Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Playin' catch up

H1 all - Not a lot of time today, but just wanted to check in and let ya know what's been happening.
Saturday was our annual neighborhood yard sale. (The HOA pays to advertise and puts up signs, and anyone who wants to participate puts their stuff out in their yard.) When it is all over, my husband (the neighborhood "owns a truck" guy) drives around and picks up anything that people want hauled off and he takes it all to DI. He usually ends up taking 3 or 4 loads each year. We personally had our best year ever - making about $100, and Aaron and Katrina made an additional $20 selling stuffed animals, donuts, juice, and cookies. (This was their profit, after I took out the cost of donuts and cookies)
I enjoyed the fact that we actually made a little money this year, and I am even more thrilled that we got rid of some of the "stuff" cluttering up our home and garage. Getting up early, being out in the sun all day, hauling stuff in and out, dealing with dickering buyers etc... then collecting truck loads of stuff to take to DI - it all makes for a really long day. I was totally worn out by the time we were all done.
Then I came back in to the disaster of a house that 1) I hadn't worked in at all but the kids had full run... and 2) the extra added mess of newly acquired "treasures" that needed homes, and yard sale leftovers that got hauled back inside instead of to DI (I'll be donating them to the upcoming school fund raiser yard sale next month) As I'm sure you can guess, I didn't finish getting the house even close to back in order before giving up and going to bed Sat night.

Sunday we drove out to Tooele to hear our nephew Robert speak in sacrament meeting before he leaves to serve a mission. (This photo, taken at Caleb's blessing, is of Tim (holding Caleb), Tim's older brother Brent, and Brent's son, the missionary in question, Robert. Robert had been ordained an Elder so he was able to participate in Caleb's blessing) Robert goes into the MTC this week, and then on to Germany.) It was another long (but fun) day, and I was feeling really run down. I figured I'd concentrate on getting a good night's sleep Sunday night, then get up early and get the house back in order...

Welcome MONDAY. I woke up early to go on my morning walk. I sat up on the edge of the bed and found the entire room spinning. I went back to sleep for another hour. Tried again to get up, couldn't. I was SO dizzy. the entire room kept spinning. I got motion sick just sitting there. I was so miserable, I was ready to call someone to drive me to a Dr. I started to feel less dizzy and nauseous by noon, so I never did go to the Dr. I still felt pretty wiped out all day, but no more serious episodes of vertigo, so I'm going to chalk it up to dehydration/over exertion over the weekend. I've started taking my Iron Supplements again in case the anemia is creeping back in, and I have been guzzling the water....

I got up this morning and while I still feel tired, I am feeling much better than yesterday and I was able to make some really good progress on the house. Still have a ways to go, but there is once again light at the end of the tunnel!

As I said, nothing really exciting or blog worthy, but since one of my main purposes of this blog is as a journal, I wanted to at least document what's been going on.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Anniversary gratitude...

10 years ago today, Tim and I were married in the Salt Lake Temple. Right now I am totally exhausted and really just want to collapse in my bed, but I really wanted to take just a few minutes to list some things that I am grateful for when it comes to the last 10 years of my life...

* I am thankful for a husband who is always kind to others. He is one who just doesn't seem to see negative in other people. Whenever I say something negative about someone or something, he is quick to find the positive.

* I am thankful for a husband who is kind and patient with all of my shortcomings - who is willing to help me work on them when I am ready to face them, but who will overlook and or compensate for them until I am ready to tackle them.

* I am thankful that I was married in the temple for "Time and Eternity" - not just "til death do you part." (I figure it is going to take me all of this life and some of the next to become the queen that my sweet husband deserves to be married to)

* I am thankful for our 4 wonderful children, who are also our for Eternity.

* I am thankful for a husband who is a hard worker and who takes his responsibilty to provide for our family very seriously.

* I am thankful for a husband who is constantly setting goals to improve and move forward. He is great example to me of steadfast progression.

* I am thankful that Tim is such a great father. (Even now, he is downstairs getting Caleb to sleep so that I can post this. He doesn't actually know that's what I'm doing; I said I was going to brush my teeth then come down... I just got a little sidetracked...)

*I am thankful for a husband who just smiles (and maybe slightly rolls his eyes) at me when I get sidetracked.

* I am thankful that Tim is health conscious and encourages me to be the same. (A funny side note - when Tim asked my dad for my hand in marriage, my dad's biggest "concern" about our marriage - enough of a concern that he actually sat us down to talk about it with us - was that Tim liked to eat lots of vegetables and I hated to eat veggies. I'm happy to report that it hasn't been a marriage conflict, and I have learned to eat (and even to like) many veggies that I used to HATE!)

* I am thankful that Tim is a great combination of a DREAMER and a DOER. I think it wonderful to dream big and make lots of great grand plans, but then you have to DO something about them. Tim loves to dream big, and then he comes up with a plan to achieve the dream, then he goes to work - adapting as needed. It is a PERFECT balance!

Well - I could keep on going, but if I counted right, I listed 10 things, and it's been 10 years, so I'll call it good. Just know that I am married to a wonderful man! He is the perfect husband for me.
And now, if I don't get to sleep ASAP - I will fall asleep right here and now!

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TIM! Thank you for 10 wonderful years! I LOVE YOU!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

"stop whining, START LIVING"

I'm currently reading Dr. Laura's book, "stop whining, START LIVING." So far, I'm really enjoying it. As I'm sure you can guess by the title, it is about making the choice to stop whining , complaining, and dwelling on the negatives in our lives, and focus on, delight in, and enjoy more fully the positives.
She does not say that you should never be sad, never complain, or never whine. There is a time and place for all emotions, however, when we chose to dwell on the negative, soon that is all we will see and feel.
I know this to be true in my own life. Let's say for example, that I get annoyed at my husband for some minor nothing. I have found that the times when I chose to quickly dismiss the annoyance and think instead about all the things I love and appreciate about the wonderful man I married, the annoyance is soon completely gone and is a non-issue, and I find that I am LESS-easily annoyed in the future. Unfortunately, there are other times when I am not so kind, loving, and positive; and I chose instead to dwell on whatever it was that annoyed me. With this reaction, I find that anger and resentment build up (over the original NOTHING and any subsequent nothings that I tuck into the equation), and I find that soon all Tim has to do is come home from work and say in a cheery voice, "Hey sweetie, how was your day?" and I am absolutely convinced that he is mocking or attacking me for some housework left undone or something like that. It is crazy. It is so totally true that whatever you chose to focus on, becomes your reality.

Anyway - that's what I'm reading right now and what I'm thinking about. Finally, one quote from the book that I am having a love/hate relationship with right now...
"The people and circumstances around me do not make me what I am, they reveal who I am." (emphasis added)
The hate part of this for me is that I like to excuse my bad behavior by blaming it on "being tired," "kids driving me crazy" "kids not obeying" "too much to do" "my back hurts" etc... The truth of the matter is that when I behave badly, it is no one's responsibility (fault) but mine. I am the one who needs to make the choice to behave differently. And I need to begin TODAY!

Thursday, April 17, 2008


ok - so like my whole life I've seen the product "Nutella," sitting right there on shelf by the peanut butter. "spreadable chocolaty-hazelnut spread???" I LOVE nuts and I love chocolate, so I figured I would like it, but could never bring myself to actually buy it...............
until yesterday.

my review??? I think it is yummy yummy yummy, but it should be in the dessert section, not by the peanut butter. Being by the peanut butter made me think of it as a sandwich making item. I love peanut butteer, almond butter, cashew butter (you get the idea), so I was expecting hazelnut butter with a little chocolate added. I thought it came in a brown plastic bottle and that I could use it as an alternative to peanut butter. FYI - It does NOT come in a brown bottle - the brown you see IS the chocolate spread! I realize this may be common knowledge to the rest of the world, but it surprised me. For lunch we had Nutella sandwiches. The result? YUM, but I just couldn't give myself a "point" for eating a "healthy lunch." (on my spreadsheet, see previous post) The calorie count is identical to peanut butter and fat count is actually lower, but the grams of sugar is 3 times what it is in peanut butter. (even more than that if I had compared it to what I usually buy, the natural, no sugar added kind...) Basically, Nutella tastes like you are eating a chocolate candy bar for lunch. Delicious, but not really a good habit to get into. (Especially for someone like me - a chocoholic who has a seriously hard time saying no.)
So - in case you just couldn't go on living one more day without knowing what I think about Nutella spread...there you have it. I think that in the future I'll be using it as a "healthier alternative" to frosting, but trying to limit the consumption of "chocolate sandwiches."

And just in case you are interested, I pulled up the website and found the history of Nutella:

"Nutella®, in its original form, was first created in the 1940s by Mr. Pietro Ferrero, a pastry maker and founder of the Ferrero company. At the time, cocoa was in short supply because of rationing due to World War II, so chocolate was very limited.

So Mr. Ferrero used hazelnuts, which are plentiful in the Piedmont region of Italy (northwest), to extend the chocolate supply." (http://www.nutellausa.com/index.html)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Ok - as promised... my "new" system.
I'll begin by mentioning that whenever I suggest some sort of "motivation" or "reward" system for my friend Angel to try with her kids, she gets frustrated and says she doesn't want to try anything, because "even if it does work, it only works for a while, then stops working" and she has to come up with something new. I can totally relate - That IS exactly what happens, however, it doesn't bug me too much, because I am exactly like a kid... I start something, it works well for a while, then I need something new.

For a while, just having a "to do list" was a working, but I've found lately that I don't like having a "list" looming over me, mocking me if I don't get everything checked off. I would also get frustrated when I checked something off, (say cleaning the kitchen) then after the next meal it was totally messed up again so it looked like I hadn't done anything. I knew I needed something new. (something VISUAL...)

I knew I had been having fun charting my progress on the Hinckley reading challenge; I love entering my new page number, and seeing the progress on my charts. A couple weeks ago another flybaby sent in a letter to flylady telling about something she was doing. She created a spreadsheet to track her progress in. I thought this might work for me.

I created a spreadsheet with 3 categories - MIND, BODY, and SPIRIT. In the MIND section, I have household (cleaning and yard work) chores. This follows the thinking that when the house is a wreck - I tend to lose my mind. In the BODY section, it has things like going to bed by 10:30, eating healthy meals, exercise, and drinking water. In the SPIRIT section, it has personal prayer, family prayer, spend time playing with my kids, journal writing, scripture reading, etc...
I get a point for each item I do. (I get 2 points for most items in the spirit section, since these are the least physically obvious, thus tend to be the ones I let slide first; but in truth, they should be my top priority.) The spreadsheet totals my earned points per section and per day, and then averages the daily points for the week. (If this sounds complicated - it's not, I just have the gift of making simple things sound complicated...)

Some of the reasons why I like it?
- If at the end of the day, it looks like nothing got done during the day, I can look at my spreadsheet and see "my points."
-it isn't meant to be a to do list. It is simply a list of things I do (or should do) on a fairly regular basis. There are items on the list that are only meant to be done once a week (like cleaning out the van or the fridge, menu planning, etc...)
- as I got lots done last week, I found that each day I could earn more points, in less time, because the mess wasn't having as much time to accumulate between cleanings.
- when I spend time playing with the kids, or spending quiet time in personal meditation, that counts towards the day's productivity
- I can have good days and not so good days, but it averages out and I can visually see how the week as a whole went. Example - Wed. was my most productive day last week, with a total of 42 points, but Friday I got only 12. My average for the week was 24.7/day. Once I have a couple weeks data, I'll create a chart to visually SEE my progress.

Again - it may sound complicated, but it's not, and it's really been working for me. Yesterday was a not great day, only 13 points for the day ( I spent several hours reading), but today I got up ready to work, and I hit 13 points by 9:30.

SO - for now it's fun and it's working. When it stops working, I'll come up with something else.

Later - gotta go get some more points!

GO ME!!!!!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Sunday Gratitude Post

Maybe I should change it to my "Monday" gratitude post. I just usually don't get on the computer on Sundays...

* I am thankful for beautiful spring short sleeve weather

* I love going on family walks

* I love the smell (and feel) of freshly turned dirt in the spring

* I love all the tulips and daffodils that are currently in bloom. (Tulips are just starting to come into bloom in our neighborhood, those that are in sheltered areas up against houses)

* I am thankful for good health and a strong body that allows me to do things I want to do (like this morning I went walking and spent 30 minutes working on the rock wall I'm building to create the next terrace in my back yard

* I love the feeling I have on days when I know I've earned a good night's sleep after a day of good hard work (I especially love it if I actually GET the good nights sleep that I've earned, but that's another story ...)

* I love observing a baby's amazingly quick development (Caleb is getting to the point where he is trying to roll over. He can't do it yet, but it isn't far off)

*I am thankful that by tonight, ready or not, we will be DONE with our taxes! Tim has got everything entered in and now it's my turn to do my job - I'm the official "reviewer." (Can I just tell you - I could NEVER EVER EVER be a tax preparer. I just couldn't do it - it makes me crazy!!!)

*I am thankful for my new "system" to motivate me to work hard and get lots done. (I will talk about in a separate post)

* I am thankful for the slightly sore feeling in my legs (and bum) that tells me that I went walking this morning

I think that's good for today. Aaron has the week off for Spring break, so I don't know if I'll have time to get back to blogging today but I'll try to pop back in and post about my new "motivation" thing. I started it last week, and I had the most productive week that I've had in a long time. If I don't get to it today, I'll try to do it tomorrow.

PS - Melissa (formerly Sheets) - Glad you found my blog, it's great to hear from you. I wasn't sure if you'd check back in the comment trails, so I thought I'd say hi to you here.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Book Tag

Jennica posted this book tag this morning and I decided to do it. (A few other people have done it recently, but I wasn't in the mood to do it; today I was. Inspiration maybe???)

Here are the rules:

1. Pick up the nearest book (at least 123 pages)
2. Turn to page 123
3. Find the 5th sentence
4. Post the 5th sentence on your blog
5. Tag 5 people

* The nearest book was The Book of Mormon - Another Testament of Jesus Christ. (I carried it in here yesterday when I was updating my reading for the Hinckley challenge)

* page 123 brings me to Jacob 3

*it was a challenge counting sentences, since in most cases the sentence was very long and was the whole verse..., but according to my counting - My sentence is verse 11

"O my brethren, hearken unto my words; aarouse the faculties of your souls; shake yourselves that ye may bawake from the slumber of death; and loose yourselves from the pains of chell that ye may not become dangels to the devil, to be cast into that lake of fire and brimstone which is the second edeath.

This was a good thing for me to hear, as I seem to need constant reminding to awake and arise - I am far too complacent, content, and prone to say "all is well." On Charlotte's blog I recently read the quote, "The key to success in the gospel is to make small adjustments often" --Lee Cantwell (one of her religion teachers)
I need to focus on making small changes often, and sticking with them, (until they stick to me), instead of jumping in with a big ole' honkin' list of things to do, and then fizzling out after a week...

(Jennica's blog is a private one, so you can't go read it yourselves, but her quotes were really good, and I wanted to share them here as well, since I know that many of you, my blogging friends, deal with just a tad bit of stress every now and then:) So I hope Jennica won't mind, here are her words:

"Ok so I picked up two books that I am reading right now... The first one is "simplify" by Carolyn J. Rasmus. Here is the fifth sentence on page 123: "When we feel stressed, troubled, unsure, or discouraged we need to remember the things that we are taught in Primary: We must believe in Christ and all He has promised to do for us. " What a great thought!

Here is the second book that I am sort of reading (or just starting)... "Mary, Martha, and Me" by Camille Fronk Olson. ...
Here is the fifth sentence on page 123: "His grace is sufficient. Sufficient means enough."

Beautiful thoughts eh??? Thanks Jennica. If anyone who read this wants to do the book tag, feel free... I am awake and aroused, so I am going to go get to work. Y'all have a great day!

Monday, April 7, 2008

No hope for me... (out of the mouths of babes)

I have been vocally telling my children that I want to be a good mother and that I really am trying my best. They have heard me ask many times for help to be "more patient," a "better mother," or a "good mom" in our family prayers.

Yesterday during General Conference, Elder ? (I forget who it was, but I think maybe Elder Nelson???) said something like "there is no one way to be a good mother." (Meaning, of course, that there is no ONE, as in single, guaranteed way that will always produce the positive desired result.)

Trina's head jerked up suddenly and looked at me, with true pity and sadness showing on her face.

"I'm sorry mom, he said there no way you can be a good mother."

I had to smile at that one!

another Sunday (late) Gratitude post

I love LDS General Conference!

I am so thankful for a living prophet and apostles who speak directly to ME and my needs, every 6 months

I am thankful for the personal confirmation (of the divine calling of our living prophet) that I have been blessed with during every solemn assembly that I have attended or witnessed

I am thankful for the (much needed) gentle reminders to do a little better in my life

I am thankful for the reminder to find joy in my life as a mother. to enjoy the "moments"

I AM thankful for my children (even thought they make it a lot more difficult to get the full value out of conference, I love them very much and I am proud of them for trying their best to listen and be reverent for 8 whole hours!)

I am SO THANKFUL for a wonderful husband who has seen me floundering recently in my duties as a homemaker, so he spent several hours last night cleaning up the kitchen and working on the storage room project so that I could start my week without feeling "behind"

I am thankful that Tim is almost done preparing our taxes, and that as of right now, we don't owe any money to the government, in fact, we should be getting a refund. (by the way, does anyone know the rules about deducting medial expenses? Do you claim them based on when you PAID them? or based of the DATE OF SERVICE? If we claim them based on date of service, we meet the minimum required, if we have to go by the date we got the bill and paid it, we will just miss the amount...I supposed that's one of the joys of having a December baby, Eh?)

I am thankful for BIG FLUFFY BEAUTIFUL snowflakes. (I really love Spring and I'm ready for winter to go on its way, but if it HAS to snow, it might as well be beautiful while it does it.)

I am thankful for strawberries that go on sale. (The Reams on Center Street has strawberries for .99/lb. The sale ends today, but I went down this morning and bought 14 lbs - which I will slice up and then dry today. My family LOVES strawberries in their cereal and to snack on. At this price, I couldn't pass it up. I may try one batch of jam too. We'll see.)

I am thankful for Central heating. We've had the thermostat turned off for the past while, but I turned it back on today because I was CHILLY! It's so nice to be able to just flip the switch and voila' - HEAT!!!

Have a THANKFUL week!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Fugal Family Flip-Off

This morning as I was reading Charlotte's blog (which lead to reading Jacob's blog) it brought back loads of fun memories that I have of playing silly, made up games with my family. I will share this one... (I started to leave a briefer version of this as a comment on Charlotte's post, but then decided it would work better as a post of its own, so Charlotte, feel free to consider this a very long comment on your "eggstravaganza" post:)

One night I was sitting around the table just yakking with my brothers Mark, Eric, and Mike, and Mike's girlfriend, (now wife) Rachael. For whatever reason, there were a couple pennies on the table, which we started casually spinning while talking. This soon turned into a very intense competition. We collected a bunch of pennies, then we would each carefully choose our penny, making sure that we all had a penny of a different year so that we could tell them apart. Imagine us, sitting around the table, intently poised with an outstretched index finger holding the penny upright and the other index finger ready to flip the edge of the penny to send it spinning. The judge for the round yells go, and everyone flips their penny. The pennies spin wildly around the table, and the last to fall is the obviously the winner. This may sound stupid (and really, it was) but we laughed and laughed, and played that silly game for HOURS! it was well after 2 am when we finally decided that it was time to be done. Before Mike left to go back to his apartment, we officially named the game and then terminated the "First Annual Fugal Family Flip Off."

It is funny to me how often that memory is brought back up when we siblings get together. It is a great reminder to me that many of the best memories I have of growing up didn't cost any money, didn't involve a lot of planning and preparation, they just seemed to happen spontaneously and unexpectedly. I am afraid that all too often I try to "BUY" memories for my kids. I know that it doesn't work that way, I just have to keep reminding myself of it, and then try to give the kids a bit more free time and free space so that they can create memories and relationships that will last forever.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The JOY of pictures

So - today was spring picture day at Aaron's school. I thought it would be a great idea to get the kids dressed up in spring'ish clothes and get a picture of them all together.


I gave Bryan a haircut (which ended up being the only part of this adventure that turned out reasonable well), got Caleb, Katrina and Bryan bathed and dressed, and picked out some matching clothes for Aaron to change into. (We all know he'd never be able to keep something clean for a whole 4 hours of school.) As I was just starting to dry Katrina's hair, Aaron called from school. Apparently his nose connected with someone's head and he was hurting in a bad way... (It only bled a little.) It was his teacher's recommendation that he should come home for the rest of the day. I'm thinking - "great, what about pictures??? I just got everyone dressed!" I did a rush job on Katrina's hair - not great, but passable, put Bryan's newly washed sweater vest on, and buckled everyone in the van.

About 71/2 minutes later we got to the school, and somehow Bryan had gotten dirty, wet, slimy, black marks all over the front of his sweater!!! Don't ask me how, I have NO IDEA! I checked Aaron out of class, made sure he could still smile and that his nose had stopped bleeding, then had him change his clothes. I took off Bryan's sweater and turned it around backwards so it looked like a round neck sweater instead of a v-neck. I figured that if anyone seeing the photo happened to think the sweater was on backwards, I am sure they would instantly think, "It couldn't really be, what kind of mom would have pictures taken with a sweater on backwards? Of course it must be on right."


The pictures were being taken in the cafeteria, and as soon as the smell of food hit Katrina, she lost it. She was instantly "starving!" We got situated for the pictures, with Aaron sitting down holding Caleb and the other 2 standing next to them. (It looked very cute for about 1 second) At this point it went from bad to worse.


First (and middle and last) Bryan wouldn't smile, then started pulling down his pants, then kept moving out of the camera lenses' range, etc... the longer it took, the more whiny and more unhappy Katrina became. When it was all said and done and we quit trying, I looked through the photos. (thank heaven for digital cameras) This was my commentary, "Delete, delete, not great but at least everyone is in the frame and looking at the camera, delete, delete, delete, delete, delete, delete..." you get the idea. We ended up going with the "not great but at least everyone is in the frame and looking at the camera" option. (Since it was the ONLY "non-delete")


Maybe in a couple weeks I'll try it again with a "real" photographer who is used to getting four kids to all look at the camera at the same time. Then again, I'm pretty worn out with today's whole picture episode, so I think I'll just wait until it's time to get this year's Christmas card photo.

And now, I NEED A NAP!


One of my worst habits popped up again this morning...

I was reading my blog roll and Shellie (little but loud) awarded "Jenna" (whom I had never heard of or read or anything) with an award for the following post: Simmering Down. I of course popped on over and read it - and loved it. It was beautifully written and very insightful. I decided to read a few other of Jenna's posts to see if they were equally good. I randomly picked "sugar and spice" from her recent posts and again found it well written and right on the mark.

Of course, me being me, I instantly began comparing myself to her in my typical negative fashion. "I can't write even remotely as well as she can..." "Her posts are interesting, contemplative, and thought provoking; mine are boring reports of what chores I did or didn't accomplish during the day." "Why do I even bother..." etc...

After a few more thoughts along this line, I stopped being negative and reminded myself that in order to be "thought provoking" and "insightful," you need a working brain and some time to think and have insights. Right now, I really don't have either of those essential items. My brain is on hiatus, I can't recall the last time I had a good nights sleep, I have 3 preschoolers at home with me all day, who can undo at lighten speed anything that I actually manage to get done when not holding my 3 month old bundle of joy. My one child that is gone to school during the day makes the Tasmanian devil look calm. As soon as he walks through the front door, I wonder why I even bothered to try to get the house in order...

(deep breath) To every thing there is a time and a season. (exhale)

So basically - for the next 4 - 5 years, feel free to just check in here periodically to see if by chance something deep and profound shows up. But DO come back in about 5 years. I'm planning that by then I should have my brain in partial working order again and I should be able to have at least a couple hours each day (while kids are in school) of semi-peaceful, quiet, "pondering" time in which I can develop some deep and meaningful insights to share. (OR NOT, I guess only time will tell)

Until then, I will continue to simply keep a record of my days - my ups and downs - my challenges. LOVE TO YOU ALL - who show an interest in my simple little life; well written and meaningful, or not...