September 17, 2013

A Debbie post

Some of you already know this but for the record, I would like write about my new hobby. Since March 2013, I have been writing articles for I found their website from an article someone posted on their Facebook page. From there I researched how people became regular contributors to the site and found out that many of them are just regular people sharing their experiences and tips on how to strengthen and nurture family life. I kept thinking, "This would be fun. I'm no marriage/family therapist, but I definitely have some crazy and somewhat informative hands-on parenting experiences worthy of sharing." From there I contributed about one article per month. In May I received an email from FamilyShare's editor asking for a certain amount of people to become "FamilyShare Fivers" (basically you would commit to contributing 5 solid articles a month and get paid a little for each article). With Nick's encouragement, I applied. I kept thinking I was completely under qualified and hadn't submitted enough articles for them to even consider me. To my shock, a few days later I received and email from an editor welcoming me to their Independent Contributor writing team! I was beyond excited - but also a little nervous about the commitment. I knew right away I had to set some goals. Goal #1 - Protect my family time. I do my best to work on articles only when the kids are sleeping or out with daddy. Goal #2 - Submit articles 1-2 times per week. I've done pretty well on the 1st goal. The 2nd one, let's just say I've had some weeks quite similar to my cramming days in school. Yikes. Gotta work on that.

23 articles later and I'm still feeling good about this commitment. It's been extremely fulfilling and rewarding - as well as a nice outlet for me during my down time. I look at some of my articles and think "I made that. And people are reading it. This is crazy." I'm reminded of the quote by President Uchtdorf: "The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul. No matter our talents, education, backgrounds, or abilities, we each have an inherent wish to create something that did not exist before."

Even though I'm grateful for mostly a positive response to my articles, I still lack a lot of confidence in my writing ability. Almost every article I write will go through this thought process: "This is a pretty good article...It's OK...This kind of stinks...What was I thinking?" Then when I submit it for editing and receive good feedback, I am always surprised and then think, "Alright, I guess it's not that bad."

So there you have it. I think I've found my niche. I've never been a crafter, gardener, home decor person, fashionista, or creative party-throwing mommy/wife. But writing, I can do. Somewhat. And FYI - I will be keeping an ongoing list of all the articles I've written. Click here if you are interested in reading a few of them. And keep in mind that I'm still learning the ropes of writing (and motherhood. and marriage). So be kind as you read through them. :)

My FamilyShare articles

Kicking mommy guilt to the curb

Don't postpone your happiness

How to be comfortable in your skin

How to reconnect with you spouse after the birth of your baby

How to know when to let visitors meet you baby

How to be a new mom and keep your identity

School's out! 15 ideas to cure summer boredom

How to be a better listener

Parting with the pacifier

How to get your child's academic career off to a great start

Give a mom a break: 6 ways for mom to loosen up

5 tips to ensure sweet dreams for little ones

How to deal with unsolicited parenting advice

How to keep the grocery store from draining your wallet

Say it and mean it: 4 things your wife is waiting to hear

What to do when you struggle being a stay-at-home mom

Potty training 101: 7 tips for a positive experience

7 ways to show gratitude to your husband

How to respectfully communicate your needs in marriage

15 fun things to do to celebrate fall

5 ways to celebrate being yourself

6 marriage-killer phrases to avoid

6 tips for you and baby number 2

10 ideas to get you motivated to exercise 

8 stroller games for toddlers

What the parenting books didn't tell you about being a parent

How to stop comparing yourself and start loving yourself now

How to strengthen your family bond

How to know if he's marriage material

September 12, 2013

A long time coming

So I have some good news. OK, it's actually FANTASTIC, AWESOME, BEEN-WAITING-FOR THIS-FOREVER NEWS.

Nick is no longer working on Sunday!!!!

Alright, some of you already knew this tidbit of info since I announced it on Facebook a couple of weeks ago. But I simply must document this event on my blog. It's kind of a big deal. :)

So let me start this off with a tender memory that makes me tear up whenever I think about it. Nick started working Sunday's in December of 2010. I remember it like it was yesterday because that very first Sunday he worked, I went over to Mikel's apartment to hang out with her and her daughter, Azia, for a few hours. I was pregnant with Aspen and Toby was the same age Aspen is now. I can still clearly remember our conversations. We watched Eclipse together, she pointed out a favorite song, we laughed a lot (there was sure to be laughter with Mikel). It's still hard to think about. It still hurts. But at the same time, I'm so glad I have that memory because just a few weeks later she passed away. How invaluable for me to have had that one-on-one time before she left our family for a time. Gosh, I miss her.

After that, my Sunday's went something like this: If Nick was working the day shift, he was gone from 5:30 am till 7:00 pm. If he was working graveyards, I would wake up with the kids, get them ready, wake up Nick for Sacrament meeting, Nick would go back home after Sacrament meeting to catch some more Z's, I would bring the kiddos home after church, put Aspen down for a nap, start dinner, Nick would wake up around 4 or 4:30, we'd eat a quick dinner and he was out the door by 5:30 pm.

Doing that for 2 years and 9 months was hard. I won't sugar coat it. Sunday's never felt like a day of rest. In fact, I often felt more frazzled, exhausted, and short tempered on a Sunday than any other day of the week. I gained a whole new respect and empathy for other women who do the Sunday shenanigans alone week after week. I have to say though, that even though the 3 hours at church was rough, I think being by myself on a Sunday night when Nick worked graveyards was the worst. Every other night of the week I was excellent at distracting myself. For some reason on Sunday nights, after the kids were in bed, I just felt really alone.

But I can say now (with a small pat on my back) that I did it. I tried really hard to never miss going to church just because it was too hard or I didn't feel like it (I'm kind of a masochist that way). Yes, I make TONS of mistakes. And now that I'm a parent, I feel like my mistake quota has quadrupled. BUT...I really feel I can look back on those few years with a clear conscience and say I did my best to be faithful in attending my meetings. Bottom line: I wanted to show the Lord how badly I wanted things to change with Nick's work schedule, so I tried my best to stay worthy of that blessing at all times. (Doctrine & Convenants 82:10)

And how quickly it changed. Nick told me a couple of months ago that his shift was going to change to the Wednesday - Saturday shift and I kind of didn't believe him. He has said that 2 or 3 times in the past and inevitably something happened at work (out of his control) that kept him on the Sunday - Wednesday shift. As much as I wanted to be excited about it, I kind of had this "I'm not going to get my hopes up" attitude.

But then it happened.

A few weeks ago, Nick went to church with us, stayed at church, came home with us and we ate a real (not rushed) Sunday dinner as a family. And to be honest, it was kind of a shock to my system. So much that I felt a few tears trickle down my cheek while I prepared dinner. I just kept thinking, "I can't believe it. He's here to stay. He doesn't have to sleep or be anywhere. This is AWESOME." 

So that is the story of Sunday's at the Sibert's. Yay for change! Yay for husband's who work hard! 
So grateful to have you back with us, Nicholas.  We've missed ya!

(OK, technically this ^ was our first Sunday together but I didn't count it because we were at our nephews farewell. At least I got a picture of it!)