Monday, February 28, 2011

Changes

I've decided to change to focus of my blog.  I've decided to make it more of a family journal.  Less about me and more about us.  Hopefully, I'll be able to upload to posts at the end of 6 months or a year and have a book printed. 

With this decision, I decided to create a new blog and start fresh.  I know it's a pain to add a new blog address to your reader, but please add the new one and keep up with us!

http://batnt.blogspot.com

Catch you on the flip-side!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Happy Little Things

The kid’s school did parent teacher conferences in October.  Yes, school started in almost the middle of September.  Seems VERY silly to me to have the one and only parent teacher conference six weeks after school starts.  I was concerned, but we got “report cards” this week and all three children seem to be doing swimmingly.  Very proud of them.

My kindergartener is an excellent reader.  Almost as good a reader as my second grader.  I did not teach him to read.  {I read to him a lot however.}  One day last spring (2010) he brought me a new book from the library, sat down next to me and read the whole thing out loud.  I was stunned.  He loves to read and spends a lot of time reading.  Last week, he saw me typing and decided that he might like to type too.  I opened up Word and let him at it.  He typed all about his stay at the hospital.  He typed how he got to control the remote and how fun it it. 

That is a Word document that I will never put in the trash.  Seriously so happy.

Hearing my daughter share her testimony of Joseph Smith in front of the congregation on Sunday.  So impressed with her faith.  Also, the same day, my youngest gave a talk on God’s plan for us in primary (children’s class).  He got up and read his talk clearly and did a wonderful job.

Watching the Super Bowl with some friends and our oldest son.  He loves sports, that one.  He was certain the Packers were going to win – and they did!

For the Super Bowl, I made an apple dip that was very good (happy!) ~ 16 oz cream cheese, softened, 1/2 cup brown sugar and 8 oz toffee bits.  Mix it all together and serve it with some sliced apples.  It was good with a Ritz cracker too.

Any happy little things at your place?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

You Capture | Cold

I’ve been wanting to participate in You Capture at I Should Be Folding Laundry for awhile. I’ve needed something to get me taking pictures, because I haven’t been picking up my camera the last several.  I was disappointed last week when I saw that the topic was “cold”.

Here in the northwest, we’ve been having an unseasonably warm January.  Seriously – it’s been heavenly.  No wind, no rain and temps in the mid-upper 50’s (tomorrow the wind will blow and the rain will start just because of that sentence) so I wasn’t sure I would get anything cold to take a picture of.

Then this morning, when the kids headed out the door to school it was below freezing.  And there was signs of winter – fog hanging over the neighborhood, frost on the grass, bushes and roof tops.  Gray skies above the fog.  It just looked like winter, and cold. 

So I put on my husband’s flip flops, grabbed the camera and headed out. Here are a couple shots I got:

02 10 11_4588crop 02 10 11_4589-copyI’m particularly excited about the bottom one because I used the manual mode.

Stay warm this week!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Books

In January, I read two books.  TWO. 

The problem was that I had started too many books.  When I read more than one (or two) at a time, I don’t ever finish any. 

So I settled down and so far in February (we’re, what?, nine days in?) I’ve read five books.   FIVE.  Granted, some have been YA which tend to read faster but still.  I’m on a roll!

Here’s what I’ve read and what I thought of them:

Feb Books

The Kalahari Typing School For Men by Alexander McCall Smith – This book is the fourth (fifth?) in the No. 1 Ladie’s Detective Agency series.  I have enjoyed most of the books.  Mma Ramotswe is such an enjoyable character.  I’ll admit though that I am tiring of the series.  And if Mma Ramotswe and her love don’t get married soon, I’m going to quit reading them. 

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin – This book is about Gretchen Rubin’s journey to be more happy.  She isn’t sad – but feels like her life could be happier.  I loved this book.  In the beginning.  And then (the chapters are done by month) June came around and I got tired of it.  Honestly, I think Rubin tired of it around here as well.  Perhaps, I got overwhelmed by all the information she was giving.  Really, it was inspiring.  I feel like she had a lot of really good ideas and I took notes so I can refer back to it.  If you’re interested in the book, I might wait until it’s in paperback and mark it up.  Take your time with it.  My favorite line from the book was this: The opposite of happiness is unhappiness not depression. (I don’t really know why I liked that line so much, but I did.)

Wolves, Boys & Other Things That Might Kill Me by Kristen Chandler – This book is a Whitney Award nominee.  I had it on hold before I knew that though.  A friend I went to HS with put it on Goodreads.  One of her dad’s students wrote it.  Her dad was my teacher in HS too so I was interested.  It’s a YA book about a girl that lives in a small town outside of Yellowstone National Park.  The girl becomes interested in the wolf reintroduction program and the book explores both sides of the issue.  Very interesting read. 

So Not Happening by Jennie B. Jones – This is a Christian YA novel about a girl that has everything in New York and gets moved to the sticks when her mom remarries.  It kind of reminded me of the Princess Diaries – similar type book – and I enjoyed it.  It was just a light, happy book.  It was a fun read and I look forward to reading others in the series. 

Glimpse by Carol Lynch Williams – Williams wrote one of my favorite books from last year (The Chosen One) so when I saw that she had a new book out, I added it to my list.  It was a very interesting format.  Not like a typical novel. Verse format – poetry, I guess.  On the first page of the book, Hope walks in on her sister, Lizzie, holding a gun.  It’s a sad, heartbreaking, hopeful book.  It was also a very quick read.  It’s a YA read, but I’d be careful with younger girls reading it.  I’d say 15-16+. 

Up next: I’m trying to get through Eve and the Choice Made in Eden by Beverly Campbell.  It’s very good so far, but pretty heavy.  These days, I’m reading one book upstairs and one downstairs so I’m also reading Water For Elephants. I’ve just started it so I don’t have an opinion yet.

What’s on your night stand to read right now?

Friday, February 4, 2011

Happy Little Things

The post that made me laugh out loud: Back to School Means Back to Homework at Rarely Home Mom.  I just adore Julie.  I wish that I knew her better when I lived near her. 

A couple of days ago I had some ground beef on the counter as I was getting ready to make sloppy joes for dinner and my youngest came up poked it and said, “Cool! We’re having brain for dinner.”

I hit my 10% goal at WW this week. Twenty pounds gone.  Yes!

The 5-year-old is pretty much all better and recovered from his surgery.  He’s a little cranky still and I think his voice sounds a little different, but he doesn’t give us a thumbs down when we ask him how he’s feeling anymore.  Also, he was so super excited to go back to school on Wednesday. 

Having all my babies in school {at least for a few hours} and having a husband that works from home means that we get to go on day-time dates.  And today is the day!  Love alone time with my cute husband.  He’s so much fun to be with.

What Happy things happened to you this week?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Goal | The Camera

One of my goals for this year is to take most of my pictures with out using the automatic settings on the camera.  I want to get to where I use mostly the manual setting.  (I say mostly because I’ve decided that with kids and their quick movements, sometimes the automatic focus and adjustments the camera can do on it’s own will be faster and better than what I can do on my own.)

I had hoped to take a class in February at the local community college, but have since changed my mind.  So, I’ve been studying, highlighting, reading, and marking up my copy of Understand Exposure by Bryan Peterson.

I’ve added Digital Photography School to my reader, and I’ve been reading tutorials and the training course that is Allison Walken is doing on her photo blog. 

A couple weekends ago, while my youngest was at a birthday party, the older two kids and I went to the park and I played with manual mode.  This is what I got:

01 22 11_4491 01 22 11_450501 22 11_4496 01 22 11_4504

Overexposed. Underexposed.  Blurry.  Disappointing.

Part of me worries that in the process of learning, I’ll miss out of some great moments.  So. Here’s hoping I learn soon, so I can get some good pictures…soon!

I think I improved a little bit last week:

01 26 11_4473  01 30 11_4583 01 30 11_4584

Any advice for me?  Any websites or books that you highly recommend?  Do you use the Manual setting?

Monday, January 31, 2011

Spring is Coming...

We’ve had some unusual January days.  Normally, if it’s not raining in January the wind is blowing hard and we are doing everything we can to avoid being outside; but we’ve had weather in the upper 50’s with sun and no wind.  It’s been beautiful!  And it has me itching for May and summer on the way.  I have to remind myself that really we have a few more months of cold and rain ahead of us still…  I do have proof that spring will be here before too long:

01 26 11_4471

I have bulbs coming up!  I’ve had red tulips here from before we moved in, but I planted some new tulips, some daffodils and another flower that I don’t remember what is. I can’t wait to see them in bloom!

Any signs of spring where you are?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Surgery

The surgery was successful (I guess…he has a post-op appointment in two weeks).  He was such a trooper.  Thanks so very much for your kind thoughts, prayers, emails, text messages, etc.  We’re very blessed to have so many people that care about out son and love him as much as we do.

01 28 11_4462We had to get up at 5:00 to be ready to leave at 5:30 to get checked in by 6:00.  We didn’t have to wait long before we were taken back to a room where our youngest had his vitals checked and was changed into the stylin’ hospital pajamas. 

He got total control of the remote to the in-room TV.  He channel surfed for a bit before asking the nurse if he could “on-demand”.  There was no on-demand, but the nurse thought that was quite funny.

He was wheeled away from us about 7:30 and had no fears about leaving us.  Apparently, he was quite talkative and entertaining until he fell asleep.  He had an IV put in, and had his very large adenoids removed, his very full ears drained and tubes put into his ears.  Then he went to recovery for a little while until they brought him back to us.

01 28 11_4466 He was still so tired, and had this glazed over look in his eyes.  He dozed, drank water and tried to watch TV before giving up, turning the TV off, rolling on his side and sleeping for a while. 

He took his stuffed dog, Puppers, to surgery with him where Puppers got a hairnet to keep the surgery sanitary.

01 28 11_4464After a little while, he had drank enough water, eaten a popsicle, and was able to stand briefly so we were able to take him home.  He got to ride in a wheelchair out (which he thought was very cool).

At home, we laid him on the couch, turned on Scooby Doo for him and gave him some Cheerios to snack on.  Bryan and I heated up some left-over pizza for lunch and were sitting with him when he suddenly reached over and stole my pizza. He ate two pieces. 

He didn’t talk much on Friday (he said it hurt too much.)  He didn’t move much either.  We thought he would sleep well but at 3:30 Saturday morning he was downstairs trying to color. I was able to get him to go back sleep for a few more hours in our room.   Saturday, he talked more, played a little bit and ate and drank like normal.

This morning, he’s not feeling great but he’s up and moving a bit.  I’m guessing he’ll be back to 100% tomorrow.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Thursday Morning Cocoa

01 12 11_4459Right now I’m sitting on the couch with my 5-year-old while he watches an episode of Scooby Doo from 1970.  My kids love Scooby Doo.  I remember loving Scooby Doo as a kid too.  Now, though, I can only handle so much before I announce that there will be no. more. Scooby. Doo.

By this time tomorrow morning, my son should be out of surgery.  The medicine to make his ears clear up did not do anything so tomorrow we go in early and he will have his ears drained, his adenoids removed and possibly tubes put in his ear.  It’s a routine surgery – the doctor does it a lot – but it’s not routine for me to have one of my children in the hospital.  Any prayers you can say that the surgeon’s hands will be guided and steady and for my little boy and his healing would be appreciated.

I’m very lucky (and grateful) that my husband is worthy to give him a priesthood blessing before we go in, and that my sister is willing to take my other kids and another friend has offered to help out.  My youngest is excited about taking a nap and eating popsicles at the hospital.  He hopes they have a red one for him.

This afternoon, I have a den meeting.  Did I ever tell you that I am a Cub Scout leader?  I am over the Bears (currently there are 5 of them) and the Wolves (currently there are 2 but only 1 comes).  I feel like my den meetings are kind of boring so I’m looking for ways to make them more exciting.  Any ideas? 

I would love if each week the Bears and the Wolves could pass something off but it just isn’t going to happen this week.  The Bears are going to pass off the section about American Folklore and I think we’ll do a craft.  With just me it’s too hard to have two groups doing two different things.

What’s on your list for today?  Have your kids ever had surgery? 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Closet

One of the books that I am reading right now is The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.  Normally, I’m a one book at a time kind of girl but lately I read more than one at a time and it takes me forever to finish any of them.  I’m also reading Ella Minnow Pea, Understanding Exposure, Eve and the Choice Made in Eden, The Kalahari Typing School for Men and a couple of Zits comic books.  Sigh.

Anyway, in The Happiness Project, Rubin tells about how she decided that she could be living a happier life.  She felt she was all ready happy but decided that she could be happier.  She assigns each month of the year something to work on.  In January she tackles energy and one the things she concentrates on is clutter.

In my house, I notice that the kids love to play in the room that is clean.  Then they mess it up and move on to another room that is clean.  It’s more fun to be where it is orderly.  It’s more relaxing. 

I’ve felt surrounded by stuff lately.  I have a few different goodwill boxes going.  So after reading Rubin’s pages on clutter I was inspired to do what she started with and clean out my closet.

I tackled it yesterday and it feels good.

I had at least 10 skirts. I go to church and wear a skirt once a week.  So I got rid of a few. I never wear nylons but I had several pairs.  I normally wear either knee highs or thigh highs depending on the skirt length so I got rid of the nylons.  I trimmed down my sweat pant and pajama pant selection.  Honestly, do I need six pairs of pajama pants and seven pairs of sweats?  No.  I made it so I have one hooded sweatshirt and one regular sweatshirt.  I got rid of last years shorts, because by this summer they will be too big.  I put the sandals in a box so they are scattered on the floor.  I got rid of the excess shirts I keep on hand for exercising in. 

I felt like a weight had been lifted.  It felt great!

After that, I couldn’t stop there so I went through our bathroom and got rid of all the sweet smelling lotions and body washes that I seldom use.  I got rid of the hair products that I had bought and ended up not liking.  I got rid of packaging that I didn’t need.  I put all the nail polish together (and now wonder why I have four purple nail polish bottles). 

Here’s hoping I can keep it nice and neat!

How do you handle clutter?  How often do you clean out your closet?

Friday, January 21, 2011

This Week

Things I did do this week:

  • Volunteered in my oldest child’s classroom
  • Volunteered in my youngest child’s classroom
  • Weight Watcher meeting
  • Stayed up way too late every. single. night.
  • Watched too many movies:  Beauty and the Briefcase [what a total waste of time], Bullrider [excellent!], Our Family Wedding [three out of five stars], Bride and Prejudice [fun!], Eat, Pray, Love [snooze] 
  • Went to the parent meeting at school
  • Took the youngest to the doctor
  • Scheduled surgery for next week (!!!)
  • Hosted five 8 & 9 year olds to make cookies and wrestle
  • Laundry, Grocery Shopping and Cleaning
  • Went to Costco
  • Started another Y basketball season as assistant coach
  • Ordered prints of pictures
  • Read more of Understand Exposure and played with the camera
  • Watched a friend’s 2 1/2 year old.  Wow, those toddlers are busy…how soon we forget. 
  • Took the daughter to piano lessons
  • Missed my husband like crazy {he’s in Utah…and tried so hard to not be a crazy jealous wife!  (It’s not really working.)}09 18 10_3285 crop

See how cute he is?  I can’t wait for him to come home!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Goal | Scriptures

My resolution for the year is to Finish.

I also have a few goals on top of that.  I’m having a really hard time with one so I’m hoping you, dear internet, have some advice for me.  This particular goal is to set up a personal study program {that sounds so lame…but…it is what it is} and I am really struggling.

I know that I need to read the scriptures everyday.  I know I need to read the words of modern day prophets and apostles.  I know what happens in my life when I am on top of it and do it.

So, why is it so hard to do when I know the blessings?

I don’t get it.

I realize we need to read them as a family, but my first goal is to get better at personal scripture study...then I’ll work on it as a family.  So, tell me:

How do you do it?  How do you incorporate the scriptures into your life?  Do you notice a difference when you are reading regularly?