Thursday, January 12, 2017

A Quick Check-In

It warms my heart when I don't post for ten days, and people notice and check in on me. Thanks, friends. I'm here for a quick update.

I'm back in school, and this semester came at me like a freight train. My courses started on New Year's Eve. New Year's Eve!!! Is that even ethical?

This semester I am taking a family course and a research course and doing my practicum which involves writing, marketing, and teaching a family life education (FLE) workshop. I have actually looked forward to my practicum from the time I started school. I have lots of ideas for workshops, as there are many FLE topics I am deeply passionate about, and I finally narrowed down my subject, and I've started my research. It is going to be a challenging and rewarding semester.

Being back in school has made me tired. The second I start reading anything for school, I need to fall asleep. Even in this very moment, I am beginning to nod off. I never understood why adults were so tired all the time. I still don't understand it, but I accept it because I'm living it.

Hopefully I'll be back soon to write about the creature living in my ceiling and how I screwed up jury duty.


Sunday, January 1, 2017

Threes All Around

Today is my birthday.

I am 33.

Nicky was really excited that my age is a double number. I forgot that things like that are cool for children (he will turn 11 this year, so we both get double numbers in 2017).

Daisy, on the other hand, was shocked that I am "only" 33. "I thought you were way older. Like 35 or something," she said.

In honor of double threes, here is a picture of me when I was three months old:

  Britt 3 Months
And this is me when I was three years old:

Scans 010 

And here are some more threes:

Three Board Games I Love:
Seven Wonders
Agricola
Splendor

Three Movies I Love:
The Count of Monte Cristo
The Shawshank Redemption (I have the edited version)
Robin Hood: Men in Tights

(Apparently I have thing for men escaping prison)

Three Things I Often Say:
"Good grief!"
"By dark of night"
"Let's change your bum"

Three Things I'm Bad At:
Spelling words verbally
Cleaning
Parallel parking

Three Things I Really Don't Like Doing:
Flying kites
Exercising
Putting laundry away

Three Things I Love to Eat:
Fresh spring rolls with peanut sauce
Grilled pineapple
Anything with a yummy dip or sauce

Three of my Character Flaws:
I get annoyed easily
I'm very impatient
I can be competitive

Three Things I Hate Buying:
Toilet paper
Shoes
Light bulbs

Three Things I Spend Too Much Money On:
Clothes
Eating out
Gifts

Three Things I Miss From my Childhood:
TGIF
The Box
My (original) Littlest Pet Shop toys

Three Things My Husband Loves that I Don't:
Fishing
Mexican food
Playing Clue

Now if you've done the math, you know that I just wrote 11 lists of three things for a total of 33 things for my 33rd birthday.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Safekeeping in 2017

Who's excited for the New Year?


I am!

(And who loves Rocketman? I do!)

Since I was born on New Year's Day, it's only appropriate for me to have a special place in my heart for the changing of the year. I love closing out the old year and reflecting on the things I've experienced and learned and then starting fresh with new goals and purposes for the coming year.

I'm also very cool with a 50% success level for New Year's resolutions.

Sometimes I incorporate a theme for the New Year, if I feel so inspired. It's not something I do every year, but there are some years where I feel drawn to a particular focus. As 2017 approaches, and I've been pondering about my life and what I want to achieve, the word "stewardship" keeps coming to mind.

Can I be honest? I don't care for the word stewardship. It's not a pretty word. So from the moment it came into my mind, I have pushed it aside. But yesterday, I took some time to brainstorm goals for the New Year, and in doing so, I created a concept map. The word came to mind... stewardship, and I thought, "Fine. I'll mess around with it, but only for a minute."

I wrote stewardship, and then I began to list all of the things I am a steward over. As soon as I let the word in, I had so much clarity and direction. I feel like I was truly inspired to focus on stewardship in 2017. But since stewardship isn't my favorite word, I've decided that my theme for 2017 will be...

Safekeeping

Safekeeping will be my pretty word for stewardship, and here is what I mean by those words:

The careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one's care.
-Merriam-Webster

The responsible overseeing and protection of something considered worth caring for and preserving.
-dictionary.com

Stewardship is about recognizing blessings and managing them well.
-A Diving Encounter (blog)


My purpose for 2017 is to become a better steward over the things that have been entrusted in my care - in essence, I am focusing on the safekeeping of my blessings.

After I listed several of the things I am a steward over, I chose five to focus on for the year, and I made some goals in each of those areas:

1. I am a steward over my finances

Goal: Improve our budgeting system and use our money more responsibly.

This is a goal that we already have a good foundation for, but I want to make it better. We have been pretty good about living within our means and staying out of debt, but I want to do a better job at saving money. I want to put more money toward our car and get it paid off much earlier than planned (perhaps by the end of 2018). I would also like to do the same for our house (we are hoping to pay it off within nine years). This year, I want to get a good budgeting system in place than includes finding a way to put more money toward things now so we can free up our finances later. Or as Dave Ramsay says, "Live like no one else so later you can live like no one else."

2. I am a steward over my body

Goal: Weigh less on December 31, 2017 than I do on January 1, 2017.

Goal: Have ten or fewer encounters with soda.

I know it's cliche to set a weight loss goal, so I'm keeping it nice and simple. I know that I need to be a better steward over my body, but I don't want a quick fix that I can't maintain. If I am going to make changes to my health, I want them to be permanent lifestyle changes, so I need them to happen slowly over time. This year, I am hoping to:
  • Improve our family diet
  • Consume less junk
  • Overcome emotional eating
But I'm not ready to be drastic about it. Baby steps to better health!

My soda goal is a goal I set almost every year, except this year I am allowing myself a little bit of soda. I feel like I should be able to enjoy an occasional Coke with a friend. 

3. I am a steward over my family

Goal: Improve Family Home Evening and Family Councils.

Goal: Implement weekly family goals again.

This is another goal that we a;ready have a good foundation for. We have worked hard to make FHE a weekly practice, and we have family councils every Sunday night (read more about how we do our family councils here). My goal is to make them a little more meaningful and useful. 

I also want to start doing weekly family goals again. A few years ago we started setting goals each week during FHE, and we got out of that practice when I went back to school and started getting more overwhelmed. I want to reinstate the family goals. 

4. I am a steward over my knowledge

For this one, I wanted to set a goal for secular knowledge and spiritual knowledge.

Goal (secular): GRADUATE!!!

Goal (spiritual): Complete my current course of scripture study.

I think GRADUATING is self-explanatory. In addition to that, I want to actually complete a scripture study plan. I'm really good at making a plan and starting a plan, but I don't always see it through. A few months ago I outlined a study plan for myself with the Gospel Principles manual. I want to finish that plan! The way I am going, it will take a few months, and then hopefully I will be inspired to start a new plan. 

5. I am a steward over my happiness

Goal: During the month of January, study the topic of happiness and make a list of "best practices" for maintaining happiness, then set goals that will help make those "best practices" a part of my daily life. 

Happiness has been a big part of 2016, so I want to continue learning how to manage my own happiness in the coming year. I believe that a lot of my personal happiness is up to me, so I want to be intentional about bringing it into my life and safekeeping it. Plan on hearing more about this
next month.
-------------------------------------------

I am looking forward to 2017, and I am already starting to work on some of my resolutions. I'm feeling positive about the direction I want to take this year, and while I'm at peace with a 50% success rate, I'd really like to have more than that this time!

For it is expedient that I, the Lord, should make every man accountable, as a steward over earthly blessings, which I have made and prepared for my creatures.
D&C 104:13

Friday, December 30, 2016

2016 Highlights

January
  • I turned 32
  • We started building bedrooms where our family room used to be 
  • I discovered that I have gray hair

February
  • We did "no spend month"
  • I started all of my Saturdays with a 5:00 a.m. run (8+ miles) and stake choir practice at 8:00 (clearly I was nuts in February)

March
  • I started using a selfie stick
  • We bought a new van
  • I had oral surgery
  • We took the kids to Goblin Valley and Moab

April
  • I ran a half marathon
  • Scotty went to Disneyland (aka: "Brocation")
  • The kids and I went to Saint George with my sister-in-law
  • Scotty and I were called as Cub Masters
  • We celebrate Eva's first birthday
  • We inherited 6 chickens and 2 rabbits

May
  • Scotty started a new job
  • We kind of finished the bedrooms we started in January (they still aren't 100% done, but the kids live in them)
  • I met my friend, Shannon, and the heavens rejoiced

June
  • We started re-watching Lost
  • I started taking happy pills
  • Scotty and I took the Cub Scouts to day camp
  • I was on the committee for our Church's summer party


July
  • Scotty turned 35
  • We went on Trek
  • My sister-in-law potty trained Zoe (Haaaaallelujah!)
  • We celebrated Pioneer Day in Star Valley with friends (interestingly, Wyoming throws a pretty awesome Utah holiday!)

August
  • I took a 6-week break from school for the first time since I started
  • We bought kayaks and spent all month going to lakes
  • Nicky started 4th grade and Daisy started first grade

September
  • Zoe started at a new school
  • Daisy started taking piano lessons
  • Zoe started dance class
  • I went to Time Out for Women in Logan with my in-laws 
  • Daisy turned 7
  • I went to the Hope Works event put on by the Mormon Channel 

October

November
  • Zoe turned 4
  • I went to Time Out for Women in Salt Lake with Shannon
  • We celebrated Thankgiving at Scotty's mom's and my mom's
  • Scotty and I went to the Carrie Underwood concert

December
  • Daisy and Zoe had "in studio" dance performances for Christmas
  • Nicky turned 10
  • Scotty worked a lot (imagine: 32 work phone calls between 3:00-7:00 a.m.)

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Christmas Break Bucket List Update

Organize the storage room  DONE!

December 3026

Read a book [In progress]


Try  new recipe or two [Rejected]

Paint something [Rejected]

See the lights at Temple Square DONE!

December 3026

Help Daisy with chaine turns

Host a Planner Prep Night DONE!

Check out Poldark DONE!


And now, one at a time, I will take your questions. 

Question: Britt, what do you think of The Lake House

Britt: I am enjoying it. I love Kate Morton. She is one of my favorite authors. I'm actually listening to this one on Audible on my phone. 

Question: What on earth is a Planner Prep Night?

Britt: That is a good question. My friend Shannon and I bought our new planners for 2017, and we geeked out a bit and decided that we should have a "social event" (as opposed to a "social experiment" which is what Scotty calls it) wherein we could get together with other calendar geeks and start filling out our calendars. 

I wasn't sure who my fellow planner geeks were, so I did a facebook shout out saying, "Hey, where my geeks at?" and then I invited all of them to our Planner Prep Night. The response was great! We had women of all ages come, and we had really good feedback. Several women said that they really needed a night like that, and some of the women from my ward (church congregation) who came expressed that they have felt distanced from the other women in the ward, and they were really glad to come. 

Shannon and I feel like it was way more than a Planner Prep Night. It was a healing event for many of us. 

Plus there was food. 

So win-win-win.

Question: How's Poldark?

Britt: It's a good show. I'm on episode 6.

Question: Why are you rejecting some of your bucket list items? What are you, a quitter?

Britt: Yes! Yes, I am!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Ten Years

IMG_0723-4x6

Ten years ago today, I forced my first child from my womb. Like, really forced. Nicky was a week overdue, and I was dilated to less than a one. I often joke that Nicky didn't want to be born. He took two years to conceive, and when I was finally pregnant, my first test was defective, my second one was so faint I couldn't tell if there were two lines, and my third one, at the doctor's office, was recorded as negative, but the nurse told me it was positive, so I still wasn't sure whether I was pregnant. Nine months later, when it was a little more obvious that I really was pregnant, my body refused to go into labor. When I was finally in (medially-induced) labor, Nicky still wouldn't come out. His heart rate kept dropping while I was pushing, and I had to choose between a c-section, forceps, or vacuum extraction. 

After he was born, Nicky screamed for hours and hours. I was too naive to know that newborns don't typically scream like that. I tried to play it cool in front of everyone coming in and out of my hospital room, but I could tell by the nervous glances they kept giving each other that even they were nervous about the screaming. 

Now that I know my son better, I feel like he really was resistant to come to this earth. From a spiritual perspective, Nicky is a stranger here, and I think he knew it from the beginning. He has a goodness within him that I fear this world will destroy. 

Nicky's tenth birthday is a milestone in so many ways. For one, we've reached a decade. For him, it's a decade of life, and for me, it's a decade of motherhood. I started blogging before I was pregnant with Nicky. I recall announcing my pregnancy on my first blog, Weekday Wisdom, and there I documented my pregnancy and my earliest experiences as a mother. 

Despite his sweet spirit, Nicky was a naughty toddler. We had to modify our entire house to keep him from destroying everything. We couldn't have a coffee table... or bar stools... or glass picture frames... or anything from the waist down that wasn't soft and child-proof. The bottom book shelves had to be emptied. Our kitchen chairs had to be placed on top of the table when we weren't sitting on them. We had to put locks on all the cabinet doors and the fridge door. I used to have to tie all the kitchen drawers closed with a ribbon. When he started opening door knobs, I put safety covers on all the doors and quickly discovered that Nicky could pop them off in an instant. I put chains on the doors so he couldn't escape the house. I was terrified to shower because I never knew if he'd be safe. Nicky pulled three dressers on top of himself (one was ours - the other two were at friends' houses). And just to top off his wildness... he peed on everything. He went through a phase where he would pee in his toys or in the bathroom garbage can, and there was even a time when he pulled some of my dishes out of the cupboard and graciously left his fluids in them. 

When he turned four, he changed instantly. I like to say he got "logic" for his birthday that year. All of a sudden, I could reason with him. I could explain things to him, and he would understand and then make relatively good choices as a result of that understanding. This has turned out to be one of his greatest strengths. 

In fact, this year, Nicky made the choice, on his own, to stop playing video games because he could tell that they were making him cranky. I'm amazed at Nicky's ability to recognize those types of things in himself. If I had to clean pee out of my muffin tin so he could eventually get to this point, it was worth it. He is a good kid. He makes good choices, and he uses good logic. He is a helper, and he loves to do things for others. 

I adore my Nicky! He will always hold a special place in my heart. He is my only son, and he is the child who first made me a mother. I'm glad we've had these ten years together. 

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Thoughts I Had While Lying Awake at a Ridiculous Hour on Christmas Morning

"Oh no! I need to blow my nose, but I don't want to wake up the kids. Maybe I can gently breathe my boogers into a more comfortable position."

"Crap! The wind is blowing the wreath against the door. It sounds like knocking. It's going to wake up the kids! I have to get out of bed."

"Ooooo! Someone left us cinnamon rolls by dark of night!"

"Hello world! I am in my underwear!"

"At least I match the snow! It's like a clever disguise!"

"WHITE LIGHTNING!" (That's what I say when I run through the house in my underwear).

"Apparently my children are not going to obey the 'Don't leave your room until 6:00 a.m. rule.'"

"Why don't they take me seriously? I should go downstairs and whisper-yell at them!"

"Ha! Take THAT, kids. Go back to your rooms and suffer."

"No, Britt! Don't feel bad about it. Your mom wouldn't let you out of your room until 8:00!"

"This mole on my arm is freaking me out."

"I literally had nightmares about vegetables last night. That's weird."

"I wonder if Santa had a run-in with the tooth fairy."

"We gonna rock down to Electric Avenue..."

"I should put on my chicken suit."

Merry Christmas!