so sweepy…

This adventure is not exactly what I was expecting.  I was looking forward to feeling invigorated and more time in the morning.  Perhaps that will come with time.  I sure hope so!  :)  I thought I might miss that time in the evening when I get things done.  Instead I find myself incredibly tired and wondering if I should try to sneak a nap in come mid-afternoon – there is no way I can make it until 10 p.m..  And that is not me.  It seems odd.  Jim Bob says it might be a form of detox.  Running on little sleep for far too long.  My body is now saying “Oh, sleep.  I like that, I need more.”  Or something along those lines.  Not sure, but I do know that I’m sleepy.  We have sick little ones in the house.  They have been taking turns since last Saturday so that might also play into it.  Anyway, it has only been two nights (soon to be three) so I can definitely give it more time, but thought I’d record where I’m at now.  For perspective.  For when I’m rocking the early bedtime/early morning, I will remember that it did not come easy.

Night, night.

Guest Post: 21-Day Challenge

I am hijacking Becky’s blog (with permission, so I guess, not technically hijacking) to announce our new joint venture of epic proportions: a 21 day challenge to go to bed early. 10 p.m. to be explicit. Doesn’t seem very epic, you say?

It is epic because I am an addict. I have been since before Becky and I met. I think it started in 1994. I remember going to bed in high school and laying awake for hours in the dark because I could not get my mind to stop racing. It miraculously stopped during the two years I spent serving a church mission in British Columbia, but later in college it again became far too easy for us to stay up late finishing assignments last minute that we postponed to do other things.

“Sow a thought and you reap an action; sow an act and you reap a habit; sow a habit and you reap a character; sow a character and you reap a destiny.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Fast forward 11 years and it’s still just as easy to stay up late… but so much harder to get up when we do. There have been nights that I stay up hacking away until my eyes are bleary and I type like a drunk, knowing I should sleep. I still need to recover from multiple consecutive 1+ a.m. nights this past week alone. So now we’re doing something about it. Our 21-day challenge is to be in bed by 10 p.m. every night with lights out no later than 10:30.

Intellectually we understand the scientific benefits of the “early-to-bed” principle. For over a month now we’ve talked about doing this together, knowing that neither of us will do it without the other. Becky agreed to let me hijack her blog to make the announcement and that we would start the following evening. How ironic that I write this at 3 a.m. with both of us awake and doing projects that seem impossible when the needs of family and work are foremost.

So it is that we will start together tonight, on the evening of Feb 1. Our hope is to see such great benefits that the habit we establish over the next three weeks won’t fade with the sunset on the Feb 22. Addiction is never easy to overcome. But I finally feel this habit’s time has come and gone.

Day 20

Just slightly overdue.  😉

We spent Day 20 in the car traveling to our Thanksgiving destination – Aunt Ruth-a’s house.  We were planning on going the day before but a blizzard warning {first time in my lifetime here} prevented that.  We were happy to be warm and snug and traveling instead of on the side of a slippery road.  A day later than planned, a little slower than planned, but we made it.  Hooray!  :)  My creative endeavor for the day involved felt and a glue gun.  Yup, in the car.  I might even be impressed with myself.  😉  It is amazing what an inverter can allow you to accomplish.

I love making place cards.  For Thanksgiving especially.  It’s been my “job” for years.  Last year we made cornucopias out of sugar cones, jelly beans and Runts.  Hard to top, no?  I think we did okay:

I love taking parts of one holiday and infusing it into another. Thus the “fortunate cookies” were born. The felt fortune cookies served as place holders for the dinner table. Mint kisses were hidden inside and a whole bunch of printed tags, labels and journaling tags were scattered around. I invited people to write fortunes for each other.  We got some funny fortunes from some of the smaller ones and lots of giggles.  Later I thought it would be way better to write “fortunate” things about each other and place them in the corresponding cookies. Ah, there’s always next year.  😉

What fun – and so easy to do for a crowd!   The fortune cookies are felt circles.  Each one has a piece of floral wire hot glued across the diameter with a ribbon over to keep it purty.  I’ll have to take a close-up photo of that – it’s a little hard to explain.  That way the wire can be bent and the cookie keeps it’s shape (thank you Martha Stewart).  Adorable and reusable.  And obviously portable seeing as I made them in the car. 50 of them, just-in-case.  We ended up using close to 40.

*Huge special thank you to my brother John.  He sacrificed some computer time to help me cut all those tags and cards.  I’m thankful for him!*

Nutmeg Elements by Cosmo Cricket {tags and labels}
font on photo: CK Renaissance

Cultivating

“We can lift ourselves and others as well when we refuse to remain in the realm of negative thought and cultivate within our hearts an attitude of gratitude.” – President Monson

I am working on cultivating {creating} a heart full of gratitude.  It takes extra thought – especially to express it.  I hope someday it flows naturally.  Too many times I look around and focus on what is lacking.  Or what there is too much of.  Always wanting something to change.  I need to focus on the good right before me.

“This is a wonderful time to be on earth.  While there is much that is wrong in the world today, there are many things that are right and good.  There are marriages that make it, parents who love their children and sacrifice for them, friends who care about us and help us, teachers who teach.  Our lives are blessed in countless ways.”

I am blessed in numberless ways.  Today I just focused on expressing sincere thanks to each of our children at least once.  I thanked Autumn for getting in her p.j.s so quick AND brushing her teeth.  I thanked Joshua for enjoying dinner and asking for seconds.  I thanked Jacob for getting dressed in his Scout Uniform for Pack Meeting cheerfully.  I thanked Caleb for not biting me today while nursing (He being the proud owner of 2 peeking through teeth).  And I thanked Katey for making me giggle today.  I live a blessed life.  One of the best parts was seeing their little eyes light up when I was talking to just them and it wasn’t something I needed them to do/ work on.  Yes, I definitely need to thank them more often.

“The grateful man sees so much in the world to be thankful for, and with him the good outweighs the evil.  Love overpowers jealousy, and light drives darkness out of his life.  …  How much happier we are in the presence of a grateful and loving soul, and how careful we should be to cultivate, through the medium of a prayerful life, a thankful attitude toward God and man!” – President Joseph F. Smith

Books that promote wondering…

I’m working on creating an irresistibly compelling children’s library.  I want the books to be interactive, accurate and affordable.  Tall order?  You bet.  But I’m getting there thanks to Usborne.  We have loved the books for a few years now.  Three months ago I signed up as a consultant to sell Usborne books.  The move was totally generated by a desire to expand our library.  It’s working.  :)  While I have made a little money, most of it goes straight back to Usborne in exchange for some yummy papery goodness.

Today I had six boxes of books delivered.  I had three shows close on the same day.  What a visual and intellectual feast.  I’m loving sharing these books with so many wonderful families I know.  I think there will be many happy children in Manti come Christmas morning (if their parents can wait that long! 😉 ).

I’m trying to decide my favorite part of this delivery – my stack of five dollar books (I didn’t realize there were so many!) or all the Christmas activities we get to do over the next few weeks.  Love!

To get an idea of the philosophy behind the company here is one of my favorite quotes from the founder of Usborne Books:

“Children are clever – they are our equals.We shouldn’t talk down to them, but look across at them.

Books should be friendly, and as much like magnets as possible. They should be reliable and accurate, stylish and artistic. They should be accessible, and also surprising …

They should promote wondering. They should be better than good.”

– Founder, Peter Usborne

p.s.  I also love the smell of a new book.  Even our catalogs smell like new books.  Mmmmm.

17 – Gratitude brings blessings

I helped Jacob create a home teaching lesson today.  It only needed a little guidance.  He had read the talk and marked a few parts.  He knew one of the families had a small daughter and that the lesson would need to be adapted so she could understand.  A little of letting him talk it out and his two individualized lessons were ready.  His companion (Daddy) said he did a wonderful job.  Jacob has been filling in the last few months, but this was his first time preparing a lesson.  He took his role seriously.

I will share quotes from his lesson throughout this grateful, thankful week.  He said the principle he selected  for the home teaching lesson was “If we are grateful we will be blessed”.  Or as President Monson words it, “Sincerely giving thanks not only helps us recognize our blessings, but it also unlocks the doors of heaven and helps us feel God’s love.”

I am grateful for a ever-willing, sweetheart of a son that asked if I would like him to give his lesson for Family Home Evening tomorrow night as well.  Yes, please.   Perfect.

p.s.  I did have him wipe his taco face before going to home teach.  😉

day 16

I created a clean kitchen floor, cleared the couch of all the clean clothes and made granola.  The kiddos worked on creating clean bedrooms and building a cardboard “stronghold” aka fort.  Yup, it’s Saturday!

I also planted garlic today.  Last year the garlic was in the ground way before now.  We’ve been waiting for our garden spot to dry up enough to till.  It didn’t happen and a huge storm is a-coming in.  So I blocked off a spot to plant garlic and we’ll till the rest come Spring.  It was a little windy today, but not too chilly this morning when I was planting.  However I think this is my first time gardening in winter boots.  Hmmmm…  yes!  We didn’t even cover the garlic last year and it worked great.  I’m thinking on covering it with compost of some sort this year since it’s so late.

The creation I am most pleased with today is a recipe I created.  I had some veggies that no one is really a fan of, besides me.  {*cough* brussels sprouts *cough* cauliflower *cough*  mushrooms *sneeze* – if you ask Jacob}  So I combined them all.  I cut the cauliflower into small chunks and quartered the brussels sprouts.  Sliced the mushrooms thick and put them all on a cookie sheet.  In a small food processor I ground garlic, pine nuts, sunflower seeds, olive oil, salt, a splash apple cider vinegar, fresh thyme and fresh rosemary.  I poured the mixture over the veggies, mixed with my hands and baked the veggies for 1/2 hour at 400 degrees.  It started smelling heavenly about 15 minutes in.  The perfect Fall mixture.  It tasted nutty and delicious – almost like it had bacon in it, which is pretty much the highest compliment I could ever give anything.  😉

Today…

I created extra room in my fridge by serving leftovers.  Sweet.

I also created the yummiest popcorn for Friend’s Day treat.  It’s our special recipe.  Our Stir Crazy popcorn popper (entertainment in itself!), Orville Redenbacher popcorn oil, real butter and Real Salt.  So yummy and it makes a huge batch – 6 quarts from one cup of popcorn kernels.  Our family rarely finishes a whole bowl.  This afternoon we went through two.

Taking time to enjoy other's creations

Today I created some time (aka folded many loads of laundry) to listen to a wonderful program.  It is on the Mormon Channel, the official radio station of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  A conversation with Sister Julie B. Beck (the Church’s General Relief Society President) and her daughters Gerilyn and Heidi.

It is a beautiful show about motherhood and loving individuals and finding joy.  Simply wonderful and enlightening.

A sampling of what I learned/enjoyed:

*   Each Saturday their family had “Books at Breakfast”.  They are all avid readers that enjoy it and have since they were young.

*   There are only three children in the family.  Sister Beck said because they didn’t have a large household to keep up and no farm/cow, so her children learned how to work hard by playing the piano.  They trained, practiced 3 hours a day and now all teach piano lessons.  Sister Beck said having that music in her home has been so enjoyable.  Her grandmother had the talent of playing the piano, but she never had the opportunity.  She feels that her children are the generation when talent met opportunity.  She also felt if she didn’t act on that then she would be accountable to her grandmother.

*   Gerilyn said she knows many ladies that are not sure they can get up in the morning and mother.  There are so many challenges and being a mother is hard work.  She said that she had many examples of righteous women that found fulfillment in their calling as a mother.  Gerilyn said it is possible to find joy and delight in what you are doing as a mother because you realize that is what the Lord wants you to do.  “You are a mother that you might have joy.”  She has 7 children born in 11 years and her mom joked about having “night visitors ” and very little sleep.  Gerilyn’s answer was that yes,  She gets very little sleep, but it’s an investment and that there are plenty of delightful things that happen ech day to balance it.  She also keeps her Grandmother in mind on the hard days.  She has what Gerilyn calls a “fan club consisting of 67 grandchildren and 67 great-grandchildren.  She also taught that children are individuals.  They have their own favorites,needs, and desires.

*   Enjoy it now or enjoy it later…  You’ll have to listen to hear this story about Sister Beck’s mother’s adjustment to Brazil while her dad was a Mission President there.  It involves soggy diapers, flea bites and rats.

*   Sister Beck said she wanted to raise children she could be friends with later in life.  She wanted them to be smart, able to have fun together and someone she could have a conversation with.  She said in order to do that she had to start young to instill those qualities.  She had to be a parent while they were younger so that now they can be friends and peers.  She said at this point her children nurture her more than she them.  Beauty.

I’m actually only 50:10 into the show, with 36:55 left.  Looks like I need to find some more dirty clothes.  Oh wait, here we go… 😉

p.s.  Here is a fun creation from my brother and his sweet wife.

Creations come in different sizes…

Today I helped create a clean bed.  The sheets are fresh out of the dryer.  Our bed warmer is on.  Good night all.

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