Monday, December 28, 2009

Optimistic Mondays – New Years Resolutions

As a new year approaches, we often hear the phrase “New Years Resolutions”. At some point in our lives, we’ve all tried it. Sometimes we succeed. Most of the time, we fail. Why is that?

I do not believe in New Years Resolutions. When I hear someone talk about them, I cringe inside. Why? They very seldom work.

Most people that know me well know that I am a goal-oriented person. I LOVE GOALS! I set them on a regular basis. I set yearly goals, monthly goals, daily goals, and even sometimes even hourly goals.

So what’s the deal? Is there a difference between setting goals, and making New Years Resolutions? YES! To me, there is.

A resolution feels so final, like there is no breathing room. I will write everyday. I will stop eating sweets. I will exercise 5 times a week. I will keep my house clean.

What happens the first time you don’t write? How do you feel after eating the first donut? Only exercise 3 times in a particular week? Too busy to clean the house?

When we go into something with a determination to succeed, but don’t allow ourselves any wiggle room, we will almost always fail. After the first sweet treat, we feel as though we might as well quit trying.

So many times I’ve heard someone say, “Well, I already broke my resolution. I might as well have another one.” Some make it a few days, some a few weeks, but most people eventually quit.

Goals, on the other hand, are much more flexible. You can set a goal to lose weight. You can decide you want to write a certain number of words a day/week/month. You can decide you want to start training to run a marathon.

The difference is that you have to set realistic goals. If you set the bar too high, you will most certainly fail. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to stretch. We should always be trying to push past our comfort zone. That is how we grow and learn.

If you slip up, and eat something bad, you can start again. If you thought you could write 3,000 words a day, but find you can really only do 500, you can adjust your goal. And don’t try to run a marathon the first time you go jogging. Take time, and build up to it.

Write your goals down. I once heard that a goal not written down is only a wish. If you really want to succeed, write it down, and refer to it often. Share your goals with a friend, and encourage that friend to do the same. Maybe you can work on them together, and help each other succeed.

Most importantly, do not quit. If you didn’t make it to the gym this week, don’t cancel your membership. Try harder next week. If you can’t go 5 times a week, change your goal to 3 times a week.

The more goals you accomplish, the better you will feel about yourself. I’ve witnessed this first hand. I’ve noticed a pattern in my life. When I get lazy, and don’t work toward my goals, I always find myself feeling down. I have no motivation, and my patience is not what it should be.

It is during those unmotivated times that it is even more important for me to get up, and get moving. I force myself to do something, even if I don’t want to. Before long, I realize my attitude has changed, and I’m in a better mood. I find that I actually want to work on my goals, instead of dreading them.

Don’t forget to share your goals with Heavenly Father. He loves each of us, and wants to be involved in our lives. No one can give you more assistance than him, if you are willing to ask for his help.

Happy Monday.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Journaling – To type or Not to type; that is the question.

I’ve been a sporadic journal keeper for as long as I can remember. I will write every few days, and then go for months without writing anything at all. Sometimes I like what I’ve written, other times I wish I would have not put certain thoughts down on paper.
My current journal spans over seven years. I only have a few blank pages left, and as the end of the book approaches, I’ve been asking myself how to proceed. Should I continue hand-writing them, or switch to a computer typed format?
I see good and bad to each scenario.
A hand written journal feels more personal. It’s a physical object you can hold in your hands as you read through your own history, or that of another.
There are a couple of reasons I don’t like hand writing my journal entries. I don’t like my handwriting. Sound like a silly reason? I think so too, but it can’t be helped. I really don’t like my handwriting. When I write fast, that handwriting gets even sloppier. I hate going back and re-reading it. I can’t focus on what the words say, only how the handwriting looks. The thought of someone else reading my scribbles nearly gives me nightmares.
The second reason I think would prefer a type written format, is that I can go back and edit. I’m not talking about months or years later, changing the story or anything. But there are so many times that I’ve started writing a sentence, and my thought process changes half way through, and I want to change what I’ve written. I hate crossed out words even more than I hate my handwriting.
As for type written? It’s less personal. I can eventually print it, but it lacks the hand-touched feel to it.
But type written eliminates both of my problems I’m currently dealing with. No worries about what my handwriting looks like, and I can edit.
Also, I think I would write more consistently if it were in the computer. I’m already here most days, emailing, blogging, and working on my manuscript. It might be an easier and more natural way to write my personal history too.
As the new year approaches, I see a perfect opportunity to make the switch, especially since my current journal is almost all used up.
So my question for all of you is:
Do you keep a journal, an if so, what method do you use?

Monday, December 21, 2009

Optimistic Mondays – A Rookie Mistake

I have been married for ten years, going on one. I’ve learned many things over the course of the last decade. But all of that knowledge does me no good if I’m not going to use it.

Last week I made a rookie mistake. I was cooking dinner; multi-tasking at it’s best. Kids are always just a little more needy during “Dinner-making-time”, and I was trying my best to keep them happy, and not burn the food. In my distracted state, the mistake was made.

One of the pans on the stove was finished, and I emptied it into the other, placing the pan in the sink. Something spilled over on the stove, and the smoke alarms started blazing. My husband waved a pillow in front of it, while I opened the window to let the smoke out. Although I do not often burn dinner, we are well practiced in the process of smoke alarms. The smallest amount of smoke sends them into a frenzy.

Once the process was complete, I returned to the task of dinner. Picking the pan up from the sink, I realized my mistake. I had placed a hot-off-the-burner pan directly on top of a plastic Tupperware container. When I picked up one, the other followed.

The lid had melted, and attached itself to the bottom of my pan. Like I said, a total rookie mistake. After ten years of cooking dinner, I should have known better. I pried them apart, and this was the result:

The good news in all of this? At least I was able to pick the plastic off the bottom of the pan, saving me the trouble of buying a new one. The Tupperware was given a proper burial, in the recycle bin. May he rest in peace.

Happy Monday.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Optimistic Mondays – Faith

I love motivating quotes. They are everywhere, if you look for them. I keep a notebook by my desk, where I right down quotes that make me feel good or give me hope.

For today's post I'm simply going to give you one of them. I have a lot of favorites, so this is only one of many.

"Faith makes all things possible, not easy."

I don't know who said it, but I believe it's true. We have to face problems everyday. Some are simple, and some are difficult and heartbreaking. If we hold onto our faith, and put our trust in Heavenly Father's plan for us, we can make it through anything we are faced with.

Happy Monday!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Fifty Thousand

I just reached a new mile marker, pushing past the 50,000 word mark. I'm excited about where the story is going, and have enjoyed watching, as it unfolds. I have always known how it will end, but getting there has been an adventure for even me.

My original goal was to finish my first draft by my birthday, in February. Now I keep thinking that I would love to have it done by the New Year. It sounds crazy, and I don't know if I can pull it off. I know that it won't be full length by then (around 80,000-90,000 words), but it's just a first draft, right? I have a lot of revising to do, as well as some major character building.

But for now, I plan to just keep hammering on the keyboard, and not look back. Revisions are what next year is for.

2010: Here I come!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Optimistic Mondays – Christmas Shopping

I am not a shopper. I don’t get a thrill out of being in a crowd of people, all racing to the back of the store for the same item. I don’t think it sounds like fun to get up at 3:00 a.m. to get a good deal at one store, and then racing on to the next. Not even if it’s an amazing deal. I don’t like waiting in long lines, just so I can purchase my cart full of “Great Deals”. The idea of people fighting over who gets into the toy store first, amazes me. I think that maybe, just maybe, those people have lost the Spirit of Christmas.

Some people thrive on the excitement of Christmas shopping. Good for them, unless they were the ones throwing the punches, or pushing some poor elderly woman out of the way.

So what do I love about Christmas shopping? The fact that I always get done early. I never have to go out and fight the crowds, or the weather. It’s true that I don’t always get an amazing deal on what I buy, but I’m okay with that.

I start thinking about Christmas gifts in the summertime. When I find something I like, I get it. And that way, I don’t have to worry about how I’m going to pay for everyone’s gifts at the same time, which makes it nice on the budget.

And I get to spend the month of December enjoying the season. What could be better than that?

Happy Monday

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Optimistic Tuesday?

Okay, so I missed my Monday post yesterday. Sorry "K" for not giving you the lift you need for the week. :)

But it's Tuesday now, and I'm feeling very optimistic, or maybe it's overwhelmed, terrified, and slightly insane. No, it's definitely optimistic...

Today is opening day for registration to the LDStorymakers Conference. I've been so excited about this, and had it on my calender to register December 1st. And... I just got done. I'm officially registered. But I didn't stop with a simple registration, oh no! I signed up for a few extras. That's where the "overwhelmed, terrified, and slightly insane" come in.

I'm attending "Boot Camp", which is an intense kind of critique group. My writing will be reviewed by others like me, as well as a published author, and I can only hope to live through it. (My writing is just as nervous as I am.) It sounds terrifying, but I know that I need to get comfortable with other writer's critiques, so I'm going for it.

I'm entering a "First Chapter" contest, and my first chapter needs serious revision to even come close to being acceptable. It's in first draft form now, and I know of several changes I plan to make. Luckily I have until the first of March to make those adjustments. But first, I want to finish my first draft.

I've also signed up to meet with a publishing agent, to pitch my manuscript. I'll have 10 minutes to basically sell the story idea, and see if they are interested. They will also give advice on what they want me to change, in order for them to be interested. Can you say, SCARY???

So, I've got to finish my first draft, revise my first chapter, and figure out how to pitch the story. The conference isn't until April 23-24, so I can only hope to get it all done in time.

I'm so excited, and Optimistic!! (Wish me luck!) ;)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Optimistic Mondays – Bedtime

I’m referring, of course, to my children’s bedtime. It’s one of my least favorite times of the day. It’s such a process. First, I start with my son. He’s the easy one. At just over a year old, he’s pretty worn out by bedtime. Change his diaper, put him in pajamas, kiss him goodnight, put him in his crib, and close the door. Done!

My daughter, used to be easy, just like that. Not any more. Here’s my routine: Tell her to hug and kiss her daddy. Go upstairs and brush teeth, get a drink of water, go potty, change into pajamas, read story, say prayers, turn on music, and finally tuck her in. Not too bad, right? Wrong!

Before I can get the door closed, she’s asking for another drink. Then she needs to go potty again. She wants her stuffed piggy, so I go downstairs to get it. Another drink. Now she wants to watch TV with Daddy. Finally, after working every angle, she gets “scared” and wants me to sleep with her.

I pull out a pillow and blanket (tucked under the bed because of the frequent usage), and lay down. This usually does it. But the whole time I’m thinking to myself, “I have so much to do.” Finally, once she falls asleep, I am able to go about my business.

Evenings are my time. I need time to unwind, to catch up on things, or to just have personal stare-at-the-wall-feeling-overwhelmed time. We all need time like that, don’t we? I often get so caught up in getting to the “my time” that I forget that my children’s needs should come first.

I need to enjoy the time with her. I need to find joy in the fact that I don’t need to see the book, in order to read it to her. I’ve read it so many times that it’s ingrained in my memory. I need to remember the excitement I felt when she first learned to say her own bedtime prayer.

When I put myself in the right frame of mind, I can use the time alone, while lying on her floor, in her room, in the dark, to think. I can organize my thoughts, plan the following day, or reflect on how many blessings I in my life. I can offer thanks for my precious children, and the joy they bring to my life.

This is one I have to work very hard at, to see the positive side. But like everything else, there is always an optimistic way of seeing it.

Happy Monday!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Word Count

I just reached 40,000 words on my first draft!!! Yay for me. I think I deserve a treat... :)

Book Review - Alma

Last night I finished reading "Alma" by H.B. Moore. It's her newest release, and the second book in the series. It's the story of the prophet Alma from the Book of Mormon. Once again, H.B. Moore has taken a story from the scriptures and brought it to life in a that is easy to understand, and entertaining too. I connected with the characters and story line, and I have a greater appreciation for the original text of the Book of Mormon.

I look forward to the next in the series, "Alma the Younger", sometime next spring.

Great Christmas gifts for youth and adult alike.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Optimistic Mondays – 30 Minutes

Have you ever had one of these experiences?

You’re at home, minding your own business, and you get a phone call. The caller asks if they can stop by for a few minutes. They are headed out the door, and will arrive in less than thirty minutes. This isn’t the kind of visitor that will be standing on your porch; rather, it’s the kind you will be inviting into your home.

The house is in a not-so-presentable stage. There are dirty dishes in the sink, and even breakfast dishes still on the table. Toys are scattered across the entire floor. You and the kids are still in your pajamas, and you haven’t done your makeup.

Of course, you tell the person on the phone, “Sure, now’s a great time. I’ll see you soon.” Then you hang up and immediately begin to panic.

Ever happen to you?

Right. Me too!

But after I take a minute to get over the shock, I find that it’s a pretty wonderful opportunity.

A few weeks ago, my mother-in-law called. She asked if she could come over that afternoon, and have me help her with something. It was still early morning, so I thought that sounded fine. Well, somehow the morning slipped away from me, and before I knew it, she was calling to tell me she was on her way. It was noon, so technically, she was coming “this afternoon” like she had said earlier. My interpretation of “this afternoon” was around 2 or 3. Wrong!

The people who know me best live under the false conclusion that my house is always neat and orderly. While I do my best to keep up with that pretense, it’s just not true. I get lazy, and the mess starts to pile up. It’s simple things, like wanting to catch up on my blog reading, writing the latest chapter of my story, or finishing another chapter in the book I’m currently reading. Before I know it, it looks like I haven’t cleaned in a week, although I could have sworn it was spotless yesterday.

But when I’m faced with an impending visit, from someone who believes my house to be exempt from kid’s messes, I realize just how much I can get done, in a short amount of time.

I can spend all day thinking about what I need to do that day, and never actually get anything accomplished. I’ll sit down and write up a list, and then prioritize it. Sometimes I even estimate how long it should take to do, so I know if I’ll be done on time.

But when I only have thirty minutes to get it all done, I don’t have time for list making. I have to throw the plan out the window, and just do it. And it amazes me how much I can get done. I find myself running from one room to another, and actually enjoying the excitement of the deadline. It becomes a game: Can I get the laundry folded and put away before the doorbell rings? Can I sweep the kitchen floor, removing the crushed cereal from breakfast? Can I take out the garbage, including the diapers from upstairs first? Will my house stop smelling like diapers before her arrival? Quick, turn on the candle warmer!

On that particular day, I actually found myself with time to spare, so I grabbed my book and started reading a new chapter. Just when it started getting good… knock, knock.

I opened the door, and smiled when she said, “It smells good in here. Are you baking?”

Give it a try. By the afternoon, you just might find yourself with time to do something you WANT to do.

Happy Monday.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Optimistic Mondays – Independent Kids

Having independent kids can be difficult. My 2-1/2 year old daughter rarely gets her shoes on the right feet. Her pants are put on backwards frequently. She puts way too much toothpaste on the brush. She gets her own drink from the bathroom sink, climbing on the toilet to do so, and spills all over as she gets down. If I offer to help she refuses. “I do it myself!”

My 15-month-old son’s newest thing is going down the stairs by himself. He’s been doing it “the standard way” for several months (backing down). That’s always been fine. Now, he sees his big sister going down frontwards. So he thinks he should do it that way too. He tries to hang onto the wall and step. That kind of freaks him out a little (and me a LOT), so he sits down. Then he goes down one by one, sitting, then scooting forward until he drops a step. He’s not very stable, and I don’t like it at all when he tries it on the big stairs. The small ones I’m okay with, but he doesn’t listen.

He also started being independent when he eats. He’s started to refuse to eat anything I try to feed him. I have to put it down on the table, so he can pick it up and feed himself. I had a small hamburger the other day, and he wouldn’t take a bite (he used to all the time). When I put it in front of him, he picked the whole thing up and bit in. It was a little weird seeing my baby eat a hamburger.

But the thing I have to keep reminding myself is that independence is a GOOD thing! They are learning and developing. They will never progress if I do everything for them. So even if I have to clean the kitchen floor after every meal, and wipe up the sink after each drink, it’s a good thing.

Happy Monday!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Reading and Writing

I’ve been working on writing my first novel for the last several months. Today I reached the 30,000-word mile mark. I’m very excited. I need to get to at least 80,000 words, eventually. I’ve learned so much since I got started, and I must say that the writing community here in Utah is incredible. There is an abundance of support out there for aspiring authors, like myself. I’ve met published authors and new beginners, as well as everyone in between, and they all have the same thing in common. They love to write, and they love to support anyone else who loves to write. What a great community.
A few weeks ago I attended a writers class at a local library, taught by published author Michele Ashman Bell. She took time out of her schedule to meet with people like me, who hope to someday be published. I learned a few new things that night, but most importantly, I came away with confidence and motivation to keep going.
I follow several writer’s blogs, all out there to offer support and encouragement to fellow writers.
As I’ve submerged myself into the writing world, I’ve discovered authors I had never heard of before, as well as re-discovered some I’ve read. Recently, I’ve read some exciting new books, and wanted to pass them along to you. They are all in the LDS Genre, which is what I'm writing in as well.

Mini Book Reviews:

Lemon Tart and English Trifle,
by Josi Kilpack (LDS Fiction – Mystery)
I loved the main character of this book. Sadie is a spunky middle age woman who feels it is her personal responsibility to know all of the going-ons of her neighbors. And she’s tends to be a trouble magnet. I look forward to the 3rd book in this series, when it comes out next year.

Eyes Like Mine, by Julie Wright (LDS Fiction)
With a half-pioneer/ half modern world time setting, this book was a lot of fun to read. Julie Wright used this story to show the importance of how family is here to support us through our trials. Not just our living family members, but also those who are on the other side of the veil.

Abinadi, by H.B. Moore (LDS Historical Fiction- Book of Mormon Fiction)
This is my most recent read. Heather Moore has an incredible way of bringing the story of Abinadi to life. I recommend it to anyone who wants a better look into this Book of Mormon story. I’ve already started reading her newest novel, the second in the series, called Alma, and love it.

I’ll continue to post my latest reads, and I hope you will enjoy them as much as I do.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Optimistic Mondays – Weigh-in Day

While I was attending weekly meetings at Weight Watchers, I heard a lot of motivating messages. One of my favorite ones was:

Being overweight is HARD.

Losing weight is HARD.

Maintaining your weight (after losing it) is HARD.

Choose your HARD!

At the time, I was in the process of loosing the weight. I could fully agree with the fact that being overweight was hard. I struggled with it daily.

Loosing weight was not as hard, for me. Once I made up my mind, and found a program that worked for me, I just stuck to it. I didn’t cheat. I wasn’t tempted. I could sit in a room full of chocolate chip cookies and ice cream, and not eat anything. It wasn’t because I was restricted from cookies. It was because I was motivated. I was strong. I was accomplishing my goal.

Now that I’ve reached my goal weight, I’ve moved onto the ‘maintaining’ phase. For me, THIS IS HARD! It’s like I’ve lost all my motivation. I can no longer be in that room filled with sweets, without pigging out like a starving child. My mind, or maybe my taste buds, is telling me, “Its okay to eat 10 cookies. You’ve lost your extra weight. You don’t need to deprive yourself anymore.”

I am struggling to find the balance. Yes, it’s okay to enjoy a cookie, or two. But that’s where my problem lays. I have to find out how to tell myself to stop after that second cookie. And I’m working on it.

That brings us back to Weigh-in Day.

I usually weight-in on my home scale on Monday mornings. That’s part of the “Fresh Start” approach to my week. It kick starts me. It makes me feel one of two things. The first is the feeling of success. That happens when my weight is within the range I want it to be. That means I’ve successfully maintained for another week. This is rarely the situation. Usually, it’s the second: Crap! I’m up again.

When this happens, as it did this morning, I can react in two different ways. The first one is to get discouraged and eat anything I want, to make me feel better. That never works!

The second reaction is to determine that I will do better. I will put a stop to the climbing numbers on the scale. By far, this is the better answer. It’s the one I try to take, week after week.

As the holiday season approaches, I have a challenge for any of you who are looking to loose weight. Don’t wait until the New Year. Don’t put it off, thinking you’ll fix it later. At the very least, determine to yourself that you won’t gain any weight. Commit yourself to at least maintaining where you are. Prove to yourself that you are in control. If you try this, like I’m going to try, you just might surprise yourself.

And if you have a bad day, or a bad week, just think: Tomorrow’s a new day. Start again.

Happy Monday.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Optimistic Mondays – Halloween

It’s just around the corner, and I will admit that Halloween is one of my LEAST favorite holidays. I don’t usually get dressed up. I can’t stand the creepy, crawly, icky stuff. For example, spider webs strung across the railings, headstones covering the front yard, and body-less limbs hanging out of car doors. They just give me the creeps. It’s so dark. I like cheerful and happy things.
But as a mother, I’m trying to see Halloween with new eyes. I love the cute costumes for the kids. I love how I can’t get my daughter to take off her princess dress.
I also love the fun food that comes with Halloween. There are so many creative people out there, always coming up with new ways to have fun with food. Here are a few cute Halloween treat ideas: Fun with Spiders, and Frankenpops. There are so many fun ideas out there; they’re changing the way I think about Halloween.
So, what’s my LEAST favorite thing about Halloween? The candy! All that candy, just hanging around, waiting to be eaten by who? Me!
My FAVORITE thing with Halloween? The candy! All that candy, just hanging around, waiting to be eaten by ME!!
Next week’s preview: Weigh-in day at the scale! (I’m already nervous.)
Happy Monday!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Optimistic Mondays – The Kitchen Floor

I love to live in a clean house. However, cleaning house is not my favorite thing to do. I don’t thrive on it. It’s not what I do when I’m stressed, or mad, or need a distraction. Sometimes I wish I was the type of woman that, when faced with a problem of some sorts says, “I have to go clean something.” But I’m not.

It’s a necessary evil for me. My least favorite place to clean is the kitchen floor. But it’s exactly that same kitchen floor that drives me the most crazy when it’s dirty. I can’t stand walking across the floor in socks or bare feet, and having something stick to the bottom of my feet. Or the sound of crunching cereal as I grind a piece into thousands of little dust particles.

To properly clean the floor, it takes several steps. I remove all the chairs around the table, putting them in the living room. Next, I sweep the floor. I’m always amazed at the pile of crumbs I end up with. Yikes!

After sweeping, I get out the swiffer. It’s shocking how much this can pick up. I just swept for Pete’s sake! Then I finally move onto actually mopping, down on hands and knees. At least I have knee pads, to save my poor knees from the tile floor. Once again, I look into the bucket upon completion, and can’t believe how dirty the water is. Three steps later, I’m done.

Wonder upon wonder, I feel a deep satisfaction putting the chairs back around the table, and knowing I don’t have to worry about stepping on something that will stab into my foot. At least not for about another hour, when the kids get up from their naps.

But, as always, there are wonderful things about scrubbing the kitchen floor, and for cleaning the rest of the house, too. It’s a great way to get some exercise. I’m usually sweating before I’m done, and I can feel my stomach muscles are tight too. One of my arms was holding up my body weight (weight lifting?) while the other one was scrubbing. Lifting chairs = more exercise.

In addition to the exercise factor, having a freshly cleaned house just makes me feel good. I love walking from room to room and seeing my progress, knowing I accomplished something that day. And even better, is when my hubby gets home and says it looks really nice. That makes it all worth it.

So go and clean something. It will make you feel wonderful!

Happy Monday.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Optimistic Mondays – I Love Laundry Day!

For most women out there, Laundry Day is not something to look forward to. Some women have one day a week, and spend the entire day doing every batch of laundry, one after another. Other women like the “one load a day” approach. Both seem to work, depending on your personality and schedule. I’ve gone down the middle of the two, and have Mondays and Thursdays as my laundry days.

Like most women, I don’t really look forward to doing laundry. Starting it is no problem. Even switching the first load to the dryer, and putting in the second load in the washer goes smoothly. But after that, the trouble starts. Putting clothes AWAY is my downfall. I usually don’t allow myself to unload the dryer without the intention of putting the clothes away immediately. I don’t usually have a stack of laundry on the bed, waiting for me to get to it. A good reason for that is from last week, when my daughter tried to help me.

So if I don’t have time to put the clothes away, they just sit in the dryer. Hours later, I’ve only got 1-1/2 loads done. While I intend to have it all done before my husband gets home from work, instead we get to listen to the washer and dryer run during dinner.

But there are some things that I do love about laundry day. I love the fresh smell of the dryer vent outside our front door. If I have any visitors on laundry day, I always have comments about how good it smells. I love the warmth of the freshly dried clothes, if I put them away right when the dryer gets done. I love the fact that I now have an option of what to wear the following day. And I love being able to stay in my pajamas all day, and blame that on the fact that I have no clean clothes to wear, because it’s laundry day.

Happy Monday!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Family Blog

I've decided to separate this blog into two. This will remain the place for me to ramble on about anything I find interesting, in the hope of keeping my two readers entertained. I've started a new blog that will be my family blog. There, I will post family pictures and the story of what we are up to. If you're interested, you can keep up with us there.

Sorry for the craziness. This will meet my needs better. And after all, it's all about me, right?

Optimistic Mondays - What I love about being cold:

I like to think I’m an optimist. I don’t like to hang around with negative things, including negative people. I avoid any kind on contention, as though it’s a plague. One of my favorite quotes is by the previous President of the LDS Church, Gordon B. Hinckley:

“My plea is that we stop seeking out the storms in life and enjoy more fully the sunlight. I am suggesting that as we go through life, we ‘accentuate the positive’. I am asking that we look a little deeper for the good, that we still our voices of insult and sarcasm, that we more generously compliment and endorse virtue and effort.”

A new idea came to me, inspired by my “I love Mondays” post. Each week, I plan to post a positive spin on something that has a bad reputation (at least for me). I start this week with feeling cold.

I love the fall. I love the colors of the leaves. I love the fall d├ęcor. I love the smells, and the food that are characteristic of fall. I love the cooler weather. Okay, so I don’t actually like being cold. But I do like what I get to do and enjoy when I feel cold.

I love to go walking outdoors, in the crisp mornings of fall. It’s refreshing to be able to get some exercise, and not be required to shower after.

I love to wear my ugly purple slippers around the house all day, if I want to, because the tile floor is too cold with out them.

I LOVE hot chocolate. It’s like a warm hug, from the inside out. And it’s CHOCOLATE! Need I say more? And if that warm hug isn’t quite enough, I love to wrap myself in a warm, soft blanket. Now, combine the two, add in a good book to read, and I’m in heaven.

Happy Monday!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

New Family Pictures

We had our yearly family pictures taken last Saturday.
The kids weren't really in the mood to cooperate, but we did alright.

Since we just had our 10th wedding anniversary, I thought
it was appropriate to have one of just Todd and I.

Right as we were finishing up, we gave the kids one more shot.
Emily loved being in this tree, and Ryan was happy to be standing
by himself, instead of being held, in what he thought, was a restricting position.

Emily wasn't this happy when we told her it was time to get down.
She would have stayed there all day.

Ryan, enjoying his freedom.

When we put them back in the car, they were both crying. Less than 10 minutes down the road, they were both asleep.

Thanks R, A, and Miss M for helping us out with these. We love them!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Am I the last to know?

I couple of months ago I posted about the 5K race I ran. I failed to mention the education I received while at that event. There I stood with all the other racers. We were standing by the start line. Some of us were still stretching, trying to warm up our muscles. Others were just standing around talking to friends and racing companions. There were people of all ages. Men, Women, boys and girls. Some were serious about the race, others were pulling a wagon with a small child in it. But all of them had one thing in common. I'd been standing around for about
20 minutes, watching everyone, listening to conversations, and observing. It was then that
noticed it. Everyone, and I do mean EVERYONE had on ankle socks. Some were barely visible above the tennis shoe line. Others were not visible at all. When I first noticed it, I was surprised. I looked around some more. Everyone! I walked to the other side of the crowd.
Every one!

Everyone but me, that is. My next emotion was that of embarrassment. I was the only one there with socks showing above my ankles. I thought, "seriously? How can that be?" I looked some more, looking for the one other person in the crowd that was apparently as un-informed as me. There was none. I thought that maybe I should fold my socks down, as far as they would go, to try to blend in more. But then again, I didn't want to bring attention to my un-stylish ways. I tried to forget about it, and act like I hadn't noticed. But I couldn't help it. I was the ONLY
ONE! But you know what? My socks didn't effect the outcome of the race. I still ran, and didn't come in last due to the excess weight around my ankles!

Here's me.

Here's Everyone Else!

A few days later, I mentioned this observation to a friend. She will remain nameless (you know who you are), but here was her reply: "Ya, it's been that way for a while now." The next day I went out and bought some ankle socks!

So I pose the question: Am I the last to know? And just in case there are a few other people out there still wearing tube style socks with their tennis shoes, let me offer you some advice. Apparently, it's not the thing to do. I never realized that I could be out of style when it came to my socks, but I learned differently. I guess the saying "Better late than never" applies here.

Monday, September 14, 2009

I Love Mondays!

When I was a teenage, I worked at the Hogle Zoo. I was a manager of a concession stand, and I had a set schedule. I worked Tuesdays and Thursday-Sunday. I always had Mondays and Wednesdays off. We always had the radio on in the back part of the building, and I remember one song in particular. The words to it were "It's just another manic Monday. I wish it were Sunday, cause that's my fun day...." I had made up my own little version, and sang, "It's just another manic Sunday, I wish it were Monday..." Monday's were a welcome relief after a busy weekend at the zoo.

Most people look forward to Fridays, and dread Mondays. There was a time in my life when I was the same way. When I worked in an office from 9-5, Monday - Friday, I loved Fridays. Don't get me wrong, I loved my job. But I still welcomed the weekend. Now that I'm a stay at home mom, the weekend doesn't mean quite the same thing. Yes, Todd is home, and it's nice to spend time with him. But my job doesn't stop just because it's the weekend. I still have to feed and dress the kids. I still have to wash dishes and do the laundry.

But there is something special for me about Mondays now. It's a fresh start. A new beginning. If I didn't do as well as I wanted to with something during the week, I decide that on Monday, I'll do better. Did I over eat this week? Did I not exercise as much as I wanted? Did I not get the house cleaned? It's okay, on Monday I will start fresh. I will do better. And there's even more refreshing news. If I slip up half way through the week, and don't keep up with my new found determination to succeed at whatever I had decided to do: It's only 3 or 4 more days until another Monday! A new fresh start. It's a wonderful cycle.

Happy Monday to you all.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Five Blogging Languages

Over the last few months I have found myself getting more and more into reading blogs.  It started out with friends and families personal blogs.  Then, one by one I started to link over to other blogs.  Some were friends of friends, and family of friends, and so on.  But some were totally different.  

My eyes are still opening to the incredibly large world of blogging that's out there, just waiting to be discovered by souls like me (and  you).  Baking, Writing, Reading, Photography, Religion, Opinions, Advice, and that's such a small start.  

Today, on my daily tour through "Blogger-ville" I read one of my regular blogs, and it made me laugh, smile, and think: What kind of Blogger am I?  It discussed 5 different types of bloggers, and it was so well put.  Link to it here:  

And if you go on to read that blog, you will note that I'm following one of the 5 languages described (hyperlinking).  I find myself in several of the categories described. Mostly I'm a lurker, but I'm trying to break out of that.  I leave occasional comments, but not faithfully.  I don't recall ever hyperlinking before now, so I hope the link works.  I intent to add a blog-roll here soon, and credit for that decision goes to that blog.  And I have subscribed to a few, but not all the blogs I regularly read.

And for any of you out there who are slowly getting into the blogging world, like me, I pose a question.  Have you heard of google reader?  I have been using it for a while, and love it.  You enter in the blog address, and it will tell you when the blog has been updated.  That way you don't have to check in with them all individually, just so you don't miss anything.  There may be other programs out there that do the same thing, but this is the one I know about.

One of my favorite "Just for Fun" blogs is Bakerella.  She is wonderful.  Great pictures, great recipes, and great ideas.  Check it out.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Lake Yuba

Last weekend we took Todd's Parent's motor home down to Lake Yuba, a couple hours south of Salt Lake.  

Here are the kids, all excited and ready to go.  They even got new balls especially for this trip!

The lake was calm, and the beach was sandy and nice.  Ryan was able to hang out in the first few feet of the shore.

I had a hard time keeping Emily out of the water.  I think she has a little bit of me in her. :)

Hanging out, on a perfect evening.

I love this one.  It's a slight difference from the one I took when we were headed out.  Everyone was ready to go home.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

10th Anniversary

This weekend Todd and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary.  Todd's parents watched the kids, and we headed up to Park City.  First, we stopped to get lunch.  It was weird not having to worry about getting the kids out of the car, and finding a high chair, ect.  And even more amazing:  I got to enjoy a HOT lunch.  It's been a while!  ;)

Next, we drove to the Park City Ski Resort.  There are several activities to do in the summer months, including some fun rides.  The weather was a little on the cold side, but we lucked out because it didn't rain on us.  The rides get cancelled in the rain.  We started off by taking the
ski lift up the mountain, and then riding the Alpine Slide.  Then we did the Alpine Coaster.
That was our favorite.  We sat in a little car/sled that was attached to a rail, just like a roller coaster.  Then we rode in it as it was pulled up the track by a cable.  When we got to the top; gravity took over.  

They told us we would go faster if we sat in the same cart, so we did.  Down we went!  They also told us that the only time we would need to use our brakes was to avoid hitting the car in front of us.  We never did get close to the person ahead of us, so we didn't brake at all.  It was so fast.  It curved and looped through the trees, down the mountain, for over a mile of track.  The website says it goes up to 30 mph, and I'm sure that we were about that fast.  It was so much fun.  I highly recommend it!

We did the coaster twice, and then headed back to the ski lift for the Ziprider.  That's where they put you in a harness and then you slide, 110 feet in the air, on a cable, from the top to the bottom.  We really liked this one too, but the line for it was over a hour long, so we only did it once.  We finished it off with one more ride on the Alpine Coaster.  

My word of advice to anyone that wants to try it out:  Don't use your brakes!!  :)

We stayed at a cute little Bed and Breakfast, in Midway, called Johnson's Mill.  There was a small lake just outside our room, with a cute little gazebo.  We tried to use the paddle boat, but I don't think it was working right.  We couldn't control where we were going.  I'm just glad we made it back to the dock!  We took a walk on the trail that circled the property, and I had fun taking pictures.  Breakfast was on the outdoor patio, overlooking the lawns.  
We had a really good time.  

Here's to another 10, and way beyond!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Party Time

We had a party at the park for Ryan's birthday.  He arrived in style, in his new front facing car seat.  Look out world: Here he comes!

Surrounded by his cousins, Aunts, Uncles, and Grandparents (and of course: his parents and sister!) he was seriously spoiled with toys, toys, and more toys.  He also got some very cute new clothes and some wonderful new books.  Emily enjoyed pushing him in his new red wagon.

But of all the new toys he was given, his favorite?  The red cup:

Look at him stare at that cup cake!

Ryan thinking, "Just give me the cupcake already!"

"What are you looking at?  No, you can't have any, get your own!"

Oh, how sweet!

It was a wonderful success.  The kids played and ran and then played some more.  Summertime birthdays certainly have the advantage, when it comes to outdoor parties!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Happy Birthday Ryan!

Today is my sweet little Ryan's First Birthday! I can't believe he's already a year old.
In some ways it has been a really long year, and in other ways it has flown by.
But he is growing and learning every day, and I am thankful to have him
in our family.

I have been working on this scrapbook page for a full year now. I took a picture of Ryan every month, sitting next to the same teddy bear. It shows how much he has grown and changed over the last 12 months.

We are going to the park tonight, for his birthday party. I will post those pictures later.

Happy Birthday Ryan!!

Saturday, July 25, 2009


I headed down to Riverton/Bluffdale this morning to run the 5K I had signed up for.  It was a perfect morning for a run.  70 degrees and overcast.  The trail would be following the Jordan River Parkway.  Lots of nice scenery to look at as I ran past.  Not to mention lots of gnats!

I've been training for the last few weeks at the high school track down the street.  So I had a general feeling for how long it would take me.  My fake goal (this is the goal I said out loud) was to finish in less than 35 minutes.  My actual goal (the one I kept locked up in my head, so if I failed, no one but me would know) was 33 minutes.

So there I am, running my little heart out.  There is a mother and a teenage daughter in front of me, and I keep thinking, "Man, I would really like to pass them."  But in front of me they stayed.  This race was the kind where you get to a half way point, and then turn around an run back the same way.  So shortly after I pass the "1 mile" sign, I see the future winner of the race headed back in my direction.  Yikes, I better hurry up.  Before long, I make it to the turn around, and then I was able to smile my encouragement to all those who were still going in the opposite direction.  Meanwhile I'm thinking to myself, "Good, at least I'm not in last place."  And then I finally got to pass the mom and daughter in front of me.  Yee Ha!

At last I see the finish line, and I run as fast as I can.  Todd was off to the side with Emily and Ryan, and I hear Emily  saying "Go Go Go!"  As I cross the finish line, I look at the time clock and it says 31:00.  I was so excited.  I blew my "fake" goal out of the water, and even beat my "real" goal.  I can see how this could get to be addicting.  There is another 5K race next weekend, and I'm tempted to enter, just to see if I can beat my time.  Hmmm...  Will have to give that some thought, if I can move tomorrow morning.  And if my face ever returns to it's normal color, instead of being "tomato red."

I wonder how many gnats I swallowed?  

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Hamburgers x2

Todd said goodbye to his twenties today, and joined the thirties club.  I've seen people really stress about this birthday, but it just didn't seem like that big of a deal.  After all, it's just another day older, right?  I guess we'll see if I still feel that way in a few more months when I turn 30.  We will just keep on taking life one day at a time, and enjoying it as much as we can.  Thirty?  Bring it on!!

I was trying to come up with something fun to do for Todd's birthday cake, and was coming up empty.  He doesn't really have any "Favorite" things, so I couldn't really mold the cake around anything like that.  I had almost decided on a plain white cake with frosting and a few sprinkles, but then I ran across this idea.  

I was on my brothers family blog, and my sister in law had made the cutest desert for an upcoming BBQ.  They were going to have hamburgers for dinner, just like we did tonight.  She had been put in charge of dessert, and decided to make hamburgers too.  (She actually got it from Thanks for the idea Amanda!

So we BBQ'd hamburgers tonight for dinner.  Then I brought out the second round of burgers:  

It was so much fun to eat these.  It's a cupcake, cut in half, with a brownie for the burger.  Frosting makes up the ketchup, mustard and lettuce.  The french fries are sugar cookies, with fry sauce frosting.  It was great!  To all those creative minds out there, keep up the good work.  And thanks for sharing  your ideas with the rest of us.

 Happy Birthday Todd!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Patriotic, Head to TOES!!

Emily loves to have her toe nails painted.  "Pretty Toes," is what she calls them.  Today we (okay, I) decided to go patriotic.  

She got a kick out of having matching toes with Mom.  
I tried to talk Daddy and Ryan into joining the toe painting party, but had no luck.

Like the picture taking nerd that I am, I made everyone pose for some 4th of July pictures.  

Say "Cheese".  Look at Mommy.  Ryan, look over here.  Hey, over here Ryan!

Oh well!

Okay, now Daddy's turn.  Look over here Daddy!


Hope everyone had a Happy 4th of July.  Emily was scared of the fireworks, and Ryan didn't stay up for them.  Maybe in a few more years...


Last week we finally had a sunny and warm day, so we got out the pool.  Nothing fancy, just enough to get the kids wet.  It was Ryan's first time in the pool.  
He loves the bath tub, so I figured he would like this too.

Ryan started out warm and dry:

...and then ended up cold and wet:

But having a great time:

(They don't get away with splashing this much in the bath tub.)