Tuesday, July 5, 2016

One Little Word: July Goals

Here are my goals for July. I think July is going to be a big "gateway" goal month. Some of the things written here (and not written) that are our goals for the month should likely lead to making/acheiving different goals in the coming months. (To see how I did in June--the month that nearly killed me-see here). 

*Have a garage sale and/or get rid of a bunch of stuff in the garage
*Organize JaiseAnn's baby clothes into space bags

*Update JaiseAnn's 2nd year baby book and her memory book (I haven't entered a daily memory since the first of June, but I have plenty of documentation elsewhere that will help me update it. I just have to make the time). 
* 2 play dates
*One routine-free day
*Swimming Lessons
*Finish our summer reading program

*Do something fun and different for date night
*Go on an actual date night-OUT!
*Play a card or board game together one night
*Do something thoughtful for Zach for a special occasion coming up

*No refined sugar treats
*No eating after JaiseAnn goes to bed
*Hit at least 10,000 steps at least 4 days per week --average 7,000 the rest of the days 
*Schedule a dentist appointment
*SUN every.single.day.

*Study my conference talks for July
*Put up a new scripture to reflect on on the fridge

*Revise and submit final approved version of thesis
*Submit a summarized version of my thesis as an article 
*Complete portfolio
*Finish online training I'm currently completing

What are some of your goals this month?

Saturday, July 2, 2016

How Did I Do, June?

The first half of June was by far one of the most challenging of my life. I stopped blogging pretty much in February. I was super overwhelmed with my school/work/home situation and we had just found out our dog was terminally ill. I was a mess--waking up in the middle of the night, dizzy spells, constant headaches, etc. It was bad and I was actually pretty scared for myself for a while. The good thing was it helped me prioritize. I realized what I needed to take off of my plate (blogging was definitely a first to go) as well as the steps I wanted to take after school was over. 

I plowed through the Spring semester--and did well and handled it pretty okay. At the end of May, I was finalizing my thesis, our dog stopped eating and started rapidly losing weight, and things just went crazy. The first half of June was like February on crack! I was stressed, sad, overwhelmed, and completely exhausted. I had a headache every.single.day and I was just a mess. There were some awesome moments--my brother got married, I defended my thesis (which--finishing my defense was one of the best feelings in the world-it went better than I could have ever hoped), and we took a family vacation to Washington DC--I was there for a work training, but the training was flexible and I wanted JaiseAnn with me--so we made it a vacation and that was so nice. BUT--we also lost our Mal and I still am reeling from that loss. It was just a hard month. I honestly feel like I was drugged or something because it was so intense that I look back on it and feel like it was a dream or something. So...June was filled with high highs and low lows--and the 2nd half of June was kinda just there--not really filled with much as we have tried to adjust to life without Mal, less intense work on my thesis (but it is still there), and tried to let things settle. 

So yeah, June was a month we won't soon forget. The things I did accomplish this month are definitely worth being proud of--and grateful for. We are so grateful.

*Buy curtain rods and hang curtains 
*Have a garage sale and/or get rid of a bunch of stuff in the garage
*Organize JaiseAnn's baby clothes into space bags 
The bottom two things on this list have been added to July--I'm waiting on curtain rods for budget stuff--our trip to DC went a  little over budget so we're cutting back until we're back on track. So no curtain rods still--but I'll get them soon enough. 

*Make a second bird feeder for backyard and buy and hang a hummingbird feeder, too (I made the feeder and plan to post it because it's super cute and I love it, but I haven't hung it yet. As for the hummingbird stuff-I did some research and I'm just going to have to wait until next year. Did you know that hummingbirds send out scouts to look for food in May? That way they know where to go--so the likelihood of them finding me now is slim. I am facinated by that, though, and plan to get a feeder for next year and have it up in the early spring.)
*Finish JaiseAnn's baby books (So I finished these-BUT when I went to print them I had so many more pages than I thought--so again, more than I budgeted for. We have a plan for how to get them--which will have to be one at a time. Oh, well.)
* 2 play dates
*Father's Day activities for Dad and Grandpa's (maybe just cards to keep it simple)
*Sign JaiseAnn up for swimming lessons

*Do something fun and different for date night
*Go on an actual date night (Scheduling this one for July if it kills me--and it should cover ^^ too, but I actually have a fun date night at home idea for July as well...so we're covered I think)
*Play a card or board game together one night

*No refined sugar treats (I did great with this until we went to DC. I still did pretty good--the best I've ever done on vacation. But there's a Shake Shack in DC and that's a bucket list place for me, so I had a shake--and then a few other treats on our trip. **The shake wasn't anything to write home about, but the burger was good.** I struggled with the refined sugars this month, but ther's always next month.)
*No eating after JaiseAnn goes to bed with the exception of one night per week. (50/50 on this one.)
*70,000 steps per week (for the summer, I'm removing this. We're spending a lot of time at the pool/water park and my FitBit isn't waterproof so it comes off, but I'm still active and I don't want the anxiety of "not getting my steps in every day" so I'm going to modify this next month. I was worried my FitBit would ruin my trip to DC, so I left it home, but feel confident I got my steps in every day--even on the day that I was in an all day training--because ALL THE WALKING!)
*Get a massage 
*Schedule a dentist appointment
Apparently my health was not a priority this month--which probably contributes to some of the major struggles and anxieties I had. This is eye-opening for me. I did still exercise every day and ate relatively well, but these extras matter. 

*Write a conference schedule 
*Share conference schedule on blog (see it here)
*Nusery Father's Day activity
*Put up a new scripture to reflect on on the fridge

*Defend thesis (This was a highlight of the month for me for sure. It went so well and I am so excited about that! I loved my topic and my paper--my study was so interesting to me and I was really into it. I loved my entire committee, but am especially grateful for my chair! My mom and Zach and a few classmates came to watch and my brother and new sister-in-law watched JaiseAnn on campus. Zach, JaiseAnn, and I went to dinner to celebrate afterward. It was all around a very special day! It also felt so good to be done. I still have some revisions to make (see below) but the weight of having it so close to done with just minimal revisions is definitely something I'm excited about!)
*Revise and submit final approved version of thesis
*Complete trainings for two part-time work-from-home jobs for next year.

How did you do in June?

Friday, July 1, 2016

Spring General Conference Study Schedule

One of my June goals (well and I think May goals as well:) was to create and share a General Conference study schedule. Every year, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints holds a General Conference session in the Fall and in the Spring. Leaders of the church share inspired messages over one weekend. It's truly one of my favorite times of year and I always look forward to hearing the words they have to share with us and then studying them throughout the year.

The Spring conference is held in April and I really wanted to start studying the messages right away, but life happened. Nevertheless, I've got a plan to study the talks each week until the next conference in October. 

A bit about how I created the schedule: Every week before conference, I usually fast/pray about certain things I am dealing with or questions I have with the specific hope of getting some answers/inspiration during conference. This has never failed me. I used to attempt pretty detailed notes during conference, but now I have a toddler, so I've found a system that works for me and helps me feel like I'm still walking away with something, but also not to wrapped up in notetaking for hours at a time. When a new speaker comes up, I write his/her name down on paper and then listen to the talk. As I listen, I try to write a sentence or two that stands out to me or that summarizes something that struck me as important or worth exploring further. It may summarize the talk or it may just be something that I personally took away from it. I write these one-two lines whenever I feel the need/desire--if I haven't felt the desire, I ususally write it at the end as a summary of the talk.

Then I rate the talk. Yes, I rate my talks. Hear me out--it's not about the delivery of the talk, who looked/said it best, or a judgement of the writing style or anything like that. It's a 5 star rating in regards to how well that talk answers questions or provides the insight I'm personally looking for. It's a way for me to prioritize my studying. In the past I used to just read each talk and pretty much devoted the same amount of time to studying each one, but realized more recently that I should spend more time studying the things that I felt I needed to understand and know better. 

When creating my schedule I just looked at my ratings and tried to give the 5 and 4 star talks more time to study than the others. (This was tricky because I have waited so long and have less time tan I would have if I had done this in April). Below I've outlined my schedule (and included the rating of the talk and any inspiration that I feel comfortable sharing that I wrote down at the time of the talk. 

Week 1: I Am a Child of God--Donal Hallstrom (4 stars)
Week 2: Where are the Keys and Authority of the Priesthood--Gary Stevenson/Standing with the Leaders of the Church-Elder Rasband
Week 3: Fathers--Elder Christofferson (4 stars)/ See Yourself in the Temple--Elder Cook (4 stars)
Week 4: Whoso Receiveth Them, Receiveth Me--Elder Andersen/The Rescue, We Can Do It--Mervyn Arnold

Week 1: The Healing Ointment of Forgiveness--Kevin Duncan (4 stars)
Week 2: The Sacred Place of Restoration--Jairo Mazzagardi/Tomorrow the Lord Will Do Wonders Among You--Elder Holland
Week 3: Choices-President Monson/A Pattern for Peace--Christopher Waddell/The Power of Godliness--Kent Richards
 Week 4: The Holy Ghost--Elder Hales/Always Remember Him--Gerrit Gong

Week 1: Be Thou Humble--Steven Snow (4 stars)
Week 2: He Will Palce You on His Shoulders and Carry You Home-Elder Uchtdorf (5 stars)
Week 3: Do I Believe--Bonnie Oscason (5 stars)
Week 4: Opposition in All Things--Elder Oaks (5 stars)

Week 1:That I Might Draw All Men Unto Me--Elder Renlund (4 stars)
Week 2: Where Two or Three are Gathered-Elder Eyring/A Child's Guiding Gift--Mary Durham
Week 3: Always Retain a Remission of Your Sins-Elder Bednar
Week 4: And there Shall be No More Death--Paul Johnson (4 stars)/Refuge from the Storm--Patrick Kearon (3.5 stars)

**Due to time I did not get around to adding the talks from Priesthood and Women's Conference--I will do that next time, though.

How do you study conference talks or other spiritual/inspirational messages?

Monday, June 27, 2016

Endless Glow by Jenn--Spray Tan Review {Meridian, Boise, Nampa}

Something you may not know about me is that while I'm pretty "crunchy" in some ways, I'm not in others. In fact, there are some ways I'm far from that path and one of those ways is in tanning. While some crunchy folks actually support spending time in the sun, I'm not sure any of them  would support time spent in a tanning bed. That's precisely where I spent most of my twenties. I loved being tan, I loved the warmth, I loved all of it. It was like an addiction. Until Zach asked me to stop because he was concerned about my health.

Now my tan usually comes from time spent outside which is not always in my control now that I'm a mom. I certainly can't lay out on my back for x amount of minutes and then flip over for x amount of minutes anymore. I had never tried spray tanning. It just didn't seem like the right solution for me--especially since so many people I knew who'd done it were orange after the fact. 

A friend of mine contacted me about a spray tan business she runs out of her home. She's been flourishing in it which is so exciting to me. It's airbrush spray tanning and it looks so natural. I really wanted to have a healthy looking tan for my thesis defense in mid June and decided to see what her business was all about. I'm going to tell you a bit about the process below, but these pictures speak for themselves. 

The before picture was literally taken the day before at my brother's wedding--I was clearly spending a bit too much time indoors. I got my spray tan on a Saturday night and the after picture was taken after church on Sunday--less than 24 hours after my tan, but I had showered and gotten ready for the day. The next picture was us 4 days later in Washington D.C. on a family vacation (slash work trip for me). You can see that there was still a lot of color on my skin after 4 days--traveling, spending time in humidity, and showering each day. I'll get into a little more detail in a Q and A below and then direct you to Jenn's website and Instagram account, but to say that I was pleased was a drastic understatement. I looked at myself in the mirror the morning after my tan and I loved it so much. My body just looked and felt so good--I hadn't seen it that dark in ages. And it is true what they say--the best solution for cellulite is a tan. TRUTH!

So some questions I've gotten:

Where did she do it?
My tan tech, Jenn, has a small room dedicated to her airbrush tanning in her own home. It was very private and professional. For the actual tan, I stood in a tent while she airbrushed me and I felt very comfortable. 

Does it really look natural?
Yes, it really really does. I wouldn't have done this two days before defending my thesis if I hadn't a). seen it myself on Jenn and others she had done tans for and b). trusted Jenn. She is someone I've known for a while and I didn't think she'd do anything to make me feel silly or look bad--in fact, I knew she was dedicated to making me look and feel my best and that was the truth. When I came to my parents house for Sunday dinner the next day, my brother and his new wife thought that I had just gotten really dark from spending so much time outside at their wedding! HA! This is an airbrush tan and it is done so well. My tan tech had me stand and position myself in different ways to make sure I got every area of my body covered evenly. This is such a natural looking tan-I was very impressed and beyond pleased. 

How long did it last?
I didn't notice any real fading until 7 days after the tan. I didnt' exercise every day like I normally do because I was out of town. But we were in Washington D.C. and it was humid and we walked a lot so I still did sweat quite a bit. After 7 days it started to come off in sections and looked a bit spotty. It took about 10-11 days to disappear completely, though I'm sure if I had exfoliated I could have sped up the process. 

How much does it cost?
Prices can be found here, but there is a special discount for first time customers!

Do I have to get naked?
No, you don't have to get naked, but you could if I wanted. If you really must know--I did not get naked. I didn't feel it was necessary for the effect I wanted, but I'm not lying in telling you I would have felt totally comfortable being naked. Instead, I wore a bra and underwear and removed the straps when Jenn tanned my upper body. You can get dressed to your comfort level and I believe her when she says she's seen it all, but she's not looking--she's just trying to get the tan right. 

Now that you've gotten some answers, please give Jenn a visit and see what this is all about. I can't recommend this little service enough--it's definitely gone on my wish list for gifts from my family and I am definitely already planning my next airbrush tan!

Jenn lives in the Treasure Valley, but sells products to help you achieve a tan at home as well--and she sometimes travels with her tanning supplies--be sure to follow her on Instagram for the latest deals and details. 

Have you ever gotten a spray tan? What has your experience been like? What questions/apprehensions do you have?

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

About Sharing

I know I haven't been on this space very much lately--or really at all. Truth is: 1. Life is really busy right now, but it's a good busy and I'm happy to be so busy that I don't really have time for this because...2. I'm still not sure what I want this space to be or if I want to use it at all. I think I've decided that blogging to be a blogger is not for me (maybe more on that later). But blogging to connect with people has blessed my life helped me create/find friendships and I love that aspect. Not to mention, I do enjoy putting down my thoughts and keeping them as a journal. I have the writings from my first blog which basically chronicle the first 3-ish years of our marriage and I love it so much. Anyway, that's a topic for another day. 

But if you are here and if you are reading, I would like to just talk about this. It seems the moms that have more experience are always willing to give me some input on these topics and I wanted to see if we could discuss sharing

The older JaiseAnn gets, the more I notice two things happening: she has become far less willing to share (and cares much more about the things she's playing with) and she's expected to share by those around us. 

For a while, my gut reaction anytime there was a "toy issue"was to tell JaiseAnn to "share" which basically meant JaiseAnn giving up the toy since there's no way she knows how to play with the same toy with someone else yet and not all toys are multiple person toys anyway. After spending some time working in the nursery at church, I started to see a problem with the knee jerk reaction to demand that she (or any kid) "share." Then we had an experience a few weeks ago with family where sharing became a topic that Zach and I discussed a little more fully and man, it's this topic is a bit more complicated than I had expected for raising 2-year-old. Some of the things that our recent experience higlighted:

*Sharing shouldn't be required in every situation.
If JaiseAnn's playing with something and someone else comes and takes it away from her and she cries (or comes and destroys what she's playing with/building and she cries) it's okay for her to cry and it is not requisite that she share. The same goes for if someone else is doing something and she comes and takes it away or destroys their play activity--she should be the one reprimanded. We won't expect that child to share with her. 

*It's okay to teach her to have and respect boundaries. We feel that it's okay for her to learn boundaries such as: if someone is playing with something and you want it, you wait your turn.(If someone else is playing with someone or doing something she wants to do and she interferes or starts getting aggressive, I will tell her it's not her turn--I will not teach her to expect someone else to share.)  If you're playing with something and someone wants it, it's okay to continue playing but it would be nice to take turns. She should not be disciplined for crying when someone takes something away from her (it's crazy how many people think that taking a toy out of a kids hand and then that kid crying or grabbing it back is a sign that she's an "only child" or that she "really must not like to share." Because quite honestly, I would be totally ticked if someone took something away from me that I had first, but that rarely happens because that's not how the world works generally--most adults do respect boundaries. I'm not sure my daughter should learn any different.) 

*Age matters. This is perhaps one of the most difficult concepts to teach such a young child, but at her age, even a few months make a difference. The younger the child, the less they understand boundaries-the older the child the more sense these things makes. JaiseAnn has a 7-month old baby cousin who likes to get into her toys and she doesn't like it. In this situation, I try to explain to JaiseAnn that "he's just a baby and he just wants to play." This seems to make a tiny bit of sense to her, but say an 18-month old is a bit more confusing to her, but I still think she's able to reason more than an 18 month old so I try to take those opportunities to teach her and I expect less from the 18 month old. 

This whole sharing thing is actually really tricky. While I think sharing does teach her to be kind and giving, it's not really that mandatory for learning to be a good person. When toys are involved however, by nature kids need to learn to share to keep the peace. Every situation isn't a "sharing situation" though-or at least that's how it seems to me.  I know there are a lot of parents who declare they won't be teaching their children to share--period. I'm not one of those, but I'm finding that trying to bandaid conflict with children with "just share" doesn't really teach my daughter some of the more important things I want her to learn. Sharing is a huge part of childhood--and it's a huge part of the societal expectation in social situations with kids--so I feel that I should start approaching this the way I see best now even though she's young. Basically I love discussing boundaries lately (seriously, I had this whole revelation about boundaries on an online discussion about teaching for one of my new jobs and now I talk about boundaries a lot), but I feel that teaching JaiseAnn to have and  respect boundaries with something as simple as toys is a much more important life lesson.

So now I want to hear from you! Do you think that kids should be expected to share at all times and in every situation? If so, why? If you don't, how do you handle this (or suggest someone handle it) in social situations where someone else expects your child to share when you don't feel it's right? How do you explain this to your kids? WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON SHARING? I want to hear it all!