Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Countdown to the holidays with this garland of activities!

Interrupting the thirty days of thankfuls to share a quick idea I had and posted on the Scrap Girls blog this week. I'm really excited with how the project turned out and the kids are ecstatic to get started by opening the first little wrapped up activity tonight before bed so we can be ready to enjoy the activity tomorrow! You can find the details of the project HERE on the Scrap Girls Blog but I wanted to share a few pics of the project here as well and let you know about it in case you want to play along too, and enjoy some daily family fun through the holidays!

The idea is to simply wrap up 24 small activities that can be done as a family throughout the month of December leading up to Christmas. Then open one activity a day and enjoy a little family fun time doing what the activity card tells you to do. Some of the activities I wrapped up include: Call someone far away and sing a Christmas carol to them, Go on a holiday-themed photo scavenger hunt, Gather up old toys to donate, Color a picture using only red and green crayons and Have a Christmas music dance party. We're going to have a VERY fun month! (If you don't have time or desire to come up with 24 activity ideas or decorate activity cards, you can find some easy to assemble Assemble Your Own: Holiday Countdown Activities product in the Scrap Girls boutique. There are 56 activities included in that product that you can choose from - many of them are winter-themed, service-related or generic and could be done for any winter holidays - not only Christmas.)

I wrapped the activity cards and strung them on a pine garland and wrapped that around the stairway handrail so we see it often and won't forget to do our daily activities :) I'm SO excited for this holiday season!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thirty Days of Thankful - Day 29

Day 29 - I'm thankful for (shoot! I'm running out of days!) ...friends. Yes! That's a good catch-all for some important people and groups that I'm thankful for.

I'm thankful for the friends I've known "forever". Kristi, Marci, Jen, Amanda, Tanya, Tasha, Stephanie. The ones I've known and leaned on for as long as I can remember, the ones who have the dirt on me but only bring it out when we're laughing together about it. The ones I can be apart from for even years at a time but who I slip right back into a comfortable groove with when we find ourselves together again. The ones who were part of important parts of my life. The ones who are important parts of my life.

I'm thankful for the friends I have who happen to also be family. Or who may as well be family. The sisters, sisters-in-law, cousins and long-time family friends.

I'm thankful for the friends I've gathered through all our various moves and who became my confidantes and support system almost immediately when I landed myself in their ward, neighborhood or school boundaries. Beth, Lori, Melinda, Michelle, Wendy.

I'm thankful for the friends I've discovered and leaned on in online forums. October 2001 Playgroup, the June Junglegym, 1997 Playgroup, Xanga. Way way too many people to name individually, but so grateful for each one.

I'm thankful for the friends I've met through Scrap Girls. And while I'm on the topic... I'm thankful for Scrap Girls! (See how I worked in a bonus thankful this month? Seriously! The month is over tomorrow and I have way more blessings to name than thirty days will allow!) I'm really grateful that I had the chance to get involved with this amazing company and website, first as a member of the Welcoming Committee where I made fast and lasting friendships with many amazing women, and then more recently as a member of the Product Design team. I sometimes have to pinch myself to see if this is all real. Me? An artist? Pshaw!!! Yet, here I am, exploring a creative outlet I didn't even know existed four years ago, enjoying every minute of it and somehow even converting that enjoyment and creativity into an income that blesses my family! It's amazing to me and I'm so thankful for Scrap Girls and all that it brings into my life.

I'm so very, Very, VERY thankful for friends. Every one of them!

Thirty Days of Thankful - Days 25-28

I had the most amazing weekend! So much to be grateful for I can't even begin to explain it all! In a few days I'll do a totally thorough picture post of my trip to Kauai with Willy but for now I've got to catch up on my thankfuls from the last few days since I was away from the computer.

Day 25 - I'm thankful for God's hand in our lives. On Friday I absolutely felt the love of God as I viewed one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen on earth. All day long I was in awe of the beauty around me. My favorite children's song at church ends with the words "I'm glad that I live in this beautiful world Heavenly Father created for me." A truer sentiment couldn't possibly have been expressed on Friday as we explored the island of Kauai. And at the end of the day the clouds had settled over the mountain where we were sight seeing and we figured we wouldn't be able to see anything at the Kalalau Lookout. We weren't even sure if we should bother getting out of the car. But we did, and God worked a miracle for us that evening. As we approached the lookout the whole valley below was covered by a white wall of clouds. It was so covered, in fact, that we didn't even know what it was we were supposed to be looking at. Within two minutes of arriving and wondering what we were missing because of the thick, dense clouds, they suddenly lifted and rolled up the mountainside exposing the most amazing view of cliffs and color and mountain ridges and peaks and waterfalls. Simply breathtaking. We were in the right place at the right time and I'm so grateful for God's hand in my life! I felt so blessed at that moment.

Kalalau Valley

Day 26 - I'm thankful for the opportunity to reconnect with my husband. We had two full days to ourselves. We talked. We walked. We explored. We took (1500+) pictures. We laughed. We enjoyed each other. It was wonderful. I'm so thankful that we were able to get away together and enjoy that time as Angie and Willy. Just the two of us. It was bliss. It was rejuvenating. I loved every moment of it! I'm grateful for the friends who took our kids overnight so we could grab this opportunity to get away for our 15th anniversary! It was perfect. I'm so thankful we were able to get away and reconnect!

Arms reach self-portrait :) Our fav way to snap a shot hehehe.

Day 27 - I'm thankful for leftovers. And I'm thankful the kids hadn't devoured all the leftovers while we were gone! I had no desire to cook on Sunday and having leftovers totally made my day. I'm particularly thankful for the leftover Autumn Pudding, a favorite among a special group of my friends. I need to share pictures of our Autumn Pudding though because I know it's uniquely different from the ones made by my friends on the mainland, because I use sweet purple (Okinawan) potatoes in mine!

Molly was mesmerized by the purple

Look at that amazing color!! I love these things :)

Getting ready to assemble. Mmm mmm mmm!

The leftovers I got to enjoy when we got home from our trip!

Day 28 - I'm thankful for the scale that didn't climb nearly as much as I expected it to after the one-two punch of Thanksgiving and vacation. And I'm thankful that I have the knowledge and ability to get it moving in the right direction again :)

I'm so thankful!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thirty Days of Thankful - Day 24

Day 24 - I'm thankful for tradition.

Growing up in a large extended family, we always enjoyed Thanksgiving together. Different people were responsible for favorite dishes. My mom always made the stuffing and the homemade rolls. Aunt Peggy made the broccoli casserole. Grandma made the fruit salad. Grandpa made bacon-wrapped water chestnuts. There were menu items we could absolutely count on because it was tradition.

Another thing we could count on was our food getting a little cold as we observed another, even more special tradition. The way I remember it was when I was very young and the extended family not quite so large we would find five kernels of corn waiting for us on our dinner plate on Thanksgiving day. We would go around the table and each person would take one kernel of corn and name something that they were thankful for. As the family grew we eliminated a couple of kernels of corn and instead of going around the table numerous times we would name all (three) of our thankfuls on our turn. Often this tradition would lead to the sharing of testimonies. Frequently this tradition brought the comedians to the table. Always this tradition would focus on how grateful we were for each other. Always, always, always gratitude for family.

Even though we can't be with our extended family this year, we continue the tradition of identifying the things we're thankful for. Instead of kernels of corn, our little family uses turkey feathers. I want my parents to see this and know that we're continuing the tradition and thinking of them. I want Willy's family to know we're thinking of them today (and enjoying some of their traditional dishes, including our favorite that we call "Nana's Potatoes").

This is what we're thankful for this year:

Molly can't write her thankfuls so she drew lines for me to write
her thankfuls on. (And then when I asked her what she was thankful
for she answered "Lines".

Molly's thankfuls are: Eating cereal,
Watching TV and Going to the park.

Toby's thankfuls are: XBox (sigh), Friends
and "I love Momy" which started as "I love
Thanksgiving" but I like his edit!
Brady is thankful for Family and Friends,
The Godhead and Food.

Ben is thankful for TV, Family and Food.

Willy's feathers are green  and mine are purple :)
And for the record, mine says "Ohana" not "Obama" which is what I see now as I glance at it LOL)

Happy thanksgiving!!

Thirty Days of Thankful - Day 23

Day 23 - I'm thankful for rubber gloves.

We have been so happy in our new house! We love having the extra bedroom, the neighborhood has been great, the price is right, and the central air alone made the gigantic hassle of moving totally worth it. But as much as we are thankful for this new place, there's a missing appliance that has taken some serious getting used to.

We have no dishwasher.

We're a family of six and we have to wash all of our dishes by hand. And by "we" I mean "me" 95% of the time. I tried having Ben do it once and either he was clever enough to play me or he just really sucked at doing dishes. Either way, I haven't asked him to do it again. Maybe I'm doing him a disservice by not forcing him to keep trying and to make him pay closer attention to detail (like ketchup that hasn't been rinsed thoroughly off the plate... or the bits of melted cheese still clinging to the scrambled eggs bowl...) but I just can't stomach the idea of eating off dishes that haven't been adequately cleaned. And I don't want to re-do work that someone else has done. I'd just grumble through the whole process and if I'm going to grumble it may as well be about something that hasn't been done at all rather than something that's been done in a lazy, lousy way.

So I do almost all the dishes. I've learned the obvious - that it's easier to do one meal worth of dishes than it is to do  six meals worth of dishes, so if I just take the time to wash the dishes immediately after use the chore doesn't pile up and stays manageable. I'm still working to implement it, though, and occasionally find myself with a serious back up of dirty dishes to be washed and a very real problem of having no clean spoons/knives/bowls available when I need them. It's a battle. I'm working through it.

When I first realized that our home wasn't furnished with a dishwasher I kind of wanted to curl up in a ball and cry. But I vowed to my Facebook friends that I was going to try my hardest to not complain about the dishwasher-less situations I'd found myself in. One of my friends gave me permission in advance to complain as much as I wanted to when Thanksgiving rolled around and here I am... saying how very grateful I am for rubber dishwashing gloves. If I have to do a billion Thanksgivingdishes at least I can protect my hands somewhat and not have dishwater-stinky prune fingers for hours after clean-up time.

I'm thankful for rubber gloves!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thirty Days of Thankful - Day 22

Day 22 - I'm thankful for the change in the weather.

The temperatures have dropped for "winter" (the season we refer to as "whale watching season" rather than "winter" because anyone who has lived through a Utah winter can't in good conscience call what we experience in Hawaii "winter") and the cooler temperature is making me SO VERY HAPPY. It's only about a ten degree variance, but it somehow makes an enormous difference to me now. I got through the hot months just fine this year thanks to the central air in our new place, but I'm so much happier to have the windows open and the tradewinds breezing through my home. And here's hoping to see a significant drop in the power bill since we're not having to use the AC nearly as often any more. Tonight the forecast says the temp will get down to 67!!! I may have to pull out a blanket tonight. (I know! I've totally turned into a wimp!)

For the record, this isn't a neener neener post to any of you who are already dealing with snow fall and truly cold winter weather. I'm just really grateful for a slight dip in the temperature to remind me that it's "winter" now. I actually miss obvious seasonal changes and things like the return of sweater weather in the fall and the return of sandal weather in the spring/summer. I've adapted and mostly like the moderate, consistent temperatures here now, but I'm very much appreciating the slight chill in the air!!

I'm thankful for the change in the weather.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thirty Days of Thankful - Day 21

Day 21 - Today I 'm thankful for a stop light incident.

As I approached the intersection today at a notoriously looooong traffic light, the light was yellow and turned red as I came to a stop to wait for the next green (which I knew I could expect after about four minutes of waiting...) As soon as I stopped I couldn't help but notice the guy in the car behind me waving his arms sort of wildly with a "Gooooooooo!!!!" look in his eye. I instantly regretted my decision to stop at the light instead of punching the gas and gunning through, and I felt a little sheepish for having caused the guy behind me to have to stop. I didn't want to make eye contact because I just knew he was going to fly into an ugly tantrum of road rage. But as I stealthily observed him in my rear view mirror I was surprised to see him rolling his eyes, shrugging his shoulders and actually grinning from ear to ear as he shook his head in disbelief that I had stopped. He basically shrugged it off with a smile and I could practically hear him chalking it up to a gutless driver (me) and his own lousy timing and luck. I was amazed. I'd expected a much, much more colorful tirade and maybe a dirty look or expressive finger gesture. But nope. Not an ounce of rage. I pictured myself in a reversal of roles and knew darn well that I wouldn't have been so c'est la vie about the same scenario.

I'm thankful for the patient man who didn't explode all over me with road rage. I'm especially thankful for having had the experience of seeing someone handle an unfortunate situation with a big smile and apparently a pretty dang patient and positive attitude. Little life lessons are always something to be grateful for.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thirty Days of Thankful - Days 19 and 20

Day 19 - I am so thankful for other people with cameras! Yesterday we had our family photos done professionally for the first time in I don't know how long. And it was our first time having our photos professionally done outside a studio, so it was such a fun experience!! To get a great family shot, we typically employ one of three methods with varying degrees of success. We usually:
     1) use a tripod, set the timer and run to the blank spot in the family pose, left there intentionally for the push-the-button-and-dash parent,
     2) Set up a family pose and leave a blank spot for the parent taking the photo. Then switch places and take  the same picture but with the previous photographer in the shot while the other parent takes up the position behind the camera. A little fancy Photoshop work and voila.
     3) Scrap the family shot and just take pics of the kids.

Needless to say, we don't have a lot of wall-worthy family photos. So to have abandoned control and just trusted the capable skills of Alana Yates was a wonderful experience, and fun to boot! I can't wait to see what she managed to capture of our crazy, fairly uncooperative crew. I'm thankful for other people with cameras and the skills to use them to capture photos of my family!

Day 20 - I'm thankful for naps. Yeah. I said it. I like sleep. I know I said I was thankful for sleep on day 18, but I'm even more thankful for it today. I was still recovering from the lack of sleep on day 18 and today's nap totally set me right again. Whew!!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Thirty Days of Thankful - A threefer (d'oh)...

I've heard of "twofers" but never "threefers". This week has created the need for one, though. I'm behind a few days and want to catch up on my thankfuls.

Day 16 - I'm thankful for music. Music has been an integral part of my whole life. Playing piano is like banishing stress from my life through the tips of my fingers. My life has a soundtrack. Songs call to mind memories from even my very early childhood. Albums and genres remind me of special people and special times in my life. Choosing just the right playlist makes all the difference in the effectiveness of a workout, a long drive or a peaceful Sunday afternoon. Listening to upbeat, make-me-move music turns a really lousy afternoon of cleaning into something more tolerable. I love music. I'm thankful for it.

Day 17 - I'm thankful for Girls Nights Out! I don't get them very often, but when I do I relish them! Last night was the most fun I've had out with the ladies in a long time. I admit it, I'm a dorky 38 year old Twilight fan but I wouldn't call myself a Twihard. I don't get overly worked up about discrepancies between the books and the movies because I appreciate and enjoy them each as separate forms of entertainment. I've only read each of the books once, but I devoured them when I did. Starting with the second movie I've attended the midnight showings and thoroughly enjoyed those experiences, in large part due to being able to make it a Girls Night Out and spending time with my friend(s). Anyway, last night was an awesome Girls Night Out and I'm so thankful for it! I really appreciate my husband for only rolling his eyes a little bit at me last night, and for recognizing my need to get out with the girls and recharge!

Day 18 - I'm thankful for sleep. Of which I got very, very little last night. I've set a goal to establish a  healthier before-midnight bedtime habit and I've been working on that quite a bit for the last two weeks. Getting a good night's sleep makes a huge difference in my attitude and of course in my energy level during the day. I'm hoping it will also help me in my efforts to drop the plus from my size. I'm thankful for sleep (particularly the deep, uninterrupted kind!)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Thirty Days of Thankful - Day 15

Day 15 - I'm thankful for books.

I love to read. It's one of my favorite pastimes. I always have a book with me and I always have a book waiting and ready to be read when I finish the one I'm currently enjoying. I like all kinds of books and enjoy changing pace frequently. So if I'm reading a juvenile fiction this week, next week you'll probably find me devouring some chick lit and the week after that I'll dive into some historical fiction. I love to read and then review books on I've been swapping books on for a couple of years and started using a few months ago, as well. I buy books five at a time (so my 5th book is free!) from Savers just about every time I go there, but love shopping the book section at Goodwill too because I can almost always find a few 99¢ gems. I have over a hundred of these collected books just waiting on my bookshelf to enjoy. It's like my own personal library and there's something for any mood I find myself in when I'm ready to start a new read.

I don't keep very many of the books I read after I've read them. Most of the books I read get sent on for others to enjoy. I do have a few series that I've kept because I enjoyed them enough to know that I (or my kids) will read them again. Harry Potter, Twilight, and Hunger Games all fit into this category. I also have a favorite series of young adult historical romance novels that I read as a teen and have collected again as an adult to enjoy all over again and have for Molly to read when she's old enough (the Sunfire series). And of course I've got some church books, parenting books, general self-help and fitness type books. But as far as general fiction and stand alone novels go, I only have a very select few that have stayed on my shelf after I read them. They were keepers for various reasons; I found them particularly moving, engaging, interesting, surprising or well-written. Some of my favorites include From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg, Moloka'i by Allan Brennert, Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, The Help by Kathryn Stockett, Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn, My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult and Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom.

I have another favorite book that I read from all the time. I read it along with my Bible. It testifies of Jesus Christ. It teaches amazing life lessons and gospel principles. It's the Book of Mormon and I agree with Ezra Taft Benson who said "It is not just that the Book of Mormon teaches us truth, though it indeed does that. It is not just that the Book of Mormon bears testimony of Christ, though it indeed does that, too. But there is something more. There is a power in the book which will begin to flow into your lives the moment you begin a serious study of the book. You will find greater power to resist temptation. You will find the power to avoid deception. You will find the power to stay on the strait and narrow path."  I love that promise and I feel blessed to have experienced it personally. If you want a copy of the Book of Mormon I'd love to send you one. Just let me know! (Without sounding like an infomercial, I'll send it absolutely free and with no strings attached LOL!)

I'm so thankful for books!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

We interrupt these thankfuls for a comedy of errors...

Tonight I'm thankful for cleaning supplies, cleaning wipes, ample used-but-not-filthy towels, stomachs of steel and Marjory Pay Hinckley.

Let me explain. And let me warn. Much like this blog entry from way back when, this one is not for the faint of heart. But if you dare read on you'll be able to laugh at my expense and who doesn't enjoy a good laugh at someone else's expense? Read on, I say! Read on!

Today I took the kids with me to Zumba. I hadn't tried a day time class yet, but since there's a kids' room available free of charge and I've got kids home these days (multi-track year round school, Brady and Toby are "off track") I figured we'd all try something new. Class went great, kids had a great time. Off to the car to head home.

But Toby, instead of climbing into the car, walked to the grassy island in front of our van, leaned over and started retching. This is a kid with a very "git 'er done" attitude when it comes to vomit. He takes care of business and moves on with his day. He assured me he felt fine, I provided him with a receptacle into which he could vomit if necessary, and we were on our way.

At home, he continued to assure me that he felt fine. So I gave him and the other kids lunch. Leftover pancakes with peanut butter and syrup. All's well. Everyone's happy. Tummies are full.

Then mid-meal Toby suddenly dashed upstairs to the bathroom to "git 'er done" again.

Then he returned to the kitchen table to continue eating his lunch. (Insert eye roll here...)

I convinced him he needed to just wait to eat for a while and I got him comfy resting on the couch instead. He made his way to the toilet to purge no less than seven more times (I lost count after that) in the following few hours. But trooper that he is, Toby made it to the toilet every time, took care of business, cleaned himself up and returned to the couch, pale and hollow-cheeked but more or less okay.

At about 5:30 I told the kids it was time to do a little house rescue in preparation for Daddy's return from work. Things had gotten a little messy with the drama of illness. The moment I told the kids it was time to start tidying was the same moment Brady decided to tell me his stomach was bothering him.

Uh huh. Right Brady. Nice try.

So I sent him to take the recyclables to the outside can. He stopped by the front door and sat down on the stairs because he "wasn't feeling well". Then, serving me right for putting "quotation marks" around his "wasn't feeling well", he realized he couldn't keep the puke down so he turned around and tried going up the stairs to reach the bathroom at the top.

He didn't make it.

What he did make was a trail of peanut-butter-and-pancakes riddled vomit up no less than seven of our carpeted stairs, ending with a nice pile of chunks right outside the bathroom door.

Oh. So you really weren't feeling well Brady? My bad.

Ben stepped in with his stomach of steel and cleaned up the (gag) chunks. I followed behind him, armed with cleaning wipes and various other cleaning supplies and rags and I tackled the remainder of the mess while Brady continued to puke (in the toilet! good job Brady!) and then follow up with a shower. We were finishing up right about the time Willy rolled up at the end of his day. How convenient for him.

Meanwhile, Ben had turned ashen. Toby was gray. Brady was green. Houston, we had a serious problem. Toby retched a few more times (but totally handled himself), Brady moaned and whined for a while but then realized there was a very good chance he'd not be able to go to the PCC tomorrow as planned if he continued carrying on so he tried to convince us he felt just fine! and quite hungry! actually, and Ben started scheming of ways to not have to go to school the next day (but didn't really think he was getting sick, just a little gurgly in the stomach region.)

We got the kids all settled in bed. Toby and Brady had bowls tucked in bed with them... just in case. And Willy and I got comfy on the couch to watch some Hawaii 5-0. A while later we heard a tremendous lego crash, some stumbling and rushing about and then SPLASH. It was apparent that the quantity of vomit that had just hit the toilet was of epic proportion. I called upstairs "Ben? Are you okay?" And he responded with "I missed a little." The splash we had heard wasn't actually vomit making contact with toilet bowl water. No, it was vomit making contact with toilet bowl. The outside of the bowl, that is. And also the floor. Lots and lots of floor. As I was assessing the situation (cleaning wipes? no good. towels? yes, that will have to do.) Brady stumbled out of his room looking even greener than before bed and moaned "I woke up wet because I puked in bed while I was sleeping."

Of course you did Brady. Of course you did.

I went to assess situation number two and the wise words of Marjorie Pay Hinckley filled my mind as I saw Brady's bed quite literally covered in puke. Hinckley's wise words were these: "The only way to get through life is to laugh your way through it. You either have to laugh or cry. I prefer to laugh. Crying gives me a headache." Truer words were never spoken.

So I started to laugh. I laughed about the disaster in the bathroom. I laughed about the disaster in the bed. I laughed about Ben leaning over the toilet from 2 or 3 feet away because he was trying to not get his feet in the vomit he'd just sprayed all around the room. I laughed about Brady sitting at the top of the stairs (that had just been cleaned earlier) trying to convince himself  that he wasn't going to be sick any more.

And then I laughed even harder when suddenly Brady was retching again and dove into the bathroom, only to slip on Ben's vomit and hit the ground with a bona fide splat. I laughed and laughed because of the ridiculousness of it all, and then the tears came because I felt terrible for laughing and because the reality of the disgusting and overwhelming situation settled over my brain. Willy joined the circus with armfuls of used but not (yet) filthy towels. We went through about an entire container of disinfectant wipes. Willy had to actually remove Brady's bunk bed mattress from the room altogether and take it outside to dispose of because Brady's copious amounts of puke had actually soaked all the way through the mattress. We filled TWO laundry baskets with sheets, blankets and towels. Ben and Brady both got showers again. Brady puked again. Ben puked again.

And now everyone is sleeping. Except me. Because this was one of those nights I probably wouldn't even believe had happened once morning came if I hadn't written it down.

Please PLEASE let the puke fest be done for the night. I have no desire whatsoever to write an addendum to this blog. Let this be over. Let their stomachs be empty and let us sleep soundly till morning when, with any luck, this bug will have passed as quickly as it came.

Did I mention that for day 14 I'm grateful for cleaning wipes? And Marjorie Pay Hinckley? I did? Oh good. Because I am.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Thirty Days of Thankful - Day 13

Day 13 - Today I'm thankful for humor. Soooooo thankful for humor! My family is full of it. It was one of the first things that drew me to Willy. It's the thing that keeps me from throttling my kids some times. We laugh and laugh and laugh together and I'm so grateful for that. Here a few few kid funnies from recently.


Last night Brady was begging to attend the midnight showing of Breaking Dawn with me this coming Thursday night. I told him "It's going to be a theater full of WOMEN. No boys. All women. I'm NOT taking you." And Molly's sweet little convincing voice piped up "I'm a woman!" Sorry sis, you're not going either, but nice try!


Ben found a penny from an "ancient" time (like 1963 or something). We were talking about how old it was and I said "Imagine how many transactions have been made with this penny!" He asked what "transactions" means so I explained that I meant to imagine how many times the penny had traded hands, been used to purchase things over the last 50 years or so. He was holding the old penny as I explained myself and then he responded with "It makes me imagine needing to wash my hands." Hahahaha. That's my son!


Tonight we were watching the Amazing Race together as a family. We usually watch without commercials but tonight we were actually watching in real time, commercials and all. During one commercial break Brady was rambling about something very important to him (but obviously not very important to me because I can't for the life of me remember what it was...). He was very loud and animated as he talked and then suddenly a Victoria's Secret Angels commercial came on and he stopped mid-word to exclaim "Whoa!" and he never resumed his discussion. I may have to worry about little lady killer Brady, but he's always good for a laugh.


Today Brady and Toby came into my room as I was waking up from my nap. I had undressed quickly when nap time came around and had tossed my clothes (including my bra) onto the chair by my bed. My black bra was on my black skirt and Brady accidentally touched it and then recoiled when he realized what it was. But Toby said "a bra? I want to see!" and proceeded to grab it, put it on (upside down) and model it with some pretty impressive posing. He's sexy and he knows it (and he LOVES to make people laugh at just about any cost.)...

I'm thankful for humor!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Thirty Days of Thankful - Days 11 and 12

Whoops. 11/11/11 just got away from me and I didn't manage to blog a thankful. I'll do it today, instead, and explain what kept me from the computer last night while I'm at it.

Day 11 - I'm thankful that I've learned that I'm capable of and strong enough to make good choices for myself. This epiphany has been a long time coming, and I think my brain has finally wrapped itself securely around the idea that I am capable of choosing actions that benefit me. For the longest time I've allowed excuses to rule my decisions (or indecision...). I've allowed circumstances to dictate my actions. Something has finally clicked in the last few months and I've realized that I'm tired of making excuses for myself. I'm unhappy letting circumstances control my emotions and my actions. Last night the reason I didn't get on the computer to blog was because I was choosing to go out and do my Couch to 5K training (week 3 day 2) in the evening despite really really not being in the mood for it. But I'd made a commitment to myself, I had a plan in place and I had goals to reach so I chose to honor my commitment, my plan and my goals and just do it. And it turned out to be my best C25K workout so far. I'm worth the effort. I'm worth the choice to do good for myself. This trickles into all aspects of my life, too, not just the obvious weight loss focus that I have right now. But I'm definitely thankful for finally understanding that I'm capable of and strong enough to make good choices for myself.

Day 12 - I'm thankful that the good health-related choices I make are paying off! Today the scale rewarded me for my good choices this week and I'm so So SO thankful to be moving in the direction of a healthier body! I entered a new "decade" on the scale and hit a full 30 pounds lost since beginning my weight loss journey with real dedication and focus and I'm extremely proud of myself. I had great and speedy success for a while, tapered off and plateaued for a while and now I'm moving in the right direction again and it feels GREAT. I'm thankful for a kind scale today that showed me my choices and efforts are worth it and working!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Thirty Days of Thankful - Day 10

Day 10 - I'm thankful for payday.

Today was payday.

I'm thankful that today was payday.

That pretty much sums it up.


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thirty Days of Thankful - Day 9

Day 9 - I'm thankful for Craigslist. My whole house is furnished in Craigslist finds. Bunkbed for the boys? $70. Computer desk? I think $10. Princess bed for Molly? $Free.99. We have benefited SO much over the years by taking advantage of the service provided by Craigslist, not only in what we purchase (or get free!) but what we've been able to give away, get rid of and sell ourselves. It's a beautiful, beautiful thing.

Our most recent Craigslist score might be my favorite yet. We've been using a futon couch (that we got on Craigslist) as our t.v. room couch for a couple of years now and let me tell you... there is nothing lounge-y or relaxing about sitting on a futon couch. I've been drooling over recliners so I can watch my shows in comfort. Enter Craigslist! I searched "reclining sofa", "reclining couch", and "recliners" for several months and then BAM! There it was. Located in our same town, a matching reclining sofa and recliner chair! It's that awful dusty blue color that was popular in I'd say the early 90's-ish, but it's in super clean working order and it was FORTY DOLLARS!! For the couch AND reclining chair! The chair has made it's home next to my bed so I officially now have a reading nook in my home, and the couch has made my t.v. watching experience all the sweeter.

Now if we could just get the kids to stop messing with the foot rest. Up. Down. Up. Down. With my luck they'll break it before we've had the couch a whole month.

Today I'm thankful for Craigslist (and a foot rest on my reclining couch!)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Thirty Days of Thankful - Day 8

Day 8 - I'm thankful for Hawaii.

I never ever in a gajillion years had any kind of life's dream or ambition to live in Hawaii. In fact, when the job opportunity that ultimately brought us here was put on the table for us to consider, I was actually quite nervous about the whole living-on-an-island thing. I'd never been on an island. If I'm keeping it real, I had an honest to goodness fear that I would fall off the island into the ocean. That's just how unfamiliar with islands I was. And did I mention my fear of oceans? Vast, deep, open waters full of creatures with fins and teeth? No thank you very much.

To set myself straight and alleviate my irrational fears, we convinced the company wanting to hire Willy that they needed to send us to Hawaii to check out the housing situations and schools, etc. And even as we flew above the Pacific Ocean on our way to check out the island, it didn't really seem like a legitimate possibility that our family would move to Hawaii. We were just feeling lucky to score a free trip!

Maybe you would think the first thing to take my breath away would be the view of Hanauma Bay or Pearl Harbor from the sky. Or the distinctly varied shades of blue in the ocean and along the beaches. Maybe the iconic view of Waikiki would seal the deal. But nope. For me it was the mountains. Tall, strong, green and gorgeous mountains. I grew up in a valley surrounded by the beautiful Wasatch and Oquirrh Mountains and I had missed them so desperately during our time in California that when I first saw the mountains on O'ahu I turned to Willy and said "I can live here!"

We moved here in July 2008. The first few months involved a pretty intense adjustment period. The humidity hated me almost as much as I hated it. The cost of living made me want to curl up in a fetal position and cry for my Mommy. And the first time I saw one of the GINORMOUS B-52 Bomber Cockroaches on the wall of our home (the first night we were in it!) I made such a shrieking, gasping sound that my then 7 year old started crying and said "Mommy please don't make that sound ever again! I thought you were dying!" But with a little passage of time my hair and the humidity started to cooperate (and my skin has an amazing relationship with the climate here), we learned what corners to cut and what free activities were available to us to ease the cost of living weight and I even made some semblance of peace with the local wildlife. Peace as in "Sure! C'mon in my home! You won't mind if I squash you with this size 14 slippah right?"

I had a conversation with a woman a few months after we moved here. I told her that I felt like Hawaii was getting inside me and that I really didn't think I'd ever want to leave this place. She said "Some people come to Hawaii and get chewed up and spit out. Others are simply meant to be here. You're obviously one of the people meant to be in Hawaii." I couldn't agree with her more!

I love the people. I love the places. I love the food. I love the rainbows. I love the weather (even more now that I can get through the hottest months [September and October] with central air). I love the laid back attitude and the aloha spirit. I love the slower speed limits and the slower pace of life. I love the strong sense of family here. I love spending weekends with my family exploring the island. I never thought it would be true but I LOVE the ocean and the amazing creatures in it. I love the feeling of sun on my shoulders and sand between my toes. I love the beach. I love the music. I love the dance. I love the culture. I love this amazing opportunity we've been given to experience something so special. I love it so much that sometimes I have a hard time not bubbling over with love for the island, even though I know sometimes people think I'm bragging about it. I assure you it has nothing to do with boasting and simply everything to do with just being in love with this place. I know that in the reality of life, we probably won't live here forever, but we're certainly making the most of whatever time we have available to us while we live in this amazing place.

I'm so very thankful for Hawaii.

Now that my thankful post is wrapped up, indulge me a bit as I share a few videos.  I've shared them on Facebook already (so by all means, skip 'em if you've seen 'em!) but I wanted to put them here on the blog to make it easy for my mom and dad and other family who follow my blog to see them. These videos are from the most recent hula performance Molly and I participated in just last weekend. It was Molly's very first dance performance and she was so stinking cute! Hula is just one of the things that has changed my life while living in Hawaii. That may sound dramatic but it's true. I love the way I feel when I dance hula. I love the grace and the way a story is told and the feeling of the music. And hula got me back on stage after a very, very long time of avoiding any kind of spotlight. I missed it.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Thirty Days of Thankful - Day 7

well it is 1145 pm and i have a goal to be in bed by midnight but i just remembered that i hadnt posted my thankful for the day so here i am quickly typing up my day 7 thankful on my phone since the computer has been shut down for the night

but this makes for an easy item to express my gratitude for... my smart phone. ironically however... my smart phone is acting really really stupid and my caps and punctuation other than periods are not working. but im afraid that if i log out and try to sort out my stupid phone i wont finish by midnight and i cant screw up my goal on the very first day of the goal. did you see how i had to do that.question.mark. periods instead of hyphens. and typing out question mark. this is ridiculous lol

quirks and all im grateful for my stupid smart phone. i love being able to be connected without disconnecting from the real world people around me by  gluing myself to the computer. 

and i can blog from bed.

at 1155.

im thankful for my phone.

good night. 

insert smiley emoticon. oh how i miss my colon and parentheses right now...

Monday, November 7, 2011

Thirty Days of Thankful - Day 6

Day 6 - Today I'm thankful for ohana. I know you've seen Lilo and Stitch so you know "Ohana means family". And I know I've been sharing my thankful-for-family posts for the whole last week. But today I'm thankful for everything else that ohana includes for me.

I'm thankful for my mom and dad, my brothers and sisters, my grandparents, my in-laws and nieces and nephews. The whole fam-damily. When we left Utah a little over five years ago the absolute hardest part of our decision was accepting the idea that we would be physically distancing ourselves so much from family. The first year we lived in California we made the 600 mile trek to or from Utah NINE times just to be with our extended ohana for holidays and important family events. Obviously when we moved to Hawaii in 2008 we had to accept that with an even greater distance and much more expensive mode of travel to get back to Utah, that our visits back "home" were going to be limited. Gratefully many of our family members have been able to come to us and visit (and experience Hawaii!) while we've been here and that helps lift the weight of being so far away. I suppose I ought to tack on how grateful I am for texting, Facebook and email at this point, too, because those things have really helped as well! I'm more grateful for my extended ohana than I could even begin to explain. I love them. They're such an important part of who I am.

Ohana to me includes so much more than just blood and marriage though. We experienced such an amazing acceptance in California and then again here in Hawaii when we went to church and established ourselves as active members of the congregation. Our church ohana has made all the difference in our sense of belonging, and I am so grateful for these people who stand in place of my blood relatives while we're apart and give us love, support, prayers, service and friendship. I consider my church ohana to be one of my greatest blessings.

I'm thankful for ohana (in all its forms).

(Outdated) Brent Romig Ohana Grandchildren
Picture missing 4 new grandsons!

                              Me and my brothers and sisters
The Romig siblings' spouses

(Outdated) Campbell Ohana - Picture missing 2 new granddaughters!

Some of the women I met at church in California who became like sisters,
and certainly amazing friends. Ohana for sure!
And getting our potluck picnic on with the
Hawaiian ohana, too!
Enjoying some fun in the sun with our Hawaiian ohana

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Thirty Days of Thankful - Day 5

Day 5 - I'm thankful for the diva princess on the end. The little girl who I was told was "non-viable" early on in my pregnancy. The little girl who refused to be non-viable and hung on for a full-term pregnancy. The little girl who was absolutely missing the body part we were accustomed to seeing on ultrasound, and who turned our lives inside out and upside down with her pinkness. The little girl who made putty out of the men in our home and took complete control of our household. I'm thankful for the little girl who humbled me and helped me understand how difficult breastfeeding can be for many women. I'm also thankful for the little girl who finally figured it out, stopped being so blasted stubborn and started eating properly and gaining weight! I'm thankful for the little girl who has made all my last firsts especially meaningful (last first bath, last first tooth, last first time sleeping through the night, etc.) and who made our family feel complete so we could go through all those firsts for the last time without any doubts or sadness. I'm thankful for the little girl who lets me dress her up and do her hair. The little girl who loves to be pretty and be told she's pretty. The little girl who could go through 12 outfit changes a day if allowed. I'm thankful for the little girl who delights in all things cute, to the point of actually being overcome by the cuteness and hugging me and squealing whenever something tickles her fancy. I'm thankful for the little girl who plays just as rough as her big brothers, but has a dainty prance of a run. The little girl who loves to dance and skip and sing and TALK. The little girl who makes her way into my bed just about every night. The little girl who loves princesses, bubble bath, earrings and nail polish. The little girl who gives out hugs, kisses and "I love yous" with gusto. I'm thankful for the little girl who fulfilled my own girlhood dreams of having a daughter the moment she entered my life.

I'm thankful for Molly.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Thirty Days of Thankful - Day 4

Day 4 - I'm thankful for man child #3. The boy who comforted my troubled heart by by staying safe and sound in my belly for nine months after I had experienced several pregnancy losses. The one who came into the world seemingly without a hitch and was then whisked off to another hospital in an ambulance due to health concerns while I lay helpless in my hospital bed 25 miles away recovering from my c-section delivery. The one I frantically pumped breast milk for during the two days we were apart, hoping he would know me and still nurse once we were together again. The one who loved me immediately and latched on instantly despite our separation for those first few days. I'm thankful for the boy who taught our family to pray with purpose, and who left the hospital at one week old with only a few medications and monitors to deal with. I'm thankful for the boy who happily let me adventure with him and a whole new lifestyle involving cloth diapers, homemade baby food and baby-wearing (and who wasn't messed up at all by my experimentation.) I'm thankful for the boy who is a master cuddler. The one who is so affectionate that we sometimes have to remind him what is and isn't appropriate. The one with the most kissable lips around. I'm thankful for the boy who tells me I'm beautiful. And pretty. And cute. And the one who even compliments me on the smell of my armpits ("they smell like peanut butter, Mama!"... *eyeroll*) Speaking of armpits, I'm thankful for the boy who makes the most realistic fart sounds with his armpits that I've ever heard. I'm thankful for the boy who prefers long pants and long sleeves... even in the Hawaiian sun. I'm thankful for the boy who excels at just about everything he tries and who surprises us constantly with his natural abilities. The one who still loves having me along on field trips. The one with the most infectious laugh, the most ear-piercing squeal and the most persistent whine. I'm thankful for this boy who smothers me with unconditional affection and who makes me feel utterly loved.

I'm thankful for Toby.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Thirty Days of Thankful - Day 3

Day 3 - I'm thankful for man child #2. The one whose entrance into this world was scheduled, peaceful and downright delightful. The one whose brown eyes shocked and delighted me (and still do.) The one with dimples I could just dive into. I'm thankful for this boy who survived a toddlerhood full of bumps, bruises, gashes, and stitches and who thought the Instacare facility was his doctor's office. I'm thankful for this boy who revels in entertaining others and making them laugh. The one who thrives on attention and refuses to get lost in the middle-child position. The one who is convinced he sings like rockstar, dances like a superstar and performs like nobody's business. I'm thankful for this boy who sings along with the radio even more loudly than I do. The one who is determined he can do everything and tries hard to fit it all in. The one who invites friends to join our family for everything, including going to church and church activities. I'm thankful for this boy who I can see joining the debate team when he gets older because he is never willing to simply accept "no" for an answer and must always counter-argue why he deserves X, Y, and Z. The one who has better things to do with his time than thoroughly clean his room (or get something into a garbage can, or finish an assigned chore.) I'm thankful for the boy who we call our human GPS. The one who once made himself throw up when forced to eat salad. The one who has a special secret hug-and-kiss-from-a-distance just for Mom when he leaves for school.

I'm thankful for my Brady Boy.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Thirty Days of Thankful - Day 2

Day 2 - I'm thankful for man child #1. The one who made me a mother. The one who, at age 14, towers over me and reminds me constantly that I'm getting downright old. The one who has perfected the art of the eye roll but who is more helpful around the house than all the other offspring combined. I'm thankful for this boy who has learned to read my moods and knows when it's best to offer help and when it's best to grab the kids and get the heck out of dodge so I can have a spazz out in solitude. The boy who is wise beyond his years and knows who he is. The one who befriends the "little guy" and is unconcerned with being popular or cool. I'm thankful for this boy who stands up for what he believes in and sets an example of fearless faith. The boy who forgives me quickly and accepts my apologies readily when I really botch things up as a parent and "grown up".  I'm thankful for this boy who is like me in so many ways that it's sometimes frightening. The boy who is not only stubborn, always right, argumentative and moody but is also responsible, considerate, playful and artistic. The boy who once in a blue moon surprises me with the words "I love you" (when not coerced) and who hugs me good night every night before bed.

I'm thankful for Ben.

Thirty Days of Thankful - Day 1

Day 1 - I'm thankful for a husband who is kind and patient with me, fun and playful with the kids and hard-working and handy around the house. The man who inspires the heck out of me with his 18-mile commute BIKE ride home from work. The man who has learned to (more or less) put up with my addiction to certain reality t.v. shows and has even joined me on the couch for Amazing Race and occasionally pipes in with a few comments on the X Factor (from a safe distance away over at the computer. He's not actually watching, of course.) I'm thankful for the man who swept me off my feet the very day I met him and who took me to the temple to promise eternal companionship to me 15 years ago. The man who knows how to push all my buttons but does so carefully and knows when enough is enough. The man who isn't afraid to wash his own underwear if I've gotten behind on the laundry. I'm thankful for the man who supports me in my passions, even when sometimes it means watching another really long hula performance just to see me dance for 3 minutes, or listening to me babble on and on about something scrapbook related. I'm thankful for the man who has made me laugh every. single. day of our lives together. I'm thankful for the man who is the Peter Pan to my Wendy. The man brave enough to sport a hooded princess towel to get a perfect reaction out of both his sons and his daughter (and random passersby as we walk around in public places...)

I'm thankful for Willy.