Point Guard

Kate has been playing basketball at school a ton lately. I think it started because the boy she's in love with plays during recess. But, it has really turned into a love for her (the sport, not the boy).

 In passing, Kate mentioned to the neighbor boy that she really would like to practice on the old hoop behind the barn, but it was under a bunch of rubble. The sweet neighbor boy took it upon himself to drag the huge hoop out and put it up for her while we were gone one day. Now, I know he doesn't have a crush on her- but he is just so caring and takes good care of Kate. Ever since he found out Kate is in love with someone in her class, the neighbor has really turned it up a notch.

In fact, today after hours and hours of coaching from the neighbor- Kate got in three baskets! A HUGE feat if you know our girl. It has been fun to watch those two and their friendship unfold. I think (and hope) this is what it would be like to have more kids.


Walk around the (writer's) block

To be honest with you, I really don't have anything to write about... but I do not want to give up on my New Year's resolution before February!!! I will be in Florida for a week and I have no idea how the internet situation is going to be- so, although the post may stop for awhile, I will continue to write and post when I have adequate internet access. I do not think it a coincidence that we are going to Florida of February 1! What a perfect excuse to break this resolution.

One thing I did realize this month as I started posting regularly is this: I really don't care what people think anymore. I used to write on my blog hoping to entertain and inspire. This go round, I have not tried to do anything but write. Honestly, I only write on this blog now because it's easier to type a journal than hand write. I have been missing out on what's going on in our family because I haven't written it on my blog. Fortunately for me, that will all change this year (I hope!!!)

Also, Jimmy and I are licensed foster parents and expect to have someone in our home soon. If and when that happens, we plan on actually sending out a Christmas card (gasp! I know!) this year. If I do that, I don't know what format I'll use, seeing as I have never really done the whole Christmas card thing. If writing a year in review is what I decide to do, I thought maybe I should actually have a record of how the year goes, right?


Top THREE!!!

I have been doing a fitness challenge called Great in 8 and just received Week 2 results...
my team was in third place!
 I was in EIGHTH PLACE for individuals!!!

I am so proud of my team and how well they have been encouraging me and working so hard for themselves! I cannot wait to see how I feel at the end of 8 weeks. If anyone else would like to join me for the next cycle, come on down!!! You can build a team in your area or be part of a trans-state or even trans-continental team. All the work and reporting happens via email. If you have any questions, please just ask me- I would happy to share this great program with you.


Angels held that hat up

I am a Primary teacher in our ward. The music leader is extremely talented and always makes music time fun and interesting. I really enjoy the lessons she prepares. Yesterday, the game played involved putting together a snowman piece by piece. The kids were a little wild yesterday, possibly due to the two visitors who were overly enthusiastic. It was a good natured wild, but wild nonetheless.

One of these visitors approached the snowman to place the hat upon Frosty's head. But rather than attach the hat in proper order, the little visitor boy tried to place the hat in an unruly position. Unfortunately for him, the hat would not stay in place after much cajoling and repositioning.

When the boy looked at the music leader and asked, "Why won't the hat stick?!"
She jokingly responded, "Because you're not putting it on the right way!"
Then, the little boy turned the hat to its correct position and the hat stuck firmly on top of Frosty's head... and stayed for remainder of the meeting.


Sunday Post

It was getting that during the passing of the Sacrament, I was spacing out a bit. So, I have started the habit of reading a conference talk and making notes during that quiet time. I always start with a prayer in my heart and try to follow promptings to which session I should read from (I have the sessions all the way from April, 1974!). Then, I scroll down and choose a talk that seems pertinent to whatever I'm going through at the time. It has been a really wonderful experience for me. I have learned so much! I have had fun looking at talks that were given right after I was baptized- after I went to the temple for the first time- while I was a senior in High School...

I have really enjoyed tracking what counsel was given at milestones in my life. I have milestones now, and it's really nice to line them up with relevant talks. It really brings peace. Today I read a talk about repentance. I feel like I have been knocking on heaven's door asking for repentance quite often lately. Here's a poem that really touched me (from 1997 April General Conference, Washed Clean- Boyd K. Packer):

In ancient times the cry “Unclean!”
Would warn of lepers near.
“Unclean! Unclean!” the words rang out;
Then all drew back in fear,
Lest by the touch of lepers’ hands
They, too, would lepers be.
There was no cure in ancient times,
Just hopeless agony.
No soap, no balm, no medicine
Could stay disease or pain.
There was no salve, no cleansing bath,
To make them well again.
But there was One, the record shows,
Whose touch could make them pure;
Could ease their awful suffering,
Their rotting flesh restore.
His coming long had been foretold.
Signs would precede His birth.
A Son of God to woman born,
With power to cleanse the earth.
The day He made ten lepers whole,
The day He made them clean,
Well symbolized His ministry
And what His life would mean.
However great that miracle,
This was not why He came.
He came to rescue every soul
From death, from sin, from shame.
For greater miracles, He said,
His servants yet would do,
To rescue every living soul,
Not just heal up the few.
Though we’re redeemed from mortal death,
We still can’t enter in
Unless we’re clean, cleansed every whit,
From every mortal sin.
What must be done to make us clean
We cannot do alone.
The law, to be a law, requires
A pure one must atone.
He taught that justice will be stayed
Till mercy’s claim be heard
If we repent and are baptized
And live by every word. …
If we could only understand
All we have heard and seen,
We’d know there is no greater gift
Than those two words—“Washed clean!”
Sometimes I feel like everyone can see my flaws or how much I have messed up in this life. I wonder, does everyone feel that way sitting in church sometimes? Or am I the only one just praying that my repentance has been enough to be worthy to partake of the sacrament? Worthy to be made whole again for the short time before I make another mistake.
I do find it comforting that I have to repeatedly return to my Father in Heaven. Because every time I do, I am always met with tender mercy and unconditional love. Would I return this often to meet Him if I didn't have to? 



Like I said in previous posts, we have been having a little bit of difficulty with Kate lately. Not so bad that I am ready to send her off to military school, but bad enough that I will be sprouting some grey hair any day now. Recently, obedience has been an issue. We are used to a very conscientious girl when it comes to listening to us. But, as of late, my little girl has started to have a mind of her own. Kate is trying hard to please us while still doing what she'd like. Because of her new found independence, we have been a little harsh to her. Within the past week that girl has gotten quite a few punishments. I do think it's starting to set in...

Today, I had grandiose plans of cleaning the house tip top shape. Alas, my daughter has a book report in need of completing. So, rather than do all I had planned, I spent the bulk of the glorious day plopped next to Kate urging, pleading, cajoling. She was eager to do this project, but as we all know, the end product seems glamorous until you buckle down and work for it. Because I had already had such a difficult afternoon with Kate, I was ready to get just a small amount of tidying in before the end of the arduous day.

So, after wrapping up the report, I got up quickly and starting nearly barking commands. "Jimmy, empty the dishwasher! I'll load it after I switch the laundry. Then we can vacuum! Kate, you sweep the floor under your table! Let's move!move!move!" As we sprung into action, it became a whirlwind. My patience was wearing thin, so no one asked for clarification of any sort. It was only when I was finished with my end that I noticed Kate did not sweep like I asked. Under the table was debris scattered everywhere!  I was seriously ready for the bomb to drop when she came into the room to explain herself. My sweet little girl stood innocently in front of me and whimpered, "But I did, Mommy. I did sweep under my table. It was really hard!"

Then upon me pointing under her spot at the kitchen table and raising my eyebrows, the dawn of recognition crossed her face. That's when she said, "Ohhhh... I thought you meant MY table in my room. I did that but there was hardly anything under it and it's really hard to sweep up carpet."

The hardness I had saved for this moment had washed away... She did do what I asked. She did listen to what I said. And she was trying her very best to escape my path unscathed. Poor thing was so afraid of being disobedient and getting punished again, that Kate just did what was asked of her without making mention how ridiculous the request sounded.

We, fortunately, had a good laugh over the misunderstanding. And my goal this week is to be more patient, clear and understanding. I know I need to let up- just not so much that she tries to clean the toilet with a vacuum.


Mixed tape(ish)

Is it cheesy that I chose to make a mixed CD for a girlfriend as part of her birthday gift?!

Last night I was practically squealing in delight at my idea. Choosing songs, putting them in the right order (I reorganized them a million times), hand writing the reasons... It felt so genius last night but so sophomoric this morning.

Is this what a hangover feels like?



Kate approached me the other day and said, "Mom, I need your advice. I am in love. This is not a crush. It is Real. Love." I didn't know how to react. How do you react to a 9 year old proclaiming true love?! My mind went spinning back to the days when emotions felt so life and death.

Gosh, it's been rough the past few weeks... our little girl just gave me that look for the first time.
The look where you know the respect is gone from their eyes.
 The look where I, the parent, have no idea what I;m talking about.
The look that all obedience is a thing of the past.

Kate and I are close. we get along so well. But, I have a feeling this road will still be a very bumpy one. Fortunately for me, my daughter and I are alike in that we are touched by music. Lyrics and songs are so powerful. So when I received the new Killers album from Kate as a Christmas gift, we listened to it together. One track stuck out to me- it became my ballad to her. Now, everywhere we go- my sweet daughter will put that track number on. She will pause it when I drop her off at school and start it up when I pick her up. I feel so blessed that our connection is changing- but more blessed for the mercy in this song. Mercy to connect on a level when speaking just isn't the same for us right now. We are at peace as mother and daughter when we listen in the car. And now I hear her singing that song in her room. I think it only fitting that the song is called, "Be Still"

Check it out:


Miracles (great and small)

We had the missionaries over for dinner last night. It was an enjoyable evening, but we were a little disappointed that only two missionaries came. We usually have four. Because I have gone off sugar until my birthday, I was not very thrilled about there being only two elders to eat the dessert I had prepared. Having extra cupcakes lying around is not good in this goal...
When the missionaries visit, they always share a spiritual thought at the end of the night. Last night, for their particular message, they asked our family to participate in a "power hour". Here's how a "power hour" works:
Immediately after visiting our family, they would go to work on the streets tracting. Our family is to specifically pray for a miracle for the missionaries when they are out teaching. When the elders asked us to help them, I felt a very strong prompting for a specific person. The woman I had felt strongly about was a near stranger to me. Back in the Fall, Jimmy and I were running up our road and felt prompted to visit this woman. Her driveway was STEEP and LONG, but we powered through it and approached the home. She was happy to talk to us because the woman was in distress and needed someone to listen. We left on a good note. The following day, I went to drop off a Book of Mormon for her. Because the gate was up in the driveway this time, I had to leave the book in her mailbox. I left my phone number. A few days later I received a call on our answering machine thanking us for the book- her message was heartfelt and kind- but, it was long and got cut off. I never heard the end of the message. And I never returned to her home... until last night.

In the middle of the elder explaining the "power hour", the woman I had not spoken to in months and only very briefly weighed on my mind. When the missionary was done explaining, I  said, "Before we do this- will you come visit somebody with me?" In our religious culture, we traditionally bring a goodie when we visit someone. Because the other missionaries had not come, I had some cupcakes  to share! We drove up to the woman's home and introduced the missionaries. I thought because it had been so long since I had seen her, that she would not recognize me. But she did! And proceeded to share with us that the highlight of her life was when she participated in a scripture study class with missionaries!!! She had kept the Book of Mormon I gave her on the night stand. We talked a bit and had a wonderful and fulfilling conversation. As the whole group of us left, I felt very joyful in following a prompting. However, what made this visit such a miracle was the call I received today. The woman called and shared with me her happiness in our visit. Then she said, "It was my birthday and getting cupcakes was so special. I never get visitors- I was just so excited that I would have someone visit me with a treat on my special day!"

I still cannot believe how everything worked out.
How someone else had signed up for the missionaries that night and it had fallen through.
How the second set could not make it.
How we had just enough cupcakes to share...

A cupcake may not seem like a lot- but when you are lonely on a special day thinking no one has remembered you- can you imagine the joy at a near stranger just dropping by with a birthday treat? I know that Heavenly Father is mindful of us. I know that He hears our prayers and knows our desires. I know that miracles can range from the parting of the Red Sea to a birthday cupcake. And I am eternally grateful for these truths.


Just another example of my living in irony

The day I stopped eating sugar, I started playing this:


Victory is sweet(er than blackberries)

I had a HUGE 7 hour fight with the blackberry bushes.... I won.


Money talks

Only when I told Jimmy how much my jeans cost did he stop putting them in the dryer...


Aerial confirmation

Today, our family went on a hike. Now, that might sound like a hum drum statement- but it was big deal. And this is why:
The last time Kate I went on this particular hike, the sheriff's department sent in a helicopter and dog team to find us. I can explain...

In November, I had just finished running a 10k with Jimmy and had planned to sign up for another in the Spring. After searching on the internet, I found a trail run at Bothe State Park in Calistoga. Because we had only whet our appetites with a flat run, I wanted to check out the terrain before paying the money to participate in the trail run.

Kate had the day off from school for Veteran's day, so we decided to take a gander at Bothe. We invited one of the runners (and good friend) from the 10k, Lillian. Also, our neighbor boy, Stephen came.

When we got to the park, there was no map at the trail head, just a marker with names. We chose the trail that matched my internet search regarding the trail run. Little did we know that the particular trail actually paced its way through multiple trails. All I knew was that it was a loop. We started hiking... and hiking... and hiking. We reached the first marker and continued on our way. As we neared what felt like a peak, we finally met a marker that only had two choices: to continue on the trail name we were already on or to change trails. What seemed like a good idea turned into our demise. Because we wanted to travel in a loop, it only made sense to stay on the same path our group was already walking. As Lillian, Kate, Stephen and I continued- we just kept going up and up and up and up. It felt like we were nearing a crest almost every turn, but the switchbacks were deceiving. We actually stopped and prayed- a few ties. Lillian and I felt that we must continue on this path. Well, we continued- for another 3.5 miles. Then, our group had to stop... due to the fact we had left the state park and ended up on private property! After determining to go back down, I decided to call Jimmy for 3 reasons:

1) It was getting dark and we needed to let the park rangers know we were still in the park
2) I wanted to know if was faster to go back the way we came or to take a side trail]
3) I was scared

Now, When I retell this story- I usually omit the third reason- my pride, I suppose. Well, Jimmy heard the panic in my voice and was worried. Not too worried, however, until we got disconnected and he could not get a hold of us on the cell phone. My sweet husband called his boss, who is very knowledgeable of the local hikes. When Jimmy's boss stated, "They're WAY out there", Jimmy jumped into action. Already, the sun had set and our group was almost 6 miles out.

Jimmy called the local park service- which due to budget cut in California, was closed. So, he was referred to the sheriff's department... which in turn, blew everything out of proportion. Next thing we ALL knew was- a rescue mission was launched! We never left the path- but the 911 operator was calling my cell phone telling us to stop hiking so they could get aerial confirmation. We were 10 minutes from the car!!! The ranger ended up coming and fetching us on a quad and delivered us to our car. It was embarrassing to say the least. And actually, I 've thought the whole story quite funny until today. Because when I travelled that same hike today in full light, I realize how incredibly protected we were. I have no doubt that a concourse of angels were very busy protecting us that night. We learned at the park visitor's center that mountain lions are often spotted in the area. And that those same mountain lions hunt at dusk. We also learned that they attack things that are running. Our group was RUNNING down that mountain... at dusk... at a time when mountain lions were prevalent.
Also, walking the terrain with my family today made me realize that while in the day time, the hike is difficult, without seeing it should have been impossible. I pointed out to Jimmy today the place where we lost all light and was surprised at how far we had gotten in the dark. I was absolutely amazed that we made it down that mountain without a scratch- stunned. After a full beautiful day today on that trail, I am so grateful that we made it home okay in November. I understand now why there was a full search party sent for us. I am so incredibly grateful for my Father in Heaven listening to my prayers. I know He was there that night, protecting me. Not only from what could have harmed us, but from my fear. That night in November, I thought it absolutely silly that anyone would be so worried about us. But, upon the realization today, I should have been worried about us! But would that have helped? Absolutely not. And so, God, in His mercy, gave me the opportunity to shrug off any danger that might have been and make a joke out of getting home alive. When, really, I should have been thanking Him from the get go. How wrong I have been and how humbled I am to know that Heavenly Father protects us, even in our most foolish times.
I know He loves me.
I know He watches out for me.
I have such faith in His plan, that I want to burst.

Would it be worth 5 miles to (the right) peak without Bouchon?!


If you give a mouse a cookie

Because it has been so chilly this winter, we have run the fire quite often.
More often than usual.
So often, that when I took a shower and had just gotten my hair perfectly sudsy- the hot water disappeared.
Because the hot water heater runs on propane.
Which is what our fire runs on.
The fire that has been running day and night as to use all the propane...

 and so you see the reason why I am a hot (or cold, rather) mess in waiting for a delivery of propane today- so I can take a (hot) shower...



Before I was pregnant with Kate, I was not a fan of chocolate. In fact, I did not like chocolate at all. When I became pregnant, wouldn't you know- that's all I wanted! I could not figure it out! With the years passing and being a mother of that special girl, I understand a little more...
Tuesday, my sister-in-law picked Kate up from school and had her all evening.
I celebrated a day full of productivity.
Laundry- check, Dishes- check, Bedrooms tidied- check!
I was a happy busy little bee keeping the hive in proper working order.
It was right before bed time when my darling daughter stepped through the door. In her hand was a large container brimming with money. I did the sideways head tilt with raised eyebrows for an explanation. In return was a launch from Kate into the story of why she was looking like a banker that day. Apparently, my sweet daughter wanted to raise money for the animal shelter. Awwww... right? In order to raise said funds, my sweet daughter had cleared out her room of many valuables unbeknownst to me and was selling them during recess.
And that, my folks, is when the need for a piece of chocolate kicked in.
I wanted to lock myself in the bathroom and gnaw on a huge chunk of
anything of the chocolate persuasion.
I see now that I may be a stress eater....
and those cravings make infinite sense to me now.


Local flair

I don't know about anywhere else, but the moment a normal traffic light turns to a blinking red and 4-way stop, people in Napa turn into complete idiots.


The kitchen is for dancing

Every time I use this:

I sing this:
(I tried to imbed... but blogger is not liking me today, but it is worth watching the video! Make sure you wait until the chorus, this girl is amazing!!!)


Great in 8

I am starting an 8 week program with three other women in my area.
We are competing in a healthy lifestyle challenge. I hope we win!
 Here's today's breakfast, which is worth 4 points!
I am extremely competitive... let the battle begin!


This gets me through...

This is a story of a young piano student. His mother, wishing to encourage him, bought tickets for a performance of the great Polish pianist, Paderewski. The night of the concert arrived and the mother and son found their seats near the front of the concert hall. While the mother visited with friends, the boy slipped quietly away.
Suddenly, it was time for the performance to begin and a single spotlight cut through the darkness of the concert hall to illuminate the grand piano on stage. Only then did the audience notice the little boy on the bench, innocently picking out "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star."
His mother gasped, but before she could move, Paderewski appeared on stage and quickly moved to the keyboard. He whispered to the boy, "Don’t quit. Keep playing." And then, leaning over, the master reached down with his left hand and began filling in the bass part. Soon his right arm reached around the other side, encircling the child, to add a running obbligato. Together, the old master and the young novice held the crowd mesmerized.
In our lives, unpolished though we may be, it is the Master who surrounds us and whispers in our ear, time and time again, "Don’t quit. Keep playing." And as we do, He augments and supplements until a work of amazing beauty is created. He is right there with all of us, telling us over and over, "Keep playing."



Jimmy had to go out of town on Thursday night, so Kate, Ashley and I had a girls' night out. We wanted to try the new restaurant located in the old Marie Callender's building called Oventi.

The food was decent. The service was excellent. The prices were high.
I think I would've liked it better if our bill didn't come out to $75...
When I compare it to my favorite local restaurants, the price and quality do not compare.

Onto the exciting part of the night:
My favorite thing in the world is rib eye. My very favorite. If I was on death row- that would be the star player in my last meal. Grilled rib eye, artichokes, corn on the cob and grilled veggies. Maybe some kind of potato, but I don't know how the starch would go with lethal injection. (is that not funny to joke about?)

Anyway.... when our group walked into the restaurant armed with the menu left on the doorstep of my in-laws (they are really, really desperate right now), I KNEW there was rib eye on the menu. Because we knew that this would be the restaurant of choice since Monday, I had been contemplating getting the steak since then. The problem with that is- only ONE restaurant in my history of rib eye hunting has met my expectations. I kind of feel bad for all the other eateries that bit the dust. Because if you can't sell me your rib eye- I ain't coming back.

I keep going on and on about this when really I want to get to the actual part that should be a little entertaining... because it is so embarrassing for me (funny for you).

When the waiter seated us, I had already been nearly hyperventilating about the rib eye in the car and Ashley was a little fed up. She suggest I just ask about it. So, when the server returned to the table, I nearly attacked him with a battery of questions. The poor waiter was stunned silent for a second then assured me it was good. That small moment of his lack in confidence made me blurt out something incredibly stupid, "I'm a chef! I'm really picky!" Now, the face of this poor boy turned sheet white and he clipped a response, "I'll go get the chef" Then the waiter spun as quickly as his scrawny body could manage back to the kitchen. ARGH! Noooo! What is wrong with me?!?!?! I do not want to talk to the chef! When you are labeled as a 'difficult' table, there are one of two outcomes- the staff becomes ultra sensitive, to the point of it being extremely uncomfortable or they spit in your food, to the point of being extremely disgusting. So rather than be labeled the 'difficult' table, I just kind of smiled sheepishly at the chef when he visited our table and asked how thick the steak was. He answered quickly and inquired how I wanted it cooked. I looked at him like a deer caught in the headlights and replied, "I'm not even sure I'm getting the rib eye...." When his face fell, "everything on the menu looks soooo good" I gushed.

Now rather than the overly accommodating staff or compromised food, I became the blubbering idiot. "Oh, this is ah-mazing" I would periodically say to Ashley (really loudly) so the passing bus boy might pass it on to the chef. Apparently, that didn't work because halfway through the meal, the manager stopped by our table. It was another dance of me being overly nice and idiot-like. The comments I made were gushing out of my mouth like a flash flood. I needed to get out of there before the sum of the waiter's tip in my head got any larger. After a so-so meal, we left a 30% tip on the table. If the waiter had refilled my water one more time, he would've pulled in at least 50%. With my voice reaching it's all time high, just STILL trying to not be a 'diffifult' table we headed out to the car. When inside, I looked over at Ashley and said (in an entirely normal, not cheesy or butt-kissing tone), "That place was okay."
Now, this is my question- do you think 30% buys me my dignity?


The best Mac & Cheese EVER

We are having a "Late Night" with Kate's little girlfriends tonight. A "Late Night" is when her friends come over in jim jams and we play games, eat, watch movies- but everyone gets picked up at 10:00 pm. We prefer that over sleepovers for now. I don't feel comfortable with Kate having sleepovers with more than one girl or not a family member.
There was a talk in the October, 2010 General Conference called, "Courageous Parenting" that really stuck with me.
Larry R. Lawerence states: "May I express my personal warning about a practice that is common in many cultures. I am referring to sleepovers, or spending the night at the home of a friend. As a bishop I discovered that too many youth violated the Word of Wisdom or the law of chastity for the first time as part of a sleepover. Too often their first exposure to pornography and even their first encounter with the police occurred when they were spending the night away from home."

It's a great talk, you should give it a look through.

Soooo, anyway, at that "Late Night" we will be having a Mac & Cheese Bar!!!! It's delicious, creamy mac and cheese with all the toppings on the side: bacon, peas, French's crispy onions, bread crumbs, fresh herbs, crumbled blue cheese, fresh tomatoes, chives YUMMY!!! I have a recipe for the best ever macaroni and cheese that is almost as easy as the blue box. The recipe is from "The Perfect Recipe" by Pamela Anderson (not to be confused with Pam Anderson- they put a picture of the cook on the front and they look NOTHING alike)

Here it is, folks:
(This recipe is the doubled version that serves 8 or 16 sides)
1 lb. elbow macaroni
8 Tb. butter
4 eggs
2 cans (12 ounces) evaporated milk
1/2 teaspoon red pepper sauce
2 teaspoons dry mustard dissolved in 2 teaspoons of water
black pepper
24 ounces (6 cups) shredded cheese (always grate your own, the pre-shredded melt terribly) I recommend fontina and sharp cheddar, you can really use whatever kind you like.
Boil macaroni in salted water. Meanwhile, mix eggs, 2 cups of evaporated milk, hot pepper sauce, mustard mixture and some black pepper in a bowl. Drain noodles and then put back in pot to keep warm. Over medium heat, add egg mixture and three fourths of the cheese, stirring constantly until the cheese starts to melt. Gradually stir in remaining milk and cheese; continue to stir constantly until sauce thickens and mixture is hot and creamy- about 5 minutes. Serve immediately.


Does this mean I am dying sooner?

I have a list of life goals I would like to accomplish. Last year, I was able to knock a couple off of the list. Now, I am saddled with the dilemma: If I do more on the list, will I die sooner OR If I don't do them, will I regret living longer?! I know, I know- why even make a list? Because, folks... I am a crazy list person. I have a list for everything. I cannot even function without writing out in long hand what I am doing for the day. I feel less stressed out and don't have to think about it if everything is written out. There have been times when I drive all the way down our hill, only to walk in and out of a store without a single purchase because I forgot the list. That doesn't happen much anymore because I usually write multiples now... Gosh, maybe I am getting a little out of hand.

Well, on the list of things I'd like to cross off the big list of life goals this year are:
Temple Square Christmas Lights
Backpacking Trip with my family
Bake a souffle
Learn how to make Brioche
For just one whole day, have every single dish and article of laundry clean and put away

What I did in 2012 to shorten the list:

Saw live General Conference
Sang a Solo

I might be getting ahead of myself trying to do 5 goals... but I think I can do it!


Aptly named

This morning, I taught seminary. It was fah-reeeeezing at 5:00am!!! For mornings such as these, I received a pair of fabulous leather gloves for Christmas... BUT I keep forgetting them inside. So, I kept thinking in the car, "I just need to keep the fabulous Michael Kors gloves outside in the car. Hmmmm, if only there was a place I could keep them in the car that would protect them from getting lost."

Then, I proceeded to look in and around my car for an appropriate place to put my gloves. After much hunting and pecking, I found the perfect little spot next to random napkins from various drive-thrus and a myriad of hot sauces to stash my gloves. And wouldn't you know it?!?! It's called a GLOVE COMPARTMENT.

Now, by a show of frost bitten hands- who actually keeps gloves in their glove compartment?


Winter just wasn't our season

I’m telling you… Christmas just wasn’t our season this year-. I was talking to my dad on the phone lamenting about the fact that this was the very first year since Jimmy and I met that we didn’t get to go to the movies on Christmas day because the House of Graham was awfully sick. The problem solver that he is, my dad went on wikipedia to figure out when orthodox Catholics celebrate Christmas. It is thirteen days after Christmas- last night!!! So, for family home evening, we had a sweet little lesson and headed off to our “Christmas” movie.


During the previews Jimmy complained of an upset stomach.
During the first five minutes of the movie, Jimmy left the theater to hang out in the car.
During the rest of the movie, he was really sick out in the car.

And so my sweet husband is lying in bed- and I’m writing here all about how Christmas, even the orthodox Catholic one, was just not our season this year…


Never once as a child...

...did I think I would be thrilled to be home alone all day doing laundry.

Good bye, winter break!


Church Lady

What a wonderful day at church today! Our Bishop started our fast and testimony meeting by bearing powerful witness of the Holy Ghost. He stood and reminded the members of the congregation to follow promptings and speak by the spirit when sharing testimonies today.  What followed was a very sacred and special testimony meeting that ended in an amazing story the Bishop shared regarding following promptings.

Then, today was the first Sunday I taught my new primary class. The kids were more rambunctious than my last class because of the age difference- but I loved it! I am really looking forward to teaching the D&C and church history this year. I have some fantastic resources left over from seminary that I can use this year.

To cap off a wonderful day, primary sharing time was so well prepared and just excellent. The music leader worked really hard to make a "Primary Premiere"! It was so fun! The kids were escorted down a red carpet and brought through the paparazzi to their seats. Then, she had different people in the ward sing or play the new songs the kids would be learning for the year. I really enjoyed it and had a great time. The kids were so quiet, you could hear a pin drop.

I am grateful for the opportunity I get to go to church each week. I am always really buoyed up when I attend. The Sabbath day is a great day to recharge my battery.

Above is one of my favorite pictures of the Savior. The story of the woman touching Christ's hem is so poignant to me. I cannot, however, find a way to get the print without the words- anyone who knows how to do so and lets me know- would be greatly appreciated!



We had a successful trip to (HomeGoods, Michaels, Office Max, JoAnn's, Ross &) IKEA! My mother-in-aw was with me, so we made a few stops on the way... Kate was a real trooper in between the SIX bathroom trips and constant complaining. Because all she wanted to do was this: 
Yes, folks... that is Kate ready to jump out of a wardrobe shouting, "For Narnia!"
She did it with an accent and everything. 
I successfully got a new wall set up with the freakishly HUGE frame on the right. Inside of that frame is a picture my brother took blown up to 20x30- with a 4 inch mat. It is big and a little creepy. I have also added a picture with Kate next to the frame for a size reference. Do you see that she is almost life sized in the framed portrait?!  I love the picture... so much so, that I got it really big. I ordered the picture in a 20x30 size because I did not actually measure , I just figured it was a good size... and I almost got a size larger!!!

 When in IKEA, everything looks dwarfish because the store is so ginormous, so the frame looked doable. I put it on our wall and I feel eerily watched by our family portrait. But, I really like who I live with, so I really like the picture. The quality is spectacular and my brother did a fabulous job taking the photo.

p.s.- there's my new table!


I'll accept the apology

The Universe seems to be sending good juju* for all the troubles it sent before (and during) Christmas. I went shopping and in every single store found something on super sale and exactly what I wanted!!! Now when does the Universe ever align to make those two things possible in the same purchase?... when Mr. Universe has some 'splainin to do.

 Let me give a list that will
a) make you agree with me wholeheartedly and
b) make you jealous

Deal One:
I have been eyeing the most beautiful table at Cost Plus World Market that fits in perfectly with our couch, "Collette" (yes, we name inanimate objects in our house- they're my friends!). This table has been on my horizon since before Thanksgiving. I have actually been there just.to.visit.the.table.and.buy.nothing. We had built quite a relationship, me and this table. My sister-in-law works at World Market  and called my to inform our household of a 50% furniture sale and put the last and only model on hold. When I arrived at the store to pick up the table, a stock boy was out there and offered an additional 20% off because it was a floor model. That on top of Michelle's employee discount makes my husband very happy. I walked out of the store with a practically free table!

Deal Two:
When I lose 100 lbs. I plan on a very nice gift for myself- Frye Boots. Frye Boots cost more than I care to write here- but if you're really curious, I'll send you to the website here. Now that you're back you understand why I would choose THOSE as my gift for a job well done. In the meantime, I really needed boots. Like, lining falling out of my favorite flats, wet toes in the rain kind of necessity. Went to Clarks and found BOOTS! Really nice, all leather- no crappy vinyl/faux/nasty boots. You guessed it- on clearance! with an additional 25% off!!!!!!!#

Deal Three:
This week when I went to Target- everything that was on my list was marked down. Everything. The trash bags, laundry soap, salad dressing etc. Everything. How creepy is that?!

I think that the Universe did an amazing job making up for it's end of the year shenanigans. Tomorrow I am going to IKEA to purchase a picture frame. I really hope the Universe still has a smidgen of remorse...

*Freaky Fact: Whilst writing this post, I have been online to find pictures that better render what I purchased than my shaky hand and bad lighting might do. IN ALL CASES, I went on the actual websites and found no proof that these products ever existed. When searching by name and product number for a picture of the table, it was nowhere to be found! Coincidence?! I think not.

#Really, I am not a shopaholic. I do not purchase things often. After the use of so many exclamation points, I thought I might mention that little tidbit.



Yesterday, I was shopping at Cost Plus World Market with my Mother-in-law when my brother, Kyle called to talk. We were having a great conversation as I was perusing the store. My mother-in-law needed to get going, so she ushered me up to the front to check out while I was still talking. Because it was my turn to purchase next, I ended my call with my brother with a, "I love you, Kyle." When I looked up from puting my phone away I noticed the sales clerk was tinged pink and awkwardly silent. Then, I glanced down at his name tag and noticed it said "KYLE".



Why Resolutions?

I have wondered over the past few days, "why do I do New Year's resolutions and when I did I get started?" I have to admit that the answer to the latter question is quite foggy, I but I do know the answer to the former.

I have learned quite a bit in the past few years about goal setting. It used to be that I would set a lofty goal. One that was attainable...maybe. I would set a goal that gave me no room for mistakes. At all. For example? "I will exercise everyday for at least 60 minutes." Is that an accomplishable goal? Sure. For me? No way. If I had taken that goal and tweaked it just a little, I would have saved myself from failure. Rather than 60 minutes everyday- changing the goal to 30 minutes everyday or 60 minutes every other day would have been more reasonable.

Because I have learned this about myself, I now set goals that have an end point, a finish line.
Plus, I have chosen weaknesses that I would like to make strong.
Julie B. Beck states, "When our best efforts are not quite enough, it is through His grace that we receive the strength to keep trying. The Lord says: 'If men come unto me I will show unto them their weaknesses that they may be made humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them." Having a resolution to change a  small thing about myself each year brings me hope. It sets my gospel roots deeper.

Regardless of the goal set, it builds your spirit. Temporal and spiritual things have no separation. We are a soul and a body in the same experience. I am grateful for my opportunity to change. It brings me great joy to progress. With that growth does bring pain. Growing pains are not a myth. They are not just a term used to explain a child's leg cramps. Those pains are real in the spiritual sense. I feel like the pain is worth the growth. I hope that the weaknesses I have chosen to change this year will become my strengths. I hope that my my reliance on the Lord will be whole. That humility will abound so I can be stronger.

Resolutions are such a innate desire. My hope for us all is that we do not quell the desire; that we feed those righteous desires wholeheartedly. I am excited about the prospect and hope you are too.


New Year's Resolutions

First Resolution: Lose 50 lbs.
I was able to lose 50 last year, hoping to do the same in 2013... As you can see, in our New Year's Eve spread, I ate just enough junk to want to get back on the horse.

Second Resolution: send a card to every family member for their birthday
If you are part of my family, you already know the difficulty I have with this. Sorry. I had the same resolution last year and only got to my brother Jim... his birthday falls in January. Yes folks, his was my first and my last. This year shall be different. Maybe I'll make it to Scott (February 21)

Third and final resolution: write on this here blog everyday.
I know it seems a lofty goal, but I enjoy writing. I love having a record of what I've done and I plan on doing digital scrapbooking this year during our monthly project nights. Having everything in a blog is so easy to just transfer over. Even if it is one word, I would like to post it. Plus (!) my family will want to know what's going on with us- they probably can't wait to hear from me after receiving such a nice birthday card, right?

Good Riddance, 2012!!!!
Welcome, 2013!!!!