Monday, January 30, 2017

Zoo Days, Days with Friends

There is a lot in my life that is fun and blog-worthy lately, and I'm not doing a great job of keeping on top of it all. So here is a dump post of some fun things we've done over the past few weeks!

This year we have zoo passes! Yay! Brynn likes the animals, but her favorite thing is just putting her head between the stakes in all the fences. It doesn't really matter if there is an animal to look at or not. This wasn't even an exhibit. It was just a bridge.

Brynn refusing to share the water with me. 

I wanted to get a picture of her with the bear, but she didn't love the idea. 

There is an aviary in the Australia area where you can see the lorikeets. This is how Brynn feels about touching lorikeets: 

Up close and personal with one of our tiger friends. 

We also used a day on our Universal pass to go with our friends, Amanda and Declan and Aubrey and Truman! We had so much fun spending the day with them! 

Pack those babies in tight:  

Visit to the Hogwarts Castle. I am exposing her to magic early so that she will be sure to recognize her letter when it comes in a few years. It's not easy to be raised by Muggles! 

Thursday, January 12, 2017


So, I have been meaning to post about goals on here, but I also have been meaning to share pictures of our recent trip to Universal. So let's just do both at the same time, shall we? I wish I was more confident in my ability to blog more regularly...but I'm not.

Goals for 2017:

1. Have healthy habits!
Sometimes I eat too much junk. Okay, a lot of times I eat a lot of junk. After Thanksgiving, Greg and I came up with a little system to try to motivate us to be healthier. It's simple: for every 10 minutes you exercise, you get one point. For every treat you eat, you lose one point. When we save up enough points we're going to do something fun. We've come up with some totally arbitrary loopholes since then (chocolate milk does NOT count as a dessert) but overall it's working wonderfully. I want to really focus on building healthy habits this year, and I think I'm off to a good start. I've been eating better and running more often and it feels good.

It helps that Greg and I splurged and got FitBits for Christmas. Now the little man who lives on my wrist yells at me if I don't do all my hourly steps. So, you know, that's motivating.

2. Develop talents/work on hobbies
This might sound like kind of a silly one, but I'm really excited about it. I just kind of want to be a more well-rounded person who uses my time wisely. For Christmas I got a lot of quilting stuff, and I'm excited about it.

3. Be happy for people when good things happen to them
Okay, no judging here. It's hard for me to admit this but I am more accountable when I put some on my blog, so here goes. Sometimes I am not very good at celebrating with people when good things happen to them. I think partially this is rooted in the whole infertility experience, but, if I'm being honest, I think this is just a regular old character flaw for me too. School was really easy for me growing up. So was music. I expected to excel, and don't get me wrong, I always was willing to work hard too. But sometimes I think I just get weirded out when other people excel more or get something I don't have??? I know that makes me sound very, very petty. HEY, I'M WORKING ON IT, OKAY??

I just really want to get better at legitimately being happy for people when they are better than me at something or get something that I don't have. Actually I was on a quilting blog a couple weeks ago, and the lady out of the blue started talking about the concept of Abundance. This is the idea that there is plenty of success and happiness for everyone in the world. When somebody gets something--whether I have that thing or don't--it doesn't hurt me at all. Simple concept, right? Except for sometimes it's hard. So I'm working on it.

So, after all that heavy goal talk, here are some happy pictures of us in Universal last weekend. We went with some friends and had a lovely time, although it was rainy and much colder than we expected. Come on Florida, what are you trying to pull?

Weasley Wizard Wheezes in Diagon Alley 

Can you see the dragon on Gringotts?? 

The Knight Bus 

Monday, January 2, 2017

35 Books

I just decided to pop into my blog and decided it looked pretty neglected.

We spent two whole weeks in Idaho for Christmas. It was crazy fun. Maybe I'll get around to posting pictures sometime. We'll see. 

The last little while, I've been trying to articulate what goals I want to set for myself in 2017. That, of course, made me remember that I have two books I never blogged about from last year. AND I'M A PERFECTIONIST SO I'M GOING TO FINISH IT AND TELL YOU ABOUT THOSE DARN BOOKS. 

Seriously, though, it was great to focus a little bit more on reading. Maybe that seems like a silly goal, but it was important to me. When I see people that I admire, it always strikes me how involved they are. They have talents, skills, hobbies, passions. They take time to make things, improve themselves, learn things, serve people. I want to use my time on this earth wisely. I am NEVER going to look back and wish I watched more TV, or spent more time scrolling through social media. So while there are times to read and there are times to do other things, I'm glad I read this year. It was good. One step on the road to becoming an accomplished, involved person. It feels good. 

So, here are the last two books I read in December of 2016: 

Do you remember Ken Jennings? He's that guy who had a crazy long streak on Jeopardy back when I was in junior high or whatever. Yeah, I didn't remember him either. But guess what? He's hysterical. Extremely clever humor and I love that stuff. Back in 2015 I read Maphead, which was really a very entertaining book. It was nonfiction that was hilarious, interesting, light, and super informative all at the same time. So I was excited to read Brainiac, which was actually written before Maphead. It was all about trivia and the rise/fall of trivia in culture, and also sort of a memoir about his Jeopardy experience. I hate to say this, but it just isn't as good as Maphead. The sections about Jeopardy are interesting. What can I say? I like memoirs of any sort. The sections on trivia got boring for me after awhile. 

This book ^ was one of the best books I read all year. I would highly recommend it. It is a memoir from an African American man about his mother, who was white, and not only white, but raised as an Orthodox Jew. She left home and an extremely rough family situation and married a black man in the 1940s, a time when interracial marriage was still illegal in many states. When James asked his mother why she was white and he was black, she said she was only "light-skinned." When he asked her what color God was, she said "God is the color of water." There is something kind of beautiful about that. Water transcends color. Anyway, it was a great read, very sweet, very powerful, very eye-opening. 

So I just scrolled back to look at a little recap of all my book posts. Last year I read 35 books, plus a few more for my personal gospel study. Did a little research just due to curiosity...the mean number of books people read in some kind of study or something is about 20. Some well-readish people say they read 30-40, or around 50. Other fancy pantsy people read more. 35 seems kind of like a low number to me, but hey. I was reading. It was awesome. I found myself excited to write about the books I was reading and more optimistic about the fact that if I went to the library to get a book I had wanted to read for awhile, it would actually get read before I ran out of Renewals. I started lots of books I didn't finish, but that's okay I think. (Here's a secret: Sometime certain books are not worth finishing.) 

So hopefully I get around to blogging about my goals for 2017 soon. I like having the blog as accountability, so everyone has to read my boring inspiring self-improvement posts and LIKE IT.