as you can see there is a kid in the background!  :)  I love my obedient children.

I'm not super excited about these ant farms that Santa brought...but the boys are!

Drew got his Christmas wish - Skylanders!  Jakob finally got his own watch...he LOVES it!

Every year, Santa brings us tickets to Monster Jam...  It's a fun tradition!!!!!!

Drinking and driving.  Uh-Oh!

One can never have enough DS games, right?

After living in Southern California for 9 years, we decided it was finally time to get Disneyland passes!  The boys are thrilled -- and so am I!  We haven't been to Disneyland since Jakob was 4!!!

We can never get enough of the gorgeous scenery and the relaxing sound of the waves... I love the beach!  Brad surprised me with this beautiful blue topaz necklace...  He spoils me!

Drew, did you know you have a tiny Pikachu on your head?

Aleks is seriously in love with Elmo - and Sesame Street.  I love how he's sticking out his tongue in concentration!!

I absolutely love that my kids love books.  That is one thing we can never get enough of!!  Joann put together these sweet frames holding a picture of Grampa, with foreign coins that he had collected for each of the grandkids.  For some reason, Drew thought this was a cute face for practically all of the pictures he was in this year...  Ahhh...5 year olds!  Grama Betty knows that Drew needs practice tying his shoes, and sent this really fun book!  We love it.

 Aleks never stops moving...and so I hardly got any good pics of him...  Brad likes the sneaky look he has on his face as he reaches into his stocking...  I love his cheeks in the one where he's checking out his new book!

We had a wonderful time all week long...but these are pretty much the only pics I took...  I enjoyed sleeping a lot, and lounging in PJs...  It was a nice vacation!  Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas as well!