Tuesday, January 22, 2019

A Little Game

Sometimes when I'm using the internet, I like to make up little games.* For example, I play the birthday present game when I get emails from Groupon. I think of whose birthday I need to buy a gift for, and then I choose a random number and count to that Groupon offer and think that's what I'm getting so-and-so for her birthday. It often ends up being something like a monthly membership to a dog grooming facility - hence my joy in playing this game. I do the same thing with Amazon lightning deals "The 10th item is what I'm getting my mother-in-law for her birthday!" (Right this second, it's a drone. Exactly what she's always wanted!)

Another internet game I play is the "What If I Did Everything the Internet Told Me To" game. In this game, I pay close attention to all of the messages that are being sent my way (either through advertising or through posts I see) and consider what things I would have to do that day if I obeyed them all.

Right now I am sitting on the floor outside my bathroom while my girls take a detox bath (do I believe detox baths actually do anything? That's up for debate, but in trying to prevent or shorten winter sickness, I'm willing to experiment, so I've been making all my kids do detox baths once a week) so I thought this would be a great time to share with you a round of "What If I Did Everything the Internet Told Me To Right Now."

So here is what I would have to do:
  • Try this new Amazon hack
  • Join Beachbody on Demand
  • Grow my hair out to my butt, not wash it for like a month, and buy a flat iron
  • Invite myself to someone's wedding (what happened to inviting people to your wedding? Why are we now invited to invite ourselves to people's weddings?)
  • Buy reusable period underwear
  • Do Les Mills workouts
  • Do a 30 day plank challenge
  • Wear matching pajamas with my dog 
  • Buy Flintsone vitamins
  • Shop Fabletics
  • Get a personal stylist
  • Join Weight Watchers
  • Buy a fancy water bottle
  • Get a free e-book
  • Workout on a treadmill
  • Buy a diamond ring from the Shane Co. 
I set my timer for one minute and used my phone to scroll Facebook, check my email, and look at a blog. That's it. And I didn't even type everything I saw. 

Fun game, right?

Especially when you consider how many messages I was just bombarded with about my body. Imagine what would be on this list if I'd spent ten minutes on my phone instead of one!

(Which I do repeatedly... all day... so I'm no phone saint).

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go find myself a dog.

*One of my favorite games to play in high school with my friends was when we would say, "This is yours and ______'s song" (and we would insert a boy's name - either a total hottie that we were in love with, or one of the worst guys in our school), and then we would randomly select a radio station. Great fun! Great fun! 

Monday, January 14, 2019

Disneyland Milestones

So... we went to Disneyland.


But I just want you to know that we didn't go in 2018! We totally took a break!

Well, 5 of the 6 of us took a break.

(Scotty has gone with his little group of man friends three years in a row, and they are going again soon).

Anyway, we've been to Disneyland a lot. Scotty and I were trying to figure out how many Disneyland trips we've taken our double stroller on. It's somewhere in the 10-12 range.

This is the stroller the day I took it out of the box:

  October 2009 007

Daisy was about three weeks old, and the stroller took its first journey to Disneyland two weeks later.

When I bought the stroller, I wasn't sure if it was a good investment. I didn't know if I really needed it. Nine years later, I can tell you it was ABSOLUTELY a good investment. I only wish it had an odometer on it! I'd love to see the mileage we've put on that thing! And we have always been waaaaay over the weight capacity, so it's really taken a beating, but it has served us so well!

This trip to Disneyland was one of many milestones, and one thing we're left wondering is... will this be the last trip for the double stroller?

Some milestones we met are:

First Disneyland trip without diapers

This was kind of a big deal for me. When I was packing, it dawned on me that all of my kids are potty trained for Disneyland. We've always had to pack a heavy supply of diapers and wipes, and there have even been times when I've had TWO kids in diapers at Disneyland, and I've laid them side by side on the changing table. Not only did we not need diapers, we also didn't need a diaper bag. Or formula.

First trip with all kids tall enough for the big rides.

In addition to all kids being out of diapers, all our kids are now tall enough to go on most of the rides. There are a lot of rides that we've been able to ride together, even with newborns, but there are those few bigger rides with height requirements. Eva is 41" tall, which means she can ride almost everything (most rides with a height requirement are set at 40", but there are a few they need to be taller for: Matterhorn and Grizzly River Run are 42", Indiana Jones is 46", and Incredicoaster is 48").

Eva's first "big kid ride" was Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. She loved it and went on it multiple times. She endured Splash Mountain but didn't want to go again. She went on Space Mountain and wasn't too thrilled about that. Scotty made her go on Guardians of the Galaxy, and she loved Rocket (the raccoon) but after the ride she said, "That was not fun." But two days later she asked to go on it again because she wanted to see the raccoon. She loved Radiator Springs Racers, as we expected she would!

Zoe is now tall enough to go on every ride! She went on Indredicoaster and Indiana Jones for the first time. She hated Indiana Jones but liked Incredicoaster and rode it a second time.

{all seven of us on Splash Mountain - Scotty's mom joined us}

First time I wore a poncho.

I've always been anti-rain poncho on water rides, even in the middle of winter. Maybe this is a feature of being 35 years old. I wore a rain poncho a couple of times on Splash Mountain.


Ugliest ride photo I've ever seen of myself.

I've had some bad ones, but this time, I got the worst one so far. It happened on Space Mountain. I know where all the photo spots are on the rides, but I got distracted, and when the flash went off, I was stunned. Nicky and I laughed so hard at how ugly it was.

Part of me is saying "Post it, post it!" The other part is saying, "Don't show that to anyone. Ever."

We met Peter Tu!

In all the times we've been to Disneyland, we've never seen Peter Tu. We were so excited when we saw him at Big Thunder Mountain Railroad early one morning, and then he was getting on Autopia as we were getting off.

We used the short kid ticket.

When Daisy was three and just starting to go on the "big kid" rights, she got turned away from the Jumping Jellyfish in California Adventure (that's okay - we just waited until the employees changed posts and the next guy let her on). The cast member who turned her away for being too short gave her this ticket to come back when she's tall enough and go to the front of the line (I've never seen anything like this for any other ride). We never used the ticket because there's never been much of a line for that ride when we've been there, but Scotty carried it in his wallet for six years.

This time, half the ride was closed for repairs, so we finally used the ticket!

First time trying the matching shirt thing.

In all the times we've gone to Disneyland, we've never worn matching shirts. This time we brought two sets of matching shirts. Half our group had jackets on at any given time, so matching shirts were kind of pointless. We didn't think it through.

But it was fun anyway.

Zoe lost a tooth.

Zoe had a tooth that was really loose. We tried to bribe her into letting us pull it out, but she wasn't having it! One night while Zoe and I were fetching the stroller from Tomorrowland, she asked for a sandwich and then got frustrated because she couldn't bite into it with her loose tooth. She told me she needed to pull it out right away... and she did! I put it in my purse, and the tooth fairy came that night!

We went to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique.

In the Boutique, children 12 and under can get makeovers by fairy godmothers. I've looked into it before, but we've never done it. My niece has been working in the Boutique and was able to get a discount, so we decided to go. Since Nicky is 12, we made him do a knight makeover - after all, it was his last chance!

It ended up being so much fun! Daisy didn't want to do it, but Eva and Zoe did. They got to pick their hairstyles, and then they got a sash and a drawstring backpack with some fun make-up and accessories in it. We let them get princess dresses, too! 

Gaston happened to stumble in while we were there, which made it even more fun! He was hilarious!

The Boutique was one of the highlights of the trip! I'm so glad we went. My only complaint is that the lighting is poor, so the pictures aren't great. 

We had such a wonderful time! There were lots of tantrums, we were exhausted the entire time, and someone puked in the van (as always - we never make it without a van puker!) but it was amazing. 

Winter is definitely my favorite time to go! We get a break from the cold of Utah, and it gets dark early, and there's something magical about Disneyland after dark. I love when the air at Disneyland is crisp and cool (but not freezing), and I get to wear a cozy sweatshirt and see all the lights. One of my favorite things to do is buy a hot chocolate and find somewhere to sit and just watch the people and enjoy being there.

But I didn't do that this time, so I guess I need to go again!

While I Rest My Feet

I'm currently sitting in my ugly, old recliner with my feet up. I've done a lot of meal prep today, so I spent a lot of time standing in the kitchen, and my feet hurt pretty bad. After a trip to Sam's Club, I chopped, browned, re-packaged, and re-arranged. It's time for a little rest. Then I need to get back to work! I have chicken to marinate and Play Doh to clean up!

My house is a disaster but for good reasons. We just got back from vacation. I'll leave you in suspense about the destination until I'm ready to blog about it.

(Okay, it was Disneyland. You saw it coming!)

(I'm waiting for my photos to back up - another task I'm accomplishing while I have my feet up).

We got home Saturday night, and our house was clean, but all it took was the simple act of unloading the van to make everything go haywire. Now it looks like we haven't cleaned in weeks. I'm not anticipating being on top of things any time soon. Scotty came home from California our mystery destination with a fever and body aches, and then he left for a business trip.

Since we were traveling, we missed our first week of two-hour church, so yesterday was our first day. Our ward starts at 11:30, and after a challenging hour in sacrament meeting with my own kids and spending some time in nursery where most of the kids were crying, I have to say... it didn't feel like church was an hour shorter! Maybe next week...

Eva is now a Sunbeam, and I wasn't sure how she would do, but she was excited to see her friend whom she just spent over a week away from. They kept patting each other's cheeks and hugging - they were so happy to be reunited! But that made them a disruptive pair!

I'm now officially on blood pressure medication, much to my dismay, but I saw a new doctor (a CNP, technically), and I really liked her. I've been on the hunt for a provider I can jive with, and maybe this is my gal. While we were gone, I got a phone call with some lab results. It seems high blood pressure isn't my only problem. I had it coming, I've been treating my body like utter crap for the past two years. I've gained a ton of weight, and I'm highly stressed all the time. I guess I need to meditate and eat vegetables. Two of my least favorite things on earth.

And maybe I need to simplify my life.

And stop going to Moochies.

have quit soda, though, so two gold stars for me, please!  (but oh, sweet nectar, how I miss thee!)

It's one of those things where you wake up one day, and you're like, "Whoa! How did I get like this?"

Anyway, today I'm just checking in, letting you know I'm still alive, and rambling a bit.


Thursday, January 3, 2019

Currently {January 2019 Edition}

Reading: Why We Love Serial Killers by Scott Bonn

Listening to: the Cold podcast, Mindless Eating by Brian Wansik, and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

(I read Mindless Eating several years ago, and I thought it would be good to revisit it. Some of Wansik's research has fallen under scrutiny in recent years. His conclusions aren't necessarily wrong, but there have been some questions about his statistics).

Wearing: my nighttime clothes (i.e. underwear)

Craving: water. It's nighttime (see "wearing"), and I always get really thirsty at night, but I don't want to drink anything because I don't want to have to get out of bed to go to the bathroom.

Singing: "This is Me." I listened to a Greatest Showman playlist on Spotify today - a combo of the original and reimagined - and that's the song that stuck with me.

Stressing about: health problems.

Can I tell you a secret? I have high blood pressure. Like really high. And I don't want to go on medication, but my efforts to lower it on my own are not working, so I'm going back to the doctor tomorrow.

I live in a constant state of stress (it's just my nature - I've always been high stress), so that definitely doesn't help.

Speaking of stress, a book I really love is The Upside of Stress by Kelly McGonigal. It was one of the resources I was given when I did my internship for school.

Buying: a Disney crock pot. Yes! This is happening! It was 50% off last week, so I ordered one. My original crock pot I received for my wedding cracked last year. I was devastated! I like to have two crock pots, and it's been hard only having one for the last year. I've kept my eye out for good deals, and when I saw this one, I couldn't pass it up. Hopefully I can convince my kids that they love anything made in the Disney crock pot... even when there are tomatoes involved.

Trying: to go all year without any soda. I'm not calling it a New Year's resolution because I said I wasn't going to make any New Year's resolutions. Instead, this is a choice I made that happened to start on January 1st.

(Just go with it).

Missing: my old crock pot. It was really ugly (forest green with grape vines), but I knew it so well. I was used to its cooking times, and it's been hard having to use my other crock pot as my "main squeeze." I hope the Disney crock pot and I hit it off a little better.

Loving: having the Christmas tree put away. I enjoy it while it's up, but the second Christmas is over, I want it gone. And each year, when we take it down, I feel like my living room doubles in size.

This year, I wired and hot glued all the decorations to the tree. Here's hoping those lights I bought stick with me for a while. There are pictures of Jesus wired on my tree, so I can't throw it in the road if I get mad.

Frustrated by: a prescription I need that has been on back order for over a month!

Looking forward to: an upcoming vacation.

Neglecting: exercise. My friends and I are taking a break from our early morning walks while it's cold and icy outside, and I always think I'll exercise "tomorrow," but I never do.

Thankful for: cereal.Today I made Chex mix and rice crispy treats, and I didn't even realize until hours later that I was so cereal-focused. I just really love cereal.

Monday, December 31, 2018

2018 In the Books

I love to read.

You probably know this.

But when I was going to school from 2014-2017, my reading habits changed. While I delighted in a lot of the reading required for my degree, I had to set aside reading for leisure. This year I've been able to start reading for my own enjoyment again.

My grand total of books read in 2018 is 47 (with 16 unfinished).*

(I have no expectation from year to year about the number of books I read. It just happens to be 47 this year. It could be five, or it could be 100. It doesn't matter to me as long as I enjoyed getting to that number).

This year I started listening to more audiobooks. I feel like I have a good balance between "listening" and "reading." It used to bother me when people claimed they "read" a book, but they actually "listened" to it. Now, I'm on that bandwagon. If I listened to it, I say I "read" it. Listening to the written word still takes skill.

Here are a few of the books I read in 2018:

Book I'd most like to see made into a movie:

I picked up a copy of this book from the "Lucky Day" shelf at the library. This is where they have a few designated copies of books that are currently popular (and have a lengthy hold list) available to check out for 7 days. I knew nothing about the book, but the title intrigued me.

In this story, a man wakes up in the body of a different person each day and experiences the events of a murder at Blackheath Manor. It's like a cross between Groundhog Day, Downton Abbey, Clue, and Back to the Future.

What a mess, right?

The book was confusing and jumpy, and it made my brain hurt. By the end, I probably only comprehended about 65% of it, but it was also really clever and would have required a lot of organization to write. Even with the difficulty in keeping everything straight, I thought this book was pretty awesome. Throughout the entire thing, I couldn't stop thinking, "This would make a really cool movie!"

Most interesting memoir:

Educated has gotten a lot of buzz this year, and rightly so. It's written in a way that reads a lot like a novel. The memoir is about Tara Westover who was raised in the mountains of Idaho by a manipulative and abusive father and a brain-washed mother. This memoir fed my fascination with family theory and made me want to write an essay about the Westover family from a social exchange and family systems perspective.

Interestingly, Tara Westover is still quite young  (32), and her parents and siblings are still living, meaning this memoir is only the beginning. She potentially has years ahead of her in which this story continues.

The book I probably needed the most:

Whenever I read a book like this, I try really hard to not put pressure on myself to become something I'm not. I'm getting better and better at discerning which aspects of another person's lifestyle and experience serve me well and which ones are "not for me."

Essentialism is all about simplifying and saying "yes" to the right things and "no" to all the rest. While I don't ascribe to 100% of this mentality, there are some practices outlined by McKeown that have been good for me.

Book that inspired the most continued learning:

A lot of books I read (even fictional ones and ones I don't like) inspire me to learn more about a topic or person. I often follow-up with podcasts, interviews, and articles to give me more insight and expand my knowledge.

For some reason, despite never having had an interest in Church history, I got really caught up in Saints. What I enjoy most about history is the interactions and behaviors of people - I'm fascinated by why people do the things they do.

As I read Saints in September, I kept a journal about my thoughts and impressions. I listened to the podcasts the Mormon Channel did on Saints, and I took a trip to the Church History Museum. I also read other Church history books that go into more depth. I'm still on this course of study and am currently reading Doctrine and Covenants and Church History in the Fulness of Times. 

Biggest surprise:

One aspect of reading that makes me incredibly happy is picking up a book at random, having no expectations, and discovering that it is amazing! That is what happened with the Chilbury Ladies Choir.

I found this book on the "Reader's Choice" shelf at the library. Every quarter, the Salt Lake County Library system does a "Reader's Choice" competition. There is a selection of books to read and vote on for a few months, and then one book is appointed the winner.

I've found some great books through Reader's Choice... I've also found some pretty awful ones.

When I picked up the Chilbury Ladies Choir, it was at random, and I knew there was a good chance I wouldn't actually read it.

And I didn't.

It came due before I started it, and I took it back and moved on. But for some reason, I put the audiobook on hold on Overdrive - again thinking I probably wouldn't listen to it. I mean, "Chilbury Ladies Choir" sounds pretty boring (I'm still kind of shocked that I selected it at all).

The audiobook came in right as we were leaving on our trip to Lake Tahoe in July, and I ended up starting it on our drive. It was a pleasant surprise! I spent every spare second of our vacation listening to this book, and I felt lonely when it ended. I loved the readers and the characters, and this may be a pretty bold statement, but I think this was my favorite book I read this year!

The Chilbury Ladies Choir is a story of women coming together in times of trial and of the healing power of music. And if that all sounds too fluffy for you, perhaps you will be enticed by the conniving, old, baby-swapping midwife.


Here are some other books I read and wrote about in 2018:

Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown
Lighten Up!  by Chieko Okazaki
Harry Potter 1-3

*Someone asked for clarification on my numbers. The 16 unfinished are not part of my total of 47. Forty-seven is the number of books I read from beginning to end. 

Sunday, December 30, 2018

It Happened in 2018


  • I turned 34
  • I locked my keys in my car 
  • Scotty went to North Carolina to close the Raleigh Temple for renovation



  • Scotty traveled to Washington DC to close the temple for renovation
  • Scotty's grandpa passed away
  • Scotty had a reassignment at work and stopped traveling



  • Eva potty trained
  • Scotty had a vasectomy (it was my anniversary gift)
  • We celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary
  • Went on a mini family vacation to Park City
  • Took two trips to the ER because I had really bad pain in my lower right abdomen (they never found anything. It went away on it's own the day before I went to see a surgeon, but I can still feel a sensation in that spot from time to time)
  • Took a mini family vacation to Vernal




  • Cafe Rio moved
  • The kids went back to school
  • I sprained my ankle
  • Scotty was called to be Young Men president



  • Hosted a community trunk or treat with "the band"


  • Zoe turned 6
  • Went to California for my sister-in-law's wedding
  • Scotty had a reassignment at work and will start traveling again


  • Locked my keys in the car twice in one week (but please note that I went almost a whole year without locking my keys in my car)
  • Nicky injured his face and got to go to the ER
  • Nicky turned 12
  • Nicky was ordained a deacon and received the Aaronic priesthood

Friday, December 28, 2018

How Winter Break is Going

"Can I have hot chocolate?"
Snow clothes on, snow clothes off.
"Can I take a bath?"
Pick up random garbage from all over the house.
All children awake at 6:30.
"Get me me milk!"
Family party.
"Mom, she's putting her feet on me!"
"Can I have hot chocolate?"
"Can I play a game on your phone?"
Load of laundry.
Snow clothes on, snow clothes off.
Family party.
"Can I have a cupcake?"
Wipe the melted snow off the floor.
"Can we go bowling?"
"Can a friend come over?"
Load of laundry.
All children awake at 5:15.
"I'm bored!"
"Get me me milk!"
"Mom! Mom! Mom!"
Wipe the melted snow off the floor.
"When are we going to eat?"
"Look at this!"
Snow clothes on, snow clothes off.
"Mom, come wipe my bum!"
Gather up the wet gloves.
"I need a bandaid!"
"What are we doing today?"
"Mama! Mama! Mama!"
All children awake at 6:30.
Load of laundry.
"Get me me milk!"
"What's for lunch?"
Birthday party.
"What are we going to do today?"
"My shoes feel funny!"
Load of laundry.
"It's all _______'s fault!"
"Watch this!"
"Can I take a bath?"
Pick up random garbage from all over the house.
"Mom, I want pink hair!"
"Can I have hot chocolate?"
"Can I take a bath?"
"Get me me milk!"
"Has anyone seen my candy cane?"
Load of laundry.
All kids awake at 6:30.
"Can I play a game on your phone?"
"Have you seen my ______?"
Snow clothes on, snow clothes off.
"My pants are too tight!"
"Mom, I don't want pink hair anymore!"
"Can a friend come over?"
"Get me me milk!"
"It wasn't me!"