Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Snow! Beautiful Snow!

Something that you may or may not know about me is that I prefer to keep things easy.  This usually means that I don't like to go out adventuring.  That doesn't mean I don't like the adventure, it just means that the more prep work, clean up and equipment handling involved the less excited I am to do it. I know, I miss out on stuff... I'm trying to do better.  

So, when the Lawrences and the Eggers invited us to go to their new cabin for Presidents day weekend.  I jumped at the chance to hang out with friends, but secretly dreaded the packing, unpacking and all the wet snow clothes (and even worse, the wet socks) that come along with this sort of a trip. Everyone was also talking about going... gasp... skiing and snowboarding.  Now, because of my aversion to equipment handling I have never made it a priority to become a very good skier.  I didn't grow up going skiing and, even though I'm married to a Canadian Ski Bum (very sexy by the way), I decided that skiing wasn't for me. I secretly wished I liked it and was good at it.  And I was always mad at my parents for not taking us when we were younger (my mom probably has an aversion to equipment handling too - I think it's hereditary) but I have been out from under their roof for 18+ years and I've probably only been 4 or 5 times.  I guess I can't blame them anymore.  Anyway, I digress....

The other obstacle I had to overcome was to help Kelsi decide that going to the snow was what she wanted to do.  She also has a problem with the mental phsyc that comes with planning a big adventure (see how it is passed from generation to generation?) The other problem was that she didn't have any friends her age that would be there. I thought I might be able to convince her to go "play" in the snow, but I was pretty sure she wouldn't be thrilled about hitting the slopes.  I was right of course.  

To make matters worse I started realizing that Brad and Brady were the only ones that had good ski jackets.  What to do? Go spend hundreds of dollars on jackets for me and the girls just to have them sit in the cupboard for the next 8 years?  Borrow someone else's expensive jackets (how would I find 3 anyway)? Tough it out, and hope it would be a sunny day and we could ski in our shirt sleeves?  Well, I'm glad I didn't go with option 3, it snowed practically the entire time we were there with temps around 20 degrees.  I borrowed a jacket for Kelsi (thanks Annette). I bought a clearance jacket for me (hmm, we probably won't do that again - zipper broke after 1st run). And we made due with what Afton already had (hmm, we probably won't do that again either - jacket way to short to keep the snow out).  But here's how it played out.  After much groaning and wishy-washiness Kelsi decided she wanted to ski, which was probably good, Brady and Afton snowboarded, and Brad and I both skied.  Brady and Afton went right out with their friends and Kelsi, Brad and I hung out on the bunny hill.  Brad was so nice to make sure that us lame-o's were safe and taken care of.  I know bunny hills aren't the biggest thrill to an experienced skier like Brad, but it was comforting to know he was there to give us pointers and encouragement.  After a while we told him to take off, and Kelsi and I hung out.  

At one point Afton, Shaelyn and Taylor convinced us to go down the bigger hill with them.  Kelsi wiped out several times and was more than happy to go back to the bunny hill.  Here's the amazing thing, we actually had fun.  It wasn't too hard for me to convince Kelsi to go up the lift again and again. She was pretty good at skiing and I liked to pretend that I was.  You know, swooshing down the BDBH (Black Diamond Bunny Hill) and only falling once (mostly because I snow plowed the EN-TIRE time).  I know I looked lame, because you always look lamer than you feel and I felt pretty lame.  But at some point during the day I had this amazing thought.  I had a desire to take our REI rebate and use it to buy quality snow clothes and equipment for those of us who don't have any, and then make it a point to go up to the mountains more often throughout the season.  I would dearly like to go often enough that I didn't feel like I had to start out with someone reminding me how to get in and out of my skis  and that maybe, just maybe, I could start on a hill other than BDBH. 

When I broke this epiphany to Brad he nodded and calmly asked if I had fun.  When I told him yes and I want to go back, he remained calm, probably afraid to move or speak for fear of bursting the bubble that had enveloped us.  But I couldn't help hearing, way off in the distance somewhere, the faint sound of a heavenly choir singing "Hallelujah."  I think prayers were answered that day.

So that is my skiing story, but that is not all we did during our trip.  
Here's a list of some of the other fun things we did...

1. The very first thing was to get stuck in the snow.  Rob and Mark both got their SUVs stuck
 and stuck good.  It took their kind and considerate and very knowledgeable neighbor to get them unstuck.  He even had to break out the block and tackle.

2. No heater all the first night.  Thank goodness for the wood burning stove (my favorite place to warm my tootsies), that I eventually got some shut eye in front of.  Everyone else seemed warm enough, what was my problem?

3.  Cute kids playing non-stop in the snow.  Brady would come in take off all his wet stuff, curl up in a blanket and then 10 minutes later put it all back on and go back out.  It was so nice to have so many little boys there to play with. Isn't this THE cutest picture of Camden?  This is my favorite photo of the trip.

4. "Tree Shaking" - apparently as popular as "cow tipping" except you get a lot wetter and colder.

5. New furniture (which, by the way, looked fabulous!!).  Christy finally got to sit in her red chair.
  Making the entire trip worth it!

6. Steven burning his finger. And milking it for all it was worth.  Awwww, Look at those sad eyes.

7. Brock - "The Bentley Whisperer"

8.  Lots of wet snow clothes.

9. Stefani and the little boys putting together a puzzle.  Those little dudes know how to rock a puzzle.  Nice job Camden, Brock and Tyler. (ok this is Zack in the picture, but Brock was the real puzzle doer.)

10. The installing of a new chandelier.  Good taste Mark!  Now you just need to install 6 or 7 more and you might not have to take it out of the ceiling 4 times.

11. Valentines Day Spaghetti Ristorante' for the kids complete with heart napkins

12.  Adults going out for Steak and Lobster at the "OK Corral".  With a name like that the food couldn't help being good.  There was supposed to be a live band but we missed it.  The fake red roses were a nice touch though.

13.  The last 8 cinnamon rolls from the "Take 'n' Bake" YUM-A-ROO!! - thanks guys for building those "relationships of trust" with the owner last time so he would open the door for us even after he was closed.

14. The Soup Nazi

15. Doubling the size of the very nice Ward there in Pioneer (or is it Jackson) Brady said there were more visitors in primary than regulars.

16.  Seeing the Forbes ("Homer Sweet Homer") of Camp Ritchie fame.  They are nice people and couldn't say enough about my Dad's help at camp.  Nice people.

17. Bentley leaving a present for Mark.  He knows who to make friends with.  (Look close, it's NOT a tootsie-roll)

18. Yummy "Beaver" Roast Beef for dinner (That is, it came from Beaver, not from a Beaver:)

19. Games

20. Snow Forts (go Melinda with the "ice-chest blocks")

21.  Skiing/Boarding (see above)

22. Hot Chocolate in the lodge - just the right temperature, just the right "chocolateyness" (yes, this is a real word in the world of hot chocolate.)

23.  I88 being closed (avalanche control) when we were done on the slopes. 
Darn! We had to stay in the lodge and drink more hot chocolate (see #21).

24. Leaving Afton behind  an extra day to hang with her friends and miss school (Lu-ckee).   The 3 of them sang, "We Love You Ste-fa-ni" (they are so cute) and Afton made crazy promises in hopes we would let her stay, (Ahhhh, I can already feel that back massage)

25. Leaving late and getting home late.  

26. Have a blast amidst the chaos of 22 people and a dog, a small stomach problem and lots and lots of wet, tired, cold kids and adults.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Mission Statement!


My new years resolution is slow in coming this year, but right now it seems to be one that is going to work.  I'm thinking it thru and planning carefully. I am ready to live life consciously.  It started with Heidi Swapp's (some of you know how I feel about her) mantra "She created a life she loved".  I have always liked this thought and have applied it to parts of my life, here and there, in the past, but after a particularly stressful Christmas season, and just realizing that in almost everything I do I am RIGHT on the edge of control and chaos. Spiritually, Physically, Organizationally, Creatively.... I have pretty much done that all my life.  In school, I did enough to get by, in my relationships I was just unselfish enough to keep people from hating me (or at least being extremely irritated with me).  In my physical self, I've always indulged just enough to keep me sitting on the fence of normal and fat and out of shape.  It seems I'm always doing just barely a good enough job, that others (and myself) couldn't criticize me too much - because I'm still in the normal/average range (but barely). (Now, don't get me wrong, I do what is required and do a good job -even over achieve- on a lot of things, but often it isn't the stuff that really makes a difference in my overall life)



Heidi's mantra has new meaning to me this year.  I believe life is like taking a photograph.  The subject might be your adorable child, the lighting might be perfect, he/she might be wearing the perfect outfit, he/she might have the perfect expression, but if you don't "create" the photo (getting the right angle, cropping out unwanted or unsightly distractions etc.) Without much thought, the photo just might have gone from extraordinary to average or unsightly.  And in the same vein, sometimes the "junk", creeps in, sometimes we just can't avoid it... in those cases, ignore it. Focus instead on the positive (the memory, the child, the lighting). And if worse comes to worse, scrapbook it, and use some embellishments to fix the unsightly parts (I had to throw that in there).  NOW I'm not saying ignore problems, or cover them up.  But if small problems are going to keep me from being happy with my "photograph", I think it's better to not sweat the small stuff. It's better to have to photo and the memory than nothing at all.

All that being said,

-I am trying to have positive self talk (more than just giving myself motivational speeches). I've made and posted several things around my house to remind me what I'm trying to do ( this is a big part of my failures... I get distracted or forget what I'm really working for) 

-I am following Jillian Michaels "Making the Cut" book - a great physical program but also helps fix your inner self too. She has some very empowering quotes and statements.

-I'm on The Biggest Loser diet (I'm amazed at how good it is)- I'm even making my kids follow it - at least for dinner.  I was set for a revolt, but have been pleasantly surprised at their cooperation (most days)

-I am also working on "not being a victim" (something I've been accused of in the past)... you know, someone who is poorly done to (as mom's tend to be) I chose this lot in life, I want to be where I am, I really do love it, and I love my family and my life!  I'm going to accept it (even the poorly done to part) and do what I need to do, matter of factly and with out self pity AND with a good attitude.

-I have been cleaning, eating right, exercising and studying scriptures each day first thing in the morning, then I have the afternoon to be creative (which I desperately need in my life)- at least that's the theory, the eventual goal.  I am MAKING myself do the hard things (stuff I don't particularly want to do, but that will enrich my life) and to just keep on doing them (not running faster than I have strength, just not losing focus and energy) It has taken a lot of work and preparation and gearing up. I just keep telling myself that so many people would love to be where I am (just on the border of chaos and not deeply into it;) AND with just a little (sometimes a lot) of committed effort I could be my best self. Why not do this?

-So, I AM committed to helping my kids eat healthy, so that means I get up at 5:30 (which stinks) to make them healthy lunches and breakfast, make sure their vitamins are out and getting them clean and out the door on time, with a little dose of prayer and scriptures (and in Brady's case, piano practicing)before that happens, AND the kicker, do it with a good attitude, I find it's possible if I set my mind to it and remind myself that I want to do this.  

Mom says, "This sounds like TOO much, and that I'm gonna burn out." and, in the past I would have agreed.  How can I stick with such a hard, all encompassing change.  BUT, for some reason, this time I feel different, I've finally grasped (or learning to grasp) the reality that, if I don't get it together, no one else will do it for me.  I am going to make it happen! I HAVE TO CREATE THE LIFE I LOVE AND WANT!  And it's really the same concept - just in many areas of my life. 

- Brad and I are also reading "First things First" by Stephen Covey. It is slow going, but I have faith it will be worth it.  

-As for scrapbooking... this will be part of it too. Of course, as usual, it is taking last priority, right now, but that doesn't mean I "writing it off".  I am super excited to get back in my AWESOME room and create my little heart out.  Unfortunately the room hasn't recovered since the holidays, but I am committed (and excited about it) to getting it back to a very useful, inspirational and functional room very soon.  I just have to keep telling myself that these things take time.  I'll get there soon.

My new favorite mantra (different than mission statement) is, "Unless, you puke, faint or die, keep going!!!"  Jillian says this on Biggest Loser (which, by the way, is a very motivating show) and she is talking about exercising, but it is working for me in other aspects of my life too. This, combined with my mission statement "Create the life you love" is very powerful for me.  

I am tired of being just "good enough".  It's time to live life consciously!

So there, I am now off my soap box... if you stuck with me through this thanks:)  It just feels good to write it down.   I just needed to get it out there.