Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A Fresh Start...

First of all, I have left my camera at my mom's and have no pictures to post. I know, boring!

This past few weeks have been hard for me. I have decided that I detest the month of January. It doesn't help that several of our friends from our neighborhood are currently on a cruise and this week it is bitter cold! Tomorrow the low is zero degrees!! I have just been in a funk of all sorts. I was sick with a cold for the last 2 weeks and haven't been consistently exercising so I am sure that has added to it. It is SO hard to get up at 5:45 am and run in the cold. Oh, I can hardly wait for spring and then my favorite..SUMMER!!

But back to January..

It seems my whole household is in a funk. Kids are fighting more than normal. The house seems to be a mess. Mom is grumpy. Dad is grumpy. Mom feels sad she is not on vacation right now. Dad is frustrated with mom for being sad. You get the picture, right? We had a "Family Meeting" last night. The kids love those! (not!) I even had a written out agenda. It looked something like this:
1. Housework- Assign areas to keep clean
2. Fighting- Cell phones/XBOX
3. Weekly Schedule- Dad leaving town
4. Plan Family Vacation

I admit, when I start getting overwhelmed and grumpy with the house, I still resort to immature tactics. They usually involve a little bit of cupboard door slamming, tossing things into people's rooms with a little more effort than usual and a few mumblings under my breath. Something was reaffirmed to me last night. My family responds much better when I just talk to them about the problem. Our family meeting was a success. Each of the kids agreed to be responsible for a certain area of the house on a daily basis. It seems there are 4 areas of my house that are constantly attracting clutter. They each willingly agreed to take a weekly turn on their area. We came up with serious consequences for the fighting that goes on between the two oldest boys. Cell phone taken away for Zach. XBOX taken away for Noah. (Get them where it hurts the most) and we ended on a positive note by discussing ideas for a family vacation.

Here were our ideas:

1. California for a week w/Disneyland included
2. Missouri for a week staying w/relatives and going to Nauvoo (this was actually Alan's idea)
3. Florida for a week going to Disney World/Beach
4. Jackson Hole Weekend and short Disney Land weekend (2 separate vacations)

We agreed that Missouri would be the cheapest and still a lot of fun but would allow us to maybe do another short vacation to Jackson Hole or somewhere within driving range. So far, that's in the forefront.

My purpose of this post is to remind myself that I sometimes need to treat my family like a small company and I am the President. (Don't tell Alan this!) It's so helpful to just sit down and talk through issues and get everyone back on the same page again. However, I have learned if I do this too often it's not as effective.

We all needed something to look forward to. I woke up today much more ready to brave the cold weather and am even okay with the fact that Alan is going on a "guy trip" this weekend. I guess if we didn't have "January's" in our lives we wouldn't appreciate the "July's" as much.

P.S. Sorry to any of you out there who have a January Birthday!
P.S.S. I also just realized it's Feb 1st today!!!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Obsessed with Pink....

For the past several months, Abby has been insisting she wear pink to school. I have made it a rule that I get to choose her clothes for school and she can choose the other days of the week (other than Sunday, of course!) I am a bit of a control freak when it comes to dressing and doing her hair. She is my only girl you know!

For the past several months, she has also had quite an obsession with "The Chippettes". She wants to be Brittney~the lead singer, in every way. She wants her hair in a bun so she looks like Brittney. She wants to wear short skirts with tights every day so she can look like Brittney. She even wanted to be Brittney for Halloween, assuring me we could glue brown cottonballs all over her body. I haven't minded the obsession because along with it came a lot of singing and dancing around the house, which I love! She even came up with a club at school where they played "The Chippettes". I just thought it was cute.

I have played right into it, allowing her to wear pink as much as possible. There were days she literally looked like a bottle of Pepto Bismo~dressed from head to toe in pink. From bows, to furry vest to pink tights. Again, I just thought it was cute.

Well, today she again informed me as I was getting her dressed that she needed to wear pink. I had already picked out a purple outfit and wasn't going to budge. She finally confessed, "If I don't wear pink~then I DON"T GET TO BE BRITTNEY!!!" I was confused and asked her what she was talking about. She continued to tell me that whoever was wearing the MOST pink to school got to be Brittney when they played the Chippettes at recess. I about died as I realized that for months I have been feeding right into this by dressing her in pink~ to be cute, thinking how girly she was, etc. I can pretty much guarantee that MY DAUGHTER has been able to be Brittney on most school days. I quickly thought to myself "Oh those other girls are going to secretly hate her!" This ended up being a great little "life lesson" for her. The first of MANY to come I am sure. We talked in great lengths about being a good friend and giving everyone a chance to be Brittney. I told her nobody will want to be her friend if she always has to have things her way, etc. She seemed like she was getting it until at the end of our conversation she said "That's okay...I don't want to play "The Chippettes" today anyway...I want to play "Bolt" (from the movie)" I said, "Well, who gets to be Bolt?" She said, "Oh, I always get to be Bolt!!"

Oh man! Am I in trouble or what?

Sunday, December 19, 2010

"Stick to the basics, mom!"

So, lately I have been trying really hard to broaden our dinner menu. I cannot stand to cook the same old meals week after week. I have been pouring over recipe books and browsing internet sites in hopes of finding some new "slam dunk" meals. I have decided I must be a pretty bad judge of recipes based on sight only. I must not have the ability to read a recipe and determine whether the ingredients will combine to make a delicious meal. Every new recipe I have tried lately has barely been edible. I consider myself a pretty good cook but I am starting to get a little insecure in the kitchen. I have been excited for days to make this delicious Sunday meal. Christmas Cranberry Pork Roast with a side of Swiss Potatoes and Carrots. Doesn't that sound delish? Basically a pork roast cooked in a crockpot with cranberry sauce, orange juice, honey and some seasonings. Potatoes and carrots cooked with swiss cheese and cream and some seasonings. Well, both dishes came out with much disappointment. Very bland. Not so good. Connor said, "Mom, I think from now on you just need to stick to the basics!" The rest of the kids quickly agreed. I need some new basics because quite frankly, I am sick of my basics. They have been my basics for almost 20 years now. Should it really be this much trial and error to come across some new recipes? From now on I am not trying a new recipe until I have it on good authority that someone has tried it and loved it. So start sending your "slam dunks" my way!

P.S. My new dishes are cute though, aren't they?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

TOFW and Entering a New Decade...

Wow! This past weekend was fabulous! Well, it actually started on Thursday. I went to a yummy lunch with friends and neighbors to celebrate my birthday. After lunch, I crammed in one last bike ride before the "big storm" and cold weather was upon us. I have to say, it was one of my best bike rides ever despite the fact my belly was full from a big lunch. It was that kind of "eery" weather where its unusually warm and very overcast with some pretty big wind gusts at times. I really pushed myself and just sailed along Wasatch Blvd feeling so happy. I kept thinking to myself, " I am going to be 40 tomorrow and I am riding my bike feeling like a young kid!" It was a very liberating experience.

Friday morning was spent getting ready to leave for our 2nd annual Time Out for Women (TOFW) retreat. It was extra special this year since it fell on my exact birthday. My mom, my sister Amy and my two sisters-in-law all met up for dinner before the Friday night session began. We then attended a wonderful and very spiritual evening. There were two great speakers and an amazing entertainer. After, we went to eat AGAIN! Nachos and dessert at Chili's. Yes, we love to eat! We checked into our hotel, had a sleep deprived night and got up early for another full day at TOFW. Again, the speakers were amazing and the music was so uplifting. I left feeling completely "filled up" spiritually, emotionally and yes even physically with all the eating out we did. I learned more about our dear prophet, President Monson. He is a very loving person who really cherishes his relationships with others and is a great example of "bearing one another's burdens". I learned to compliment my children more on their Christ-like qualities. I learned that Heavenly Father gives us children we have because He knows we are the best parents for them. People who are given difficult children are thought much of by our Heavenly Father because He knows we are capable of parenting them. I learned that it is great to have "high hopes". Life is good and we have every right to expect good things out of it.
Overall, I came out feeling like I want to be a better person in my 40's than I was in my 30's. I'm not saying I was a bad person before but I know that life is a refining process and over time we need to continue to get the kinks out and just strive to be better.

I came home Saturday to a clean house. That was amazing! We had made plans to go to dinner to celebrate my birthday with some close friends of ours and then Alan had organized a little "dessert open house" with mostly people from our ward. He really went to a lot of effort to get amazing desserts. It was a really fun night and it was so sweet of him to organize it. I am just feeling so grateful for so many things right now. A wonderful family with great parents and loving brothers and sisters. A super husband who continually tries to be better and puts up with a lot of my weaknesses. Children who love me and who are each so unique with amazing qualities. Wonderful friends and neighbors who really care and make time for one another.
Yes, life is good!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Oh, I love this birthday girl!

Thursday and Friday were fun days spent celebrating Abby's 5th Birthday! She was SO excited for the big day to arrive. Wednesday night she started crying saying she just couldn't wait until her birthday. It was just taking too long to come! She is only slightly dramatic! I took her to McDonald's for lunch on her birthday with a few friends from preschool. Then I helped in her class, which was fun to watch her being "celebrated" by the teachers. That night we went to Training Table as a family. Friday she had her first real birthday party. She invited 5 friends from the neighborhood and school. We dressed them all up in cowgirl hats and pink bandanas and headed down to my dad's house to ride horses. The weather could not have been more perfect. It was a beautiful, warm fall day. My dad was great and gave each girl ride after ride. They LOVED it! I have decided I am not going to let myself be sad about her growing up. If I do, I will miss out on the moments. She is such an amazing little girl. Smart, outgoing, loving and did I mention dramatic? I think she takes the cake on that one! She loves to sing and dance and play with her Little Ponies. I can definitely say I am blessed to have this girl in my life.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween Extravaganza...

Well, this past week has been fun! I love Halloween. I love the fall weather. I love the decorations. I love going to the school parades to see all the cute costumes. I love trick-or-treating in my neighborhood and yes...I love picking through my kids' loot when they come home. I personally have my own "stash" in my night-stand drawer. The biggest stress for me this Halloween was coming up with costumes for Alan and myself. We were invited to a "Murder Mystery Dinner" and Alan was assigned to be a pirate and I was the character "Jean Golddust", the town gold dealer. I cannot believe I was once the lead in the school play. My "Ado Annie" days are definitely over as I have become much more reserved in my old age. It was amazing to see how many people really got into their parts. I was more about the good food and company than trying to solve the murder. I found our costumes from a lady in our neighborhood who has a "costume cellar" full of anything you can imagine. Once I found something to wear, the rest was quite fun. I summoned Amy and Taylor to come and do my hair and make-up. I don't think I have ever had my hair and make-up done so it was a lot of fun and of course, Abby was right there with me, loving every minute of it. A few days prior, I went dressed as a nerd to the Primary Halloween Party hosted by the Young Men and Young Women. Abby was very distraught over the fact that I looked so ugly. She did not like it at all. Deciding on a costume for Abby this year was fairly easy. She only changed her mind once and wanted to be "Brittany" from the Chipettes. She was sure I could just glue brown cottonballs all over her and she would look exactly like her. I quickly talked her back into her Minnie Mouse costume, which she looked adorable in. Connor, thought he looked really cool in his costume as a "burglar" and I have decided..that's all that matters. Personally, I wouldn't have really known what he was but...he was intent on dressing the way HE wanted to so..I put my control-freak tendencies aside. Halloween night was a little bit of a bomb with the rain and all but the kids still had fun. We ended up zipping around on our friends' golf-cart, visiting all the neighborhood attractions. The weekend came to an end with an unexpected delivery of homemade donuts from our friends just minutes ago and my 6am run can't come soon enough as I am feeling a little large right now.

Monday, October 4, 2010

I love General Conference

I look forward to Conference weekend every Spring and every Fall. For so many reasons. Since we have been on the 9a.m. church schedule this year, I have especially enjoyed being able to sleep in and just lounge around all weekend. Saturday worked out perfect because Connor had a football game from 1-2pm. Other than that, we were home the whole day and I was able to watch all of Saturday session and do a TON of ironing. I always look forward to my Saturday night tradition. Get the boys out the door for priesthood session and then I get together with some close friends for pizza at my house. We have been doing this for years. It started out in my little house on Stratford Drive when we all only had a few kids. We currently have 20 kids between the 5 moms. Only 3 of those kids go to priesthood session so yes, that means 17 kids are at my house and it's awesome! I love these gals so much! We have shared so much over the years and I hope it's a tradition we can keep for a long time. I am so proud to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints! I am always touched when I hear of the new temples being built and how much impact the missionaries are having throughout the world. I love hearing the children sing primary songs in different languages. It's easy to live in my little "bubble" in Salt Lake City and take for granted all that the church offers me here. We are so lucky! I felt like some of my Sunday was spent wondering if my kids were even listening. I spent so much time saying "shh!!" and "quit arguing"..but later at dinner I asked the kids what they learned from conference and Connor piped right up and said "I learned that rules are here to protect us." I looked at Alan and he looked back at me in amazement. Connor continued..."like when that man told the story of the cow that was fenced in but he kept trying to get his head through fence to eat the wheat...and then he ate too much wheat and his stomach blew up..the fence was really just there to help the cow." Well...I guess my efforts to keep him in front of the TV paid off. I loved the talks directed to raising our youth. One stood out to me especially when he said "sometimes we just don't have a good feeling about letting our kids do things and we just need to tell them we love them too much to ignore the feeling." He also quoted someone saying "Parenting is not a popularity contest". Such good reminders to us raising teenagers! It's easy at conference time to listen to the talks and start to come down on ourselves for not doing the things we have been counseled to do. I don't want to fall into that trap. I am simply going to take it as an encouragement to do better...and that I plan to do!