Sunday, February 24, 2013

A Week in the Life {2/18-2/24}

Nothing much happened this week. Really. In fact, it was kind of a bummer.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Color Run

This IS the happiest 5K on the planet (as advertised).

Last year was NOTHING compared to the fun I had this year, as I was able to participate with my family. Whenever I go running, Hannah asks to go with me. I always tell her we can run together when she's older, or when she's in the jogging stroller. I have been so excited to be able to do this with her (and with Adam and Paige as well). It was also amazing to have Addison and Amanda with us. The more the merrier.

We got to the run at about 8AM and found bathrooms, traded shirts, and got situated with the jogging stroller. Paige was very anxious to be in a giant crowd (ten thousand people) and having to be strapped in her seat. Hannah was super patient, and was very excited to be there. Since there was so many people, it took us about 30 minutes to start running and it was pretty congested, but it didn't take us long to fan out and get our groove.

Last year we did the run in about 24 minutes. It was fast and fun, but this year, with inexperienced runners and the kids we decided to just take it slow and enjoy. It took us about 45 minutes but we were able to enjoy everything, and take a good pace for the kids. Every time we hit 1K they would blast us with color. We'd let Hannah get out of the stroller and run through it. It was the cutest thing. Hannah loved it and kept wanting to do it again and again.

By the end of the race we all had giant smiles on our colorful faces. Hannah wanted to start from the very beginning and do it all over again. Although it took several loads of laundry, and lots of scrubbing and soaping to get clean, it was more than worth it. We are all looking forward to participating next year, and every year after that, together as a family. The family that plays together stays together, right?

It was very cool for me to share in an activity with my family that has become such a positive thing in my life. Since Paige was born and I began to run, I've wanted to share that part of me with my family in a more intimate way and it was wonderful to do it with them. I was especially grateful to Adam, who always supports my running, and who has a bum knee, but still participated (even though he was in pain the rest of the day). I can't wait until next year!

A Week in the Life {2/11-2/17}

What a fun week we had!

We had Turney visitors all week, we started off the week with Nana Turney who had an extended stay (the rest of the Turney's went home on Monday but Nana stayed until Thursday. Nana was generous enough to invite Hannah and Paige for a sleepover at her hotel on Tuesday night. The girls had a blast! They got to take walks around the hotel, take a bath in a giant Jacuzzi, and sleep in a giant bed. Paige has such a funny sense of humor! Kris kept trying to get her to say "Nana" but she would only say "Papa." Paige knows that Nana and Papa come in a "set," so she was just trying to complete it. Whenever Kris would press "say Nana," Paige would say "Papa" and burst up laughing because she knew she was being tricky. The girls did great spending a night away from home.

Meanwhile, Adam and I got to go out on a date! We went to eat at Raising Canes (which was pretty good) and then did sealings at the temple. It was great to have a night all to ourselves, to get to bed early, and to wake up on our own terms. I felt so relaxed by the time I got the girls the next morning at 10am.

More visitors joined us on Wednesday night! Addison and Amanda came out for a visit to do the Color Run with us as a family. Guess what that meant...another date night! Adam and I went out on Thursday to The Olive Garden. I ate 1,600 calories just in dinner alone. That's over my daily caloric intake goal. It was heavenly.

Hannah and Paige loved to be with their aunt and uncle. Amanda said that Hannah was a perfect angel which is always a huge relief to hear. Hannah has been really obedient as of late and is always super helpful. Paige was great as well. She is such a sweetheart, always saying "please" and "thank you." In fact, I went to Sams Club on Monday and every time the cashier put food in our cart Paige would exclaim "Thank you!" Super sweet.

Friday was fun because we got to go to Valentines party for preschool. Brandee hosted at her house and she did a fantastic job! The kids decorated cupcakes, exchanged Valentines, and played games. Addison and Amanda took off for his birthday celebration, then we joined them for dinner at Rain Forest Cafe. Both girls had a blast eating dinner in a rain forest, loved the thunderstorms, and got a kick out of watching all the animals. It put quite a dent in our bank account, but it was worth it.

Saturday was the Color Run. Last year I did the Color Run with my friend Haley, her mom, and some of her friends. It was the greatest, but I felt like my family really missed out! This year, I wanted to cross the finish line as a family. It was incredible, and I want to do a separate post on it. After the run (it took us 45 minutes) we came home and did laundry, took naps, and had dinner together as a family while A&A went to a time share presentation and to see the Blue Man Group. Adam and I watched Skyfall (which is what I got him for Valentines day). I loved it (and so did he).

Today we woke up and all had breakfast together. We'll attend church, then have a family dinner and say goodbye to Addison and Amanda. We are looking forward to Adam's day off tomorrow!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

A Week in the Life {2/4-2/10}

I've read The Happiness Project this week and it shaped my week in the best way possible. Here is a starred review: Rubin is not an unhappy woman: she has a loving husband, two great kids and a writing career in New York City. Still, she could-and, arguably, should-be happier. Thus, her methodical (and bizarre) happiness project: spend one year achieving careful, measurable goals in different areas of life (marriage, work, parenting, self-fulfillment) and build on them cumulatively, using concrete steps (such as, in January, going to bed earlier, exercising better, getting organized, and "acting more energetic"). By December, she's striving bemusedly to keep increasing happiness in every aspect of her life. The outcome is good, not perfect (in accordance with one of her "Secrets of Adulthood": "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good"), but Rubin's funny, perceptive account is both inspirational and forgiving, and sprinkled with just enough wise tips, concrete advice and timely research (including all those other recent books on happiness) to qualify as self-help. Defying self-help expectations, however, Rubin writes with keen senses of self and narrative, balancing the personal and the universal with a light touch. Rubin's project makes curiously compulsive reading, which is enough to make any reader happy.

I'm always looking for ways to improve myself and be a better mother, and this book shaped so many of my thoughts and helped me identify my happiness in so many different settings (currently reading her follow up book: Happier at Home). I decided to change at least one day of my week to reflect my current goal: to be a better mother. This is probably an eternal goal, but every day I want to improve my relationships with my kids. 

In light of my new goal, I decided I would start getting up early on Monday to complete my tasks. That meant, at 5:45 I was up doing laundry, cleaning bathrooms, dusting, and eventually (when everyone was awake) vacuuming. In essence, I completed everything while Adam was home and Paige was asleep so i could dedicate my time to my children all day long. Was it perfect? No, I was pretty tired (still trying to master getting to bed at a decent time) but I felt like I was able to focus on my children and their activities. We took a walk (Hannah rode her bike) for about an hour, we read books, we snuggled, we enjoyed the clean house stress free. 

Paige is loving the park. We went three times this week and she has so much fun going on the slides and running around. I let my children be a little bit more free than some of the other parents, as in, I am not a helicopter parent. Hannah and Paige were both climbing the playground and going down slides by themselves when they were about 15 months old. Sure I watch them like a hawk and I jump up if Paige gets that interested look in the edge of the playground equipment, but for the most part I let her be. She is wonderfully independent. We went to Denny's this week and she had her first taste of a caramel dipped apple. She got this surprised look on her face, looked at Adam and shouted "Yummy, yummy, yummy!" Paigey's hair is getting thicker and I'm having fun trying to do it every morning. She knows she needs pretties in her hair every day and she doesn't fuss too much. She was very wary of the Turney's when they came over and whimpered in the corner with Mommy but she warmed up after a bit, even if she stays close to Mommy and Daddy. 

Hannah has flattery down to a science. The other day I asked if she would clean something up. She said "Mommy, I can't, will you do it because you are the BEST at cleaning up!" I said "Oh gosh, where did you learn that?" She said "From you, ya old Lady!" What the heck? She always says "You are the best Mudder," or "I'm so glad you are my Mudder!" She cracks me up. Today My mom said "Is that so darn big?" I said "Yes it's really big." Hannah said "Yeah, and darn too." Hannah has spent a good amount of time reading this week. I was in charge of preschool and she just wanted to be my Vana White and help me out with each lesson. It's amazing to see these kids grow, since we have six weeks in between teaching times, I can see them change in that month and a half period. It's so awesome. They are doing great. Speaking of doing great, Hannah is writing her letters like a pro! Not all of them but she is doing a great job at the ones she knows. 

Adam and I got to see Anything Goes at the Smith Center. I LOVED it. It brought back good memories of my childhood as it was very nostalgic of the musicals we'd watch as a family, like Bye Bye Birdie, Guys and Dolls, and Gentlemen Prefer Blonds. I love our Smith Center tickets! We also enjoyed a trip as a family to Red Rock Canyon (Adam's parents/siblings are in town) and dinner at Denny's (my mom sent us money for a Valentines dinner and we thought it would be fun to do with Hannah and Paige). Adam has of course been working hard as always. He has been tutoring twice a week after school to earn money for a vacation in California this summer. I appreciate his hard work and diligence. We found out this week that Adam was getting a pay cut. It is a huge bummer and very demoralizing to Adam, however, we are fortunate that we don't NEED the money. It won't really affect our budget at all, we can save money and pay the bills. We have everything we need, so we can't really complain. Adam and I are both teachers in Relief Society and Elders Quorum. We both teach second Sunday (today). Our topic is Being Converted in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is about lifelong conversion. After church, we'll have dinner with the Turney's at our house. 

Sunday, February 3, 2013

{January Photos}

 Trying to do makeup

Princess Hair

A Week in the Life {1/27-2/3} Small Moments Edition

Rather than doing an overview of our week, I wanted to highlight a few moments of each of us.

Paige has my heart. Hannah does too, but I had forgotten those simple, sacred moments of communicating between a mother and small baby without words. Paige has a lot of words in her vocabulary, and uses them most of the time, but her primary form of communication comes from facial expressions, a certain look in her eye, and gestures. The other night, Adam was working on paperwork (which he does with headphones in so he isn't easily distracted) and I could hear Paige crying in her crib. It was about 11:00 at night and I was already in bed and pretty tired so I just took her wordlessly into my bed and we just stared at each other for a few minutes. She was so happy (even though she was pretty tired) to get those few one on one moments together. She loves to hold my hand, touch my face, and just be tender. I had the strangest thought while we were looking at each other, and it was: I wonder what her favorite color is. I feel like I know Hannah so well on a different level because of her ability to communicate and I feel in a lot of ways I'm just getting to know Paige as a person as she has started talking. She is such a tender little girl, I sure love her. I think she's having strange sleep transitions because she got up a few times this week. She is really good, she just needs a moment with her parents and then she'll go right back to sleep.

Hannah is an angel. I was thinking last night that it's a good thing we live in Las Vegas so that I have a chance to raise her, away from my parents--who she worships. Every morning (and sometimes in the middle of the night) she tries to sneak my ipod out of my room and Skype with my parents. She talks to my mom a few times a day, and the other night I found her snuggling with her dollhouse Grandma "Margie" and Grandpa "Tim." She loves them so much and I don't think they could be any closer if we lived next door! She's really into being helpful, even when it might not be so helpful. Today, I was making a dessert and she asked if she could help. I told her it was complicated and it would help me most if she went and played. She asked "how about if I just stand with you and talk so you don't get lonely?" It melted my heart and I did enjoy the company. The other day she said "Mommy, I'm so glad you are my Mother." Another heart melter. I am glad to be her Mommy too. She is a very loving person. She also said this week: "I don't want just two kids, I want four kids in our family!" Haha, be patient little girl.

I am reading a fascinating book for book club called "The Happiness Project." It's about a woman who spends a year of her life focusing on finding out what makes people happiest. She spends a ton of time researching so the book is full of research, plus personal responsibility. She cites the common phrase "Happy wife, happy life." She says it's a HUGE responsibility for her mood to affect her husband and two daughters. At times she wonders if her pursuit of her own happiness is selfish, but she says that she finds her happiness effects those around her. She comes up with many lists of things that bring Happiness and it has made me more cognitive of the things that make me happy. Here is my list:

Build a stronger marriage and constantly work to show love (1)
Be a loving, attentive, present mother (2) 
Always rely on God; remember the sacrament prayer and always have the spirit with me
Focus on my connections. Make an effort at least once a week to let my friends know how much I appreciate them.
Appreciate and love my body for how it is, take care of my body. 
Appreciate and love my mind. Nurture it.
Stop acting how you expect others expect you to act. Be true to yourself. Stop competing. 
Make a real effort to call my siblings at least three times a week. 
Spend less "down time" on the Internet and more time working on goals.

Those are just things that will help me focus on things that really matter.

Adam is a wonderfully patient man. Today, as I made some dessert I thought casually "My family is lucky to have me." Then I started to think of all the reasons why we are lucky to have Adam. Adam is very very slow to anger. There have been very few times in our marriage that he has actually gotten upset, even though I'm a lot to put up with. He is very helpful. He has never said no when I ask him to do the dishes, take out the trash, change a diaper, or put a girl in bed. In fact, I can probably count on one hand the times he has said no to me in our entire time together (nearly 8 years together now). He can be cynical and judgmental at times, but he is also very quick to "repent" when someone points out that those things can be hurtful. He is also very willing to see someone's side of an argument and takes time to listen and learn from others. I really appreciate these qualities, because I am much more prideful and I am grateful for his example.

Yesterday, we spent the whole day as a family. We went to shark reef, the Disney store, 5 Guys, and on a walk to a friends house. That is when I'm happiest. When it is just the four of us.