Sunday, February 19, 2017

Wherein Justin & I Need to DTR

So... I don't mean to brag, but Justin Timberlake and I have some history.

As indicated by this photo of us together:

11224152_477342219092509_7786468127873568690_n

No, really. That's Justin and me in the same frame.

11224152_477342219092509_7786468127873568690_n

And a photo like that causes everyone to wonder, "What is going on with you and Justin?"

I know, I know. It's scandalous.

There was that moment where we made eye contact...

11694121_477343035759094_2362181019590861316_n

Don't be concerned that his gaze is shifted slightly to the left.

We made eye contact. I stand by that story.

And just to make things more scandalous, Justin smiled in the general direction of my husband once.

image

(Don't mind Alfonso Ribeiro. He just feels left out).

But Justin has also given Scotty a look of death.

image

image 

I'm not sure what that means for Justin and Scotty.

But back to me...

Last night I stayed up late watching clips of Justin on Fallon. This morning I was listening to a Justin Timberlake song post-workout. I was jammin,' and I started thinking about my relationship with Justin Timberlake.  Am I obsessed with Justin Timberlake?

This is what led me to realize that it's time to DTR.

(I don't actually know how to use the term "DTR." I only know from the teenagers in my life that it's a real thing - define the relationship, for those of you who are "old" like me).

So this is me attempting to DTR with Justin.

I think he's very talented. The boy can sing and dance. He's also very quick-witted. I think sketch comedy suits him very well. I love many of his sketches from SNL and the Tonight Show. I watch the Camp Winnepesauki sketches more than I want to admit ("You mean Africa?... By Toto?") I even dressed as a breast implant for Halloween once in homage to one of Justin Timberlake's SNL sketches ("Plasticville"). The fact that he is good looking is not beyond me.

Everyone knows I'm a Justin fan. My friends send me Justin memes and links to other great Justin-related things. Especially people from church (How funny is it that that's what I'm known for in the ward?)

I love Justin Timberlake. There's no denying it.

But...

I'm not in love with Justin Timberlake. That's where people get confused.

There is no secret poster of him by my bed. I don't doodle Brittany Timberlake in my notebooks.

I'm going to keep Justin in the friend zone. I want to be his Jimmy Fallon, not his Jessica Biel.

Relationship: defined. 

Saturday, February 18, 2017

I'd Rather be Human

This week was rough. I don't have any real explanation for it, though. I was really tired all week and in a bit of a funk. I was also stressed with school and family responsibilities. There is an upcoming event that is really eating away at me - I won't bore you with the details, but I will say that it's something I wasn't supposed to have to do, but the people who were supposed to save me didn't save me, and now I have to tend to some responsibilities I thought I was going to be freed from.

So with that looming over me on top of my usual stressors, I think it triggered my depression. I haven't felt this bad in a long time.

After a few days of difficulty, I tried to get out in the sun and get some vitamin D in my system. Since it wasn't super cold (high forties) I took Eva and Zoe to the park.

  Weekend Fun

 It was really bright that day.

  Weekend Fun

They lasted about fifteen minutes before Zoe started whining that she wanted to go home. Zoe doesn't like being away from home, even if it's somewhere fun.  Eva, on the other hand, hates being home. So no matter where I am, I have at least one kid who's unhappy about it.

Later that day, I took Nicky in for his well-child appointment. On the way to the doctor's office, we saw a cloud that reminded us of Peter Pan's pirate ship.

Weekend Fun

That day was a short day at my kids' school, and then they had no school on Friday. Knowing I wasn't feeling the greatest, I was terrified of Friday (and also Monday... which is still to come). I decided I needed a game plan for handling my kids over the weekend, so I took them to Thanksgiving Point, and we bought a family pass. It was a bit of a splurge, but we had some Christmas money left from our parents and decided that would be a good way to spend it.

The kids and I spent Friday morning at the farm. The kids got unlimited pony rides, which is great except that half my kids, apparently, hate ponies.

Weekend Fun

Eva had her first pony ride, and I can't say she was thrilled about it, but she did stay on the horse, which is more than I expected from her (I had the lovely opportunity to walk around in circles holding her on the pony).

We stumbled across a very friendly calf who wanted some love. She was trying to snuggle all of us, and then she started nibbling my hair.

Weekend Fun

Actually, now that I think about it, maybe the calf wasn't looking for love. Maybe it was looking for food. It pretty much licked or chewed on every single one of us.

Weekend Fun

There was also a mama cow I had to get a picture of because she had a big old string of snot coming out of her nose.

Weekend Fun

I enjoy animals, but I am also very thankful to not be one. How would it be to be a cow and not be able to enjoy the satisfying feeling of blowing your nose into a tissue from a box you stole from a hotel room?

I'm also glad that I don't have crazy eyes like this goat.

Weekend Fun

And can you imagine how crappy it would be to be a ram and have big old horns blocking your peripherals and resting against your face?

Weekend Fun

This is what I'm going to think about from now on when I'm sad or stressed.

At least I'm not a ram!

(Is that even a ram? I don't really know).


I guess when given the choice, I'll be a depressed human rather than a stinky farm animal.

The Messes We Make

I assume that if I were to walk through all of your houses on a messy day, the messes would all be a little bit different. We probably have some commonalities, but I think we also have certain habits and possessions that lend us to our own unique messes. I've been thinking about the messes in my house - the ones I clean up over and over - and I decided to compile a list of the Top Ten Messy Offenders in my home.

#10: Books
My whole family is terrible about putting books away (myself included). The kids leave books all over the floor and on every flat surface of their rooms. I, too, leave books everywhere - primarily on counters. 

#9: Blankets
All of my kids love have loved blankets from birth. Some of them have attached to a specific one, like Nicky with his Thomas the Train blanket that really isn't even a blanket - it's just an unfinished piece of fleece fabric. Others have just loved any blanket they can get their hands on. 

What I'm getting to is that my kids (and Scotty) all love blankets, and they drag them all over the house. There are blankets everywhere. There are always at least three littered around the living room. There are usually two in the van (one for Eva and one for Zoe). And there are always about five on my bed (Scotty has restless leg, so he piles blankets on top of his legs every night). They are also on the floor of every bedroom, and my kids are notorious for draping them aross the backs of their kitchen chairs. 

Because we can't even get through meals without blankets!

#8: Shoes
The shoes are everywhere until we need a matching pair. Then suddenly, they are nowhere.

#7: Hair Stuff
I have three daughters. Our vacuum canister is 20% bobby pins and 16% elastics.

#6: Projects
My kids like making "stuff." They drag the recycle bin in the house regularly and chop everything into little tiny bits. They glue and tape and paint, and it's always a disaster. They spill the cups of water with the paintbrushes, they get glitter all over the kitchen table, and they punch holes in any piece of paper they can get their hands on. 

#5: Garbage
My kids have no idea what a garbage can is. And the rate at which they create garbage is incredible! Where do they find all of this stuff? 

#4: Dishes
I'm not just talking about the ones we eat on, either. My kids like playing with things from the utensil drawer, so I find measuring cups, spoons, and tongs in the most random places. 

Zoe has a weird obsession with ladles. She's always stealing them to make "soup." This involves filling a laundry basket with the most random things she can find and stirring it all together with a ladle. 

#3: Food
Sometimes I think it might be worth it to get a dog, but then I realize that I can just put a chicken or two in the house if I'm desperate. The food messes are legit around here, especially with a four-year-old who insists on making pancakes every day and a one-year-old who throws all of her food down the stairs (the curse of having her high chair close to the banister - but there isn't really anywhere else to put it. 

#2: Clothes
My family members will strip anywhere and everywhere. They've learned this from their father who can't keep pants on, for some reason. The second he gets home from anywhere, he takes his pants off. Then we have times where he needs his pants, and he can't remember where he took them off. 

Yes, my husband routinely misplaces his pants. The struggle is real.

Now add the kids to the mix, and you've got yourself some messes!

#1: Toys
This one is obvious with four young children in the house. We have toys coming out our ears, and they are all over the place. I keep getting rid of them, and then new ones spawn from unexplainable places. It's quite the phenomenon!

-------------------

We also have some regular messes that didn't quite make the list. For example, Eva and Zoe always squirt the bathroom mirror with the squirt bottle. There are always blobs of toothpaste on every surface of the bathroom. Zoe always puts on lipstick and kisses the mirror, then she leaves the lipstick out, and Eva comes along and paints her face. My kids leave their bath towels on the floor daily. I'm forever dodging Shopkins and Legos with the vacuum. Chicken poop residue is a common discovery on the kitchen floor. Random batteries and screws turn up in every nook and cranny. Writing utensils are everywhere... until you need one. Zoe fills up toys with water and leaves them sitting around the house, and then they get knocked over. Zoe also likes to drag pillow cases around the house, and since each of my kids has their own pillow case for each holiday (courtesy of my mom), we have a lot of pillow cases. 

And now you know what to expect around here. Just one, big, continual mess.








Saturday, February 11, 2017

I Can't Believe It's February {and ten other random facts}

Fact #1: I have started using the online ordering service at our local Walmart and Smith's for my groceries each week. I order my groceries online and someone brings them out to my van, and I don't have to take my kids in the store! It is glorious!

Fact#2: Two weeks ago, we had a bit of a hiccup, though. While I was driving home, a gallon of milk tipped over, and about a quarter of the gallon spilled into my trunk. About four days later, the stink set in. I've been driving around in a stinky, rotten van for over a week now. I shampooed the carpet three times on three separate days. I also used and enzyme spray, and when that didn't work, I doused it in vinegar. Doused!!! Like Gatorade on a baseball player!

Fact #3: The crazy thing about the van was that  couldn't smell it. I have always had a very sensitive sense of smell, but about two years ago, I stopped being able to smell our family odors. I have a harder time detecting the stench of diapers, smelly kids, and sour milk. I think ten years of smells finally fried my nostrils.

Fact #4: Scotty was very displeased with the smell of the van, so he ripped out the carpet. I hope he can put it back!

Milk Catastrophe

Fact #5: I wear boots a lot in the winter, but for the past two years, bboot supply has dwindled. I remedied that by buying four pairs of boots for my birthday.

Fact #6: I bought my boots online. I have never dared to buy shoes online because I have foot drama. I have wide feet, high arches, and a case of plantar fasciititis. Plus I have wide calves, so it's hard to find a good boot that can fit my calf. BUT... I read countless reviews on my four pairs of boots and decided to take a risk. For what I paid for the boots, I am quite pleased. I'm still an awe that my success rate was four for four.

Fact #7: I have one problem with boots, though. When I wear them, I can't clean. Cleaning is already my least favorite thing on earth (in all seriousness, I would rather have a root canal than clean), so to have a factor that makes me even less capable of cleaning is a little frightening.

This is me in boots, "Oh, look there's a puddle of orange juice on the kitchen floor. Too bad I'm wearing boots."

There's really no explanation. I just can't clean in boots.

Fact #8: I have been using the same wallet since high school. The other day, the zipper tab fell off, and I started wondering if it's time for a new wallet. I've looked at a few, but I can't commit to a wallet. Too stressful! So the high school wallet remains. Why mess with a good thing?

High School Wallet 

Fact #9: If anyone needs an army of ceramic vikings, you can find them at the local Deseret Industries.

  Amazing Thrift Store Finds 

I rarely pop into the thrift store anymore (I can't take Zoe and Eva to the store, I just don't have the stamina), so it was a special treat to spend an hour there the other night with just Nicky. I bought some pants for Nicky, some nightgowns for Zoe (she is going through a phase where she will only wear nightgowns... even during the day), and some dance clothes for Daisy.

Fact #10: The other day, Scotty smashed his finger at work, and he came home and asked me to drill a hole in his fingernail. I told him NO! in all caps, and begged him to go to Instacare to have it punctured. He refused, so I gathered all of the children to hide in my bedroom while their father used his Craftsman to put a hole in his own finger. He splattered blood all over the kitchen. Ahhhhhhh!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

My Study Essentials

I'm about to settle in for my third heavy study session of the day. This semester is intense! I eat, sleep, and breathe schoolwork right now. Writing my practicum has been enjoyable but tedious. I sometimes spend an hour or two on a few sentences. With research, citations, and wording, it can be very time consuming. 

Can I confess a fear to you? I'm worried that after putting hundreds of hours into this project, the final result won't reflect my hard work or the amount of research I've put in. It will be like making a birthday poster at my kids' school. I spend about four hours making each poster, and when I hang it up on the wall and step back to look at it, it doesn't look like something that took that much time to put together. 

But I digress.

Since I'm getting ready to do some more schoolwork, I took a minute to gather my study essentials. I don't always gather my essentials because I'm usually in survival mode. I have to study when the circumstances allow, and I can't waste time trying to get my stuff together. I just have to grab my laptop and hit the ground running before my kids start fighting. But when I do have the opportunity to be deliberate with my study environment, these are some of the things I like to have around.

1. Sustenance


Study Essentials

I'm a stress eater, so I love to study with a big bowl of ice cream, a bag of chips, or a soda (bad habit, I know!!!!) But sometimes, a big mug of water suits me fine. I just need something. And if I don't have something while I'm studying, I need something immediately after I finish. 

Sometimes my sustenance ends up on my papers. Oops! (It's a brownie).

Study Essentials

2. A Big Box with Handles


Study Essentials

The big box is my "catch all" for school stuff. Since studying is often spontaneous due to my unpredictable children, I have to be able to grab what I need quickly. Throughout the day, I have endless stacks of school papers and open books lying on every surface of my kitchen. When things need to be tidy, I throw all of my school stuff in the box, and it is always sitting on my counter.

  Study Essentials 

3. A Notebook


Study Essentials

I need to be able to take notes and jot down ideas somewhere. This particular notebook was my birthday present from a friend. It's a really good notebook! It has pocket folders inside, and it's nice and wide with thick paper. 

4. Pens & Pencils & Highlighters, Oh My!


Study Essentials

I learn best by marking, writing, and doodling, and I like to have different color options because then I can vary my markings to help me find information later. 

Study Essentials

And sometimes I just need a little color in my life for fun!

Study Essentials

5. Sticky Notes 


Study Essentials

Renting textbooks is a blessing and a curse. I will always prefer to own the book, but some are just way too expensive to buy. When I rent a textbook and can't write in it, it puts a huge damper on my learning. For this I use sticky notes. It's a huge pain in the tuckus, but it's a solution.

6. Something Comfy


Study Essentials

Last of all, I like having something comfy. Options include a blanket, slippers, or a rice pack to warm my shockingly cold derriere or my neck. Sometimes I rub some DoTerra Deep Blue on my neck and shoulders when I study, or sometimes I burn a scented candle that I enjoy. It's nice to have something soothing going on.

Now, time to get my study on (today I opted for the warm rice pack).

Sunday, February 5, 2017

The Puzzle Life

For a long time, I've had the desire to have a puzzle sitting out in our home during the holidays. I think Scotty and I tried doing a puzzle once when Nicky was a toddler, and we learned quickly that we were several years out from being a puzzle family.

During Christmas, we were at the game store in the mall, and I was looking at puzzles and thinking about my puzzle family dream. We've reached a point where our older two are compatible with the puzzle life, but our younger two are far from it. There were some puzzles at the store that I fell in love with, though, so I decided to tempt fate and buy two of them. 

We set up a small table in the living room and built the Little Mermaid puzzle by Thomas Kincaid while Eva was asleep. It turned out... our kids weren't very good at puzzles.

Puzzle

But we got through it!

Then a few days later, we started our 1990's puzzle. Scotty cut a piece of cardboard so we could build it on the cardboard and then put it up high during Eva's waking hours. The puzzle life has been all about hiding things from Eva.

Puzzle

We loved the 1990's puzzle, and so did our kids. They had so many questions, like what is a Tamagotchi? Who is Weird Al? And can we watch Beavis and Butthead?

("No" to the Beavis and Butthead question).

The puzzle ended up being a fun history lesson, and our kids actually started developing some puzzle building skills.

After we finished the 1990's puzzle, we felt a void in our life. We needed more puzzles! So we bought a Thomas Kincaid four-pack.

Puzzle

Puzzle

Puzzle

(We are missing a picture of the Lion King).

Then we needed a break from Disney, so we bought a Harry Potter puzzle.

Puzzle

But then we missed Disney, so we bought another Thomas Kincaid four-pack. Last night we finished the first... and for the first time, we ended up with a missing piece! We scoured the house, and it never turned up. We think Eva might have eaten it. No joke. She kept stealing puzzle pieces and putting them in her mouth (our own fault for working on the puzzle during waking hours).

Puzzle

We've done a puzzle or two every week since Christmas, and it has been really fun. I didn't know we were puzzle people, but we totally are! Scotty and I usually do most of the puzzles, but the kids pop in every now and then and place a few pieces. Our kids have gotten much better at them. It's amazing to see how they have improved, especially Daisy. Even Scotty and I feel like it has sharpened our minds a bit. 

Lately, I've been studying happiness (remember my New Year's resolution? It has now become my topic of study for a research proposal in my research methods course) and I've been learning about the concept of "flow," as researched by the psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (note that famous researchers are never named "Smith"). 

Flow is when you lose yourself in time while doing an activity that is challenging, but for which you have adequate skills. It's the state of being "in the zone," and it's a legit experience! People who are able to regularly experience "flow" generally report higher levels of happiness. 

Puzzles have been a great flow activity for us. We are challenged but not overwhelmed, and it's quite satisfying to get into the zone and watch the image progress. It's been a great way to utilize our Sundays and to unwind after stressful school assignments. 

Monday, January 30, 2017

Get Your Lost References Here

Hello there!

This is my "long-time, no write" check in. It's pretty late, so I'm going to give myself the 'ole 15 minutes on the timer, and whatever happens happens.

(Remember how Daniel Faraday would always say, "Whatever happened... happened!" in that breathy voice of his? Lost? Anyone? Anyone? I fear I'm alone here).

Speaking of Lost, I study some of the teachings of various philosophers of whom Lost characters were named in homage to in school. Such as John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Last week, I stumbled across some stuff from Jeremy Bentham (Anyone? Anyone?) whom I didn't even know was a philosopher (but should have assumed because that's how things go with Lost), and I was like, "Scotty! I'm reading about Jeremy Bentham!" and he was like, "Whaaaa?!?"

Kind of like how you're going "Whaaaaa?!?" right now because you probably have no idea what I'm talking about. What can I say? Lost references can strike at any moment, especially after 11:00 p.m.

(If you would just watch Lost, I wouldn't have to worry like this!)

Anyway, speaking of studying (it's all tying together here. Never fear!) I am working on some amazing stuff! I'm about bursting at the seams for not being able to blog about it. Why can't I blog about it? Well, I can give you the vague details. I am writing a family life education (FLE) workshop. I have been reading tons and tons of research, and it is all incredible! But I'm not going to post about any of it because I have to keep my work safe. This is my practicum, one of the final steps in earning my degree. The last thing I have to do for my degree (in addition to two more classes) is my internship. I will be working as a research assistant beginning in April. Eek! So excited! I'll be piloting a new workshop and possibly doing some writing and editing.

I love that I have reached a point in my education where I get to have more control over what I'm doing. The closer I get to the finish line, the more I get to focus on areas I am passionate about.

At this point, the stress level is high, but I'm having fun.

It's fun stress!