Thursday, February 26, 2009

You've come a long way baby....

Guess who made muffins by herself last night? This was her first time, and I was so proud of her. Tia of course could make muffins while sleepwalking, but Ari's finally learned enough fractions and reads well enough now to follow a recipe. There is also the patience/following directions factors that have been an issue for my girl in the past.

Some of you may have known Ari since she was born, and can remember when she would scream to communicate since she had no language at all. We were advised in the beginning not to use sign language at all, and I feel this slowed down the language acquisition for her --all kinds of language --and we had behavior problems as a result too.

I still remember right before Kai was born, I was probably 8 months pregnant, so Ari was 4, and we needed to take her back up to Primary's children hospital to check on her implant, and she refused to let me help her get dressed. She wouldn't dress herself. She didn't want to go, and screamed and cried in the car all the way there (as I remember). I brought her clothes with us, but couldn't get them on her except for a pair of tights. She had on her body worn processor, and a pair of tights. She wouldn't walk, and the closest parking I found was in the garage three floors down. No elevator. I threw Ari over my shoulder (screaming), and carried her up those stairs. When I got to the hospital door I found an unused wheelchair, and plopped her into it, and pushed her to the Dr.'s office.

May God bless her Dr.'s., teachers, and therapists for getting her to where she is now. Ari's worked very hard too.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Happiness is a decision.

I've had some not so cool things happen around me lately, and yesterday it really started to get me down. Then it got me down further, and as I thought about those things and worried about them I spiraled down further and further. Part of the problem was Kira's favorite saying "when the world looks black....." I won't finish it for those of you who haven't heard it. Anyway, last night I realized that there was nothing I could do about the things that were bothering me. I could have absolutely no effect on the outcome of any of those things, except to pray about them. I've heard this before, and I'll probably forget this again, but it's OK to leave it in HIS hands. I just asked for help to let go and be happy again. As much as part of me felt it was my duty to suffer during these situations, it's not, and it wasn't helping anything. I was able to be happy today. All day.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Kira's shower -and finally some good salad pictures!

We did my sister's baby shower yesterday, and I got to do my salads for it. Seriously, I was excited because I could get some good pictures. I feel so gypped that I couldn't take my own pictures of the Tae Bo lunch. The table turned out pretty well, except for the bread basket which I think now would have looked a lot better tilted the other direction, but at the time I couldn't figure out what was wrong with it. Also, the punch was a little sour, especially when you ate one of the scrumptious cupcakes Kira's friend made (which I could NOT get a good picture of ---couldn't do them justice).

Trivia trivia, and I know, so boring, but I wish I'd turned it forward so you could see the bread from the front of the table. Erin made these nice rolls, and it would have been nice to see them.

I thought the jams looked pretty though all in a row

Here's the Mediterranean Antipasto salad with the lemon herb vinaigrette. I love that dressing, I use it every day on my lunch salad. I added chicken slices instead of the pepperoni sausage strips this time, to sort of beef the salad up. I also got so lucky with this Romaine. I brought it home, and was tearing it up, and almost called my produce guy to thank him. It was the crispiest lettuce I've ever seen. It almost seemed frozen. Lovely.

Here's the strawberry salad, but this time we used a spring greens mix, and it was so beautiful! I love the colors! These wonton strips are so naughty though. I came home and ate the rest of them straight (with some sugar). Don't tell anyone, I ate all salads today I promise --to make up for it.

Here's the butter lettuce, cashew, and poached pear salad. Yummy, yummy salad. Love the black raspberry vinaigrette that goes with it too. Perfect balance of sweet and salty, and butter lettuce is always so tender....

A little bonus for me! A girl came to the shower that was in my sister's ward, that served her mission at the same time in the same place as I did: Hermana Kent. She and I had three of the same companions, and I was able to compare notes with her (15 years later --can you believe that?!). Love her. Really down to earth, and funny too. Another coincidence, we talked about one of our common companions, and today my OTHER sister texts me, and tells me she's in HER ward --in CA! ..and she's on facebook. Of course. Anyway, pretty fun shower --sorry for all the obsessive food talk, but let's face it, you knew who I was when you started reading right?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

How we got together.

I went to BYU. For anyone not familiar with BYU, there happens to be a lot of pressure there to get married. Personally, although I wanted to get married as much as any of my roommates, I was in no hurry to settle down. I was having a lot of fun at school, and dating as much as I possibly could pack into my free hours. However, I never found anyone that I really thought I could be happy with for the long term.

I finished 3 years of school, and served a mission to South America for a year and a half, and was now back at school for my final year. There was a group of friends I was a part of that did everything together. We went on trips, and went to the movies, had parties, and the coming weekend, one of the guys had a condo he could get in St. George with wave runners to play on the lake with. My roommates though, were planning a party up at the reservoir that weekend, and were inviting an old friend of theirs named "Jeff " who they'd talked up quite a bit. As much as I wanted to get on those wave runners, I had a feeling I needed to meet this Jeff guy. I stayed home.

We all went up to the reservoir, and had a good time, although Jeff, even with my obvious flirting, wouldn't give me the time of day. Back at the apartment we all hung out for a while and talked, and I made some comment about Southern California, and how great it was or something. I don't remember what, and Jeff told me afterward he thought "typical CA girl" and I killed my chances with him. To be fair, my roommates were trying to set him up with one of them at the time.

I was disappointed, but not overly so. I kept dating, and would see Jeff at the apartment every once in a while. Towards the end of the year, I had a horrible relationship with someone quite a bit older than me, and got so disgusted, decided to not date for a while. I was also turning in applications for grad school at the time, and my prospects were really good at Texas A&M. It looked like I'd be accepted into a doctoral track right away. Anyway, I was going through the whole graduation thing, my roommates all were moving out, and I got a job on campus that summer in a lab to help cover my expenses until I started grad school. THEN Jeff called.

Since no one lived at my apartment anymore except me, I talked to hem, and he told me some long long story (anyone who knows Jeff knows he has the long storytelling gene from his dad --kind of like how ling THIS story is turning out to be) about a mountain biking trip he'd just been on. The whole time I'm trying to figure out why he's talking to me. Then he asks me out. I figure he just wants to do something with someone, and all of the others are gone.

We totally hit it off. He's got all of these qualities I was looking for, and is really easy to talk to. However, I'd just had that rotten relationship, and was pretty gun shy. After going out quite a bit for a month or so, Jeff needed to have knee surgery, and couldn't drive his manual car for a while. I drove him everywhere, and went to OT with him, etc. This was the first time in college I'd had a car and it was pretty cool.

I got to know him really well in a short time this way, and it was only a little while later that he asked me to marry him. By this time I had a full ride scholarship to Texas that even payed for my housing, and I was still a little skittish from that other boyfriend, but after some praying, and going to the temple I calmed down, and knew this was what I really wanted to do. Besides, by this time BYU had given me a scholarship to their program so I could still go on with school too.

Anyway, that's how we got together. It took a full year, and I had to break his knee to do it, but I caught him.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Yellow Submarine (remember that song?)

Remember that Beatles' song "we all live in a yellow submarine..... and our friends are all aboard, every one of them, live next door..." That's where I've been since Saturday. Sorry I haven't posted, or commented on other people's blogs, or READ other people's blogs, I caved on Saturday afternoon, and ever since have been floating around in this amazing place called Facebook.
Oh. My. Gosh. EVERYONE seems to be on there. I've been wondering and imagining futures for all of my high school friends, almost all of whom I'd lost touch with since the summer after high school, I even traveled down to the class reunion at 10 years against my better judgement, and only one or two of them were there. But FACEBOOK, I can see pictures, I can talk to them, everything. It's crazy. I told one of my friends it was like a big, virtual party -but without the annoying booze. I love it.

Then, along with all the old friends I was so excited to get back in touch with, all my new friends came along. This is so cool: live updates on everyone's daily lives, if you care to look. Also a lot of extended family members have pages that we probably wouldn't communicate with any other way. Are you on there? Come aboard! Waste hours of your life on trivia and fluff, but it's SO satisfying.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Walden versus the Caterer and the Home Decorator.

Melissa at The Inspired Room is doing "A Beautiful Life" linky thing, and I thought I'd share my thoughts (and personal conflicts!) from this week about beautiful living.
I just finished WALDEN by Thoreau. I loved it, but I was torn by some of his ideas. Of course the reason I'm torn, is because I think he's right about many things, but I don't really want to give up some of my old habits and ideas. Henry David Thoreau undertook "Walden" as an experiment. He saw so many poor, over-busy, overworked, and under-thinking people around him, he tried a different way of life to see if it could help provide answers and solutions to some of these problems. He went to the woods near the edge of his town, and built a simple log cabin with his own hands. He farmed a little, enough to eat, and fished a little, enough to eat. He therefore had many hours in his day to observe and record nature around him, which he did beautifully, and painstakingly.

These are the woods he lived in. The rock pile is the old site of his cabin. These woods inspired beautiful thoughts and reflections. This was my favorite aspect of the book. The beauty of the language or comparisons would sometimes just make me smile. Thoreau's point was, he had TIME to think them, he had time to really live, because he didn't spend so much time trying to maintain a large farm, or trying to acquire more posessions, or just buying new clothes, or living off of more luxurious food. I see his point. When Jeff and I went backpacking last summer, I was surprised constantly by what we really didn't need, and how comfortable we were. I felt truly free. We could go anywhere and do anything, because we carried everything we needed on our backs. Similarly, Jeff always says I was his undoing, because before he married me, everything he owned would fit in his Geo Metro (do you remember how small the Geo metros were?!). Now we've got tons of stuff like this:

Seriously, what is all this decor for? If we were to move, I would hate trying to pack all of this even. We also have three big rooms for "lounging" in I guess you would call it. The family room, the formal living room, and the downstairs theater room, all which have furniture. I could live without the formal, but I'm personally tied to the other rooms. Why though? They all require upkeep and time. Thoreau said he for a while had a couple of pieces of limestone he kept on his desk, until he found they required dusting. He gave them back to nature. I wish I was more like this. I guess I love beauty and comfort around me and so try to create it in the place I spend the most time. The problem is I'm calcifying in the process. No longer do I really crave travel and adventures like I once did. KIND OF..., but I'm doubting the hotels can match all the comforts of my home and it puts a damper on things.

There's also the caterer in me. This is a wedding I did a couple of years ago. As you can see, this was a lot of equipment to bring and set up....and store, and maintain at home. I LOVE to cater. I love to put together an elaborate set-up that makes people happy to look at it. I love to cook elaborate food, that makes people say mmmmmmm. But then again on Thoreau's side, I think it's nice to have a simple diet day to day that doesn't require much time and effort to prepare, or work to pay for, so we can eat, and move on to the more important parts of our day: our adventures, our reflections, our beautiful thoughts, our love and relationships with each other.

Anyway, I don't know the answer for me. He made me think. Maybe someday I'll jettison all my "dross" as he calls it, and move to a higher plane of life. In the meantime, I REALLY love that theater room.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Kids Clutter Control!.

My cousin at Pretty Organized Palace, and her friend -Wendy at The Shabby Nest are having a linky party on The Shabby Nest for kids' storage ideas, and I said I wanted in. My one good idea came from a book by Deniece Schofield called: Confessions of a Happily Organized Family . Her idea (that I stole) is this: put all the toys in ONE PLACE. Brilliant. I mean how many rooms do you have to clean toys out of every day? Plus, there are all the "ownership" fights: "that's mine!". She says give the kids a little ownership time, while the toy is new, then it goes in the common toy room. So anyway that's what we did, and they're all downstairs!

We've got a lot of different storage options, mostly based on old furniture from my in-laws. This was a buffet before I got to it. I didn't need a buffet, I DID need something to hold Barbies and Dress-ups!

As you can see, this used to be a hutch, but I really needed something to hold a huge, (ugly) doll house, and Disney videos. So, a little paint and new hardware off of ebay, and.....

The most important thing I discovered for kids storage was LABELS. I got tired of the excuse "but I don't know where it goes...." really quick. For younger kids this was trickier, but using my fabulous artist skills (you should see my Liger!) I just drew a picture of the type of toy underneath the name. Labels are also good for friends' parents who try to help clean up before their kids leave. I hate that when I can't figure out HOW to clean up. Makes me wonder how my kids are supposed to. I had a hard time finding these bracket thingies, mainly because I didn't know what they were called, finally I reallized they are just holders for my labels, uh "label holders". Duh. Here's a good link to buy some. I'm serious, it took me days to find them online. Mental block or something.

For the older girls they do have their "special specials" that are mainly momentos and not toys. We limit them to an old cedar chest that was my grandmas (notice the SAME color of paint --I just bought a gallon and went to town).....

...and these cool under-bed storage containers. These were really a find (just at Wal-mart, I don't mean they were HARD to find), because I don't know about you, but my kids always store things under their bed ANYWAY, and this way most of that dead zone is gone. Not as much room for stinky socks and candy wrappers. OK, that's all of the kids clutter control I'm willing to show you. I actually have a whole other set of ugly tupperwares for game stuff, but you don't need to see that. ...nobody really needs to see that. Someday, I will save my money for some artsy baskets like in my master closet. Yeah right. My hard-earned money for kids clutter control. Maybe my mother-in-law will get rid of more furniture soon!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Details details details!

OK here's the scoop, we were able to do the three soups and the three salads, AND do the bread bowls -- which is so cool because there really isn't a disposable bowl out there that looks good. We did get the bread bowls a little late (I contracted them out), so that was a little hectic, and my friends were pulling out the middle of some bowls the last 15 minutes before people got there, and consequently some bowls got a little bit TOO much pulled out of them, and we got coconut soup spilling all over the floor at one point, and I wonder how much longer I can make this sentence? But everything was tabled on time, and looked pretty good, but I forgot my camera. My friend took pictures with her phone for me, but you know how I like to get all "in your face" with my food? Those pictures didn't happen until a lot of it was gone, and it just frankly didn't look so good then. OK, but my platters and bowls needed to come from a friend's house who was in California at the time, but guess who called me back just when I was walking over to her house to see if I could break in? or maybe just look in the windows and sob? Yes. I love her for calling me back while on vacation. Beautiful pewter stuff which I haven't invested in yet. I bought other stuff she uses, so I don't feel too guilty for mooching. So that saved the beautiful table. That's what I mean by going smoothly, things come together for me sometimes like that and I'm so grateful.
The salads were spectacular, so thanks for the recipe Kira, and the soups were great, so thanks Lorraine for the third soup suggestion. The chocolate dipped strawberries were all gone long before I packed up, which is what I expected from a lunch where we were meeting to talk about a new fitness challenge starting Monday.
Fitness challenge: This lunch was for "Sweaty Chix" our new LLC at Omega Martial Arts. Remember how I said we were going to all voting for "best of Utah county magazine" and we won? (second place, but the first was Gold's gym, and it's the first time we've shown up). This was the thank you lunch, and now we're all going to get skinny. Right. No really, we're hoping! If you want to participate, you weigh in once a week, and there's a menu of healthy choice suggestions, and a couple of fitness articles. (I think Wendy wrote one herself, which is cool because she's a real success story herself.) We record everything there at the studio to help motivate each other. I told Wendy and Kristin I've been bulking up so I can really win the grand prize (I don't think there is a prize). All part of the plan. All part of my evil plan. Muahahahahaha!
Seriously, I've been steadily gaining through the holidays, and haven't lost anything this month. Now I've got personal money again (it's February) I can start Myfooddiary again. This is the best thing for me. I learned how to be accountable on here. You ought to check it out if you haven't yet, it's great and so easy to use, and they have the largest database out there of food to enter. I decided I really need a mean person to send my daily report to. Maybe I can post it on here somehow? Is there anyone mean out there that would take my daily reports and rip me up if I screw up? Not my sisters or my mom. Too understanding.
So I also wanted to link you guys to this new blog I found that totally highlighted our "Sweaty Chix". She's called The Lola Letters (this is the link on "sweaty chix" but she mentions my lunch in the current post so go see that too). Really beautiful Girl who is competing in "Mrs. Utah" competition this year, and standing next to her really got me motivated to lose these extra lb's. Really nice writing style too. Lot's of pictures!