Thursday, March 27, 2008

Thankful Thursdays - Simple Pleasures

I’m in love with…

Reading Blogs
Watching my brothers perform
Singing Duets
Mason’s Laugh
Falling Snow
Working on “projects”
Colorful walls
Small Town Celebrations
Nieces & Nephews
Mason’s Photography
Ziplock bags
Watching beautiful movies
Planning ahead
Throwing parties
Bobbie Pins
Fall Leaves & crisp air
Sunday get-togethers
Mason’s Cologne
Looking at Magazines
The first flowers emerging from the ground
Cell phone rings that represent the person calling (I have a really old phone so mine won’t do this but Mason’s does)
Listening to Parents tell stories of when they were our age
Baby clothes
Lettuce and Tomatoes
Wearing fun jewelry
Old movies
Collecting Friends on Facebook
Finding cute fabrics
Pioneer history
Trying new restaurants
Friday night dates

These are simple things that make me happy everyday. Although this is only a parital list, I feel very thankful for all the little things that make me smile.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Soap Box - Presidential Candidates

I am feeling such relief to see that McCain is pulling ahead in the most recent polls shown on the news, even beating out Obama. Not that McCain was my first choice for the Republican nomination, but more just because I am scared to death of what might happen if Obama or Clinton win the presidency.

At first I liked Obama for the way he talked and presented himself and his family, but with the knowledge of him not saluting the flag, his connections with the Middle East, and his prejudice church he attends, it scares me to death. I want someone who takes pride in the country he has been elected to serve and ALL the people who live there regardless of race or ethnic backgrounds. America was intended to be a melting pot of all people and although it has taken us a while to get there, I feel like we could be on even playing ground if those whose great-great grandparents had been suppressed would not feel they are somehow entitled to greater things than we are.

And Hillary, I just flat out don’t trust the Clintons. I feel Hillary is running for her own personal gain rather than for the good of the country. Although the healthcare in this country needs to be reformed, I do not believe socialized medicine is the way to do it. Plus, I think we have had as many political sex scandals as one country can handle. I don’t trust people who get involved that way. Therefore, I don’t trust them.

Say what you will about George Bush, but I am very proud to have had him as our President. The majority of the complaints I have heard are about his lack of intelligence when he speaks, but to me it is part of his charm. He may not be the most eloquent speaker, but he must have a good set of brains if he has made it this far: he is rich, he has served the state of Texas as Governor and the Country for what will be 8 years as President. Come on now, don’t try to convince me that he really is dumb.

During his presidency I feel he has done the best he could with the knowledge he had before him. To me he is someone who has tried to do right by the country and its citizens, while still taking care of himself and his family. Even when his approval ratings plummeted, he stood his ground on the issues he chose to pursue and the decisions he had made. He didn’t back down because uninformed wishy washy people were pressuring him to. So, I applaud you President Bush for having integrity and a moral backbone. Thank you!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Irish Weekend

It has been a very busy week and the hardest thing about it...not being able to post about my awesome weekend I had!

I came home from work Friday totally bummed because my husband had to work that night so not only would I not get to see him on what used to be our "date night," but that he would also be sleeping most of the day Saturday. (Because he is going to school he works part-time nights. 2- 12 hour shifts per week) So, because I lead a boring life, I headed out to the Empress to sell tickets to that night's show.

Just as I arrived my dad called me and said, "If I come take your place at the ticket booth, would you be interested in going to see Cinderella at the Capitol Theatre." I almost shrieked from delight at the thought of doing something out of the ordinary. Its not everyday a girl gets to go to the Opera! With one hour before the curtain went up, I was frantically trying to find someone to find someone to go take the other ticket, meet up with my cute cousin (who was the one who could use his two tickets) to get the tickets, get dinner and get downtown from Magna. I think I called every girl listed on my cell phone and even invited my brother-in-law Kris, because I knew he would appreciate it, but not one person could go. Imagine, people having plans on a Friday night. Am I the only loser in the world who could drop everything to go? Aparently so, because I went by myself and loved every minute. It was AMAZING!!!

Feeling re-energized with the fact I got to do something different, which I had been craving for days, I surprized my husband by showing up at his work at 10:30 that night. We went to the hospital cafeteria a bought a pint of ice cream to share. After a giving him a full run down of the show, watching an epispode of "The Office," and finishing off our ice cream, I had been there for an hour and a half and I decided I had better let him get back to work.

Saturday morning, I got up early and planned to go to the St. Patricks Day parade. To my surprise Mason got up after only an hour long nap and decided to come with me. Having served his mission in Ireland and having Irish Ancestors, it was hard for him to resist. We through on our green and headed down the road to the parade. Afterward we attended the Irish festival, watching the irish dancers, and watching the patrons drink all the free beer they could get. Finally, we went to the English market and bought some of the supplies we needed for our St. Patrick's day party. Of course we had to grab some fabulous Galaxy chocolate bars while we were there. I can never resist great chocolate!We had such a fun time and it brought back so many memories for him. It was awesome to listen to all his fun stories, and dream of the trip we hope to take to Ireland one day.

Sunday I kept the Irish spirit going by using it during my singing time. It was fun to get the kids pumped up for St. Patrick's day and teaching them why we celebrate: St. Patrick brought Christianity to Ireland. Yea St. Patrick!!!

Monday we celebrated with our traditional Irish feast. This year Mason did all the cooking because I was at work and it was the first day of his spring break. We invited Mason's family over for our St. Patrick's day Family Home Evening and had a great time with those who came: Megan, Paul and Avery; Kris, Mindy, and Halle; and Mason's youngest brother Tyler. It worked out well not having all 14 people and 3 babies that make up his family becuase our condo can only hold so many people. The amount of people we had was perfect and his Corned Beef, Cabbage, potatoes, soda bread, and apple crisp turned out awesome!
Yea! for St. Patricks day and all the other holidays that add joy to our lives. I love any excuse to PARTY!!!

P.S. I didn't have any extra money to make a new St. Patrick's centerpiece, but I was so happy I was able to come up with something cute with what I had. That makes it just as, if not more exciting than having something new!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Thankful Thursdays - Good Mail

I remember when I was little and was so thrilled to get letters in the mail. Well now my mail leaves much to be desired. But this week, I got all 3 of my magazines in the mail, in one week. How exciting is that!?! These are what get me to the mailbox each day.

I guess I don't need to check my mail for the next month now!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

15 Years From Now

My best girl friend, Ashley, wrote a darling post on her blog entitled, “15 Years From Now.” It was really fun to read about how she pictured her life. It was your typical dream life, what we all want really, except maybe not quite as many animals.

I was reading it all and thinking “yeah that would be so great” when it hit me, I have very little control over where I will actually be in 15 years. I am relying so heavily on my husband and trusting that he will allow me to reach my goals (which really are simple: have a family, have a decent home, make enough money so I can stay home, etc. you know all those Mormon Mommy wishes). I have to wonder though, is that fair? I know our goals are the same but he is the one who has to work to get us there. Whoa, talk about pressure, especially since he is married to me. (I guess that would explain why he had the song “Under Pressure” as his ring tone for so long.

Here is our plan as it stands right now:
5 years from now…Mason will be attending Medical School preferably somewhere on the East Coast or maybe in the South somewhere (I don’t really care, just as long as it is outside of Utah) He will then be in his 3rd year of school getting ready to graduate with his doctorate just a year later. He will be deciding on what he wants to specialize in and how much longer he will plan to stay in school. He will also be in the Air Force at that time so I hope it will provide a great opportunity for us to travel and experience a small taste of a military life.

10 years from now… Mason will just be finishing up his residency and deciding where he will set up his practice. At that time I would like to be able to head back to Utah and start thinking about settling down and probably purchasing our first home, besides our condo. (I am assuming we will live on Air Force bases and such until then, but who knows)

15 years from now… Mason will hopefully be in a stable career with tolerable work hours. I know a lot of doctors have crazy work schedules and it would be really nice to have him around. We both talk about living in a smaller town maybe Morgan, Brigham City, Lehi, places with really great county fairs and rodeos. It will all just depend on where he is able to set up his practice, though.

As you can see our plans are not settled at all yet, not that we haven’t thought about them (believe me I probably waste way too much time thinking about them!) but because there are so many unknowns. He is working hard in school and doing everything in is power to see that his goals are accomplished. I really admire and appreciate all his consistent determination. I have to say that I am so excited to just go along for the ride. I don’t have any reservations about moving, living on base, or even about him being in the Military. I just want to go for it all!

Another unknown is the idea of having children. How many children will we have and when is the right time to have them? So far I haven’t had much luck in getting pregnant so I feel like all the plans I made in that arena are now out the window. I have already passed the time when I thought I would have had my first child and am now just waiting to see when that happens. I am hoping that by the time we reach that 15 year mark we will have at least 2 although I have always wanted 4-6 kids, I will be happy with whatever I am given.

Do you see what I mean? Nearly all of our plans fall on his shoulders? In a way, I guess that is how it is supposed to be, but it makes me feel a little uncomfortable to rely so heavily on someone else (in case you couldn’t tell from this post and others, I am a bit of a control freak!) I just want to make sure I am being as supportive as possible in getting him there and I am just not sure the best way to do that.

Anyway, I will get off my soap box now and just say isn’t it thrilling to wonder and speculate about life. My hope is just that we and all our friends and family can reach our goals and have a great time while doing it!

What are your plans?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Its OK to say NO sometimes

I read these tips on saying "No" in an organizational newsletter I subscribe to. They are a great reminder to me of how to simplify life, not to be selfish, but to know your limits. Recently I have let somethings go that I was involved in so I could simplify my life, do what was best for my family, not have constant guilty feeling and do things that make me happy. I know some of you might think that I don't really know what being busy is, being that I don't have any children, and I am sure my life will only get busier so I am trying to train myself now. I was raised to get involved and to be constantly working, so that is what I did. Mason has really helped me to see that it is okay to have down time and encourages me to do things I choose to do. Bless his heart!

It's OK to Say NO Sometimes

So many of us are overextended, but we need to remind ourselves that there are only 24 hours a day, 168 hours a week. If you sleep the recommended 8 hours a night, you're left with 112 hours in a week.Imagine if you work a 40 hour week--you are down to 72 hours a week. Okay, now factor everything else into those 72 hours. At some point you need to make a judgment call and realize you can't do everything all the time, or you will burn yourself out.Saying 'No' is an art form. There are many reasons why we have so much trouble saying it, even if it's in our best interest to do so. Some of the reasons include a) we don't want to hurt the other person's feelings, b) we don't want them to think negative thoughts such as we're being unkind or c) we avoid it in order to try to avoid confrontation. Many of us lack daily refusal skills. 'No' may be a mere two letters--but it is a powerful word.

1. What's or Who's at the top of your list? The starting point for deciding to retake your time is to make and set your priorities. Write down what is most important to you. Remember to include yourself and your health on the list. You can't care for others if you're not feeling well. It is often hard for most of us to be honest with ourselves. Display your list on a bulletin board, wipe board, your computer or in your journal-- anywhere as long as you will look at it often. Make sure your list includes those who need and deserve your time.

2. Take time for yourself everyday. You are important and YOU deserve to take priority on your to-do list. Make sure you give yourself some free time to pamper yourself, just relax, or work on a hobby or craft--however you like to relax and decompress. Include rewards after completing tasks. Saying 'no' is not selfish. Plus, it may allow you the time to pursue new hobbies and interests. Saying 'no' can be very good for you and your well being.

3. Be brief, direct, and honest. Do not make excuses. People respect honesty. Be fair, and most of all remember to be fair to yourself. Treat yourself right and you can't help but treat others right too. If you need to use humor to lighten the 'no', do it!

4. Do not make commitments you are not prepared to keep. Saying 'no' is only a refusal of that particular request. Take a minute and breathe before answering a request. Sometimes in the case of volunteer organizations, instead of tackling the entire world maybe you can volunteer to do one small task, like making a flyer or writing an article for the newsletter

5. If you feel that you are unable to say 'no', especially to someone's face, say you 'need to think about it.' Call after you have thought about it for a day or two before you answer, but be honest with yourself. It's so easy to say 'Yes' at first, but remember 'No' is all right too. It will take time to get used to saying 'No.' Many of us are people pleasers so we want to say 'yes'. We want people to like us.

6. Remember you don't have to give a reason. We don't give reasons when we say 'yes' so why should we have to give a reason for saying 'no.' A simple 'I appreciate you asking, but no thanks' will often do the trick. Kick your guilt to the curb!

7. Set limits. If you are only available to help a friend for 4 hours on Saturday, tell them that and stick to your limits. Keep in mind to be firm but polite. You need to recognize how much you can reasonably do.

8. What are you to do? Before you make a commitment, make sure you understand what exactly is expected of you. Are you expected to organize the entire party or just cook a dessert?

9. Think ahead. Organize yourself. Have clear to-do lists and a calendar in order to allow you to know what is coming up and whether you are able to make another commitment. Is it a long term or a short term commitment? Do you honestly have time for it? An agenda to organize your life is key!

10. Give some away. If nothing else works, remember to delegate some of your commitments to others. Delegation is the key to being a good leader. Break up things among family members, friends, organizations, or co-workers. Allow others to help you.

Some of the things I have given up:
I gave up my volunteer position at the Empress as House Manager
Now I only volunteer to work the ticket booths when Mason is working and I don't have
the stress of being in charge.
New Calling (I didn't change this one, but I think the Lord knew what I needed)
It requires roughly the same amount of time each week, but it is more independent
prep so I can do it when I have time.
Institute Class:
I only go when I feel I have time or need the spiritual uplift. This is a not required class
and it doesn't do me any good to sit there stressed out. I don't get anything out of it!
NO MORE PLAYS(being in them, I mean)!!!

Some things I have incorporated back in:
ROUTINE!!! This is the most important thing for me to feel at peace. (the Flylady is great at
helping with this)
Exercise: everyday from 5:30-6:15 I walk, I know it is not heavy duty exercise, but that
way I don't have to worry about getting sweaty and gross, I am always ready to go out
right after in case I need to run an errand or have a meeting.
Cooking Dinner: I actually really like to cook, but only if I have time to do it. This is a simple
way I like to serve my husband and save money in the process
Going to the Library: This is one of my simple pleasures in life. I love learning and borrowing
items for free! It thrills me everytime I walk out with a stack full of items that I can take
home and enjoy!

Allowing myself the time I need and want has helped me tremendously in feeling organized, feeling prepared for upcoming events, keeping my house clean, getting more exercise, and being home when Mason is (our schedules often conflict being that he works nights.) It has helped me feel a tremendous peace in my life and in my home. I love it!

Friday, March 7, 2008

"A Perfect Day"

YESSSSSSSSSS!!! (Said like Napoleon Dynamite) I just finished book #4 for 2008. One of my resolutions for 2008 was to read one book a month, so I am on a roll!!!! We have a lot of books on our small book shelf that I have never read, so once I finished the Twilight series, I decided I had better read all of those before I move onto anything else. The book I chose was called “A Perfect Day.” We received it for our wedding and I never paid much attention to it. I also thought it was kind of a weird Wedding present, but whatever! (I hope no one reading this blog gave it to us. Keep reading so I can redeem myself if you did.)

It is written by Richard Paul Evans, the author of “The Christmas Box.” It had a very similar feel: a little corny, a little sappy, a little magical and a little touching, always with a lesson to learn. It was a quick read and I actually really enjoyed it.

Through out the whole book I kept thinking, “why would someone give this to us for our wedding?” It is a story about a man who loses his job and decides to pursue his dream of being an author. He uses his wife’s experience of losing her father and her opportunity to have “A Perfect Day” with him before he passed on for the basis of his book. In the story, the book hits the number one spot on the New York Times Bestseller List and his is off on a life of fame and fortune. It wasn’t until an angelic stranger brings him unexpected news that it brings him back to the reality of what he is facing.

Finally by the end of the book it made sense to me. This book is a great reminder of what is really important in life…family. No matter what opportunities come our way or challenges we face, our family is always there and they are what really brings joy to life. As family members we can be forgiving and loving even when those around us make mistakes.

I thought this was a delightful book and would recommend it to anyone who was looking for a light, enjoyable, and optimistic story.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Thankful Thursdays - Naylor Wentworth Lund Architects

Naylor Wentworth Lund Architects

I have officially been with Naylor Wentworth Lund Architects for exactly 1 year, today. Yea!!! I feel very fortunate to have the job I do. Although it is not what I went for school for and probably isn’t what I want to do for the rest of my life, I feel I have learned some very valuable skills here and had a good time doing it.

I have had a bit of a rough go of it since I graduated from College as far as jobs go. When we first moved back to Salt Lake after leaving my favorite job I have ever had, (I worked at The Old Rock Church and Providence Inn in Providence UT, just outside of Logan. I was their wedding coordinator. It was so much fun to get to meet with the brides, set up for, host, and take down the weddings. I got to do a lot more than that though, which made it even more fun because there was a lot of variety. I worked the front desk of the Bed and Breakfast, baked cookies, cleaned rooms, did laundry, made flower arrangements, just whatever needed to be done and I got paid a whopping $8.25 an hour, which was great for a student in Logan. I was so sad to leave that job, and would love to do that type of work again!) I worked placing children who were in the state’s care in Proctor homes. It was so hard for me to watch these kids suffer and I felt like the company wasn’t very honest so I left after only 3 months.

Then I went to Tooele City where I helped to run a research project called “Communities That Care.” I loved working in City Hall and have a lot of faith in the programs that were being taught to the youth of the city and the parents. I had opportunities to teach a lot and feel I learned some very valuable things that I hope to pass on to my future family. Again I really enjoyed that job and it aligned perfectly with my degree, but because it was a temporary project working on getting its 501c3 non-profit status, it didn’t provide any benefits and didn’t pay very well either. I worked there for 18 months and finally decided that with me being the main bread winner, since Mason was going to school, I needed to find something else. We were thinking it was time to start trying to have a baby, and we wanted to be as prepared as possible.

I ended up going to the University of Utah Hospital. They provided great benefits, but I hated my job. I dreaded going everyday. All I did was sit behind a computer and register patients. I also was part of a float team which meant I had to go to different offices all the time. It was like I was starting a new job every two weeks. All of this wouldn’t have been so bad except they were so strict! It was a huge deal if you needed any time off, they didn’t allow tardiness and worst of all there wasn’t any room for new ideas, individual growth, or even general productivity. When we sat there on slow days we weren’t allowed to take on anyone else’s responsibilities, do anything on the computer, read or do anything productive. That just didn’t sit well with me. Anyone who knows me, knows I can’t just sit around doing nothing! I felt that maybe if I could get on a party planning committee or something I would start to enjoy myself better, but when I asked myy supervisor she told me you had to be nominated and you couldn’t even be nominated until you had been there for over a year. I held out, hoping it would get better but that only lasted for 6 months when I got a call from a family friend.

I was so desperate to get out of that horrible job, I was willing to do anything! Chris, our family friend, is a partner at Naylor Wentworth Lund Architects. I got hired on as a receptionist making more money than I ever have before, ironically enough, and immediately I could see this was a place I could be happy. The firm is small enough that there is a lot of variety in my general duties, and they are always open for new ideas. I feel they have allowed me to express my ideas and run with them. After being here for only 3 months they moved me to be an Accounting Assistant. So I have 4 main jobs, doing accounts payables and receivables, writing and tracking contracts, doing all the events, and supervising the front end. I really like it here and feel very comfortable with my job. What a blessing it is to feel
happy with your work!

(Sorrry for the blurry pictures. I am not too great with a camera!)

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Nicole's Baby Shower

Saturday I got see one of my best friends from High School Nicole (Lemon) Rowland. She and her husband have been living in Arizona while he finished up his Masters program. Now they are expecting their first baby, so she was in town for her baby shower. Yea!!! It was so nice to get to see her and chat for just a moment. I also got to catch up just briefly with Julia Johnson, Lynsee Bringhurst, Laurisa Warner, Sasha Anderson, and Anna Hofeins. (Of course they are all married now, and I don't know their married names, sorry!)

Shopping for this was rather overwhelming! I was really excited to see she was having a girl (I just think baby girl things are so cute!) When I walked into "Babies R Us" though I was completely taken back. All that baby stuff, how do I know what is good and what isn't? What if I buy something that is totally impractical, falls apart, or that she just simply hates, will she then hate me? Mason always tells me I over analyze way too much, and I know its true, I just can't help it! I had to get out of that place because I was going crazy with worry not only about what to get Nicole, but worrying that maybe this was indication of what I would be like as a mother, clueless and overwhelmed.

I ended up going to trusty old Target, which is probably my favorite store for everything, and found what I needed. I got her a subscription to Parenting magazine (There were a couple different magazines to choose from, but I didn't know which one would be best so I picked the one with the cutest baby on the front. My simple and shallow process of elimination) and a Hot Sling. I hear people in my ward talk about how much they love these so I decided it was worth a shot. I feel like it was meant to be because they only had one left that happened to be the perfect size and was even the right colors pink and brown. YES! Do you know anyone who has used a Hot Sling? I hope it works out well for her!

This is such a fun time of life! It has been a joy watching my friends and family get married, have children, finish school, buy homes, and start forming their careers. This seems to be one of the phases in life that incorporates the most changes, other than our first two years of life, of course, when we are growing and developing so rapidly. I assume it all slows down at some point, but until then, I look forward to checking blogs everyday to see what is new and exciting.