I'm a little behind...

I've been catching up on old posts, so make sure you scroll down.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Important Updates

It's time for an update on my monthly goals so far for 2015, to help keep myself accountable.

But first, a digression.

I love blogging. I blog for myself, mostly. I order a book version of my blog, one for each year, and my family and I love reading those books. Recently, thanks to my smart phone, I post more frequently on Intagram and Facebook. But those venues don't allow me to document my life in a way that is quite as meaningful as this blog. So I keep it going, even if the blogging-craze has mellowed a bit in the world.

When I look back over the years here on "Meg's Life," the number of times I posted during any given time period reflects what was going on in my life.

2008: 93 posts. 2009: 108 posts. Those were great years.

2010: 88 posts. Not so great. Our son Riley died that year, and I forced myself to do fun things with the family and then blog about it, knowing that I would regret empty holes in my memory books the way I regretted not being in more photos with the Riley during the 10 weeks he was with us. So that number could have been much, much worse.

2011: 102 posts. 2012: 96 posts. Great years. Lincoln was born in April of 2011, and heaven help me: I can't stop taking pictures of that boy. He is officially our final child, and we are relishing his smallness while it lasts.

2013: 59 posts. 2014: 52. Sigh. What happened? We moved in the spring of 2013. But it has been a GREAT move for us! And I have such an amazing life. Chad's job transfer has been awesome, the kids have wonderful schools, we love our house and our friends at church. But I had been struggling emotionally, feeling like I was slogging through mud each day, going through the motions. Not able to take pleasure in the things I love. Cranky and tired, yelling at the kids.

I finally faced what I had been trying to deny for two years. The symptoms were there. Sadness. Loss of interest in activities. Low energy. Problems sleeping. Anger and irritability. It wasn't surprising when my doctor visit in January resulted in a diagnosis of depressive disorder. I hadn't wanted to face the shame of resorting to medication to solve my emotional problems. I was a strong, capable, driven woman. But I was at an end. I started taking medication. Despite the doctor's caveat that I probably wouldn't experience a miraculous change, it has pretty much been just that. I am still getting used to feeling good. Menial tasks are suddenly surmountable. The dirty dishes and sticky floor no longer make me cry. Routine life setbacks don't crush me. Chad doesn't come home to find me in bed, watching 13 Going on 30, surrounded by candy wrappers and popcorn kernels. Mason's behavior at school has dramatically improved (his teacher said to me, "Whatever you're doing, keep it up!"). Our home life is so much more peaceful. Chad and I are closer than ever.

I wasn't sure if this would be something I'd mention on this blog. Wasn't this topic too personal, too sensitive? But then, I didn't have a problem sharing the news when I began allergy shots. Or started taking medication for migraines. No one balks when a diabetic mentions their need for insulin. So I'm sharing: I take medication for my own body's imbalance.

Not everyone understands. Only those closest to me have known how much I've privately struggled. And I don't know if a person can truly understand depression or anxiety unless they've lived it, or have seen a loved one go through it. There will still be people who will assert that when depression hits, a pep talk, good nutrition, and getting out of the house will solve the problem. There is still a stigma (a friend actually used that word right after I had confided in her that I had started taking medication... grrr). But it's getting better. And I'm hoping that some day it will become just as acceptable to talk about depression as high blood pressure.

Whew.

Okay, so now for the updates on this year's goals!

Year-Long goals:
1: Read 15,600 pages (so far: 10 books and 3,646 pages)
2: Blog at least once a week (This hasn't happened. This is only my 5th post so far this year. I did, however, fill in some serious blanks from September to December of last year.)

January: "Be Healthy"
3: Find a dermatologist and schedule an appointment (Done. Clean bill of health.)
4: Exercise 5 times a week (Didn't happen in January, but I knocked it out of the park in February, thanks to free classes taught by local friends. Monday: Weights, Tuesday: Bootcamp, Wednesday: Dancercize, Thursday: Kickboxing, Friday: Zumba)
5: Lights out every day at 9pm (I did it, but it didn't help my sleep as much as I'd hoped. Since being on my new meds, and adding a melatonin pill at night, I've been sleeping much better since February)
6: Eat 3 servings of veggies a day (I think I did pretty well at this one. I've been using My Fitness Pal to keep track of diet and exercise.)

February: "Be Loving"
7: Complete the Dating Divas love calendar (I didn't quite complete every day, but came pretty close. Chad caught on after only a few days of cute notes and texts.)
8: Sight-see with Jaime (This one, sadly, didn't happen. But I won't give up hope!)
9: Speak quietly, with love (I did pretty well. February was freaking awesome.)

March: "Economize"
10: Stick to a budget (I need to buckle back down on this one. Our vacation last week threw me off a bit.)
11: Rotate and replenish food storage (I have orders in the works for Emergency Essentials, the church cannery, and one for buckets of white wheat from Utah (hopefully our Queen Creek group meets the quota!)

So, that is the official life update.

And, as someone wise once said, "Everything is awesome."

Monday, February 2, 2015

Mason Turns 7!

Lately Mason is all about Lego Marvel. Especially Spiderman.
So, naturally, I made a Spiderman cake for birthday #7.


We had a small party with just the family, as Mason opted for "big present" over "big party" this year. I'm always relieved when the kids make that choice. He got the Lego and Bey Blades sets he chose himself.


Mason is a brilliant, active boy with natural abilities at many things (sports, math, reading, singing, piano, soccer, etc). He loves spending quality time with his mom. It can be difficult to get his attention when he is hyper-focused on an activity, and he has trouble with impulse-control, but we certainly love him, and know that these qualities will be used for good when he learns to channel them. He frequently doodles Super Mario Brothers characters on the back of his class work, and has recently informed me that when he grows up, he is going to invent web that he can shoot out like silly string then swing on. His obsessions change periodically, but Mario, Lego, and Star Wars are always front-runners.

Mason's 7th Birthday Interview:

What is your favorite color? blue
What is your favorite toy? Mario K'nex
What is your favorite TV show? Super Mario Bros
What is your favorite movie? Star Wars
What is your favorite thing to wear? Mario Shirt
What is your favorite animal? I don't have a favorite animal
What is your favorite song? The Mario theme song
What is your favorite book? Lego Chima book
Who is your best friend? Jordan
What is your favorite drink? root beer
What is your favorite food? bean burrito
What is your favorite breakfast? Frosted Mini Wheats
What is your favorite game? Super Mario Bros 3D World
What is your favorite thing to do? play video games
Where is your favorite place to go? Legoland
What is your favorite holiday? Christmas
What makes you laugh? a girl body with a man's head
What do you do really well? math
What are you afraid of? the dark
What do you love to learn about? math
What do you want to be when you grow up? an inventor
If you had one wish, what would it be? to have, like, Mario powers 

(Last year's interview here)

Saturday, January 31, 2015

January Hijinks

1: I just had to document how cute my chalkboard header was for the New Year. Cute chalkboard = happiness.
2: I have gotten back into making my nails cute. Santa brought me some nail polish for Christmas, and I love it. Plus, when my nails are done, I'm much less likely to chew on my cuticles, which is a very disgusting and persistent habit of mine.
3 and 4: We pass this field almost every day, and I finally decided to stop and let the kids look at the cotton up close. It's crazy to think that this fluff somehow becomes the clothes on our backs.
5: My nursing cover Etsy shop continues to be slow, yet successful. Usually the orders come in threes or fours (I'm not sure how Etsy works, but there must be some sort of search result priority rotation). On this day, I sent out a custom order (left), and my best-seller (right).
6: Trek is coming! Chad and I went to the kickoff meeting, and though we are not supposed to publicize the fact that we will be a Ma and Pa (otherwise the youth will all be desperately hoping to be in our family, and will be tragically disappointed when they can't all be), I figured I'm safe expressing our excitement here. (I think people read my blog, but I've been neglecting it lately, so the only person who reads it now is Jaime, because I texted her to tell her to read my new posts.) So ANYWAY, we are excited! I haven't started sewing yet, but I did purchase some pink calico, so, yeah.
7: Bree cashed in some tickets for a trip to Baskin Robbins one evening. I was happy to go with her, because their Snickers ice cream is epic.
8: I have a sweet connection for free advance screening movie tickets, and I invited Heather to go with me to see Spare Parts. A great inspirational story about teenagers from a local Arizona school.
9: Another delicious lunch with my Amateur Chef friends! Moroccan salmon with rice, and Raspberry Ribbon Pie for dessert. Mmm. Isn't Christie awesome for providing us each with our own pies to take home?!
10: This is what I get for leaving the last slice of chocolate cake on the counter unguarded. I thought it was hilarious that he served it up into a bowl before eating it. This mess wasn't as bad as when he got into the peanut butter jar a few days before that.
11: We got a couple days of drizzle in January. Like, constant drizzle, which is so rare for us. I just gave in to the frizz.
12: I'd been lying on the couch with a migraine one day, and I didn't even realize Lincoln was in the kitchen. Suddenly there he was next to me. He had gotten into the donuts, eaten two on a plate at the table, then brought me my own. Smart boy, on so many levels.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Bree's latest "infatuation"

Bree received quite a few Ever After High dolls for Christmas, which she was really excited about. They each came with their own short story (tidbits from the book series), and she has absorbed it all. The other night as I was tucking her in, she confided in me:

"I don't know what's come over me...it's Hunter Huntsman. He's like my dream come true. He's strong, brave, good with animals."

Thursday, January 1, 2015

33 Things in my 33rd Year (or my Happiness Project)

For 2015, my 33rd year on earth, I'm taking a page from Gretchen Rubin's The Happiness Project. I separated my 33 goals into months of the year, each month having a theme. I'm hoping this will keep me focused and on track, rather than letting the year get away without me like it has lately...

Two of my goals will go all year long:
1: Read 15,600 pages (about 52 books, averaging 300 pages each)
2: Blog at least once a week (to avoid becoming months behind)

And here are the rest of the goals:

January: "Be Healthy"
3: Find a dermatologist and schedule an appointment (skin cancer runs in the family)
4: Exercise 5 times a week
5: Lights out every day at 9pm
6: Eat 3 servings of veggies a day

February: "Be Loving"
7: Complete the Dating Divas love calendar
8: Sight-see with Jaime (hopefully to a place we've never been)
9: Speak quietly, with love

March: "Economize"
10: Stick to a budget
11: Rotate and replenish food storage (learn how to use it all!)

April: "Sew a Home"
12: Make a curtain to act as an office "door"
13: Finish my Mt.-Everest-sized pile of sewing/mending projects
14: Fix living room curtains (kids destroy everything)
15: Cover entry bench cushion with cute fabric


May: "Cultivate Talents"
16: Finish a blog book
17: Sing every day with voice lesson CDs
18: Learn a new cooking method

June: "Make Memories"
19: Go camping with the family
20: Scan and digitize old photos

July: "Introspect"
21: Journal at least weekly. Real, meaningful journaling. This could be part of blog posts or not, depending on the nature of entries.
22: Spend 15 minutes a day on actual scripture study

August: "Friendship"
23: Coordinate a girls' night
24: Deepen a friendship

September: "Family First"
25: Print photos for Bree's photo collage frame in her room
26: Make a Family Home Evening board
27: Turn off all electronic devices for 24 hours

October: "Have Fun"
28: Do projects with kids, especially ones they come up with on their own
29: Host a Choctober party

November: "Be Grateful"
30: Keep a daily gratitude journal from November 1st until Thanksgiving
31: Listen to good music every day (trash on the radio while driving kids to school doesn't count)

December: "Give"
32: Plan an anniversary surprise for Chad
33: Don't buy myself gifts for Christmas :)

Yes, the months at the beginning of the year are a little more goal-heavy. That was intentional. And I'm allowing myself flexibility if I want to work ahead (or behind).

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Ringing in the "New Year"

We are not night owls at our house. I am in bed by 9pm every night. So instead of ringing in the actual New Year, or even New York's New Year, I queued up London's recorded celebration. Lame? Maybe. Functional? Of course.

Silly String. Donuts. Sparkling grape juice. Music and fireworks on the TV. That's how we do New Year's.

20 of My 32 Things: Not Bad

I didn't give up on the idea of accomplishing my 32 Things list in 2014, but I didn't let it depress me when it became obvious that I wasn't going to make it. And 2015 is a new year.
 
Completed:
  • Go hiking with the family (San Tan Mountain Regional Park) 
  • Go camping with the family (in Payson; Lincoln got a wicked burn on his hand) 
  • Family vacation to Washington state  
  • Go on a date with Chad to somewhere new (Olive Mill for wood-fired pizza al fresco)  
  • Volunteer in Mason's kindergarten class 
  • Organize a play-date just for Lincoln (Owen came over for "swimming" in the blow-up pool) 
  • Donate blood  (I actually attempted 3 times, but was rejected twice: once for a high pulse, and once because I was on antibiotics)
  • Read the Book of Mormon  
  • Update the RS email directory (back when I was still the ward RS secretary)
  • Know all the sisters in my ward by name (I came pretty darn close, though there are still some I've never seen) 
  • Display family photos in the house (the beloved collage-frame has since been broken by a toy thrown off the balcony)
  • Plant something (herbs in pots on the kitchen window sill totally count) 
  • Make a chalkboard message wall in the kitchen (done, though I still need to patch the nail holes)
  • Decorate with a thrift store find (I found a cute fake herb-looking plant at a yard sale. I painted the pot yellow, and it looks cute on my kitchen island)
  • Furnish the loft with more light (Chad and his dad installed a ceiling fan and light, both of which were sorely needed)
  • Make bread pudding like the kind served at Famous Dave's
  • Make a tablecloth for the kitchen table (I totally made one, but have never used it, because I used a thick, cheap vinyl that I can't get the wrinkles out of)
  • Sew or refashion an article of clothing (I have altered several cheap men's t-shirts from Walmart to have a more feminine fit and neckline)
  • Read a biography (Mary Poppins, She Wrote: The Life of P.L. Travers. It was terrible.)
  • Take pictures every day for one week (easily accomplished during our vacation to Washington)
Not Completed:
  • Redecorate Bree's Barbie house with her (the plain white one she got from Santa two years ago)
  • Make a Family Home Evening assignment board (so I'm not the only one giving the lessons) 
  • Go to the temple at least 8 times (I've been twice so far...and almost made it two more times.)
  • Repair my living room curtains
  • Reupholster the couch in the loft (one of its arms used to be just threadbare...now there are chunks of foam missing)
  • Can butter    
  • Do 20 real pushups with good form 
  • Stay at or under my goal weight for a month
  • Read 52 books
  • Read War and Peace (I only got about a fifth of the way through...I think I might give up on this one) 
  • Publish my 2012 blog book (barely started) 
  • Scan and digitize my bin of old photos

Goal Categories: (at least I didn't completely neglect any categories)
Wife/Mother
Spirituality/Service
Homemaker
Individual
Blogger/Historian
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