Thursday, January 31, 2013

Almost Monochromatic

It's been snowing for
what seems like months.

Today is the second blue sky in
about four weeks.
True story.
Every other day has just been
white everywhere you look.

How my soul loves
the beauty
of a the blue sky
among the
black and white earth.

Winter white.
the eye can see.
The earth
after blanket

The white
touches the white
part of my soul.
And the black
touches the black.
The complexity
of my emotions
seems to find
a balance
among the

The only
that surround
black,white, and brown.
And then the clouds lift
blue shines through.

Like a breath
of fresh air.
Or water
to the thirsty
Sahara traveler
who reached
her oasis.

There is blue
in my soul too.
And red,
and yellow.
The colors release
to find the sky
and remind me
of my beauty
the wintery white.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

There is Hope

Does love really hurt?
The lack of love does.
Love is the best feeling that exists.
It's more than a feeling.
It's a state of mind.
And nothing is better than love.

I love someone very much.
That person keeps hurting me.
I go to God in prayer
and ask Him to release me
from the hurt.
Release me from the pain.
"Please," I beg.
I don't want to hurt anymore.
I don't want to let myself not be loved.
I want out of it.
Let me out.

This morning I got the same answer
I keep getting.
I've been getting it for years.
Hang on. Hold on thy way.
Keep on keeping on.
Be patient.
Stand by.
Be loyal.
Even if it hurts.
Do as I do.
Be strong.

Oh, and by the way Alice,
you aren't the best at
loving either.
So maybe you can
change too
while I give the other person
the same answer in your behalf.

That's how God loves.
I wish I was more like Him.
I hope I can be.

You know who you are.
This song is for you.
I'm sorry.
I will try to love better.

When I get done praying
and pouring my heart out.
God doesn't shame me.
He tells me there is always hope.
For all of us.

Monday, January 28, 2013

The power of words

If ever I can get through college
and earn that super coveted
Bachelor of Arts
I would like to teach English
so that I can have the summers off
with my kids.
And someday I will also write
my novel
and use the education
to help me.

Until then,
I can just ponder
on the power of words
and why I love them so much.

Friday, January 25, 2013


Thanks to the kid-president
 for my pep-talk today.
I needed this.
Just two days ago I vowed to myself
to stay off facebook this week,
but right now I am really glad
that my self-will is weak
so that I could find this
in my hour of need.
Whenever I need a pep-talk
the most, it's always out there for me to find.


For the past week,
I've been venturing back
into the college world.
My meeting with my
English Department counselor
was discouraging.
I have to retake the ACT,
which scares this girl
with an extreme case of math/science
aversion to DEATH.
It's not like I did so smoking hot
the first time
and it is like I've been out of
school for 10 years.
Who knew an ACT expired?
Yes, I am that old.

To add an extra measure
of anxiety,
the aforementioned meeting
with the counselor
ran a little late
making me 10 minutes
late to pick up Caroline
from pre-school.
I had to use some of
my very protected blogging money
to buy the pre-school teacher
a gift-card to go along
with my begging for forgiveness.

You see, she had loaded up Caroline
in her car so she could
take her daughter to kindergarten
as I was that late.
Lucky for me
our vans converged at the
end of her street
and I was able to fetch Caroline
before she was whisked away
from my knowledge.
Whereas my total nervous
breakdown was avoided by a hair,
but left me second guessing
my decision to go back to college.
How can a mom of 4
ever pull this off?
Really it seems impossible.
It seems too insane to even attempt.
My plates are already overflowing
like thanksgiving at 2 p.m.
Do I really want to add pie
before I've had time
for the rest to digest?

But the kid president came to my rescue.
For which I am grateful.
I can do this.
Yes I can.
I'm gonna dance myself
all the way through
to that very coveted Bachelor Degree.
Or at least pretend
it's dancing
when it really will be me
running around
like a chicken with my head cut off.
Come to think of it,
that's kind of what my dancing looks like
might as well get something for it.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Book Review: Before the Dawn

Before the DawnBefore the Dawn by Dean Hughes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I forgot how much I love Dean Hughes as an author. I haven't read anything of his in quite sometime, but I am so glad that I found this book at the local library. It was so touching and inspiring.

This historical fiction book, even though focused on the LDS women's organization called Relief Society, can be enjoyed by people of all faiths. The greater story told is the power of womanhood, and the importance of community: loving and caring for one another. Community works best when it consists of people who all want to give but are willing to humble themselves to take once in a while too.

I cried a lot while reading this book. I took an emotional journey with the fictional small Utah town during the Great Depression. I personally related to the main character: a hard-nosed independent stick her foot in her mouth Relief Society President. In the book she was described by a friend as a coconut: all hard on the outside but all milk/meat on the inside. I also related a lot to many of the other women in the book: the ones living in poverty, the ones living with means, and especially the ones living in desperation.

Mostly this book made me proud to be a part of the greatest women's organization in the world: The Relief Society. It reminded me of so much good that is accomplished world-wide and it brought to the surface of my heart all the good that has been done in my personal life because of my associations with good women.

I highly recommend this book to be read by all women everywhere. I love how Hughes always ties in his historical facts so well. I mostly love how he masterfully tells stories of humanity. The characters in this book will stay with me for a long time. I hope they will whisper to me in the moments when I need to be reminded to let down my pride, to reach out and help others, and especially when I need to try and understand better my enemies.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

My fashion designer

I posted about Sophia the other day
and it got me thinking I should brag on my other girls too.

This is Abigail.
She is so super creative.
Which is interesting
because she is even more smart
than she is creative.
I think smart and creative
can be a
dynamic duo
towards an amazing life
full of discovery.

Here is Abigail's
50's outfit
she threw together
for a dress up day
back in Fall.

She is pretty amazing.
She is our go-to girl
for all things
fashion, hair, and make-up.

I so appreciate that she has taken on this role as it's not one that I want. At all. This girl loves clothes and shoes. I took her to a half-off day at the thrift store on Monday and she picked out nothing. I went to check her temperature and she said, "Mom, I really am getting a handle on my shopping addiction." I do take pride that as a mother we have created a family where open communication is not just encouraged but valued above mostly anything else. I want nothing more than real for me and my little family. Sometimes it can be painful to navigate through the real, but anything less would be a life of denial and fake.

This year Abigail took a Tech class at school where she as the only girl learned the beginnings of engineering.
She was really good at it and kept right up with all the male students. Her teacher sang her praises to me. That's my Abigail. She refuses to conform to society's norms. She says she wants to be a surgeon when she grows up. She loves to dissect things. I do believe she can do it. Even though she's not inherently organized she is extremely disciplined when she chooses to be and she is as bright as her hero Einstein.

Abigail is athletic  She lives for soccer. She is a great runner: fast. She is fun to watch on the field as she can always catch any other player even from halfway down the field. She makes a great mid-fielder. She got the PE award at school last year. This may seem kind of funny when you consider how smart this girl is, but it's totally perfect as she loves healthy living. She loves to be active, she will be the first to tell you when she needs to move. Moving helps keep her ADHD in control and so Abigail takes PE at school if she has holes to fill. When Abigail was a toddler her favorite foods were milk and salad. She continues to live in this tradition: eating the healthy choice over the non-healthy 9 times out of 10. LG and I watch her green with envy whenever she eats dessert. She can eat whatever she wants and has to focus on weight gain. No fair!

She also loves music. She loves to sing in choir and she can always be found attached to her iTunes  watching YouTube videos, or plunking away on our piano. She is so much like her dad in the smarts that I forget that she is also a lot like me too. She is teaching herself how to play piano just like I did (she, like me, doesn't have the patience to take lessons.)

She is also a total extrovert. She gets her social side from me. She gets her easy-going from her dad. She is learning to have more meaningful relationships and to be more considerate of others' feelings. In one way the fact that she is wired without an overabundance of emotion is really nice: 1.less drama and 2.she makes her way fine in a man's world, but in another way it has been a challenge as Abigail struggles to understand other people with an overabundance of emotion. She forgets that people have feelings. It is so fun to watch her with her best friend Katie who we love and adore and would adopt if we could. We so appreciate Katie's total acceptance and loyalty to Abigail. It has been the driving force behind Abigail trying to learn to be more kind: she will never admit it but I think she wants to be like Katie in this regard.

Abigail is gorgeous which means that there is always a plethora of boys trying to vie for her attention. She is only 13 1/2 and has been dragged into the world of boys too soon for her own good. She has had two experiences where she has let boys too close and then felt suffocated. From a mother's point of view this is a good thing, but it has also been hard to see Abigail trying to make sense of it all. I guess that is the part that makes letting your kids grow up the hardest: you don't want them to hurt and you don't want your kids to hurt others. It seems though that Abigail has learned a lot about herself from those experiences and that is all a mother can ask for really.

Take it all away. Say Abigail gets into a life-changing accident where she no longer is pretty or athletic or smart, what is she? I have thought about this often. One of Abigail's life challenges is being praised for her abilities, it seems to mess with her sense of worth. She feels a pressure to live up to her picture perfect expectations. In fact this year at school when she had an assignment in choir to go out of  her comfort zone for a week, Abigail chose to wear sweats and no make-up to let go of her perfect image. Thank you to good teachers who really teach the important things in life, this is a project that will stay with Abigail forever. I hope she will learn to be true to herself and her morals and never do anything just for the sake of people pleasing.

Here are some inherent personality traits of Abigail:
hands on

I love my Abigail. We adore her. We know she has it hard being the oldest but we so appreciate the example that she sets for her sisters. I am so proud to have such a capable daughter. I know she will be able to accomplish anything she wants to do and I can't wait to see all that her life will hold. I just kind of hope that sometime somewhere down the road her and I will be able to take some cool adventures together. If I have to travel I want Abigail to come with me. She can figure out anything. She's plain awesome.
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Friday, January 18, 2013

Taking Care

You know how in passing we say "take care."
Yeah, you've said it.
You've heard it.
Do you mean it when you say it?
Do you really hope others will take care of themselves?
Do you really do it?
When someone tells you to take care,
do you really take care of yourself?

As a codependent I used to think it was my job
to take care of everyone and everything.
I was always sticking my nose in other peoples' business.
Yes, peoples is plural.
I tried to control others.
I would serve them to make them love me
or to change them
or just to be in control.
I had no idea I was doing it
but I was.
Then I gained awareness
and I've tried really hard to change me ways.

So now I try not to excessively worry about other people,
(it's still a work in progress)
and I also try a lot harder to worry
about the only thing that was in
my control all along: me, myself and I.

Several years ago I made a very conscious decision
that I was going to take care of me.
That little decision has made me a much happier person.
Not only did it free me from the things that weighed me down and were out of my control,
but it changed my focus completely.
I am always asking myself what I need now.
I don't rely on everyone else to make me happy,
I just try to have a healthy self dialogue to honestly assess my needs
and then I go out and get what I need.

I never used to do that
and then I would be all resentful that nobody was taking care of me.
Half the time I didn't know what I needed
and half the time I did, but I would wait for someone else
to magically show up and give it to me.
In this case there is no such thing as magic.

Of course I was too afraid to look inward
and realize that the blame lied with me,
and not on the others who couldn't work magic
and so I walked around with a chip
on my shoulder all of the time.
I was mad all of the time.
Nobody cared about me.
Boo hoo hoo.

Now I can graciously accept it when others love me
because I no longer have the excessive need to be loved
and I don't expect people to work magic
like in the past.
I appreciate their love and want it,
but I don't have an excessive need for it.
I have the one thing that I really need most:
I love myself.
I take care of myself.

Two days ago
I found this little gem below
on the ground next to
our pile of backpacks.
One of my daughters
had been writing about me at school.

It made my century.
One - someone else notices that I can take care of myself.
Two - that person is one of the people I want to be a good example for most.
Three - She knows it is safe to say that I have flaws because we all do.
Four - She didn't dwell on the flaws. Thank goodness.

It is the only way to really live: taking care.
If we can't take care of ourselves
nobody else will.
Or they might try really hard
but it will never really penetrate because
the inner you will be in turmoil.
Trust  me on this.
Take care now, ya' hear.

While running after writing this post
I heard this song by MJ
and thought my next step is to
find the right balance
of caring for myself and others
for the right reasons.

I wish Michael Jackson would have taken care of himself.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Book Review: 10 Questions to Answer While Preparing for a Mission

I did receive a copy of this book in exchange for my review, 
but like always I gave you my honest opinion.

10 Questions to Answer While Preparing for a Mission10 Questions to Answer While Preparing for a Mission by Benjamin Hyrum White
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This little how-to book should be given to every perspective Mormon missionary long before they serve. It is full of nuggets of wisdom from the author (who also teaches seminary), church leaders, and scripture. It is a great guide that can be followed with ease. As a returned missionary, I absolutely agree with everything that is preached from its pages and I look forward to gifting my copy to my soon-to-serve nephew or niece, if I can stand to part with it. I may have to buy them their own copy and I am sure it won't be the last. (Can I just input here how much I love how recent church policy changes have made it as likely for one of my neices in college to serve a mission as it is for my nephew who is a freshman at BYU?)

At $9 it would also make a perfect companion for that tie you already bought for your future missionary. The book can be useful for young people who need to hear what is expected of them: to be worthy to serve someday. It will also be equally helpful to those serving: reminding them of their great privilege and duty to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and how to really measure their success even if they never baptize anyone. And last but not least it contains helpful hints to the returned missionary: get a job, go to college, endure to the end.

I rarely give a 4 star rating to books that I've been invited to review, but this one absolutely deserves it. I assume that the market for this paperback is a little smaller than most being that it is written for LDS missionaries, so that means that I need to be that much more adamant in telling you that every missionary needs a copy (even those senior couples.) It really is full of great advice and one will feel the spirit of God testifying of its wisdom as they read. What more could an author hope for? Well done, Brother White.

You can purchase the book at Deseret Book,
Seagull Book (sorry Seagull couldn't find a link), or Amazon.

View all my reviews

Here's a little bit more about the author:

Benjamin Hyrum White was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. He labored in the Colorado Denver North Mission and was employed at the MTC during college. Ben met his wife, Keenan, while they both were dancing with the International Folk Dance Ensemble at BYU. They each graduated from BYU with a degree in Family Science. Brother White is a seminary teacher and recently received his master's degree in religious education from BYU, where he wrote the history of Preach My Gospel. Ben and Keenan reside in Orem, Utah, with their four children.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Sophia the Wise

The name Sophia means wise.
When my Sophia was born 
I took one look into her eyes
and I knew she was an old soul.
Sophia was on our short list,
I knew it meant wise,
and I knew the name belonged to this
little one.

Whenever I take the time to think about it,
I realize that I made the perfect name choice.

I was supported
when yesterday Sophia came home from school.
Her teacher is really into the Chinese zodiac
and Sophia's class has been getting their fill.
Sophia said that she was born in the year of the snake
and that snakes are wise.
What a coinkydink.

I am so proud of my Sophia.
She is many of the traits listed above:
quiet, unassuming, prefers to work alone,
sympathetic, intuitive, and amorous.
She is an angel.

She is also very talented.

I would love to take all the credit
for her compassion, kindness, and nurturing ways,
but she came to us with them.
I know that she is
not just special to me and LG
but she is also special to God.
She embodies God.
She embodies love.
She has blessed my life so much
and she makes me want to be
a better person.

The school rewarded her
for being the way she is.
I told her she should call her Grammy
and tell her thanks
because she is so much like
my mother-in-law.

The funniest part of Sophia's
character connection award
is that Sophia came home
and said,
"Mom, I was so weird-ed out.
I am 11,
I don't want to be known
for love."

I am so glad I don't have to retire yet,
we obviously still  have a lot to learn
about love.
Well Sophia doesn't,
she has it down.
Maybe I just need to explain.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Mustache you about those beards

While having cream of wheat in the kitchen Thursday morning, 
here was the conversation.

Caroline (in her alarmed voice): "Mom, we have beards again."
Me: (referring to the photos on the wall) "Who did that?"
Caroline: "Abigail."
Me (laughing): "Why would she do that?"
Caroline (in all seriousness): "Because she's a brat!"

I have loved these photos in our dining room.
They have given us a whole lot of entertainment.

One of my favorite times was when I noticed
that the kids had switched the order of the photos
so that they read

Ice-cream is better than your love.

I guess that would be an honest statement
depending on whether or not
you have an available bowl of ice-cream.

Funniest part is that by the time
this busy mom noticed
the kids swear they had been rearranged for
at least a month.

Maybe ice-cream is better than my love.
Sometimes I am too busy serving my family
that I forgot to stop and make sure they know
that I love them dearly.

Friday, January 11, 2013

My opinions

I never keep my opinions to myself.
Those of you who know me,
know that I always speak the truth.
So when I say NEVER I mean never.
And by truth, I mean
things the way that I see them.

One of my goals this year is to NOT
make any comments at church
for a whole year.
You have no idea how hard
this is going to be for me.

Maybe if I don't raise my hand
or blurt out anything funny
my husband will channel
his polar opposite and get
up one fast Sunday and
bear his testimony
to the world.

Be the change you wish to see in the world.

There are good sides to being the way that I am.
Some people really like me for my openness.
There are bad sides too.
Some people are big-time haters.

I am a very black and white person.
It is something I am trying to work on:
taking myself into the grey zone
from time to time.
How weird does that sound?
Who wants to be stuck in the Twilight Zone?

I don't want to be the kind of person
who instantly likes another
or hates them.
I want to be how I would hope
others would be for me,
like my good,
ignore my bad.

A while back in church we discussed

If you judge people, 
you have no time to love them. 
              ~Mother Teresa

Man, I suck at this.

because this is my blog,
I can use it to throw opinions out,

So even though you all know I am trying to
not judge people,
and give them the benefit of the doubt,
here are some of my black and whites
that I am trying to turn grey.

I am not into essential oils,
even though every other mom in Utah is.
I will use some if you give them to me for free,
otherwise I will stick to the stuff
I can buy at the pharmacy in Wal-Mart.

I am not into whole foods, even though I did just make cookies with coconut oil and they were good.

I think Girl Scout cookies are evil.
I gained 5 pounds in one week one time
because I ate 3 boxes in a day.
I don't let my girls be Girl Scouts.
I say it's because I don't need one more thing in my life,
but really it's because I still hold a grudge towards those cookies.

I feel sorry for people with bratty kids, and even though I try and tell myself that my kids are brats sometimes and maybe their kids have a special condition, I mostly am stuck in blaming other people for their crappy parenting. (Mental illness is the exception here. I do know a lot of kids that do in fact have conditions.) I am talking about the kids whose only condition is crappy parents. For some reason I can love the kids easier than their parents. I guess because I recognize that the parents are doing the best they can and I shouldn't take it out on the kid.

I hate how rude people have become when in public movie theaters. Turn off your phone already. Don't bring your baby to an action film (or any film) unless you are prepared to take them out at the first sign of fuss. Stop talking. Watch the dang show and remember the people around you paid almost $10 to do the same.

I gravitate towards people who have an exceptional sense of humor (as long as it is a lot like mine) and/or love to have a good time. I also gravitate towards people who are exceptionally smart. I guess opposites do attract sometimes. Wait, does that mean I'm not really funny? Yes, I am admitting I am not smart. I have a goal this year to tell myself I am smart every day until I believe it.

I am so annoyed with people who think they are more important than other people, especially when they are humored by the whole community around them. Your kids are not that cute and they don't deserve special privileges. That is all I am going to say about that because someone reading this may figure out who I am talking about.

I have major issues with dads who father kids but then don't provide for them. Major. Issues. I have issues with mothers who allow this to happen and don't walk away and/or advocate for their kids or in the very least get a job. Once again I don't have a hard time with the kids, they've never been taught any different. Why can I not see the grown parents as the kids that were never taught any different?

I also have issues with the hypocrites that get up in front of crowds and talk about how much they love their families, but really avoid spending time with them as often as they possibly can.

I really don't want visiting teachers. I understand this makes me a hard person to love. I don't like feeling like an assignment. Be my friend or don't but don't come and check on me because someone told you to.

Here is a doozie for you. If in the next life man is going to be totally pure of thought, but can also have a more than one wife, does that mean he will be able to have sex with them at the same time? I truly do lose sleep wondering about things like this.

I secretly hate people who won't admit their weakness. I really do. Don't live your life in such a way that your goal is to make everyone else around you think they have to live up to your standard. bahahaha That sounds pathetic. It is what it is.

I am openly jealous of homeless people: not only do they not have to pay taxes, they have freedom to roam wherever they want to go and do or not do whatever. After many pep talks from my husband, I have come to understand how totally irrational and ridiculous this is.

I hate brussel sprouts. (I just looked up brussel in the dictionary) I can't imagine any scenario where they would actually taste good. O.k. maybe I wouldn't hate them if they were all I could find to eat after three days of starvation, but I wouldn't think they taste good. Ever.

I am going to hell for saying everything I just said. I should delete this whole post. I should have said prayers and studied my scriptures before opening my blog this morning. I don't really know if I want to let you all in on my deep dark secrets. This post is going to have haters and lovers. Can't wait for the lovers. Trying to ignore the haters already.

Hitting publish. now.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Book Review: The Willpower Instinct

This is a paid review for the BlogHer Book Club.
Go here to join the discussion.

The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of ItThe Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It by Kelly McGonigal
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Here is my word one review of this book: fascinating. Absolutely fascinating.

Reading this book made me feel like I was being embraced at the smart kid table. Even though I only got a low 20 on my ACT it no longer mattered, the smart kids were more than willing to share with me their secrets. Even though I didn't know it before I joined them for lunch, I really needed to know all their secrets. You see the smart people are the ones who get willpower. Because they ever so intellectually understand the research; they know what they have to do to drink milk not soda, avoid the desserts all together, and most importantly NOT say anything EVER that is going to be offensive. (Well, I guess I did kind of know I needed that last one.)

I would love to follow around the author of this book: Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D. and a professor at Stanford. I want to watch her every move and I want to question her incessantly at how much of the information she uses from her research to guide her every day decisions. I laugh as I imagine the endless scenarios: Starbucks (are you getting that coffee just because you didn't get enough sleep last night?), Checking e-mail (Are you checking it out of habit, is this what you really want to be doing right now?), Vending machine (Are you not getting the healthy option just because it's there?). Read the book. You'll quickly understand.

All kinds of interesting people find their own willpower by attending McGonigal's seminar, and for the rest of us less-interesting folks who can't afford to go to California, there is the book. I think I would prefer to attend the seminar, but the book sometimes just has to do the trick because it's all we've got. I did a quick read of this book for this review, but the next time I pick it up (and there will be a next time) I plan to read it as it was originally intended: a self-guided master through a willpower challenge in my life. I think the book will be much more powerful when used a bit at a time towards a real-life obstacle, especially for those of us from the lower end of the IQ spectrum who (cough cough) have a hard time retaining all the amazingly fascinating information.

Great read and I highly recommend it to everyone, but especially those of us that are sick of fighting the same battles of willpower over and over again. And really, isn't that all of us? Even the kids at the smart table had to learn this for themselves; they just did it before the rest of us suckers.

View all my reviews

Here is an interesting small workshop I found on youtube.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Caroline Temple

In 2011 I posted a picture of Sophia's clay monsters.
Today in my draft box I came across 
this video of Caroline's destruction of it.

How time flies.
And how this little Caroline (Shirley Temple) got all grown up
is beyond my comprehension.

I miss the baby stage.
I really do.
How entertaining toddlers are.

How she has grown.

Funny quick story about Caroline
and her Shirley Temple like talent.

When we were at Abigail's choir concert back in December,
the choir director assisted the choir
with their accapella number
with their three start notes on the piano.

Three year old Caroline
took her cue
and loudly
very loudly
each note
in succession
in perfect pitch
with the lyrics
la la la.
We all chuckled
which egged her on more.
Which was a really bad thing
considering the choir
was about to sing
Angels we have heard on high
and Caroline took our
laughter as a cue
that she was invited to
a sing-along
with every round of

Proud parenting moment.
I need to get this girl in pre-Broadway classes.
Instead I bought her a pair of tap shoes
at the thrift-store.

Monday, January 07, 2013

2013 goals or Going for the Gold

I've been trying to finalize my 2013 goals.
Even though I gave myself a C last year,
I am an absolute believer in the adage
"goals that are not written down are just wishes."

While at Ikea on our date Saturday
LG and I came up with a winning idea
on how to motivate our family
towards betterment.

Money is a pure motivator
for all of us,
so we are going to reward ourselves
with GOLD.

We decided on family Olympics
for 2013.
Or as LG says,
"We're having family hunger games."
Everyone will get to put their names
in a pot in a once a week drawing
for 5 gold coins.

We will all earn chances in the pot
by accomplishing
our 5 personal and 5 family goals daily.
(That's up to 70 shots a week)
Unlike hunger games,
we want our names in the pot.
The more we accomplish our goals,
the better chance we have to win a gold coin (or 5).

Our theme is
"Go for the Gold."
Get it.
We're the Gold's.
We're so funny.

I am super excited about
the 5 rings of improvement.
LG and I narrowed our desires for our kids into
5 categories:
spiritual, mental, physical, emotional, and financial.
(See the above photo)

Here are the goals
we came up with as a family
in each category.

Some of these goals are going to be easier than others.
Reading should be a cinch.
Believe it or not
I think sharing feelings
might be harder (especially for some)
 than daily scripture study.
The kids are already up in arms
about the soda
but I love that they will still have the choice.
If they drink soda,
they lose a shot at a dollar.
If it were up to us
we'd take it away all together
but this way we make the point
without taking away their agency.

I am super excited about
seeing how this family challenge
will pan out.
I hope to win a few bucks along the way
and I think this may
have the "fun" factor
to keep us motivated all year.

I am sure you have all been dying
to see what my goals are for
With no further ado,
by category
we go.

1.Save a $1 a day toward family vacation.
2.Stay under budget.

1.Journal/study/meditate daily before doing anything else.
2.No phone in bed.
3.Give a meaningful inspired service weekly.

1.Use myfitnesspal every day until I weigh under 160 pounds.
2 Keep running 3x/week.
3.Run 2 half marathons (unless I get pregnant)
4. Add in a fourth workout every week. Something other than running.

1.Pray every day.
2.Temple once a month (take Abigail with 4x)
3.Organize family genealogy.

1.Learn a new word every day. 
(I discovered a cool app for this)
2.Go back to school,
even if it's just one class.
3.Write every day
(blog/outline of novel)
4.Read 100 books
(adding in 1 junior non-fiction

1.Bond every night.
(Communicate regularly)
2.Go to bed and wake up together.

It's lofty, I know,
but if I only get a C,
I will still have accomplished twice
as much as if I had never written anything down.

My OCD side really loves fresh starts.
Just think, we have one every day.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

New Year

In Utah,
we've had some record colds
for the past week.
I've loved all the snow.

I don't think Olive has though.
Check out her water
frozen over.

We've all been enjoying our
Christmas gifts.
Caroline is up to her same antics.
But like her shirt says,
she is the best present ever
so it's o.k. that
she's spoiled rotten.

Notice that Santa
did bring the girl
all she wanted.
Make-up and nail polish.

Sophia finally got a fijit (she's wanted it for 2 years
and Santa found it on sale at Target for $15.)
Caroline with her make-up case.
 She has carried it around the house with all her treasures.
Bella with her FurReal Pets.
Abigail with her combat boots. Katniss style.
My favorite gift you ask?
It is a 50/50 toss up between
my pizelle maker
that I asked for on pinterest
the diamond earrings
that LG
picked out
all by myself.

But my favorite of all was this purse.
I've been looking for the perfect purse for 3 years.
LG and I spotted this at TJMaxx a week after Christmas
but it was $100 so I put it back.
LG went back to the store
on his own accord and
surprised me with it for no reason at all
on New Year's Eve.

He said it is my
"the party is over" purse.
That means I'll have it to enjoy
when I go back to living on a
non-Christmas bonus budget.
It makes me so happy every time I see it.

I love this photo from Christmas.
Abigail thought that Bella's present was awesome.
One of my favorite Christmas traditions is
taking the girls to the Dollar Tree and letting them shop.
It always proves to be entertaining.
I justify the expense by only letting them shop
for a select few and by
not doing stockings.

Oh yeah, this post was supposed to be about New Year.
Well, we had a great New Year.
We got to be reunited with our good friends
The Varnon Family
from Knoxville TN.
They were bringing Jordan out
for his first semester of college
and stayed with us a few days.

That's Jordan.

The kid figured out that he can dominate
at Just Dance4 by only moving his arm.

Yeah, our family room is not made for 13 people,
but cozy is how we prefer to do things around here.

I suck at dancing.
But man I'm looking fit,
even with that layered looking
hanging all out.

Isn't Caroline the cutest?
She's a great dancer.

So are all these girls.

Of course we took the obligatory outoftowners
sightseeing trip to
Temple Square.
Here are two of my favorite photos.
I wish I had more time to play with  my camera.

Here are the Varnon's
in front of the historical
Salt Lake Temple.

And here they are
in the Conference Center.

We stopped in at the church's
Historical Museum.
They have a pretty great kids' wing.

LG was pretty sick that day.
What a trooper.

I'm always amazed at how
some of my favorite pictures
are the spontaneous ones.
I sure love these kids.

Oh yeah,
we have rung in the New Year
 with the Varnon's
every year but 2011 for about 10 years.
We missed our other
partners in crime
The Ryan family.

I am pretty certain
this year was the best.
The photo says it all.

We did some other fun stuff
while the Varnon's were here.
We went up to see
Bridal Veil Falls.
We saw a funny movie.
(Highly recommend Here Comes the Boom).
We went to BYU.
We checked out Deseret Industries.
And last but certainly not least,
we went sledding.

If you made it this far in the post,
you are our true friends
and you are invited
to come and crash at our house
past the 3 day
fish and family stink
any time.

Happy New Year y'all.

We love you Varnon family.
Hope you still love us
after spending that much time at our house.