Saturday, December 28, 2013

Challenge Accepted

I am super excited about this next year. I feel like this year has been a rollercoaster. From an unexpected death in the family to job loss, moving, bed bugs (I still squirm thinking about it…), an allergic reaction to a mediation that landed me in the emergency room, a car accident and just every day drama, i
t’s been chaotic.  I’ve also started getting my writing out there. I have more people reading my writing than ever before. It’s scary and exciting.

I feel like something inside my brain finally snapped into place and I cannot even express how much I am looking forward to challenging myself this next year. I am choosing to LIVE and to be happy. Now, I need a little bit of help. I have already come up with a list of things I want to do this year. Things that will push me, things that will force be to take a step back and just enjoy being and things that will help me open up to next experiences. I want more!

In order to get into the grove of this life-changing, quest for fulfilling my inner-rebel/realizing 30 isn’t old year I need ideas! Every week I’ll approach a new challenge and blog about it, maybe with photos! I want you to see that if I can survive the things that scare me—you can too!

So here is what I have so far (some of these are long-term goals and I’ll write about them as I mark them off my list).

Explore somewhere in Utah I have never been

 I only have 25 goals and I need at least 52 so shoot me an email ( or comment below and send me your ideas. I’ll post this list on the sidebar so you can keep up!

As a side note, I’m conservative and although I’m looking to go outside my comfort zone, I will not be doing anything illegal or immoral. Also… I’ll cop to being a major wuss with heights so no jumping or being catapulted from disturbingly high locations!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Stepping out of the Light

Yesterday I was sitting in my living looking around. I started thinking about my year and about the next year and what I would like to do differently. I realized that my entire life, I have been playing it safe.

 I can easily say that the most rebellious thing I have really ever done was sneak to a party in high school.

 The best part: I never even got into the party because a friend and I ran into the group we were meeting up with and they told us a bunch of the seniors were drinking alcohol and being idiots so we left. I still was grounded (rightfully so) for lying.

Even during college my idea of rebelling was coming in more than 10 minutes late for curfew, (our university had a curfew for students to keep troublemaking to the minimum.) I have never even colored my hair any shade of unnatural color.  

I don’t drink, smoke or do drugs and I dress conservatively, and I am happy with that. I am happy being a mom and a wife. I love my family… they are my happiness. I am not looking to jump ship and flip my life into some irresponsible course of debauchery chaos. I am just not satisfied with me. I don’t want my girls growing up without a sense of adventure. I have always found joy in reading and writing and I think, at some point, I started hiding in my books and papers. I am always thinking about the result instead of just doing something and waiting to see what happens next.

My kids and I really enjoy watching the movie “The Croods.” In one scene, the oldest daughter (Eep) is arguing with her dad (Grug) about her decision to leave their cave and explore the world. This is the conversation they have:

Eep: Dad, you have to stop worrying about us.
Grug: But it's my job to worry! It's my job to follow the rules.
Eep: The rules don't work out here.
Grug: They kept us alive.
Eep: That wasn't LIVING! That was just.... "Not Dying"! There's a difference.

I feel like I am in a constant state of just “not dying.” I’m too afraid to take risks, too afraid to do anything and too afraid to live. I have been struggling with my weight for a few years and I think that part of the reason is because I’m afraid to lose weight. What if I lose weight and I’m not happy? What if giving up my favorite foods is too hard? What if … what if… what if… 

I finished a novel two years ago but I never edited it and never sent it in. Why would I do that? I tell people it’s because I don’t have time but that’s an excuse. What I really should say is that I don’t edit it because if I did, I’d have no reason not to submit it to an editor. And, if I turn it into an editor, I’ll have to deal with possible rejection… or worse success. Success means more unknown factors more potential changes and that’s scary.

So my big goal for the year is to stop being afraid. I am so tired of just not dying. I want to really live. I want to make BIG goals and finish them because it is hard. I want to do something a little off kilter just to see what happens. I want to try something new and embrace the fear that comes with being the new one in the room.

My first item on the to-do list this next year: I’m going to do something out of character with my hair. Yes, I am 30 and I probably should have tackled this baby step in my teens or 20s, but I’m embracing the too-old-to-be-cool-with-purple-hair and I’m going to do it.

What else do you think I should try this year? 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Silly Mommy Moments

Sleep. It's a precious commodity worth more than gold once you have kids. I feel like I've been exhausted since the day I gave birth to my oldest, almost seven years ago. Not getting enough sleep is bad for your health, promotes weight gain and can cause delays in reaction time as well as comprehension. I can attest that this delay in reaction time and comprehension can be dangerous, and even embarrassing. Let me illustrate:
My oldest was not a sleeper. She hated to sleep. The first week we brought her home, I was tempted on multiple occasions to return her. She cried all the time. When she wasn't nursing or staring aimlessly around, she cried. We started out with her bassinet next to our bed to make getting to her easier. Within in a few months she was cozily snoozing along side us, both of us too exhausted to put up much of a fight. After one particularly bad night, I was exhausted. I had barely gotten three hours of sleep and we'd finally gotten our little one to really sleep around 5 a.m. 

At that time my husband worked early morning shifts as a janitor on the college campus. This meant that he was usually up and gone by 4:30 or 5 a.m., which also meant he had an alarm set for around 4 a.m.. One early Saturday morning, my husband had the day off. Unfortunately he had forgotten to shut the alarm on his phone off and he'd left it in the living room the night before. When it went off the first time, I hustled out of bed to the living room, hit snooze and came back to bed, shutting the door on my way back in. My sleep induced brain did not think to shut the alarm off or bring it back to the room. For some reason ,shutting the door so it wouldn't be as loud, was my brilliant plan. 

The alarm went off again about 15 minutes later. I could hear it through the door which meant my peacefully sleeping 6 month old could too. I jumped out of bed and ran towards the living room. In my haste, and exhaustion, I forgot that I had shut the bedroom door. My forehead became very well acquainted with our bedroom door, as I slammed face first into it, landing on my back on the floor. The resulting slam was followed by my husband's confused "What are you doing" and the wails of a now not-sleeping infant. Unfortunately my husband's brain caught up with him much faster than mine and he spent the rest of the morning reenacting my graceful morning wakeup call. 

Then there's the time I left the car keys in my daughter's hands and tried to start our car with a plastic set of toy keys, going to church without a bra on (and not realizing it until I started to change afterwards) and tripping down stairs while holding the hand of our oldest, taking her down with me.

I'd like to think that my brain has gotten a little less fogged as my children have gotten a little bigger. But, distractions of older childhood serve as just a powerful brain killer as dealing with a newborn. 

Last year I was at home with my oldest (I feel like I blame a lot of my klutzy moments on her....) she spilled something on the floor. It wasn't a big deal, but I was in the middle of working and a little irritated. So I stomped over to the hallway closet to grab her a towel. I was in such a tizzy that I yanked the door open. grabbed the towel and slammed the closet door--- into my face. 

The resounding crack and then the thump of me hitting the floor ,with my face cradled in my hands, brought my daughter into the hallway.She just stood there and stared as blood poured between my fingers. I'm pretty sure I traumatized her for life.I finally managed to snag a towel from the closet and get it over my face, so that I could get her to call her dad on the phone. I jacked up my nose pretty good and not have a scar to prove it. 

Being a mom is hazardous. Not only do we have to deal with the basic parenting trials, but there are physical dangers that result as we get less sleep, eat less and lose our tempers more. I'd like to include a motivational picker-upper, but I fear that there's little hope for eliminating the physical scars that come from parenting, and I'm not sure I'd want to totally eliminate the risk. They make for funny stories and great ways to get your kids to do something for you. Keep that "I carried you around for nine months' speech in your pocket and pull out the trusty, "You know I used to spend most of my nights awake rocking you! One time I was so tired...." It makes for a much better story (0= 

Friday, December 6, 2013

Best and Worst Christmas Music

I love Christmas. I love the trees, the decorations, the hot chocolate and the lights. I love putting up our Christmas tree and then sitting on our couch with a book after the kids go to bed. I shut all the lights off except the tree and read by the light of the glowing lights. It is relaxing and beautiful and I cannot quite get that feeling any other time of the year. Christmas makes winter more bearable and the gray days less dreary. I especially love Christmas music. There is something about listening to the crooning of these special songs once a year that makes Christmas that much more fun.

I listen to Christmas music a lot. I flip it on as soon as Halloween is over. Yes, I am one of those people. I cannot help it. Christmas music makes me smile and with the days growing shorter and darker, I need every reason to smile. Because I listen to Christmas a lot, I have developed a few favorite songs. And a few … not so favorite songs. So… here is my rather biased list of best and worst Christmas songs:

The Best of the Best:

White Christmas, Bing Crosby: This is the best version of my favorite Christmas song. I love the song, I love Bing’s old-school tone that makes me long to live in the 1940s. I grew up watching the movie “White Christmas” which makes this version of this song even more meaningful.

O Holy Night, Josh Groban:  It’s possible that I could sit and listen to this song all day long. No one sings this song quite like Groban- except maybe Celine Dion.  I am sucker for a guy who can belt out a good high note and Groban does it better than anyone else I’ve ever heard.

We Need a Little Christmas:  This song is terribly cheesy and perky and I LOVE it. I blast the radio every time it comes on because it is so much fun to sing.

Mary Did You Know?, Kenny Rogers:  I’ve never actually heard a bad version of this song but Kenny’s version is raspy. This song gives me chills. I love the though-provoking lyrics. The words are beautiful. The song makes me look at my girls and think about how it would feel to watch my kids grow up and go through everything Jesus Christ did. It reminds me to give a little respect to the strength she must have had to be able to survive that.

The Worst:

 As much as I like Christmas music there are a few songs that make me change the channel every time they come on.

We Wish You a Merry Christmas:  This song is just annoying and ignorant. In particular the second verse which demands: “Now bring us some figgy pudding, now bring us some figgy pudding and bring it right here.” Then the singers refuse to leave until their host gives them food. Seriously? Who actually eats figgy pudding... and I find it rude that these carolers are demanding free food.

Carol of the Bells: I have a very good reason for not liking this song, it just creeps me out.  When I was a kid I accidentally discovered this “Killer-Barney” game on the computer. If you got caught by Barney a giant purple face would fill the screen with pointy, bloody teeth…. And the theme song to the game was Carol of the Bells.

Do They Know it’s Christmas: I know this makes me a terrible person because the song is meant as a tribute to the suffering in Africa. The song is just very overplayed. It is not a stretch to say I hear the song at least four or five times a day… at least.

Last Christmas: I will admit to being a little partial to Taylor Swift’s version of this song but again, it is overplayed. It has a catchy tune, which is why this one barely made the list of songs I do not like.

What makes you list of favorite or not so favorite Christmas tunes?


Monday, December 2, 2013

Free Day at the Spa

Whoop. My readers. I am a finalist in a blog contest. I was asked to write a blog post about why I am grateful to be a woman. The prize is a free spa treatment. The idea of even just a few hours of solitude and a facial is dreamlike. Enticing. So I wrote. The thing with writing about being a woman is that if feels so complex to me. There's a lot of reasons I'm thankful to be a woman. I only had a few hundred words to express myself so I did the best I could. I wrote what felt right at the time.

I love being a woman. I love wearing pretty clothes and makeup. I love looking at shoes I can't afford and drooling over handbags I'd never dare purchase because I would taint them with gum wrappers, happy meal toys and forgotten snacks. Mostly, I love feeling like a woman. I love that I'm sensitive and emotional. I love that my children come to me for snuggles because they think my skin is soft.

Being a woman is great. It's hard but it's worth it. There are days that I think it would be far simpler to be a man, slap on jeans and a polo and head out the door, but there is a secret power to being a woman. To taking the time to glam up, feel good and just absorb the beautiful that simply comes from being woman. For me the power of womanhood is far beyond the clothing and the hair (though obviously I enjoy both), it's in just being.

Feel free to check out my post about why I am grateful to be a woman. Here  Take the time to like my photo (The brunette holding the baby) and I'll be eternally thankful!!

Why are you grateful to be a woman or what do you think women have that makes them special?