Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Why I can't just ignore the guilt and move on from my blog

I should take a picture of my to-do list (except that would require a screenshot, and an email of the screenshot, downloading the picture from the email to my photo library, and then getting it onto this page and THAT, my friends, is one of the myriad of reasons that avoid this blog like the plague).  Annnnyway, if I did take a picture it would have the 10-12 things/events I want to do today and then underneath it, you'd see my Get To These Someday Please list.  That list is full of  blog posts I want to write (Halloween, 1st day of school, cross country, quick quotes about Jane and whale sex, hiking, update on each kid, Levi accomplishments, etc, etc, etc).  And I just look at them and think how very much I want them recorded so I remember them in 20 years but I just can't get to them in my day.

Because...
  • I have a one year old that climbs all over my laptop while I type
  • Instagram
  • 42 million doctor appts a month (it's mostly the orthodontist that kills me here)
  • I'd rather read a book
  • writing requires thinking and some peace and quiet
  • GETTING THE PICTURES OFF OF THE PHONE (why is this so hard???)
  • Emma did something screwy to my google account that makes it a 30 minute process trying to get onto blogger
  • People KEEP EATING which requires lists, recipes, prep, clean up...
  • TV, Facebook, YouTubes of all the oscar speeches and performances, reading anti-Mormon comment threads (why?  why?  why do I go down that ridiculous rabbit hole?)
  • I'm so so so behind
BUT, here's my story for today and the reason I am here.  A few months ago, I was having a embarrassingly bad mom moment as I tried to convince Emma to work on her Personal Progress.  (It's honestly so bad that I CANNOT put it on the Internet, but ask me in person and I will tell you because I have no shame.) Anyway, I ended up talking to one of her YW leaders about it afterwards, and she laughed and commiserated on motherhood hardships.

And then the next day she showed up at my door and said she felt inspired to tell me something.  She said "Why don't you do YOUR Personal Progress with her? She'll have to listen to you talk about it, she can even sign you off and maybe she'll want to do it after she watches you." As she spoke the words, I felt the Holy Ghost shoot through me.  I knew that it was what Heavenly Father wanted me to do.  The list of excuses went through my mind (so uncomfortably similar to the excuses Emma had the day before) but I knew if I ignored the prompting, I'd be disobeying Heavenly Father and that always makes me less happy in the long run.  Plus, He's always so helpful when I'm trying to be obedient.

So I started.  And without going into tons of unnecessary detail, it's been such a blessing in my life.  I've loved the small, medium and larger goals.  I love that they are mostly just me trying to be more patient or less gossipy or less critical, while I read scriptures and talks that support those aims.  And I easily had one of the best Christmases of my life, which I credit almost completely to the fact that I memorized The Living Christ during the month of December.  Yay for Personal Progress, good YW leaders and friends and the whisperings of the Spirit.

For my Individual Worth big goal (I can't remember the official name), it said to record family history.  Blog=my family's history and so I'm going to go through every single one of those blog post ideas on my to-do list and get them written here and then I will pass off my Individual Worth and rid myself of some blog guilt all at the same time.

Except this post didn't even address one of those topics on my list.  Dang it.






Friday, January 9, 2015

What I Love About My Wife

I worry that what I love about my wife gets lost in the hub-bub of daily life so I wanted to document what makes Jessica invaluable to me.

1- Intelligence



I love living with a woman who has a million thoughts about what goes on in her relationships, within our home, in the community we live in and in the world at large.  She has valuable insights that I want to hear.  When I have ideas that I think are important I look for her to get her input.  Her perspective is often different than mine and I love her for sharing it with me as mine isn't complete without it.  She has at least 3 books that she is working on at any given time.  She is our family's dictionary and resident grammarian.  When she is responsible for something, you can be sure that she is (or has) studied it thoroughly.  My time is best spent engaging her in conversation. I love it.  

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Quick Quote




Jane, upon checking her iTouch after leaving it with parents for the night: 
 "17 texts?? People, I'm just one girl!"

(Jane has an iTouch that she bought herself with babysitting money, allowance and cashed-in birthday gift cards.  She has an app that allows her to text when she's connected to wifi.)

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Turning 40 and Beauty Redefined

In the extra half hour a week that I find for blogging, I've been noticing I've been not wanting to do the next entry on my Things To Blog About List.  Because a)narcissistic b)personal.  So I'm just starting and seeing how in depth we go here.

First of all, I turned 40 on July 15.  Does anyone want to actually turn 40? Probably not, but I wasn't hugely hung up on the number...but actual aging is another matter and we will get to that in a minute.






My birthday was just okay.  I told Ryan that for the big 4-0 birthday, I wanted a trip with him and so we've planned a birthday trip early next year after Levi is old enough to leave for a few days.  I picked South Carolina because I've been a lot of places but I've never been to the South, so I'm really excited about that.  On my birthday, Ryan organized a hike and a brunch with girlfriends and that 3 hours was the best part of my day.  I'm blessed with good, wise, fun friends and I loved the relaxation of walking, talking and eating with them.



I made myself two big old desserts for my birthday because I love to bake and I couldn't decide between the Fudgy Toffee Chocolate Chip Bars and the Chocolate Peanut Butter Torte.  Could you?

So the day came and went, but really I've been dealing with aging for a few years now.  Things I like about aging:
1.  Wisdom.  Duh.
2.  Experience--I LOVE seeing how life and kids and relationships and problems mostly turn out okay if you just do your best.
3.  Understanding what makes me happy and what doesn't. Which obviously goes right along with 1 and 2.
4.  Understanding the Gospel and the nature of God and the power of obedience and the atonement better and better.  It's just gets more amazing and sweet and fulfilling the more you understand it, don't you think?
5.  My gratitude for the blessings in my life just seems to deepen with each passing year.

Things I don't like about aging:
1. Its effects on my body--its ability and (I know I shouldn't care but I do) its appearance.
2. How society views it!  I hate that there's the feeling that you are less vital or something the older you get.  Lame.

So, I'm sharing really briefly something that has helped me as I've dealt with negative feelings about wrinkles, weight gain, gray hair, etc. etc.

Through social media, I came across a website called Beauty Redefined.  I'm not exaggerating when I say that it has been HUGE for me.  I literally see things differently based on the things I've learned by reading their blog posts, following their instagram feed and reading some of their recommended literature.  This is the jist of what they do (taken from their site)

Beauty Redefined is all about rethinking our ideas of “beautiful” and“healthy” that we’ve likely learned from for-profit media that thrives off female insecurity. Girls and women who feel OK about their bodies — meaning they aren’t “disgusted” with them like more than half of women today* — take better care of themselves.
“While we cannot directly affect the images [in media], we can drain them of their power. We can turn away from them and look directly at one another. We can lift ourselves and other women out of the myth.” - Naomi Wolf, The Beauty Myth

I've been able to see that the value I place in my looks has been ingrained by media and society and is totally erroneous and drains me of valuable energy.  I've been able to look at ads and commercials and comments and conversations and see when they are reinforcing the idea that women's greatest power is in their appearance.  While I've always known in my brain that those things aren't important, as age strips me of firm skin and a fast metabolism, I've really noticed that my negativity about my appearance and aging has everything to do with not really believing it in my heart.  Regularly visiting this site has helped me to see things as they really are, and has helped me to redirect that negativity in an effort to emphasize the value that lies in my talents, my mind, my relationships--all things that will deepen and grow over time.


Anyway.  That's what I have to say.  Here's to 40 more years of becoming wiser and kinder and more experienced...the stuff that really matters.




Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Toying with Ryan

So Ryan is a little bit anal about things getting wrecked or dirty or ruined and few things trigger that compulsion more than paint.  I had wanted to spray paint a corkboard to display Faith's kindergarten stuff for a while and finally got around to starting on the simple project.

I called Ryan to ask where the painter's tape was and thought to myself "He's probably going to freak out about me doing a painting project" because, truth  be told, I'm NOT the most careful when it comes to, well, anything really.

He answers my question, we talk for a while and then, right as we are getting off of the phone, I hear him say, "Wait!  Why do you need painters tape?!" I decide to hang up on him, just to make him sweat it a little bit.

He calls back and I don't answer...and start this series of texts:





and then I sent him this picture:


At this point, I'm literally crying tears because I'm laughing SO HARD at myself.  And then I about lost it when HE WALKS IN THE DOOR.  AT 10 AM, DURING THE WORK DAY.  He was so scared that I truly didn't understand the concept of spray paint drift that he couldn't take the chance and DROVE HOME as fast as he could (it's a 5 minute drive, at least.)

After I gained control of myself, we had a discussion about my understanding of drift and my already formed plan to use the backyard, and he went back to work.  Honestly, he was probably still scared but he knew it would be too insulting to actually wrest the spraypaint can out of my hands.  

I'm so fun to be married to.

Sherrill Family Reunion 2013 (that's how far behind I am)

It's been more than a year but I wanted to document our fun fun trip to New Mexico last October.  We had never had a family reunion with my side of the family and when we heard my dad and brother were going to meet up for the Balloon Fiesta in Albequerque, so decided to make it a family affair.



So of course we drove there.  And in the planning, we decided that since we were 8 hours away from the majority of Ryan's family, we might as well take a 16 hour detour to Dallas.  For basically one day.

As usual it went way better than everyone thought!  We stopped in Butte (where we realized that our family of then 7, needs two hotel rooms now---lots of squishing in beds and on the floor), Ft. Collins for the night and a fun visit with my cousin Spencer and Erin and kids, and then straight to Dallas




We spent the day chatting, eating, playing and the park and swimming (in October!), and when we left the next day, my kids all voted the detour resoundingly worthwhile.  Yay for family (and kids with good attitudes!)



We divided up responsibilities for the reunion and I was in charge of lodging.  We decided to stay in Santa Fe (a 45 minute drive from Albequerque) because there were way more options.  We were so glad we did!  Santa Fe is super cool, had great weather and the house I picked was so so great.

We fit all but two couples/families in the house and they stayed in a local hotel.  It was so nice to have a kitchen, big family rooms to gather in, and a cool, huge desert in the backyard for kids to run around.



I cannot say enough about the Balloon Fiesta, but it does depend on weather and we lucked out! No wind was key and we woke up at 3:45 to get there early enough for the dawn patrol and it was so so cool.


And then it just got better and better as hundreds of huge colorful creative gorgeous balloons went up.  We just raced around looking and taking pictures and picking favorites.  Everyone was impressed and we were so glad we had chosen that spot.









We spent the next few days touring Santa Fe, getting family pictures, eating at my brother Nate's old missionary favorites, attending the temple, having family devotionals, talent shows and park days.  It really couldn't have gone better.  So excited for the next one!











We started our drive home, planning on two days with a stay in Salt Lake City...but like we've done before, decided we'd rather just drive straight home.  It was around 24 hours through some of the prettiest country in the world.  So lucky to see it all!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Our big summer road trip

Everyone knows I'm not scared of a road trip...basically I can't afford to fly 8 people and rent a van anytime I want to go someplace more than a few hours away, so we've decided that we just suck it up and drive.

This is what we did this year:

Northern Utah:
We headed the day school got out (3rd week of June), for Salt Lake so we could make it to my mom's wedding.  Babies require SO MUCH STUFF (stroller, bumpo, pack n play, front carrier, etc.) that we couldn't fit it all in our Pilot and the Thule on top.  Our next option was this thing (it's basically a platform that hangs off of the back of the car).  It's just a fact of life that when we go anywhere all together, we are a spectacle.  I'm mostly over it.


We enjoyed the temple sealing, the  wedding dinner and lots of time with extended family.  Almost all of my siblings were there and that's always a treat.









We took some fun hikes, ate lots of good fun, and found some indoor entertainment while the desert was raining.










Southern Utah:
This was our nuclear family part of the trip.  We decided to explore St George on our way to California and spent 3 days there.  We found a great (huge) condo and enjoyed just being together.

My kids are pretty good sports about hiking and we loved checking out the Red Cliffs and Snow Canyon so much.  Utah has good food and we had all of our spots planned out. Loved getting to try Swig while we were in St George.









We spent our last night there visiting Church history sites--Ryan's great great great (?) grandpa played a role in the founding of St. George (even built the staircases in the tabernacle, see picture below) and my kids were forced to loved getting a chance to see Miles Romney's grave in 103 degree weather. 





We went to Tuacahn to see the Wizard of Oz and while it was a splurge to take most of the family (Gabe volunteered to stay home with Levi), I love showing my kids plays. And the venue is amazing!



(PS: unless Levi was driving

he pretty much did this


when he was awake.  I kept thinking he'd figure it out and just complacently pass the time, but no.)

Southern California:
We headed west and spent about 2 days making our way up the coast to Grandpa's house.

The traffic was horrible, but when we landed here I remembered why Californians put up with it.






 Best mexican dinner and a charming little hotel finished off the night.

We headed to the beach early the next day and hung out until noon

and then drove up to San Simeon to tour Hearst Castle.  The older family members loved it and the younger family members tolerated it, but I'm glad we fit it in.  (Gabe's in this SUPER FUNNY phase where he can't take normal pictures.)





Northern California:
This is where we lost Ryan. He had to head back to work and I was a little worried about handling the crew (mostly the trailer thing and the drive home, to be honest) all by myself.  But we had a great time with Grandpa.












We did the mini Zoo in Lodi, an A's game, lots of mini golf and swimming and thoroughly enjoyed the 5 star treatment we get when we stay with the Sherrills.

Also In N Out:


The last two days were spent in the Bay Area with forever friend Adrianne (at generous Tammy's house while she was out of the country) and her fun sister Lindsay and lots of kids.

We hit my favorite Northern California beach (Natural Bridges in Santa Cruz),



and then spent the next day with Paige and the hilarious Greenan family and had dinner with our old friend Matt and his wife.  Love reconnecting and having everything be the same as it was in college, except there are 14 kids milling about.

The drive home was so not bad.  Ryan and I had both been praying the Levi would be okay and it was a total answer to prayer when he only cried for 30-45 during minutes the whole 15 hours drive home.


I had plans for Emma to drive while I nursed (she has her permit) but after about 22 seconds of trying that I decided that, between the ulcer I was creating and the damage I was doing to our relationship, we should just nurse at eating stops.  Worst part?  when the air condition conked out about 3 hours from home.  At that point we were all SO DONE and a little out of our minds, but we powered through.



Here's the hours we were in the car during this 2 week trip, the mileage is at the bottom. Hard Core!



I loved our trip.  Happy happy memories, perfect length of time, and showing our kids parts of the country they've never seen before.  I also love the appreciation it gives me for the place I live. There is beauty in beaches and red rocks for sure, but I love the Inland Northwest!