Friday, January 19, 2018

40 by 40

Here it is, the moment you've all been waiting for: my official 40 by 40 list.

I've separated these tasks into 8 categories because have you ever tried to make a list of 40 things you want to do?  It's madness.  But if you have a specific category, and you only have to think of 5 things for that category, it's much more manageable.

Some of these things are things I've never done.  Some are things I want to do again.  Some of them might not make a lot of sense to you right now so you'll just have to wait for the write up after I finish them.  But I think this is a feasible list for where I am in life right now.  Obviously I'd love to put "Travel through Europe for 6 weeks" or "Hike the entire Appalachian Trail" on here, but those things aren't really within my reach.  I decided to focus on things that are very possible for me to do in the next 3 years and 8 months.  I may or may not finish them all, but dang it, I'm going to try!  Let me know if you'd like to join me on any of these adventures :)

Physical

1. Run a 5K.  (The whole time.  No walking)
2. Hike a mountain peak.
3. Go snowshoeing.
4. Hike the Fairyland Loop at Bryce Canyon National Park.
5. Go paddleboarding.

Spiritual


6. Visit all the temples in Utah.
7. Read all the standard works again.
8. Finish reading and help scan my grandparents' letters from WWII.
9. Read At the Pulpit: 185 Years of Discourses by Latter-Day Saint Women by Jennifer Reeder
10. Go to Music and the Spoken Word.

Musical

11. Write a hymn.
12. Learn the basics of playing the violin.
13. Perform somewhere with the Blockburger Family Band.
14. See an opera.
15. Go to a classical music concert.

Creative

16. Create some map artwork displaying all the places we've lived.
17. Create a Cherries Virtue recipe.
18. Make pajama pants for the family.
19. Make a new wreath for my front door.
20. Learn to make paper flowers.

Places to Go

21. Take my kids to Yellowstone.
22. Visit Yosemite.
23. See the Spiral Jetty.
24. Visit Canyonlands.
25. Visit Capitol Reef.

Things to Read

26. Finish reading 1776.
27. Finish reading all the Chronicles of Narnia.
28. Read North and South by Elizabeth Gaskill.
29. Read a Sherlock Holmes mystery.
30. Read a book of Emily Dickinson poems.

Things to Eat

31. Eat creme brulee.
32. Eat a macaron.
33. Eat a Kouing Aman from Les Madeleines.
34. Eat a Doner (Doener? I need an umlaut!) kebab.
35. Eat pie from Burr Trail Grill in Boulder, UT.


Other

36. See a play.
37. Finish my denim quilt.
38. Write a short story.
39. Make homemade pop tarts.
40. Go to Gilgal Garden.

Looking Forward to 2018

I sat down on January 1st and thought about what I hoped the coming year would bring.  I had a few ideas on some things I wanted to make happen, resolutions if you will, but they seemed a little too big to complete in one year.  Then I looked back at my list of 2017 resolutions, and felt a bit of chagrin that 30 by 30 ended up being 30 by 36.  Then I realized that 36 is not that far from 40, and well...instead of creating a list of resolutions for 2018, I put together my 40 by 40 list. 

I'm going to create a separate post for the actual list (to make it easier for me to find when I want to reference it), but know that most of my "resolutions" for this year will be to work on that list.  However I've also been thinking of all the things I hope will happen in 2018, and here's what I've come up with.

I hope our little family is in a different situation next January.  I hope Clark has a job, we have a home, and we feel settled.  I hope we remain in the Wasatch Front, where we can attend all the family events, from Sunday dinners and birthday parties to baby blessings and weddings and everything in between.  I hope my girls find themselves at a school they love with friendships that can last for years.  I hope we spend a lot of time in the mountains, in all seasons.  I hope can meet new friends and reconnect with old ones.  I hope I can offer a little more compassion to those who cross my path, and I hope I can send a little more kindness out into the world to ease the pain and suffering that is everywhere.

Here's hoping, 2018.  Be kind to us all.



Remembering 2017

I don't post much on this old blog anymore, but I have been quite consistent with at least one post in January detailing resolutions, old and new.  Can't break tradition now!  So here is my look back on 2017.

I had a nice little list of resolutions for the year.  Let's pull that up:
  • Find a family name to take to the temple.
  • Learn to play all the hymns on the organ. 
  • Learn to play a new song on the guitar.
  • Walk 500 miles.  This time, for real.
  • Read 14,000 pages.  (Yikes, that's a big number.)
  • Pray more often and more fervently.
  • Read the Book of Mormon as a family
  • Go on dates with each of the girls.
And now, let's go through each item.
  • Find a family name to take to the temple.
  • Learn to play all the hymns on the organ. 
  • Learn to play a new song on the guitar.
The first three items on the list were part of my 30 by 30 project.  I'm so pleased to report that I completed those three tasks, thus finished the entire list!  I wrote about taking a family name to the temple here, but apparently I never blogged about learning a new song on the guitar, or learning to play all the hymns on the organ.  For the guitar, I picked the easiest song I could find, Whole Wide World by Wreckless Eric, which weighs in with a whopping 2 chords.  E and A, over and over again.  I mastered that one pretty quickly, and got to check it off my list.

Playing all the hymns on the organ was a little trickier.  I had started this one long ago, and then I lost my list of hymns played, so I had to start over last January.  I plugged away each week, adding about 10 songs (more or less) to my weekly organ practice.  Once we knew we were moving, I knew I would probably lose access to an organ, so I pushed hard and finished before we left Illinois.  I may not be able to sit down at a moment's notice and play any hymn to perfection, but I now know it's possible for me to play any one of them with a little practice.  That's a good feeling. 

I guess I should rename this project 30 by 36, but oh well.  It's done!
  • Walk 500 miles.  This time, for real.
I walked 508.23 miles this year.  Boom.
  •  Read 14,000 pages.  (Yikes, that's a big number.)

Sadly I only read 12,796 pages.  I did read 51 books, or at least some part of 51 books.  There were 2 books that I started and opted not to finish: March by Geraldine Brooks and The Book of Mormon Girl by Joanna Brooks.  I really wanted to like both of those books, but I didn't. March because I was ticked at the main character, The Book of Mormon Girl because I had a hard time relating to the author (which was surprising, but perhaps I would have felt differently if I'd continued reading).  Looking back at the books I did finish, I read some great stuff this year.  Care you know more?  Check out my book blog!
  • Pray more often and more fervently.
I believe I did pray more often and more fervently than in 2016, but there is always room for improvement.  It's also hard to measure something like that, unless I make a prayer chart, which I guess I could do, but then it feels too much like a thing to check off a list instead of a conversation with God, so I'm hesitant to start one.  However, I know that our current situation has elicited more prayer from me; perhaps you could say that God knows what He is doing when he sends us trials.  I'm grateful for the opportunity to humble myself and improve my relationship Him, even if it comes at the expense of my comfortable life.  We aren't supposed to be comfortable, right?
  • Read the Book of Mormon as a family
While we have made some progress in the Book of Mormon, we haven't come close to finishing it this year.  But we'll get there.  Hopefully in 2018.
  • Go on dates with each of the girls.
There have not been regular dates with the girls, but we did do this at least twice, so that's something.  For my date with Julia, she requested that we go to the library, write a comic book together, and get ice cream.  That girl is unique for sure.  I think Ella and I got a donut and then chatted at the donut shop.  What I remember most is each child opening up and talking about what's important to them, which is better than a sack of gold for a parent.  We should do that again.


2017 was a year of big changes for us.  Clark lost his job, we moved across the country, I found a job...lots of changes.  While not every change has been ideal, I have seen blessings throughout it all, and for that I am grateful.  I have a good feeling about 2018.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

November The End

Well hey, we made it to the end of November.  Did I write every day?  No.  Did I write more often than I have been?  Yes.  I'm calling it a win.

This month has been pretty hard.  Between starting a new job, feeling the stress of our current living situation, and the feelings of loneliness that are always attached with moving, there have been many tears shed.  I have hope that things will improve soon, but I don't have any guarantees, and that is unnerving.  Rather than write, "I'm sad, wah," every day, I opted not to write.

But the thing is, my life is not terrible.  I may not be in my own home, but I have a home.  I have all my necessities met.  I got a job, despite feeling woefully unqualified to do any job ever.  I have my family surrounding me.  And now it's Christmas time, the most wonderful time of the year!  I have much to be grateful for, and I would be a fool not to recognize that.

Here's to a Christmas season full of hope and love.  I could use an extra dose of both.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Listy Thursday...on a Saturday!

The holiday has thrown my writing schedule out of whack.  But here is what would have been my list on Thursday of 20 things I'm grateful for:
  1. family
  2. my marriage
  3. motherhood
  4. spending Thanksgiving with family
  5. good food
  6. pie
  7. cozy blankets
  8. fleece pajamas
  9. faith
  10. my Savior
  11. the scriptures
  12. my job
  13. fresh starts
  14. libraries
  15. good books
  16. good music
  17. technology
  18. rocking chairs
  19. babies to snuggle
  20. my glasses and contacts (holy smokes, I'd be lost without those)

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Thanksgiving


Last Saturday I realized it's been exactly 3 months since we arrived in Utah.  Those 3 months have flown by. 

Some days it still feels like we are on vacation.  Some days it feels like we've lived here forever.  Some days I'm frustrated that we have no definitive plan for the future.  Some days I'm just plain tired.  But some days I look back at the experiences we've had since coming here and I'm left with a deep sense of gratitude and wonder.  My sister had a baby, and I was here to help, to meet my new niece, to play with my nephew.  My girls have been able to spend time with both sets of grandparents, with aunts and uncles, with cousins.  We've had family dinners, shopping trips, ice cream runs, and extra help with homework.  My mom made amazing Halloween costumes for my girls, no USPS required.  We had to decide where to go for Thanksgiving, because we had options.  It's pretty incredible that we've been given this opportunity to not only be in Utah and see so much of our family, but to live with my parents, to spend quality time with them, to learn from them and enjoy them.  I know it isn't ideal, but instead of wishing it was over, I have come to realize that we are uniquely blessed to have this time with them. 

Life is fleeting.  No one knows how long we have on this earth, or how long our family members have.  To have this chance to create lasting memories of those we hold dear?  It's priceless.  I enjoyed our adventures in the Midwest, but I am so grateful we get to be back home, with our families.  I'm certain our girls will look back on this year and be grateful too.

Friday, November 17, 2017

My Life in Pictures

Here's a smattering of photos from my phone. I clear out my camera roll pretty often, so it's really not many.

I found these paddles in the gym closet at school. I'm not sure what one would use them for. Tableless ping pong?


I made a pie. It was delicious. And pretty, courtesy of my mom's mini heart cookie cutter.

 Trivia night at the Salt Lake library is always a good idea, even when you are down a man (Clark ditched out and headed to Vegas). 3rd place this month!

Another mystery item from the gym closet. May-pole dancing?  Crazy group jump roping? I'm at a loss.

Ella's cup overflowed today when the slight chance of snow developed into fat fluffy flakes that actually stuck to the ground. That girl is a snow princess if I've ever seen one. Remember when she was allergic to the cold? I think she's going to spend the rest of her life trying to make up for all lost opportunity from that one winter.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Listy Thursday

Shows I've recently binge-watched on Netflix:
  1. Parks and Rec: This is our current favorite.  I watched the first season a few years ago and said, "This is a dumb show."  Then I was told by multiple people to keep going.  I watched the first few episodes of the second season, and said, "It's still a dumb show."  Then someone told me to watch just a little bit further, and I was finally rewarded with a show that is laugh-out-loud funny and thoroughly enjoyable to watch.  But I could have done without the first season, and the first few episodes of the second.
  2. The Office: I watched The Office way back when it was airing on TV, but rewatching it on Netflix is always a great idea.  It's a good one.
  3. Parenthood: Clark and I just blew through Parenthood a couple months ago. Those Bravermans make terrible choices, but I just can't look away!
  4. Once Upon a Time: I'll admit, this show has gone on a season or two too long. There are new episodes on Netflix that I haven't brought myself to watch yet. But it's a fun, fluffy show to watch while you fold laundry. 
  5. Friends: Because, I mean, it's Friends. Of course you should watch it. 
  6. Frasier: It's been a while since we watched the whole series, but only a few nights since I queued up an episode. This show had a great little formula going during its run.
  7. Arrested Development: A little crass, but it makes me laugh so hard.  I never finished the last "Netflix Only" season, though.  Not as good as 1-3.
  8. Gilmore Girls: I watched this one on my own.  I love the Lorelai's witty banter, mixed in with soap opera drama. 
  9. North and South: This is a miniseries, only 4 episodes long, but it's so great!  It's based on the novel by Elizabeth Gaskell, set in Victorian England, a love story set against the backdrop of social class issues and the industrial era.  It's definitely worth the 3+ hours to sit through it.
  10. The Great British Baking Show: I love cooking shows. I love baked goods. I love British tv. This show gives me all three. 
  11. The West Wing: One of the best television programs ever created. I think we've watched the entire series at least 3 times, maybe 4. The writing and the acting are spot. ON. 
  12. Stranger Things: I'm basically obsessed with this show right now. It's scary and funny and nostalgic and sad and sweet. It's all the feels. Beware: Once you start, you won't want to stop. So you'll need to set aside about 8 hours of your life to get through the first season. Also, prepare for some crazy dreams. The upside down messes with your head.