Monday, February 25, 2013

February Fun

For one of the most dreary months, we've been trying to find some fun things to do. With Brigham usually busy with homework, the kids and I have been going a bit nuts - especially when we've been trapped at home with sniffles, to avoid sniffles, or to escape the cold.

One Friday night, rather than wallow in self-pity that we were on our own while Brigham did homework, I decided to change my attitude and situation into a positive one. Result: movie night with the kids.

We rented the latest Ice Age movie, made a comfy bed on the floor for us to relax, and enjoyed a couple treats.

Ammon lasted until his treats ran out...about five minutes...but then we cuddled on the couch with books together. It was really nice quality time and turned what could have been a depressing evening, into a fun one. I foresee more Mommy movie nights in the future.

Despite Brigham being so busy, I was able to snag him away for a BYU basketball game. We met up with my brother and sister-in-law for dinner and then went our way for some cheers, dribbling, and hoops.

It was supposed to be a close game, but we ended up kickin' butt in true BYU style and won by quite a margin.

After the game we were trailed by a murder through the business building and all the way to our car, but we managed to outmaneuver him with our wily ways. We have quite exciting adventures!  Man did I love getting out with my husband and enjoying a good night!

We ended up with tickets to another BYU game, but sadly Brigham was trapped by my arch-nemesis, Homework, and so I went with my siblings instead.

Unfortunately, Ammon got to my camera and left spit trails on the lens, thus Sadie's glowing head, but otherwise I love this picture. And despite that blur, we had a fantastic time! While the first 3/4 of the game was all foul shots and pretty boring, the last part got really exciting - including a tie-breaking, game-winning shot in the last two seconds of the game. Celebration ice cream afterwards always turns a good night into a great one! There's nothing like a night off being a mom and wife that helps reboost my engines so I am ready to go again.

Those are a few of my fun February happenings. I've also had sister-in-law temple trips, a jewelry party, birthday dinners, President Day Ikea shopping and lunch, and Valentine's Day to help keep those winter doldrums away. It's been nice to be a bit more busy. What do you do to entertain yourself when you can't enjoy the outdoors and you're on your own? Suggestions are welcome!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Dress Up Days

I love to dress up for special occasions, put some glamour on, and strut my stuff. I always have. Even as a child, my favorite game was dress up and I would go to certain friends houses because I knew they had the best dress up stuff. In my opinion, there's not near enough reasons to do so as an adult, so I'm glad my kids can enjoy it now.

Princess tutus, silky slippers, and Superman capes (with bonus necklace).

And a playmate with an imagination.

These are the best parts of dressing up.

Even if trying on different outfits to get there makes quite a mess.

Yep, the days of dress up are the best ones.

Since I don't have a good reason these days to dress up as a princess or fly off as Superman, maybe I'll just have to join them. After all, I never needed a reason as kid anyway.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Fun Dips, Hot Date, and Warm Bodies

Yesterday was one of the best holidays of the year: Valentine's Day! Oh how I love this holiday, and always have. Something about the pink, red, handing out treats, flowers, chocolate, and just a general expression of love for others makes me giddy with excitement. And the thought of secret admirers and secret trysts of romance always pull at my heart strings...even though that's never happened to me. I like to pretend or imagine it for others. I'm just a romantic at heart.

I always give out valentines, because that's half the fun! This year my kids were excited to hand out Wonka Fun Dip valentines

I can't help but get these for my kids to give out because they bring back such good memories. We LOVED the fun dips as kids. Dip a candy stick into colored sugar and lick it off, and then you get to EAT the stick!? Oh man, the best. Can't pass those up.

I dressed the kids up in Valentine colors that morning and we went and exercised, went to the bank (handing out Valentines everywhere we went), and then came home to normal routine for the afternoon. I told my kids to smile for a Valentine's Day picture and this is what they gave me:

And this is the best I got:

They were all too happy to display their Valentine's Day gifts:

Just a couple new plates and a box of sweethearts candy (how can you have Valentine's day without those?) for each of them. We go simple and sweet around here.

That night Brigham and I were able to go on a nice date together.

If you know the show, this is one of the cutest Valentines ever.  Which  is why I sent it to Brigham for our hot date :)

We wanted to eat at Pei Wei, but it was a two hour wait (for a fast food Chinese place?! What the heck?!) so we went to Iceberg instead and used our gift certificate from Christmas and a BOGO coupon for a shake. After dinner we went and saw the movie Warm Bodies.

Brigham really wanted to see it, but I was highly skeptical. However, due to the lack of other preferable options and high recommendations from family, I said ok and I'm glad. I really liked it! It was funny and creepy and cute. A little language, but that's it. And I was able to enjoy it even though the theater smelled like someone had just puked and then someone else came along and dumped a bottle of cleaner on top of it. It was bad. I watched the movie while breathing through my coat the whole time.

Despite our troubles, it was good to get away with my handsome Valentine. I wish I had taken a picture of the two of us - I brought my camera and everything - but unfortunately I'm only good for capturing the kids. Here's an old one from our first Valentine's Day together:

Oh how young we were. And I'm liking my hair! So Happy Valentine's Day to you and your loved ones. I hope you got a smooch, whether it was from your spouse, parent, friend, or baby - love is good from anyone!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Jewelry Organized

I love jewelry. Lots and lots of jewelry. Actually I love any accessory. I think it's because it's one size fits all and can spruce up the drabbest of outfits. Needless to say, I have accumulated plenty of jewelry throughout the years and due to the volume, I have felt overwhelmed with what to do with all. Especially unpacking after Christmas vacation and facing the daunting task of putting it all away.

So instead, I practiced the good old avoidance method and my dresser looked like this:

For the past month. It's been driving me crazy!! Jewelry was everywhere. I knew I needed to do something about it and I hated how all my necklaces kept getting all tangled together in their drawer.

Not to mention they didn't fit anymore so I had stopped putting them in there anyway. Well after going crazy for so long, I decided to finally undertake a project I had pinned on Pinterest over a year ago found here.

If you look on Pinterest there are SO many different ways to make jewelry organizers but I knew I had this beauty:

I found it ages ago at DI for twenty-five cents, so I went ahead and made my own version of the above project.

I went and picked out some scrapbook paper, cut it to shape, and mod-podged it to the wood.

I kept the pink border because I liked it :)

After everything dried, I took some metal hooks out of our tool set and screwed them in the middle.

Next, I hung it on the wall and did one of the funnest things in the entire world: organized my jewelry! It's amazing what you rediscover when you go through your jewelry box - lots of memories, and hidden treasures. The end result turned out like this:

Ah, so nice and clean! I actually enjoy going into my room now and I don't feel stressed when it's time to get ready. I love how it turned out! I think Brigham was tired of the mess too because he keeps commenting on how nice it is.

It was seriously easy and fast! And now I have a perfect excuse to get MORE jewelry (as if I need one). Now I just need a solution for my numerous pairs of earrings. All the organizers that include earrings make you have to hang them up with a back, and knowing how lazy I am, that just won't happen. When I'm in a trying on several pairs at a time trying to find what looks best with an outfit, it's too much work for me to hang them up and put the back on over and over again. Realistically, I know I would throw them on my dresser in a rush rather than take the time to hang them up. And yet, I hate throwing them all in a drawer together because they don't keep as well. Maybe I shouldn't be so lazy because something like this would be really cool:

But alas, I know I would end up throwing all my earrings on my dresser in a big pile all the time until I made myself hang them back up on clean house day...and then they would start piling up again until the next clean house day. Maybe a big magnetic board that they can just stick to? Do they have those? Hmmm, I will have to research.

But there you have it folks, I finally got my craftiness back on!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Following The Prophet

Lately, I've been studying much of the life of Lorenzo Snow. Mostly since we are studying his teachings in Relief Society this year, but also because it seems that things just keep popping up about him. From my missionary brother's email to random ensign articles, I gathered many bits about this man and have a lot to say on what I've learned.

First I read all about him in our new manuals they handed out in Relief Society. I was trying to be good and read the lesson ahead of time (...I only lasted one week...) and I was surprised at how much I already knew about President Snow and also how much I didn't know. I thoroughly enjoyed that first chapter...if you haven't been able to read it, I highly recommend it; he leads such a fascinating, inspiring life.

Then we had two different lessons in Relief Society on his life where I learned even more about him. Usually, I would be bored with overkill, but I just couldn't get enough. I take that to mean that I really have some great things to learn from this prophet.

Due to a New Year's resolution to read more than fiction novels, I have been pursing more Church educational literature and decided to read Daughters in My Kingdom. I know we were asked to read it ages ago, but I never have. I find that I love it! I love learning about the history of the Relief Society, it's insipring! Also, I have learned a lot about Lorenzo Snow's sister, Eliza, who was the second President of the Relief Society. Learning about her is fascinating (she's amazing too!) and adds an extra window into the life to President Snow and his family. I highly recommend reading this book as well.

Basically, this has been on my mind a lot lately. During one of the Relief Society lessons about President Snow, the teacher said that he was known to always be "poised and calm in the face of trouble and respected for it." That phrase struck me so strongly that I can't get it out of my head. She went on to explain that he was known for his discipline of character, and that didn't lose his cool.  After reading about his sister, Eliza, I found that she was that way as well: always poised and dignified.

That is something I have always wanted to be...and exactly what I am not. I am the type that just loses it. I yell, I throw fits, I cry, I have break downs. The stress gets to me and I flip out. I have tried so hard, for so long, to work on this and to face my issues with a calm clarity, but it's definitely a work in progress. Lately, however, I find that I remember this fact about President Snow in the heat of the moment and it helps me calm down. I think about this everyday and this aspect of President Snow is what I treasure and try to emulate most about him.

Of course, President Snow was very scholarly. He was continuously learning, studying things out, and growing in knowledge. I knew this about him, but when I was reading my daily Ensign article at breakfast I came across one prepping us for learning from President Snow for the year, and I was struck by a part of it that emphasized his love for learning. In it, a line from President Snow was quoted, “Each last day or each last week should be the best that we have ever experienced, that is, we should advance ourselves a little every day, in knowledge and wisdom, and in the ability to accomplish good.” 

Lately, I have felt so much in a rut. I feel stagnant and like I'm not progressing. I've sort of felt like I'm going to waste. Part of it is the winter blues, and being stuck home with sick kids for so long, and part of it is based on the fact that I haven't been. I love school, I love learning, I love growing in knowledge, and the lack of that lately had put me on edge. I've been watching so many of my family members and friends around me going to school and working hard and I feel like my life is passing me by. After I read that article, I was struck so strongly with the desire to learn and the prompting that it's up to me. Lorenzo Snow had a drive to learn and made it happen. Just because I'm a stay-at-home mom doesn't mean I can't either. I want to be like him and constantly find new things to learn and new ways to do it - especially the ability to accomplish good. It's my choice if I'm accomplishing good, or learning how to, and I'm resolved to doing more. If you want to read the entire article check it out here. It's good, I promise.

I've just recently read a book about getting the most from your kids (back to the resolution of reading more than just fiction) and after I was prompted to learn more, I took a trip to the library to find more books about parenting better. Ironically, Ammon turned into the devil and I couldn't keep him under control long enough to find something before we had to leave, but I'm going to go back (hopefully devil free) and go down those rows and learn and learn and learn. I also pulled out my old accounting notes and problems. I want to be able to help people with accounting again. I haven't cracked them open yet, but they're out.

The last thing that has impressed me is the dedication to the Lord that Lorenzo Snow gave. Once he decided he was in, he was all in. He gave up his life to the Lord's work. He served mission after mission, taught, preached, followed the prophet's council, had enough faith to see the Savior in the temple and then become prophet soon after. It's amazing how many missions he served. I find that I tend to dedicate myself to the Lord when I have time, when it's easy, or when I feel guilty enough to do more. I want to be more like President Snow and dedicate my life to the Lord, rather than include Him every once in awhile.

These three things, calm in the face of trouble, continued growth and learning, and dedication to the Lord are the three things I have come to love about President Snow and want to be better at. In just a short time they have been reintroduced to me over, and over, and over. I know I'm supposed to listen and make changes.

I want my posterity to know someday how special it has been for me to read about such a great man and what things I want to change to emulate the prophet Lorenzo Snow. I'm excited to learn from his teachings all year and to grow even more. I love this Gospel and the inspiration it brings and the men the Lord have prepared as His servants to lead us back to Him.