Sunday, January 19, 2014

Welcome, 2014.

In the wee hours of the night, on the eve of a brand new year, I started this blog post. 


In a few minutes it will be a new year.  Of course, that means resolutions.  I've been thinking about mine for the past couple of weeks.

Last night for Family Home Evening we made New Year Resolution Collage Posters, which was something that I remember from my childhood and always loved.

Fox didn't make one...he didn't have any goals yet (though off the top of his head he said "to gain two pounds."

Moose didn't make one...he was too tired and had to go to bed early.

And of course Owl and Otter didn't make any, but they had fun climbing onto chairs and messing up my papers.

This is Chick's.  I love it.  Her goals are to learn more about the dangers of smoking, and to learn to cook (healthy food).

Monkey's is pretty awesome isn't goals, but pictures that she thought were pretty. (I love the eyes on the face, lol!)

And mine.

I feel the need to declutter.  simplify.  unscheduled.  Focus on basics: family dinner, Family Home Evening, temple attendance, yelling less, choosing projects mindfully, date night, better bedtime & screen time, and prioritizing with the question "Will it truly benefit my family?"

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We are now 19 days into the new year.  And my days right now are something along this line,

It's actually not so bad, but not the slow, quality over quantity, prioritized, simplified, deliberate back to basics change that I had wanted.  But there is plenty of 2014 left : )  And things will slow down soon enough.

In the meantime, here is what I've been busy with:

An 8-week health challenge.  This is my third.  The first was with my SIL Katie and a bunch of her friends (and a couple of other family members).  I liked it so much that after a little break, my visiting teaching companion and a visiting teach-ee decided to start up another challenge.  That ended just in time for the holidays.  Hellooooo Halloween candy, and birthday cakes, and Thanksgiving pie, and Christmas, etc etc etc.  And Hello to all the pounds that I'd just lost on the challenge (and hello to a couple of newcoming pounds as well!).

I felt like I needed a boost to get back into healthy habits (after my crazy undisciplined hiatus through November and December), but I needed it to be a little more intimate (my friends started another challenge, but it was a lot of people this time, and I didn't know them all), and I needed it to be more accountable.  So I asked some family members, and we have a nice little group of eight...eight people who I will never be rid of, so what better accountability than that? ; )

Anyhow, it's going really well (we're only 1.5 weeks into it, but off to a great start), but it doesn't simplify my life because it's forcing me to make more time for exercise (which I needed'll notice on my poster that I have running pictures and "Energy" on there...that was a component of my year plan).  (I'm going to sign up for a 5k scheduled a couple of weeks after the challenge ends, so that I will have good incentive to keep with the healthy habits and exercise...after that I'll have to think of some other goal, since I'm not always the best at sustained self-discipline).

So that's one big thing so far this year.  Another is my awesome new calling.  Seriously, I'm thinking that it's the best one available!  I'm the Young Womens' Personal Progress Specialist.  Here is why it's awesome: 
  • I get to be in Young Womens for the first time, and it's fun and exciting. 
  • I get to work with the Personal Progress program, which I LOVED as a youth, and I think is a very important program for the girls. 
  • I get to organize data, make charts, keep track of stuff...and I do so love making lists! 
  • I get to teach occasional lessons and do occasional special activities, which I enjoy, but without having it be every week. 
  • I get to work with a great group of ladies, and get to know them better.
  • And, most important for this month, I get to plan New Beginnings!!!!! 

The youth theme for 2014 is "Come Unto Christ" so I picked a New Beginnings theme that I thought would enhance the year's theme:  Journey Into Jerusalem.  I'm thinking of draped fabrics (in Young Women value Colors, of course), rustic eastern d├ęcor, area rugs, ottomans and floor pillows, candle light (and some lamps so that it isn't tooo dark), a tulle and twinkle light ceiling, maybe some potted palms...actually, you can see some of my "inspiration" pictures on my pinterest board:
The event is on the 28th, so next week.  I'll be busy getting ready for that this week.

As if that isn't fun-party-planning enough,  I'm also busy with gearing up for Chick's birthday party, which is in two weeks.  It's an Ice Cream Parlor theme.  It didn't get the time and attention that Monkey's fairy party's a little unfair, but it's the difference of a birthday in November and a birthday in January...we all have to manage with the hand that we've been dealt, right?  So Chick's parties might not ever be as elaborate as Monkey's (but Chick is the oldest and will always get privileges that Monkey won't).  Anyhow, I digress.  It won't be crazy elaborate, but it will be fun and festive. The emphasis is on the graphic design elements.  I won't go too into it, but I will share with you her logo, which is being used on EV-ERY-THING.

Aside from the two parties and the 8-week challenge, there are my kids.

Keeping Owl alive.  Seriously...two days before Christmas she climbed out of a shopping cart and a little while later she threw up.  I took her to a walk-in clinic to have her checked.  Her head was fine, but they said that her x-ray showed that she had Pneumonia.  Then a couple of days later one of the kids accidentally knocked her down and she got a cut next to her eye...which resulted in a spectacular shiner.  And last week she fell and got a bruise above the same eye (though the shiner was already gone).  I think it's safe to say that she's my most accident-prone child.

Keeping Otter off the table and out of the toilet. 

My kids have been busy with all sorts of creative ventures lately.  This picture is Moose modeling a super long necklace that he made with pop-it beads (the kids all LOVE when I get those out...seriously, hours of fun every time.  The older girls are the same whenever I get out the Fashion Plates, which has also been used a lot in the past couple of weeks).

Yesterday Chick made a Barbie body out of a toilet paper roll (a Barbie got broken, but Chick saved the head, and then made a new body).  I didn't get a picture before a sibling ruined it.

This morning they were making hats for the style of Mrs. Peters' birthday hat in the Seven Silly Eaters (one of our very favorite books).  They've always wanted to make a cake like in the story, and I just found a recipe on the author's website!  I can't wait to show them tomorrow.  Looks like we have a project to do!  Once we have the cake, we can all put on our hats and I'll get a picture of it to show you.  Such exciting stuff here at the animal house!

Other news, Monkey and Chick both learned to ride bikes!  On the same day (January 4th).  Monkey figured it out first, because she's less afraid and therefore more able to learn that kind of thing that requires a bit of physical risk.  Fox helped her a little, and she took to it right away.  Chick (who Fox has tried to help SEVERAL times) probably felt usurped, because then she spent the rest of the afternoon working on it, and after a while was able to show off her own two-wheeling skills!  (Monkey's picture is terrible...this was the best one of her).


I tried a new recipe last night:  Cauliflower Tots.  They were good, I'm going to try them with 1/2 breadcrumbs, 1/2 flax meal and broccoli instead of cauliflower next time. (because I am now out of cauliflower, but I have broccoli).

I've also been busy deciphering Monkey's notes.  She likes to write.  Here's the latest:

Lastly, we butchered Winner (as in Winner Winner Chicken Dinner) (and "we" as in mostly Mr. Fox butchered him).  He was a pretty nice rooster.  He tasted pretty good too...the kids didn't seem phased by it at all.

And I think that's it for us.  Just, you know, trying to keep up : )