Thursday, March 21, 2019

50 Things I'm bad at

1. Judging the done-ness of pasta
2. Judging the done-ness of any food, really
3. Making shots in basketball
4. Spelling words out loud
5. Applying brow make-up
6. Applying any make-up, for that matter
7. Cutting bangs
8. Keeping the kitchen tidy while I cook
9. Saying the word "algorithm"
10. Writing conclusions
11. Playing the piano
12. Remembering to take pills
13. Stratego
14. Styling my girls' hair
15. Fashion
16. Swimming
17. Adventure
18. Trying new things
19. Making bread
20. Cleaning the bath tub
21. Riddles
22. Rap battling
23. Working with other people
24. Growing melons
25. Being patient
26. Parallel parking
27. Most other types of parking
28. Detecting the scent of rotten milk in my van
29. Small talk
30. Making coffee (I used to work at a donut shop, and I had customers specifically ask that I not make their coffee)
31. Fishing (see #25)
32. Playing with kids
33. Folding fitted sheets (again see #25)
34. Choosing the right size pot or bowl
35. Returning library books on time
36. Asking for help
37. Eating vegetables
38. Buying the item I went to the store for
39. Putting DVDs away
40. Interpreting and following maps
41. Displaying positive body language
42. Birthday parties
43. Keeping things clean when I paint
44. Cleaning the fridge
45. Listening to my kids
46. BINGO
47. Disciplining my kids
48. Showering
49. Typing with my left hand (I only use one finger)
50. Sewing

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Personal Progress Update

In February I started working on earning a Young Women medallion.This is an award that can be earned in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The program is also referred to as "Personal Progress." It's specifically geared toward teenage girls, but anyone can earn one. I earned mine when I was 17 and have always wanted to do it again. The program has changed a lot since then and will undergo more changes as the Church engages in a new youth initiative starting next year.


Last month the idea to do Personal Progress came to me with a bit of intensity. I tend to get a bee in my bonnet at times and then end up getting burned out, so I didn't want to jump into it only to realize I put too much pressure on myself. Mostly, I wanted to make sure that Personal Progress wouldn't prevent me from doing other important things. I could imagine myself working on a PP project and yelling at my kids, "Leave me alone! Can't you see I'm doing Personal Progress?"

I prayed about it, and every response in my heart and head was, "Yes! Do this!" I also had the reassurance from the Spirit that I'm good at Personal Progress. It suits my personality. I rocked it as a teenager, and I can rock it as an overweight 35-year-old stay-at-home-mother of four who has to take antidepressants and high blood pressure meds to make it through each day.

So I went and bought a hard copy of the book (because I need to be able to write in the margins), I made a plan, and I got started. I created a google doc for my PP journal, and I hung a bunch of post-its on my bedroom wall so I could remember what I'm working on.

Scotty and I now have a Sunday ritual of going through my PP book and signing off the requirements I complete each week. I'm almost done with all the value experiences and am now starting some of my value projects (I have to complete seven ten-hour projects and read the Book of Mormon, among other things).

If you're not familiar with Personal Progress, a lot of the requirements are centered around studying certain topics in the scriptures - the Holy Ghost, for example - and then taking specific actions, having discussions, and/or writing in a journal. Some requirements are flexible, and some you get to pick and choose. I love the adaptability of the program, and I've really tried to make it into something that supports what I really need in my current phase of life.

Some of the things I've done with Personal Progress are:

  • Worked on implementing the Come Follow Me curriculum in my life (this has been a struggle for me. I've been very resistant to it)
  • Worked on improving the relationship with one of my children
  • Talked to my kids about suicide
  • Reviewed my patriarchal blessing
  • Compiled and tested healthy recipes for my family (so far only 2 are "keepers")
  • Cut back on my swearing (I'm not 100% successful, but Scotty can attest to my improved language)
  • Made meal plans and stuck with them
  • Reduced how often I eat out
  • Made centerpieces for a community event
  • Took my kids around the neighborhood with their friends to pick up garbage
  • Worked on improving my fasting
  • Started reading the Book of Mormon again

I secretly hoped that as I worked on PP that it would change my life - more specifically, that it would change me. I've been in some serious spiritual funk off and on for the last several years. I've felt stagnant, and I don't like that. I want to feel like I'm moving. I want to grow and progress, and I need to perceive that growth.

That was my hope. That something meaningful would happen. But I'll be honest, what I really believed would happen was that Personal Progress would be nice. I'd get it done, get my necklace, and move on with my life without anything tremendous taking place.

My belief was wrong, and my hope is being fulfilled. I've felt a degree of personal growth that is profound, and I have witnessed miracles.

Now here is the part where I wish I could tell you all the things that have happened, but there just aren't words. The emotion I feel is so strong that I can't release it. I just have to hold it.

What I can say is that I've felt an increased measure of the Spirit, and I've had knowledge come to me in significant ways when I've needed it. I've also experienced innumerable service opportunities.

I'm excited to be doing something good for me, but the best thing about it has been the ripple effect as it extends to my family and others. I feel like I'm no longer stagnant.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

The Past Week in Photos

Zoe is always leaving us surprise notes and cards. One night she got in trouble and was sent to bed early. That night, I found this under my pillow. Cue Mom Tears.

This week in photos

Eva was really hyper one night, and we couldn't get her to settle down for bed. She climbed in the hamper and was giggling and playing. A few minutes later she was sound asleep.

This week in photos

I have a habit of buying French bread on Saturday. I love dipping bread in vinegar and oil. I end up eating way too much, and then I feel yucky, but that hasn't stopped me. 

This week in photos

I've been using some balsamic vinegar that my friend Cassie gave me (she's a balsamic addict). I decided that I should find new ways to enjoy my bottle of vinegar so I can cut back on my French bread habit, so I found a recipe for a balsamic vinaigrette to make.  

This week in photos

I am and will always be a person who takes photos of food, so if you're the type of person who find this annoying, I just want you to know what boat I'm in. I'll save you a seat in case you want in.

Most mornings I drink what I refer to as "horse poo" smoothie (I used to call it something else, but for my Personal Progress, I'm cutting back on swears, so "poo it is" - but let it be known that the alternative is my favorite swear word. Well... one of them. It's so hard to choose). 

This week in photos

The other night I was holding a baby for a while, and then I passed her on to my baby-lovin' friend. Not two minutes later, the baby exploded all over her. It was the exact color of my horse poo smoothies. Now every morning, I think of baby poo while I drink my horse poo smoothie. Meanwhile, my friend thinks I conspired to make the baby poop on her. 

We did this puzzle last week. It's one we'd been looking forward to for a while. My in-laws gave it to us for Valentine's Day.  

This week in photos

Last week we took Nicky to the Salt Lake Temple to do baptisms for the dead. While we were waiting for Scotty to get off work, I tried to take a photo of Nicky in front of the temple. He is in that awkward phase where he refuses to smile nicely for a photo - he has to pull an ugly face. I always end up having to say "poop" to get him to smile (a tactic I've fallen back on since he was two-years-old). This photo was a result of me telling him, "Please don't make me say poop at the temple!"

This week in photos

I did end up getting few smiles out of him (I ended up having to say "turd"). But he's still just a big, ol goofball. 

Then I asked him to take a picture of me in front of the temple. 

This week in photos

Of course it ended up being one more weird image of me trying to get my phone back

I've been on the hunt for a new pair of athletic shoes for a while. The two pairs I own are very worn out. One pair came from my brother's DI pile and the other pair squeaks. 

This week in photos

I finally found a pair! So naturally I took this weird picture with my foot on the bathroom counter to text Koriann.

Saint Patrick's Day happened. I let my kids eat green donuts and Pringles for breakfast. They loved it, and their breath reeked for church. 

This week in photos

I hope they don't expect that to be a "thing" though. My kids are obsessed with the "things." I can't live up to every "thing."

I did my singing time at church entirely in rhyme. I ran out of rhymes ten minutes early. That's as close as I've come to my deepest fear of rap battling. Only, instead of rapping on the spot, it was more like Dr. Seussing on the spot. Some of the same skills are required, though.

Pass the salt, Lin Manuel!

With St. Paddy's came four boxes of Lucky Charms from a little leprechaun at Grandma's house. Here's how Eva's box is faring:

This week in photos

Sadly, on Saint Patrick's Day, I knocked one of my favorite glasses off the counter, and it broke. 

This week in photos

I've had two of these little beer mug shot glasses for about 13 years. I swiped them from Scotty's grandpa's cabin when we were cleaning it out. I am heart-broken!

Scotty and I are in love with these pretzels:

This week in photos

Not very many stores carry them, so I was really excited to find them at WinCo. So excited, in fact, that I forgot to buy milk... which is what I went to WinCo for. 

Scotty has been working on getting all the furniture and art installed in the Memphis Temple. Scotty has started some temples and finished some temples, but this is the first temple renovation that he has been involved with from start to finish. Very exciting!

This week in photos

He is also working on Raleigh, Washington DC, Baton Rouge, and Asuncion. 

The kids and I started working in the garden. We found some straggler carrots from last year and gave our rabbits a feast. 

This week in photos

I put Daisy in charge of planting peas. Fingers crossed that they grow! Our FHE plants didn't work out very well, and I don't really want to fake a whole pea garden to make my kids happy. 

(Though I can totally imagine myself in the backyard in my nightgown after dark staging a garden. It sounds soooo like me). 

I love this artwork by Daisy. This week we went to see it displayed at the school. 

This week in photos

"Poop!"

This week in photos

What can I say? It works!

Also, I'm so grateful for my Hawaiian shirt/gym shorts/LeBron James socks wearing boy who helps me shovel snow without even being asked. 

(Aaaaand, this week he added suspenders to his wardrobe, and that's why I'm sending him to a junior high with uniforms next year).

Saturday, March 16, 2019

More than you ever wanted to know about my recent sleep patterns

My personal sleep preference is to go to bed by 10:30 at the latest and be out of bed by 6:30 at the latest. Those times are slightly flexible depending on my energy level and the activities for the day, but in general, I aim for 9:30-5:30 or 10:30-6:30.

My sleep schedule has been a little off lately. You'd think Daylight Savings is to blame, but it's not. I've been waking up for odd reasons throughout the night, and it's disrupted my sleep patterns. I've been having a lot of bizarre dreams - the kind where you A) are relieved to wake up and realize it's not real and B) you have to completely rouse to recover.

I've also been hearing phantom whispers of children needing me in the night. They need milk, they are going to throw up, they can't sleep, the seams of their underwear are bugging them... I force myself awake only to discover that I dreamed it (except for the times when my kids are actually hovering over me whispering - that happens at least once a night. It's usually Eva).

One time I thought Nicky was asking me for medicine in the night. I got up and found the medicine and then went to his bed and tried to give it to him. He was sound asleep. Scotty had been awake when I'd gotten out of bed, and when I explained to him that Nicky had asked for medicine, he confirmed that Nicky had been sound asleep the whole time and hadn't asked for anything.

In addition to the creative concoctions of my subconscious, I get night sweats. I'm not sure what's causing them, but it's plausible that I'm either a hormonal mess or its a side effect of my anti-depressants. Whatever it be... it's ew! And it wakes me up frequently.

Which brings me to last night. I woke up twice from night sweats and once from phantom whispering, which was especially annoying because all of my kids were at sleepovers with cousins. Then there was the ultimate, most annoying waking of all... at 4:30 this morning, my toe itched. And I couldn't get it to stop! I kept rubbing it against the sheets, and it would be okay for a few seconds, but then it would start to itch again. So I'd reach down and scratch it, but the itch just kept returning. Finally, after an hour of trying to make my toe stop itching, I got out of bed and found my laptop. I figure, if I can't sleep because of my itchy toe, I might as well spend the morning blogging.



Which brings me to this moment. It's been two hours since I woke up. I'm tired and want to go back to bed. If I do go back to bed, I'll waste a good chunk of my morning which could be used productively. I'd like to work out, get a head start on cleaning the house, and grate five pounds of cheese to freeze before my kids get home.

But none of that matters.

Because my darn toe still itches!


Friday, March 15, 2019

Eva Was Here

Back when Zoe was three, I did a couple of posts titled "Zoe Was Here" (Part I & Part II). Now Zoe is six, but nothing has changed! She is still a huge mess maker. Most of her messes are disguised as art projects and "decorating."

Untitled

Now I have another three year old, and just as her siblings before her, Eva is a very messy child. Thus, it's time to begin Eva's photo series:


Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

Leaves

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Follow Up

It's only Monday, and I'm already giving up on productivity for the week. Generally, if I don't have a good, productive Monday, the rest of the week is shot. I'm doing lots of things... I'm just not getting anything done, if that makes sense. My big accomplishment for the day is that I put on a bra. It's the only task I've been able to start and finish.

(It's Thursday now. I've had that kind of week).

My kids... oh my kids! Particularly the two little tornadoes. Oi! I can't keep up with them. Today has been spent saying "NO!" a lot and chasing scooters and bikes out of the house. I figure if I'm giving up on productivity, I might as well plop down on the couch and blog while everything continues to fall apart around me.

(Still true for Thursday).


Today Three days ago, I thought I'd do some follow ups to some old blog posts.

-----

A couple of weeks ago I ordered an exercise bike online. On the day it was supposed to arrive, I got an email saying my order had been canceled because they were out of stock. I was so sad. Now I have no bike. But I went ahead and spent that money on bakeware. So instead of cycling while I watch TV, I'll have to make brownies.

Update: I did end up making brownies, but not in my new bakeware. I still haven't used the bakeware.

-----

Even though everything else in my life is falling apart, I am doing very well with Personal Progress. It has been such a great experience, and I have seen miracles come into my life from it. I'm in awe of what a blessing it has been.

I want to write about some of the things I've done to meet my requirements, but I'll save that for another post. This week I started working on a few of my value projects.

-----

Almost a month ago, I got sick. In fact, the whole family took turns. Nicky, Daisy, and I got the worst of it. For Scotty, Zoe, and Eva, it was relatively quick and easy. I'm not entirely sure what we had, but I suspect influenza. I slept for a day and a half straight. I haven't kicked the cough yet or gotten my voice back all the way. I'm still tired, which is part of the reason why I'm just letting things fall apart around me a we speak.

-----

As far as KonMari goes, I've tackled most of the things I have control over. Some of the remaining issues continue to be my kids' bedrooms and the garage and sheds. Scotty started working on the garage and sheds last weekend, and he is doing really well. I'm so proud of him. He has blessed and released several items that he never would have parted with if he hadn't seen the results on the inside of our house. I've slowed down a lot lately (mostly from being sick) and haven't kept up with things as well as I was a month ago, so my house is a little messy right now. KonMari or no, my house will always be messy because too many creative people live here (my kids and their daily art projects... I can't even!)

I tried folding my kids' clothes Marie Kondo's way. It ended badly, as I suspected it would, so I'm not even going to try to keep up on that. I have kept Scotty's and my underwear and sock drawers nicely folded, though. Come to my house, and I will show you my underwear!

-----

Today I was able to help another mom at Cafe Rio by lending her my purse scissors to trim her kids' straws. I'd like to think I'm a super hero now. 

What has to thumbs and deserves a cape? THIS GIRL!

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

It Ain't Over Yet

The forecast for today included snow. I was hoping it would be a mild skiff - the kind that melts by noon, but oh boy! This ain't no skiff. Scotty left for work early because he had a meeting at 8:00, and he wanted to make sure he was there on time (spoiler alert... it got canceled). He shoveled before he left (6:40).

I wanted to leave early to get the kids to school, and when we went outside at 8:00, there was no sign of Scotty having shoveled, and traffic was backed up on the street next to our house. When cars are lined up next to my house, I know we're not getting anywhere, so I ordered all the kids back in the house.

I blame Scotty.

Last week he "summer"-ized our snow blower, and while he was doing it, I was stewing inside. I knew he was jinxing us. We always have late snow storms. In fact, I'll be surprised if today is the last. It's not uncommon for a big April snowstorm.

Here's April 17, 2018:



But wait! Here's May 17, 2017:


So technically, Utahns shouldn't even think about putting their snow blowers away until June. 

I don't care for these late-winter/early-spring snowstorms, but I know they happen, so I try to keep my cool. If I start to get upset about the snow, I just think of my friend Rachael in Minnesota where they've had 8 snow days in the past month, and it's been as low as -29°.