Wednesday, February 22, 2012

the Gala

The week before last Dave and I got back from a trip on Sunday night, I got diagnosed with some crazy thing called Hashimoto's Disease on Tuesday, New Beginnings was on Wednesday (more about that back here), the American Mothers Gala dinner on Thursday, and had my parents and sisters arrive in town for Claire's baptism on Friday. The big baptism was on Saturday and all through it I felt like I was in a fog my darn allergies. Who knows if I will ever get to recording all the details on all that in any timely manner, but I just need to write some things down so I can remember them!

Right now I want to talk about the American Mother's Gala.

That's where the new Mother of the Year and Young Mother of the Year are honored for our state, along with a few other mothers who are making a difference in their communities (the same dinner I talked about back here last year where I was among those being honored).

Earlier this year I got to sit in on the panel of judges to select the new Mother of the Year for our state.

I felt pretty lucky about that because I got to meet two very fascinating ladies (the two finalists). I was so inspired by what I learned in our interviews and scribbled notes from both of them the whole time. Here are some of the epiphanies on motherhood that I had while talking to them:

-- Do what you can to make sure your relationship with your children is a good one today. It won't just miraculously turn that way in the future without a little work.

-- Never underestimate how important it is to READ with your kids. It will strengthen your relationship as it builds their literacy skills and gives them a boost in school and in their future.

-- Partner with and support their teachers. Be involved.

-- Respect children as individuals. They may be completely different from you. Work to understand those differences and honor them.

-- Have fun.

-- Distraction is the key for toddlers. Distract them from their tantrums or their sassiness by turning the conversation to a completely different topic {this is one of my very favorite tactics that I had kind of forgotten about}.

-- One mom admitted that being a mom can be downright boring at times. Do something to make it interesting to you whether it is working on a hobby together or sharing your strengths/talents with your children.

-- One of the mothers never had enough money for private lessons of any kind. The kids taught each other what they would glean from others and they all became the best of friends.

-- Never underestimate the power of a little bit of "love and attention." When one of these mothers dealt with a child misbehaving or showing a little attitude she would grab them into a big bear hug and shower them with love and tell them it looked like they could use a little "love and attention." This would always end up in giggles and would quickly dispel the bad feelings.

Most importantly I realized once again the power of a good parent. A good, conscientious parent will in turn raise good parents, which will in turn change the world.

It was neat at the Gala to be able to honor these great mothers. The one on the far left is this year's Mother of the Year. She's the one who gave me most of those epiphanies above. She is a phenomenal mother with a true "mother's heart."

The one next to me below is the Young Mother of the Year for this year from here in the desert.I got to introduce her and she gave such a powerful speech. Her husband died when she was pregnant with her fourth child and the determination and power and love that she has gained from that experience amazed us all. (The other mothers in that above picture were the past Young Mothers of the Year.)

Here are all the past Mothers of the Year who were in attendance:
Such neat ladies.

It was fun to be able to share that night with one of my own children who needed a little extra "love and attention." :)She was most excited about the auction and that we bought our own "time out" stool there.
We had a great time despite the fact that I found out in the middle of the main speeches that Dave never got the text that the little girls were at a neighbor's house and needed to be picked up there when he got home from work. And I spaced it on the tennis carpool pickup that night.

I sat there and thought to myself, "how in Heaven's name am I sitting here with all these accomplished mothers??"

But there I was. And everyone survived.

How grateful I am for the experience I've had this year with this organization. These are the ladies on our state board:
(Excuse the's tough to hold a camera still enough to get a good shot at night but Grace did a pretty good job! :)

I've learned so much from all these ladies. And I'm looking forward to the convention in Washington D.C. in May.


  1. Shawni, would love to here more about Hashimotos. I also have been diagnosed with it and had my thyroid taken out last year. I know you are super busy, but here is my email!

  2. I also have Hashimoto's Disease; I was diagnosed when I was 18. Fortunately, it hasn't been a big deal at all (for me, at least) and it's easily controlled with medication. I hope you're having a lovely day!

    Your paralyzed friend,

  3. How wonderful. Hey don't worry about missing pick ups with your kids. Just makes you look human like the rest of us mothers.

    My daughter was diagnosed with Hashimotos disease 2yrs ago. She takes Synthroid everymorning and is doing better in school and sports than ever before.

    Modern Medicine is such a good thing.
    I guess it runs in the family. Just found out Grandma had it.
    Wouldn't hurt to ask around to see if it runs in your family.

    Take care.

  4. Wishing you the best with your diagnoses.

    Just wanted to comment on this one: "Never underestimate the power of a little bit of 'love and attention.'"
    - it really DOES work wonders! A friend of mine lets her son choose between a spanking or a kiss - I think she's brilliant! So I've been using it on my 3 year old twin boys....when they're acting up I have them come to me and I "kiss their faces off". It erases my anger and makes them giggle with joy.

  5. I also have Hashimoto's Disease. I would love to read more about how you were diagnosed and what your plans are to treat it. LOVE your blog, btw!! :)

  6. Aran of Canelle and Vanille is just one of many who have Hashimoto's and eliminated all her symptoms by going gluten-free; in fact, gluten seems to play a role in many autoimmune diseases. Although the transition is not easy, you may find it helps you as well. There is a paragraph on her about page:

  7. I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's last July and it has been a journey. Like the comments above I have found that cutting out the things that I'm allergic to (gluten, dairy, eggs) has made a big difference. Make sure that you are tested for food allergies, especially since 90% of people with Hashimoto's also have a gluten allergy. I wish you the best of luck, and I know you'll be just fine.

  8. Hashimotos here too!! And a goiter!! And an "inconclusive" node. I have been on thyroid medication since I was 13. 21 years now. Just last fall I was diagnosed with hashimotos and a new doctor put me on Armour!! I'm kind of bugged that no other doctor in 21 years ever thought to put me on it. I use to think I was a very depressed person. Turns out I just needed the right thyroid medication. Good luck with that. There are a lot of us who would LOVE to hear updates. Thanks.

  9. I was on Armour as well for 6 years, and now I am trying Nature-Throid. I haven't decided whether or not I like it yet.

  10. I read a great blog written by an Australian media personality who has Hashimotos. She has lots of ideas for assisting with this disease.

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  12. I was diagnosed (no symptoms)the same week as you, Shawni, and have been blessed with a naturopath and PA who are working TOGETHER to get it solved. Right now I am on a t-3 and T-4 drug and have cut out all wheat. they will recheck my antibodies in a month and we will go from there.

    What was hardest on me was that I take good care of myself and eat really well and showed no symptoms. But with faith and trust in God and that He alone knows my body best, I have come to a place of peace with the diagnosis. Thanks for your wonderful, encouraging blog!

  13. Wish we could have been there. There's always too much going on. So many places to be at the same you mentioned in this post. Love you! Miss you!

  14. In reading these comments, we'd better look into gluten issues, especially since you are suffering with allergies right now. Weird that it only comes at this time of year though. Seems to be a plant allergy. Hummm. Let's think!

  15. This is why I love blogging. There are so many people who can relate and offer their experience and suggestions. Good luck with your diagnosis.
    I really loved the information you shared and I am going to actively do the "love and attention" when my children act out. I think this will make such a long as I can remember it in the moment!!Thank you so much for always inspiring me.
    Lisa in Seattle

  16. I LOVE that sweet Melissa (the new mother of the year)!!! She was in our ward in Mesa. Love her courage and strength. I'm quite sure I'll never forget listening to her bear her testimony!
    My husband has been helping a bunch of his patients with Hashimoto's lately, with a natural approach. But we are kind of those "freaky people" who don't use much medicine...just vitamins and such :).
    I'm sad the little workout group is full. I was super looking forward to getting some early morning workouts in!

  17. Thank you for all that share about Motherhood & parenting. It makes me look forward to it, someday.

  18. I too have hashimotos (although it went misdiagnosed for about 5 years) and i also have celiac. you may considered getting checked since they're both autoimmune diseases and there are high numbers suggesting if you have one you most likely have the other. you're lucky that you haven't gained weight like crazy, i did and have been fighting it for years. i feel better for the most part (with meds) but it's a constant body attacking it's self. good luck shawni.

  19. oh man, gluten free! i have been trying a mostly gluten free diet to see if it makes me feel better (just for fun). that would be quite the overhaul for your family, shawn. i can't help but giggle at hashimoto's. i know that is horrible. readers, it's an inside joke. love you and your mother-of-the-year-dom. already feeling like it's time to see each other again.

  20. Well I guess you are not alone in this disease, but still not fun at all. I hope you feel better!

  21. I have Hashimoto's disease and also celiac disease. I've been gluten free for 4 months (just diagnosed; I'm 19) and I'm doing better than ever before. I don't know how you are feeling but if you are run down you might consider an intestinal cleanse! It runs in the family, so you should have Elle tested at some point too.

  22. It was such fun to talk to you today and yesterday! I hope you feel better with your health. Lots of good ideas on here for you. I love all the things you learned at the gala. Wow! Love all those ideas! Can't wait to see you in May! Love, Darcy U.

  23. I just have to tell you Shawni what an inspiration you are to me and so many mothers out there. I so love how you are completely down to earth and at the same time totally inspiring. Just glancing at your posts gives me a smile, makes me laugh, and leaves me with - I can do this! I was talking with my mother-in-law today who explained how your mother was her #1 inspiration and example as she raised her family. And you are such a light to me and to the world! Just wanted you to know someone out there in cyber space :) is cheering you on, and I know Heaven Father is too. You go girl. Keep being you and doing amazing things. If you ever get discouraged, just know that the Lord adores you and is working through you to work miracles! Thank you for making your mothering and your... wifing your #1 priority!

  24. My big bro swears by Local Bee Pollen after a rather nasty allergy year. (allergy meds didn't work at all) I hear you take a teaspoon every day and your allergies go Buh-Bye.

  25. Shawnil I've had Hashimoto's for about 13 years. My sister has it too. We have both been easily controlled with medication and now it's just an afterthought that I take my medication. But I do know once I started taking medication, I began to feel better. So good luck with yours. Just one more thing you've got to deal with, but you are a champ. You are amazing!

  26. When you come across people who meet the criteria and are willing, we'd love to have a couple more contributors over at :) We're learning from several experienced parents from over there in Phoenix and love it so much!

  27. I'm sorry about your health problems--moms just don't have time for that! I know so many people have different stories and advice...but here is one more. My brother (neuro-surgeon at the Barrows in Phoenix/Columbia Med. School--VERY skeptical of anything resembling a fad-diet) highly recommends a book on managing health and hormones through diet. My brother said the medical research is all very sound, mixed with some common sense. Anyway, the book talks quite a bit about thyroid health--foods that help and hinder the thyroid. It is written by an MD--not a great writer--kind of geeky and repetitive--but the substance is there. "The Perfect 10 Diet" (focuses on balancing 10 key hormones) by Michael Aziz, M.D. Thyroid problems run rampant in our family, so it has been very helpful. All the best!

  28. My sister in law has Hoshimotos and goes the natural route with Dr. Keefer over at Dr. Rittling's office. She is very well versed in this. So sorry you have one more thing added to your plate!

  29. shawn, first, love all the great motherhood inspiration in this post. Thanks! You are so rad. So happy you're my sister. I miss you.

    Anyway, random place to write this, I also just heard about the local honey to cure should try it. Weird, but makes lots of sense to me.

  30. I also have Hashimoto's Disease - I had my thyroid removed last month. My thyroid was hyper - Like yours might be ( Hypo more likely to gain weight ) Don't be in too big of hurry to get your thyroid removed. See what you can do with meds etc. They told me that it would involve lots of tests and concern with cancer if I left my very large thyroid in. Study it out and get lots of info. It is a whole new set of issues with the thyroid removed. ( like without meds you die. ) Best wishes.

  31. There are new treatment options for Hashimoto’s that are very effective. Most of your immune system is located in the gut. If you have imbalances it can result in autoimmune disease including Hashimoto’s.

    I write about it on the thyroid blog

    You are welcome to visit!


    Hope this helps.


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