Monday, June 7, 2010

Day 1: Almost


Did I get any pictures hung today? Almost. It got down to bedtime, and I still hadn't hung one, so I decided to hang one in my bedroom. So I measured, got the screws in the wall, dusted and polished the frame, and hung it on the wall for a brief moment... before realizing that I had just hung a 20x24 frame above my bed by a mere two screws. One big bump from the family room wall or a 3.0 earthquake would bring it crashing down, quite possibly onto my sleeping head. Not good. So down it came. Jared suggested using some foam mounting-tape in addition to the screws to keep it stuck to the wall. However, I don't have any, and as it was 11:00 pm, I wasn't about to go out and get any. That'll have to wait for another day. Maybe tomorrow, if we're lucky. But hey, I tried, right?

I do feel I made up for this small failure in other ways, though. I started reorganizing my closet (again), which had started to collect everything from Hayden's royal potty to you-do-it hair color kits. I also installed a hotel lock on my closet door to keep Hayden out of it. I'm a little tired of Hayden's daily routine of pulling out and trying on every shoe she can reach (and trust me, I have a lot of shoes), then leaving them scattered throughout the house. I also watered and weeded my garden, had a fabulous lunch with Jared at our favorite Thai/Malaysian place, got Hayden down for a nap (miraculous!), prepared a full Family Home Evening with refreshments and everything, made a nutritious and delicious dinner, and jammy-jammed to Lady Gaga with my freshly bathed kids (Jared bathed them, so I can't take credit for that). Oh, and I worked out on the elliptical for 45 minutes while I watched the season finale of The Vampire Diaries. Talk about accomplishments! I'm feeling pretty good about it all, even if I didn't exactly get any pictures hung.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Week 17: Start Small


Okay, I know. I've been doing a terrible job keeping up with this blog lately. Life has been a struggle for me lately, and so I've been feeling less than inspired, and really able to come up with nothing new, exciting, or meaningful to do in the past few weeks to thrill you all with. But then I remembered that really isn't the point of this blog. I mean, sure, I hope that my endeavors will be if nothing else, entertaining for you. But the point of this blog is to work on myself, little by little, so even if I spend a whole week focusing on nothing but the care of my cuticles, I'll be writing about it. (Not that I expect to do that, even if my cuticles are in desperate need of a manicure...) Life is still a daily struggle, and I really don't see an end in sight, but I think that's the point. So it's time I soldier on. As for this blog, I'm going to start small. You're probably sick and tired of hearing me go on about the importance of having order in one's life, but it truly is something I crave, and something I feel I am still lacking. So under my favorite broad topic, I'm going to try to focus on just one little thing at a time. Starting tomorrow, I'm going to focus on hanging the pictures that have been cluttering my bedroom floor for the past 5-6 months. I'm hoping it won't take the whole week to accomplish this, but I really need to concentrate on just one thing at a time, I think. I've been getting overwhelmed way too easily, lately, so I don't want to push it. And there really are a lot of photos to hang. I'll let you know how it goes.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Day 3: No Changes Yet...


So, after the greatly anticipated meeting Jared had on Tuesday, we found out that we won't find anything out for another 4-6 weeks. Don't you just love Corporate America? Pfft! So, I might as well tell ya'll what's going on. They're considering creating a new position at their office in Yokohama, Japan, and if they do, Jared's the guy for the job. But like I said, it's gonna be a month or so before they decide if they're actually going to create this position, and then who knows how long before they actually decide to move forward with it if they do. Then, if it gets the green light, there's the whole ex-pat package to negotiate, and a family of four to relocate. So we're not counting on anything at this moment. We just get to have that really annoying itch in the back of our minds that we may not be here come Christmas. Grrr.... Oh, and Holly! I'm going down to my mom's this weekend sans kids, so there's at least an 90% chance that Bella's bedding will be done by Tuesday! Wahoo!

Monday, May 24, 2010

In Limbo


This week, the Hale family finds themselves in a state of flux. Happenings at Jared's work have left us with the feeling of being neither here nor there. So I've been at a complete loss as to what to focus on this week, because if our destination is there, then there's no point in painting another room or adding to my garden or putting in a new bathroom floor. I know there are other things, but everything I seem to want to accomplish would require me being here. So like I said, at a loss. There's a meeting scheduled tomorrow morning that I'm hoping will shed some light on what direction we may be headed, but it's still about 14 hours away, so hopefully I'll have more news by tomorrow. In the meantime, working on Bella's new toddler bed set! Let's see if I can't get it cranked out in a week...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Weeks 15 & 16: Yep, I Fell Off the Planet!

So, some of you may have wondered where the heck I've been the past week or so. Here's what I've been doing: I organized the Young Women's Progressive Dinner/Treasure Hunt. Unfortunately Cherie and Emily were both out of town, so I was on my own for this one. Luckily, my darlings Sharon Morgan and Eden Ellis stepped up to help me. Couldn't have done it without them.

Did I mention it was an international Progressive Dinner/Treasure Hunt?
Then, I cleaned up after all this. (It took 3 days.)

I designed this comforter and a matching valance and bedskirt, then started sewing it for Bella DeVito's 2nd Birthday next week.

I carried this around with me pretty much 24/7. 101.2˚ fever for 4 DAYS!


Now, I'm pretty much here.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Day 6: Becoming One with Nutrition


I can't believe it! I did it! I went vegetarian for a whole week, without having to count the days until I could eat meat again! I really didn't miss it. I actually looked forward to the meals I made (or ordered, as was the case a few times this week), and for the most part, enjoyed them thoroughly.

What was even more exciting to me was that because I had an objective (eating vegetarian), I paid more attention to what I was eating, instead of noshing all day on junk. I keep track of my daily calories on my iPhone, and I generally am disappointed at the end of the day when I'm way over-budget. But this week, I was within range every day. Some days I could have eaten as many as 350 more calories!

The guidelines I set for myself regarding my menu-planning and shopping worked out well, too. I only shopped for 2 days worth of meals at a time, which worked out perfectly. I shopped on Wednesday for Wednesday and Thursday's meals, and because of a crazy schedule, I still haven't made the Veggie Burgers I planned for Thursday's dinner. That ended up being Pizza Night because I had a meeting to get to, then we had leftovers on Friday, and tonight was Taco Bell because we were out and about running errands around dinnertime. So maybe I'll make those Veggie Burgers tomorrow night, or maybe they'll wait until Monday. I've got a whole chicken in my freezer that my family will go gaga over while it roasts in the oven.

As an added bonus, I found that I exercised a lot more this week. I spent countless hours out in the garden digging and planting and weeding, which actually burns quite a few calories. Then I dusted off my elliptical and used it this week, too. Amazing! My goal lately has been to drop 1½ pounds a week, and this is the first week in a very long time that I've actually accomplished it! Yay me! Will I stay vegetarian permanently? No, but I think I'm going to try to throw it into my meal-planning at least 2-3 times a week. And I'm going to stick with this 2-days-at-a-time thing. It truly has been an inspired idea.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Day 5: The Joys of Take & Bake


I love Papa Murphy's Pizza. To be specific, I love Papa Murphy's Gourmet Vegetarian Pizza. And since today was in a word, nightmarish (Ya know that one where you show up naked at school? Pretty close. For details, see hale-storm.blogspot.com), I decided tonight was the night for Take & Bake! Hooray! As I pulled out the phone to place the order, I thought I'd let Jason choose what he wanted on his side of the pizza. His typical order is pepperoni, so I was shocked when he decided he wanted to try vegetarian, too! He's not usually into trying new foods, but I guess he has been a pretty good sport this week. So I started telling him all the delicious vegetables they'd put on the pizza: zucchini, tomatoes, mushrooms (his favorite), artichokes (his other favorite), and all kinds of good things. He was pretty excited by the time we arrived to pick up our all-veggie pizza. He was even more excited when he discovered how much he liked it. Jared seemed pretty happy with it, too. He's a margherita pizza kind-of-guy. And Hayden, well, she eats just about anything, so she was content. So although I didn't prepare this meal myself (except for the baking, of course), it still turned out to be a delicious vegetarian family meal. Two very enthusiastic thumbs up. Thanks, Papa Murphy!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Day 3: Cinco de Mayo!


To be honest, I'm quite surprised at how well this whole vegetarian thing is going. I'm hardly even trying, and I haven't started missing meat yet. I'm not saying I'm making the switch permanent, let's not get crazy, but maybe 2-3 times a week wouldn't be so bad... especially for my waistline. I didn't have the energy to put the blender together for a smoothie this morning, so I joined Jason in a bowl of cereal. Not my favorite breakfast food, by the way. Lunch was my leftover risotto, which was super yummy. In honor of Cinco de Mayo, tonight's dinner was Sweet Potato Enchiladas (found the recipe at my go-to food website allrecipes.com), which got devoured... at least by my two boys (Jared and Jason) who live for enchiladas. Me? I can take 'em or leave 'em when they're covered in red enchilada sauce. They tasted fine, don't get me wrong, but as far as enchiladas are concerned, I prefer the ones covered in the white sour cream sauce (and calories). But now let me take this opportunity to give my two-cents about tortillas. This recipe calls for corn tortillas, which I love... when they're handmade at a fabulous Mexican restaurant. The ones you buy in the store pretty much crumble in your hands when you try to maneuver them even a little bit. Do I detect some head-nodding there? Good. You understand my pain. So I started experimenting with various brands, and I finally found one I love. Never again will I purchase Mission brand corn tortillas (yuck). Instead, I highly recommend that whenever you want to make tacos or some other recipe that uses corn tortillas, you buy nothing but La Tortilla Factory's Hand Made Style Corn Tortillas. They're actually a blend of corn and wheat, and you can buy them with yellow corn or white corn, and a few other varieties as well. But they are to die for (that is, if any tortilla is worth self-sacrifice). They're soft, they roll without being soaked in oil first, and they taste scrumptious straight out of the package. And they're pretty low in calories, too. 90 calories per tortilla with only 1 gram of fat. Not too shabby. I especially love using these for fish tacos, but I'd encourage you to find your own favorite use for them. There's really only one thing I don't like about them, and that is the fact that only one store in town carries them: Raley's.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Day 2: You Gotta Try This!


Today was good. I started with a smoothie from my Juice Cookbook made from banana, yogurt, vanilla, and ground flaxseed. It wasn't my favorite, but not bad. I think it would have been better if the banana were frozen. For lunch, Jason and I shared some mac 'n' cheese. Tonight I made Spring Risotto, a recipe I found in Diabetic Living Magazine. It was much better than anticipated, and I highly recommend it, even for non-vegetarians! Even Jason liked it (and that's saying a lot because this kid doesn't like anything)! So, I've included the recipe, so everyone can try it at home. I admit, I did tweak the recipe a bit, but it was very minor.

Spring Risotto

1 tbsp olive oil
1 fennel bulb, trimmed and
chopped, or 1 onion, chopped
(I used the onion. Who buys
fennel, anyway?)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup uncooked Arborio rice
1 can (14 oz.) vegetable broth
12 ounces asparagus and/or
green beans, trimmed and cut
in 1-inch pieces (I used all
asparagus)
2 cups fresh arugula or spinach,
chopped (I used spinach)
1/2 cup radishes, chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley, snipped
(I didn't have any, so I didn't
use this. I'll leave it up to you.)
1/4 cup fresh mint or basil,
snipped (I used mint. Super
yummy)

1. In a large saucepan, heat oil
over medium heat. Add fennel
(or onion) and garlic; cook
5 minutes or until fennel is
tender, stirring occasionally.
Add the rice. Cook 5 minutes
or until rice is golden, stirring
frequently. Remove from heat.

2. Meanwhile, in a medium
saucepan, bring broth and 1 3/4
cups water to boiling. Add beans,
if using; cover and cook 5
minutes. Add asparagus, if using;
cover and cook 2-3 minutes
more or until tender. Using a
slotted spoon, transfer
vegetables to a bowl; set aside.
Reserve broth mixture in
saucepan. Reduce heat; cover
and keep broth mixture
simmering.
3. Carefully stir 1 cup of the
broth mixture into the rice
mixture. Cook, stirring
frequently, over medium heat
until liquid is absorbed. Stir
another 1 cup of the broth
mixture into the rice mixture.
Continue to cook, stirring
frequently, until liquid is
absorbed. Add another 1 cup of
broth mixture, 1/2 cup at a time,
stirring frequently until broth is
absorbed. (This should take
18-20 minutes total.)

4. Stir in remaining broth
mixture. (I thought that at this
point the rice was still a little
too firm, but I'd used up all the
broth mixture, so I stirred in an
extra 1/2 cup water and stirred
until it was absorbed.
I then stirred in 2 tablespoons
butter and about 1/2 teaspoon
freshly ground lemon pepper -
you can get a mill of it at Trader
Joe's.) Cook and stir until rice
is slightly firm and creamy. Stir
in cooked asparagus and/or
beans, the arugula, radishes,
parsley, and mint. Serve
immediately.

The magazine says this serves
6 at 125 calories each. Since we
used it as a main dish, it serves
3 at 250 calories.


Monday, May 3, 2010

Day 1: Who Knew Tofu Could Be So Confusing?


Jared started getting suspicious this evening when it was time to make dinner and I broke out the tofu. I pretended to ignore the raised eyebrows, and continued with my recipe plan for the evening: Vegetarian Wraps (sautéed tofu, black beans, pepper jack cheese, and fresh salsa wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla) and corn cake. Jared had gotten down two bites when I asked him if he'd read my blog this week. He stared at me a moment, then shot from the table and into the den. A few moments later, we heard a loud "Vegetarian?" coming from that direction, followed shortly thereafter with a hearty chuckle. So I guess I didn't keep the secret very well, but at least now he knows what he's in for this week. He wasn't big on tonight's dinner (he scored it a 3 out of 5), and Jason even less so (he gave it a 0). Hayden didn't seem to complain, but then she didn't have any tofu. She ate beans, rice, cheese, scraps of tortilla, and corn cake. As for me, while I wasn't big on the tofu, I blame it on the consistency. I used silken tofu, as opposed to the extra firm the recipe called for, only because that's what I had on hand. I have made this recipe before (for myself), and liked the tofu just fine that time. I still enjoyed it tonight, but yeah, the tofu was all wrong. I guess there's a reason they make silken and firm. And a reason why it hasn't hit McDonald's yet.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Week 14: Going Vegetarian!


As I stated in my earlier post, I want another shot at eating nutritiously. I think my mistake last week was that I didn't really have a plan or a clear objective, so I've come up with a nutritional focus, and some guidelines to follow within that focus.

My nutritional focus? I've decided to go vegetarian for the week. I'm actually really excited about this because I think it will force me to get creative in my cooking, and also to pay closer attention to nutrition labels and ingredient lists.

Next, I identified some of the problems I have in my day-to-day eating and meal-planning:

1. I've discovered that if I sit down and create a menu for a week, I only get through the first day or two before I give up and go with something easier or faster (too often it's Little Caesar's, which though I think it's gross, it's still only $5). This means two things: I'm not getting the nutritious meal I planned on, and the fresh food I bought goes to waste. Right now I have 3 bunches of radishes, 3 beets, 5 pounds of carrots, and a half a tub of spinach sitting in my fridge that I had every intention of using last week. And yet, there they still sit. So that's one problem I decided to address this week. I've decided to plan no more than two days at a time. Yes, this means more trips to the grocery store, but I'm out and about at least 3 days a week anyway, so it's not like I'm going to be losing gas money. The hope is to actually save money by not purchasing food that I won't be eating.

2. The second problem I've decided to address this week concerns the recipes I choose to make. Too often I choose a recipe because I have one of the main ingredients. I rarely look at the list of other ingredients until I'm making my shopping list and realize that I need to purchase 15 items just to make one recipe. Ridiculous, right? So this week, if I need to purchase more than three ingredients, I'm not making it. I've had enough of mile-long shopping lists.

3. The last problem I seem to have regularly is that I'm great at planning dinner. Not so much when it comes to breakfast and lunch. I often will grab just a Diet Coke before running out the door to take Jason to school. And while this doesn't go against any vegetarian rules, it's not exactly a healthy breakfast either. As for lunch, I usually skip it because I just can't be bothered to fix a meal for myself, and then by 4:00 I'm ravenous, so I start munching on whatever is close at hand (usually the kids snacks: granola bars, crackers and cheese, and the occasional PopTart). So this week, I'm going to start making extras at dinnertime so I can have leftovers for lunch. As for breakfast, I think I'm going to continue to do Green Smoothies or fresh juice (I do have all kinds of wonderful fruits and veggies in my fridge just waiting to be juiced, after all).

Hopefully, with at least a sort of plan in place, I won't so often resort to mindless munching and overdoing it because I'm starving. My only other concern in going vegetarian for a week is the reaction of my family. I haven't told them yet, and I don't think I'm going to. I'm just going to wait and see how they respond.

Day 6: Declaring a Do-Over


Yesterday's nutrition? Okay. I made whole-grain waffles with sautéed apples for breakfast (delicious!), had half a chicken sandwich for lunch, then made chicken korma, an Indian curry dish, for dinner (very delicious!). My calorie intake was probably higher than I'd usually like it to be (I didn't count today), but I also worked out in my garden all day digging up the hard-packed clay of my front yard, then helping Jared add gypsum and compost and peat moss and leaves over the whole thing so he could roto-till it all in. Let me just say now that I can hardly move this morning. But my point is I'm pretty sure I burned up a good portion of those calories yesterday. However, my grand total for this week isn't so stellar, so I'm calling a Do-Over. I want to get this nutrition thing down better, so I'm going to take another crack at it, but I'm going to add a little twist. But I'll tell you about that later! Happy Sunday, all!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Day 5: A Pat on the Back


Today's nutrition may not have been stellar, but it was the best I've done all week. I wasn't real hungry this morning, but I wanted at least some nutrition, so I had a glass of milk. Need that calcium, right? For lunch, I had plans to meet with friends at Panera (one of my favorites). I had half a tomato & basil panini and maybe half a cup of black bean soup. Very delicious, and relatively low in calories (my total was 425). Tonight was also the Young Women's night to do baptisms at the temple, and I accompanied. However, our time slot is at 6:00, which means we met at the church at 4:45, and didn't get home until 9:15. Luckily, plans were made to feed everyone, which is a good thing, because I was starving! So I had a small bowl of 3-Bean Chili, half a slice of cornbread, and some peaches. Not too shabby! Maybe I can get my nutrition back under control!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Day 4: Food? Eh.

Still not really hungry today. Skipped breakfast. Lunch was probably my most nutritious meal. I had a vegetarian tostada with beans, shredded lettuce, a little cheese, and salsa. Of course then I washed it down with a Diet Pepsi, not the best choice. Dinner was half a chicken sandwich and a cup of clam chowder, which I split with Jared. Not real exciting, I know. What's more, my internet is all funky, so I can't upload a picture tonight. Sorry, guys. Probably the most boring post ever.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Day 3: Not a Good Day


This morning I woke up with either the same migraine from yesterday, or a whole new one. It's 5:45 pm right now, and it still hasn't gone away. I finally got hungry enough around lunchtime today, and went to lunch at Applebee's with Jared. I pretty much just ordered the first thing on the menu, which didn't turn out to be the best choice. It was the 3-cheese chicken penne. It didn't even taste good, so I didn't eat much of it. I also split an appetizer of boneless buffalo wings with Jared, which tasted better to me than the pasta, but I still didn't eat much of it. Needless to say, neither one of those things is especially healthy, so I think I get a big fat F for healthy eating today. At least my portion sizes were extremely small.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Day 2: A Little Migraine Goes a Long Way


Here's one way to curb your appetite. Get a migraine. I started getting one around 1:00 today, and it went from irritating headache to a mind-numbing, nauseating, miserable experience within an hour, even after taking two Excedrin Migraine. So much for OTC drugs. Unfortunately, my go-to migraine cure doesn't exactly fit in with my goal of healthy-eating this week. I've discovered that a Monster Apple from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory does the trick every time. I've done lots of research, trust me.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Day 1: The Trouble with Brownies

Here's the problem with brownies. When you make a batch, there's enough to feed at least a dozen or more people. That's why they're great for taking to church activities, right? But what about for Family Home Evening? There's only 4 of us here in the Hale Household, and after we've each had a brownie, there's still more than 3/4 of a pan full of brownies shamelessly hollering for you to have another. And another. And maybe just one more small one... Don't tell me this has never happened to you. I'm sure you know how loud and obnoxious those stinkin' brownies can be.
At this moment, there is still half a batch of brownies sitting on my kitchen counter (at least I didn't eat the whole dang thing). I did eat more than I should have, though. What's really frustrating is that I was doing so well up until then. I had a very nutritious Green Smoothie for breakfast, some chicken and rice for lunch, and homemade vegetable soup for dinner. I even exercised today! I pushed Hayden around the block for about 45 minutes, and then worked in the garden for about an hour or so. I was doing great! And then those delicious, despicable brownies. There's a reason it's called devil's food. Here's hoping for a better tomorrow.

Week 13: Healthy Habits- Good Eating


I've decided to change my format a little bit. The problem that I've been having is that I don't feel a week is really long enough to set and accomplish a lot of the goals I have. So, I'm going to stretch the focus out to about 3 weeks, concentrating on separate, specific things each week. This time, I want to focus on my health. I've been painfully aware lately that I've put back on 6 pounds since Christmas, completely the opposite way on the scale I've been meaning to go. It's my own fault. My exercise routine has gone from regular to rare, and I've been eating poorly. When Saturday night came around and I realized I'd eaten nothing but an apple (not so bad) and cake batter (not so good) all day, I knew it was time for a change. So this first week, I'm going to focus on my diet, on eating healthy things and leaving the cake batter alone. I'll try to squeeze some exercise in there, too, but I think I'll wait until next week to really focus on that, once I've got the eating thing under control. One step at a time here. Wish me luck!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Day 6: I Actually Did It!


At least partially. I doubt that my life will ever be completely devoid of some kind of clutter, but I think I made a huge leap this week. I have to admit that the past few days I put aside my endeavor to create order from chaos in my den. Jared took the kids up to Oregon to visit his parents, and I've had all kinds of time to myself! I hardly knew what to do! But don't you worry, I managed just fine. I did some shopping, saw TWO movies, stayed up to all hours, and slept in late. It's been fabulous! When I finally ran out of stuff to do late last night, I turned my attention back to the den. And wouldn't you know it! I got it done! I could actually work in here now if I wanted to. Need an embossing pen? Three yellow brads? The July issue of Clean Eating? I know exactly where they are. The only bummer is that Jared took the camera, so I can't show you my marvelously organized craft area. (Yeah, that picture isn't of my den, though I used the same brand of storage cubes for a lot of it.) Maybe I'll post it tomorrow night, when they get home.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Days 2 & 3: Den of Chaos!


After successfully getting my irises in on Monday, I was pretty gung ho about attacking my den, which is an official disaster area. However, Miss Hayden was a monster crankypants yesterday, not to mention into EVERYTHING. So by the lunchtime rolled around and I had still been unable to set so much as a foot into the den, I gave up, threw Hayden in the car, and figured I'd at least get some errands in. That way the day wouldn't be a total loss. We headed off to Stoneridge Mall and went straight to the Apple Store. My laptop charger cord has completely worn out around the edges and has all kinds of exposed wires that like to snap and sparkle. Since I thought this might possibly be dangerous (ya think?), I decided to take it in and get a new one. My jaw just about dropped, however, when I saw the price tag. $79.00 for a new cord? Yikes! Seeing the panic in my eyes, the sales guy said he'd check to see if my computer was still under warranty or qualified for a replacement part. And guess what! It did! So I got my new charger for free! Of course, just after I learned this fabulous news, I saw a text from Jared saying he'd just bought a new one online for $50. Well, I guess we'll have an extra one!

As for today, I don't know if it was the weather or something else, but I just didn't want to do anything today. After taking Jason to school, I actually sat on the couch in my jammies watching Project Runway on demand (a habit I picked up from Mom... thanks, Mom!). Hayden ran wild, efficiently clearing out my underwear drawer and scattering its contents throughout the house, as well as the bathroom cabinets and all its contents. But I just didn't have it in me to do anything about it. Finally, around 10:30, I dragged myself to the shower, got dressed, and hopped in the car again, just so I wouldn't be tempted to fall back onto the couch. I planned to go to Michaels, but instead, I called Jared and asked if we could join him for lunch. After lunch, we finally made it to Michaels, and I bought some storage cubes for the junk in the den. By then it was just about time to get Jason from school, so we went and picked him up, took him to piano, and sometime around 3:10, we finally made it home. I spent the rest of the evening picking up in the den. Though as I look around now, you can hardly tell. There's still a lot of work to do. The picture is of what I accomplished today, though. It's a start.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Day 1: A Beautiful Garden!


Okay, so I don't have a beautiful garden yet. But after today, I am one step closer. I picked up a huge garbage sack full of iris plants from the Morgan's a few days back, and each day I've found something else that took priority over getting them planted. But no more! Today I got the irises out of the ugly old garbage sack that was becoming a nagging eyesore in my backyard and got them planted! It took all afternoon and both me and Jared to get it finished, but it's DONE! Hooray! Wonder what I'll get done tomorrow?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Week 12: De-clutter Your Life!


You ever get that feeling? It starts out as a little nibble, then grows and grows until it becomes a vicious attack from a Great White Shark? It's called clutter, and it just accumulates and accumulates until all of a sudden you're up to your neck in it. That's how I feel my house, and sometimes my life in general, is at the moment. So this week I want to focus on cutting back. Cutting back on the junk in the house for one, but also cutting back on the I-have-to's and working towards a more peaceful, more zen ME! We'll see how it goes!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Day 3: Hats Off For Mom!


One thing we all know (at least us moms) is that a mother is a woman who wears many hats. Today I wore quite a few. I was a chef, a maid, and a chauffeur, three hats I wear every day. But then I got to play nurse because my darling Jason, who can't seem to catch a break in the health department lately, has had nasty red spots popping up all over his face since Monday. At Jared's insistence, I took Jason to the doctor today. Glad I did, because it wasn't simply a spider with a crush that's been attacking my Jason. He has impetigo, which apparently is like a strep or staph infection. It is contagious, but not terribly, as long as you keep your hands clean. The doctor gave us some antibiotics and we were on our way home. The next hat I put on was that of a construction worker, as I headed outside to build the garden boxes Jared promised to do ages ago. Got 'em done. Nine of them. I am the Queen. In the midst of all this, I got to wear an unexpected hat for a few moments. That of animal control. Jason emerged from the house announcing that a bird had just flown in through the back door. Seriously. So I went inside, and sure enough, there was a bird beating itself silly trying to fly out my kitchen window. I pulled out a dish towel, climbed up onto the counter, and after a few tries, was able to toss the towel on top of the bird. Then I was able to pick him up, carry him outside, and let him fly away. I made sure the door was closed as I headed back out to finish my garden boxes. As if that wasn't enough to wear me out, I pulled out the gardener's hat next. I filled one of my boxes, the biggest, destined to house carrots, beets, and radishes. Now it just has to settle a few days and I can plant my seeds and seedlings. After all that, I still managed to make a Home Depot run for more garden soil, make dinner, pick up some iris plants from the Morgan's, and get grocery shopping done. Wow. No wonder I'm so tired. Night, all!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Days 1 & 2: Young Women in Excellence


I have to admit that today and yesterday, my own family had to take a backseat as I prepared for tonight's Young Women in Excellence Program, which I was in charge of. I've been working on putting this program together for over a month, and I have to say, it turned out smashingly! How does this relate at all to motherhood? I think it totally does, because even though this program was not one to celebrate my own family, it was one to celebrate the accomplishments of the fabulous young women that I hope my children will look up to. These girls are smart and talented, and they have testimonies of the gospel and the courage to do what is right. And I, along with Emily Wolf and Cherie King, got to honor these wonderful girls in front of their families and peers. Many of these girls obviously have phenomenal mothers, and I could probably learn a thing or two from them. I think that I do, whether it be directly from these women, or their daughters. But they set the standard for what I'd like to become. They all have qualities that I hope I can nurture in myself. I think this experience has been a great lesson on motherhood! How's that for spin?

By the way, after posting this, I noticed that the picture quality looks terrible unless you double-click on it to see it close up. Have to do my girls justice, you know.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Week 11: The Perfect Mother


I spent the last week quilting with my wonderful mother. Although I know she feels that she doesn't always set the best example of motherhood, I've still managed to learn a lot of great things from her. For example, I've learned the ability and the importance of putting others' needs before my own. I've been feeling inspired in the past few days to reread the Proclamation on the Family, and to focus on perfecting the art of motherhood. The Proclamation states that the mother's primary responsibility is for the nurture of her children. Wow. Broad or anything? So I looked up nurture in the dictionary. It defined nurture as "to feed and protect; to support and encourage; and to bring up; train; educate." Okay. A little more specific, so it gives me a place to start. Going back to the Proclamation, it says that "parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, to teach them to love and serve one another, to observe the commandments of God and to be law-abiding citizens wherever they live." It's a tall order, but again, it gives me an idea of what I need to be doing as a mother. So this week, I'm hoping to be able to nurture my children better: to feed and protect them, support and encourage them, all with a gospel perspective.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Week 10: On Vacation


With Jared on business in Belgium, I decided to spend the week at my parents' house. Perhaps not the most exotic destination, but at least a vacation from being alone with 2 kids for the week. So I'm bailing this week, and going to focus on nothing but hanging out with my family. Have a great week, everyone, and I'll be back with a fabulous new focus on Sunday!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Day 6: Spring Break!


Spring Break is by its very definition a joyful time. I wasn't so sure ours was going to ever start when Jason came home from school on Thursday with a 102 degree fever. I'd hoped to leave for my parents' house Friday morning, but the fever still lingered all through Friday. We finally took him to the doctor Friday afternoon, and found out that he had a little throat infection, but it was viral, so there was nothing to be done. I just love that answer. $30 co-pay, and they tell you to just keep doing what you're already doing. I wasn't very optimistic about Saturday when I put Jason to bed that night, still so hot you could fry an egg on his forehead. But lo and behold, Jason woke up bright and early (a good sign, though I'd been looking forward to sleeping in), and his temperature was 97.7! Hooray! We can go to Nonna's house! We were packed and ready to go by noon, and playing in Nonna and Pappy's family room by 6:45. Spring Break has officially begun!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Day 5: Material Girl


I know a lot of my posts this week have been about Hayden, but I can't help it. The girl just makes me smile (which is a good thing, because it probably keeps me from killing her when she does things like slinging poop across the family room). Anyway, lately she has been choosing her own outfits from her closet. I've been going along with it because I'm always curious as to what she'll pick. But today, I am totally in love with her selection. First she picked out a navy blue long-sleeved t-shirt. Nothing special there, but then she picked out this frilly little pink tutu, a pair of gray leggings, and some pink ballerina slippers with matching legwarmers. She wasn't even a figment of my imagination in the 80's, and yet, she's so there. She looks like Britney from Alvin and the Chipmunks. To top it all off, we put her hair in a water-spout pigtail, and she picked out a pink and blue bow with a purple butterfly on it. Who said a 19-month old couldn't have fashion sense?

Day 4: Joyful Surprises!


Sometimes, it's the little things that make you smile. Like finding out you don't have to get up early tomorrow morning because there's no school! I'm not sure who's more excited, me or Jason!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Day 3: With a Face Like This...


Today was kind of a rough day, but I did manage to find a short-lived moment of joy today. I was super-tired because we were up late working on Jason's homework last night - he has a rain forest project due tomorrow, which I didn't know about until yesterday. Hayden was at her hurricane best/worst scattering toys, books, and shoes, while I was trying to master a mountain of laundry. Not a good combination. After folding and re-folding at least 17 times, I was pretty grumpy. But when Hayden came clacking down the hall sporting this purple hat, my red-buckle peep-toes, and a Cheshire cat grin, I had to crack a smile. She was pretty darn cute. How could I possibly stay mad at a face like that?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Day 2: Shoes! Glorious Shoes!


It really is all about the shoes. I don't know what it is about a pink peep-toe or a leopard-print kitten heel, but they just make me smile. And somehow, this has rubbed off on my now 19-month-old daughter. Jared and the kids spent the past weekend visiting family in Oregon, and he brought home a suitcase full of hand-me-downs from our niece, all for Hayden. Included in this care package were at least 10 pairs of shoes. There were sparkly silver Mary Janes, strappy sandals, pink Skechers, and even a pair of faux leather boots. As soon as I brought Hayden's attention to them, her eyes got big and a huge smile lit her little face. She ran to the pile as quickly as her chubby little legs could carry her. She then proceeded to pick up each pair of shoes tenderly, admiring every one. Then it was time to try them on. All of them. Not a pair was left untouched. She ended up wearing the sparkly silver ones today. Now that's joy.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Week 9 - Day 1: It's My Potty and I'll Cry if I Want To!


Today was a pretty good day. Jared took Jason to school, so I got to sleep in a little. Had a fabulous lunch with Jared. Did some shoe shopping (which is never bad, even if it's not for me). And then spent the night at home with my wild and crazy kids. Hayden has decided that she wants to sit on the potty like a big girl, so we bought her one today. She loved it! She spent about half an hour tonight sitting on it, then standing up to look at it, then waving a can of air freshener over it, only to start the process all over again. The joy in this? Realizing that our diaper days are numbered! Woohoo! Unfortunately, Hayden decided to remind me that that number is probably a large one... a few minutes after I snapped this photo, she dropped a #2 bomb followed by a flood onto my family room rug. She thought it best to get off the potty to accomplish this. Sigh.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Week 7 & 8 Catch-Up




I know. I've been falling down on the job with this blog lately. Life has just been cuckoo-crazy lately, and I can't seem to catch a break. So, to catch up... The shower went off smashingly. I even got all the painting done, my house cleaned, the garden weeded, and all the food beautifully arranged on the table before the guests showed up on Saturday morning. Miraculous. The real miracle was the amount of help I got. Between me, Jared, Kristen, Emily, and two of my wonderful Young Women: Melissa and Sariah, nothing short of magic occurred at my house. When the last of the shower guests left and the last dish was washed on Saturday afternoon, around 3:00, I literally fell into my bed and didn't surface until almost noon Sunday morning. Which is when I realized that my mother was coming into town... in just a couple hours! I had asked her weeks ago to come up during her Spring Break and help me work on the quilt set I promised to make my girlfriend, Stacia. So, that's been my focus this week. The pictures are of what we've accomplished so far. We're making a quilt, bumper, and bedskirt for her new(ish) baby boy. It's been taking forever, though, because it's probably one of the most detailed designs I've ever done. But it's for one of my best friends, so she deserves the best. And it's gonna be super-duper cute. I'm kinda bummed out today, though, because my mom is leaving this morning. I've done my absolute best to try and convince her to stay, but to no avail. Even Hayden's sweet face couldn't convince her to stay. Geez, can nothing soften this woman? ;) (Love ya, Mom!) I guess it's okay, though, because I've got another party to finish throwing together. The Young Women's "New Moon" sleepover is tomorrow night... at my house. It's gonna be nuts! But it should be fun, too. Just lots to do...

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Day 4: For The Damsel in Distress

That's me. The damsel in distress. I can't seem to escape it, no matter how independent I'd like to think I am. I had hired two of the Young Women to come help me after school today, and with their help, I was determined to paint my living room area. But while they were in school, I decided I'd do all the cutting in. Not a bad idea, right? Wrong. This is me we're talking about, remember? I popped out to the garage to get some painting tape when SLAM! The door locked behind me. Here I was, still in my jammies, my hair going every which way, and I was locked out of my house. To make matters worse, Hayden was still inside. I quickly made my way around the house, trying every window and door. Everything was locked up tight. So, I ran to my neighbors house and asked to use the phone to call Jared. After 10 minutes of trying, he still hadn't picked up (most likely because he didn't recognize the number). I finally told the receptionist my situation and begged to have her send someone to find him or something. She said she would email him. Seriously? My baby is locked in the house all alone, and you're just going to email him? I tried to politely thank her for her help (or lack thereof), and decided to just continue calling Jared's cell until he picked up. At some point he'd wonder who the heck was calling every 30 seconds, right? Well, luckily, it didn't take too long. Can you believe it - he got the email! So, my Knight in Shining Armor rushed to aid his two damsels in distress. Meanwhile, I sat waiting at the back porch, watching a sobbing Hayden through the sliding glass door. It was heartbreaking. In fact, after crying throughout this 20-minute ordeal, she'd worn herself out, and was soon fast asleep, a full hour earlier than usual.

As the afternoon approached, I was looking forward to the girls coming over to help me paint. But the appointed time came... and went... without a single knock at the door. Neither of the two girls I'd hired showed up. I think it's time for a Sunday lesson on dependability! Seriously? So I got to work on my own, hoping I'd get it done quickly. When I was barely finishing the first coat around 7:30 tonight, I started panicking. I've got to have this done, my house cleaned, and food made for this baby shower by Saturday morning! I can't spend another day painting! Luckily, my fabulous husband stepped up again, as did my awesome girlfriend, Kristen. After the kids were tucked into bed, they helped me paint until the paint was gone. Unfortunately, there's still work to be done, but like I said, the paint was gone. So I've got to make an early morning trip to get some more, and hopefully Kristen and I will be able to finish before lunchtime tomorrow. Keep your fingers crossed for me! Did I mention I have the BEST HUSBAND EVER?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Day 3: Cookie Therapy

So, this is probably the worst possible way to deal with stress. In a moment of weakness, I bought more Girl Scout Cookies. The Deaf Troop was in front of Raley's last night, and my Dad and I just couldn't turn them down. We bought 3 boxes. I don't even want to think about how many I've eaten since then. D@♡Ω Girl Scouts!

Day 2: Sleep It Off!

Another busy day. The frenzy has begun getting ready for this baby shower Saturday, but the most important thing I had to do was make sure that I had a full detailed outline for our Young Women in Excellence program to share with the other members of the Presidency tonight. I knew I needed to have it together before I sat down to do this, so a good night's sleep was a must. However, that wasn't really in the stars. When my alarm went off at 7:30, I dragged myself out of bed, surprised that Jason wasn't awake yet. He's usually in the family room playing the Wii when I get up. But no, he was out cold. I checked him, and he had a fever, so I let him stay in bed and if I hadn't been so tired, I would have jumped for joy at the thought that I could go back to bed, too! The kids didn't get up until after 9:00, and while I was awake, I didn't start functioning until about 10:30. It was lovely. By then, I felt pretty good, and was able to make a knockout outline for tonight. When that was done, I still had time to make dinner and to start unloading the bookshelves so that we can paint the living room on Thursday. Not looking forward to that job. By the time YW was over tonight, I was again pretty exhausted. So I was back in bed by 9:00. Sleep is good!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Day 1: Sending Out an SOS

Today was a little more nuts than I expected it to be. It started at 6 am, when a multitude of trains decided to pass by (I didn't think we lived that close to the tracks). It woke both me and Hayden up, after being asleep only 3 hours since her last midnight meltdown. Not typical for her, but she had a fever last night, and was pretty miserable. I did get a little bit of a load off, though. Jared didn't have to be to work until 9:00 this morning, so he got Jason up and off to school. I finally got around to getting up and ready for the day around 8:30, and was ready to run my errands by about 11. Jared had asked for more garden boxes, which we get at The Container Store... in San Jose. So, because I was willing to go get them for him, I figured he could meet me for lunch today. Which he did, and it was really nice because we actually had a real conversation for once! One that wasn't about the kids or the budget or the amount of weeds yet to pull. After lunch, Hayden and I made it out to get our garden boxes, then headed back to pull Jason out of school a little early for his doctor's appointment. I had called earlier to get Hayden in as well, as she seemed to be coming down with the same thing. But no. Dr. Burke was able to diagnose her right away: an ear infection. Not that she made it easy for him. I think she remembers all too well last week, when she got 4 shots. Jason was a whole other ball of wax. Because his antibiotics didn't seem to be working, the doctor sent us to get a chest and sinus x-ray. Hayden loved that. The first 10 minutes we were there, she kept running out the front door and making a beeline for the parking lot. I finally shut the door, tired of chasing her, and she threw a monster fit on the waiting room floor. When she was done, she decided it was time to empty the contents of my purse. She pulled out my wallet and started walking around showing all the other patients what she had found. And of course, every time I tried to get it back from her, she screamed like a banshee. Lovely child I've got, really. The x-rays took forever. And Hayden was driving me crazy. Luckily, I was granted a lifeline. Jared texted to see if I needed some help. YES! Save me, please! So, my wonderful husband left work about 20 minutes early to rush to my aid. He took Hayden home, picking up her prescription from the pharmacy on the way. Jason and I, however, had to go back to Dr. Burke's for his x-ray results. Chronic sinusitis. 2 more prescriptions. Not generic. Ouch, says my bank account. Well, at least I didn't have to drag a screaming toddler through the line at Walgreens.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Week 7: Be Cool


I am not looking forward to this week. I just feel like there is so much going on, and I'm really hoping I can just get through it all. First of all, I've got two sick kids. Jason's been sick for about 6 weeks now. He's been on antibiotics for 2 without any improvement, so he's got another doctor's appointment tomorrow. At Church, we've got Young Women in Excellence coming up in a few weeks, and I've been assigned the planning of this event. We're having our meeting to discuss my "plan" on Tuesday, so I've got to get that all ironed out and ready to present. My dad's in town this week, so I'm also trying to make time to spend with him. And of course, there's the baby shower this weekend. I'm trying really hard to have my house looking lived in, yet clean by the time people start arriving on Saturday. We'll see how it goes. Jared, and I admit I too am anxious to get our garden going, so that's another big job on the list of to-do's this week. So, I'm just a little stressed out, a little frantic, about having the time to do it all, do it all well, and not fall down on my whole mommy and wife gig too much. Oh, and did I mention that I'm still sick as well? I gave in and took some cold medicine today, hoping it would help me get through all I had going on. Big mistake. I still had all my cold symptoms: pounding headache, post-nasal drip (ew!), scratchy throat. But in addition, I felt like I was on speed (and not in a good way). So, because I'm already feeling overwhelmed at the mere thought of this week, my focus is going to be just keeping it together. I'm going to try to be aware of the length of my proverbial string, and attempt to keep it from getting too short or wound too tight. Is this a pathetic goal for the week? Maybe. But at least it's realistic.

Days 3-6: Dropped the Ball


Okay, so I've kind of blown it on posting my progress this week. And my progress has been minimal. I discovered that I'm too short to paint the stars on Jason's ceiling, even when I'm standing on a chair, so until we can buy at least a 3-step stepladder, that's off the agenda. I did, however, manage to get Jason's room put back together. We painted his old picture frames black and then embossed them in gold, silver, and blue with a cool star pattern. I have yet to hang them up, though. Maybe it'll happen tomorrow. It is looking pretty cool in there, though. Jason's pretty happy with it, at least, and that's what counts.