Tuesday, January 31, 2012

House Cleaning

BEWARE:  This post is evidence that I am a complete freak...in case you didn't already know that.

A few months ago, I saw a Groupon for 3 hours of housecleaning services for $30.  I purchased it with the intent of saving it for sometime in the future when I might need an extra set of hands to get ready for some major event.  I forgot to call in September before Mack's baptism.  And the parties we had over the holidays were way too spontaneous.  I knew any housecleaning service was probably going to be booked solid in December, so I didn't bother to call them then.  Earlier this month, when we knew the Grs were coming for a visit, I thought I would play my housekeeper card.  Unfortunately, you have to call at least a month in advance with these people because they maintain a pretty tightly packed schedule.  They weren't available anytime BEFORE the Grs came, but they did have some time on January 31st.  I don't foresee any major events happening in our home before April 1 when my Groupon expires, so I decided to go ahead and just schedule it for today.

I have NEVER had anyone come to my home to clean it.  I've always sort of felt like that was a luxury I just couldn't really justify, especially when I don't work.  And I don't really mind cleaning.  My house is usually pretty tidy except for the high traffic areas where those four little tornadoes spend most of their time.  
My strengths are surfaces, and organizing, though.  The counters and mirrors are almost always clean.  There's not a lot of clutter around.   If you opened any of my drawers or cabinets on any given day, you would find neat rows and stacks of things.  I always know where stuff is in my house and I rarely just throw things into a drawer.  Even the refrigerator is purged and cleaned on a fairly regular basis.   BUT...my weakness is DEEP CLEANING.  I can't stand to clean bathrooms, especially toilets.  And I'm not very good at cleaning the corners or behind the furniture.  My floors are regularly swept and vacuumed, but I can't remember the last time I cleaned the baseboards or the blinds.  The furniture is always dusted, but the ceiling fans and light fixtures have a layer of something that I never seem to get around to.  

So, my whole purpose for this cleaning experience is to have someone professionally DEEP clean the floors, the bathrooms, and the corners.  But, here's the part where I'm a freak...

I have spent the entire morning "prepping" my house for them to come and clean it.  I've straightened my room and the kids' rooms.  I've put away all the remains of breakfast, run the dishwasher, and unloaded it.  I changed the sheets on Mack's bed and put away all of his legos.  I've folded blankets and fluffed pillows.  And now that it's 11:00, and I still have 2 hours before they get here to CLEAN my house, I'm wondering what the heck I'm doing??  Why do I feel like I need to impress them?  I don't even know them!  It's not like I'm going to win any special prize if they come into my house and don't have anything to do!  I'm sure they've seen messy houses before.  And I'm pretty sure my house even on a messy day wouldn't be the messiest thing they've ever seen.  And if I have them for three whole hours, what are they going to do if I've already cleaned the whole house for them??  See...total freak!
But, the good thing is, that by 5pm today, after they leave, between my efforts and theirs, my house will be totally clean...even in the corners.  I'm not going to walk down the stairs tonight and see dust bunnies.  My kitchen floor won't have mysterious sticky places.  And the toilets and showers will look like they did when we moved in.  That's worth $30 and a little bit of neurotic behavior, right?  (I may just have to hit the DELETE button the next time that housecleaning offer comes up on Groupon.)

5pm Update:  Holy cow!  My house is GORGEOUS!!  Seriously!  You could EAT off the bathroom floors.  In fact, we might just DO THAT tonight!  Remember how I said I didn't think I would do this again?  Um...I might have changed my mind.  I could have these girls come EVERY month...just to do the hard stuff.  Just so that every now and then the house looks sparkly.  Hmmm...how can I work that into my grocery budget??   

Monday, January 30, 2012

Ahi Tower

Craig's boss is in town from Indianapolis this week which always means business dinners.  Tonight they were going out for sushi, so I happily invited myself along.  We had a great time...excellent conversation, and the BEST food!   Blue Fish is my all time favorite sushi restaurant EVER!  And my new all time favorite thing to eat there is the Ahi Tower.

Here's what that gorgeous thing is...tuna tartar based in sesame oil over snow crab/avocado salad, bedded on a sushi rice foundation infused with creamy wasabi sauce.  Super YUM!

The waiter brings this beautiful thing to the table looking like a piece of art, and then...he mixes it all up and shapes it into a little design... 

It was the most delicious thing I've ever eaten and I can't wait to go back and eat it again. 

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Liahona

Today was one of those days when I totally looked forward to going to church.  On days like these, I hear inspiration everywhere.  I love the talks.  I love the music.  I love the lessons.  I'm sure it goes back to that "attitude" thing that President Monson talked about in the First Presidency message this month.  Or it might have been because the choir was singing Abide With Me in Sacrament and I happen to totally love that song.  Whatever the reason, I had a great attitude today and there were little floods of useful and inspiring things everywhere...especially in Gospel Doctrine.

The lesson today was on 1 Ne 16-17 Both of those chapters are meaty and it would have been possible to base entire sermons on a million different things from either chapter.  But we spent a lot of time talking about the Liahona.  
1 Ne 16:10 "And it came to pass that as my father arose in the morning, and went forth to the tent door, to his great astonishment, he beheld upon the ground a ball of curious workmanship; and it was of fine brass.  And within the ball were two spindles; and the one pointed the way whither we should go into the wilderness."  
Do you know how many times I've read 1 Nephi?  A lot...probably more than any other book in the Book of Mormon.  And do you know how many times I've read the account of Lehi and his family journeying in the wilderness and finding a Liahona that provided direction for them?  A lot.  I've read the story.  I've seen the animated video.  I've retold the story in Primary and in Family Home Evening lessons.  I felt very well acquainted with both Lehi AND the Liahona.  Except today was the very first time it has ever occurred to me that there were TWO spindles on that thing.  

I am always amazed when that happens.  When something that you feel you know so well, like the story of Lehi finding the Liahona, can lead to a whole different discussion on something you never even thought about before.  Someone in the class was asked to give a short synopsis of Chapter 16, and when he read that verse above, he very casually said, "I'm not sure why there were two spindles, but if anyone can answer that, I would love to know."  After he finished and sat down, the class discussion opened with a comment from an engineer in the back of the room.  He explained something called redundancy.  
 In engineering, redundancy is the duplication of critical components or functions of a system with the intention of increasing reliability of the system, usually in the case of a backup or fail-safe.  (I love engineers, but I am definitely NOT one, and I can't accurately reiterate what he said, so I copied this definition directly from wikipedia.)
That was my favorite thing about today...redundancy.  I didn't know that before I got to church today.  But it perfectly explained why there were TWO spindles!  Only ONE "pointed the way whither they should go in the wilderness."  So the other one must have pointed the way they were actually going.  Ideally, they would have wanted BOTH spindles pointed in the same direction.  That's how they would know for sure that they were going the right way.

During all of that engineering stuff, and the mini personal revelation I was having, I found myself thinking, "Lehi's family was so lucky.  I wish we had a Liahona...something tangible with pointers and REDUNDANCY that we could look at and visibly SEE when we're going astray."  Well, guess what!  We do!  It's the scriptures.  And the Holy Ghost.  And the Conference talks.  Those make up the ONE spindle that we need to be paying attention to.  They provide the redundancy...the fail-safe.  The variable is our free agency, our choices, the spindle that SHOULD be pointing in the same direction as those other things, but isn't always.   As long as we pay attention to the direction that the scriptures, the Holy Ghost, and the Prophet are leading, we can redirect that other spindle to always be in accordance with them. 

I am so grateful that I was in Gospel Doctrine today.  I'm grateful that I wanted to be there and that I heard the valuable things that were said.  I'm grateful for the teacher who opened it up for discussion.  I'm grateful for that man who acted on his inspiration to relate the Liahona to engineering.  And I'm especially grateful for the personal Liahona that we all have continuously providing direction and guidance.


Friday, January 27, 2012

The Dallas Temple

Today was our Ward Temple Day.  In this Stake, they don't have a specific time when all the members of one ward attend a session.  Instead, they give us a specific DAY and we attend whichever session fits within our schedule.  Earlier this week, I got a text from my friend, Amy, asking if I wanted to go with her to the 10:00am session.  I LOVE her.  And I totally wanted to go!  So I said, "Absolutely!"  Typically I like to go to the Temple by myself, but every now and then, it's nice to have a friend to go with.

Sometime last year, my mother-in-law gave me several family names from one of her Swedish missionary friends who lives in Bountiful, UT.  Apparently these are distant relatives of his, and he was having a hard time getting all of their work done.  I have 25 pink cards in my Temple bag that I have gradually been whittling down so that I can send them back to my mother-in-law, and eventually to Stephen Rosevaar (who I'm sure has given up on me completely by now.)  But, after today, because I had a friend with me, and because there were two other women from my ward in that same session, we got 4 names done, and I am down to 9 cards!  

It is always an amazing feeling to be in the Temple, but it was even better to be there with friends today.  With those three other women, I was able to do 4 times the work that I would have been able to do on my own.  If I keep taking at least one friend with me to the Temple every week, I can get this set of cards back to UT by the beginning of March!  Which is perfect because my mother-in-law brought another stack of 52 baptism cards that need to be finished sometime in the future.  (I'm thinking the next Youth Temple Baptism date will be my chance to have lots of helpers for that job!)  

I LOVE the Temple.  I LOVE that's it's so close.  And I LOVE that I have friends who want to be there with me.  



Thursday, January 26, 2012


Do you think this girl looks like me??
Last night at YW, one of the girls' moms came running up to me and asked if I had been modeling for Special K cereal boxes lately.  (Um...nope...I haven't.)  She said their family was eating breakfast the other day and her little boy said, "Mom, why is Sister Thunell on the back of the cereal box?"  (OK, how sweet is that!?  That he saw HER and thought of ME!) 

Just so that she could validate her opinion, though, the mom happened to have the box WITH HER and of course ALL of my little Beehives had to check it out.  They thought she looked like me, too.  And so did the rest of the YW Prresidency.  And the Mia Maids.  And pretty much everyone else who saw the box, including the Scout Master!

It's definitely NOT me...but it's motivating to think that that might be possible.  Me...three sizes from now.  Me...after losing a few hundred pounds (that might be a slight exaggeration, but she's definitely smaller than I am...especially after an indulgent December.)  So I brought her home, cut her out of the box, and pinned her to my bulletin board to remind me of the possibilities that are out there if I eat less, keep running, and get enough sleep.   Totally achievable!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


With two (almost three) teenage girls in the house, it's not unusual to hear screaming.  Sometimes it's hysterical squeals of laughter.  Sometimes it's screams of frustration or anger.   Sometimes it's a pair of shoes.  The things that prompt screaming in this house are unlimited and no longer surprise me. 

Wanna know what it was today that elicited the screams I heard as I pulled into the garage?

That text is from the boy of TCD's dreams.  She's had many, many, many opportunities to ask him for his phone number and text him first, but she's held her ground and resisted because, "Mommy, I'm the girl!!  Girls don't ASK BOYS for their phone numbers.  They wait to be asked."  Hooray for Andrew.  He finally asked.  

After the text, we spent the next 20 minutes analyzing the number of exclamation points, the word "delish," and what on earth would be the most "delish-ious-ly" perfect response.  I think she settled on "you're welcome.  I'm so glad you liked them!"

It was complete and utter chaotic glee at our house this afternoon as TCD jumped and screamed, read the text to everyone who walked in the door, and then called all of her friends to let them know.  When I went into her room to say goodnight to her, she was writing in her journal about her exciting day. 

Oh, the simple delights of being a teenager...

Monday, January 23, 2012

Ft. Worth Stockyards

We decided to be adventurous with the Grs in town this week and spend the day in Ft. Worth.
We had so much fun exploring all the little shops and talking to the super cute cowboys who apparently just ride up and down the street all day helping people in distress (except for 11:30 and 4:00 when they're rounding up longhorns for the cattle drive.)

The cattle drive down Main Street was my favorite part...way too short, though.  
 I totally have a thing for Longhorns...this guy was my favorite! 

 After the stampede, I followed the cows so I could spend some quality time with a few of them.

We had lunch at a BBQ restaurant, which seems inherently wrong after bonding with all those cute longhorns, but there weren't many other options. 

I DID NOT eat the "house special" calf fries...

 Do you KNOW what those ARE??  I'm not going to tell you because I can't even write it, it's so yucky...you'll just have to Google it.  But ew...really?  EW!  Definitely didn't eat those.

I loved the fried pickles, though.

We spent a couple more hours walking around and then ended at the Tattoo Ranch so my mother-in-law could get something permanent to take home... 

Just joking...she didn't actually GET a tattoo, but when we picked her up, we all thought it was such a funny place that she had chosen to stop and wait for us.  
(And the truck parked in front of her was pretty awesome, too.)

We had a great time in Ft. Worth and look forward to going back again very soon to visit those longhorns.

Friday, January 20, 2012


This has already been one of those days when I'd kind of like to just go back to bed and start all over tomorrow.  Unfortunately, scout camp outs, groceries, cleaning, spelling bees, and house guests are all calling pretty loudly.  On days like this, when it feels like 24 hours can't possibly be enough, it's always a challenge for me to make the most effective use of my time.  

This morning at 6:30, I started with the cleaning...that's always the low hanging fruit for me, except it's endless and I'm never completely satisfied.  Somehow, cleaning the bathroom leads to cleaning the closet and then organizing my shoes, and then an hour has gone by and I haven't even gotten to the things that matter...like June's bedroom which needs to become the guestroom for the Grs this weekend.  Even though it's lovely to walk into my closet and see my shoes all in neat rows, chances are good that my in laws will spend more time in the guest room than in my closet.  

I moved on to the laundry...clean towels and sheets for the guest room and downstairs bathroom.  As I loaded everything into the washing machine, though, I totally got the distinct impression that I needed to spend my time somewhere else.  So, I had the Scout Master drive the girls to school today and I turned on the Book of Mormon on my laptop.  Three chapters...25 minutes.  But that scattered feeling was still hanging out in my head.

There was no time for a run this morning, so I went upstairs and did a quick leg workout (tons of squats, lunges, jumping jacks and an eternal wall sit!)  And then an hour of Just Dance.  (I only intended to stay there for 30 minutes, but the time just flies with that thing...and I always want to do the song one more time to see if I can beat anyone's high score.)  

By 9:00, I had cleaned (sort of...there's still more to do), read my scriptures, exercised, and drank 4 glasses of water.  But that scattered feeling was still there...ugh!  (It probably didn't help that instead of my spinach smoothie, I opted for two pieces of zucchini bread for breakfast...)
430 calories!!...seriously??

So, instead of jumping in the shower and then plowing forth with the next 20 things on my To Do list...I decided to take a minute and listen to a Conference talk.  I didn't have a specific one in mind, so I just listened to the one on the front page of http://lds.org
It's actually not a Conference talk.  It's the First Presidency message for January called Living the Abundant Life.  It's short...less than 10 minutes to listen to...but totally filled with the perfect things that I needed to hear to get me out of that overworked, oppressed, hopeless feeling I started the day with.  

President Monson challenged all of us to make a significant quest this year for the abundant life.  And then he gave three ways to do that...
Have a positive Attitude.
Believe in yourself.
Face challenges with Courage.

The attitude one stood out for me today.  I had a crappy attitude about my in-laws coming this week.  It's busy here...but when is it not busy here??  The Scout Master will be on a camp out tonight, so I have to pick them up from the airport.  June has to sleep in my closet for the week.  
I had a crappy attitude about going Visiting Teaching...which I don't have to do after all because everyone cancelled...they could probably FEEL my stinky attitude.  :)  
I had a crappy attitude about pretty much everything this morning.

So to hear this quote...was apparently exactly what I needed.
I LOVE President Monson.  I love that his guidance and counsel is appropriate and timely every time I read his talks.  I love that that little message was the first thing I saw on lds.org.  And I LOVE that I listened to it.  

There are so many amazing things about house guests and scout camp outs and callings and the opportunities that we have everyday.  This life that I get to live is abundant and happy...except on the days when I make it miserable and drudgery.  Someone I talked to recently said, "If you're not happy, then it was all for nothing."  That's totally true.  I'm pretty sure the Savior didn't do all that he did so that I could whine and complain about having to wash sheets.

"I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." John 10:10

So, I'm deciding to exchange my crappy attitude for a better one today.  I love the Grs.  I love the quiet, calming effect they have on our home.  I love that the weather is beautiful here and that it will feel like spring to them.  I love that we have the room to comfortably fit 8 people in beds and around a dinner table each night.  I love that my visiting teachers and the women I get to visit are people I genuinely enjoy and learn from every single time I'm with them.  And I love that we have a Prophet who is inspired to always say just what I need to hear.  


Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Want me to give you a list of all the reasons I couldn't go running this morning?  

OK, I won't give you the WHOLE list, but there were more than a few good reasons not to go.   The biggest one was that sometime between 6:00am and 9:00am the temperature dropped from 61 degrees to 42 degrees!  (42 degrees is not my favorite temperature.  Maybe you remember that I mostly like to stay between 68-72 degrees at all times?)  So, at 9:30am right after my YW Presidency meeting, I had ZERO motivation to run anywhere except to the couch with a blanket and a good book.   Unfortunately, Spell Girl took Book 2 of The Hunger Games WITH HER to school, so there was no good book.  

Instead, I made my rounds on my laptop and happened to find THIS on Pinterest...love that website!

I read through it quickly (along with the blog it came from, which was very motivating!) and I thought, "I can totally do this!"  So I ran upstairs and did it!  It took about 15 minutes.  And then, since I was already up there, I turned on the Wii and played Just Dance for 30 minutes. 
   (oh, and I totally BEAT the high score on Price Tag and then texted my family to let them know!)

And then, after I finished all of that stuff, I was still in workout clothes and I was sweaty anyway, and no longer worried about being cold, so I jumped in the car (before my body temperature dropped again and I came to my senses), drove to my trail, and RAN ANYWAY because I only have 47 days until that 5K.

Sometimes the determination in my head is weak, but it's there...and tonight, I can go to bed knowing that I did what I said I would do! 

Monday, January 16, 2012


Yesterday in church, a new woman in our ward gave a beautiful talk based on Elder Uchtdorf's talk from the RS General Broadcast last September.  It was the one about the little forget-me-nots.  I remember loving that talk when I heard it the first time, but I loved it even more when I heard it yesterday.  I listened to it again this morning just to remind me one more time why I love Conference.  

The first time I heard this talk, I think I pulled something entirely different, but equally meaningful from it.  I think I heard the part about not being so hard on ourselves, and not comparing my weaknesses to everyone else's strengths. 

Yesterday and today, though, I heard this...

Forget NOT to be happy NOW!
So many people today are waiting for their own golden ticket - the ticket they believe holds the key to the happiness they have always dreamed of.  There is nothing wrong with righteous yearnings.  We seek after things that are "virtuous, lovely, of good report, or praiseworthy."  The problem comes when we put our happiness on hold as we wait for some future event - our golden ticket - to appear.  If we spend our days waiting for fabulous roses, we could miss the beauty and wonder of the tiny forget-me-nots that are all around us.

The happiest people I know are not those who find their golden ticket.  They are those who, while in the pursuit of worthy goals, discover and treasure the beauty and sweetness of the everyday moments.  They are the ones who, thread by daily thread, weave a tapestry of gratitude and wonder throughout their lives.  These are they who are truly happy.
It's hard to remember that everyday.  I have made a conscious effort since starting this blog to find those little forget-me-nots each day.  They're there...but some days they are more apparent than others.  Some days I am only grateful for the tiniest things.  And other days I feel abundantly blessed and I'm compelled to write multiple posts or at least say multiple prayers.  But the fact is...I am abundantly blessed every single day.  One of the things on my 2012 Manifesto is to BE GRATEFUL.  So on some future day when I find myself frustrated that I'm still waiting for those fabulous roses, I'm going to remember to look at all the little forget-me-nots I already have. 

Today I am grateful for 70 degree weather in January, for amazing neighbors with amazing kids, for priesthood blessings, and for my little June who is peacefully snoring beside me so that I can peacefully sleep tonight while the Scout Master is out of town. 

Sunday, January 15, 2012


Have you been invited to this website yet?  

I resisted for a LONG time before I finally gave in, especially when I found out that you have to have a Facebook account to have a Pinterest account.  I don't have a FB account...at least not one that's active...so I just decided Pinterest wasn't going to happen.  And then sometime in November, I thought I needed to revisit my Pinterest options.  I emailed my friend who has a Pinterest account and asked her to invite me, and then I found a way to reactivate my FB account for the 90 seconds it took to set up a Pinterest account, and then delete it immediately afterward.  

Here's why I LOVE this website:


It's a virtual "pinboard" or bulletin board!  And I just happen to LOVE bulletin boards...virtual or tangible...it really doesn't matter.  When I first set up my account, Pinterest gave me options for "suggested pinboards" which I used for about a day until I realized I could change the board names, add more boards, rearrange the order on my profile, and virtually "pin" an endless number of ideas from unlimited websites and blogs.  It's like being able to flip through a million online magazines and rip out as many pages and pictures and articles as I ever wanted to.  And the only space it takes up is on the screen of my laptop.  I have online "boards" for recipes I want to try, shoes I love, quotes I want to remember, books I've read, and music I love to listen to.   I've planned almost all of my YW New Beginnings program without writing down a single thing.  I have a wealth of health and fitness pictures and quotes to remind me on the days that I hurt, that I really DO want to keep running.  And I have tons of friends whose daily Pinterest footprints remind me how much I love them and that we are still connected even though I'm not chatting with them or checking their status updates everyday.  

The only problem I can find with this amazing website is that it's totally addictive!  I can't seem to make myself go to bed anymore.  There's always one more interesting something to search for, one more addition to make to my vision boards...and then all of a sudden it's three hours later and I'm still "pinning."


Friday, January 13, 2012

Nostalgia: Letters from my Dad

My dad was an avid letter writer before he discovered the internet.  After that, he acquired an email account and started writing flowery emails and forwarding as much spam as he received.  He was a prolific letter writer throughout his life, though.  He insisted on writing personal letters to creditors, department stores, the postman, and the accountant who did his taxes every year.  He came from that generation when people communicated beautifully with a pen and a piece of paper.   And he had the most beautiful penmanship. 

In the 70s, we lived in San Diego.  My dad worked for various hotels in the southern California area, some of them all the way in Los Angeles.  I remember traveling to Seal Beach on the weekends to visit him at his hotel when he was the GM of the Catamaran Resort.
In 1980, his mother (who lived about 10 minutes away from us in San Marcos) was diagnosed with colon cancer, so my dad left the long hours of the hotel business and worked as a car salesman in Escondido so that he would be available to help take care of her.  After she passed away in 1981, my dad started looking for work in the hotel industry again.  In 1983, he took a job as a Divisional Manager for Hilton Hotels, in Houston.  

My mom and I (and her mother who also lived with us), stayed in San Diego for almost a year while we sold our house and I finished my freshman year of high school.  My dad had an apartment in Houston, and traveled home as often as possible.  The commuting life was hard on all of us that year.  He called frequently, but I didn't realize how often he wrote letters to my mom.  Here's one of the more entertaining ones that I found.

(and first of all...let me say that I can vividly remember that camel hair jacket he wore with his brown slacks and brown tie.  He was a snappy dresser, for sure!)


Here's a quick note on my famous stationery again.  It's a very lazy day today.  Fell asleep on the loveseat last night, awakened at 4am...thought I'd lost my legs from the knees down (draped over the arm rest.)  This somewhat upset me and when I sat up and swung my body around to sit up and hopefully stand up, the lower portion of my legs which I thought were missing, were there but asleep - all by themselves and refused to wake up!  Thus with the rest of my body awake, I remained in an upright position for sometime until with great reluctance the lower limbs began to join the circulation function and with great PAIN and colorful language spoken, through clenched teeth, we stood.  Made coffee and wondered why we were so stupid!

In our conversations since arrival and departure to/from El Paso, I'd forgotten to tell you of my greeting.  The enclosed photo will give you a good idea.  Yes, the little darlings had this 7 foot bunny greet me and escort me through the airport and across the street to the hotel.  Of course, I tried to make believe he didn't exist, however, the smiles on the faces of the other folks in the terminal betrayed my hope.  As you can tell from this, it's silly time!

Hope your day exceeded your expectations!!

Love you, 


My dad loved to tell a story and could spin one out of the most mundane things.  He was goofy and tried to find humor in everything, even his legs falling asleep on the couch!  It has been so much fun today to read these letters and be able to "hear his voice" through them.  I miss his silliness and his sense of humor.  Thanks for indulging me in my reminiscences.



Last weekend, I felt the urge to consolidate some of the boxes that haven't managed to find a permanent location in our home.  I had three of those white file boxes stacked in a corner of our bedroom that have been calling me for a few months now. 

When we cleaned out my dad's house in 2010, I couldn't throw away any of the pictures, recipes, or letters that my parents had saved.  But there were a LOT of them.  My parents (especially my dad) saved every greeting card they ever received.  They had accumulated 40 years worth of their own pictures as well as hundreds of pictures sent from children and grandchildren who had left the nest.  There were graduation announcements, obituary clippings, important documents like marriage licenses and birth certificates, postcards, resumes, and business cards.  My parents did amazing things in their lifetime and in their marriage.  My dad was formally trained as a chef at the Culinary Arts Institute of America.  My mom played a lead role in a production of Show Boat.  My dad worked as a general manager of more hotels than any of us can remember.  My mom went to Palomar College after I was born and got her degree.  And then she went back to school again when I was in high school and got her real estate license.  My parents were successful, interesting, social, goal oriented people.  They saved most of the evidence of this and even though I tried to weed out a lot of it before we sold their house last November, there was a lot that I couldn't part with.

I am currently the sole owner of some of the memories housed in those boxes.  I feel a great responsibility to protect them and to transcribe some of them into meaningful stories for my children and future generations.  Sometime in the future I might be able to turn them into something more permanent and tangible than this blog, but for now...I'm starting here.  Over the next few weeks and months, as I sift through the things that are left, I plan to post everything I can remember about the things I find.  Hope it's as enjoyable for others to read as it will be for me to remember. 



Thursday, January 12, 2012

Week 2

I'm sore today...like REALLY sore.   I can feel every single muscle from my feet all the way up to my hips, even when I'm sitting down!  But it's a good sore...the result of choosing to stick with the plan yesterday.  It rained here Monday and Tuesday and since I'm kind of a baby about the weather, there was no outside exercise happening on those two days.  So yesterday I was anxious to get going again.  

I'm on Week 2 headed for that 5K in March which means running for a specific length of time now...not just bridges.  It's hard not to just keep running, but I'm pacing myself.  I'm sticking to the schedule.  I downloaded a new app on my phone that tracks my running/walking intervals.  It has a GPS that keeps track of my pace and my route.  And it doesn't interrupt my music.  Perfect!

Here's the schedule for the week...

Warm Up (brisk walk)............5 minutes

Run (slow)..............................1 minute
Walk (moderate pace)..........90 seconds
alternate each 8 times

Cool Down (brisk walk).........5 minutes

Yesterday, I added an additional 15 minutes of walking at the end because my workout stopped before I got back to my car.  I did 2.86 miles in 45 minutes at about a 16 min/mi pace.  It's not speedy, but I ran for 8 whole minutes of that!   Yay me!  

I only get to do that 3 times a week.  The other 3 days are OFF days and I do something other than running...anything other than running.  Walking, weights, Just Dance 3, whatever...

Today is an OFF day so I'm planning to just walk with a friend.  Probably a longer route and probably for at least an hour...if the temperature ever gets above 40.  It is still 30 degrees here and I'm wrapped up in a blanket in the living room...waiting...

But I'm looking forward to running again tomorrow and Saturday and to becoming much more well acquainted with those muscles that I've neglected for such a long time.  

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Book of Mormon

I know I already have a jillion posts about this, but I needed another one today.  

On January 1st, in church, someone from the Bishopric challenged the entire ward to read the Book of Mormon by August 1st.  Well, that's all I ever need to get me motivated...a challenge!  Isn't that so silly, that I can't just jump in and do things on my own?  It has to be a CHALLENGE!  Oh well, either way, I'm doing it, and as usual, I'm loving every second of being in that amazing book.

I just started today, so I'm not very far.  I'm not reading for an hour everyday like I did last year.  But even a little time in the scriptures everyday makes such a big difference.  I LOVE the Book of Mormon.  I love how it changes my attitude and my demeanor and my perspective.  I LOVE that I can have a little bit of that quiet assurance every single day.  And I LOVE that it is so easily accessible.  I just downloaded the whole thing here, so now I don't even have to find the CDs.  I can just turn on my laptop, plug in my super cute pink headphones, and go!

I don't usually do this, but I kinda feel inspired to get things in motion, so here goes...YOU should do this, too.  Read the Book of Mormon.  If you haven't ever read it, then leave a comment or email me your address and I'll send you a copy.  Read it and see what you think.  And if you have already read it a million times, do it again with me...by August 1st.  I know you'll LOVE it, too!

Monday, January 9, 2012


I'm not calling this post, The Hunger Games, because I can't actually say that I LOVED this book.  But that's where I spent the day...in Panem with Katniss and Peeta and 22 other teenagers fighting for their survival.   

Right before Christmas break, Spell Girl checked out The Hunger Games from the school library along with about 10 other huge books.  I had reservations about letting her reading this one because people I love have had some strong opinions about it.  Everyone seems to have something to say.  People I admire and trust have LOVED it, and other people I admire and trust, like my mother-in-law, have HATED it.  (She read it for a book club a few years ago and called as soon as she finished it pleading with me NEVER to let any of the kids read it.) 

I told Spell Girl that I wanted to read it first, and then we would talk about it and decide if it was appropriate or not.  Unfortunately, cookies and holiday responsibilities beckoned louder than Katniss and Peeta, and Spell Girl got to the book before I did.  She devoured it in a couple of days and loved it.  (Devoured...that's kind of an ironic word choice, but that's what she does with a good book.)   I don't always screen my kids' books.  They are voracious readers and there are not enough hours in a day to preview everything all four of them want to watch, listen to, or read.  So at this point, I have to trust their judgment.  They have all been armed with gospel principles and Church standards, and are very capable of making good decisions about their media choices.  After she finished it, we talked a little about the book and she said that it was disturbing, but interesting, and she handed it to me.  It's been sitting on my nightstand for a week waiting for me to open it.  So finally, on Sunday night, I decided to do what I said I was going to do, and read the darn thing.  

Within the first few pages I was hooked.  I knew the premise of the book.  I knew that it would be intense and vile...and it is definitely that.  But I expected to hate it...and I didn't.  I was completely riveted.  I was totally engrossed until 11:30pm when I couldn't keep my eyes open any longer.  And then, as soon as my morning responsibilities were finished, I curled up on the couch with a blanket and got right back into the arena with those kids.  I took a break for Institute and lunch, and afternoon carpool, but I lingered on the couch for the better part of the day.  It was the perfect rainy day to just read, and the perfect escape for a long, exhausting weekend...and I LOVED getting lost in this book. 

First thing tomorrow morning, I'm going to the library to see what else I can find to get lost in.  I'm not sure it will be Book 2 of The Hunger Games, but I'm sure there's something amazing I haven't discovered yet.    I LOVE that I found a reason to turn everything off and READ.   I should do that more often.