Midweek Musings | Exercise Edition

Mar 26, 2014

Wednesdays are strange days in our house... Really, they are Mondays in disguise as Bruce starts his work week at 9pm on Wednesday evening. He also typically has church responsibilities on Wednesday nights meaning dinner time is... interesting! Ü {cold cereal, anyone?} Then, when he heads off to work, I have to readjust to flying solo all night. This usually leads to Wednesday evenings being a time when my brain goes crazy thinking and pondering as it's the first truly quiet moment I've had in days. I've recently decided that maybe I should use this time to tap out a few of the thoughts in my head, for posterity sake. You know, the things that don't exactly warrant a blog post of their own. In fact, they typically don't warrant a picture even! And perhaps they don't even warrant me taking the time to "put them on paper", but I'm going to give it a try. So welcome to my first edition of Midweek Musings. We'll see how this goes and perhaps these posts will occur more regularly.

I started running back in January... this probably comes as a shock to a lot of people because I make it well known that I despise running. I firmly believe that the only reason I should be running is if zombies are chasing me. Or, if Bruce made a deal with me promising diamond earrings in exchange for running a half marathon with him. Turns out, there is a fine line between love and hate and that line, is a pair of diamond studs! {Anyone catching that Friends reference? Ü} I am finding that slowly but surely, I am... not loving, but definitely not despising my runs as much as I use to. I still can't run far, or fast, but I'm running and that's what's important. And one day, before I turn 80, I will have those earrings! I will!

I started out listening to music as I ran. I figured some good upbeat tunes would help keep my mind off the torture I was inflicting on my body. Nope. I found myself bored to tears as I ran listening to music, no matter what varieties I tried. Country cardio, 80s dance, pop, even Zumba music like Pitbull just wasn't doing it. Then I had the brilliant idea (inspiration perhaps?) to start listening to General Conference talks while I run. Oh. My. Goodness. It has made a WORLD of difference in not only my ability to run but my desire to make my runs happen. And I keep finding myself hearing talks that I totally need to be hearing! For example- Bruce and I are about to start a Baptism Prep study with Sunshine, to help prepare her for her big day next year and I've been pondering what we need to teach her and how to teach it. Yesterday, I went for a long {for me} run and listened to three different talks from October's Relief Society broadcast that focused on the importance of covenants and being covenant keeping people. I arrived home from my run with several ideas of things to include in our Baptism Prep. I've also heard talks that are helping me prepare for our upcoming Primary teacher training as well as talks that have helped me to offer advice and comfort to friends in need. It is amazing. Even though I still don't enjoy the actually act of running, I find myself looking forward to my runs as they give me some quiet moments of peace where I can soak in the words of the prophet and his apostles.  And I might just learn to love the running part yet.

Tomorrow I have a short run scheduled, then Saturday I am aiming to finish what will be my longest run ever in my 29 years of life. 4 miles, baby! {I know, I know. It sounds pitiful compared to what a lot of people consider a long run, but remember... I believe we should only run when being chased  by zombies or knife-wielding bad guys} So, wish me luck, and if you don't hear from me early next week, assume I didn't survive. Ü

Happy 7th Birthday Sunshine!

Mar 25, 2014

Happy Birthday Sweet Sunshine!!

Seven years old today! I am not quite sure how this is possible, since I still feel 18 at heart, but somehow, here we are. I am 29 and you are 7!! We have come a long way since that day, 7 years ago, when I was just 22 years old, a baby myself, and you were placed in my arms for the first time. Your birth followed a glorious Arizona sunrise and the nurses immediately nicknamed you Sunshine. That is exactly what you have been, not only in our lives, but in the lives of all you've come in contact with. Our lives changed forever that day, in the best way possible, and it has only gotten better since.

This past year has been a big one for you... I can't quite put it in to words, but right before our eyes, you have blossomed. You've gone from a little child to a girl. Gone is the squishiness and the round face of your toddler years. You've gotten tall and lean and quite honestly, it's taken you some time to get use to the new feel of your body. I still laugh when I think of the time just a few months ago when you looked at me in exasperation and told me you wanted to be a baby again, so you could crawl because you were tired of tripping over your own feet. You have since gotten use to the new you and you have become a fast runner, an excellent bicycle rider and a wonderful swimmer. All that growing is paying off!

You are just as sensitive as ever... always knowing the right things to say, or not say, to comfort those in need of comfort. Your hugs make everything in the world right again and it takes my breath away when your eyes well with tears of sadness because someone you know is hurting or out of worry or concern. You are a great friend to those around you and I am especially proud of the way I have witnessed you avoid situations where others are speaking unkindly. I have yet to hear you say an unkind thing about anyone you know and that is a trait I hope you hang on to for the rest of your life.

We are so proud of how hard you are working in school this year as a first grader. Things started out a little rough, especially in regards to reading, but you were determined to figure it out and you  have become an excellent reader. We rarely see you without a book in hand. We are especially amazed at your ability to read and understand the scriptures, in particular, The Book of Mormon. Your love for the gospel has continued to grow in the past year. Your testimony is strong and the light of Christ shines in you. You have no fear when it comes to sharing what you believe and your example helped bring our wonderful neighbors into the gospel. I hope you remember the experience of helping Bill and Diane learn about the gospel for the rest of your life. You are such a great missionary.

Thank you for being such a blessing in our home, for being such a kind and loving big sister, for your eagerness (usually!) to help around the house and your desire to help each of us be better people. We are beyond blessed to call you ours and we thank our Heavenly Father every day for the privilege of being your parents.

We love you, our sweet Sunshine and hope you have a wonderful year of being 7!
Love always,
Mommy & Daddy

Mini Monet | Alma Woodsey Thomas

Mar 22, 2014

For our March edition of Mini Monet, we studied Alma Woodsey Thomas. I had a feeling her fun coloured, mosaic-like, abstract art would be a real hit with my Mini Monet girls and I was right. I could hardly contain my excitement as I watched their Alma-inspired works of art emerge.They turned out so awesome!!

Alma was an Expressionist painter and many of her works looked like mosaics, though they were created with paint. I decided to have my girls use a mosaic approach and utilize foam core board, glue and a rainbow of paint chips to create their master pieces.

The results were stunning. I would seriously hang any one of these works of art in my house! It was so much fun to watch the different approach each girl took to creating her art. Some of them starting in one area, focusing on one colour at a time. Some placed one square here and another there, alternating colours as they went. I really enjoyed watching their methods and I am beyond pleased with the final results.

School Spirit Week 2014

Mar 12, 2014

Last week was Spirit Week at Sunshine's school. It is kind of a big deal, since typically, the students at her school are required to wear uniforms every day (which I LOVE!). The exception to this is Spirit Week, so Sunshine was really excited to put a little more thought into her outfits each day than just pairing a red, white or blue polo shirt with her uniform bottoms.

Monday- Twin Day
Sunshine got to dress up with her friend Lydia from church

Tuesday- Career Day
Last year Sunshine went as a detective, like her daddy. This year, she wanted to be a farmer, with a pet chicken like mommy. I was so proud!

 Wednesday- Lucky in Love
The kiddos were instructed to wear pink or green in honour of Valentine's and St Patrick's day. We decided to do a little bit of both. (Sidenote- I SO love Sunshine's green pants. I wish she got to wear them a little bit more)

Thursday- Superhero Day
I figured I'd be whipping up a super hero cape Wednesday night, but Sunshine said she wanted to dress like her real hero- ME! Such a sweet girl. And doesn't she look just like me?

 Friday- Spirit Day
All Sunshine had to do Friday was wear school colours. We had fun coming up with a combination of red, white and blue that didn't include uniform clothes.

February Wrap Up

Mar 6, 2014

I failed to blog some of our February Fun, so here it is, in one final post from my favourite month of the year!

First up- Valentine's Dance. My counselors and I were in charge of a ward Valentine's Dance on February 15th. We had a small budget and big dreams. Somehow everything fell into place and we threw one awesome bash considering what we had to work with! One counselor had all kinds of red and pink decor from her sister's wedding, a member of our ward agreed to MC and another acted as the DJ. Relief Society members signed up to bring sugar cookies and a lot of the women went all out, making super fancy ones. As I was heading to the church for the dance to begin, a girl who works at a local candy shop called to tell me that her store was about to throw away 100 chocolate covered strawberries that were past their prime and could no longer be sold and she was bringing them to the dance instead of taking them to the dumpster. Plus, the store donated several items for door prizes. Looking back, I still cannot believe how perfectly everything fell into place. The whole thing was such a blast. I danced, I limbo'ed (and won!), I looked like a total fool but had the time of my life, being out there with all my Primary kiddos. I'm still not 100% comfortable being in a calling that requires me to be in charge, but boy oh boy do I love being with all those kids! And the dance was such a fun way to spend time with them, without having to shush them or remind them to be reverent.

Bruce and Sunshine playing with the photo booth props
Man Cub cheated and joined the adult limbo. He  had a very unfair advantage
My winning limbo... I took home a chocolate basket filled with dipped strawberries as my prize.

Towards the end of the month, Sunshine's class went on a field trip to one of the local zoos and I got to be a chaperone. I even got to ride on the school bus with her. And when I say "with her", I mean we were both on the bus. She wanted to sit by her friends and chatter, so I sat a few seats away and watched my little social butterfly. Despite being a loner on the bus, the field trip was a blast. I had Sunshine and one of her best friends in my group and we did our best to see as much of the zoo as possible.

Along with those two larger items, there were lots of little things I loved about February .

The writing practice that Sunshine brought home from school...

Man Cub's latest escapades...

Sunshine's first KinderEgg...

A rocking ensemble put together by Beebs herself... (what  you can't really see in the pictures is that those heels match the flower on the shirt exactly. That girl has an awesome sense of style)

Man Cub proving that certain male characteristics start young... I took this photo and Beebs wanted to see it. I showed her and she "awwww-ed" over it. Then I went to show it to Man Cub, and without ever looking away from the television, he too said "awwwwww".

And the month ended with my birthday (yay!) which was a glorious and rare overcast day that eventually turned into an awesome storm and then a beautiful rainbow. Technically the rainbows are from March... but the rain started in February, so I'm throwing it in this post!


Mar 5, 2014

Last Friday was my 29th birthday, and boy was it a good one! I was absolutely and completely spoiled throughout the week leading up to my actual birthday. I don't think I have ever been so "celebrated"!

The festivities began a week before my birthday with a party, planned and executed by Sunshine. It was a beach themed BBQ and all of my friends were invited. Sunshine made the invites and kept a careful list of who would be attending. She helped plan the food and decide on decorations. She coordinated banner-making and toyed with the idea of organizing activities. Ultimately, she decided that the adults could talk and the kiddos could play in the backyard. It was the best birthday party I have ever had. Sunshine did a great job putting it all together and it was so much fun to celebrate with so many of the people I love so dearly.

My actual birthday week was a week of lunch dates. Tuesday, a group of moms from Sunshine's school took me out to Paradise Bakery. We occupied our booth for 3 full hours and had so much fun! Wednesday my visiting teachers took Man Cub and I to Freddy's for some Chicago dogs and frozen custard. It was fun to spend time with them and get to know them better. Friday was my actual birthday, and despite having worked the night before, Bruce got up around noon and watched Man Cub and the two little boys I babysit so Beebs could take me out for Rubio's. She ate a whole fish taco from my combo plate. I think it's time to start ordering that girl her own meal! Then Friday night we met up with Bruce Wayne's dad for some Yardhouse happy hour. It was a week of good eating. And now I need to put in some serious gym time to recover from it!

On top of all the quality time with people I love, I was also spoiled in gifts. New workout shoes from the wee ones, an upgraded iPhone from Bruce Wayne, plants for my yard, a pedicure gift certificate, balloons, flowers, nail polish, a cupcake bouquet, a pillowcase that was sewn just for me by my best friend's five year old son (he did an AWESOME job!), a chicken mug, European chocolates... I was truly spoiled rotten this year. I'm not sure any birthday can top this twenty-nine.

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