Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Our trip to Colorado

We just barely got back from our trip to Colorado. Paul went to Alaska with my dad and all the sons/(in-laws) and was gone for 9 days. Rather than stay here in Utah by myself, letting the boys drive me crazy, I decided to spend that time in Colorado with the women and children left behind (aka- all my wonderful sisters and the cousins)! It was an AWESOME trip! I need to travel to Denver without Paul more often. Men sure know how to ruin a full day full of jabbering with your favorite women!

Some of the highlights of the trip (in order of appearance):
1. Breakfast with Lisa Gillespie, my singing bosom buddy that I haven't seen in years. I don't know if it's still this way, but growing up, Lisa's and my voices blended so well, we were just meant for duets together! To this day, I struggle to perform O Holy Night and O Divine Redeemer without her. We've determined that we'll attend "Time out for Women" together in November in St. George and I'm sooooooooo looking forward to spending more time with her then!

2. Quality time with Alisha (at Megan's) and spending the night with her. Alisha has two little babies who love (and would immediately miss) their daddy lots and lots. So to help out a little at church that first week, the boys and I spent the night at her house so we could attend church with her on Sunday morning. Alisha and I first spent the evening at Megan's, and then stayed up way too late learning how to use the 'My Digital Studio' program she bought a long time ago and had yet to install on her computer! At church the next morning, I got to hold a darling, sleeping Lauren all through Sunday school and Relief Society... ah bliss! I love my wee little sister, Alisha ;), and am super glad I got to spend a good chunk of time with her and her cuties!

3. Quality time with Shelyce on Sunday afternoon. Shelyce is a busy gal... busier than anyone I know, especially now that she's taking classes to get her CPA licensure on top of her 60+ hour work week. I took the chance to insert myself into her crazy life on Sunday afternoon and I'm so glad I got that chance. She's always so easy to talk to, and she helped me out a lot with my feelings about the loss of my oldest sister in my life. I don't have to feel so much pain about it now. Good stuff... thanks a ton, Shelyce! I love you and all yer guts too!

4. Time at the pool with Summer and Sarah. On Monday, I took the boys over to this little pool in my friend's neighborhood and met up with the Kelly sisters. Oh how I love these women! We let the kids swim around as we sat on the side and talked and talked and talked. I'd say it doesn't get much better than that, but I haven't gotten to the AMAZING dinner party they threw on Wednesday night! Summer is living in Lakewood while her husband is stationed in the Middle East. It was good for my soul to spend some time with these ladies.

5. Quality time with Jen & the girls. On Tuesday, we went up to Longmont to visit Jennifer. She is expecting their first son and I'm just DYING with excitement about it! Can't wait to meet our little nephew who's coming this November! Jen and I spent a lot of time going over the MDS software and hopefully I've gotten her hooked on digital scrapbooking as well. We took the kids to see a pretty dumb movie (The zoo keeper) and then got back to the house and just kept on gabbing while the kids played! At around 10:00 pm, we got 6 pairs of puppy-dog eyes begging us to spend the night, so we did... and stayed up way too late again! Since I love to be repetitive... I just love Jen (and Mikayla, Greta, and Katie)! I'm so blessed with amazing sisters (and nieces)!

6. Attending a "The Help" themed dinner party at the Kelly's house. Nobody knows how to throw a party like the Kelly women! The movie finally opened... something I've been looking forward to for a while, and the ladies put together a super fun party to celebrate the book! We all dressed up in our best 60's dresses (oh if I had only known in advance... Rhyll has the perfect dress I would've tried to borrow!) and pearls and brought food featured in the book. Since my culinary skills are limited, I offered to bring a chocolate pie from Village Inn! I made sure they left out Minny's secret ingredient. The dinner was amazing, the hostesses were SO CUTE, and we all had a great time. Summer had purchased the tickets in advance (which reminds me...) in case it sold out, but when we got there... we were the ONLY people in the theater! So FUN!! We could laugh as loud as we wanted! For as much as I love all the people I got to spend time with over the week, this party was definitely the highlight of my trip. THanks ladies! I love you all!

7. Quality time with Rebekah (noticing a theme here!?). On Thursday morning, we headed out to Parker, with my cutie pie niece Lily in tow, to visit Rebekah and her four girls. As you can imagine, we did a lot of talking... and it was GREAT! We established much earlier on in the day that we would just plan on spending the night with them as well. Scott & Rebekah's only son, William, is a favorite cousin of my boys and they were super bummed when they found out that he was going to be gone in Alaska with the men. But it was awesome that the boys got to spend some good time with their girl cousins that are all exactly the same age as them! Here are some pictures of them all sleeping together! I sure love Rebekah and that whole family! Thanks for having us!

8. Doing pretty much nothing else for the rest of the week. On Friday and Saturday, I made no plans. I used this time to actually spend it with my beloved mommy. We looked at oodles of choir music, put mulch all over her flower garden, watched the entire Pride and Prejudice movie, and talked. I didn't ever spend the night at Megan's, but I did get to see her the most often and I'm so relieved about that! I'm glad I took the opportunity to NOT pack my schedule to the hilt. Sometimes on a long vacation, you need to stay long enough to get just a little bored so you don't come home exhausted! That's what the weekend was for as we waited for the men to get back. I got to see Jen, Alisha, & Megan one more time on Sunday and then Paul flew in on Monday morning. We were back in Utah by 6:00 pm.

I love Paul A LOT! But I gotta say, 90% of what I loved about this trip to Denver couldn't have happened had he and the other men been there! It was nice to have my sisters all to myself, without worrying about if we were staying too long or if Paul was getting bored! I'm just ultimately so grateful that I got the chance to really connect with all these women again. Living my own busy life a state away from my entire family and the place I grew up doesn't lend itself to easy access to some very important people in my life. I hope we weren't too much of an imposition on anyone, but I couldn't be more grateful for the time I got to spend with everyone. Thanks for filling my soul and giving me the boost I needed to return home with the start of the school year looming in front of me! I'm ready to take it on! {happy sigh!!}

I LOVE MY FAMILY!!!! Thanks again to all of you

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

It's good to get away!

Our anniversary was 23 days ago. We were in Montana. Camping. At a family reunion. Again. Last year was the same story. So like last year, Paul and I wanted to make up for our unromantic celebration, so in a last minute decision, we ran away for 24 hours!

First off, I gotta say thanks to my gracious Mother-in-law, Rhyll, for adding three more people to her hectic home! It's a blessing to have a mom that understands, supports, and even encourages the need for couples to strengthen their relationship through some alone time. She's a gem. And I'm grateful that my boys are very well behaved when someone else is taking care of them! It makes for less guilt in enjoying some 'mommy-daddy' time without them! We have great little boys!

So what did we go and do, you ask? With so many options out there, it was tough to narrow it down. Shakespearean Festival in Cedar... Tuacahn in St. George... Park City again (that's where we went last year)... nah, let's go to Wendover and golf!

Paul, bless his dear little heart, really wants me to learn to love golf. A while back, he bought me some women's golf clubs on sale. They're shiny, and in a cute pink golf bag, and when I swing them, guess what??!?! I still miss the ball... or it goes nowhere, or directly in the bunker or whatever water hazard may be near! I try to avoid golfing with him at all costs, but occasionally, I suck it up (just because I love him so dang much) and agree to waste my afternoon getting angry at a pretty pink ball.
But 'quality time' is Paul's love language (one that I don't speak so well, of course), so in choosing the getaway, I agreed to the Wendover package because I knew he'd love it.

So, we packed up some stuff, dropped off the boys, and made the 2+ hour trek over to the booming metropolis of Wendover, Nevada for the night. We enjoyed our evening together and got up early-ish this morning for our 8:00 tee time. Considering that Wendover is in the middle of the hot desert, we thought it best to get an early start. I didn't know until we showed up in the parking lot that we were going to be playing 18 holes.

18 HOLES!!!

I usually can hardly make it through 9! I begged Paul to let me bring my Kindle along for the ride, but he said no.

I don't need to hash out today's golf experience with a play by play. We can sum it up with the fact that out of necessity, I cheat a LOT when I play golf. I stop counting my strokes somewhere around 6.5 (there are a lot of half strokes when I hit the ball and it goes less than 15 feet away from me), so after I 5-putt it, I tell Paul to just write down 8 for my score... because 14 on a par 4 is just plain humiliating. The first nine holes contained a few semi-offensive cursings, but I made it through. The back nine holes, I hardly cared enough at that point to invest in swearing. I skipped a few of those holes completely.

But what I mostly appreciated about the back nine, is that Paul let me be a slouch without giving me a bad time about giving up. It was a difficult course with several hidden water hazards and very narrow fairways. His game was struggling as well and he was tired of looking for his ball in the weeds... though he found as many balls as he'd lost while looking for them! Despite the heat and the 4 hours of GOLF, it ended up being some good "quality time" spent together with plenty of laughs and smiles intermingled with lots of slow head shaking and frustrated groans. When we were done, I posted this on facebook.

"Dear Golf, I really want to like you, and I think we have good potential for a stable relationship someday, but spending 18 holes together on a difficult course today was taking our relationship a bit too fast for me. I think we should slow things down for now and let our relationship take its course 9 holes at a time. Really, it's not you, it's me."

I thought it summed up my feelings perfectly! Obviously I love Paul very much. More than anything, I'm grateful that we made that choice 12 years ago to get married. He's my best friend and a terrific husband. I'm blessed to have a man willing to invest the time to teach me how to play a difficult game, just so we'll have more things to do together down the road. Though it's not exactly what I want to be doing, I understand and appreciate the sentiment. Love ya, babe!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Have I ever mentioned I love stamping?!

Deep breath in and... {happy sigh}!

As I mentioned in my previous post, I went to the Stampin' Up! convention in Salt Lake City last weekend. It's an event in where seeing is believing. I would love to describe it all to you, or I could say, "It was AMAZING" but it just won't mean anything to you because you've never seen anything like it! I go to conferences for my Speech Therapy certification and spend a comparable amount of money, but that's the only aspect where the two can be compared! Just check out all the swag!
Cute Bag, nice pen, mini catalogs, a catalog binder, MDS digital content CD, simply sent cards, and oops, did I forget to mention 6 (SIX!!!) stamp sets?!?! All I get at an SLP conference is lunch.

That doesn't even include the beautiful make & take projects! Here's a picture of the banner and cards we didn't have time to make (so I had Emily come help me put them together on Saturday night! Thanks Em!) The shelves are cluttered so it's hard to see, but the pieces are super cute! I haven't finished the card box yet. But it's pretty too.

This year, I took advantage of all four days worth. I had a My Digital Studio (the digital scrapbooking software) class to go to on Wednesday, so since I was up there, I was able to check out the Memento Mall (their little store of souvenir goodies and such) and even check out the kick off party. I don't know what the convention center looks like for other conventions, but it's decorated to the hilt for the SU! ones. Look how beautiful the stage was!

The classes and presentations on Thursday-Saturday were just as fun and I couldn't believe all the great giveaways there were. Here's me getting a WHOLE PACKAGE of Holiday mini catalogs!!!! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT!?!?!
Obviously... I'm easy to please!

What also made the weekend fun, was that I got to spend the time with my friend, Rachelle VanBuskirk.

I met her and her mother, Zola, four years ago standing in line for the Make-n-takes. We've had a great online relationship and two fun, girl-time getaways since then for the 2009 and now the 2011 conventions. She's so easy to hang out with, and we managed to spend 3 full days together without running out of things to talk about! I also got to meet her hubby and all 6 of her boys, which was so nice since I already know so much about them through her blog! Thanks Shelly for making the time so much more special... and for finally giving me the much needed excuse to get a pedicure! My cute toes and happy feet thank you too!
You are great!

The people at SU! are master marketers! I want to help the WORLD learn how to stamp and create pretty things made out of their paper! They, of course, show us the newest products and all the things you can do with them. They display thousands of cards, boxes, scrapbook pages, decor items... (you name it) for us to photograph and gleen inspiration from. They give us a chance to feel like the customer instead of the store owner and we all just lap it up! I can't wait to show my friends the things I learned at the convention... I hope I can blow their socks off!

Ultimately though, as I was leaving and driving home, I just daydreamed of having that experience with all my friends that I've ever stamped with! The likelihood is unbelievably slim, but oooh, wouldn't that be so fun!? Why am I the only one having such a good time here? I really never intended this blog post to be a sales pitch, (and I'd hate for you to be turned off at this point) but just to let you know, it's really cheap to sign up as a demonstrator for the next two weeks! You can go to my website or to Stampin' Up!'s website and learn more about the $99 starter kit that's completely customizable! Or just come stamp with me on one of the next two Friday nights if you live close enough or are in town... Father/sons campout is coming soon!!!! I'm on a stamping high right now and think you should come and share it with me!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

silencing the crickets around here

I'm not going to sleep well tonight, so I thought I might as well blog. The crickets have been chirping loudly over here and I've just let them sing on and on. Unfortunately, I'm breaking the silence with a downer of a post tonight.

This wasteland of a blog started spiraling downhill last year when one tragedy after another happened to a bunch of dear friends of ours. These painful anniversaries are starting to come around in the next few weeks and it just sucks. Though the loss of Ben, Brandon, Cody, and Brian is not a strong presence in my everyday life (Camille is still much more so), the anniversaries of their deaths (or loss in Camille's case) bring everything back. I hate knowing that my friend's hearts will be aching more than usual for the next little while as they remember those awful, painful moments. I have not been looking forward to these next 6 weeks.

And then, we got a phone call today from Paul's mom letting us know that her cousin, Scott Burnett died today in a construction accident. Now, I couldn't tell you the name of ANY of my own mother's cousins, but I know pretty much ALL of Rhyll's cousins and love them ALL (and their parents and their spouses, and kids and grandkids, and in-laws, etc)! Every year, the Burnett-Oler family holds a great reunion that oddly enough, we all want to come to. It's usually up in Montana, so we don't make it every year, but we've never missed two in a row. The Burnetts are a tightly bonded family that invest in each other. We get together often enough that when a newcomer joins the clan, it's worthwhile to bother to learn their name and get to know them, since you'll probably get to see them again next year! It's truly unusual and an incredible blessing to be a part of it all.

This year, Paul and I made a last minute decision to actually go to the reunion in Gallatin Gateway, Montana. None of the siblings were going, so we were wishy-washy about the long drive up there, but ultimately figured... "let's just go," so we did. I don't have a close relationship with Scott, but I saw him, gave him a hug and had a quick conversation with him 10 days ago. I have nothing but love for Scott's parents, Clint & Bonnie, his sweet and fun wife, Colleen, his kids, his siblings. I'm just (AGAIN) aching for the loss THEY are feeling. I hate how unpredictable life can be and how quickly it can be turned upside down in such a painful way.

I had a brief moment of fear that the rest of this summer would be like last summer and I wanted to shout out to the world, "hide yer kids, hide yer wife, and hide yer husbands too..." Please keep your loved ones close and safe. Please speak kind words of love. Please strengthen your families and your relationship with God. These are my goals for now. I need to make sure to utilize these reminders of how short and precious life is, so the Lord won't need to teach me these things in any other way.

Sorry for the emotional post. I'm headed to the Stampin' Up! convention (aka returning to the mother ship) in Salt Lake City this week, so hopefully will take the time to brighten up this place in the near future. In the meantime... (((((((((((((((((((hugs)))))))))))))))))))). If you read my blog, chances are, you're someone I care about a lot... and I want you to know that.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

No money for Obama!

So, I was a little bit worried this week on Wednesday night. The kids are on Spring Break, but I've had to work anyway. Our initial plans were to go to Trafalga on Wednesday afternoon, but when I saw how packed it was, we changed plans and took the kids to see Tron Legacy. We were all really hungry (since it was dinnertime afterall) and Paul had the brilliant idea of going to Olive Garden... a dieter's nightmare!!! I'd been doing really well with my diet all week and was down at least 1.6 lbs, so I reluctantly agreed with him and we introduced the kids to 'real' Italian food (they ended up with pizza anyway). I did order a healthy(er) meal than I wanted to, but eating half a breadstick, a bowl of minestrone and half my entree was still too much food.

For penance, I went to the gym that night and spent an agonizing hour on the eliptical machine doing a "personal trainer" workout. I drank at least 64 oz of water throughout the process because it was kicking my butt! Anyway, when I got home, I jumped on the scale right before bed and about cried! According to the scale, I needed to lose at least 3 lbs in my sleep in order to report success on my stickk.com commitment!! Because I have the emotional maturity of a 5 year-old, I was SO mad at Paul! It's his fault we went to Olive Garden and HIS fault we got ice cream for FHE (I got a frozen yogurt cone when they got yummy shakes). Doesn't he care about our country?!?!?!?! (I mean... my weight loss!?!?!?)

Anyway, after a fitfull night of sleep (you have no idea the amount of shame I was feeling with the idea that I'd have to post on my blog that they took $10 from me to give to Obama!), I was relieved that my naked morning weight was in fact, 3.2 lbs lighter than the night before! Which means that last week, I lost 1.2 lbs. YES!!! It's likely not as much as it could have been, but at least it got the job done.

Thursday night I went and did yoga, today I did about a 11 miles bike ride and my shoulders and back are screaming at me! Ah well. It's a good thing and besides, that's what Ibuprofen is for.

So there's an update for you. Rest well knowing that I did not contribute to the Obama campaign this week and am well on my way to not do so again next week!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Can you believe it?

Yes, you saw correctly, my name has jumped to the top of your blog list and I'm actually posting something on this wasteland of a blog! For a long time, this place was haunting me and making me feel all kinds of guilty for neglecting it, but considering that it's been four months since I've posted, I was able to get over that a bit. Honestly, I've realized that this blog is just not serving the purpose that it originally did. So, I apologize if that has been disappointing to anyone.

So why am I on here now? I don't really know. There are SO MANY STINKING THINGS that I need to update on here, but there's no way I'm going to be able to give each item it's due attention. In thinking about this blog's function in my life, one thing it helped me do initially was report on the progress I was making in my weight loss journey 2+ years ago. Well, I'm at it again.

When I reached my goal weight in the fall of 2009, I think I admitted outloud somewhere that my fear was that I would gain the weight back. I had made a lot of healthy lifestyle changes, so I didn't want to think that it could happen... but amazingly, life happens and things change sometimes. When we were putting in a lot of work into improving and selling the house (which went nowhere by the way), I wanted to be training for the spring triathlon again, but painted the entire upstairs instead. Then, I trained for the Ragnar Relay again and as the Red Rock Relay had done, it wiped out all motivation to keep running after that point. I will not be doing another one of those races again any time soon. Any race that makes you feel like you never want to run again, is not a good idea for me until I get to a much higher fitness level than I was last year at racetime.

So the result? Over the past 15-16 months, I've just not been very careful. I've not had any big weight gain jumps, but you know, gaining 1-1.5 lbs a month for a long period of time, you end up 25 lbs heavier than you want to be! All along the way, I would think to myself, "Self, just lose it again... you know what to do! It's only 8 lbs." But then, 8 lbs turned to 12-15 lbs, and then 15-18 lbs, and somehow, the motivation to really restrict my diet and get it done wasn't there. When I initially lost the weight, I was dealing with the emotional issue of newfound infertility. The wound was new and the exercise and healthy focus was healing for me. Thankfully, those emotions have settled over the last 3 years. Unfortunately, I've come to realize that my emotions (especially negative emotions) are a very powerful tool in my life! I clean very efficiently when I'm upset!

So now that I'm not obsessing over having another child, what am I gonna do to get motivated again?! I'm definitely not going to pray for another trial in my life just so I can get back down to a size 8! And then I heard about stickk.com from a colleague/friend of mine. What a concept! This friend of mine has recently lost over 30 lbs and when I asked what he had changed this time, he mentioned the role stickk.com had played for him.

Basically, stickk is a goal setting website based on some research of some Ivy League professor dude who knows something about the economics of achieving goals. When someone sets a goal, has a support system and then puts something at stake, they are more likely to achieve their goal. Makes sense, right? My friend made a commitment to lose 1 lb a week for 10 weeks and every week he failed, the website would charge his credit card $10 and at the end of the commitment, they would send it to the Jason Chaffetz for Congress campaign... which made me laugh because I really like Jason Chaffetz, a lot! But my friend doesn't!

Then I realized that there IS something that I have a lot of negative emotions about! POLITICS!!! and more specifically... BARACK OBAMA!!!! I really can't stand the guy one little bit and think he's a terrible leader for our country. I know I'm not alone in this in my primary circle of friends (but that doesn't mean I exclude those sympathetic to Obama's policies!). I thought to myself, "Self, the last thing you want to do right now is be a fatty that contributes to the 2012 Obama campaign." So, I decided to do it and commit!

On Thursday of this week, I made the commitment to also lose 1 lb a week for the next 10 weeks. If on Thursday I have not lost a pound, they will charge my credit card $10. At the end of the 10 weeks, they'll send that money to my colleague/friend (who loves Obama), who will then make a contribution to Obama's campaign. Doesn't the thought just make you sick!? It does me! I've set Paul up to be my referee, so he's going to keep me honest.

When I posted something about this on facebook, a couple of my democrat-leaning friends commented about disapproving of my methods and wanting to sabotage my efforts. Apparently this is offensive to them. If this offends you, please know that this is less about Obama, and more about me losing weight! It's about motivation. And so far, it's working! I've actually tracked my points over the last 3 days and hit the gym for a 60 minute workout on the treadmill, even though I was freaking tired the other night.

So, I guess, this little blog of mine might have a small little purpose in my life again. Though I won't promise... I may make an effort to update on my progress. I fully intend to NOT send ANY money to Obama! Any sabotage is unwelcome (send money to Obama yourself if you love him so much!) and all support is appreciated!!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Halloween results

Who sucks at blogging? I suck at blogging.

Halloween was so fun this year and I have to credit it to the costume. A good corset makes you look uh-MAZE-ing!! I couldn't get enough of my manipulated hourglass shape! I wore the dress to school on the Thursday before Halloween, and let me tell ya, that was the longest 38 minute carride I've ever had! I made sure to untie it for the drive home that afternoon! I wore it again on Friday night for our annual Halloween party, and then again at the ward trunk-er-treat on Saturday night. Here are a couple pictures from the friday party that I can post right now. I still need to get the others from Melanie and Amy.

The Hostesses! Diana, Amy, Melanie

Have you ever seen a picture of yourself and thought, "I've never seen my face look like this before."? I think my face looks SO WEIRD in this first picture! Ah well, at least the rest of me looked cool! Anyway...

My hottie and me!

I thought Paul looked so awesome in his Elizabethian get-up! He played it up well in this photo of us. I just wish he would have broken out in song with, "I've been dreaming of a true loves kiss..."! His outfit is perfect for a Prince Edward!

I finally got around to returning the costumes to Michelle the other day and for the last week or so, I've kept checking her etsy shop and stalking her blog. She's having a sale on a bunch of corsets right now and just announced on her blog another sale she's having on Black Friday. And ya know what? I totally want to get one! I have NO logical reason to get an outfit like these, but I WANT one!! LOL! You'd want one too if you tried one on! I don't know... maybe someday.

Hopefully I can get my hands on the other pictures of my boys and the rest of the family from Halloween. I've got some digi-scrappin to do!