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!





Friday, December 23, 2016

Holiday Twitches

Yesterday my friend and I were discussing our taste in Christmas songs. We confided in one another which songs we love and which songs we really don't like.

There is a song I really don't like. I won't tell you what it is for fear that it is too scandalous. I know a lot of people for whom the song is very meaningful, so I'll try to not taint it for anyone, but just know that from the first time I heard it, I didn't like it, and when it comes on the radio, it gives me the twitches.

There is another song that I am going to taint for you, though, "We Wish You a Merry Christmas." It gives me great anxiety.

Let me explain. I've needed to get this off my chest for years.


It's the lyrics.

Here's how I learned it:

We wish you a Merry Christmas
We wish you a Merry Christmas
We wish you a Merry Christmas
And a Happy New Year!

Good tidings we bring
To you and your kin
Good tidings for Christmas
And a Happy New Year

And yet, I hear it sung this way most of the time:

We wish you a Merry Christmas
We wish you a Merry Christmas
We wish you a Merry Christmas
And a Happy New Year!

Good tidings we bring
To you and your kin
We wish you a Merry Christmas
And a Happy New Year!

So whenever I hear the song, I have to deal with the awful anticipation of which way the song will go. And even worse, when I have to sing the song, I skip the last lines because I panic.

In my mind, of course, the version I learned is "correct," and the more commonly rehearsed version, which I call the "redundant version," is incorrect. So for me, "We Wish You a Merry Christmas," is frequently sung wrong, and therefore, gives me the twitches, and since I hear it no less than 6 billion times each season, I twitch pretty consistently for the entire month of December.

Unfortunately, the song is so old that the correct lyrics can't be verified. No one knows who wrote it or what the original lyrics are.

On top of that, there are more than just those two versions of the lyrics. Some people sing "I wish you a Merry Christmas," and some people sing "Glad tidings to you" instead of "Good tidings." Which means that if we all get together and sing "We Wish You a Merry Christmas," we will first need to take a vote on whether we sing the "correct" lyrics or the "redundant lyrics," and then we'll need to discuss whether tidings should be "good" or "glad." (Luckily, I think most of us will agree that we will sing "we" and not "I" - I'm going to be optimistic there).

Can you see how stressful this is?


Thursday, December 22, 2016

2016 Resolutions in Review

I know I'm jumping the gun a little bit here since it isn't even Christmas yet, but I'm already feeling the energy of the new year!

This week I was talking to some friends about New Year's resolutions, and I found out that I was the only one of the group that actually makes them. They kind of looked at me like, "Really?!? You do that?" and I thought, "Oh my gosh! I'm weird!"

I understand my friends' logic, though - why set yourself up for failure? Why add undue pressure to your life?


But I make New Year's resolutions because I enjoy them, and I am at peace with my success rate. I go into it knowing that I'm not going to keep all of them, and I don't beat myself up at the end of the year.

I heard a lady speak about resolutions at the beginning of this year, and I loved what she said. I don't remember all of the details, but she talked about failing at our resolutions and how that's okay! She said we shouldn't let failure keep us from wanting to pursue that goal. She shared with us that she had made a New Year's resolution to read the New Testament year after year after year, and she kept failing to meet her goal. Then finally, after several years, she did it. She encouraged us to set the goal and keep trying and not beat ourselves up if we don't make it this time. I lack the eloquence of her message, so you're just going to have to trust me on this one.

Howard W. Hunter said, "This is a gospel of repentance, and we need to be repenting and resolving. Indeed, the process of repenting, making commitments, and setting goals should be a continuous one, so there is nothing wrong with using this traditional time of the year to evaluate the past and plan the future... The practice of reviewing the past and setting new directions for the future is a very healthy one, a scripturally encouraging one, in which we can beneficially alter our lives. I commend the practice to you, especially if it is thoughtfully pursued and the resolutions made are made in righteousness, bringing behaviors and attitudes that truly bless your lives and the lives of others" (read the whole talk. I love it!)

I appreciate the practice of reviewing the past year and "setting new directions for the future."

And with that... I will now make my official declaration about where I stand with my resolutions from 2016:


No soda. FAILURE!

In fact, I'm pretty sure my relationship with a cocolada from Fiiz can best be described as a love affair.

I'm working on it...

Stay in school. SUCCESS!

I can't believe that one year ago I was actually thinking about dropping out. Now I am so close to graduating! Progress comes slowly, and yet, adds up quickly.

Cultivate the talents in my patriarchal blessing. SUCCESS!

This was a really good resolution. I recommend it!

Send 25 hand-written cards or letters. SUCCESS!

I rocked this one. I kept a pack of cards in my van and some in my day planner so I could easily fill out a card and drop it in the mail at any time. I also got a new address book and collected may relevant addresses.

Have a $0 balance on my credit card statement each month. FAILURE!

Because of how difficult this was, I no longer trust my credit card balance. The statement is always a mess, and I can't get my records to match up, so I am hoping to just get rid of the card altogether this year. The reason I use it is because I get a percentage of cash back. It's not worth it. Credit cards are too messy!

Maintain or improve my exercise habits. FAILURE!

No comment.

Weigh less on September 29, 2016 than I did on September 29, 2015. FAILURE!

Let's just go ahead and add 20 pounds to my weight from September 2015.

Re-read five books. Almost SUCCESS!

I may have read five, but I can only think of four:

Jurassic Park by Michal Crichton

I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak

The Spellbook of Listen Taylor by Jaclyn Moriarty

The Persian Pickle Club by Sandra Dallas\

That's good enough for me!

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

So it looks like my success rate is about 50%. I'm cool with that! In fact, it makes me think I should expand my resolutions for next year. I was going to set only one goal for 2017: GRADUATE! but that sets me up for either 100% or 0. I think I prefer middle ground.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Recurring Nightmares of the Dairy Variety

I think most people know and understand high school nightmares. You know, the literal dreams that we have where we are back in high school, and we can't remember our schedule or our locker combo? In mine, I don't know the choreography for dance company, and I haven't done my math homework all semester. Always dance and always math.

I have another recurring nightmare, though, that isn't about high school. It's about a former work place. Of all the jobs I've had, there is only one I have regular dreams about... THE DAIRY.


I started working at the dairy the summer after high school. It's actually a cool story - how I got the job. I'd been looking for work for a few months with no luck. One Sunday, I decided to fast and pray about finding a job. When I walked in the door from church that day, the house phone was ringing. It was my friend Jessica asking me if I wanted a job.

Wha?!?

True story.

I really liked working there, overall, but there were a few personalities I butted heads with. After three years, I left on a sour note.

Now I often have dreams that I'm working there again, and it always goes something like this:

-Someone else is wearing my apron

-There aren't any hot dogs in the hot dog cooker, and an old man is mad about it (there were a lot of angry old men at the dairy)

-The ice cream is sour

-Nobody filled out the milk order the night before, and I have to call the plant and ask for more product, and I know they're going to be really mad about it

-There are ants climbing around in the bread (this really happened once - I was stocking the bread and ants had gotten into some of the bags)

-I can't find certain products on the register

I spent the same amount of time working at the dairy as I spent going to high school.

Three years.

I've always found it funny that three short years can have such a huge impact on our lives. Think about it - kids nowadays spend more of their life in a car seat than they do in secondary education, and yet, those high school years will matter significantly for the rest of their lives.

I've also always found it funny that the dairy haunts my dreams. Perhaps it's because I worked there during a very important phase of life - I got married, went to college, graduated from college, and bought a house while I worked there (though I can hardly attribute the house buying to my $6.25 hourly wage). But maybe it's also because things went awry there and I quit my job in the midst of controversy. All I know is that something about the dairy troubles my subconscious at least once a month, and all of my other jobs make nary an appearance in my sleep.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Change & Growth in 2016

If I had to come up with a phrase to describe 2016, it would be "A year of change and growth." The first six months were marked by change, and the last six months were marked by growth.

For the first half of the year, it felt like everything was in turmoil. I've never decided if I'm a fan of change. Sometimes change is refreshing, and sometimes it's terrifying. I experienced both this year. 

There were big changes - like Scotty getting a new job.

And there were small changes - like swapping out all of my old, bulky mis-matched dishes for white Corelle (one of the best changes I've ever made!)


The changes weren't extremely heavy, but there were so many of them all at once that the combined weight was pretty intense. Here are some of the other changes we experienced early this year:

-We got a new van
-Scotty sold his car and started driving a work truck
-We rearranged our house so we could build bedrooms for the kids (we've lived "under construction" all year)
-We got new Church callings
-We got rid of most of our baby stuff
-We got all new insurance plans
-I switched cell phone providers and got a smart phone for the first time
-We refinanced our house to pay it off 10 years sooner
-We changed banks
-Two of our friends moved (one out of our city and one out of state)
-We got a new stake presidency and a new bishopric

Even though the changes were small, save for the job, it felt like our world uprooted and settled in a different direction. We had shifts in our living space, we had to make adaptions to our routines, and we had significant changes in our overall flow.

In the second half of the year, the dust began to settle, and that's when I started to experience growth. In June I went on anti-depressants, and they made a huge difference in my life. I apologize for continuing to talk about depression and medication routinely, but I am still amazed at the ways my emotional and mental state has improved. It was an unexpected and unbelievable blessing for me. As a result of feeling better, I think I have grown more spiritually in the past six months that I have in the past three years. And, like I've said before, I didn't know I was struggling so much until I started feeling better. It's only in hindsight that I can see it. In the thick of it, I had no idea how poorly I was doing.

One of my resolutions for this year was to cultivate the talents in my patriarchal blessing. I really thrived in this goal. I found that, in focusing on those talents and gifts, I was able to learn a lot about myself and my strengths. I feel really good about myself right now - not in a boastful way, but in such a way that allows me to acknowledge my own worth but continue to progress. I am less worried about the things I'm not good at and more mindful of how I can contribute.

At the end of 2016, I am content. There is work to be done and progress to be made, but I'm pleased with what has happened this year in the way of change and growth.

(I'll forewarn you that I have more New Year's themed posts formulating in my mind. I can't help it! i love the new year!)



Sunday, December 18, 2016

Last Minute Gifts for Wives

It's always been a secret hope of mine that my best friends' husbands will ask my advice about gifts for their wives. Occasionally, I make mental notes about potential gifts... just in case.

But I've never been asked.

Until last week.

I was given a mission from a friend's husband to find out if she wanted the Item That Shall Not Be Named.

I was pumped. I loved the idea of going under cover, so I started contemplating how I could work the Item That Shall Not Be Named into conversation in such a way that would indicate whether she would like The Item.

Sadly, I failed.

I only saw my friend in short spurts over the past week, and we didn't have time for any real conversation. I thought about working it into a text message, but I wasn't sure I could pull it off without her getting suspicious. Face-to-face I could have done with no problem, but it just didn't work out. Technically I still have a week left, but the Item is something that wouldn't be obtainable by Christmas.

Anyway, all of that is leading up to this: I mentioned on Facebook that I had this secret hope, and that I had finally been asked to help, and I had failed. A few minutes after I posted that status, someone texted me for help! He gave me a chance to redeem myself. I gave him a few ideas, and then I got really excited and decided to make a list of ideas here.*

I definitely can't speak for all wives. I know women who hate gifts from their husbands that I would love. We are all different, so hopefully you know enough about your wife to read this list and know if it's a good idea or not. If your wife hates it, please don't hate me. If she loves it, though, feel free to take full credit. You don't even have to tell her if you got the idea here. I've got your back!

Some of these things might be too late to acquire in time, but most of them you can get this week in time for Christmas!

Here are a few ideas:


For the LDS mom who likes to document by hand:

The Mormon Mom Planner

(Locals can buy them at the Quilted Bear)

(Want something similar without the religious theme? Try an Erin Condren planner).

DO NOT BUY THIS FOR: The wife who already has a really good calendaring/planning system in place. You don't want to mess with something that is already working for her.


For the overwhelmed mom who needs a break:

Book a hotel room for her and some friends to have a night away


For the LDS wife who needs a break or needs spiritual nourishment:

Two tickets to a Time Out For Women in your area - she can take her mom, her best friend, or her sister and enjoy a weekend of uplifting messages


For the wife who needs some time with YOU:

Tickets to "Date Nights With Dr. Matt" (hopefully she takes YOU!)

Plan a day date where you take off work and spend the day together - just make sure this doesn't end up being a lot of work for her. Make babysitting arrangements, if necessary, so she doesn't have to worry about the kids.

A copy of The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John Gottman - which you will then read together (and therein lies the catch!) Set aside one night a week to read a chapter and complete the exercises


For the pregnant wife:

A grabber tool (they have them lots of places - mine is from Harbor Freight and is about $10)

A long handle dustpan

DO NOT BY THIS FOR: A wife who might think you are implying that she is fat or incapable (I happen to not be like that - I love these things, but I think there are some women that would be offended. Use caution).


For the wife who likes make-up and/or beauty products (or the wife who would like make-up and/or beauty products but doesn't like to spend money on herself:

A subscription for Ipsy or Birchbox - for $10 a month, your wife can get a sampler bag of beauty products in the mail each month. You can cancel any time. She will need to fill out her beauty profile for her subscription, so perhaps you can present her with a homemade certificate and then have her fill out her profile to get things started. As with all recommendations, just make sure the work on her part is minimal

A sampler box from Ulta - the selection for these changes all the time, but Ulta has boxes for around $10 that have some several sample-sized beauty products (I love the hair product sampler boxes but also wouldn't mind a skincare box). Just walk into an Ulta and ask an employee if they have any sampler boxes that your wife might like.

DO NOT BUY THESE FOR: Women who have sensitivity or allergies to beauty products. She probably won't appreciate a stockpile of things she can't use.


For the wife who's always cold:

A heated blanket

Warm slippers or fuzzy socks

A plush robe

A long coat that covers her bum (The Sam's Club on 300 W. has some right now for $45)

A space heater

A THOUGHT: If your wife is always cold, there's a good chance she already has some of these things. Avoid duplication unless you know she loves having multiples. For example, if she can never get enough fuzzy socks, you're good to go, but if she has ten pairs, she might be set already.


For the wife who loves to cook and/or entertain:

Any of the Pioneer Woman products from Walmart - I have my eye on some of the serving bowls and casserole dishes


For the mom who loves to display her children's artwork:

Front opening picture frames from IKEA - these frames fit a standard sized piece of paper and open from the front, so Mom can swap out artwork daily if needed


For the woman who loves to write:

Adhesive pen loops


Other ideas:

Gift certificate for family photos (locals might want to check out Fotofly or Camera Shy. They are not the highest quality, but they are convenient and affordable. For around $100, you can get photos taken of your entire family, plus individuals of all the kids, and you can get them on a flash drive THAT SAME DAY, and have them printed wherever you want. Just keep in mind that your wife might want to buy clothes for everyone for the photos, so that will add to the expense.

Hair wrap towels - somebody gave me these for my birthday a few years ago, and I thought they were ridiculous until I tried them. Now it's all I use! If your wife has longer hair and walks around the house with her head wrapped in a towel every morning, these are a great idea. If she has short hair, she probably won't use them.

Terry cloth robe - this is a towel-like robe. I use mine right out of the shower (with my hair wraps, of course). I don't use bath towels. A plush robe is comfortable but doesn't absorb water well. Terry cloth can sometimes be hard to fine. Amazon has them for around $30, and right now, our local IKEA has a nice white one for $19.99.

Custom jewelry from Emily J Design on etsy.com. You're too late to have it in time for this year, but just in case you need something in the future, this Etsy shop makes jewelry with custom engravings. You can have your wife's favorite saying or a short inspiring message engraved on a ring. You can even have it done in your own handwriting! Another idea is to have your children's drawings made into a pendant (necklace). The ideas are endless! If you order the wrong ring size, they will adjust it for you for free! I ordered something from this shop this year, but I haven't received it yet. I'll update this post with more information after I have seen the product. Normally I wouldn't recommend jewelry, but customized jewelry that is meaningful is different.


*I am not affiliated with any of these companies or products and am not being compensated for sharing them.

Friday, December 16, 2016

20 Months

California 2016

Eva's age is one of my favorites. There's a time between when children start walking and when they start hating you (around age two) where everything they do is adorable, even when it's infuriating.

Speaking of walking, I adore the way Eva walks. It's more of a gallop, really. Her arms flap all over the place, and she looks like she'll topple over any second, but she somehow stays on her feet.

Eva is starting to combine two words together here and there. Mostly things like, "Hi Mom." One of my favorite things she says is "Nay Nay Dude." Which is what she calls Nicky (Nicky taught her to call him Dude). During the day she'll say "Nay Nay Dude?" and I'll say, "He's at school." She can't say any of the other kids' names, so everything is Nay Nay. Sometimes, when she gets mad, she yells in an authoritarian voice, "NAY NAY!" like Nicky is to blame for all her problems. It's quite hilarious. She won't be writing a book any time soon, but I'm fascinated by every word she says.

Eva loves her dad. She gets super excited when he comes home from work, and even when she's half asleep in the middle of the night, if she knows Scotty is near, she calls out, "Hi, Dad!" 

She's also mischievous. She has a radar for candy and make-up. It's not uncommon for me to find her with make-up caked all over her face. No matter how well I hide stuff, I can't seem to keep her completely out of it (she is currently sporting a thick layer of Daisy's red lipstick she wears for dance performances. It's the kind that lasts for ten hours, of course. Eva looks like a murderous clown). 

Eva recently learned how to jump, and she has been very amused by her new ability. On the day she first jumped, she did it over and over again and looked at me with delight every time. Now she's trying to figure out how to jump off the bottom step of the staircase, but she doesn't understand that she needs to bend her knees when she lands.

Every night, Eva makes the rounds from bedroom to bedroom to tell her siblings goodnight. It's a fun little ritual which includes hugs and kisses and the pitter patter of tiny pajama-ed feet.

I love watching her explore the world and learn new things. Eva truly is a joy!




Thursday, December 15, 2016

This Post is Brought to You By...PIE BREAK

It's 9:00 am. on a Thursday, and my two babies (I call the littlest ones the babies even though they aren't actually babies - they will resent me for this at some point, but that's their rite of passage - to be able to resent me for all the various reasons) and I are having a pie break.

Marie Callendar's Chocolate Satin, if you're wondering.

I am gearing up to take my last final for the semester this afternoon (Family & Community Relations), so pie seems like appropriate mind fuel.

Like I said yesterday, I feel like writing, so I have given myself 15 minutes on the timer to write whatever flows out of me.

I have really been enjoying this Christmas season. It's been relatively funk-free thus far. I've felt a lot of joy through the month of December. My only complaint is that Scotty's work schedule has been a bit of a beast. He gets phone calls all night and comes home from work later than expected. I miss him, but this isn't the worst that can happen at Christmas time, so I am handling it okay.

Scotty's job hours are affected by alcohol consumption.

I better expound on that a bit - Scotty works with the state's liquor. As you can imagine, there are a lot of alcohol sales this time of year, and thus... Scotty works more.

This week I finished my statistics class and took my final. I haven't checked my grade yet, but I think I walked out of there with a B+. I'm pleased. That is one of the hardest (if not the hardest) class in my major, so being done with it feels really good. In fact, the night I finished my final, I was so excited that I became quite hyper, but it was late at night, and everyone in my house was asleep, so I was all by myself in the dark with boundless energy and nothing to do with it. I just sat there grinning from ear to ear with my eyes nearly popping out of my head.

Well, my pie is gone, and my timer has sounded, so off I go to tackle the next item of business. Of course, Eva pooped during pie break (I told you this always happens!)

UPDATED TO ADD:

I just finished my last final and turned in a final paper. I am a free woman for two whole weeks! Let the bucket list begin!




Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Improvising

Today is a little bit stressful. I feel like one of the most important skills a mother must master is the ability to improvise. To be a mom means you have to be able to completely change directions at any moment. You can make a plan, you can have a mission, but you have to be at peace with the fact that you might not make it to the end goal.

Take eating lunch, for example. Perhaps the plan is to eat a BBQ chicken salad while listening to a recorded lecture for school while your baby naps. But then the baby decided to offset her schedule and fall asleep at 10:00 instead of 11:00 and only sleep for an hour instead of two, and then as soon as you sit down at the table with your salad, she drops a big old deuce in her diaper.

I should know by now that someone will ALWAYS poop when I sit down to eat. It's been happening for ten years, and yet, it still throws off my plan.

But I've learned to improvise. I still get frustrated, but I'm at peace with my life not truly being my own.

So why am I writing this?

I wish I could remember...

I just really needed to write, but I haven't been able to fit it in lately, so I set my timer for 15 minutes and decided to just let the words flow.

And you know what?

Eva is rolling around on the floor under my chair screaming, and by the scent in the air, she most certainly dropped that deuce we talked about, and I'm not even eating lunch yet!

So...

Off I go to do more improvising.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Christmas Break Bucket List

In about one week, my semester ends, and I will be free to enjoy the Christmas season. I'm really excited to have a break. Maybe I am tempting fate, but I've been formulating a Christmas Break Bucket List.

Here's what I hope to do in the short two and a half week recess:

Organize the storage room

Read a book

Try  new recipe or two

Paint something (I have my eye on a wooden sled or a jewelry box)

See the lights at Temple Square

Help Daisy with chaine turns

Host a Planner Prep Night (already in the works)

Check out Poldark

I'm pumped!


But I mustn't jump the gun. First I have to write a few papers, take a few finals, and run a hypothesis test on the proportion of crunch berries in Cap'n Crunch cereal. 

(Have you ever counted 2,173 pieces of cereal?)

Monday, December 5, 2016

The Gilmore Girls Group

In anticipation of the Gilmore Girls revival last weekend, some friends and I got a hotel room so we could get away from our responsibilities and binge-watch the series.

Check-in was at 4:00. My friends couldn't come quite that early, but I decided to take advantage and head to the hotel for a couple hours of solo time. When I arrived at the hotel, I was surprised to recognize the lady at the front desk. We frequent the same neighborhood park, and she's a person that I just happen to see everywhere (we all have those people, right?)

I debated pretending not to recognize her, but I realized rather quickly that that wasn't going to play out. She pulled up my reservation and then said, "Don't you live, like, five minutes from here?" That led me to confess that I was there to watch TV. She thought it was awesome and insisted on a high five.

We had some technical difficulties with the TV... it didn't work, so Front Desk Lady got us a new room. Then we had some more problems, and my friend's husband had to come help us get the laptop connected so we could watch Netflix on the TV. We started a lot later than planned. We got through two episodes. I had to keep standing up and doing lunges to stay awake. We also had a brief intermission to do facial masks, which resulted in this amazing photo:

The Gilmore Girls Group 

(Those are my grandpa's sweatpants)

Things went a little unexpectedly with the masks, though. They were menthol-y, so it felt like we'd rubbed Icy Hot on our faces. We couldn't keep our eyes open because they were burning and watering. When I washed my mask off, my face looked like it had been sunburned where the mask had been. No one else's did. I guess I'm just special!

In the morning, I woke up at 5:00 and sat in the dark by myself and read for four hours. Then we went down to check out the continental breakfast where we found out that we had become famous. People knew we were "The Gilmore Girls Group." (Apparently Front Desk Lady was really excited about us, as she asked any woman who walked through the doors and looked the part if she was with the Gilmore Girls group).

We were able to squeeze in one more episode before check-out, which left us to watch the final episode in our own homes.

After I got home, I got a text from my friend. Her husband had stayed up all night and watched all four episodes of the Gilmore Girls.

We got a good laugh over the fact that he beat us to the finish!

The Gilmore Girls Group

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Adam vs Carrie

Back in October, we went to the Maroon 5 concert. The tickets were my Christmas/Birthday present.

For our anniversary, I bought Scotty tickets to Carrie Underwood. We went to that concert earlier this week. 

Scotty and I joked all year that we were going to see both our crushes in concert in 2017 - Adam Levine for me and Carrie Underwood for him. 

Now that we've been to both, I have to say... Carrie wins!

I loved the Maroon 5 concert. It was amazing to hear them live and have their music pumping through my blood. I love their songs, and Adam's voice... oh my.

Maroon 5 Concert
{Maroon 5}

(Side note: Have you heard this cover of "Dream On" by the judges of The Voice? You need to listen just to hear those final notes by Adam Levine. Like I said... oh my!)

(Another side note: I really want Maroon 5 to do a cover of "Take On Me." Can you imagine Adam singing "In a day or twooooooo?" Is there anyone reading right now who can make it happen?)

Anyway, the Maroon 5 concert...

As much as I enjoyed it, it felt a little like a chore for the band. It was like - Salt Lake City? Check mark! Move on... And I was a little surprised at how long it took Adam to get into it. I don't know if I can describe it well, but I guess you could say he lacked energy. It took about three songs before it seemed like he found his groove. 

But Carrie...

From the second she came on stage, she was so powerful. She sang to the entire audience. It was amazing how she was able to reach everyone in the arena. Her energy was there immediately, and it held up through the whole performance. 

I'm not really into Carrie's music, but I really like her as a person, and I completely respect her talent. And that made her concert so enjoyable because, even if her songs don't make me want to jump up and down and go crazy, I can not deny the amazing performer she is (this is actually the second time we have seen her in concert). 

Carrie Underwood concert 
{Carrie Underwood}

Carrie had a really impressive set-up. She had a a 360 stage, and there were platforms that would rise up and down. The lighting was super cool, and the special effects were awesome. Carrie gave a heartfelt concert, and she was very sincere and present. It probably helped that it was the last stop on her tour, but I felt the same way about the last time we saw her when we weren't her last stop, so it's just the way she is!

Scotty and I haven't had a lot of opportunities to go to concerts since we've had children, so these last two months have been very exciting. We've been bitten by the concert bug now. 

Monday, November 21, 2016

Three Gratitudes

As Thanksgiving approaches, I've been thinking about my blessings and the things I am most grateful for. I love that Thanksgiving comes at end of the year because it gives me the chance to reflect on the past several months and ponder on what has happened in my life and how I have grown (or not). This morning I've been thinking about this:

What three things from this year have significantly blessed my life?

I have an answer, but I want to make sure it's understood that listing these three things doesn't mean that I'm not thankful for many, many other things. I guess I say this because there's an obligatory list of things you're supposed to say you're grateful for. Like family. I'm not going to list family in this post, but that's not because I'm not grateful for family. Just know that I have gratitude in my heart for so many things, but I am only focusing on a very small portion of them today.

So with that out of the way, here are my three blessings from 2016 (in no particular order):

1. Friendship

I learned something about myself this year - I need strong friendships. I thrive when I have people and purpose in my life. I really, honestly, did not know about this need until this year.

2016 has shown me how blessed I am in friends. As I have found my way out of depression, I have to acknowledge the perfect timing of these friendships because they were an imperative part of my recovery.

I appreciate the variety of friends I have and the different roles they play in my life. I love the vast array of inside jokes we share:

"Drive safely in the dark!"

Obama's jet

#poopwins

"I choose life!"

I love that I have friends that will hang out with me at 5:00 a.m., friends who will listen to my "Lost Devotionals" (yes, I incorporate scriptures), friends who let me play them a new song I like, friends who will meet me for lunch at the drop of a hat, friends who laugh at my Donny Osmond memes (they are gold, people. Gold!), and friends who embrace my daily goal of "pants before noon."

All of these things matter to me, and I am deeply grateful for all levels of friendship in my life.

2. Anti-Depressants

I've already said a lot about this, so I won't repeat it all, but let me just acknowledge the progress I have made since June of this year.

My life has changed!

I can feel the Spirit again, and I feel capable of bringing light into my life. I couldn't do this a year ago... or even two years ago... and I didn't understand what was happening to me. In hindsight, it is so clear, but in the thick of it, I didn't know I had depression. I heard friends talk about their own depression and never made the connection that I was going through the same thing. That just shows how detrimental depression can be, even in its mildest forms.

I am so grateful that I can finally see it for what it was - that the fog is lifted and I am doing better.

3. My Mind

With wading out of depression this year, I've learned to really appreciate my mind. Some of my capacity for learning, pondering, and growing was stunted for the past few years. I forgot how much I love learning - both in educational settings and in leisure. I enjoy having meaningful discussions about things I'm learning (so having friends who will listen and engage in my ramblings has been so wonderful!) I love drawing parallels and making inferences. I love calling upon things I've learned when I need them. I love writing things down and becoming reacquainted with them years later.

I'm very thankful for a mind that can study and learn and think things through.

While the list is not exhaustive, those are the three things from this year that I think have blessed my life in countless ways, and for that, I am sincerely grateful.

I wish you all a happy Thankgiving! Here's a song for you to enjoy this week (introduced to me by Shannon, one of my blessings from 2016):







Thursday, November 17, 2016

Fight or Flight

This week, in two separate incidents, my friend Shannon and I had the opportunity to discover how each of us might react in an emergency.

The first incident was mine.

I was involved in a car accident in the Panda Express parking lot. Let's say, hypothetically, that it was my fault. I've never been in a car accident as a driver, and I've never hit another car. After the collision (which, again, was hypothetically my fault) I was a little stunned, and my first instinct was to drive away. 

Yep, I admit - I immediately thought, "I need to leave the scene of the [hypothetical] crime."

But when I regained my composure, I knew I needed to stay. The problem was, I froze up. I couldn't get out of the car. I just sat there. Fortunately, Scotty was minutes away, and he came and dealt with all the things while I sat in my state of stupor. 

My response to the incident initially leaned a little toward FLIGHT.

This gave me an inkling that I might not be very good in an emergency situation. Frankly, I'm a little disappointed in myself. 

The next incident was Shannon's. 

Shannon and I go walking early in the morning a few times a week. We walk in a pretty dark area, so it can be a little disconcerting at times. 

Yesterday, my flashlight died, so it was even darker than normal. We were engaged in deep conversation about very intelligent things when I heard a man right behind me say, "On your right!"

Shannon didn't hear what he said. All she heard was some sort of man noise (be it grunting or whatever), and as she turned, she saw a hooded figure charging at me. 

I understood that he was just trying to pass us, but to Shannon, it appeared that I was being attacked, so she let out a hearty wake-the-neighborhood scream. No, not a startled gasp, but a legit someone-is-attacking-my-friend scream. As the noise was happening, she grabbed me and pulled me out of the path of the "attacker." 

It gave me pause because, like I said, I thought someone was just trying to pass us, but I began wondering if I'd misunderstood, and I'd been been brutally maimed, and the pain hadn't registered yet. What else could have warranted Shannon's sudden spring to action? And that scream! It was a special scream reserved only for the most dire of circumstances.

After Shannon pulled me out of the way, she froze and went into "save me" mode.

Moments later, we realized everything was fine, and we burst out in hysterical laughter.

The jogger just kept running. I don't think he could get away from us fast enough.

Shannon's response to the incident initially leaned a little toward FIGHT.

As we composed ourselves (it took a while), we discussed Shannon's reaction, and it turned out that she, like me, was a little disappointed in the way she'd reacted in a hypothetically dangerous situation.

Shannnon and I had two very different responses to our adrenaline, and yet, be it fight or flight, we both froze up afterward. We have concluded that we just aren't any good in emergencies, although Shannon really could have saved my life. I think she deserves credit for that, at least. 

Monday, November 14, 2016

Worth It!

In the last month, I've made two ridiculous purchases that have been worth every penny.

Ridiculous because the items were silly and way overpriced.

But worth every penny because they have afforded me much joy.

Item #1: Billy Bob teeth with fake braces

Cost: $10

I've gotten multiple uses out of my fake braces. First I used them for my Halloween costume, which I'm now realizing I never showed you, but the reason for that is that I didn't get very good pictures of it. I'll give you what I've got, though:

Here are Scotty and me at my mom's Halloween party:

Untitled

I went as Sara with no 'H' because H's are "Ew!" and Scotty pulled together a last-minute Steve Irwin (note the inside-out scout uniform. Ha!)

I won the prize for best costume.

Ew!

The following week I got to use my fake braces again at Pack Meeting to be the assistant to the mad scientist. 

Scientist

Fake braces? Worth it!

I am already looking for opportunities to use them again.

Item #2: Chicken Suit

Cost: $20

Untitled

I found the chicken suit in the pajama section of Walmart (next to no less than five other "suits" I would like to buy someday). 

I couldn't walk away. I needed it. Partially because my friend, Shannon, had bought a cat suit a few days earlier, and I felt like our friendship would be enhanced if I, too, had a ridiculous animal costume. (Shannon is currently in mourning for not buying a squirrel costume she stumbled across while perusing Halloween clearance - it even came with plush nuts. I didn't want to have any regrets, so I bought the chicken suit).

The night I bought the chicken suit, I told Scotty that I had a surprise for him. I then went into my bedroom and suited up. He was watching the CMA awards, and in the middle of a Carrie Underwood performance, I jumped down the stairs and yelled "Chicken suuuuuuuit!" then ran a lap through the living room and back up the stairs. I did this three times in a ten minute period. Scotty wasn't happy about me interrupting Carrie Underwood. I think Carrie would think it was funny, though. No doubt she has my back.

Last week I wore the chicken suit while I took my stats test. Then I wore it for my group meeting (done online via Google Hangouts). My group liked it, and at our next meeting, they were disappointed that I didn't have it on, so I put it on again. It's now routine to wear my chicken suit to all of my statistics meetings. My professor has yet to comment. 

Chicken suit? Worth it.

It has become my lounge wear of choice. 

Sunday, November 13, 2016

What Husbands Do With Their Friends

One difference between Scotty and me is that I need friends, and he doesn't. In many ways, this has been nice because I've never had to share Scotty with "the guys."

Recently, this changed.

Scotty has "guys" now.

I guess it began when Scotty found out that Mark, a guy in our ward, is a distant relative. This got the two of them swapping family history information, and it eventually evolved into sharing Disneyland stories. Then they decided that since Mark was turning forty this year, they should celebrate by going to Disneyland - an event that will forever be termed "Brocation."

Two other "bros," Jed and Kyle, joined the trip.

On "Brocation," Mark introduced Scotty to Hamilton the musical.

Mark is a very passionate individual, and he lists his passions as follows: Disneyland, Family, and and Hamilton (if you question the order, he will claim it's alphabetical). In fact, Mark has been known to sneak in some Disneyland and Hamilton references in his testimony at church. My favorite of his testimonies was the one where in he rapped "Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happy-NESS." (He didn't even realize he'd done it until I commented on it later).

Scotty can also be a very passionate individual - hence our family's Disneyland obsession. Since "Brocation," Scotty has been equally obsessed with Hamilton. He and Mark have had entire texting conversations in Hamilton quotes. It's fascinating, really.

And whose passion can compare to Mark and Scotty's? Kyle's. One of the other "Bros." Except his passions aren't as centered on Disneyland and Hamilton. One of Kyle's obsessions is music, so of course, he and Mark have a band, and as a result of the "Brocation" bonding, Scotty is now the bass player.

(Scotty. Who has never played an instrument in his life and knows nothing about music. At all).

So ever since "Brocation" (April), Scotty has gone to "Band Practice" each week. "Band Practice" is in quotes because it's an hour of messing around with guitars and drums in Kyle's shed followed by three hours of male bonding.

What does male bonding include?

Things like:

-Trying to sneak past Kyle's motion sensor lights without turning them on

-Taking videos of each other going down the slide in the dark at Mark's mom's pool

-Climbing in the rafters of Kyle's garage

-Eating Cheerios

-Trying on costumes

-Playing with swords

-Looking for the neighbor's lost goats

I haven't had a hard time turning Scotty over to Mark and Kyle. They have all been good for each other, and their friendship is very positive. I benefit as well, because they have great wives. We even have a friendship slogan:

"Doubt your doubts before you doubt your awesomeness!"

(Mark and Uchtdorf collaborated on that one).

This new friendship thing that Scotty has gotten into is working out just fine. I couldn't have hand-picked a better set of "guys."

The gig
[The Band]

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Why I'm Not a Florist

Just like that, I am 12 days into November, and I haven't written a thing. Funny how that happens.

Today I'm writing for stress relief. I just finished up my homework for the week (it was brutal, thanks for asking) so I need to unwind a bit. Both TVs are occupied by children (I had to separate Zoe and Daisy because they were going to kill each other, and Scotty is out of town, so yeah, I deserve to let the TVs babysit for a while) (but if Scotty were here, they'd probably still be watching TV because it's Saturday night, and we give up on parenting on Thursday).

I can think of nothing I'd rather do right now than tell you a story about my growing years.

It involves one of my favorite past times of my youth... LYING.

I'm just going to go ahead and put this out there: Young Britt was a big liar.

I don't know why I lied so much, but don't worry... I'm now relatively honest and raising a daughter who has mega issues with lying, so what goes around comes around.

Anyway, when I was a junior in high school, we had to take all of those personality assessments that are supposed to help you start thinking about what you want to be when you grow up. Those tests weren't helpful for me because I didn't answer them honestly (maybe that's why I didn't know what I wanted to be until I was in my thirties, and I'm just now earning my bachelor's degree), but that's not the lie I'm going to tell you about today. To be honest (if you even trust me at this point) I didn't think I was really answering my personality profiles with any form of untruth. It's only now, with my grown-up perspective, that I can see that error, and part of my mistake was that I didn't really know who I was. But that is, perhaps, a topic for another day.

At some point, I decided that I wanted to be a florist. Scotty had a distant cousin who owned a floral shop, and it was my dream to work there. I thought they had the most beautiful flowers (they really did, actually), and I wanted to be a part of it. I thought that maybe someday I could take over the business or maybe open a second location.

One of the interesting parts of this is that I had no idea that the owners of the flower shop didn't like me, and they had actually tried to get Scotty to break up with me and date a girl that worked there.

Um... awkward. But whatever. I was naive enough to assume they loved me and wanted me, with no experience whatsoever, to work for them and take over their shop someday.

(Just remember my prefrontal cortex wasn't fully developed yet).

Anyway, I thought I'd be a really good florist, and I assumed I could just walk into it at some point and totally rock it. I shared my "vision" with Scotty's mom and she suggested that I take some floral classes through community education. I had no idea what community education was, and I thought it was the same as the Community College (this will be relevant later). It didn't matter, though, because I didn't need to be taught!

At some point, I was in charge of planning an activity for Young Women (the youth group in my Church for teen girls). I told my YW leader that I was going to teach floral arranging. She was surprised and asked how I knew about floral arranging, so I told her that I had taken a class at the Community College (LIE).

Unexpectedly, this YW leader casually mentioned to my mom that I was teaching a floral arranging class based on my acquired Community College knowledge. My mom approached me about it and asked when I had taken a floral design class. I admit, I panicked a little. I didn't foresee that any of this would get back to my mom, but I told her that Scotty and I had taken a floral design class together at the Community College (LIE). She asked some questions, like, "How did you pay for it?" and "When did you take it?" and I told her that Scotty had paid for it (LIE), it had cost $10 (LIE), and it was just a one-night class on a random Tuesday night (LIE). I had no idea that the Community College doesn't offer one-night floral design classes for $10 per person.

Eventually the night of the class came. I searched for some info on the internet so I could fake like I knew what I was doing, and I went and taught the class. My YW leader had bought some dried flowers and a bunch of baskets and green foam from the thrift store. I did my thing and told my lies and played florist for the night. It went okay, but I realized, as I faked my way through the event, that arranging flowers was harder than I'd ever thought.

About eight years later, I worked at a special education school that did vocational training. We had a floral shop in the school where students were able to make floral arrangements to sell to earn money to fund our program (in addition to gaining job skills). One day, someone from the district needed an emergency flower arrangement, but the floral class teacher wasn't there, and her students were with a substitute working in another area of the school. Our administrator asked me to go to our flower vendor and grab some flowers, then come back to the school and design an arrangement.

I bought some flowers and put the arrangement together, and it looked terrible. I fiddled with it and redid it several times, and I couldn't get it to look right. I asked a few co-workers for help, and none of them knew what to do. We all knew it looked wrong, but we didn't know what to do to fix it. When my administrator saw the arrangement, his face froze in utter shock, and I could tell he was trying to formulate what he should say to me. I finally broke the silence with, "I'm sorry. It sucks." Then we all started laughing, and my administrator confessed that he was trying to figure out how to tell me.

Apparently, I had only bought "filler" flowers and was lacking "focal flowers." But beyond that, I really struggled with shaping the piece and making it proportional to the vase. I realized, for the second time, that I had no natural ability to work in floral design. I really stunk at it! Enough so that my co-workers began to say things like, "Just don't let Brittany near the flowers."

Despite what I originally thought, floral design takes actual knowledge and skills. The same might be said for being honest.

I've since acquired one of these skills but not the other.

(I guess I'm not going to be a florist, after all).

Monday, October 31, 2016

Roll Call!

On this, the final day of October, the 31 day writing challenge comes to an end. I made it 30/31 days. If I were being graded, that would be a 97, and that's 'A' work. I'm pretty happy with that.

I thought that now would be a good time to do two things:

#1. Review my goals for blogging

#2. Guilt trip you into commenting

Review my goals for blogging.

As a blogger, I've always had some unofficial guidelines I've tried to abide by. They've adapted over the years as society and culture have changed, but there are a few things I'd like to always have as standards here.

1. I write because I enjoy it. If this ever changes, I need to have the courage to move on. (It's been 11 years since I started blogging, and I'm still here, so don't worry).

2. I never want this to be a place of contention.

3. I will not be ashamed of my faith or my beief system.

4. I will try to be an influence for good.

5. I will always "keep it real." I want my readers to be able to come here and laugh, to read my words and feel relieved, and to never perceive me as fake or intimidating.

6. I will not write negatively about my body (don't mistake writing "matter of factly" with writing negatively, I think there's a difference).

I do not live this creed perfectly, but I do my best! This will be my go-to post for when I need a reminder.

Guilt trip you into commenting

Okay, so we all know commenting isn't the "thing" anymore. I'm guilty, too. It's so much work, with our modern-day luxuries, to type words in a comment box on a blog post. 

I get it, I really do.

But here's the thing, I like to know you're here. It keeps me going! So just this once (and perhaps annually for the rest of time), I'm going to ask you for validation. 

So I'll give you some options.

You can comment "roll call" style and simply say, "Here!" (You don't even have to use capitalization or an explanation point - see how easy I'm making this)?

Or you can answer this question:  If you were going to give a TED talk, what would your subject be? 

Hmmm..... I'm not sure I laid the guilt on thick enough, but in all honesty, I don't think I have to. Because I know how awesome you are, and you don't need any of that guilt nonsense (is this a manipulative tactic right here)?





Sunday, October 30, 2016

Hashtags I Missed

Since I didn't keep up with my hashtag posts, today I thought I'd do some of the ones I missed...


When I have a parking voucher on my dashboard and my belly honks the horn when I'm trying to lean forward to retrieve it. #makesmemad

As a teen, I met some boys at the ice rink. I told them I was a hockey player, and any time they called me to invite me to do something, I told them I couldn't go because I was practicing for the Olympics. #mydumblie

I've been waiting 12 years for skinny jeans to go away. #thereisaidit

I always rush my children into bigger diaper sizes because bigger diapers can hold more. #dontjudgeme

One time, one of our rabbits escaped into the neighbor's yard. She came over and made me give a full description of the rabbit before she would return it. I said it was brown, and she said, "Are you sure it's not gold?" #myweirdneighbor

My brother wears a kilt. Rumor has it that there's nothing on underneath. I'm not going to question this. #mysiblingisweird

I don't like reading to my kids. #myparentfail

One of my friends and I have matching mugs that say "Poop buddies forever." #myweirdfriend

"Finish your fries or you can't have any pizza." Yes. I said that. #momquotes

Rachael, I miss you! #hadtodoit

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Do Tell - Bad Borrower

Since I'm taking a statistics class this semester, I needed a decent calculator.

When the semester started, I dug through a basket of random electronics and came across a TI-86. I thought it was from when Scotty was in school, but as we discussed the calculator, he claimed it wasn't his, it was mine. I knew it wasn't mine because I've never owned a scientific calculator in my life!

...but I did borrow one in junior college for my algebra classes...

And that's when I realized that, for thirteen years, I've had someone's calculator, and I don't even remember whose it is!

Occasionally during my life, I've been a bad borrower.

There was the time in high school I borrowed a friend's dance shoes and never returned them. I kept them for a few years after graduation and then finally threw them away to purge myself of the guilt.

There was another time when I borrowed my cousin's copy of Write for College (apparently I've needed a lot of help in college) and never returned it (I took it to the thrift store last year) (cousin, if you're reading this and want your book back, let me know, and I'll buy you a new one).

And twice I've borrowed something from my in-laws (once a book and once a movie), and I've kept it for over a year, so I've snuck it back into their house and put it on the shelf as not to draw attention to how long I'd had it.

Overall, though, I'm a decent borrower. My worst fault is that I sometimes take too long to return things, but my track record is mostly clean. I try to not borrow things from people if I think I'll have difficulty in returning it.

However, I know some people who are terrible borrowers. In fact, I have two friends whom, if I let borrow something, I have to just consider it a gift to them, or I have to give them a date and time for when I will pick the item up from them, and then I have to text them a few reminders leading up to it.

So what kind of borrower are you? What has tainted your record? Do tell!


Friday, October 28, 2016

Updates to Previous Posts

I've kept up pretty well with the 31 day writing challenge, and I've gotten pretty pumped up about blogging again. I'm amazed that when I transitioned from the hashtags (which I thought would be just for a post or two) that I ended up continuing to write actual posts. I think part of the reason I've been able to do that is because I'm starting to feel passionate about things again. Hooray!

The month is coming to a close soon, and I probably won't keep writing at this rate, but I might write a little more often than I was prior to this challenge. I feel like I'm getting some of my blogging groove back, and as long as you, dear readers, are content to read my mindless banter, we can continue enjoying this journey.

For today, I have some updates on some of my previous posts...


Connecting to people through this post was an amazing experience. I don't often share my blog posts on facebook, but for this particular post, I did. The outpouring of love I received in return was incredible. I had a few comments here and a few comments on facebook, but additionally, I had a lot of people text me, message me, call me, and approach me in person. I heard from people that I never would have thought were struggling with the same thing - people I admire and look up to and want to be like! I also had a lot of men respond to my post, which was really cool.


I'm happy to report that my gross problem has cleared up really nicely. Antifungal cream is the bees knees! Who knew? (No, really, did you know? Because I really didn't know!)

I bought a new yoga mat and tried it our at PiYo for the first time today.


Target didn't have the accessory I needed for my Halloween costume, so I had to improvise a little bit. It worked out, though, and I wore my costume to a party at my mom's house last weekend, and I won a prize!


Right after I interviewed Scotty, he started interviewing me. Then he fell asleep. Right in the middle of Question 8.

So there's a draft somewhere of my interview that might be completed someday if Scotty can ever stay awake long enough to do so.


Our pack meeting the other night turned out really well. We had a lot of positive feedback. The kids really liked the science experiments, and our mad scientist brought a few bonus items - a cow heart and four cow eyes. I was a little nervous about this, but everyone thought they were really cool. The weird part, though, was when I had to leave an iced cooler on my porch while I took my girls to the dentist so the "scientist" could leave them at my house. I came home from the dentist and checked to see if I'd received a delivery, and yep - there was a bag of cow parts in the cooler on my porch.

((shudder))

(I feel like I need to add that these organs were obtained via permit for educational purposes)

Sadly, we didn't get a single photo from pack meeting. Scotty and I are both pretty busy during pack meeting, so I think I might have to find someone in the ward to be our pack meeting photo guru (our former one moved, and I thought I could fill the void myself, but it's not happening!)



There are a couple of pictures on my phone that would be really great in this post, but since I can't use my phone right now, I'll have to sneak them into another post someday.

Have a good weekend, everyone! I'll be back tomorrow...