Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Power of Moms Blitz

Alisa: Any physician (just your regular family doctor) can order blood work. I had my doc check everything from hormone levels to cholesterol levels. My insurance covered it, however, and they told me if it hadn't, it would have been quite expensive, so check with your insurance first. Also, how your blood work is interpreted and the treatment recommended could vary widely from doctor to doctor depending on what you've got going on, so you probably want to know your physician's wellness philosophy. Good luck!

I really wish I didn't need to sleep. It is so annoying at times. I really want to blog more, I really do, but I have to be a mom first. And I have to sleep. (And take showers.)


Tiffany Sowby and I (retreat manager for Power of Moms) flew down here to L.A. together on Friday after getting the kids off to school, and we're heading back tonight. 

3 DAYS LATER . . . .

The retreat was a smashing success. I'm glad some of the other ladies wrote about it already, because now I can just link to their blog reports. Here's Emily's take on the whole experience, as well as Tiffany's. (What she's not telling you in this post is about our crazy travel experiences  . . .) 

My super quick summary of the weekend is this:

1) Survived the flight down sitting next to volatile Jack Daniels man. 
2) Felt grateful to my bro-in-law Todd for picking us up at LAX despite our flight delay.
3) Enjoyed an afternoon visiting with my sister-in-law Shauna. (But Todd stole her Granny Smith bread that I carted all the way down from Utah for her since he was the one who ended up picking us up at the airport. At least that's what he said; I bet she stole it back from him. Personally, I can't keep that stuff in the house. It's evil white goodness. Er, badness.)
4) Was lucky enough to go with my in-laws that night to take adorable little Liv back home after the birth of her new baby sister, Eden, and witness their first meeting:

5) Met up with April and took her to my favorite Japanese restaurant in town, Ichiban:

6) Had a mini-slumber party with April at my in-laws, but mostly just prepped for the next day.(Her, a lot, me, a little. I just did a spiel on taking care of ourselves both spiritually and emotionally and a few other things. She did . . . pretty much everything else.) 
7) Enjoyed a full day of awesomeness with 50 other like minded women. No matter how many times I go to these things, I come away with a whole new list of inspirations, or at the very least, a renewed commitment to the things that are already important to me. I absolutely ADORE the women who show up to these events. Some of my very favorite associations are with the women I've met through The Power of Moms. I did a really, really poor job of taking pictures, but here are just a few.

With Tiffany, my traveling companion:
With Alisha, our main editor on the website:
 (It's funny and FUN to see all these ladies in person since we normally just communicate by email all the time . . .)

At one point in the retreat, the rain clouds finally gave way to a bit of sunshine. Tiffany and I (the two who traveled from Utah) instinctively looked at each other and simultaneously snuck outside with programs in hand. We sat at a table and acted like we were going over something on the program, but really we were just soaking up what little bit of sun there was during our brief time in "sunny" southern California:

With the board members who helped with the retreat. I really am a midget:
8) Bought April a belated birthday gift of all my favorite grocery store skin care products (long story) and then made her take me to Pinkberry: 
9) Went for a late night walk in the fog and stayed up way too late talking and laughing about who-knows-what.
10) Participated in the church choir last minute the next morning with my mother-in-law. Tried hard not to laugh when I made eye contact with and saw the look on the face of my friend who was singing soprano and didn't even know I was in town. 
11) Relished a delicious meal made by my mother-in-law (it's always better when someone else makes it!) with Todd, Shauna, and their kids. NO PICTURES! (Like I said, I did a really poor job in the picture taking department this weekend . . .) 
12) Survived the flight BACK to Utah after a long delay due to heavy snow back in Utah. (Poor Tiffany has pretty bad flight anxiety, and I thought she might break my fingers at one point.) Once I got to my car at 10pm, it was about 3 feet under and, of course, I didn't even have a snow scraper . . .

Yep, those are the memories I'll be keeping from my time in Los Angeles. 

Oh! The reason I titled this post "Power of Moms Blitz" is because just three nights before the retreat I was also lucky enough to attend a much shorter (and closer) mini-retreat of sorts in downtown Salt Lake. But I'm getting deliriously tired now, so you can read all about it on Saren's blog

Good nighty night!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Christmas Morning 2012

Okay, I'm going to try to bust through the rest of my Christmas pics since we're getting a bit far removed from that holly jolly time. Isn't it funny how quickly we go from being totally immersed in the Christmas spirit to wanting to move on, take down the decorations, start afresh, and get back on a normal schedule? But boy, was it fun while it lasted.

I always love to get a picture of the tree and stockings on Christmas morning. It's the culmination of so much hard work and anticipation--why not revel in it for a few moments before tearing it all to shreds?

I made the must-have breakfast casserole the day before. (Maybe I'll come back in here later and type up the recipe. It's on a very well worn 8-year-old post-it note from a friend in Iowa City.) I stored it outside on the deck since my fridge was already full, so you can see how much snow fell during the night. Perfect!
A picture of the thrashed but happy parents. I don't know why I'm complaining. I ALWAYS fall asleep on Christmas Eve while Brandon is still wrapping and setting up. I'm not sure if I'm a wimp or he's a robot, but we are certainly opposites when it comes to late night stamina:
Who doesn't love gold coins in their stockings?
And magic tricks:
We have a very precise schedule of organized chaos on Christmas morning. First stockings, then breakfast. And it's always the same breakfast. Last year I tried to make a different breakfast casserole, but it was met with serious resistance. So now the menu firmly includes: Clone of a Cinnabon cinnamon rolls, THE breakfast casserole (recipe coming later . . . maybe), and grapefruit halves:

It really was a beautiful morning:
On to the wrapped presents! Rachael turns just about every single thing into a Mommy and Baby and never tires of role playing that relationship, so I got her yet more baby gear. Here she is with one of her favorite dolls in a cute little doll carrier:
And another new baby. Because what 5-year-old girl has enough babies? Okay, Kate wasn't really into babies at this age, but Rachael wants to have like 23 babies when she grows up. Or so she says:
We also have a specific way of going about the present opening. The youngest person goes first and chooses a present for someone else. They then open their present while everyone oohs and aahs, thank you's are said, and then the next oldest person picks another present for someone else, and so on. It makes the morning drag out in a wonderfully slow way and also prevents any presents from being lost, forgotten, or unappreciated. Elizabeth's name hadn't been picked for awhile and it was coming up on my dad's turn to choose, so he asked her what present she wanted him to pick:
It was a good one! The roller blades that she has been wearing NON-STOP around the house ever since. Seriously, non-stop:
We have a ridiculous amount of stuffed animals in our house and they drive me UP A WALL! Even though we occasionally get rid of some, I swear they multiply in the middle of the night. But what is a mom to do when the one thing your daughter wants for Christmas (along with a stuffed Tigger--no, I'm not kidding, my kids are obsessed with stuffed animals) is a sock monkey school bus set? You buy it, that's what! But not until that same daughter gives away 4 or 5 other stuffed animals first. Which she did. And apparently it was worth it:
This is the most addictive game EVER! You need to get one for your family next year. (It's called Perplexus if you didn't click on that link.) I probably spent over an hour on Christmas Day trying (unsuccessfully) to get to the end:
An erector set for Will. I am painfully aware that we are getting short on years for buying him toys like this. WAAAAH!
The coveted Adventure Time t-shirt Kate bought for Will:
I promise Kate did get a present or two, but here she is choosing for someone else:
The whole thing was a little overwhelming for Yuki:
Until we eventually lured her out with the ultimate classic toy, The Slinky:

My dad modeling the sweater we got him:

And the tie:
Yes, there were also presents for my mother, Brandon, and me, but I just wasn't being that deliberate about picture taking. (And my mom would absolutely DIE if I posted pictures of her on my blog without her hair and make-up done.) So it's back to the youngest and the cutest:

Just for kicks, I took a few snapshots of the darling debris here and there. At our house, we firmly believe Santa and Jesus are good buddies and totally compatible at Christmastime:

I am so sentimental about our very old and very thrashed nativity set that I got for under $20 over 10 years ago at an Aldi store back in Iowa City. Rachael set the figurines up early in the season, and I never even tried to make them look different. This is how a nativity should always be:

After presents, we got serious about the food. And candy:
After brining the turkey in the garage for 24 hours, I put a bunch of butter, garlic, fresh sage, rosemary, thyme and parsley under the skin, stuffed it with onions, celery, and more garlic, and then injected it with more butter and garlic, and cooked it in a bag. (This recipe from The Best Bites blog.) That was one worked over turkey:

Kate made me this apron in a sewing class at school last year. I totally love it:
In she goes:
(Can you believe I didn't have a roasting pan until I got this one for $15 at the grocery store on Christmas Eve? Somehow I have gone all these years without ever being the one to make the turkey!) 

The day just got prettier and prettier. The kids (and I) spent a good chunk of time sledding in our backyard. I did that with them for about 3 days in a row, until I finally woke up one morning in pain and remembered that I'm not 12 anymore:

Elizabeth modeling her new matching doll outfit. On rollerblades, of course:
Is this the funniest picture ever? It's so Stepford Wives. (Except for the big mess of a kitchen office in the background which is anything BUT "simple" as the sign says.)
The day came to a close sooner than it should have, and dinner wasn't completely ready until way later than we had planned. It was good timing, though, since Jason, Liz, and Andrew got in right about the time we were ready to eat. They were supposed to be with us on Christmas Eve, but (long story short) they got delayed by the East Coast storm too and ended up in Salt Lake at Jason's parents' house before coming to us since they live closer to the airport. Don't let Andrew's blase´ expression fool you here. They had a GREAT time together, he and my three youngest, playing Avatar in the basement for hours on end and sledding outside. We loved having them with us for a few days: 

This is the only picture I managed of the Christmas dinner table. (Jason will be thrilled.) That suspicious looking bottle on the table (only to the Mormons in the room) is a non-alcoholic Chardonney that Ashley brought to us on Christmas Eve. Bet you didn't even know they made that, did you? Neither did we! It's kind of like the sparkling cider/juice next to it, but way better. The platter on the left is what I call my mom's "Minnie Mouse" relish tray. (Don't ask.) It has olives, bread and butter pickles, and pickled beets. The only thing missing is sliced green onions:
The rest of the evening was spent lounging around, visiting, and playing with toys. Did I mention that Rachael literally wore these pajamas for three days in a row? Oh, to be five again:

Elizabeth hasn't taken off her roller blades since that day, and Yuki has spent many moments in this doll stroller going around the house:

The Sock Monkeys got a ride too:
Hard to believe it's already been almost a month and Christmas 2012 is in the can . . . 
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