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Saturday, January 17, 2015

Around here - Snow!

 If I had to use one word to describe what we have been up to the last few weeks, it would have to be snow.  After taking a four year break from the white stuff I had almost forgotten how often the snow affects daily life - from the frustration of cleaning 6" off the car in the morning or the worries of driving through a storm, to the fun of watching the kids sled down the hill or throw snowballs at the dog, to the daily beauty of this place.  The kids are in love with the snow and Tyler in particular can spend hours out in it without complaining he is cold.  And for myself, I find that I am experiencing it and appreciating it in ways I haven't before.

I've also been having a lot of fun with the camera so I thought I would share a few photos.




Ok - not snow in this one per se, but I loved the photo and it's wintery ;)  Shortly before Christmas we took the kids to see the lights at Temple Square - the first time we had ever taken them.  It was beautiful.
 Horse photos in the snow with my brother.  He has had this horse since he was um...9 years old?  Forever, really and she's the best horse ever.  Anyway, it has become his tradition to go out for at least one bareback ride in the snow and I went out with him to get some photos.  I also rode bareback and without a bridle for probably the first time ever - pretty proud of myself for that one!


This is the view I have every morning at 8:15 AM while waiting for the bus with this happy kid.  The sun is just coming up at that point and though often freezing, it's gorgeous out there.  Plus the company is great!  (Sam waits for the bus stop with Kate an hour before this then heads to work himself)
Huge snowstorm last week dumped many many inches.  I never did look up the final count, though I know it was over 6" in the three hours I spent working in the shop that morning.
 And then there was the day the we woke up to over an inch of frost coating everything in sight.  So pretty.




I may have tried cross country skiing once or twice as a kid but have only recently discovered I like it quite a bit.  A couple of days ago I went up the canyon with a few friends and we had the best time figuring out how to ski and enjoying the views and the weather.  It looks like we will be making it an almost-weekly activity, and I'm excited about that.

 And these two - that's my dad and Tyler has him wrapped completely around his little finger.  Tyler wants it, Grandpa is game to do it.  Night before last I guess Ty and Gpa were having a talk about playing in the snow and Tyler came up with the big idea to use the trackhoe to build some sort of elaborate snow cave.  My dad knew the trackhoe wasn't the ideal tool for the big plan, but was excited to get Tyler on there and let him move some snow around.  They fired up the trackhoe as soon as they both got home yesterday and were out there for over an hour, with Tyler operating the trackhoe for much of that time.  They didn't end up with anything more than some random piles of snow, but they sure did have fun.


So, what do you like to do in the snow?  Still on my bucket list for this winter is tubing (we got the kids tickets for one of those places that pulls the tube up the hill for you), seeing the Ice Castles, and maybe snowmobiling...

Sunday, January 4, 2015

My One Little Word for 2015

Happy New Year!  Have I said that yet?

I have loved the holiday break.  Lots of fun, lots of time with the kids and extended family, plenty of down time to recharge.  But I also found myself a bit on edge - quick to lose my patience, cranky, maybe a little out of balance emotionally.  In among all this, I had been thinking about and selected my Word for this year (this is something I've been doing for the past few years in addition to setting goals.  It works as more of a touchstone or focus for me throughout the year.  See previous posts here) and one hit me out of the blue.

I think I'm pretty good at buckling down, working on the To Dos and Have Tos, being proactive, recognizing priorities, setting goals, looking for balance, and so on.  I've done plenty of work on being efficient, setting routines, and following through and I will have plenty of that going on this year without having to put extra focus on it.  Instead, I find myself wanting to reach for the softer things in life -  to be goofier with the kids, to be more patient, deal with interruptions better, more work on relationships with the people that mean the most to me, the fun, the laughter, peace, positivity.  Things that don't come as naturally to my mostly-serious self.
 
The word that came to me a couple weeks ago and has felt more and more right for me each day is

To me, light means joy.  Beauty.  Warmth.  Love.  Inspiration.  Giving.  Sharing talents and creativity.
So many many different ways and directions I can go with this and that's exciting.

This is the first year that my word comes to mind with its own visuals - light streaming through a break in the clouds on a stormy day or that hazy glowing backlight photographers are always trying to capture - lots of moods and nuances and all of them positive and affirming.  And that's what I want in 2015.    light


Do any of you choose a word for the year?  (ie: One Little Word along with Ali Edwards)  Set goals?  I'd love to hear about it.

Monday, December 29, 2014

All Set

I feel like we're on the final countdown here.  Last (partial) week of 2014, one more week of Christmas vacation then Real Life hits again in full force.  And I'm so NOT ready to get back to the normal routine.  Or maybe I just don't want to go down to the freezing cold shop and work on drying racks while the snow falls and the kids are home entertaining themselves -  and the attitude is just carrying over to everything?...
I have been enjoying the slower pace the past few days and not forcing myself to get up and go to the gym or work on a giant list of To Dos.  Though I do also enjoy being productive and being on top of things.  Both have their place and the art of balancing them has been on my mind a lot the last couple of days.  There are just so many parts and pieces that make up a life, aren't there?  And only limited quantities of energy, motivation, time, and money.
It may be cliche, but this time of year is when I get in that mode to really think about and reevaluate my life, my priorities, and the direction I want to take in the new year and I've been taking a few solid steps toward preparing to jump into the new year with both feet.  I am finishing up my final prompt for the OLW workshop I participated in this year (and starting to get excited for the process next year) and am pretty sure I have decided on my new Word for next year (that will get it's own blog post in a few days).  I sat down with Kaitlyn this morning and we revised and reprinted the Before Screens list for the kids (we haven't used the lists at all since the move and I've been having such a hard time keeping Tyler on track and self directed lately.  Hoping this alleviates some of the frustration and constant nagging) and have them hanging up ready to be used.  I have a few other things/ideas for interactions with the kiddos that are percolating in my head.  I even found homes for most of the new things we all got for Christmas and the clutter piles are nearly all gone.


I also picked up a weekly planner - something I haven't used in years.  I have a number of reasons for doing so.  First of all, I haven't been on the ball about putting things on my Google calendar and I'm hoping that having it all just in a hard copy will be easier for keeping track of appointments and schedules.  I know, right?  Old School.  But the bigger reason for purchasing a planner was for memory keeping/scrapbooking purposes.  My intention for the last few years has been to put together some kind of December Daily album (I know - lots of inspiration from Ali Edwards lately.  We must have similar personalities/tastes or something ;)  ) but I am never fully set up enough to do it as I go along, so this year I printed off a weekly calendar for December - you know the ones with a bunch of lines under each day of the week so you can take notes - and have been using it to keep track of some of the things I want to remember from each day.  I've seen that kind of idea before - using a calendar to write down one memory every day during your baby's first year and so on - and a light finally went off.  Those little squares on a calendar are not nearly enough room to write down a story from the day or any sort of detail but the idea of keeping it all in one place, in something that is easy to pick up and use, is a solid one.  So.  My plan for this year is to write down everything I want to remember in the weekly planner - funny quotes from the kids, details about daily life, stories of big events, etc.  Much easier than scrolling through Facebook posts, emails, and blog posts trying to figure out what happened during week ____ when trying to put together my layouts/albums.  Right now I'm thinking I'm pretty brilliant, but the true test will be a couple months into it to see if I have been following through on writing everything down on a regular basis.
I really am serious about doing more scrapbooking on a regular basis.  I even had the husband buy me a photo printer for Christmas - so exciting!  I still need to get another USB cord so I can hook it directly to my computer instead of printing solely from the camera's memory card but I have figured out the basics of how to use it and am very pleased with the photo prints so far.  So with the photo printer on hand and a weekly crafting date all set up with a friend I am looking forward to making a lot of progress with the scrapbooking this year.

Now I just need to finalize a few fun plans for New Years Eve (ack - someone tell me I'm not the only one that staying up until midnight doesn't appeal to! lol) and I think I'm all set to head into 2015.  Are you?

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry MERRY Christmas!


Happy Christmas Eve!  I hope the next couple of days are magical for everyone!  Enjoy!
-Alayna

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Elf Antics 2014 - Week 3

Christmas is almost here!  Here's a look at what our Elves have been up to in the last week or so.
Day 15: hot chocolate!  They found a special Cookies and Cream version from Stephen's - MMMMMM
 Day 16:  crepe paper Christmas tree

 Day 17:  time for a Nerf dart war

Day 18:  the elves found the tablet and had used it to take photos of themselves (by the Christmas tree, posing by the dog, random selfies, etc) then used them as the desktopbackground photos on the tablet.

 Day 19:  Playing with Tyler's Minecraft toys and even found a Santa Minecraft head for Steve.  (The Steve is a printable I used for Tyler's Minecraft Party  and the Santa head is a printable found here that I just enlarged a bit before printing.  It wasn't quite big enough for one of our elves to wear, but it worked fine for Steve)


 Day 20:  We got home late last night and the kids forgot to open their Advent treat box before bed so the Elves did it for them.  Lucky for the kids, the elves didn't get as far as opening any of the chocolate!
 Day 21:  found the elves fast alseep under the Christmas tree, using the kids' stockings as sleeping bags.


Day 22:  the elves were having fun with the camera last night and took all kinds of photos.  (Printable photo props found here)




Day 23:  this morning they attempted to hitch a ride to school in the kids' backpacks.  I think we are all excited for the last half-day of school before Christmas break!

The husband hasn't "helped" the elves out much this year (it's been mostly my doing and I have to say it's a bit exhausting) but he thinks they should do a "ropes course" tonight.  Oh boy.  And of course they will also leave their farewell letter because tomorrow is Christmas Eve!

*If you are looking for even more Inspiration I'm constantly adding ideas I run across to me Pinterest board - even in July! ;)

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Elf Antics 2014 - Week 2

So who else is having fun with their Christmas Elves/Elf on a Shelf this month?  We are!  Week two we found them:
Day 8:

Day 9: they got into all of the treats left over from the birthday party

Day 10:  must have been taking inspiration from my (body builder) brother.  Looks like Tinsel might benefit from a few personal trainer sessions.
Day 11:  found the sled on top of the entertainment center in the living room.  I'm told Twinkle almost met with a horrible accident when she toppled off and my brother's pitbull picked her up.  Luckily, the husband saw it and pried her out of his mouth before any damage was done.

Day 12:  packed the kids' lunchboxes
 Day 13:  changed out the light bulb in the hallway for a pretty stained-glass one.  Tyler said it looked like they were having a dance party.

 Day 14:  climbing the Christmas tree.  I'm afraid it looks like Tinsel must have taken a tumble or two.