Thursday, September 30, 2010

Thursday, Friday, Happy Days

So, I would have sworn there was a line in that song that said, "Good days, Happy days," but I looked and nope. There isn't. Oh well.

Today was a happy day. There were a couple of hiccups/bumps along the way, but it was overall a really nice day. We ate lunch outside on the patio set that David's dad bought me, and I got to spend a few minutes weeding the lawn. The kids invited the neighbor across the street's dog over so they could play Dog Hotel with their friend. I made dinner for our belated birthday celebration with David, and then the kids and David (and me, some) played outside with our parachute thing. Sprout was hilarious and would explode with excitement when we'd start moving the parachute to bounce the balls. So fun. Then we had brownie sundaes for his birthday dessert. Yum!

I am trying to do better at noticing and enjoying the little things in my life that bring happiness and really savor those moments. Like the way Sprout can't help but start dancing when he hears some good music. And the funny things the older kids think of to do and say. There are enough of these moments to fill my life with joy if I learn to bask in them. It can be too easy to get dragged down by the things that go wrong. I'm going to try harder to be lifted up by everything that goes right.

I also had some fun looking for funny tee shirts for David for Christmas this year. It is kind of a tradition that I give him one or two every year now. This isn't one of the funniest ones, but I think it is really cute. I think this year I will finally have to buy this one because I love it so much, and just thinking about it makes me smile.

I love funny.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

home decorating

"We don’t need to increase our goods nearly as much as we need to scale down our wants. Not wanting something is as good as possessing it.” - Donald Horban

Last night we had a Relief Society activity where we got to visit other people's homes in the neighborhood. We went to four homes (and a backyard, so on the way to the backyard, we peeked in the home briefly) and they were all lovely. So nicely decorated, different styles, but all fabulous. I'll be the first to admit that I have no eye for decorating a home. On the very rare occasion that I do have an idea, it takes me 6 months to two years to get around to implementing it. I like to think I'd be better if we had more money to spend on things like decorating, but I don't think it's true. So, I felt kinda bummed after the fun activity, just because I want my home to be beautiful and homey. But then I realized that the MOST important thing I can do right now is GET RID OF STUFF. The lack of clutter is one thing all the homes had in common, and getting rid of stuff is free! Last month I decided I didn't like using the top of the kitchen cabinets for storage because it looked cluttery, so I cleaned out and reorganized the pantry so the important items could fit in there. I've seen lots of houses with cute decorative stuff on top of the cabinets, but we don't have a lot of room there, so I don't know what, if anything, would look good. I might have to consult some of the ladies from last night. But, I do like the "empty" look a lot better than the cluttered look, so that's something!

So, that's my plan. I am involved in a lot of things that lend to clutter, or at least, require materials: homeschooling, cloth-diapering, keeping pets, sewing, letting the kids do arts/crafts... But there has to be a way to do these things and not let the stuff take over my life. I'm committed to figuring out how.

I found these two articles on Zen Habits with great tips. Last night I cleaned out my inbox on my desk. Now I need to clean the rest of the desk!

Friday, September 17, 2010

the sucky thing about Fridays

is when you don't have anything even kind of cool to do, you feel lame. Especially if you are all alone (kids don't count). But, since it is SUPPOSED to be fun, you don't feel like doing anything productive, either (like folding laundry or cleaning up). Which is why I just end up dinking around online and eating two bowls of Chocolate Chex. Whoo. Party animal.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

the point of hugs

"Mom, you know what is the point of hugs if someone is gone? Actually feeling them, not just seeing them." -- Spud, after giving me a hug after asking, "Mom, do you need some hugs?"

I think this is in reference to the "hugs" we send to David through the phone and through Skype while he is in California.

clueless cooking, easy spanish rice

I made rice and bean burritos and green beans the other night, with Spanish rice. To make the Spanish rice, I just cooked the rice in the ricecooker, and then added 1 cup of salsa and about a tsp of cumin. Just enough spicy to make it interesting.

Tonight we had Tilapia fillets (cooked in butter with seasoned salt on them) and Spud said, "Mom, your fish is as good as dad's!" And Noodle said that the "skin" was the perfect amount of crispiness. So, hooray! We had leftover Spanish rice and cucumber salad. I can't remember if I gave the recipe for the cucumber salad before, but you just peel a cucumber (or two or three), slice it up, make a dressing of equal parts vinegar (red wine or white), water & sugar, mix it up, and put the cucumbers in. Adjust sourness to taste. Noodle LOOOOVES this salad. She is a sour fiend.

Another recent meal is what the kids named "krabby patties" from SpongeBob. I make whole wheat rolls with the help of my breadmaker, and we put tunafish and cheese on them. They make very cute little sandwiches that the kids love to eat.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

the reluctant wedding photographer

My brother Eric had two children get married in the last month. My nephew Jason was married in Logan the first week of August, and my niece Ashley was married last Friday in Boise. I had taken Jason & Katie's engagement pictures back in June when they were in town for my parents' 50th Anniversary, and they asked if I would do their wedding pictures. I told them I'd never done a wedding, but if they wanted me to, I would. They said they did. As I started preparing, I started to almost wish I'd said no. I spent about a two weeks reading, practicing, and reading some more. It was a great learning experience, as I finally had to learn some things that I'd been able to avoid learning up until now. I knew that I needed to know my stuff inside and out because I'd only have one chance at these wedding pictures.

I didn't sleep at all the night before Jason's wedding. Every time I'd almost be able to "count" myself to sleep (I sometimes try relaxation exercises where you count your breaths in & out), aperture, ISO, flash settings and shutter speeds would start racing through my head. It would have been laughable (it is now) if I hadn't been in such a panic.

After the wedding, my brother and his wife asked if I was interested in taking Ashley's pictures. I said I'd be willing to do it if they wanted me to, but they needn't feel obligated to ask me. And I suggested they wait until they see the pictures from Jason & Katie's wedding before making up their mind. They ended up asking me, and thankfully it wasn't nearly as stressful. Though the Boise Temple didn't have quite so many "photo spots" as the Logan Temple, but we ended up with a number of great shots. I think they'll be pleased.

Ashley's wedding pictures are first, then Jason's.

Oh, and if you are wondering if this means I want to do wedding photography now, I can safely assure you that the answer is NO WAY! I had a lot of fun doing these two weddings because I knew the couples and I was going to be at them anyways, but I don't have any interest in spending entire days away from my family or dealing with bridezillas or any of that. Ashley and Katie were super laid back and a ton of fun. But if somebody else in the family gets married in the next couple of years, I'd be willing to shoot their wedding if they want me.