Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 in Review

What did you do in 2015 that you'd never done before?

parasailed over Lake Tahoe.

{July 2015)

Did you keep your New Year's resolutions, and will you make more for the coming year?

My only resolution for 2015 was to give birth. It's all I could handle, and yes, I did it.

I will be making resolutions for 2016. I'm feeling all sorts of motivated even though there is a baby rolling around on my feet screaming right now in what I can only assume is an attempt to remind me that I currently have no control over my life, and I won't be able to accomplish anything that isn't on her terms.

Did anyone close to you give birth?

I did and so did one of my best friends. We each have four children of the same age and opposite gender, so we have already planned for them to marry each other, and then we will move to a commune and home school our grandchildren while living off the land.

{April 2015}

Did anyone close to you die?

My grandpa passed away a few weeks ago.

{December 2015}

What countries did you visit?


What would you like to have in 2016 that you didn't have in 2015?

A finished basement would be nice and maybe a van with a working fob. My doors don't unlock with buttons. First world problems.

We'll see, though.

What dates from 2015 will be etched in your mind?

April 15 because that's when my taxes were due.

Not really. April 15 because that's when Eva was born. 

What did you get really excited about?

Going to Disneyland in September, getting to the point where I can do a decent workout and feel good about my effort, and every good deal I found on clothing, food, or other items.

Grass less traveled by 
{Learning to run again - November 2015}

Did you suffer illness or injury?

Fortunately, no. Just the usual minor bugs and scrapes.

What was the best thing you bought?

Thirty-five pounds of strawberries for $.25 a pound. I'm sure I bought plenty of other awesome things this year (like the boots I got from Ross that are carrying me through the winter), but the strawberries were one of the best deals I found.

Where did most of your money go?

Dental work, medical bills, and vacations.

{Emergency Room - September 2015} 

Compared to this time last year, are you A) happier or sadder, B) thinner or fatter, C) richer or poorer?

A) Same
B) Thinner
C) Richer (but not "rich")

What was your favorite TV show?

Gilmore Girls, Sherlock, White Collar.

Sherlock is the only one I've watched on TV. The rest have been on Netflix. I don't think there's anything else on TV currently that I watch. 

What was the best book you read?

I hardly did any leisurely reading this year. In fact, Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan was probably the most enjoyable book I read for leisure this year, and that is pretty sad. I just don't read anymore outside of church and school. Fortunately I enjoy a lot of what I read for school.

Who was the best person you met?

Justin Timberlake.

Okay, so we didn't "meet," but there was eye contact. I swear! See? He's looking right at me!

{July 2015} 

{Alfonso Ribiero and Justin Timberlake}

What was your favorite film of 2015?

I'm very picky about movies. It's rare for me to like a movie. I don't see very many, and I don't watch many after they are released on DVD. My favorite for this year was probably The Martian. Other movies I saw this year were Unbroken (which was technically released in 2014, but I saw it on January 1st), Cinderella, The Good Dinosaur, The Peanuts Movie, Inside Out, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Minions, and Hotel Transylvania 2.  

Obviously my kids control my movie viewing, for the most part.

The only movie from 2015 that I watched on DVD was The Age of Adeline.  

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

This year I turned 31. We had plans with friends, and at the last minute, they canceled. I was really upset (it didn't help that I was pregnant and hormonal). We went and saw Unbroken.

What one thing would have made your year more satisfying?

I wish I'd been in better shape this year. I don't necessarily mean "skinny," I just mean more fit. I spent a lot of this year feeling lost, and a lot of that was due to being out of shape. I've struggled to get back into running. It's hard starting over again, but I let myself go during my pregnancy and in the months following Eva's birth. I wish I would have stayed on top of my fitness better. 

How would you describe your fashion concept of 2015?

Stretchy pants and t-shirts.

I honestly don't know how to dress according to current trends. Clothes are so foreign to me right now.

What kept you sane?

Ha! Sane!

What valuable life lesson did you learn in 2015?

I learned (and am still learning) how to cultivate and rely on my own talents and not worry about the ones I don't have. I'm also learning to accept my current season of life and not long for the past or  rush to the future. I guess the ultimate lesson I need to continue learning is to be happy with who I am and the life I have.

What was your biggest achievement this year?

Having my fourth child and staying in school is probably my biggest achievement for this year.

{My fourth little achievement} 

Please forgive me for the sloppy formatting of this post. I've been having issues with blogger lately, and I think it's related to my use of flickr for my photos. I loathe the way the flickr info shows up on the photos when you hover over them. It didn't used to be like that, and as soon as they added that feature, my posts started being very hard to format. I need to change the way I add photos to my posts, but I've been procrastinating.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

On Resolutions

I really love the New Year. Maybe that's part of being born on New Year's Day, but I also really like making goals and completing them. Sterling W. Sill suggested that the New Year is a time for us to put into action the things we have contemplated and learned through the Thanksgiving and Christmas season. He said, "This is a time when we make New Year’s resolutions. This is the time when we could make some determinations about the things that we have been thinking about during Christmas." Perhaps this is one more reason I like the New Year so much. After celebrating Thanksgiving and Christmas, I am ready to start anew and reset my focus on the things that matter most.

Over the years I've made a lot of New Year's resolutions in various formats. I've failed at many, but I've also succeeded at many, which is why I continue to make them. I've also learned, through the trial and error of making resolutions, how to make goals that really work for me, so I'm to a point now where I usually complete my resolutions.

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've been brainstorming my resolutions for 2016* since September. I'm that excited! For the past couple of weeks, I've been trying to narrow down my goals according to the S.M.A.R.T. criteria (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely). I've also been contemplating my life's circumstances with all seriousness. I am in school. I have four kids. I need to remember what season of life I'm in and make resolutions that fit my season.

I'm excited to get my resolutions narrowed down and determine my focus for the coming year. This is the time of year when I have a hard time containing my enthusiasm, so you'll probably see a few more New Year-related posts over the next week. Bear with me. It's my birthday.

*This year, I didn't feel like I could handle any big goals, so my resolution for 2015 was simply, "Have a baby!" (since I was already pregnant, I set myself up for success!) Part of learning how to make resolutions is knowing when to not make resolutions.

Monday, December 21, 2015

My Grinchy Side

I've always had a desire to dress up in costume and play a character. There's something intriguing to me about covering up my identity and acting like a fool.

The closest I've come is on Halloween, but my identity has always been known, and everyone else is dressed up acting like a fool, too, so it's not really the same.

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine was telling me about her family Christmas party. She usually does a fun theme, and this year she was doing "Breakfast with the Grinch." She mentioned that she wished The Grinch could come to visit. I happened to know where she could rent a Grinch costume, so I gave her the info, and, long story short, I ended up being The Grinch!


I wouldn't consider myself an "outgoing" person. For the most part, I think I'm pretty reserved and self-conscious. I have to be really comfortable before I get interesting. 

I wasn't sure how I'd do walking into a house of 50+ people in a costume and parading around in front of all of them in character. I considered a few ways to back out, but then I decided, I want to do this! I can be The Grinch! 

I got the costume the night before the party, and I figured I should give it a test run. My kids were at my mom's house, and I needed to go pick them up, so I called my mom and told her to have the kids come to the window. Scotty dropped me off at the corner in the costume, and I tip-toed around my mom's yard for a minute, then stole a Christmas decoration and ran up the street where Scotty was parked in the van. I got in, threw the costume off, and we approached my mom's house to pick up the kids as if nothing had happened. 

The kids were excited to tell me that they'd just seen The Grinch, and that he'd stolen something out of Grandma's yard! 

"Did you see him? Did you see him?"

No, we did not see him, but we found Grandma's Christmas decoration in the road and brought it back.

Nicky kept watching out the window and going outside to look up the road for The Grinch. Zoe kept saying, "Grinch scare me! Grinch scare me!"

When we loaded everyone in the van with The Grinch costume, the gig was up. 

Ha ha ha! It was Mom!

That evening, I staged a Grinch sighting for some of our neighbors. I filled the Grinch's Christmas sack with garbage and handed all the kids egg cartons, soup cans, and empty toilet paper rolls. It was a blast!

Saturday morning was my big moment. I planned to do a "silent" Grinch, which worked out well because no one would have been able to hear my muffled voice through the mask. I took my cues from Mickey Mouse at Disneyland - the best of the best - who is silent. 

I ended up having so much fun. Everyone reacted a little different to The Grinch. The adults were mostly uninterested, as adults tend to be. There were little kids who were terrified of me, of course, but then there were a few kids who adored me. Adored!!!

One little boy kept coming to see me over and over. He had his own Grinch mask, and he even brought a little stuffed dog with a reindeer hat on. It wasn't the Max, but it was his own version of Max, which made it even better. 

My biggest fan was a little girl who followed me around and gave me hugs. She was the first to greet me when I came through the door, and she was the last to see me off.  She was such a sweetheart.

I spent most of the time posing for pictures with families and interacting with the children. Then I passed out Grinch pills to everyone.

By the time I left, I was drenched in sweat and really excited to take the mask off and breathe real air, but I had so much fun. I can now check this off my bucket list!

Thursday, December 17, 2015


Me: Nicky, did you remember to put a fruit and a vegetable in your lunch?

Nicky: Yes. I put in cheese and crackers.

Me: Which one is the vegetable?


Daisy: Hey mom, can we buy that Christmas goat to put in our yard?



Nicky: I want to invent a food called a  "chickurger." It has everything on it that you would find on a hamburger except it has chicken instead of beef.

Me: I have some bad news...


Daisy: Look mom! It's Paw Patrol!

(Points to some dog thing wearing a fire fighter hat)

Me: Who's Papa Troll?


Nicky: Mom, is egg nog bad for you?

Me: Yeah. It's pretty fattening.

Nicky: How much egg nog did Dad drink?


Nicky (while FamilySearch indexing): Mom! Look! This guy died, and he was a farmer. A farmer!

Nicky (to everyone): I found a dead farmer online.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015



This little sweetheart is teething.

In the past three weeks, she's had four (maybe five - I haven't done inventory yet today) teeth come in. With that comes a combination of fussiness, sleeplessness, and messy diapers (You know the kind, right? Up the back and out the sides?)

So on top of not being able to get anything done EVER, I am now unable to get anything done EVER times two.

How then are you blogging?

I knew you would ask that!

I am blogging because the Teething Monster is currently sleeping, and since she rarely sleeps for more than 20 minutes, I am hiding in my basement trying to keep the house completely silent. You may also want to note that I am in my bathrobe because I don't dare go upstairs to get dressed lest the drawers should squeak. I am not doing the dishes because the clinking of glass might wake her up. I am not picking up the crackers that are smashed in the carpet of the living room because the crumble of baked Goldfish might stir her. I am not cleaning the cinnamon and sugar that Zoe so graciously dumped on the couch because the sound of sugar moving across microfiber is enough to send Eva into a frenzy.

I live a paranoid life. 

Saturday, December 5, 2015

My Biggest Running Secret

The other day I was talking to a friend that I haven't seen in a while, and she made a comment about me running "all the time." I realized that she'd gotten this impression from my blog and social media posts. I had to clarify things a bit because I don't want people to get the wrong idea. In truth, I typically run once a week and usually only three miles (though the last two weeks I did six - once on accident because I was trying to avoid a man in a Honda who may or may not have been attempting to kidnap me, and once on purpose because it was Thanksgiving and gratitude makes me run far).

So "all the time?"


More like "sometimes."

But I don't think I should have to use #onlytimethisweek any time I post something about running. In all honesty, the reason I post anything at all on Instagram or Facebook about running is because I usually take a few pictures while I'm out so I can enjoy God's beautiful earth, like so:


Remember how art makes ugly things beautiful? Well, running can be a very ugly practice, so I try to make it better by focusing on the beauty of nature and the lyrics to "We Didn't Start the Fire."

Coming clean to my friend about my infrequent running made me realize there's more I need to confess about running.

Remember how I said it can be ugly?

Sometimes, it's really ugly. Sometimes I'm out there trying to keep my legs moving, and I get angry, and I just give up. Sometimes I just want to sit down on the sidewalk and wait for my family to come searching for me, but that would take a few hours, so I walk home. When I'm heading home in defeat, sometimes I have to pass other runners. I don't want them to know that I'm a quitter, so as I move toward them, I pump my arms and march a little so that, from far away, I appear to be running. Then when I get close enough to see detail, I start actually running. Then I do the friendly, "we are friends because we are both running" wave, and I stop running as soon as we pass each other.

Maybe I get caught sometimes by strangers, but I know for a fact that I pulled this stunt off flawlessly on one of my friends. A few weeks after I did "the stunt," my friend and I were at a neighborhood event, and we were talking about how we were having a hard time getting back into running after having our last babies. Then she said, "But you were rocking it the other day!"

And I was like, "Yep."

But in my defense, I haven't pulled the stunt since July, so if you've seen me running since then, it was legit!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Zoe Was Here

Age three.

Definitely not my favorite.

There is nothing in my character that makes me compatible with three-year-olds. Having a three-year-old for the third time is certainly evidence of that.

Zoe is so...




And most of all...


The messes this girl makes!

Since I'm currently buried chest-deep in three-year-oldness, I decided to turn the daily messes into an art project because art makes ugly things beautiful. 

May I present to you my photography series which I've titled, "Zoe was here."




Tuesday, December 1, 2015

My Personal Thoughts on the Proclamation

As I bring my family proclamation project to a close, I thought it might be good to give further insight into what The Family: A Proclamation to the World is and what it means to me, personally.

I jumped into this project assuming that most of my blog readers will probably skip over these posts, and that anyone who actually reads them already has a basic understanding of the proclamation. I don't know if that assumption was correct or not, but either way, I won't be doing this project justice if I fail to explain what the proclamation is and why it is important to me.

Where The Family: A Proclamation to the World comes from

In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, we have a semi-annual general conference where our Church leaders give inspiring presentations on gospel-related topics. Along with the general conference, there is a session especially for the women of the Church. In September of 1995, our prophet at the time, President Gordon B. Hinckley, spoke at the women's session of conference and issued The Family: A Proclamation to the World. The proclamation was written by the prophet, his counselors, and the quorum of the twelve apostles.

What I believe about where the proclamation comes from
I believe that the proclamation was written under the direction of our Heavenly Father. I believe that the prophet, his counselors, and the apostles have been called to represent God on this earth, and therefore, they are able to receive specific revelation directly from Him.

The purpose of the proclamation and who it's directed to

When President Hinckley first read The Family: A Proclamation to the World, he stated, "With so much of sophistry that is passed off as truth, with so much of deception concerning standards and values, with so much of allurement and enticement to take on the slow stain of the world, we have felt to warn and forewarn."

The proclamation was intended to be a warning and a reminder of the role of family in God's plan. The truths outlined in the proclamation were not new, but our world had become (and continues to become) saturated with selfishness, permissive values, and irresponsibility. Marriages and families have become more disposable over time, and the prophet saw a need to remind the entire world - all faiths and all nations - of the importance and value of families.

What the proclamation teaches

In studying the proclamation this semester, I've discovered how truly infinite its teachings are. There is so much inspiration to draw from it, and the depth of its teachings go far beyond the text. The more I ponder the proclamation, the more I learn. Many people mistake it as an anti-gay document. Indeed, the proclamation teaches that "marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God," but if that is the only thing you take away from the proclamation, you have missed out on a lot of great content.

Here are a few teachings of the proclamation that I think most of us can agree on or hope for:
The proclamation also teaches some things that are less accepted in our world today. It teaches that sex is intended for marriage between a man and a woman, that husband and wife should be faithful to one another, that gender is an eternal attribute, and so forth. These teachings are always met with controversy. Though we may disagree on some of these issues, I hope you understand that the proclamation (and likewise, my Church) does not preach hate.
How I gained my testimony of the proclamation

My story of how I gained a conviction of the teachings of the proclamation is quite lengthy, so you will only get the smallest part of my experience here.

Several years ago I had a dream that prepared me to go through a process of determining whether I believed in the proclamation. I don't usually claim that my dreams have meaning or purpose, but this one did. I won't go into the particulars because they are somewhat sacred to me, but when I had the dream, I didn't yet feel any pressure from the outside world to question the proclamation. That pressure came later, and I was prepared for it.

Working on my degree in marriage and family has given me the opportunity to study a lot of secular research on topics such as divorce, abuse, nurturing children, dating, sexuality, etc, and the things I have learned support my belief in the proclamation.

During the summer of this year, I felt inspired to memorize the proclamation. It has been a lengthy process, and I am only about half-way done, but I intend to finish by Christmas. As I've worked on memorizing the proclamation, I have had an affirmation over and over that it is true, and it is beautiful!

My final thoughts
Family life does not come easy to me. This is part of why I am so passionate about the topic. I feel like I have so much to learn and so much to change about myself as a wife, mother, sister, and daughter. In many ways, I feel unworthy to be part of God's great family, and yet, at the same time, I have this underlying knowledge that I can't deny: I am His daughter. I often have the experience spoken of in the hymn "O My Father" that says:

For a wise and glorious purpose
Thou hast placed me here on earth
And withheld the recollection
Of my former friends and birth;
Yet ofttimes a secret something
Whispered, "You're a stranger here,"
And I felt that I had wandered
From a more exalted sphere.

I think there are many things we do not yet understand about family, and the family - as in God's family that includes all of us as His children - but I look forward to gaining that knowledge in the eternities.

I have very much enjoyed working on this proclamation project, and I have gained a lot of great personal insights as I have written about family.


This post was inspired by "The Proclamation: A Guide, a Banner, and a Doctrinal Summary of the Church's Emphasis on the Family," by Lloyd D. Newell, published in Successful Marriages and Families: Proclamation Principles and Research Perspectives, 2012. This piece of writing is part of my Family Proclamation project for FAML 100 at Brigham Young University Idaho.