Friday, February 21, 2020

2020 goals

I taped a little goal tracker I made to my bathroom door, and I have loved seeing it each day. Thoughts so far:

+ I love that my MOVE goal spaces are all mixed around and uneven. Every time I see it, I notice all the great times I've bundled up and gone out for a winter walk.  I know if I had put a calendar up, or neat tidy squares, every time I saw it I would have just noticed all the empty spaces of days that I skipped. Instead it has just been a celebration.

+ I've been 'MAKING' so much! I had a goal to make something each month - it felt lofty, but doable. I think the combination of taking time to realize that it was a priority for me, and then taking time to record when I'm doing it has really helped me want to make more and more.  Also, an apple pencil from Jordan for Christmas + learning Procreate + practicing with Illustrator have all been so super fun!

+ Having the little reminder on my door to 'PLAY' has helped me say yes to things I might not otherwise have said yes to. Also I've made more of an effort to make plans just for fun. I am not good at this. As an example -- I had all the logistics down for Disneyland. Getting there, where to stay, what to pack, what to eat, etc.  But then it turned out Jordan and  a few kids went to return the rental car on our first morning there, so I just went in to the park with a couple of the kids -- and I didn't know what to do! :) We wandered a bit, traded a few pins, and eventually found a fun trolley ride. But Jordan is most definitely the one who help our family have fun. It has been good practice to work on this myself too.

 + I've struggled with my 'STUDY' goal. I'll usually plan and prepare our family study after church on Sunday, but I feel like it would be a lot better to prep throughout the week, instead of waiting till the last minute. Somehow this has been hard for me to work into a daily routine, but it still feels important so I'll keep working at it.


I bought a beautiful 'line a day' journal and jumped in on January 1. And wrote each day until January 7... But, I got back to it near the end of January (hooray) and am still going. I decided it was fine to go back and fill in some of the blank days with other thoughts or memories, and also it was fine to leave some days blank. So I'm enjoying this small not-every-day-but-some-days practice.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020


We had a great winter time escape last week going to Disneyland! This was the first time our family had been, and it was just a wonderful time.

+ I was pretty sure as we were planning that this would be our family's one Disney trip -- fun, but enough. But it was so much more fun than I expected, and I kept thinking about 'next time...'

+ We've considered a Disneyland trip several times with various levels of seriousness. I thought all through this trip though that I think this was the first time that I could have handled/enjoyed the trip! :) We all sleep well (which makes everything better/easier/happier! :), no nursing babies, only one child likely to run off... plus great help from the older kids... Also Isaac was just tall enough to ride everything so that made things super smooth.

+ Porter surprised me by loving all of the more intense rides (I didn't go on any of his favorites!) along with Landon. (Owen was hesitant at first but then discovered he loved these too.)

+ We loved spending time with Kathie and Winslow too, and all felt so happy that they were able to come!

+ Jordan and I watched a little "Imagineering" episode a few weeks before we left, and it really made me appreciate all the amazing engineering and design at work. (Even Small World, though I should have worn headphones with my own music, was so inspiring with all the beautiful layers and colors and textures!) And it was so fun to talk to the kids about all the cool robotics at work since that's familiar to them with our lego robotics time.

+ It was wonderful to be enjoying 60-80 degree days, especially when we had some great big snow storms we got to miss at home :) (Although, I was prepping myself for returning home with some mental pep-talks about getting through the rest of winter when Landon out of the blue said, "I'm excited to get back to our snow!")

Favorite moments;

+ Riding the Silly Symphony Swings again and again with Ellie and Isaac while Jordan and the other boys went on rollercoasters

+ Isaac & Porter in their Star Wars helmet and all the boys so excited to build and play with their new light sabers

+ The moment Ellie turned from scared to excited while we raced in the Cars ride. (And feeling that same thing too!)

+ Entering the Radiator Springs town - such a happy nostalgic feeling from Landon's toddler years when we watched Cars again and again!

+ Doing a puzzle at the hotel with Kathie and Winslow and the kids

+ Playing Disneyland trivia games made up by Jordan at the hotel

+ Favorite tips/etc.

We stayed at a Residence Inn close by with a great size room for our whole family to share (and Mickey Mouse waffles for breakfast!) (And when I stressed about the price, I just looked at the Disneyland Hotels and felt much better :) On the map it looked like a super easy walk, but half of us ended up taking an Uber some of the time just to make things easier.

We used Fast Passes one day and then Jordan (our fast-pass expert) decided Max pass was worth it and it did feel like it made everything pretty smooth.

We went for 4 days with a Sunday in between to rest and relax. I don't think we could have managed 3 days in a row (tired feet!), but 2 and 2 was perfect.

We took both of our strollers (though I debated) and pretty much always had them both in use. Landon was awesome at helping to push them and all the other kids were grateful for some breaks through the day.

Our hotel was just far enough that it felt like too far to go all the way back for a break during the day, but on a couple of the days we just took an afternoon break (with a calm drawing class for some and just some sitting/chilling time for the rest) and it helped us enjoy the rest of the day.

I loved the shows we saw -- Mickey & the Magical Map, Frozen, and the World of Color water/light show (which was amazing, but also long).

Jordan ran into some friends from our ward there and they gave us some great tips for the new Star Wars ride and Jordan had almost as much fun figuring/optimizing all the things for us to get passes as we did riding the ride :) Isaac has loved Star Wars lately so it was very fun to see him get to see it all come to life!

We planned our trip to be in the coolest and least busy time of year, and it was perfect for us. (We would have had a hard time with it much warmer or busier.) Also it was super to have this warm, happy trip to look forward to all through January!

Friday, January 24, 2020

A couple of things

+ This morning I said to Isaac (with meant-to-persuade enthusiasm) "Maybe you can take a bath today!" and he replied cheerfully, "Why? I'm never dirty. I'm always not dirty!"

+ Jordan noticed that Owen was in need of some new shoes as he would run on the gym floor at basketball and try to stop but would just keep sliding with his no-traction-left shoes. I took Owen shoe shopping yesterday and when we found a pair that felt good, he asked if he could go test them out. Soon he was running full speed up and down the shoe aisles (with quick stops to test the amazingness of a little tread!) Fortunately there weren't many other shoe shoppers around. Ha! My thought for 'testing them out' wasn't quite the same, but he knew what really mattered.  :)

+ One evening this week I was making dinner and feeling a bit in a 'dinner every day, really?' mood. I had started some taco meat on the stove and started to work on something else. Porter came in, pulled up a stool, grabbed a spatula and then stayed at the stove as cheerful as can be till it was all cooked. Then he just kept jumping in to help (in real, helpful ways!) all through dinner and I was so grateful!

+ Landon and I went to a new-freshman meeting last night at one of the high schools -- we're in the process of deciding which school he'll attend. It was pretty fun to look around the auditorium though and see so many familiar faces, especially so many kids that I got to know helping out in their  kindergarten and first grade classes!

+ Ellie has been really into programming lately and has come up with lots of fun tricks that the Lego Robots can do. This week she and Jordan made the snake game (on the Robot screen), and it was so cool to hear them talking and planning and to hear all the excited creative problem solving.

+ Happy Friday!

Thursday, January 16, 2020

This week

Snow fun

Ellie and her friends were playing outside in the snow one day after school with such happiness. I had been watching them from inside in the kitchen, and they seemed to be trying to get something down from up by the roof, so I went to see if I could help. "Nope -- that's the game! We're just trying to see if we can get it with a snowball!" It was just fun to watch these girls playing, building an icicle village, climbing the tree (maybe not the best with snow + boots...) I love these happy girls! 

Preschool time

A friend and I have a little preschool-time/play day swap worked out for a couple days each week now, and it is such fun. These two kiddos get along great -- Isaac is happy to play family when she wants to, and she is a great sport at playing Isaac's latest favorite Star Wars ("Okay, so I am Luke Skywalker, and you are Princess Leia and hmmm.... you don't like Darth Vader, right mama?") Having a friend over for preschool time also makes it fun and gives me a little more motivation to pull out or prep some more involved or unique activities that I might not otherwise. 


Given the choice between city rec basketball or doing our own Brough basketball, the kids all chose Brough basketball this year, and Jordan has been their super coach. He has great drills for them and tracks their progress. We set dates and times and scheduled it all on the calendar to make sure it would really happen. So far, the kids have asked for extra days to go play or practice, so I think it has been a success! 

Anne Frank 

Landon has enjoyed getting ready for an Anne Frank play his English class has been prepping over the last couple months, and they've been performing their scenes over the last week or so. Today he got to take a frosted cake "Peace in 1944" as a prop and class dessert. (Also, Landon baked the cake but I helped him by frosting it. As I frosted the letters (the very extent of my cake decorating skills), Landon and Ellie watched with the sweetest comments encouraging me on  - Whoa! How do you do that??  Another mom passed along a kind comment from the teacher about a group Landon was performing with "You have restored my faith in 8th graders!" :)

Classroom time

Just before the break, I got to help out with a couple of the kids' class parties and I realized I was missing helping in their classes this year. Today I started helping out in Porter's class, and it was so fun! First grade is the best, and I love these kiddos already! 

Beautiful days 

We've had a snowy January, but a lovely one. Lots of warm days in between stormy days, and enough  new snow to keep everything looking white and feeling fresh and lovely. And not too crazy cold - hooray!  We had a super hard January several years ago  (when we escaped to Idaho with their -6 degree high, but clear air!) and maybe because of that extra grey and cold year, since then I feel like each year I'm surprised at all the beautiful January days we really do get! 

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

sound bytes

I had a long enough break from writing here that I took some time to look through some of my unfinished drafts from the last few months and found a few I still wanted to either finish up or just post unfinished. (This one and a few more to come.)

One little sound byte I have to add in is Isaac's recent "Right, Mama?" He was just having a lunchtime conversation via hangouts with Grammie and Grandpa and I loved every few minutes as I prepared my lunch answering his earnest "right, mama?" questions.

Falling asleep last night, I was thinking about all the funny little conversations I'd had throughout the day with the kids. I wish I could remember now what they all were, but I thought I'd write down just a few bits anyway as a little snapshot of life right now.

"What's on the calendar today?"

"Mom, how can we jump or even walk if there is gravity?"

"What if we could scoop up all the gravity from everywhere on the earth and take it up to space..."

"I finished making my game! Will you play it with me?"

"I'm almost done with my jobs! I just have _____ and_______and _______and _________left..."

"I can't imagine having another school year better than this one" (Oh, hooray!! :)

"Mom! Look!"

"Please bless Dad to be safe in New York and to have fun working while he is there."

"When are you done with your morning jobs?"

"Scriptures?" (An invitation/reminder from Ellie)

"Will you tuck me in?"

Monday, January 6, 2020

Christmas Traditions

One day in December Ellie showed me a mini book she was making of all our Christmas traditions. Until I took a minute to read through her sweet book, I kind of thought we didn't really have that many traditions. But we do! And it was so fun to see which things she picked out. I don't have it with me but here are a few favorites I could think of today:

+ Christmas Eve Program
For the last few years Ellie or Landon have helped me plan this. We read about the Savior's birth from Luke and act out the nativity and sing Christmas songs and often add in some other fun music like handbells and cello this year.

+ Christmas Eve Room
One year just for logistics, we had all the kids sleep in the guest room downstairs together on Christmas Eve. I think I strung up a strand of lights and set out a basket of Christmas books.  The next year the kids were super excited to sleep in the Christmas Eve Room and this happy tradition was started! Now we decorate on purpose and the kids look forward to this special night. This was the happiest accident that still always has all of the kids excited to go to bed on Christmas Eve.

+ Cinnamon Bear
Throughout December (when we can) we gather up with blankets and pillows in the front room with all the lights off except the Christmas tree and listen to the Cinnamon Bear before bedtime.  This year I felt like I did a lot better at just relaxing and enjoying the cozyness (instead of trying to get something done/finished up/worked on) while listening. This was great, except then I had to get back up from a so-cozy spot to help get all the kids to bed!

+ Pizzelle Making
Beginning probably December 1, the kids start asking "when can we make pizzelles?!?" I love that they love to help with this! This started with a single batch for our nearest neighbors in Provo and each year we make and share a few more than the year before. And we have an amazing little system worked out with cookie makers, edge trimmers, timers... so fun! This is my favorite.

+ Music
Forever favorites -- Peter Breinholt, Amy Grant, Celine Dion, Michael W. Smith, NSync (this has faded out of my rotation I guess, but it still makes me happy and has to be included :)

Newer and still long-time favorites -- Lower Lights, Lady Antebellum, Mindy Gledhill, Ingrid Michaelson (newer)

+ 12 Days of Christmas
Just like my grandparents did for us when I was kid, my Dad & Shauna send gifts for the kids to open, one each day for the 12 days leading up to Christmas. This year they loved most the breakfast cereals and pajamas.

+ Gift Giving/Christmas Morning
We get each of the kids a book, a toy, something for a hobby, and a game. I love to wrap presents so everything is wrapped!  Christmas morning we wake up and open stockings (Ellie's favorite part of Christmas Day, and one of my favorites for picking things out. Then we have breakfast (a breakfast casserole and cinnamon rolls -- most often refrigerator biscuit style :), and then we open presents.

+ Other little things --
Decorating with our same favorite decorations each year, putting up our tree and putting ornaments up, lighting candles or simmering a pot full of yummy smelling things, lighting up our round-about tree that our neighbor and friend decorates, sledding at the park, looking for ways to help and share.

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Holly Jolly Design Challenge

(don't mind the fuzziness of these goal tonight was to record something here, and I'm deciding not to let getting this perfect stop me from writing something :)

I joined in on a fun little design challenge in December with Olivia Herrick design and had so much fun working on it and learning some new things. Above are some of my favorites:

1. this poem (I drew that little house (!) and then edited it a bit digitally)
2. repeating pattern (with help from a great little tutorial)
3. christmas card (clipping/mask practice)
4. color palette
5. little houses ( I drew those then played around with adding detail/color digitally)
6. an address stamp
7. logo for "spruce" (this floated around in my head for days before I finally found that just right little tree icon! :)
8. christmas lyrics (love this song!)
9. non-digital (that cute black and white cushion makes me happy each time I come into our driveway, and that little Isaac is awfully cute too!)