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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Adventure - 8 Minute Writing Prompt

I'm participating in an online memoir writing group hosted by Ann Dee Ellis. She gives a one-word prompt and encourages 8 minutes of uninterrupted writing. Here's today's exercise:

ADVENTURE

I'm about to go back to school. Next week I go to a new campus, a place I've never been, and I'll start an adventure in Yoga Teacher Training. I still need to get all my books, a parking pass, and a clue as to where my classes are held. I don't know where to go, or what to expect. I don't know if I need to wear workout clothes or street clothes. I don't know if I'll be the least experienced person in class or not (I probably will be). I don't know if I'll have enough time to study, or how many times I'll need to have a babysitter watch Lincoln while I'm in class. I don't know if I'll be overwhelmed trying to parent, be a wife, work and go to school (I probably will be).

Regardless, I'm excited. I've wanted to do this training for years. I miss teaching yoga and I hope this adventure will take me closer to returning to that path.

It's all thanks to my siblings that I get to do this. They concocted the idea to basically sponsor me and I know my older brother footed most of the bill. He's the best in that way; always doing things for others like it isn't any sacrifice at all on his part.

Having this nervous excitement in common with Aspen has been fun this back-to-school season. She and I have been able to talk about the unexpected things that may happen to each of us during the school year. I told her I'm nervous about being friendly with other students, and about finding my classroom the first day. Before she started school this week, she said she was afraid she'd have no one to sit with at lunch, and that she would miss watching Wild Kratts like she had planned. I'm glad I was able to put her at ease and let her know I'm feeling some of the same things as her, and it's going to be okay.

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Monday, August 22, 2016

FIRST GRADE

Summer break was a lot harder than I anticipated. Turns out it's difficult to get kids to play and do anything when all the big kid wants to do is watch a lot of TV.

The four-year age gap between the kids is usually really awesome; during the summer it was a small challenge because the inexpensive or free activities that Linc would love, Aspen complained about. She claims she's over Wheeler Farm, and walks around the neighborhood, and "little kid" things like that.

And since I'm a pretty lazy parent, I naively thought the kids would be happy to play in the backyard on their bikes, swing, slide or in the sandbox. But no, Aspen just wanted to watch TV if we were home. And with Linc still needing daily naps, we were home a lot (he does NOT nap on the go).

But we made it. And OF COURSE in the very last week of summer break, Aspen and Linc started playing together really well and really consistently. Every morning after breakfast they would spend a couple of hours playing cars, ponies, trains, playdoh, or other art projects together. It's like they knew the end was near.

Today is Aspen's first day of school, and since we were so very very very late, she didn't have time this morning to revisit the fears she voiced last night. But with a number of her close friends in her class, and her love of socializing and learning, I think it'll be a good day. Plus, her Uncle Seth left his water guns at our house yesterday so the kids can use them after school as a special activity.

Kev is home today, and I left Linc with him while I was at work. When I got home Linc was so excited, asking me where Aspen was. He thought I brought her home with me. Sorry bud, but she's gone allllll day now! It's going to take some adjustment, but soon enough we'll have a school routine and he may not miss her as much. Kev is off again tomorrow while I work, so we'll really be sad later this week when Kev's back at work, too.

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Friday, August 19, 2016

Farmington Pond

I want to be better about exploring what Utah has to offer, so when Amanda asked if we could get together before school starts, I suggested a visit to Farmington Pond. I've never been, but have seen photos all over social media this summer. I didn't know much about the place beforehand, but we decided to go for it.

I really like it, and it was perfect for a picnic lunch. There's a few picnic tables and even a fire pit. The paved trail leads from the parking lot to a residential area behind the pond. We enjoyed exploring it.

The "waterfront" was perfect for rock throwing and digging through the sand for dinosaur bones. Once again, I saw a bunch of paddle boarders! They were inflating their boards when we arrived. The pond would be such a great place to learn since there aren't waves.

Aspen, ever the dreamer, created a game called Kid Explorers and led everyone on an expedition. They hunted for trinkets on the "game trails" (Kev taught her that) and she stock piled quite a few acorns and other nuts from the scrub oak.

Linc was mostly a monster until we fed him, but I think overall he had a good time. He liked watching some big kids across the pond as they flipped off the rope swing. There's a dock for fishing (and jumping, I suppose!) and Linc loved throwing big rocks off of it.

I'm glad we went, and I think it's a fun, private little place to just enjoy being outside. When the kids get older, I might even be able to convince them to use the rope swing!

It's nice to do a few more things with Aspen before school starts. Although it's been a looooong summer for me, she and Linc have had a good time going on adventures, watching a LOT of TV, and eating snacks 24/7. We'll see how we adjust to having Aspen gone all day... Linc and I will once again be spending quality time together. HIS FAVORITE.

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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Bedtime is the Worst Time

Putting the kids to bed myself has gotten progressively worse over the last few months. There are more tantrums, screams, hitting, fighting and general unpleasantness than I thought possible. It can take up to two hours to get both kids to brush their teeth, get in jammies, read books, sing songs, etc... and I still have to leave the room(s) occasionally to pull myself together so I don't scream at them.

Like, what the freak happened to just GOING TO BED?! Why do my kids raise hell against me? Why do I need to hold their hands and spend hours negotiating like a SWAT team just to get them in bed before 9pm? Not even asleep, but just in their stupid beds!

I recently started going out once a week by myself, leaving Kev home with the kids at bedtime. I used to feel guilty about making him do the bedtime stuff alone until he admitted it's super easy for him to get them to sleep. Not just in bed, but ASLEEP before 9pm.

So I stopped feeling guilty and many nights when I am home at bedtime, I still find somewhere to hide and let Kev put the kids to bed by himself. It saves my sanity, and I love it. He just takes both kids into Lincoln's room, watches a few YouTube videos with them and then lets Aspen fall asleep on the floor while Linc is in the crib.

He is a magical unicorn parent.

Last night when I put the kids to bed while Kev was at work, by 845 both kids were screaming their heads off. I'd done baths, teeth, stories, YouTube videos and even Linc's favorite song. Aspen told Linc stories from her floor-bed and I had to leave the room three times because Linc wouldn't stop whining for me to get him out of his crib/change his pajamas/change the color of his drink. I was losing my everlovin mind. I finally made Aspen go to her room and she slammed her head into her wall when I attempted to tuck her in.

I am a hot mess parent.

It's to the point I dread bedtime with every fiber of my being. It's especially hard because after they're in bed is supposed to be when I get work done, run on the treadmill, or do Yoga. It's when I hope to have time to be productive and earn money and do something for myself. Things that are beneficial to our family because they make me feel less like a crazy person.

When school starts it's going to be worse because the kids won't be able to sleep in to recover from trying to destroy me the night before.

Heaven help me.

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Monday, August 15, 2016

Taylor Grove and Pineview Overnight

You'll probably cry upon reading this, but over the weekend we took our FIRST and ONLY family vacation of the summer. And school starts in like, a week, so we barely made it!


Friday after I worked, we drove up to Pineview Reservoir for swimming. Years ago when Aspen was a toddler we went to the free beach, and it's come a long way since then. There's now developed parking and a trail leading to the sand. There's a lot of shade, which made it ideal since we arrived in the middle of the afternoon. The beach is wider now, too, giving more space for playing and building sandcastles. Although a lot of people and dogs were there, it didn't feel crowded at all.
 


I was surprised to see so many people using paddle boards. Apparently they're the new recreational item of the moment. Kev was impressed with them and now I'm afraid I'm going to randomly find some in the garage. They're really versatile, though, and I can see how fun they could be for the whole family. We'd only need two boards for our family since the kids are little enough to share with an adult.

Kevin's family has had property in South Fork Canyon for many years. His family refers to the building there as a "cabin," but I affectionately call it a "shack" because it's one room with no running water. There's electricity, though, and that's really all you need, right?! I know when people say they have a cabin, they use that word loosely. Usually they're really referring to the giant, comfortable second home they own in the mountains. In our case, it's a teeny, cute little place where we can sleep on real beds (kind of!) and listen to the river flowing alongside it. It's a step up from sleeping in a tent, and I love it!


There's a lot of land, which is perfect for the kids to explore. It's the first time all four of us have come up, and I wish we'd planned to stay two nights instead of one. I just didn't know how it'd go with Linc sleeping in a bed for the first time, and missing his naps for two days.

He did so well, though, and we were able to have a wonderful time together. I made s'mores in ice cream cones and they were a huge hit with Lincoln. He loved being able to eat it all by himself.

At the family shack, there's a stream that does provide some non-potable water for washing, but no toilets. Aspen was so nervous about using the outhouse, but she overcame her fear and stopped worrying she'd fall in after a couple of uses. The kids loved throwing things into the water and walking over this bridge a hundred times. There's also a swing set and horseshoes that they loved.

After our time spent swimming at Pineview, we headed to the shack for dinner on the griddle (it was way too late for a fire). The kids loved eating outside, and then making up the bunk beds for sleeping. I was so grateful Linc let me lie down with him for a few minutes before he conked our for the whole night! Because of all the trouble we've had with Linc and his sleeping, this felt like such a victory- we did something "normal" and he slept away from home successfully!



Pictured below is my view on Saturday morning when I fried the bacon. It's so gorgeous! I loved listening to Kev tell the kids about his memories of playing in the same spots. He showed them the trails in the trees, and told them how his parents used to make him wash off in the freezing river.

Following breakfast Saturday, we walked the surrounding properties and took the kids up near the main road to see the horses. Aspen complained almost the whole time because she desperately wanted to go back to the lake to swim.

Linc was really in his element, yelling that he was the leader and going on an adventure. He had so much fun exploring.


We packed up the shack and took a detour to Causey Dam before heading back to Pineview. We told the kids about our time spent canoeing Causey. Hopefully we'll be able to take them up there again for some boating.
The rest of Saturday was spent at the pay beach at Pineview since I knew we'd need bathrooms close by (the longer we planned to be there, the greater the odds!). The beach was much more crowded, but Kev still managed to find a spot for us in the only shade to be seen for miiiiiiiles.

Thanks to swimming lessons this summer, Aspen has overcome her fear of water. She's more confident, and with Kev's help she spent a lot of time on her body board. She was riding the waves with a huge smile on her face. She was so proud to play on her own and not need a parent holding her at all times. I loved seeing her enjoy herself so much.

It was such a great trip, and I regret that we cut it so short! After swimming Saturday, we ate dinner at The Oaks in Ogden Canyon and headed home. I'm glad we had a buffer day between returning from vacation and going back to work on Monday, but next year when we go, we'll plan for at least two nights.

Kev and I also decided that we definitely need to fulfill our dream of having a cabin of our own in Ogden Valley some day. Unfortunately for Kev, I don't want to take the kids out of the Spanish-immersion program Aspen starts this year, so he has to wait at least until Linc follows in Aspen's footsteps and finishes in 6th grade for us to consider moving back to Weber County anytime soon. I know he loves the Ogden Valley so much and misses it. I feel badly we're locked into an opportunity here in Salt Lake, but the kids' education takes priority right now. And we can make use of his family's property until we make our dream a reality.

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Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Family Photos 2016

The last time we had family photos taken, Linc wasn't born yet. So... it was time again! I was initially overwhelmed at the thought of getting everyone prepped for a photo session, but when it came down to it, I LOVED figuring out what we'd wear and where we'd go. I spent a ridiculous amount of time looking through our clothes, ordering some new things, and then doing different flat-lay combinations of all the outfits. I was a woman obsessed.


You can see we went to Wheeler Farm again, which is a favorite place for the kids so I hoped it'd encourage them to look like they were having a good time.

Since Maddie doesn't seem to be doing well lately, I chose the farm because it's dog-friendly. I want her in some recent photos in case we get bad news at the vet this week. She's a special part of our family, and although I often wish she couldn't bark, I still love her!


I hired Elisabeth from Outside Focus after seeing the results of a session she did with a friend. She was the one who initially suggested bringing the family pet if we had one, and she was so patient with us as we wrangled the kids and the dog for a number of photos.

The only thing I don't like about family sessions is not being able to both be in the photo and stand to the side to style everything at the same time. I love how so many of these shots turned out, but I often catch something I wish I'd been able to see from another perspective in order to alter it. I know, I'm a control freak.

But those little things don't really matter because we have so many shots in which everyone, even the dog, is looking toward the camera. I don't need perfect smiles; I just need to see those cute faces!



It was a fun night, and having the kids in a familiar environment, with welcome distractions between photos, made a big impact on how well things went. When Linc ran down a ramp and skidded on the dirt, falling onto his head, Elisabeth whipped out gummies for the kids to eat while Linc calmed down. It was the perfect diversion from his bump and it gave Elisabeth a chance to snap some shots of just me and Kev.

After a few shots in each place, Linc would casually announce, "I'm done!" and hop off whatever prop we were using. He even yawned out, "THIS IS BOOOORING!" at one point and I about died laughing. I'm so glad this went well and we got the pictures I envisioned from Elisabeth.

If you're in the Salt Lake area, please consider using Outside Focus! Elisabeth is so friendly and prompt with her responses to inquiries. And since she's just starting out her business right now, she isn't yet swamped and backlogged with editing so turnout is faster than I anticipated.

Now the hard part is picking which ones I'll print for the walls. And maybe talking myself out of doing family photos every year until I die. It's just so fun!

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Monday, August 01, 2016

Adulting is hard


I made a mistake when it came to refilling my anti-depressants in July. I didn't realize I needed to renew my prescription, so I waited too long to call my general practitioner and get the refill before I ran out. I previously had the meds issued by my OB, but since I have no plans for another baby ever in my entire lifetime please and thankyou, I thought it made more sense to have the Rx filled with my GP.

At this point, I've been off the meds since July 5. I was supposed to have a temp refill to tide me over but after a co-pay and a ridiculously long wait at the doctor's office with both kids last Friday afternoon, I discovered the doctor had called the Rx in to the wrong pharmacy. And three weeks later no one thought to call about that Rx sitting on the shelf, not being claimed.



I'm upset because this is partially my fault. I've been so depressed as I've accidentally weaned off my meds and I haven't been my own advocate. It's hard to get out of bed. It's hard to look at my to-do list with any motivation. Even if items on that list would help me feel better (that's something so cruel about depression- sometimes you're so depressed you can't even do the things you know will help you be less depressed). So I never made the call to ask why my Rx wasn't showing up in my online insurance portal (Kev's insurance requires we have home delivery, otherwise the Rx costs an arm and a leg).

I'm also pissed because the doctor I saw on Friday indicated I didn't actually need to come in for a personal visit for him to fill the Rx. He showed me in the system how the Rx had been ordered by him the day after I called his office. So whoever I spoke with on the phone, who told me I had to come in (and couldn't GET in for three weeks), is a moron and I blame him a little for this, too. OKAY I BLAME HIM A LOT. Thanks to him, I spent over an hour and a half waiting in the doctor's office just to be told I didn't have to wait an hour and half in the doctor's office.

Needless to say, I've been a bit of a wreck as the meds have filtered out of my system. I wish I hadn't overlooked that the Rx was expired because it's going to be miserable getting back on my dose and getting back to "normal" again. I just want to stop crying about everything, feeling excessively tired and like I'm in a bottomless pit of despair.

On the bright side, now we all know I should definitely stay on my meds because they work! And, we all know it's time to find a new GP because this one and his office is annoying.

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Thursday, July 28, 2016

Aspen turns SIX!

We've been busy celebrating Aspen for two whole days! Her birthday is the 27th, and we spent time at the local pool with friends, followed by play time at home (with even more friends!). She also received a small box from my parents earlier in the week, as well as birthday cards. I think she's had a really great birthday, and she no longer wishes she had a birthday during the school year.

Aspen loved all the trinkets my mom sent, and she was excited to use the cupcake toppers when we had her party at Chuck E. Cheese today.

Teasing her brother with her money!
We gave Aspen four books in the Never Girls series, and a new Lego City set (an SUV and camper). I'm relieved we have new chapter books to read (plus some Frozen books Kev picked out for her) because I'm having a hard time with the library right now.. mainly to do with how much money I owe them for late fines. Soon it'll be cheaper to buy new books instead of continually check out and keep library books too long.

We had a Chuck E. Cheese party today since Aspen's cousins are back in town. She'd been dreaming of one for a long time, so this was the year! I loved having someone else do all the work for me, and that Kev took the day off to be with us. I also loved that Aspen's cousins accidentally matched her for the party. I'm dying over how cute they all look together.

Sophia also took a day off work and joined us, and it really worked well. She was another helpful set of hands with Lincoln and tokens and tickets!

This Chuck's is a lot cleaner than the last one I went to, and I was so thrilled! It was light and bright and spacious.


With the exception of ^^this^^ ride, all the kids had fun (HAHAHAHAHA OH LINCOLN!).

Aspen could choose a friend to go in the ticket blaster with her, so I climbed in and we had fun catching extra tickets to share with her cousins and brother. I think everyone cleaned up pretty well and got a few not-too-obnoxious trinkets before we left. Thankfully Linc was the only one afraid of the mouse.


I told Sophia I was so touched when Aspen asked me to make chocolate cupcakes from my "special" recipe for her birthday. Earlier this month she and Sophia made some cupcakes from a mix, and she didn't like them. She said mine taste better. Glad to know that the time I take to make those dairy-free cupcakes matters! Also, please note in the photo below that Linc is just licking the frosting off a cupcake my sister is holding for him. Because 1) Linc refuses to feed himself and 2) Linc only likes frosting.


Aspen's cousins SPOILED her! They each brought her gifts, including some fantastic art supplies and some Frozen-themed goggles that will be awesome for all our pool trips. In fact, the kids even like wearing goggles to the splash pad (*insert laughing-so-hard-I'm-crying emoji here*).

Aspen is so partied out that she started bawling as her cousins were leaving this afternoon. Too much excitement the last two days and not enough sleeping.

Thank you everyone who was thinking of Aspen this week! She loved all the messages, cards, gifts and visits.

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