Friday, November 2, 2012

{November 2}

My list of things I'm grateful for is long enough to go to the moon and back . . . a million times. I know I'm not that fabulous but I still can't believe I get to be me. The gratitude list is truly never ending. My list is in no particular order but don't you have those moments when you think, "Wow! I'm loving this!"?

From the bottom of my heart, I'm grateful I don't get disowned when I have crazy ideas AND decide to bring them to life. 
I often have to ask myself, "WHAT were you thinking??"

Need an example?

I know! I can't believe I'm even showing you this. 
I was thinking I wanted to paint my elegant-cave-of-a-dining-room yesterday and today.

The SAME "today" I wanted to host a wedding for my oh-so-darling-friends. I know! Bad idea.

Would it help if I mentioned that the wedding would be in the cabana and the dining room would stay in the house? I didn't think so. What was I thinking?? At least today I decided to paint the dining room yesterday and TOMORROW. So, the wedding was still lovely today!
{Just don't mind my dining table being in the entry way, the ladder being in the dining room, and me not having a brain. I did stay up late last night getting the final base coat on so it looked slightly better.}

Yesterday I mentioned how grateful I am for friends and today that gratitude REALLY grew. The best of friends helped me pull the wedding off and it was so fun!

I'm also thankful for my wonderful children that not only love me but go to great lengths to do so.
I was blessed with help the last time we painted the dining room.
Unfortuantely, I wasn't very good at describing what I wanted hence the very-dark-elegant-cave effect. Now, I'm wondering if it was really that bad.
{When a paint job doesn't turn out quite like you envision, that's what you do--name it something nice.}

I am thankful that Landon always makes it fun! {That or he was in SO much trouble he was forced to stand in the corner AND write his name. Yikes!}

What would I do without India? That girl is willing to test colors out with me AND make wedding food at the same time.
Oh, I'm hoping this has a very lovely end! At least the kids deserve it.

Guess we all know what I'll be working on tomorrow! ;) I'm already thankful that there is a tomorrow for me. Thankful, thankful, thankful.

{November 1}

November is here! 

I'm so thankful. I love this month. I love next month. I think I was just made for the holidays.

Technically, it's not really "November 1" since it's after midnight but I decided to cheat just a little so I could still get a blog post in. You know me & goals--my goal was to blog "today" even if it got too late. So, I've had a full day but I still have so much for which to be grateful. . . 

Today, it has to be friends. They're kind of important. 

I've been missing my blog and I've been SO touched that recently some really wonderful people that I TOTALLY admire have asked me about it. 
They've actually missed my blog! 
     (Insert jumping up and down, huge smile that made my cheeks hurt, and squealing with delight.) 
That made me feel a little special inside.  A ginormous THANK YOU to these dear friends and anyone else that stumbles upon my little piece of Blogdom. Another ginormous THANK YOU to my friends just for being my friends.

Now, I'm ready to begin celebrating the holidays and filling my blog with all the amazing things that bless my life.

AND because EVERY blog post has to have pictures:

{Who are those people?? They are crazy! It was seriously cold beyond description and I see smiles on their faces. They're weird.
No, that's not me smiling with a bright red Rudolph nose.}

{Bear . . . not so crazy or weird. I think he just has crazy, weird owners.}

Friday, May 11, 2012

{meet my lifeguards}

Woohoo!  Keaton and Landon are now registered Lifeguards with the American Red Cross.
They've been taking classes all week and passed their exams tonight! I'm slightly happy.

I'm glad they're willing to pose for the camera!

I think I'm a little more excited than they are but they did come home feeling pretty good. 
There's just something great about accomplishing a goal and these boys know what I mean.

Their whistles are LOUD. Trust me.
OR feel free to stop by for a demonstration.
The funny thing . . . it's music to my ears after all their hard work.

Keaton decided to graduate from homeschool early and start college this semester.
He's in the middle of his college finals this week as well so I'm extra excited that he managed to do it all.
I love my boys!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

{100 days and counting}

February 1st was 100 days ago.  A lot of things can happen in 100 days.  
We've had some happy times and very sad moments but I made a goal 100 days ago and today I'm celebrating success.

Have you ever set a 100 day goal?  It's a really great thing.  
I recommend finding a little inspiration and giving it a try.

Among other things, in the last 100 days we . . .

 . . . celebrated Keaton's 18th birthday on February 25th.

He has the best friends and they came over to save him from all his homework and host a little impromptu party.

Birthday's aren't fun without some laughs. Sir Thomas caught a pigeon for our birthday boy. . .
 . . . doesn't every 18 year old want a pigeon?  {The bird was not injured and was quickly released.}

March 20th brought India's 13th birthday!

She received some special attention!

 It was the year of many, many wishes!  All our guys wanted to light the candles . . .

. . . and blow them out . . .
. . . again . . .
 . . . and again . . .
. . . and again!  I didn't think the poor girl would ever get to make her wish.
I think they made enough wishes to last the rest of their lives!

March also brought such sadness. My mother-in-law, sweet Laura, had a massive stroke and she couldn't get well. We lost her and our hearts were so sad.  They are still sad.  The blessing was seeing Thomas' wonderful siblings all together.

Sweet Laura was "the salt of the earth" - everyone says so. She was the best example of charity and never-ending love.  She also had a lively, colorful personality that we'll never forget.

We also continued to miss Nolan who is off at school.  {Personally, I think he needs to send me some pictures.}  He left December 31st and I haven't seen him all year!  We're looking forward to July.

During the last 100 days we also had a little fun . . .

I think it's been a wonderful 100 days.

January had been a blur for me.  I spent every spare moment during the entire month making online scrapbooks. :/  I had previously purchased "credits" with an online company and they were about to expire! Loose my money?  I thought not so I accepted my consequences, worked like a mad woman, and have some great scrapbooks to enjoy.  I also learned a valuable lesson: never invest money in good intentions. 

February 1st was a new day and felt like the first of the year!  I was ready for something new.  I have made 100 day goals in the past and they have worked for me so I decided to try it again.  

I started exercising and don't plan to stop! I started my exercise program with Chalene Johnson's "Chalean Extreme" because weight lifting is so important to prevent osteoporosis. Weights were a must three days a week and I mixed up the other three days to make it interesting. It isn't about looking perfect - because I definitely DON'T but more about keeping a commitment to myself.

I have two amazing friends that are such examples to me.  I didn't ask permission to mention them on my blog but their names start with Cherie and Noma.  On May 23rd of this month they will celebrate 30 years of exercise - walking - together through all those years.  They are incredible women and I think the discipline required to exercise together for 30 years is the same discipline that has molded them into the amazing examples they are in every aspect of their lives.

Cherie told me she read an article 30 years ago that inspired her.  She's never forgotten one statement that inspired her to start walking, "You can take the time now or loose the time later."

I've been inspired and that's my plan!  I'll continue to exercise 6 days a week because I've proven that I can make it a priority through anything.  I really want the time later.  
Anyone interested in becoming a 30-year exercise partner?? :)

The next step is learning to eat healthy.  100 days and counting.

Need more ideas to get started??  You can do ANYTHING you want to do.  Skies the limit.
Nolan set a goal when he was 10 years old to read the Book of Mormon for 100 days.  It was a tough goal for a little guy but he did it.  One day at a time.  It's been 12 years since he set that goal and he's still going strong.  He's a huge inspiration to me as are each of my children.  They've all set goals and worked so hard to accomplish them and I'm just trying to keep up.  

Please let me know what goals you set!  I need all the inspiration I can get.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

{once when I was very brave in Argentina}

Sir Thomas, Nolan, and Keaton are all very brave.  All the time. Me? Not so much.  I'm the kind of girl that even used to get scared on Disney's Tower of Terror.  I'm serious. 

I have been adding a little adventure to my life over the past few years.  I'm rather proud of my adventuresomeness in Argentina.

I apologize for indulging in this little flashback but I never added this post and I totally needed to blog this adventure. 

The time frame: end of September / beginning of October last fall {2011}
Place: Northern Argentina in the jungle {little side trip after picking up Nolan}

Beware: Picture intensive post ahead but totally worth it {to me}.  

The first adventure involved miles of hiking to see Iguazu Falls.  The falls were breathtaking!  Yes, we got soaking wet . . .

We walked down a long, muddy trail . . .
I was totally expecting that scaly fellow knew the rope meant for him to stay off our path.  Super safe don't ya think?!

The trail led us past dozens of gorgeous falls and beautiful views until we reached this very safe and secure looking floating room.

To get on a little boat like this . . .

. . . to ride INTO the falls!!  We actually got to ride into the falls four times and it was exhilarating every time.  I couldn't see and I couldn't breathe {I was busy drowning in the deluge} but I could hear very clearly and the falls were LOUD.  Lovely.  I love waterfalls.  Always have and always will.

Before we got on the boat:


There were so many falls and I couldn't get enough of them.  It was super sad to not have Landon and India with us.  This was Keaton's big adventure with his older brother but it was still so hard and I missed my other kids.

Perhaps a little less crazy but monumental none the less . . . we were in Argentina and could see Brazil {right side in the picture} and Paraguay {left side}.  The ferry to Paraguay doesn't run on the weekend and it was Saturday.  Bummer.  We didn't get to go.

We stayed in THE coolest place ever!  In the jungle!  Our room is on the right, up in the trees and all lit up.  I still have to pinch myself. I don't know why I'm so lucky.

Keaton spent every possible moment on the screened porch in the hammock.

The bananas growing just outside our room were really cool but they aren't particularly visible here.

The final adventure started in this large truck and I was already a little scared because I knew what I had just signed up for and it began with a trip deep into the jungle.

I was constantly humbled as we drove {actually mostly slid} down the red roads. I loved everything we saw and everyone we met!

We drove and drove until we came to a military checkpoint.  No cameras were allowed, I had no idea where we were and I couldn't understand anything they said - it didn't help my nerves. When I was sure we were lost deep in the jungle and far from any civilization the truck stopped, we got out and then to my horror the truck drove away.

The only thing left to do was walk into the jungle, right?  Such a welcoming site!  I don't know if it was a funnel web spider's web or not but it was creepy enough.

I tried to forget about the spiders and enjoy the first activity in our adventure-of-the-day: "canopying" or "zip-lining" in my lingo.  During our hike into the jungle I looked up and saw this:
The canopying had three stops along the way and we were going to "land" on the lower level then climb up a few boards nailed into the tree to reach the top level before taking off again.  Sweet!  Not at that moment. I was terrified and had to pretend I wasn't.

Nerves don't even begin to describe it.  That did not look safe to me and I couldn't even speak enough Spanish to ask questions.  Nolan's Spanish was working very well but I don't think he was worried about a thing.  This was tame compared to his previous two years.

Then we "got" to climb up this!  You know I was excited!
Does it look like it would wobble?  I hope so because IT DID!

No nerves. All pro . . .

I am SO glad I didn't chicken out!  It was SOOOOOO much fun.  It was serene, beautiful and surreal.
I could not and still cannot believe I did it.  As you can see below, there was just enough room through the canopy to glide through and Keaton made it look good.

As we reached each station along the trail and stopped at our checkpoints I was never convinced that the tire wrapped around the tree would soften the impact very much if we hit it . . . that really nice guy in the bottom left corner of the picture below was very helpful in stopping us.

We survived!  It's crazy but I totally want to do it again. Scared for nothing.

My nerves returned when we arrived at our last adventure-of-the-day . . . rappelling down a waterfall!!

Nolan has always been a participator!  He loves life and jumps in with both feet into everything he does. He not only volunteered to go first out of our family but out of the entire group of 20.  He was brave and I was happy he would be waiting at the bottom to recover my body because at that point I was pretty sure I was going to die.

As a mother, I was so proud of him . . . and scared.  Sir Thomas and Keaton were just as brave, excited and willing to go over the edge but I needed someone at the top with me.

I still can't believe I did this!  It was fun and I would totally do it again.  I would probably also be just as scared.

Fortunately, Nolan was not left below to recover my body because I survived.  He was also a great photographer and took all these pictures.

Keaton was a total pro with zero nerves.

My boys obviously got their adventuresomeness and nerves of steel from their incredible father.

My heart was beating fast because I was totally in love with this brave guy.  No need to go back up to view my pictures, we all know I was clinging to that rope with both hands.  Sir Thomas made it look so cool when he came sliding down with one hand.  {If I go back, I'm still using two hands!}

 I miss Argentina and all the lovely people we met.  I also miss the adventures!
{P.S. Why am I the only one that looks like a drowned rat?? Hmmm.}