Friday, December 26, 2008

Our Merry Christmas

We had an amazing Christmas this year! I was looking forward to it so much, and I wasn't disappointed. We spent Christmas eve at the lodge with all of Paul's family. We all got our kids bundled up and got things set up for some fun sledding behind the "Prowler." Charlie did not so much enjoy the actual sledding, but did enjoy riding along in the passenger seat as the other cousins were pulled behind. I felt bad that we didn't bundle him up quite enough, but he stuck it out for quite a while! He was definitely ready to come inside. All the kids were. The dad's managed to stay out longer racing along a course they plowed out and timing each other. I'm proud to announce that Paul was the fastest driver!... though, HIS dad is confident that he would have won had he been participating.

We ate a yummy dinner of hors d'evours (did I spell that right?) which was great, though I never bothered to look up how many points shrimp and cocktail sauce would be! After cleaning up a bit, each family put together their own gingerbread house out of those awesome kits you can buy. The cake decorating class I took as a freshman in high school really came in handy! My boys were all about doing exactly what was on the box. Ours wasn't the most creative, but the icing on it looked better than some of the others!

We put together a nativity with the grandkids acting out the parts. Our family is structured beautifully with a perfect Mary, Joseph (Andy), three 5 year old wisemen (Canon is one of these), two little girl angels, Charlie (whom I didn't worry about trying to get him involved - someday he'll make a great shepherd boy) and a bunch of (four) little babies that we could take our pick from for the baby Jesus. After this, Grandma and Grandpa gave out their presents to the grandkids. We headed home at about 10:00 and had the kids open their Christmas jammies. Paul and I got new pairs of scrub bottoms as well. Once we got the kids in bed, we proceded to discuss (for about an HOUR) just how we were going to do all of the Santa stuff.

Paul and I come from complete opposite ends of the spectrum where Santa is concerned. In my house growing up, Santa filled our stockings and hid them around the house, leaving clues as to where to find them. Finding the stockings was my favorite part of Christmas, even if he usually only brought crayons, mittens, socks, and small stuff. My parents really downplayed Santa, and that was fine with me. Paul's Santa brought everything FUN! The most expensive gift and anything actually entertaining was always on display in your corner of the room. The gifts they opened from his parents were things like sweaters and clothes, etc. So we had some compromising to do, and though we didn't fight about it, we definitely didn't agree. It provided a pretty annoying buzz kill for the night. We did end up displaying the bigger gifts they asked Santa for on the couch, and then hid the stockings, leaving at least the coloring books in there!

On Christmas morning, I made our traditional Christmas breakfast casserole that needs to cook for 1.5 hours. I was surprised the boys slept in and we ended up waking up the boys at 8:00. I was excited to get the morning started. After saying a prayer together, we let them find their toys on the couch. The magic of Christmas is not lost on children, and it's so fun. Then we followed them around with the camcorder as they looked for the stockings. We then opened our gifts and realized just how spoiled we all were this year. We bought Andy and Canon a DS, and they were both so excited about it. We laid down some very stringent rules about their use and where/when they'll be allowed to play with them. We're planning on using them as parenting tools... Can you say "leverage"? I, too, was spoiled because Paul went one gift too many overboard in buying me a new "big girl phone." I am now the proud owner of a used Blackberry Pearl and it's a nice little thing! I got some new jewelry, an MP3 player, and was given the green light to get some stampin stuff the previous week. I also got some workout equipment (yoga mat and a body ball) to assist in some at-home workouts I've been doing. Paul also got a little spoiled when he got a GPS watch, new tires for his tri-bike, and some biking accessories. To say the least, we all found it to be a blessed and lucky Christmas morning!

We played with our stuff for a little while and finally got showered and ready to head back over to Paul's parents house to join the rest of the family for a few more gift exchanges and Christmas dinner. Instead of drawing names this year, the siblings decided to exchange FHE ideas. Melanie and I gave Rhyll a quick meals cookbook and some frozen meals for her to try on her busy evenings. I also enjoyed giving all the sisters and neices a headband that I sewed over Thanksgiving break. It truly is more fun to GIVE gifts than it is to receive them!

We played some games throughout the afternoon and evening and ended the night later than we should have. It was a fantastic day and one I'll remember a long time. I'm so grateful for the Spirit of Christmas that we (or at least I) felt this year. How blessed we all are for the gift of the Savior and for the chance to celebrate His birth each year. I hope you all had a great Christmas with your families as well!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Just call me Liz!

Today in sacrament meeting, the ward choir got to sing 4 songs that I picked. For those that are not aware of this, I am my ward's choir director. When I was initially issued this call of service, I dreaded that I would be stuck in this calling forever... our ward has a tendency to do that. But after today, I can see why my mother has enjoyed a lifetime of directing Christmas programs for church.

The songs we sang included: Sally Deford's, "And His Name Shall Be Called Wonderful"; a sweet melody line and my group sounded great. "If this Child were Born Today"; again, another nice melody with parts of "The First Noel" and "Away in a Manger" thrown on top of it here and there. A hymplicity version of "Oh, Come all Ye Faithful"; meh, not my favorite, but it was good to toss it in to the mix. And lastly, Craig Petrie's arrangement of "Silent Night." This was by far my favorite and it sounded better today than it ever has.

Our sacrament meeting program was great. The bishop had asked two young mothers in our ward to speak and they both did an excellent job. Jocelyn's talk kept making me cry, which was just killing me! Then, before we sang "Silent Night," the bishop stood up to make some remarks about charity and how it is the pure love of Christ. He mentioned the part of "Silent Night" where it says, "son of God, love's pure light," and how blessed we are to have His love. Well, we got up to sing the song and everything was going along PERFECTLY!! Then we got to the best part... the last verse where we sing "son of God, love's pure light" and I totally lost it. The choir sounded so beautiful, the Spirit was so strong, the tears started flowing and I couldn't even sing with them (I did keep my arms moving, though!). Unfortunately, I have a couple criers in the choir and I felt AWFUL for making it harder for them to keep it together! Embarassingly, my mascara was everywhere... oh well!

The reason I labelled this post, "Just call me Liz" is because my mom has done this so many times! I have watched my mom lead the choir most of my life and as I direct MY choir, I channel her a lot (as well as all my other past choir directors, but mostly her). I know I hold my hands the same way, move my arms the same and cut them off the same as she does. This was the first time, though, that I started crying hard enough to barely finish the song! Thanks, Mom, for teaching me so much about music, but no thanks for passing down the "crying boob" gene!

I wanted to say, though, that I'm so grateful for this chance to lead the choir. Today was so fulfilling for me. I've had TONS more support from the ward members this fall/winter and I love being able to work with talented singers. I know there are so many more out there in the ward, and I'd beg and plead if it would help to get them to come sing with me, but I understand that we are all really busy. It's not easy adding one more appointment/responsibility (especially on Sunday) when we all have so much going on, but I couldn't be more grateful to those who come despite all this. I'm grateful to have an amazing accompanist who can play everything I throw at him with ZERO notice. Jay Butterfield is a member of our bishopric and it is such a blessing to me that he offers us his talent at the piano. He is one of the best examples of selfless service that I know. I'm also grateful that Paul often will pick up the slack on performance days when it should be my turn to teach the sunday school lesson to our primary class. I intended to teach today without even looking at the lesson manual first (he's taught the last two lessons), but he sat down with the book and the class and took care of it. He also let me take a super long nap after church today because I wasn't feeling well. I sure love my sweetie! He amazes me, too!

So, I hope you all had a great Christmasy Sabbath day, like I did. So far, this Christmas has probably been my very most favorite!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Ugh! Cars, women and snow don't mix well!

I'm so ready for the snow to stop falling already... oh, and for the wind to stop blowing as well. I REALLY HATE driving in snow. Here's a little story as to why.

Last night I wanted to get to my Weight Watchers meeting early because last week it was packed. We have gotten a LOT of snow recently, so the already precarious parking situation at the Presbyterian church where the meetings are held was worse than usual since you couldn't tell where the lines were. At this church, the parking stalls along the road (there is no parking lot) are diagonal. This guy had parked his sedan a little too straight, not leaving enough room between him and the other guy for someone to park, so I kept going to park on the other side of him. I honestly don't know how it happened, but as I pulled in the next spot, I somehow clipped his back bumper with SOME part of my van... though I still can't tell where. In my defense, him being parked badly was part of the problem, but I obviously pulled in too close and didn't judge well how long his car was. I think I scratched the paint more than dented it, but either way, I felt terrible! This guy was PISSED and really rude to me, even as I became more and more vehemently apologetic. It was an AWFUL moment for me, full of adrenaline and some unshed tears. I gave him all my insurance information once we got inside the meeting and he cooled down a bit. By the time the meeting was over, he was much more civil and even admitted that it probably didn't do much damage.

When my insurance agent called me this morning, he reported that the guy estimated very minimal damage. Since it won't likely be a very costly repair (at worst, some paint touch-up), we'll be able to take care of it privately. I'm still just so frustrated that it happened in the first place, and very confused that I can't even tell from my own car how/where it happened! Oh well. I'm just so grateful that it wasn't worse and even more grateful that I have a husband that is an excellent driver in the snow! I will avoid driving for a little while! Glad I'm done with work for a couple weeks!

At least going to the meeting wasn't a total waste. I lost 1.4 pounds. I was shooting for an even 2 pounds so I could reach the 25 lb loss mark, but that will give me something to shoot for in a few weeks after the holidays are over. I really don't want to show a GAIN this time like I did after Thanksgiving. So, for now, I've lost 24.4 pounds! Now, I just need to get through a handful of delicious parties.... (sigh!).

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A Breakthrough!

Charlie can now say "Canon"!!!!
For a very long time, Charlie has called BOTH his brothers, "Andy." I'll give it to him, "andy" is easier to say, but Canon's name is not Andy. I'd even sit down with him and a picture of each brother and ask, "where's Andy?" He would point to Andy and say, "Andy." Then I would ask, "where's Canon?" and he'd point to Canon and say, "andy." I'm sure he just decided that "andy" was the word for brother. But today, he was walking down our stairs to give something to Canon and he just kept saying it over and over and over... "canon, canon, canon!"
Maybe now, he'll learn to say "yes" when he means yes, instead of "no" for when he means yes AND no.

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Spirit of Christmas Strikes AGAIN!

This Christmas season has been incredible so far. We've been very lucky to be able to go to two different "major production"-type Christmas programs already and both times they have been absolutely AMAZING! Early in December, Paul and I went to Glenn Beck's show, "The Christmas Sweater" when it came here to Salt Lake City. It was a two-man show (if you don't count the orchestra on stage) packed with emotion. I listen to Glenn's radio program a lot, went to his Christmas show last year, have read his book "an inconvenient book," and every month I read his Fusion magazine. So, I feel like I know a little of Glenn's story. This program, and the book it was based on, are basically his story but told in a fictional way. He did an excellent job taking a life changing moment in his life and turning it into a story that others can connect and relate to. It's the story of redemption and how the Lord is who will help you travel through life's storm(s). It's a story reminding us all that we are worth the journey to the other side of those storms. It was very powerful in a nontraditional way. After the show, I was happy to find and impressed to see this website called Face Your Storm to read some of the stories others have shared of the storms they've faced. If you've got a minute, it's worth a little of your time.

I wanted to add something here... I'm grateful for the help I've also received from the Lord as I've passed through a few little storms in my life. Compared to many, it may seem like I haven't passed through any significant storms, but we all have, and all do, and all will pass through storms. I know the Lord is not done with me yet, and that undoubtedly, there will be storms yet to come that would make me shake and tremble if I were to know them in advance. I admit to being somewhat fearful of this fact of life, however, I truly BELIEVE. I believe in Christ. I also trust Him. I've seen His hand perform many miracles in my own life and in the lives of many I know. When those storms come, He'll help me be ready. What peace that brings me.

Moving on... The next weekend, we luckily got the opportunity to go to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's Christmas concert. It's cliche to say it, but it was very powerful. I've always been impressed by incredible talent, and this concert was PACKED full of it. The special guest singer they brought in was broadway star, Brian Stokes Mitchell. I had never heard of him, but now I won't forget him. This man had such an incredibly versatile voice, and he had arranged some of the songs they performed that night. The people behind putting this show together should feel an immense feeling of satisfaction... they did an incredible job. The power behind the orchestra and the choir as they sang some of my favorite songs about the birth of Christ brought many tears. What can I say, I'm just a big fan of Jesus! I'm so excited about this upcoming Christmas.
Another cool thing happened while attending the MoTab concert... I had one of those moments when you realize that you truly have a dream. A dream that with all your heart, you hope it will be fulfilled someday. I may or may not have the talent required to fulfill it, but I truly hope that SOMEDAY I get the chance to sing in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. I don't know that we'll live in Utah the rest of our lives, and right now would not be the appropriate season of life to pursue it, but I'm going to throw it out there to the Lord and the "universe" that this is something I really want. I've sung in several great choirs, but they have all been small scale. I truly have a love of choral music, and listening to the choir perform live just stirred up a desire to join my voice with theirs. It's one thing to sing in a church choir, another thing to direct a choir, but there is nothing like immersing yourself in beautiful music with hundreds of other voices and presenting something so powerful to those willing to listen. I've had a few moments like this in my life, and would love the chance for more. There it is! I hope the Lord and the universe are reading my blog! While I'm talking dreams... what are some of yours?
Paul had one of those "I have a dream" moments on Saturday watching the end of the Ironman race in Kona on TV. He just said, "someday," and I knew how he felt. I'll do what I can to support him in accomplishing it, though I dread the idea of how many hours upon hours of training that will take away from our family! YIKES! I don't know, singing with the choir sounds a WHOLE lot more fun than killing your body for 10+ hours! Right?!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Oh, what a "filling"

As mentioned in my last post, I had the lovely opportunity to visit the dentist this past Monday. I have shamefully admitted to a couple friends how long it's been since I last visited the dentist, but I still won't admit it here on the blog. Anyway, the dentist and his assistant were impressed that it wasn't worse and even commented that I must have been standing in the right line in heaven when it came to picking "dental genes." Apparently, I have very "cleanable surfaces" and strong teeth. I'm also willing to give some credit to my Sonicare toothbrush! Unfortunately, there was a bit of a shadow on one of my molars (that already had a filling) and I needed to get it redrilled and refilled.
So I had the work done on Wednesday morning, and I had forgotten that it takes a LONG time for nerve blocking medicine (such as novacaine and whatever epidurals are made of!) to kick in full force for me. I waited and waited for the first injection to work and since my tongue was numb, he got started until I was wincing at every touch of the drill. So he gave me more and I waited and waited some more. Even though my lip wasn't numb yet, I told him to go ahead and do it. I felt WAY more of the drilling than I wanted to and once he was done and I was leaving the office, my tongue, gums and lips were finally COMPLETELY numb... and stayed that way for the next 4 hours. Nice. Sidenote, this was the reason I was willing to try delivering Charlie natural, without epidural. I hated being numb for hours on end after the baby was born. I ended up getting one, unfortunately, due to the pitocin situation, but oh well.

Now I have a new filling that isn't quite low enough and it feels different than the others I have. It feels like I always have food in that tooth. Yuck. But I AM counting my blessings that my situation wasn't as bad as it could have been. Thanks, Mom and Dad, for blessing me with good teeth! I really appreciated it this week!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Just an update... nothing exciting.

I've never done just a boring blog like this one is about to be, but I just feel like documenting this week because it seemed so busy and just flew by.

Monday- spent the day driving home from Colorado. Despite some bad weather at the beginning of the trip, we made it in some decent time. Got back in time for Paul to take Andy and Canon to a little of a Flash basketball game. I stayed home and put Charlie to bed!

Tuesday- went to work at Channing Hall. Got home and set up the Christmas tree we inherited from my sister. This sucker is huge (not too tall, but really fat & round)... no wonder she got rid of it! She gave me some ornaments to fill it up, but I'm not a big fan of blue Christmas decorations, so it stood lit, but otherwise naked for a couple days.

Wednesday - struggled with the decision to spend my morning working out or cleaning the house. Ended up going to the gym. Picked up carpool, dropped off the kids and went to work at Merit Academy for a couple hours to see what kind of caseload I've got there. Thankfully, it's small to start with! Let's hope it stays that way. Took the kids up to Orem for a playdate while I ran some errands to pick up an audiometer I borrow from an old classmate and to Costco. Found Charlie's main Christmas gift and some smaller things. I'm ALMOST done! Ended the night by stopping by the ward enrichment night bake-off, but I didn't eat anything. I was too nervous about Thursday's weigh-in.

Thursday - went to work at CS Lewis. Afterwards, went straight to Parent/Teacher conferences and was VERY happy with the results. Andy has moved up 2 groups in spelling and was doing just what he needed to in math and reading. He's now perfectly average!!!! YAY! Canon is also starting to calm down a bit lately and is able to focus and learn more this way! Phew! Last conferences weren't this positive. Later, went to my weight watchers meeting and had gained 2.2 lbs. grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. So frustrating, but it could have been worse, I guess. Finished off the night with putting our old ornaments on the tree. I'm in some serious need of revamping my ornament collection.

Friday - went to work at Channing Hall again, then straight to Provo Canyon to see three of my students there. Got home at 4:30 and got the house more presentable for our primary students to come over. We took three of them (only half could make it) over to my in-laws for pizza and a movie. We watched Kung Fu Panda with them and kept it low key. We needed to reward our 11 year-old group for fully participating in the Primary program in November - they're at that age where they're just too cool for school! We really like our current class and will miss them in a few weeks when they (and we) move on to the next group.

Saturday - went swimming with Paul and ran a mile on the treadmill in the morning. Took the kids with me to Melanie's (SIL) so we could discuss and plan out our Christmas gift for Paul's mom and dad. Hung out at home (which means cleaning) until about 5:00 when our babysitter came over. We got tickets to go to Glenn Beck's Christmas show, "the Christmas sweater," and made a nice date out of it. Got chinese food for dinner and drove up to SLC for the show. I'll give a review of the show in another post. It was AMAZING. You should read the book! What a great Christmas message.

Sunday - slept in AS LONG AS POSSIBLE. Went to church, taught the lesson, yada, yada... Held choir practice (which Emily didn't come to AGAIN!!!!! You're so gonna get it!) and then headed over for my birthday dinner with Paul's family. Both Melanie and I (the two girl-in-laws in the family) have December birthdays. Last year, with the hustle and bustle of the season, we didn't get a birthday dinner. You may be saying, "what's the big deal with that?" Well, in the Croshaw family, for your birthday dinner, we go around the table and everyone says something nice about you. Lately, we've been picking one word that describes that person the best for you. So, Melanie and I have had to, I mean gotten to say nice things about everyone else twice without hearing something nice in return. Even though this family is incredibly inclusive, it's natural to feel like an outsider with your in-law's sometimes. I really missed not getting my dose of positive reinforcement last year. So today, it was great to hear some good feedback from these family members that I love and get to spend lots of time with. Nobody even visibly struggled to come up with something for me... well, maybe Preston squirmed a little coming up with "enlightening", but I don't blame him! I always tease that they'll have to say something like, "hygenic" or "punctual" because they can't think of anything positive to say! But, as I already said, it was nice and everyone was wonderful.

So, there's my week. It was a little over-packed and I realize that I didn't get to spend as much time with my boys as I would have liked. At least this upcoming week, I'll get to follow more of my "normal" schedule with some more time off. I really struggle on the weeks I need to work every day. Tomorrow I get to go to the dentist! I won't admit how long it's been, because it's positively shameful. Wish me luck! I'm sure I'll have something to blog about after I get through it.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Why do I do this?

Today, I was supposed to have spent all day in the car. Unfortunately, a biggin storm blew in last night and in order for us to get home, we would have needed chains to get through the mountains. We ended up staying here another day and tomorrow, I get to spend the whole day in the car! CAN'T WAIT!!! So, with extra time on my hands, and nowhere to go (it is Sunday with snow everywhere afterall), I worked on a project... a project that involved sewing... lots of sewing... lots of steps... lots of pins, ironing, ribbon, etc... and this project took me ALL DAY!

The project itself did not need to be so time consuming, but I'm a bit of a freak and instead of making "some", I made 35. That's right, THIRTY-FIVE. It would have been more, but I cut a TON of them out wrong. I had gone to the store last night and bought a few different patterns of material. This project doesn't require lots of material, and I didn't want to waste any of it, so I just kept cutting them out! I can't believe I made that many... I don't even have this many friends! Actually, I do plan on keeping 5 of them for myself, considering I invested an entire 24 hour time period to making them! All I can figure is that when I get in "craft mode," I'm always mass producing things. Card exchange and stamp club require me to make 10 of every card I design/copy. I send out over 80 Christmas cards each year. Making little gifts for teachers requires at least 4. In the least, it's understandable that I would make a bunch, but I definitely went overboard!

So, why haven't I told you what I made? Because I made 35 of them and will need to be giving them to people. I honestly don't know how many people actually read this silly little blog (I'm sure not many), but I wouldn't want to spoil any potential surprises since I'll be using as many of them as possible as Christmas presents.

Ah well, at least they're done (well almost!). I could have spent the whole day reading or watching football like Paul did, so I don't consider it time wasted. I do feel satisfied that I spent the day doing something creative and I'm now quite comfortable with operating a sewing machine!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!

We're here in Colorado for Thanksgiving and I'm so glad! I realized yesterday that it has been FOUR years since I've been home for Thanksgiving dinner. I'm not going to disrespect the delicious turkey dinners I've had at the Croshaw's the last 3 years, but there's nothing like the food you grew up with. My dad pretty much makes the entire meal (with TONS of support, of course) and he's an excellent cook. The food I'm most looking forward to, even if it may only be a couple bites, is the yams, the stuffing, and the pumpkin pie. As Charlie would say, "mmmm, mummy!"

I went running yesterday morning with Paul and again this morning to help me feel better about the fact that I'll be going WAY over my point allotment today! I'm not going to worry about LOSING any weight at next weeks weigh-in, but I really don't want to have to RE-LOSE any weight that I've already lost. I'm up to 22 lbs now and want to keep it that way.

So, considering this is a Thanksgiving day post, it would be logical for me to list some of the things that I'm thankful for, but I probably do that too much on this blog anyway. I'll just say, I'm grateful to know in advance that 1 piece of pumpkin pie is 9 points. Knowledge is power!

I hope you all have a fantastic holiday with your families!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Pictures are here!

I love picture day at school! At my kid's charter school, each family is requested to donate at least 40 hours of volunteer hours and I make it a point to get some volunteering done on picture day! I lucked into this 3 "picture days" ago (Spring 07), and though it's a pain, it's worth it because, you see, those who volunteer get their pictures for FREE! This year, a package offered the option to get a CD with the digital files, so I got them and have been playing with the pictures and some free digital scrapbooking stuff I've downloaded. Take a look:

Here's Andy's cute picture. I love that he's smiling big enough to see his missing front teeth! I also love his bright eyes and how happy he looks. What a sweetie!I love Canon's picture too, but I wish I would have been standing nearby when they took it so we could have tried another one with a bigger smile. He's also missing his two front teeth! Ah well, I'm sure they'll still be missing next year, too. But I love this picture because it is just SO Canon. My funny, little, squinty-eyed, mischief-maker!Charlie's picture here just makes me burst with joy inside! He was NOT going to smile at this photographer, but she was doing her thing, trying to get him to laugh, trying to get me to laugh, etc., and this awesome little grin is what she captured! She asked if this is his normal smile and I said, "no, but I love it!" Ornery toddler pictures are the best!

So, here are my cute boys on display. I've been having lots of fun with the digi-scrapping and think I'll send these pages off to Walgreens today to be printed. I'm dying to see if they come out clear and sharp. I also wanted to say, since we got the package with the CD, we also got a TON of pictures (it was the biggest package of course). So if any one wants us to send you pictures of our little boys, just let me know (I'm assuming only family members may take me up on this!)... I can throw them in with your Christmas card!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I'm award winning!

So far, I haven't ventured much into the blogging world of tags and awards, but today my good friend Mindy, an awesome old roommate of mine from my Jr. year at USU, gave me this award! Probably because I tagged her once and she wasn't too happy about it!

Like any award or tag... there are rules involved. Here they are:

1 . Name 5 things you love,
2. Pass the award on to 5 blogs you love, and
3. Link back to the giver's blog and tell how fabulous they are.
It's not hard to find 5 things I love... heck I have a pretty extensive "happy list" full of things I love. The hard thing would be picking just 5. But instead of stewing over narrowing it down, I'm just going to hurry up and throw some things down here!

1. Though I've loved my roommates from the past, I especially LOVE my current roommates!

2. I LOVE Jesus Christ and His Gospel. I'm very blessed to have even a small understanding of Him.

3. Of all my hobbies, I LOVE stamping and paper crafting the most. I just love pretty papers and ribbons and all the fun accessories that go with it!

4. Showtunes Saturday Night - Whenever Paul and I drive somewhere on Saturday nights, we always tune in to the showtunes program. I LOVE musical theater and lots of different kinds of music. I also love having a hubby that enjoys it too!

5. Reading good books. I hated reading as a kid and never thought I would LOVE reading the way I love it now! I spent tons of time reading over the summer, and now that our schedule is super busy with school and work, it's taken a back seat and I'm missing it bigtime!

Five blogs I love (and again, hard to narrow it down, but a girls gotta do....) belong to 1. Emily - my bestest buddy right now. She and I began running together this last spring and I love spending lots of time with her. Her positive outlook on life, her impecable taste, and her loving heart lift me up. So, even though I see her often, I also love reading her blog.

2. Rachelle - I met her at the Stampin' Up! convention this summer. We spent two days together doing something we both love, and it's like we've been friends for years! I love reading her blog because she is someone who goes ALL OUT in life. You should check out the descriptions of the birthday parties she throws for her 6 BOYS! Amazing! Plus, she's an awesome chick with lots of great thoughts!

3. Rachel - my neighbor and friend. Rachel is very funny with a dry sense of humor that I love. She lives about 100 yards from me (if that) but I see her only weekly at church these days. You know how it works, she's busy, I'm busy... but I love it when she updates her blog because I usually laugh out loud when she does. Her toddler says some very profound things sometimes!

4. Denise - a friend of mine from back home, way back in the day! I usually giggle even thinking about Denise because she is just a funny gal! If you know Denise, you love her! I love reading about her mommy adventures and thinking of how fun she must be as a wife and mom! Hers is another blog I laugh out loud at just about every time she posts.

5. Alisha - my cute and tall little sister. I'm using this award to get her to actually post something on her blog. She must think she doesn't have much to blog about, so I'm helping her out, right!? I think she should post something about her new house because even if I'll get to see it soon, I hate surprises!

And now I get to tell you why I think Mindy is so awesome. Mindy was a very loving roommate of mine. We had a great group of roommies that year at Bridgerland and she's the one I've stayed in touch with the most. It helps that she was also roommates with my above mentioned lil sister after her mission to the Ukraine. I love that Mindy loves to read (she was an english major) and I check out her goodreads list for suggestions. She has great taste! She also has a cutie pie little girl and is expecting her second daughter... lucky! Overall, she's a super great gal and I love her guts!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Learning something new today!

I was hanging out with my friend, Emily, today and was showing her ways to play with the photo editing software, Photoscape. We got busy playing with it and managed to put together a digitally scrapbooked page of her daughter! So, I came home and decided to do the same page with one of my own pictures (unfortunately, I didn't have the plethora of amazing portrait options that Emily had!), but this is what I put together for myself!
It's kind of hard to read the title... I may have to find some different lettering. This was so fun, though! So I did another one for Charlie's birthday (the one I neglected to blog about... oops!).

Aren't these fun?! Okay, the second page is a little boring, but I just needed to add more photos to the layout! For a long time, I poo-pooed digital scrapbooking. Seriously, someone who has spent the amount of money I've spent on stamps and paper and all the stuff necessary to put together actual scrapbook pages doesn't need to venture into another craft arena. But there is lots of free stuff out there and for now, I can just dabble a bit and use these files for my blog.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Fun book to read

I got a chance to just sit back and read this weekend and it was a GREAT book! I've been needing something that I could just fly through because, for some reason, Gone With the Wind took me over 2 months to read!! Don't get me wrong, I loved GWTW, but dang... it took me forever. So, I picked up "Peter and the Starcatchers" at my school library on Friday, started reading it while Paul was watching all his sports games and I finished it on Sunday afternoon. What a clever book... and yes, that is Dave Barry's name at the top. It's basically the story of how a boy named Peter came to meet a certain pirate and how they end up on an island! It was fun how they explained the power behind his flying, why there are mermaids on the island and the reason why he'll never grow up. I highly recommend this book... so much so that I borrowed the second book today and hope to have it read by Friday when I get back to that school! If you so choose to take my advice, Enjoy!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Two goals met!

I was pretty excited for several events this week. As I mentioned on my Halloween post, I was getting really close to meeting my first weight loss goal of losing 10% of my starting weight. This Thursday at weigh-in, despite the candy cheating here and there, I finally met that goal! Yea for me! They gave me a key chain and had everyone clap for me, which isn't a big deal compared to the reward of actually losing the weight, but still nice of them!
I was actually very relieved to reach it because 8 years ago when I went on the Weight Watchers plan to lose some of my "first year of marriage"/"love makes you fat" poundage, I got within one pound of my 10% goal before I got pregnant with Andy. I had to resign from WW at that point having never reached my goal. The ironic thing is, now that I've lost this weight, I'm at the weight I was when I started WW 8 years ago... ooh, that's kind of depressing.
So I've set a new goal that I'm hoping to reach by Christmas. Currently, all my pants are looking pretty baggy, but I don't want to buy just the next size down... I want to skip it all together. So, my goal is to be that next size by Christmas and my birthday so I can go on a little shopping spree and get some clothes that actually fit. Here's a squinty picture of Charlie and I. I know it's lame, but I had Paul take a picture of me to sort of "document" where I was at when reaching my first weight loss goal.
The second fun event from this week occurred last night. Several weeks ago after setting up a Facebook account and reconnecting with some old friends from high school, I got a real itch to perform something again. A big part of my identity in high school (to myself anyway) was my singing. I did a lot of performing in college, but since then, it's been limited to mostly group songs or duets for church stuff and family talent shows. Well, last Monday, my mother-in-law called to ask if I'd sing a duet with Tara for a "night on broadway" event they were having with their ward at the lodge last night. She also asked if I would be willing to do another number, which I happily agreed to. Being the theater-loving geek that I am, the hardest part was picking something! So, last night, I got to sing "Someone Else's Story" from Chess, and the small Glinda part to "Defying Gravity" from Wicked. Though it was still small scale, and it was for a church function, in the same set up as our family talent shows, I had a lot of fun doing it. It's nice to still be able to enjoy the musical part of me.

If, you read this post previously, I need to retract something. The bullet I thought I dodged ended up finding me. It turns out that I WILL be helping the new charter high school in Springville, Merit Academy, with some of their speech and language testing needs this month. After this month is over and the December 1st headcount is past, I'll be taking a "try-it-out and see" approach to determine if I have enough room in my schedule to handle another caseload. So far, there is not a very big caseload at Merit, so I'm hoping the caseload can be managed in half a day a week. But lately, caseloads seem to have a funny way of growing on me! So, we'll see! My favorite thing about working with this school is that it is local, just 5 minutes from my home. I'm hoping this will be a positive experience for all involved! Plus, having a little extra money coming in right before Christmas will be nice, especially since we're buying my brother-in-law's car this month!

So, it's been a great and crazy week so far.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Song in my head

So, after seeing the results of today's election I have a song in my head. It goes something like this.

"I'd a writ you a letter, but I couldn't spell, "ppbbbbttththhht" and that's all I gotta say... that's all I gotta say."

That's how I feel about this election. I felt this way even before it started. I felt like all I had to choose from was the "evil of two lessers" at the polling location today... and that's a crappy way to feel.

Some Halloween highlights!

We had a very fun Halloween weekend last week. It started off with our 3rd annual Croshaw Halloween Bash on Thursday night! My sister-in-law, Amy, is an extremely talented party thrower, with a small obsession for Halloween decor! She's pretty amazing at her energy and zeal for the occasion, especially considering the fact that she had a baby one week before the party! Thankfully, we did a lot of the planning weeks before hand, and thankfully, Melanie (another awesome sister-in-law) was willing to do all the baking! I'm afraid I didn't pitch in as much as they did, but I did wrap every one of those li'l smokies in a blanket by myself (Tara said I could take ALL the credit!), and as usual, I picked up the dishwashing duty at the end! I have some pictures of the event, but I need Melanie to email them to me first! I was so glad all the friends we invited were able to come! I'll post pictures of them when I get them.

The next day was Halloween, of course! The boys had parties at school and then we had our trunk-or-treat with the ward that night. This is my little group of boys in costume.
Canon is Bumblebee from Transformers. Charlie is an elephant (the same way Andy and Canon were elephants before they began to care!). Andy is Batman. Want to hear a story about these costumes? Now, I told the boys I would buy them a video game if they would just choose to wear one of the 6 costumes we have sitting in their closet for Halloween this year. But, once we were at Target, of course they didn't care about a video game and INSISTED that they HAD to get new costumes! A week after buying them, Canon changed his mind and said he'd rather have the video game. Too bad! Andy woke up on Halloween and told me he wanted to wear his Ninja Turtle costume to school, since he was Batman the day before. Too bad! Canon decided he wanted to wear his Black Spiderman costume trick-or-treating. Too bad! Putting my foot down, I was a mean mom and told them that they had made their choice to be Bumblebee and Batman, so stop whining about it!!! My kids have a tough life.
Since Halloween, I've been having a ROUGH time with all this CANDY in the house! Last year, I told the boys to just EAT IT and get it over with. It was a rough couple of days, but we got through it! Paul wanted to avoid that insane, hyper, boys-bouncing-off-the-walls situation this year, so here we are almost a week later and I'm still battling the temptation. Most of the chocolate is gone at this point (hmmm, wonder where it snuck off to??!!), so it's getting a little easier, but I'm dreading weigh in this week. And I am SOOOO close to hitting my first goal! Dang diet!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

This brought me to tears!

Warning: this is a little graphic... but I couldn't resist.
This picture (and a bunch more) was attached to an email sent to Paul titled: Why boys need parents. Here is the text of the email... sad to think of how some people figured this stuff out!

Why boys need parents....And you also find out interesting things when you have sons, like...
1.) A king size waterbed holds enough water to fill a 2000 sq. ft. house 4 inches deep.
2.) If you spray hair spray on dust bunnies and run over them with roller blades, they can ignite.
3.) A 3-year old Boy's voice is louder than 200 adults in a crowded restaurant.
4.) If you hook a dog leash over a ceiling fan, the motor is not strong enough to rotate a 42 pound Boy wearing Batman underwear and a Superman cape. It is strong enough, however, if tied to a paint can, to spread paint on all four walls of a 20 x 20 ft. room.
5.) You should not throw baseballs up when the ceiling fan is on. When using a ceiling fan as a bat, you have to throw the ball up a few times before you get a hit. A ceiling fan can hit a baseball a long way.
6.) The glass in windows (even double-pane) doesn't stop a baseball hit by a ceiling fan.
7.) When you hear the toilet flush and the words 'uh oh', it's already too late.
8.) Brake fluid mixed with Clorox makes smoke, and lots of it.
9.) A six-year old boy can start a fire with a flint rock even though a 36-year old Man says they can only do it in the movies.
10.) Certain Lego's will pass through the digestive tract of a 4-year old Boy.
11.) Play dough and microwave should not be used in the same sentence.
12.) Super glue is forever.
13.) No matter how much Jell-O you put in a swimming pool, you still can't walk on water.
14.) Pool filters do not like Jell-O.
15.) VCR's do not eject 'PB & J' sandwiches even though TV commercials show they do.
16.) Garbage bags do not make good parachutes.
17.) Marbles in gas tanks make lots of noise when driving.
18.) You probably DO NOT want to know what that odor is.
19.) Always look in the oven before you turn it on; plastic toys do not like ovens.
20.) The fire department in Austin , TX has a 5-minute response time.
21.) The spin cycle on the washing machine does not make earthworms dizzy.
22.) It will, however, make cats dizzy.
23.) Cats throw up twice their body weight when dizzy.
24.) 80% of Women will pass this on to almost all of their friends, with or without kids.
25.) 80% of Men who read this will try mixing the Clorox and brake fluid.

...and a couple more pictures that epitomize my life as the mother of boys!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A new discovery

Okay, I found something that's gotten me to some thinkin'! Have you heard of or visited the blog "seriously, so blessed"? At first, I giggled a little, cringed a little, then laughed a bit. It's very funny, but it makes you cringe when she hits on something you do, have done, or would do! She mocks my love for Stampin' Up!

I guess this blog started back in June as a joke to some friends and now it gets thousands of hits a day. This blog is about TAMN, the perfect Utah Mormon newlywed/soon-to-be mommy and her perfect life with her perfect HOT hubby to go along with her perfect hot bod, despite her pregger status with twins!! It's out there spoofing us in some ways, but not out of bitterness or spite. It's just a way to laugh at ourselves and our tendency to only blog about the best in our lives. She's very superlative, so it's easy to see that she's not serious. I have to warn you, if you take yourself and your blog too seriously, you won't like this blog! After reading a few posts, I said to Paul, "I don't think I'll ever be able to blog again!" But after thinking about it some and reading some of the news items, I realize, this blogger is just a normal gal making fun of the extremes in our culture.

So, I think I can follow this blog a little... if for no other reason, she has some INCREDIBLE "give-oh-giveaways!" It'll likely help me make my blog a bit more "true" to me... and keep me on my toes about typos and words like "go-jus"! Enjoy!

I'm done

It's official... I'm done with Heroes. I am so tired of shows that think the more convoluted they can make the story line, the better it is. I think this show started out great (you know, "save the cheerleader, save the world"), but like the show "Lost", I just can't do it anymore! I'm officially signing off on this show. After watching an episode, I just feel yuckier and yuckier about the characters, their choices, and where the show is going. I'm actually grateful... one less thing to do during the week! In a way, I hope the rest of my favorite shows start to tick me off enough that I'll sign off on them too!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I need to do some catch up

It's been a bit too long since I've added to my blog. Part of the issue is that it feels like I've been working A LOT lately. Here's some of what is going on.

Several weeks ago, we had some changes to the personnel at one of my schools. This change (and the events leading up to it) left a HUGE mess for some of us to clean up. So, on top of my ever growing caseload (I'm almost up to 35 students at this one school), we've got extra meetings to hold, current students whose paperwork needs renewing, new students to be tested and signed in, hearing and kindergarten screenings to start and on and on and on. And that's just at one school! All I can say is... it's a very good thing I really enjoy my work. I have to be careful, though. Paul and I are going through another phase of testing/temptation in regards to my work and I need to make sure this doesn't snowball. Ugh! What to do!

Last week was a short work/school week for us because of "fall break." The boys and I had Thursday and Friday off and Paul also had Friday off, so we actually made some plans for last weekend! I had a few errands to run which took us as far north as Brigham City. Since we were heading up that far, we decided to go just a little further and spend some time in Logan. Paul and I met while attending USU, Paul was raised in Cache Valley, both of our roots stem from there, and it holds a VERY dear place in our hearts. Thankfully, we still have a handful of family and friends still living there. I love this place!
(by the way: Paul proposed to me at this spot!)
Friday: drive north - stop in Woods Cross to deliver some stampin stuff to my wonderful Aunt Lynn and see how Uncle George is recovering from his recent back surgery - stop in Brigham City to pick up a fake Christmas tree from my sister's old house (add on - see all the improvements to said house since the new owners moved in!) - visit Carrie Ann and Richard and see their new, beautiful home! We could have spent the whole evening with them! - drive to Logan and get some yummy Mexican food from El Sol - stay up late talking about politics at Kim and John Cook's house! (I could so post a whole paragraph on each of these things, but I'll spare you!)

Saturday: hang out with Kim and John til noon - go to park and picnic with friend, Mandy, and her two gorgeous daughters, Morgan and Mady - read a book in the car while Charlie naps and while Paul goes on a little hike up Logan canyon with the boys - visit Aunt Marilyn and Uncle Mickey for a while - get dinner at the Bluebird (mmmmm, Bluebird chicken! We had our wedding dinner there.) - visit Carla, Brent, Amanda, Carma and Boyd (all relatives and all at the same time) for just a few minutes - drop Paul off at Daniel and Andrea's to watch the UFC fight - drive to Brigham to visit Cami and Jeff and talk politics, books, everything with them for a few hours - backtrack halfway to pick up Paul - drive home.

Here are some pics of the boys at the park. These are just taken with my camera phone... hopefully Mandy will post some better ones on her blog that I can steal!
We had so much fun! Spending a whole day visiting the people we love is one of my favorite things to do! We had some really great conversations on a whole myriad of topics. I love hashing things out with people... it's amazing how we all see the world in our own special way.
Well, nuff for one night. Hope you all had a great weekend too!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Oh dear, now I've done it!

I did it. First... the blog. Obviously, a few months ago, I started this blog. It has been an adventure and I've loved it.

The other day, I joined Facebook and WOWZERS!!! That place is CRAZY!!! I'm amazed at how much time I can just waste away over on that website! I mean, I really should be watching "biggest loser" on my DVR right now, but nope, I'm at my computer, finding more and more friends on Facebook. It truly is addicting though. In less than a week, I've touched base with a BUNCH of long lost friends that I haven't talked to in over a decade. Not that I haven't thought of them often (I'm an insanely sentimental person), but it's so easy to just lose people!

So, it feels like my world has been jumbled up a little. I know this sounds retarded, but I've been a lot more pensive this week about my life and where I am these days. When you've gone this long without communicating with people from your past, once that connection is made again, it almost throws you back there! I think of who I was back in high school and I laugh... and sigh... and even beat myself up a little. What a PAIN I used to be! Yuck! I'm so thankful I'm not in that place anymore. I'm so glad that we have the chance to evolve and mature. I'm also grateful to not be in a place where it matters if someone has something that you don't. I don't need to worry if this person has an important job or looks the same or better than they did in high school (but don't we all look better?!? Those mid-nineties hairstyles are something else!). I don't need to worry about the fact that 13 years later, I'm dealing with a weight battle brought about by having 3 kids and not working hard to keep myself fit. It's not like I ever "let myself go," but I wouldn't love heading to a reunion in my current state! But this is just where I am now... and it's great... because I won't necessarily be here tomorrow! But it's been really good, because I LOVE where I am in life right now. I love my family, my faith, my home, my job, and my friends. Maybe others wouldn't be as content as I am to be living this kind of life, but I am so grateful for my little world full of blessings. I would be happy to list them all, but I don't need to. I list them plenty in my prayers and that's good enough.

So, I don't know if my friends from Facebook will ever venture over to my blog or not... but if you are one of them and you do, I'd love for you to leave a comment to let me know that you came a saw a glimpse of who I am today. I have learned so much since then!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

much better, thank you!

So, my weigh in today was much better this week with a 3.4 lb loss! Yea! I'm especially relieved because I got to go to lunch with my girlfriends yesterday and I purposefully, yet unwillingly, did not GO TO TOWN on the chips and salsa like I wanted to!!! At least it wasn't all for nothing! Paul and I went swimming again yesterday and then out to dinner as well, so I could have been in big trouble for today. My friend Rachel handed me a "fun size" bag of peanut M&Ms yesterday (after my comment of wanting to eat a whole bag of them last week), so I think I'll celebrate by eating them tonight! Thanks Rachel!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

getting a head start!

So, one of my favorite things to do during conference is to get started on my Christmas cards. I was able to get 30 cards made! I got a few stamp sets with Christmas themes last month, so I broke them in a bit. Here are some pics of the cards I made.

This is a "spinner" card. I used 4 different circle punches to make this baby... but it came together WAY easier than it looks! I love this little reindeer... he's just so cute! Here are the ingredients; stamps: Deer Friend, Best Yet (both hostess sets). paper: Very Vanilla, River Rock, Dashing Designer Series, Old Olive, Real Red. ink: Chocolate Chip. accessories: 1 3/4" circle, 1 3/8" circle, 1 1/4" circle, 1" circle punches, string, tape, sticky strip.

These two cards are basically identical, but with different colors. The colors don't look right at all in the pictures, but you get the idea. The stamp set is Punches Three; paper on the left is Kiwi Kiss, Chocolate Chip, Whisper white, Bella Rose DSP. Paper on the right is Ruby Red, Mellow Moss and Bella Rose DSP. Ink on each card matches the paper. Accessories include the 1 3/4" circle punch, scallop square punch and gold brads. Very easy but fun.

I also went through my "previously made and currently hoarding" card pile recently and was able to add some finishing touches on some of those. These, along with cards from card exchange last year, I already have about 50 cards ready for this Christmases mailing. Only 50ish more to go! Some of you may be getting "one of a kind" cards this year! By the way, if any of you who actually read my blog don't currently receive a Christmas card from me each year, it's because I don't have your address... that, or you've never sent me a Christmas card! I'd be more than DELIGHTED to add you to my list, heck, you can even request which card you want!! I was really debating on whether I should post my cards on my blog. I don't want anyone to feel neglected! Please post your address for me! I love getting mail with actual postage on it, so I make an effort (once a year) to do this for those I love!

Another thing we crafted this weekend was our invitations to the 3rd annual Croshaw Halloween party. I didn't take pictures of the actual cards we made, but this is the pattern we copied. Aren't they crazy cute?!?! The credit must be given to a gal named Cambria Turnbow.
I'm looking forward to our party this year. I'm not normally a huge Halloween fan, but having something like this to plan and get ready for makes it a little more exciting! Now, I need to figure out a costume!

High on conferences!

I love conferences & conventions. I love learning from people who are experts in the fields of things I love. A couple years ago, I realized how lucky I am that I have the opportunity to go to conferences about the really important things in my life.
First, there's the Church, and I LOVE being able to listen to the "experts" (I would call a prophet of God an expert... wouldn't you?!) talk to me about what God wants me to hear. I don't know if any of my non-member friends read my blog (I'm doubting it), but just in case... General conference was this weekend and I was truly fed. I got to listen to all five sessions (the 4 plus RS) and kept receiving inspiration on things I can improve on. I particularly loved Elder Corbridge's talk on Saturday afternoon. It was all about the Savior, and though I've heard all the scriptural references he quoted many many times before, this talk struck me to the core. I know that though I have a testimony of the Savior and His atonement, I know my testimony can always be stronger, that I can always live closer to Him, and put more of my trust in Him. It especially sank in when Elder Corbridge reiterated how bringing to pass our immortality is God's work and glory, not our own. It is not a human endeavor. The commandment to be "perfect, even as your Father in Heaven is perfect", has always felt unattainable to me and has discouraged me in the past. But to hear that "while the Lord's invitation to follow Him is the highest of all, it is also achievable by everyone. Not because we are able, but because He is." I was standing in my kitchen making lunch for my boys wiping tears from my face after he said this. And the tears kept flowing as he declared that "life is hard, but life is simple. Get on the path and never ever give up... you just keep on going and don't quit and you will make it... Jesus Christ is the way... any other way is madness." Sometimes I need to be told that I CAN make it, because so much inside us and all around us tells us that it's impossible. I do believe that it is possible and this talk gives me more hope and faith that I can get there... through Him. Ahhhh, food for my soul. There were many great talks this time... very upbeat, despite all the CRAP going on in the world.

Secondly (and much less importantly), I got to go to a convention for Speech Pathologists on Thursday and Friday. I am now a little smarter in the areas of infant/childhood development, fixing the /r/ sound, and Asperger's Syndrome. So go ahead, ask me anything! HA!! Two of the keynote speakers are legendary in their areas of expertise. Dr. Rosetti is the go-to-guy for early intervention (helping babies learn to communicate) and Mr. Kowalski is the SLP expert on Asperger. It was awesome to listen to these men. Wow, there's so much to know! Conferences are great in that you get to learn more, but terrible as you realize how little you know. As an SLP in the schools, I don't get the luxury to be an expert on anything, you have to be "smart enough" in everything. I got to hang out with my friend from college, Lacey, and two sweet SLP colleagues I met from a previous conference. Now, I just need to figure out how to actually apply all this good information to my daily WORK. Wish me luck.

My other recent convention was the Stampin' Up! convention in July. I already posted about this in August, but I just wanted to throw that in here to acknowledge (again) how much I enjoy being able to experience these kinds of events. I'm very blessed.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

It's been a slightly frustrating week!

So, I was teasing Paul last night after our first 4 mile run together, "I think you're in search for a cuter wife." When he denied it, then I told him I should turn him in for some domestic abuse for how much he's pushed me to run this week! We did two workouts last Friday; running in the morning and swimming that afternoon (I think of you, Rachelle, every time we go to the pool! Tangent alert... swimming is WAY harder than it looks!!!!! Too much to think about and all that water sure gets in the way when you need to breathe!). Our FHE activity this Monday was our typical 3.5 mile run/bike ride (for the boys). Then, on Tuesday, he encouraged me to do some speed work on my own. Then on Wednesday, as a family again, we ran all the way to the 2 mile mark before turning around and running all the way home... pant, pant, pant. That's the furthest distance and longest amount of time I've ever run, and I'm glad to know that I can go that far and probably even a little farther if needed (but please don't make me do it yet!). So, I've been very good this week and have done well on my "points" for weight watchers as well!

So, you'd think I'd have a good evening with my weigh-in today, but I was wearing the wrong jeans!!! I was happy with my number this morning (being dehydrated and wearing light clothing), but after sitting all day at a speech therapy convention and a big yummy sweet pork salad from Costa Vida for lunch, I was NOT happy with my 1.2 lb GAIN for the week... grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. Just to make myself feel better, I weighed myself at home with my jeans on, then off, and the difference was 1.4 lbs!! So, technically, I think I lost 0.6 lb this week (my scale is .4 higher than the WW scale)... which STILL stinks because I worked hard this week! Last week, my total weight loss was 11 lbs, and now I'm only a 9.8 lb loss. Crazy how the body works. Next week had better be better!!!! I am so in the mood for a big bag of peanut M&Ms.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

What I needed to hear

Tonight I got the opportunity to attend the General Relief Society Meeting at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City. I'm so glad I was there because otherwise, I'm sure I wouldn't have been watching. Throughout the day, while taking care of really sick Charlie, I held a prayer in my heart that one of the messages would be an answer to some of my recent prayers. I was not disappointed.
The RS presidency gave excellent talks as usual, but the real treat came with President Uchtdorf's talk. I'm not sure what this talk will be titled, but I hope all of you will look it up (when it's posted) on if you were unable to somehow listen to it today. He started off talking about how men and women are different and how women tend to be horrible critics of themselves. He told a sweet story about how his wife will prepare a beautiful feast for dinner, putting in an extra mile's worth of effort to make it perfect. Yet, she'll start the meal with an apology for something minute that could be wrong with it! Then he shared how he'll make greasy fried eggs and burnt "toast" and consider himself a hero!!! So sweet. Anyway, then he began to tell us that we, as women, tend to minimize ourselves and the things we're able to accomplish in a given day. Sometimes we find ourselves so discouraged, overwhelmed, and afraid of our potential to fail.

He spoke of the type of happiness we need to shoot for... God's happiness. Two fundamental principles of God's happiness is creation and compassion. He encouraged us to find ways to create. Creating is making something that didn't exist before. It doesn't have to be done in the kitchen or with a paintbrush or on a piano, it can be something as simple as creating a smile on someone's face. This portion of his talk gave me so much peace and encouragement. It made me grateful to have a few creative outlets that fill my soul. I sometimes worry that my stamping and paper crafting is selfish, but it's something that gives me satisfaction and helps me feel like I'm allowed to enjoy parts of my life. All my recent canning is also creative! I made something that didn't exist before and it will eventually bless my family. I'm grateful to know that by doing some of these things, I'm feeling part of God's happiness!

Other thoughts I had as he was talking was that if there is a part of my life that I'm feeling overwhelmed with, I should put some extra effort into making it more creative. For example, I hate cooking. I don't understand people who love cooking! But to be honest, I've never even tried to make an amazing dish or one to take pride in. I'm not sure that if I do put in more effort that I'll begin to love it, but I should at least try. There are also lots of things that I could be doing to be more creative with my children. I do need to recognize that I'm working hard to CREATE a loving home for my boys, but (without beating myself up) I realize I could be doing more to create positive, lasting memories for them that they can carry throughout their lives. This last week, Paul and I have been blessed with a precious gift... PERSPECTIVE, and this talk added to it. I'm so very blessed to be the mother of three amazing little boys, and whether we're given the opportunity to add to our family in the future or not, I've got one shot at these little one's childhoods. I would love to feel more of God's happiness as I put more of myself (my creative abilities and compassion) into my husband and boys.

So, if you haven't heard the talk yet, look it up... read it in the ensign... whatever you need to do. There's a treasure trove of the Spirit in President Uchtdorf's words. I hope they help you as much as they did me!

Monday, September 22, 2008

The canning continues!

This Saturday was a very busy day. It started off with soccer (of course), which I ditched out of to actually get some house cleaning done... yes, it does happen sometimes. I first went to "card exchange." This is a little group I'm involved with where we get together monthly to swap some rockin' cards! We make 2 different cards (10 of each) of different themes that we pick each month. I love being a part of this group because we're all pretty picky and put a lot into our cards... that way, we always get a good return on our investment. So, if I send you a card, it may or may not be a card that I personally made myself, but instead made by somebody that I made a card for! These are the two that I did make. The themes this month were "religious" and "whatever." I was going to send my religious card to my neice, Greta, because she recently got baptized, but it turned out I got a way cuter card from Cyndi, so I'm sending her that one!

Then, in the early after noon, I had "stamp club." This is a different group of ladies (though some of them overlap!) that get together monthly to make cards and we all order stuff and take turns getting the free hostess benefits. I provide all the materials for this group and these are the cards we made.
This card is 4"x4" and uses the 'faux silk' technique. For this one, you stamp on tissue paper, crinkle it up really tight, spread it out and glue it down (with glue stick) onto some cardstock.

Ingredients: (all Stampin' Up!) Eastern Blooms stamp set, Ink: sage shadow, chocolate chip. Paper: chocolate chip and sage shadow cardstock, whisper white cardstock, white tissue paper. Accessories: anywhere glue stick, white grosgrain ribbon, 3/4" circle punch. Easy and fun!

This card was a fast and easy one. No special techniques here!

Ingredients: Upsy Daisy stamp set, Ink: riding hood red, chocolate chip. Paper: riding hood red cardstock, Bella Rose designer series paper. Accessories: vintage brads, piercing tool.

This one was also very easy. Ingredients: Say it with scallops stamp set. Ink: tempting turquoise. Cardstock: tangerine tango, kiwi kiss, tempting turquoise, whisper white. Accessories: scallop square punch, tangerine tango striped grosgrain ribbon, silver brad, dimensionals.

So after all the card making fun, Emily and I picked up some amazing peaches from our neighbor and friend in the ward for a great price. We each bought two boxes, so we were in for a marathon peach-canning extravaganza! We ended up bottling 51 quarts of peaches that night, finishing way later than we wanted to. Here's the end result... I love how sweaty and beat we look!
While Emily, Nate (her hubby), Paul and I were all working hard on the peaches, we were glad that Sammy and Charlie were getting along well! We could even hear them laughing and playing together in my room. Well, we learned this lesson a little late, that though the house may be mostly Charlie proof, it is NOT Sammy proof! That little one has some AMAZING fine motor skills! I now know not to leave things out just because I think Charlie won't get into it. Things like fingernail polish....Yikes!!! It was a pretty tough moment, but we got through it, finished the peaches, and got the carpets cleaned today. I was impressed how much of the stain came out, and thankfully, it's not in a high-traffic area of the house. It now just looks like we didn't bother to clean up some spilled kool-aid or something, which is MUCH better than the full-on, brownish-red fingernail polish all over the floor!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

My first "tag" with peaches on top

So, my new long-distance friend Rachelle tagged me to list 6 quirky things about myself. Now, I don't really think of myself as "quirky," more like "disfunctional" in many ways. But over the last couple of days, I thought of some quirks that annoy myself and others.

1. I'm a picker. Yep, it's gross, but I pick things. I pick scabs, zits, peeling sunburned skin, stuff like that. For some reason, I just can't help it. Skin should be smooth, and when it's not, it gets picked. Call it a curse.

2. I ALWAYS have to turn around at least once when I'm driving someplace I've never been before. This is partly due to the fact that I'm not a great driver... never have been. Paul does ALL the driving when we're together, and that's okay by me!

3. I sing along incessantly. Radio, CD's, commercials... if there's music with words, I'm probably singing along. In fact, if you were to ask me what kind of music I like, my answer is, "music I can sing along with." Coincidentally, I married a man that also sings along. We happen to have 3 children who sing along... so much so that we have a rule at our house... "no singing at the table." Otherwise they'd never eat. It's actually kind of funny, but not.

4. I'm not a germophobe. While I do wash my hands after using the bathroom and after touching meat, I'll go ahead and eat food off the floor if it's something I really wanted (within reason, of course).

5. My feet are almost always cold when I get into bed. My husband's legs are usually nice and toasty. You can imagine the scene.

6. I talk too much, especially about myself. Pretty much, all of you know this already. I'm just letting you know that I'm aware of this issue and have been working on it. I figured it out a while back when I met someone who talked more than me and I realized how annoying that is. Sorry about that one, folks!

7. Paul says I should also include the fact that I laugh at my own jokes. Apparently I think I'm funny. I hope I'm not the only one!

So, now I'm supposed to tag 6 other people. They are supposed to post their own "quirk list" on their blogs. I tag...
1. Emily,
2. Alisha,
3. Denise,
4. Lisa G. (so she'll actually post something!)
5. Mindy Tec
6. Becca

Today, I ventured into the arts domestic. This was the result! PEACHES!!!!!
I don't know what it is about canning, but I find an INSANE amount of satisfaction in it! Especially when you get the fruit for free... Thanks Tammy! She had some extra peaches picked from her mother's tree and wasn't going to can anymore quarts. This little batch only made 7 quarts (aren't they pretty!!??!?), but my friend, Emily, and I have some big plans for Saturday. Can't wait to have some help!

On a side note, Charlie says the word "peach" (and "chip" for that matter) in a very questionable/inappropriate way. To use some speech pathology terms, he's been doing some prevocalic voicing and some "metathesis" on chip. Just nobody take it personally if he says it to you! It could be worse, though! My neighbor's daughter has a hard time with the word "truck." Hahaha!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Week in review

We had a pretty decent week. My friend was cleaning her storage room on Monday, which inspired me to do the same. Now, this is embarassing, but I'm going to post it anyway. This is our storage room. After almost 3 years of living here, we still haven't done much with this space other than just fill it with junk, junk and more junk. We had boxes in this room that we packed in Brigham City, took to Burley, and then brought here without emptying or repacking them! To say the least, attacking my storage area, was bound to be a gigantic project. Here's a picture of phase two.That's right, phase two. Sadly, this is a vast improvement of what it was! See all those boxes on the left... they used to be filled with stuff that is now either at DI or going in the garbage tomorrow. Here's the other side of the room.This is also an improvement if you can believe it! I guess if you know me well, you can believe it! This is my deluxe stamping space!!! It's rarely organized and only bi-monthly is there enough room on the table to actually make a card (or 50). In my defense, the mess on the floor is a recent occurance. When my boys see floor, they take it upon themselves to do something to remedy that situation. In this case, they found that plastic blue case there full of the foam letters and put them together... they haven't played with this toy for years, ever since I got sick of them chewing up the letters.

Anyway, part of the problem of doing this project is that I neglected the laundry and the rest of the house pretty much all week, leading to an exhausted meltdown on Saturday. Sometimes it's hard when you feel like you have to "do it all" and "be it all."

Other news, I lost another 1.4 pounds at my weigh-in on Thursday. YAY! I'm now down 7.6 lbs from my starting weight.

Also, Andy FINALLY lost that ugly, yellow, front tooth!!! I took the boys to the dentist on Wednesday and was thrilled to have no cavities. Even Charlie got his teeth cleaned, with much screaming and fighting. Luckily the older boys are total troopers when it comes to the dentist, but the gal sure earned her money when it was time to do Charlie. Andy's tooth was loose (he actually has 3 loose teeth), so the dentist showed him how pushing vs. wiggling is better for getting the tooth to come out. He pushed and pushed on that tooth for 3 days, but it finally came out when he was jumping on the trampoline at Grandma's and he hit his face with his knee. Ouch! Well, he looked and looked, but couldn't find the tooth. He figured he may have swallowed it, so he had his cousin, Ellie, write a note to the tooth fairy. This is what it said,

"Dear tooth fairy, I think I swalowd my tooth today. I was bowsing on the tramp my knee hit my tooth my tooth got knocted out that's the part when I swalowed my tooth. From Andy

Isn't that so precious??!! I wish he had written it himself (though it would have hardly been readable) but he did sign his own name! He put the note under his pillow and the tooth fairy brought him 3 quarters! He was thrilled. Now he and Canon have matching smiles again.

The story of a watch

So, about 5 months ago, I bought this watch at a women's expo in Orem. I love this watch and felt so stylin' wearing it. Unfortunately, within a couple months, the battery died and I am TERRIBLE at getting around to fixing things like that (I have 3-4 dead watches right now). But since I love this watch, I would still wear it occasionally because it was cute... until one day when I was pulling it off, SNAP went the band and beads flew everywhere. I collected all the beads and put them in a bag so I could eventually take the whole thing back and get a new one.

Fast forward to last Saturday (Sept 5th). I was in some serious need of "mommy alone time." It so happened that the same expo was going on again and I knew I could go exchange my watch there! Paul had been gone overnight to do his final triathlon of the season and didn't get home until early afternoon. Of course there was a BYU game on TV that somehow (in Paul's mind) trumped me going to the expo by myself. I stood my ground and insisted that I was NOT going to take Charlie with me. You can see that Charlie's very cute, but he's almost two years old. Even in this very picture, he's just finished pulling all the clothes out of the laundry baskets. I love this little guy, but there is no way I'm taking him to a crowded women's expo so he can sit in a stroller and scream (he's a screamer... a loud, ear-piercingly high-pitched screamer!) while I try to take a little break and get my watch replaced!
I did end up getting my way (of course), but I wasn't graceful about it, unfortunately. I convinced my sister-in-law, Melanie to come with me, so we took off with her little baby boy (4 months old is easier to shop with than a two year-old) to go to the expo.

Well, an unfortunate event occurred while driving north on I-15. We were about to exit into Provo to run a quick errand before going to the expo and somehow, my "idiot light" that has been VERY reliable up to this point failed me. I knew I was low on gas, but figured I could get to Costco with no problem, since the idiot light hadn't gone off yet... NOPE! I ended up looking like an idiot who ran out of gas. The friend that I was going to see in Provo came to bring us some gas, but by the time she got there, the battery died and we had no jumper cables. So, calling in the hubbies, we sat and waited for them to come and jump the car. By this point (an hour later), Melanie just went home with Spencer and Paul took me to the expo to exchange my watch. We had to hurry though, because our kids (and most of the other grandkids) were at Grandma and Grandpa's and they needed us back ASAP.

So, the watch company was great about exchanging the watch. I handed them the baggie and said, "new watch please!" and they replaced the whole thing AND threw in an extra battery! Thanks! I also picked up some super cute headbands that I had been wanting since the last expo. So much for "mommy alone time," but at least I got my watch back and some cute things.
Fast forward to Sunday (the next day) at stake conference. Now, don't get me wrong... I love the gospel and value my membership in the LDS church immensely, but getting through sacrament meeting with 3 young, loud boys is completely draining to me. Stake conference is TWICE as bad, seeing as how it's twice as long! In an attempt to keep Charlie quiet (which just means NOT SCREAMING), I let him hold my newly replaced watch. He innocently dropped it, and THIS is what happens.
SERIOUSLY!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! Yeah, that's a broken glass right there! Cheap crap! I'm sure they'll replace the face again, but grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! As if sitting on the highway for an hour wasn't punishment enough for wanting to escape, but then the fruits of my labors end up breaking less than 24 hours of getting it fixed! Ah well... it's a bummer, but at least it's just "small stuff" and could be much worse. At least it's still keeping time!
So, the lesson I learned is this... if you need to escape from your kids, don't tick off your husband before you leave, because the karma comes around and bites you in the butt... big time!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

A great Labor Day weekend!

The weekend started off with me receiving some of my big Stampin' Up! order on friday! This is proof that Paul tries to be as cool of a husband as I am a wife! I did some extra, unexpected testing that brought in some extra, unexpected money, so let me introduce you to my new BigShot!!!!!!
I've been watching the die cutting/embossing folder trend in scrapbooking and card making for years now, but have held off because I'm kind of a SU! snob when it comes to my crafting dollars and we didn't offer anything in that market. But finally, I need wait NO LONGER!!!!! So, it was exciting to get my BigShot on Friday, but the rest of my order (that had the only die I ordered in it) didn't come until Tuesday, so I didn't get to play with it right away. But on Tuesday, this box was on my porch when I got home from work! And these are the goodies for me!!! It felt like an extra birthday!
The Whole Box and then a breakdown of what's inside! 7 stamp sets (4 of which were free!), 6 punches that coordinate with the stamp sets, 5 ribbons, and some random tools and paper! That black square is my first die ordered... a big scallop circle!
I can't wait to work on my cards for card exchange and stamp club this month! (hey, we all got our thing!)

Now for the other part of the weekend. On Saturday morning, we got the kids up WAY to early to get Paul to his triathlon up in Riverton. It was a sprint triathlon to give Paul a chance to try out his new wheels in a race. Well, you know what? HE DID AWESOME!!! This was Paul's first podium finish, taking third place in his age range!! It was so fun to see him be so much awesomer than most the other racers there! I'm super proud of my guy and feel bad I won't be able to make it to his last race of the season this upcoming Saturday... that dang soccer mom stuff again!
On Monday morning, I also did a race... a nice little 5K in the rain! I did pretty awesome myself, taking 4th (from last) in my age range!!!! I know, I'm pretty amazing! This is me at the finish line, smiling because it's almost over!
This is my friend and neighbor (we share a wall), Monica. She beat me by 3 rockin minutes! You go girl!
It's amazing how much of exercising and racing is a mental battle as much as it is a physical one. This was the first time I'd ever run in the rain, but it wasn't raining that hard. Because of the bad weather, Paul debated on whether to get the kids up or not. I told him not to worry about it because if I were in his shoes, I wouldn't stand in the rain for 40 minutes with the kids just to watch him run! So, as I'm going along, stopping to walk 4 TIMES during the second mile (just being lazy!) I'm thinking to myself, "self, nobody cares how fast you do this race." I ran most of the last mile, but even then slowed down more than I needed to until I came around the corner and heard Paul and the boys cheering for me to hurry up! I guess they got there just in time to see us START the race, but didn't have time to find me to let me know they were there. I think if I'd have known they were waiting for me, I wouldn't have been so POKEY!!! Ah well. It was fun to have them there to support me. I loved it when Andy yelled at me to "kick it, Mom!!" so I did kick it into gear to finish the last 25 yards! My kids are so fun! The rest of the day, I sat around the house reading "Gone with the Wind" until we went to a barbeque at the Croshaws!

One more update... having intentionally weighed in at weight watchers with my heaviest shoes and clothes on last week, I lost an impressive 6.2 pounds this week! I'm sure at least 3-4 of those pounds are the difference in clothing, but hey... sometimes you've got to make sure you have a successful start to things! It's been a great week figuring out where I'm adding too many calories into my day. And now that I can factor in activity points earned into my daily points budget, this dieting stuff shouldn't be so bad! Okay, nuff for one day!