Sunday, January 22, 2012

Best Pictures of 2011: January

Don't know if I can keep this up or not (kind of like the "The Great Catch Up"), but I'm on a quest to start printing out my pictures one month at a time (two months worth of pictures at a time--does that make sense?) and putting them into old school photo albums. With the exception of special occasion digital photobooks as gifts, I have made peace with the reality that there is no way in the world I will ever scrapbook all my pictures. (Sounds awful, actually. Detail oriented projects kill me!) Printing and stuffing them into photo albums combined with whatever I record on my blog journalistically is ENOUGH!

But I have way too many pictures (WAY), so I want to start weeding out just the highlights. Here's my first attempt starting with January of last year. Not all the pictures I chose are the greatest photographically speaking, but some of them just capture the every day in a way I want to remember. (Like the playing school pic.)


Playing school:



Da view:

Winter beauty:

Dinner date:
Forcing spring:

Saturday, January 21, 2012


I wrote up an article for Deseret News about that depression stuff. You can read it here. I'm seriously fine if I do 80% of those things every day. 

Phase 1 of the blog make-over complete. Do you like it?

We're enjoying an evening at home watching 'Totoro' after a day of taking care of business. (Our entire family is positively NUTS for Hayao Miyazaki's Japanese anime!) Brandon and I looked at a dreamy (and I mean DREAMY) house this morning. Kate had a group harp lesson after that, and Will worked on both his monthly book report (I recommended the story of a Korean boy in A Single Shard and he loved it) and his project for the upcoming science fair (he's doing something urine related, of course). Both Will and Elizabeth had friends over a good portion of the day, and Rachael never got out of her pajamas. Brandon took care of some office stuff and replaced the battery for his keyless car entry key after not being able to get in his car (the downside of progress). I did who knows what. (Chinese for dinner. Asian theme all around today.)

Life this past week:

Kate pounding out Green Day and Coldplay on the piano, Will shuffling around the house trying to generate enough electricity to shock the nearest person, Elizabeth doing Just Dance 3 with me in the playroom, and Rachael nursing the little African American doll Kate got for her 3rd birthday over 11 years ago. (It probably cost less than $10 and is always the doll of choice despite the wide array of fancy dancy caucasian baby dolls floating around the house. Of course I have no problem with her nursing a little African American baby, but I find it interesting since I assume most children normally choose dolls of their same ethnicity, right?)

More Asian thoughts: I don't know why I always remember this date, but yesterday (the 20th) was the 19th anniversary of the day I went into the MTC (Missionary Training Center) for my mission to Sendai, Japan. Maybe I remember simply because my mission was so life changing. (And not just because that's where I met Mr. Wonderful.)

Speaking of my mission (the Mormon thing, not the Japanese thing), this republican presidential campaign is getting more interesting by the minute! What do you make of this article after Romney got squashed in evangelical conservative South Carolina tonight? I wonder!

Rachael just pushed her baby into the living room in a stroller and told me she has an invisible husband named Buttonsrolled. Sweet!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

I'm Depressed

Maybe it's the post-holiday blahs.

Maybe it's the annual, demoralizing realization that I really do not have the superhuman capabilities needed to do all the things I set out to do on January 1st. (Honestly, the ridiculous schedule I routinely map out for myself could only be accomplished by someone without a job or children at home. Someday I will find a proper balance between my high falutin' goals and my reality. But compromise can feel like defeat which is equally depressing . . . do you feel my pain?)

Maybe it's Seasonal Affective Disorder. (Very, very likely. 1--The further away from the equator, the higher the number of sufferers. 2--Women are 4x as likely as men to get it, and 3--people with a family history of depression are even more likely. Three strikes and I am OUT!!)

Maybe it's the suffocating pressure of needing to make a decision about a permanent home purchase. (This will be the place we finish raising our children, so it's kind of a big deal. We don't just think about things like square footage ((the house)), we worry a lot about community and location ((the home)). I hate moving. Even if it is just across town it will be an adjustment, and the bigger and more permanent the change and decision, the crazier I become.)

Maybe it's worrying about my sister who has stopped receiving treatment for her cancer, and my mom who is endlessly taking care of her while I sit over 1000 miles away thinking about stupid things like whether or not I can get a house with a mud room. (The most normal things in life have a way of taking on a heavy shade of guilt when people close to you are suffering.)

Maybe it's simply because, according to psuedoscience, we are fast approaching THE MOST DEPRESSING DAY OF THE YEAR! 

Whatever the reason, here's a little refresher of my plan to beat the winter blues. (Working the plan is a whole nother story.  .  . )

1) Use light therapy. (I'm planning to sit in front of my happy lamp while reading each morning for 30 minutes.)
2) Get a full night of sleep. 10-6 is my goal. (he he he . . .)
3) Do some form of cardio exercise for 30 minutes every day. (Going outside for a mid-day walk/jog is best, though I find it extremely difficult to get motivated to go outside when it's below 30 degrees . . .)
4) Take Vitamin D and SAM-e supplements.
5) Cut out sugar and carbs--the very thing you crave when feeling depressed. (Rolling eyes filled with cynicism and annoyance.)
5) Break out the aromatherapy, happy music, and good comedy. (Depress Depeche Mode is totally out of the question.)
6) Get out of the house and be social whenever possible.
8) Do all these things even though you feel like staring at the wall and crying for inexplicable reasons. (Sardonic laughing. The painful irony of treating depression is that you don't feel like doing any of the things that will make you feel better.)

And then there's the very short list of things NOT to do:

1) Don't punish your cluelessly upbeat husband by silence or anger because of his inability to read your mind, sense your every feeling, and interact with you like a professional therapist after being at work for 13 hours and putting the children to bed.

Wish me luck.

P.S. We did a 1500 piece puzzle during the Christmas season this year, finishing it last week only to discover that we had lost ONE PIECE!!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Dear Blog

I've missed you! But there are good reasons I haven't been keeping in touch. Like . . .

 . . . simultaneously unpacking/laundering everything from our road trip to California while taking down/packing up Christmas. (It's all done now except for the measly porch lights: Brandon's job.)

 . . . hanging out with Brandon's brother Marc and his family off and on while they were in town for the last week and a half visiting his wife's family. (No one ever visits us directly, but by virtue of living in the Mormon mecca we get to occasionally see fellow LDS friends and family who come here to see other real people. ((Maybe now would be a good time to invite my friends of other faiths to come visit the mountains, go skiing, explore the National Parks, and see little 'ole US!)) I should say, my parents came here last year just for us, and Todd and Shauna came here last spring break just to ski for us.) It was great fun going to the Dinosaur museum together, having them over to dinner a few times with the youngest brother Brent (and his girl Camille), and introducing them to Orange Leaf on their last night, but I am sad we never got to do that homemade Cafe Rio dinner together, because I have four pounds of boneless pork ribs marinating in Coke in my garage right now.

 . . . starting our home search in earnest, though we are completely schizophrenic about how much we want to spend and exactly where we want to live which makes the process kind of difficult. It doesn't help that our realtor has figured out what we like, and he's getting really good at tempting us with homes we shouldn't buy even though they are FABULOUS! I've taken to calling him The Adversary.

 . . . creating a flurry of comments on Deseret News with my post on breastfeeding in public. Holy cow! I think I might start doing more opinion pieces. It reminded me that I do like a good debate. I love to hear other people's opinions and hash out all the pro's and con's of an argument while maintaining mutual respect. Which leads to . . .

 . . . watching the 257 presidential debates, caucasus and primaries. I would be for Mitt Romney even if he weren't Mormon because he just makes sense to me, but man, it makes it about twenty times more interesting to follow this race when there's so much crazy commentary regarding our faith. The stuff people are saying/writing gets more press time here in Utah as you can imagine, but it really is amazing how much is being said from every possible angle. I think what surprises me most is that people really don't believe our church is politically neutral. Meaning, we never--and I mean NEVER--talk politics at church! I'm guessing there are hundreds of evangelical churches all over this country with pastors supporting certain candidates based on their faith (like Reverend Jeffress down in Dallas backing Rick Perry and bashing Mitt Romney for not being Christian--because it's SO Christian to bash other people's belief systems) but I can honestly say I've never once heard the name Mitt Romney or Jon Huntsman mentioned at church. We just don't do it. And this idea that our church's leadership would be phoning in to the White House influencing Mitt if he were president? So preposterous! Equally preposterous is the idea that a President Romney could influence the church's leadership because of his political position.

 . . . getting Kate squared away for end of term, Will set up for futsal (indoor soccer), Elizabeth prepped for an expander, and Rachael, well, we just hang out together. I had the babysitting co-op at my house earlier this week with several cute little girls for her to play with, and it was so much fun listening to the sounds of little girls planning a tea party. (Until Rachael asked me for some real sugar to put in their "tea" and I wouldn't let her because I knew someone would overdo it and create a sticky mess on the carpet and she got so mad she actually WHACKED ME IN THE FACE! That was a first.)

 . . . attending a "Favorite Things" party tonight. How fun was that! Everyone brought their favorite thing (no more than $20) and an appetizer or dessert to share, and the "favorite things" were distributed white elephant style. I came home with the most adorable green homemade flirty/frilly apron. (Super cute. Kind of like this. I can't make stuff like this so I was pretty excited.) Someone else took home some Olay Regenerist night cream. I told them I started using it when I turned 50.

 . . . getting pulled over by a very nice police officer whilst in my pajamas and slippers in between carpools because apparently my registration expired IN AUGUST and my car needed to be impounded. Except that it wasn't, because that nice Indian officer (don't know why I mentioned his ethnicity other than to convince people that not everyone in Utah is a WASM ((White Anglo Saxon Mormon))) took pity on me, clearly sensing it would NOT be a good idea to remove an unshowered, pajama clad woman from her car for the harmless crime of being a harried mother of too many children who can't keep track of her important paperwork. (I took care of the registration yesterday.)

 . . . Brandon being the first person on the scene of an accident involving a high school girl and a big truck. He said she was moaning and unresponsive, her head was bleeding like crazy, and she was having a hard time breathing. (Somehow he ended up with her car keys . . . ) I'm just glad he was the one to "happen" upon the accident before other first responders could get there. Someone told me tonight she's still in a coma in critical condition.

This is our life. It is full and busy and good. But it doesn't leave a lot of room for blogging.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Current Weaknesses, A Retreat, and Best Pictures (Oct.)

We are currently suffering through the dreaded after Christmas break "transition week" in which no one can wake up on time, the laundry is never caught up, the decorations are half up and half down, and the numbers on the scale are frightening. It's also my week at Deseret news (just wrote what amounted to an opinion piece about how of course breastfeeding in public should be legal, supported, and accepted, but for heavens sake--please cover up!) and one of Brandon's brothers and his family are in town for a few more days. What this means is we are definitely NOT back on track yet . . .
Weaknesses: Vintage gourmet root beer (what I got for him), Teavana herbal teas in flavors such as zarbinger ginger coconut (what he got for me), and traditional onko (sweet bean paste) filled Japanese mochi (pounded rice). (It's a New Year's thing. We haven't had it in so long. I brought some back from California.)

A Retreat: April and Saren put together a retreat in southern California not realizing it was OUR CITY! The city from which we just arrived! The city in which we lived for four years and gave birth to our last child! The city where my husband is from and where his family still lives! So of course I have to go, and so do you. Early bird pricing ends tomorrow. Check it out.  (I will speak on something. I hope Saren tells me before I get there.) If you can't go all the way to southern California and you live in Utah, you could try this on for size. (Tiffany is awesome. You would love her.)

Best Pictures: I got the idea from another blog to do a "Best Pictures of 2011" post. Doesn't that sound fun?  If I ever get around to it, I'd include some of these I took in my backyard in October:

The End
P.S. Someone's kidney stones are sitting on my bathroom counter. It pays the bills.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year's

My most memorable New Year's Eve was probably the one I spent in Germany when I was 18 ringing in the new year and decade (1990) with friends by playing cards and doing what we always did as teenagers growing up in Illinois: banging pots and pans while screaming at the top of our lungs in the middle of the street at the stroke of midnight. (That trip to Europe deserves a whole post of its own. Have I ever written about it?) I have a really hard time believing that was over 20 years ago, but the calendar doesn't lie. 

Since having children, our New Year's Eves have been fairly uneventful--even pathetic. But I don't mind anymore. I have a hard time getting too excited by a simple change in the calendar, though I absolutely LOVE making goals for a new year. Always have. I don't care what people say about making resolutions. It inspires me. 

Tonight we gathered here in sunny SoCal (and it has been gorgeous!) at Brandon's parent's home with them, his brother Todd and his family, and ate leftover Japanese curry and vegetable lasagna, played Balderdash, and counted down (Martinelli's in hand) while watching the ball drop live in NY on CNN. (9pm here--perfect for the kids' bedtime and for Brandon and Todd to make the 10:00 showing of the second Sherlock Holmes movie.) We had CNN running as we were waiting for the ball to drop until Kathy Griffith decided to take her clothes off and prance around in her bra and underwear next to Andersen Cooper talking about heaven knows what. (What is wrong with that woman? What is wrong with the CNN producers? What is wrong with our culture?) We had to turn it off until the last minute. 

I love that the New Year follows the decadent and undisciplined month of December. After overindulging in every way possible I am ready to get back on track, start afresh, and re-commit myself to the disciplined life. I love it actually. Monday is my favorite day of the week, and January is my favorite month. There's just something about a fresh start. I think it's the Japanese in me. I wrote a rather poor post about it for Deseret News here (didn't have much time to devote to that one) but the Japanese traditions of New Year's really do appeal to me. 

I'm now typing with my eyes closed (sometime while typing we entered 2012) as I wait for Brandon to get back from the movie and wonder if Kate and Will are asleep yet. I think I'll write more later about the goals/resolutions I decide on for the coming year. They will fall under these categories:


Any others you'd recommend? Happy New Year!

P.S. Brandon got me a wide angle lens for Christmas! Look what it can do: 

The beach

The Getty

Descanso Gardens

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