Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Pics That Take Me to My Happy Place

1. Our favorite toddler and Amelia Pond, the guinea pig.
McK came over for a visit and ended up helping us bathe "piggie," as she calls him.
(PS: Papaya did McK's hair. Her dad asked for corn rows.)

2. McK's brand new baby brother, Baby J.
(Bam got him to smile and Lu snapped the photo.)

3. Bam holding Baby J.

4. Lu with Baby J.

5. Papaya holding baby Obi Wan.
(The World's Most Spoiled Cat.)

6. THIS. Enough said.

7. Oh, and soup.
We've had sick kiddos AND a pretty cold December /January, so I have been making a lot of soups
(this one is potato, leek, and carrot).

Psst: Yes, I think it is hilarious that I photograph the food. I have no idea why, but I like it.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Come What May and Love It

Zu has started making smoothies for the family. I think it's a trip that she makes them so special. In all my years of making the kids smoothies, I have never made them look so special.
I love these. (And Zu took the pic, too--adding the background heart.)

Do you ever have one of those weeks where the stress level seems extraordinary?
Well, last week was our week for that.
I want to explain the specifics and yet part of me is so beat from it all, I don't want to rehash it. (Though I do think it's probably valuable to journal about it, so in the future I will remember "we can do hard things.")
Anyway, my point!
We had a surgery and ER visits. We had a mono diagnosis for one kiddo and radical colds for the others (minus Jr--he's holding strong). Dave had a business trip to Oregon (while sick). We tended our favorite toddler in the middle of the night--while her mom had her second baby. Oh! AND we had job interviews that didn't turn out to be a good fit (for kids).
It was a LOOOOOONG week.
On the heals of a LOOOOOOONG year. A LONG year.
We're still grateful and still smiling, but I have to tell you, we are long overdue for a break.

Lu, having surgery on her eardrums and getting tubes in them. The hospital was so nice AND Elle is so happy all the time. Even while getting the IV and going to the Operating Room.
(Thanks to Jr. for going with us.)
Bam ended up really sick this week.
(Taken before the sickness. She's preparing for a class in Airbrush Makeup--she'll be able to do wedding, tv, and formal makeup. Yay!).

Our favorite toddler and her new brother, Baby J.

Sunday's snowstorm.

My pacifier this week. Not sure I will ever use regular chocolate chips again. Seriously love these.

Still working on getting rid of not-essential things.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Joy and Utility

So after reading The Minimalists' book this weekend (Dave the whole thing; me, parts), we made the decision to try to get rid of some of the inessential and clutter-y things in our home. 

And after swapping ideas with our BFFs Janae and Jeff we decided to have a competition to see which couple can get rid of something inessential each day for 30 days. 

Only there's a catch--we are going to give away one item on Day 1 and two items on Day 2 . . . and so on, and so on. 

Our Finish Date is February 14th. 

The winning couple takes the other couple out to dinner. 

Unless we both succeed, and then we just go out to dinner!

Sounds easy, right?

Until you realize it is 465 items!

Yup. 465 ITEMS!

Dave created a chart so we can mark off as we go, and we decided to also photograph the items so we can get a real sense that we accomplished part of our goal. 

How are we deciding what to part with? Here are some of our ideas:

--no kids' items--so long as they will store them (OR unless they are the ones asking to donate/give away)

--nothing that has a purpose (we use it daily, etc)

--no getting rid of items that are jointly used--without one another's OK

--keep items that bring us joy (art, bookcases, etc.)

--scan photos to the Cloud vs storing unseen in plastic contatiners 

--part with clothing, books, kitchen items--literally anything that isn't essential/purposeful or brings us joy. 

We are excited to see how these next 30 days change us. Or if they do. 

I know this morning as I went to buy cold medicine, I was thinking about buying a brush and I though "Nope. We have 7 brushes. I don't NEED one."

Wish me luck. If anything it is exciting/fun to take on a challenge like this in the wintertime when daylight is short and life can get kinda mundane. 

Game on Team Janae/Jeff!

Bye bye clutter. Hello intentional living. 

Friday, January 15, 2016

A Trip to the Aquarium

Jonah and the Whale

I really appreciate the book suggestions people sent related to my last post (intention vs. impulse). I'm excited to check them out. Thank you so much for taking the time to share!

This week we were able to go to the Living Planet Aquarium with the whole gang. It was a lot of fun, and kind of a trip--to use a 1970s word. The longer you stare at some of those fish and snakes, the more you think "This is a trippy world. All these CRAZY different creatures."

PS: Thanks to Heather for letting us take McK, our favorite 2 year old.

Papaya, McK, and Bam.
They have been to the aquarium together before.

Jr., Lu, and Zu at the penguin exhibit.

Papaya and McK.

Whole Meehan gang (plus Laur, Jay's GF and McK)

Shark Tank

Papaya and McK. With BIG fish.

Dave made it in this shot--yay! He's the one who got us there!
(At the sea otter exhibit)

Trying to hold a penguin through the glass.

Bam is so good about taking photos. She had these taken and gave a set to McK and Kaya.

Best baby-sitters ever.

And in other news, Lu is having outpatient surgery next week to have tubes put in her ears (for the 3rd time). She's had so many ear infections. Poor Lu!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Living With Intention vs. Impulsivity

I was listening to a podcast last night (one of my new favorite ways to learn/think) called The Minimalist. You may have heard of the two authors/speakers/podcasters? They are two lifelong friends who had made it really big in the corporate world only to find in their 30s that they really weren't really happy.

You know, the kind of happy that is long-lasting.

How did they change that? How did they find more long-lasting happiness? (PS: they have.)

Little by little they started getting rid of things (literally) and circumstances in their lives that weren't essential:

The big home.
The big television.
The "toys" that didn't get used regularly.
Extras that brought financial burdens.
And on and on and on.

Eventually they left their corporate jobs as well.

And while I don't get the impression they are Buddhist monks, they are living lives with intention, trying to avoid the non-essential, and then sharing those experiences with others.

I love thinking about their ideas/changes.

And while I'm not sure I could make all of the modifications they did (and I'm not certain that all lives call for the same changes), I absolutely relate to the feeling that life is just kinda taking over "my life."

Know what I mean?

I'm thinking about my technology-saturated life. The television programs (or Netflix binge-watching) that take up way too much space in my schedule and brain. The excess. The time wasted on commutes to and from places I don't really need to go. The spending or shopping that doesn't have to happen.

And on and on and on.

I'm not sure if you ever feel this way, but I can definitely see areas of my life that need more intention. And it's something I'm thinking about this New Year. I think it would be good for me to make some changes, and that feels kinda exciting.

It reminds me a little about how I felt on Survivor. We were literally in one outfit, with one bathing suit, on an island without ANY power, running water, sanitation situation/toliets/soap/showers, etc. We were without housing/shelter, heating, bedding . . . and limited on food supply (5 lbs of beans 5 lbs of rice for 10 people). Forget technology. Forget watches. Forget weather forecasts. Forget all forms of technology/communication . . .

for 39 days!

It was eye-opening.

I learned a great deal from that period of "deprivation" and can see the value in stripping my life of the inessential. (Though I think clean water and sanitation are essential. No question.).

So my point!

I've been home from Survivor long enough to let those lessons kinda fade.

It's a good time to hit the reset button and try to live with more intention vs. impulse in my life (The Minimalists' term, not mine).

Not sure how this will play out, but I'm excited to see ways I can make positive changes.

Stay tuned.

PS: I don't have any affiliation with The Minimalists, but I think they have a few books, and I know they have a website and podcast, so you can probably find their ideas pretty easily online if you are curious.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Shiny and New

Papaya and Bam with their YW leader and friend--at lunch over Christmas break.

January FEELS like a shiny new quarter. 

I love it.

(Especially after a year like 2015. It brought us A TON of challenges new experiences: 3 hospital stays, 2 surgeries, 3 drivers licenses, 2 cases of mono, 1 case of pneumonia, 9 sinus infections . . . . And those are the highlights. PS: I like that I put the drivers licenses in this category.)

Funny how a new year (or even new day) can bring such a feeling of hope. And I'm not saying this year won't have challenges, I'm just sayin', I am happy to put all of last year's challenges in one book and shelve it.

2016 kicked off with Jay's 21st birthday. He had a great bday, celebrating with friends (sushi and Star Wars) and family (burgers and gift). It was crazy to think that we have "missed" his last 2 birthdays while he's been serving his service mission. FUN to have him home for one.

School began again for the kids and BYU began again for me. The kids might not be super happy to be back in school after Christmas break, but I'm happy to be back. I'm teaching 2 classes instead of 3 and it's amazing how different that feels. I love it.

Random Sidenote:

One of my goals this year is to hug more often--I've never been much of a hugger. And while it feels kinda dumb to actually put this as a goal, I think it's a worthwhile goal. And I am already feeling happier because of it. No kidding. On my first day back to work I ran into a colleague who just battled and BEAT ovarian cancer (stage 4), and as I walked by her normally vacant office I was stunned: there she was!

You know what my first thought was? Talk to her. Talk talk talk talk talk. But then I remembered my goal . . . and I just stopped by and gave her a hug. No words. Just a hug; it just seemed like the best way to say" "I'm so glad you are here HERE.

So that's what's going on here in Utah.



Making balloon animals for FHE (family home evening)--to hang up on Jay's door for his 21st bday.

Balloon dog.

2 balloon dogs and a misfit.

Lots of snow this winter--which we love. (Harriet loves it, too.)

Lu working on her science fair project with her friend from school.
(Can you use fruit to charge an iPod?)

Dave's favorite breakfast is the German pancake
 (I began making them, but now the job is all his. He is WAY better at it than me. Mine never rise like that. Crazy!)

Dave has been asking for this for years (he's an operations guy): a color-coded towel system for the family.
I finally got around to it . . . because 2015 was OUTTA control with towel laundry. Holy guacamole!
Anyway, here's the plan: each kid has 2 towels in their color. They use them, hang them, and wash them ONCE a week.
After Survivor, I'm feeling like once a week is plenty, but if you like to wash more frequently, you can.

CityKitty is FINALLY warming up to ObiWan the baby cat.

Since Bam started working almost full-time, she has a little extra spending cash.
Apparently Saturday there was a sale at Bath and Body Works.

And Harriet is still keeping in real in the SLC.