(If pictures are too small, just click to enlarge - if print is too small, you need glasses! ☺)
dear winter, go away! The end.
Winter has come on with a vengeance this year. And with not much warning, just BAM! It went from the 50's to the teens in a day! That makes it hard to climatize when you are an outdoor runner.
It also makes it hard to climatize if you're a pumpkin. Sitting outside on a porch. When it freezes. Then thaws. I know those are not complete sentences. That was intended. It's too cold to complete a sentence! I must say the photo above is a first. I've never had my pumpkins freeze solid and then thaw out all squishy and limp. And look at my poor spikes! That happened literally overnight.
Mr. Cat is ready though. He just stays in all snuggly warm and looks out the window wondering what in the heck happened to his outdoor freedom. It froze, that's what happened! I know I live in Utah and I should be accepting of this season, but the truth is, I will NEVER accept winter. I will always hate it and always wish it would leave sooner than it ever does. I also know I have no control over the weather and I should just SUCK IT UP BUTTERCUP, but...nope, not gonna happen. ☺
dear cleaning the temple, even though cleaning is not on my top ten list of things I love to do, when the opportunity arises (as in a sign up sheet in Relief Society), I felt like I needed to sign up. Besides, cleaning someone else's house (especially the Lord's) is always so much better than cleaning your own (unless it's bathrooms) ☺. I also thought it would be nice to be INSIDE the temple doing something a little different than a session because I love to soak in the spirit of that place and oft times I find that when I am just "there", I feel it more intensely. I remember being an usher for the open house and also cleaning it before it opened and doing those things really brought that spirit right into my soul in a different way than doing a session does. It is just so peaceful there. And I was in need of some peace, even while cleaning.I was given a four hour cleaning session on Monday afternoon. When I arrived, I was happy to see another sister from my ward, who also happens to be my visiting teacher. And then another dear friend arrived. We sat in the baptistry chapel and chatted while we waited for the orientation. While we were being oriented and told what some of the jobs were that day and how to do them, I envisioned how wonderful it would be to be dusting the Celestial Room and being able to feel the powerful spirit of that room, just as if I were dusting in heaven. Then the man orienting us taught us all how to clean the bathrooms. I leaned over to my good friend Lynda and jokingly said, "I'll probably get the bathrooms." I hate cleaning bathrooms. No, let me make that even more clear, I despise cleaning bathrooms! As a mother of five boys, I'm sure you can somehow understand why.
Sure enough, haha, a little later when he made the assignments, he pointed to us and asked if we would do the bathrooms. We just looked at each other and chuckled. The joke was on me. I figured it was my punishment for all my bad deeds. lol Served me right.
But, the truth is, I was happy to serve doing WHATEVER it is the Lord asked of me. It's kind of like in life. I don't always get the things in life I hope for and want. In fact, quite often I get the things I really don't want. The bathrooms of life. I sit down here wishing for all the best things life has to offer and then instead I get issued some of the scummy unpleasant things that I didn't want to have to deal with. Not always, no... definitely not. But, there are many times that things don't go quite how I planned and how I really hoped they would. I have learned to not look at those things as punishment, but rather as stepping stones to becoming stronger. And after I have tackled and overcome those unpleasant things, I always feel so good inside. Just like I did once we got all those bathrooms in that beautiful temple cleaned. And besides, the temple has the cleanest bathrooms of any place I have ever been and so it wasn't as bad as if it had been in another public place. I even felt the spirit in some of those stalls. hehe
I have a couple of wall hung toilets in my home (aka salvation for having five boys!) and I wish I would have done this ↑ when they were small! LOVE IT!
dear chocolypse, yes I fear it is true, there IS a fast approaching shortage of chocolate in the world! Check out the story HERE.I will die! I guess I better get my stockpile ready and quick!
Let's see I will need:
Dove Chocolate - caramel
Reeses - mini size and Fast Break
Hershey Bars - with and without almonds
Hershey's Kisses with almonds and macadamia nuts
Seafoam - in all of it's varieties (Violet Crumbles, Crunchies, etc)
Oh heck - I love them all. How can I list the best!
Not to mention Brownies, Chocolate Chip Cookies, Chocolate Cake, Chocolate Pudding, Lava Cake, the list is endless! I should take out some stock in Betty Crocker right now!
dear running on the dreadmill, the cold has wimped me right out this year. It came just too fast and furious for me to slowly accept it and for my body to not protest when out in it. So, I have succumbed to the dreaded dreadmill. I ran on that sucker three or four times this week alone! Part of the problem was the painters said they were coming each morning at a certain time and so I had to be here when they arrived, which was never when they said it would be and so I felt kind of stuck here at home. Thankfully I have a dreadmill and even though it's like a death wish for me, at least I have one so that I can still get in my runs. Mine is in the basement and since it's also too cold for Mr. Cat to go out, he comes down and watches me while I run on it. It's rather cute if I do say so myself. He especially likes it when I jump off it and run a couple loops around the room in order to break up the monotony. He usually chases me and gives me a strange look of, "What is she doing?". I have been listening to either Ted Talks or talks and interviews on the Mormon Channel to keep myself from going too insane on that thing. I'm not sure why running on it seems so much worse, longer, and harder than running outside, but it does. I'm about to the point of I'd rather freeze than run on that thing! Check THIS link out for a laugh.
dear i have no idea why i added this photo... other than when I saw my witchy broom still sitting in my yard I noticed the contrast of fall colors with the purple. I have decided purple should be a fall color. Maybe not this exact shade, but more of a darker tone.
dear walking on eggshells, I had an experience this week where I offended someone totally unknowingly (I hope it would always be unknowingly because I would never TRY and offend anyone!). But it really made me stop and think how careful I have to be because sometimes even the littlest things can cause offense to some. This particular offense was really one of circumstance and nothing that I ever intended. Sometimes circumstances change and we have no choice but to go along with them. However, I learned that even when that is the case I need to go out of my way to make sure that I have not caused any bad feelings just because the circumstances are no longer the same. It was a great lesson for me.
dear outgoing stake presidency, Dave had a meeting this week and it was going to be the last one of it's kind with our stake presidency before they are released next month. He came up with an idea to get a letter from each Bishop to present to them along with a basket of goodies. He asked if I could help him with the baskets and I was happy to do so. I forgot to take a photo of the finished product, but they turned out nice. I added some bread from Old Grist Mill, some jam, some hot chocolate, etc. They have been in since right before Tyson passed away and so over nine years. They have been the most amazing group of men and I have loved them and all they have taught me. It's going to be so sad to have them replaced with new leadership. And even worse is the fact that all the Bishop's will be interviewed. Some would think that would be a good thing. Not me. The good thing is they all get to meet Elder Russel M. Ballard because he is coming to our stake conference to reorganize it. Should be pretty cool.
dear random thought, yes I do believe this may be true...
dear outdoor run, yes, I was finally able to get outside in the real world and pound the pavement and dirt instead of the rubber. It felt soooooooooo good. And check out that sunrise! Spectacular!Seeing this ↓ on the other hand, not so spectacular. (Click to enlarge)
dear american mothers state board meeting, YAY! (or YEA! Book of Mormon style!) I am so happy I am back on the board! I have been involved in AMI for over 20 years in some capacity (including State President), but the past two or so years, I haven't had a real active role. Thankfully I was asked to come back and be a part of this AMAZING organization. The long standing joke in the leadership has always been, you are never released even if you get a short break! I told them they could put me in charge of anything and I would do it just simply for the opportunity to have the association with these woman. They are some of the most talented and incredible woman across the state and possibly even nation.
We had our meeting at Maddox and so it was really convenient for me, especially considering several came from as far away as Utah County. This was the first official board meeting of Diane and Marilou's co-presidency. Marilou Myers is one of those woman whom I wish I was just like. She is one of my greatest role models. I just love her. But she was unable to attend. Diane and I have been friends for over 20 years. She is also one of the most incredible people I know. As we went around the table (16 deep) and introduced ourselves, I was in awe of the caliber of women I was sitting with. There were Mother's of the Year (past and present), Mother's of Achievement (past and present), Young Mother's of the Year (past and present), and others with no titles who have given so much to others and to the community in unbelievable ways. And even though I fit into one of those categories mentioned above, I did not feel worthy to be there. In fact, I left there feeling completely out of my league and wondering how I ever got there. I felt so inadequate and like I was a real slacker and I should have done more with my life like so many of them in that room have done. There was one woman there that I had never met that was the mother of seven or so and she traveled the world as a nurse doing service once her children were raised. I can't even tell you how blessed I feel to be able to rub shoulders with such great women. We had to tell why we were thankful TODAY, and that is what I said I was thankful for. The fact that I get to be associated with such outstanding women. It has been a blessing in my life for over 20 years and even though I have given a lot of my time and life to AMI, it has given so much more back to me. I am truly grateful for this organization and how it has shaped my life as a mother. I will be forever grateful.
dear shopping trip to Logan, after my AMI meeting, I had some free time and of course my first thought was Christmas Shopping! I really want to get a start on it and get it done so I can enjoy the season! Ha! I say that EVERY SINGLE YEAR and it has never happened yet. Even if I do get the shopping done, there is still the calendars to make, the family newsletter poem to write, neighborhood gifts to make, and on and on. But I wanted to at least get some done. I had a little success and got a few checked off my list and so I was happy about that. When I was in Deseret Book, I saw Dr. Latham's book (several copies) still on the shelf. I was SO happy to see it because not all stores still carry it and it is truly the best parenting manual I have ever read. If you don't believe me, check out my endorsement on the back. That was written when I was serving as the Young Mother for Utah in 1994. Wow, that was even before McKay was born. They spelled my name wrong, but it's still me. How I loved Dr. Latham. He tragically passed away way before his time but his wife Louise still makes sure his book gets out there. It truly was my parenting bible. I HIGHLY recommend it. I think you can order it on Amazon as well.
dear freshly painted house, I am so happy this day has arrived and we are FINALLY getting this project completed! As of Saturday of this week, it was DONE! What a great feeling. It is the first time we have ever hired out a paint job with the exception of when we built the house, because we are do-it-yourself-ers and hate to pay someone to do something that we are perfectly capable of doing. It took some doing, but I was finally able to convince Dave that we needed to have this part of the house professionally done, due to safety if for no other reason. I think when I told him I would not be changing his diapers if he fell and was paralyzed, that was what sealed the deal. However after watching how they did it, I am pretty sure we could have done it safely. But, I can't even tell you how nice it was to have someone else do it though. I am so not used to this (hiring things out) that it was a refreshing feeling that I could get used to. Now, if I can just win the lottery and hire everything out! I think it would be fun to be a Queen or Princess for a year and let others do everything for me! hahComing along nicely...
The finished product!
dear first foodie fun... my sister-in-law Karen I have decided we should start a food critic blog so we have an excuse to go around and try out different restaurants and then blog about them. If we were able to become well established, then we would get our meals for free. Sounds like a great plan to me. We have tried to get this off the ground a year ago and nothing came of it. It's called life is too crazy and busy all the time! But we decided to go to a new place and at least try it. So here is our very first unofficial blog post as foodies!
We went to the Ben Lomond Hotel in Ogden to a restaurant at the top of the hotel named Restaurant 1107. It has received very good reviews and so we thought we should try it our for ourselves. Most reviews said it was pricey, which it was more so for dinner or for menu items like steak, but for lunch it was more reasonable than a lot of other places like Maddox or even Idle Isle. We decided to share the Cranberry Turkey Basil wrap and I'm so glad we did because a half portion was more than filling. And it was only $7.75. I enjoyed it more than Karen because she wasn't a huge fan of the dressing on it, but I thought it was scrumptious. It was loaded with oven roasted turkey, cranberry sauce, basil, spinach, avocado, Swiss cheese, and tomato and wrapped in a tomato tortilla. It came with either soup, salad, or fries. I had the cream of carrot soup and Karen tried the salad. Both of which were delish!To top it all off, we HAD to order the Lemon Crème Brûlée for dessert because we are both HUGE fans of Crème Brûlée!!! It was really yummy! This was hands down the best I have ever had and I have tried a lot of Crème Brûlée! The only drawback was it alone was $7.00...almost as much as our meal. But let me tell you, it was worth every red cent. In fact I was wishing I could have more! Oh man it was heavenly.
The pictures I took didn't do the food justice and so I grabbed some off of Google so you could see the food in a better light. I will definitely go here again! In fact, I can't wait! It would be the perfect spot for a romantic dinner because the views are incredible overlooking Ogden and the mountains. The best part about it is the fact that it isn't super busy. Not many know about this well kept secret or stay away for fear it's too pricey. Let's hope it stays that way, because that is what makes it so perfect! It will now become one of my favorite restaurants. I look forward to trying out their dinner menu.
As we were leaving we saw this room set up in the hotel for a wedding. The paint on the wall right next to the fireplace is almost exactly the color (Brindle) I just painted my house. After seeing it next to Beige and seeing how warm it looked, I was about to come home and have them paint half of my entry way beige instead of the grey I had chosen. I ended up not two toning it after all and just did all Brindle.
dear shopping after lunch...Karen and I hit the mall after lunch and shopped for a while. Of course, we hit Quilted Bear and See's candy and got loaded up on our faves. I got a Tipperary, California Toffee, and a milk chocolate Bordeaux. No more Summertimes because first of all it's winter, and second of all they can no longer get the nuts to make them. Bummer. I found a cute skirt and a scarf and she found some cute things for her and her girls. It was a lot of fun. We got laughing so hard in Burlington's and a few other stores. I bought a fur vest for my Halloween costume next year so I can be a deer and Dave can be a hunter. We were trying it on and laughing so hard. I can't believe I didn't get a picture of us trying it on. Good memories and good laughs! I needed it!
dear cray cray, I got this photo sent to me from my friend Karen who was with my sister in law Carolyn at the Maddox Lodge for a presentation on finance and retirement that both their husbands were attending. I thought it was funny, but then it got even better when my other sister in law Allie, (on my side of the family) sent me a text telling me she was with my sister in law Carolyn at Maddox. That is probably confusing, but it gets even crazier because Dave and I had gone to dinner at Maddox that night as well, only we were just at the Drive In. Had we known, we would have gone to the Lodge because Allie was the one that set up the entire evening because she works for the guy who was presenting. Small world.
dear taylor, you are back! I picked you up at the airport on Friday and once again your plane landed early! What is up with you and early flights?! It was so funny to see you all decked out in your short sleeve shirt and shorts AND flip flops when it was about 30 degrees out! I didn't get a photo of your attire, dang it, so I will add this one instead.I'm glad to have you back. You were gone a long time. I wish you could've brought your bro Sky home with you too, but I at least get to see him at Christmas!
I sent you with some money so you could bring me back my all time favorite new chocolate treat....Hershey Kisses with macadamia nuts! Hawaii is the only place you can buy them that I know of with the exception of Amazon and so I had you get me a couple bags of these. OH! I can't even describe how absolutely heavenly these are! So heavenly they are to die for!
dear usu football game, President Davis (our stake president) invited us to go to the last USU home game on Friday. As much as I love Pres. Davis and his wife Leslie, I do not like the cold and so I wasn't as excited as I would have been if it had been a little warmer. But, I bucked up and went. I dressed VERY warm including my Under Armor and my down coat.It was cold and windy, but I was totally okay with the exception of my toes. My shoes weren't the best and even though I had two pair of socks on, they were seriously freezing! I had to take my boot off and sit on my foot to get so I could feel my toes again. We had some hot chocolate and that helped as well. It was so much fun spending some time with the Davis'. They are amazing people and a lot of fun. It's great to get to know them on a level other than church as well. The game was amazing! USU played so well! I even got to see my AMI friend Diane's son play.
My favorite part of the night might have been when we ate at the Juniper Inn Restaurant before the game. I have never been there and the food was so good! It was comfort food! I ordered the turkey plate that came with the fixin's (stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, and green beans) as well as a roll. That had to be the best roll I have ever eaten in my life. I mean it. Just so good. You can order them to go and so the next time I make it to Logan, I am going to do that!
dear turkey trot, this was my most favorite Turkey Trot ever! For many reasons, but the #1 reason is because Taylor ran it with me!!! I was sooo excited! I have always wanted one of my boys to run with me and I know they all have the talent, but it's hard to convert someone to run. It's not really the funnest sport on the planet. Taylor is a very gifted athlete in every sport and had offers to play football from several Div 2 colleges. He also is an amazing basketball player and track and field athlete. He has received so many awards over the years, but he never liked running. On the way home from picking him up from the airport he told me he ran five miles while in Hawaii and I told him he needed to come and run the Turkey Trot with me and win a turkey. He didn't seem too interested but then he text me Friday night asking me what time it started. I was very excited when Saturday morning he got up early and was ready to go with me! Even though it was FREEZING and rainy and blowing like crazy. HIS VERY FIRST RACE!!! I was a little apprehensive and worried that this race might be a bad idea due to the weather conditions but also because it's not my favorite course. In fact, it might be my least favorite course, next to Peach Days. It's a four mile course that repeats after mile two. But, he was a trooper and was willing to do it. Due to the insane weather conditions, very few showed up to run it. That's always a bonus when the prize for first is a turkey! I wasn't complaining!Here we are freezing and waiting to start. They almost did away with the race because of some city regulations, but Bob saved it and got the city to let him get some sponsors to try and keep the entry fee at $7.00. It ended up being $10.00, but that's still a killer deal for a race with such great awards.
And we are off! Taylor stayed right with me even though he could have gone much faster. Finally after we were on mile two when we turned to go uphill, I told him to just take off and go and run his own race. I was so happy he did. He killed it! He finished 11th overall for his very first race! He was running seven something minute miles! If he had started out without staying with me, he would've placed even higher. Probably fourth or fifth. He didn't even look like he was exerting that much. I know if he sticks with it he can do great things with running.
As we were running, I had the thought flash through my head...wouldn't it be so cool if we both won first place and both got turkeys? I visualized the picture of us both holding our turkeys.
AND WE DID!!!
I wasn't sure I was going to win this year, but I did! And so did Taylor! He was very humble and said the only reason he did was because the overall winner was in his age group, which bumped him up to first, but that's how it works! He was pretty excited, but also VERY cold. We had to wait forever for everyone to finish before they gave out the awards. It was really pouring and windy and we were all freezing and shivering because we were also sweaty. But it was worth it!!! Those were big birds!
I got the picture I envisioned. Though in the one I envisioned, Taylor was wearing shoes and not barefoot! We took this one at home after because the one at the race turned out blurry. And then I found the one posted before this one on the Recreation's Facebook page...we are freezing but at least he has his shoes on.
A picture of the participants....at least those that were crazy enough to stick around for awards! The sane ones left once they finished.
This will always be a great memory for me!
dear high school play, you really go all out for your musicals each year. Last year was Tarzan and it was amazing, the year before that was Phantom and it was even better than the Broadway version in many ways. This year it was LesMiserables. One of my all time favorite plays. I tried to get tickets the day they went on sell and I still ended up in the balcony. They always go fast. But I was just happy I got some. I got four hoping that Taylor and McKay would go, or Taylor would take a date, but in the end both had other plans. We called our friends Troy and Carol because Troy loves this play. He also served his mission in France. He wasn't feeling too well and so had to cancel dinner, but said they would meet us at the play. Dave and I went to Idle Isle (forgot to take a picture) and they were super busy. Our waitress was great to get us in and out fast. And then we headed to the high school. My good friend Tami was the vocal coach for the play and I mentioned to her how fast the tickets went. She asked where we were sitting and after I told her she brought me some tickets with better seats. I told her we had friends coming and so we would pass, but she insisted and said the friends would be fine. I was in a conundrum. I explained the situation to Troy and Carol and they were okay with us sitting in the other seats. So we did. But we went and visited with them during the two intermissions. We ended sitting by them for the middle part of the play and then after the second intermission we headed back to our seats so Tami wouldn't be offended. But, someone was in our seats. They said someone was in their seats. hah So we took some others that were even closer, but not better because I had a big head in front of me. All in all we sat in three different seats and Tami told me she would get me tickets for Monday's performance as well because I said something about I would have come more than once. She was just so nice. So we are planning on going Monday as well. They did a fabulous job. So much talent and mostly because Tami is so good at coaching them. She truly is amazing. Javier sounded just like Russell Crowe in the movie version. After the play we headed to Troy and Carols for dessert. We stayed around and chatted with them until almost midnight. It was fun but Dave had meetings at 6:45 a.m. so we headed home in a blizzard. Winter is pretty much settled in I guess.
dear quotes, here are a few that really hit me this week.
dear mr. cat, I can't do a post without including you and your many sleep positions and places. Here you are on our stairs. That is a first. I like this photo because not only are you so stinkin' cute, but it's the last one I have of our gray walls before they were painted.Just ahhhh...
dear taylor's mission....even though you are home, I am so glad when people post photos of you on Facebook. I missed a lot of your happenings and it's always so fun to see the things you did that you forgot to tell your Mama!
dear sunday school class, today our lesson was on goal setting. I decided to talk to you about a person who had a huge influence on me when I was attending Weber State. His name was Rodney Brady and he was our College President. I heard him speak one day and what he said really blew me away and made a huge impact on me from that day forth. He talked about how when he was a senior in high school a teacher told him he could become anything he wanted in life if he would take several hours and write down the things he wanted to accomplish. He took on the challenge and came up with 200 goals for his life. At the time I heard him speak, he was in his 40's and had accomplished 175 of them. That may not sound too impressive, but the goals he had achieved were amazing and even just one would have been impressive for anyone to accomplish. They were things like, get the highest education possible (he got his PhD from Harvard), run a major corporation (he ran several including being the CEO of Bonneville International appointed by Pres. Hinckley), serve in a high-level government post (he was assistant secretary for management in the United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare), be a college president (he was our president at that time). He served in the air force as an officer as well as a Bishop, Stake President, and Patriarch for our church. If I remember correctly some of the other things on his list were to be a published author, become a proficient painter, work for NASA, all of which he did besides all of the other things. Every goal on his list seemed almost unattainable, but he did them all and then some. I will never forget how impacted I was after hearing him speak realizing that one man could really accomplish all he had. I am still in awe! He was determined and because he wrote them down and reviewed them frequently, doors opened that otherwise wouldn't have. I a firm believer that once a goal is written down our subconscious goes about helping us to achieve it.
|Rodney H. Brady|
"A goal-oriented life is far more likely to lead to success than is a life that leaves success to chance."
"If you don't know where you're going, you'll probably end up someplace else."
I also told them how I was able to run my first marathon by setting goals and sticking to them and we talked about the steps to achieve goals by the SMART method. It was a good lesson and McKay even told me that it was one of my best lessons. He said it was inspiring. YES! I might have finally reached that class in a small way!
dear happiness...can I just say this is so true and I LOVE IT! I LOVE feeling this way. I haven't always felt this way and it's so much better to feel like this. I spent so many years trying to get approval of others and not really living who I was in order to get it. Now, I don't need it and I live for who I am inside and by releasing that need, I have become who I am meant to be.