I Was So Close

January 29, 2010 at 10:57 am (Family)

The bins are still there, but if I really want them moved, I can do it myself!

I know you’ve all been waiting on the edge of your seats to see how everything went with my no complaining challenge. I am happy to report that things went very well. I didn’t complain to Doug at all, although I think I might have let a few complaints sneak in while I was talking to Ingrid and Dixie. I also made great strides in my efforts to curb eye-rolling. I’m not sure if you realize thins, but eye rolling is a form of complaining! I had a near miss with that one. Doug asked me to change a diaper, and I thought really hard, my eyes started their journey upward, but then I got a hold of myself, and everything was okay.

You may be wondering how difficult this was for me. To be honest, it really wasn’t that hard. The fact that I was concentrating on not complaining really helped me. I thought for sure I would want to tell Doug how good I had been, and then hand him a list of everything that I didn’t complain about, but I don’t even think there was anything to complain about. I’m pretty sure it was a regular day, but it was definitely a lot smoother than normal. I didn’t even tell Doug about the experiment. I might bring it up in the future if he brings up complaining again, but his validation of the project didn’t really matter in the end. I had a really good day, and I think my kids had a good day, and that’s my barometer for success.

In case you’re wondering about the title of the post, I think I did really well until 8:00 when I turned on the radio to listen to the State of the Union!

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Should you choose to accept it

January 26, 2010 at 10:32 pm (Random Thoughts, Why I'm crazy)

The Challenge:

Go a whole day without Complaining

I'm not complaining but... these boxes have been stacked
outside of the garage for three weeks!

 

A few weeks ago Doug mentioned that I complain a lot. I don’t disagree with that statement. I do complain… A LOT. I’m not quite sure where this comes from. I complain about big things, and I complain about things that make absolutely no sense. Doug is extremely patient with me, because if he complained, even half as much as I do, I would be a mess. It would hurt my self esteem if he told me I didn’t know how to load a dishwasher, or if he mentioned a million times to put a Bounce sheet in the dryer!

I’ve tried to think about how I should approach this challenge. Should I tell Doug, or should I wait to see if he notices? Can I write my complaints down in secret so that I can air them the next day? Can I post about all the things that I didn’t complain about? Should I wait until Doug and the kids go out of town for the day so that I’ll just be dealing with myself?

I think that if I can actually do this it would make our house a happier place to be. Plus, I’m pretty sure that if I decide to just deal with things instead of complaining I’ll feel a new sense of personal satisfaction.

Okay, I’ve convinced myself. I can do this. I am woman, hear me roar (but not in a complaining way!).

I’ll let you know how it goes tomorrow!

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Spending the week-end in D-town

January 25, 2010 at 8:42 pm (Family, Road Trips)

Ben interrupting grandpa's speech!

Does anyone really call Dallas D-town? I was looking up Dallas nicknames and it came up, but I’m not sure if I’ve ever heard anyone refer to Dallas as D-town.

Las week-end we had the chance to go up to Dallas to visit  some of Doug’s family. His father was celebrating his ten-year anniversary with with his company, and they were throwing a dinner for him. This appears to be a great company, because for 18 months of those ten years Doug’s parents were on a mission in Mongolia! They also seem pretty great to me because they bought toy fo all the little kids at the dinner. Samuel was very excited about his Color Wonder, and William loved his Spider-Man car.

Samuel, Alec and William playing with their gifts

Every time we plan a trip to Dallas I have an agenda of things I would like to see. I hate going to these big cities and just sitting on the couch. One of the things I really want to visit one of these days is the printing press where they print the money. I have asked to do this the last 4 or 5 times, but unfortunately the printing press isn’t open on the week-ends.

This visit we talked about going to see the JFK museum or maybe a visit downtown, but there was no time to do anything but see Ikea and a couple of outlets (I have no-one to blame but myself, but I really wanted some shelves!). Once again Doug has vowed to never return to the land of Swedish big box stores. If only they didn’t force you to go through that maze. If only there weren’t confusing toll roads surrounding the store!

Afton meeting Uncle Bryan for the first time

We had a wonderful visit with a few of Doug’s siblings and his parents and grandparents. His older brother Bryan flew in from Minnesota for the week-end, and we also got to see Dan and Amy’s new house. Unfortunately Doug now has a severe case of workshop envy!

Cousin Maddy

On the way home we stopped in to the Salt Lick for some barbeque. Best beef ribs ever! I love having the internet available while we drive. Next time we’re stopping at Round Rock Donuts!

Samuel enjoying ribs at the Salt Lick

I’ve been a little slow posting because I’m working on an idea that makes me a little nervous. I think I’ll bite the bullet and tell you all about it tomorrow.

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A Year of Grateful Living

January 20, 2010 at 3:41 pm (Family)

After a few post-Christmas  meltdowns at our house we decided that our family theme this year should be gratitude. I don’t think our kids have any clue how blessed they are. Every time one of our kids tells us that, “it isn’t fair,” I have to remind them how lucky they are that life isn’t fair. If life was fair we wouldn’t enjoy a lot of the things that we have. The fact that we can take time with our kids to read them a story is a luxury that a lot of the world doesn’t enjoy. I don’t want my kids to feel guilty about what they have, but I do want them to appreciate what their blessings.

So, part of our year of grateful living is our family gratitude jar. Every day we come up with something that we are grateful for, we write it down and we put it in the jar. Right now it’s pretty basic stuff like family, but I’m hoping as we do more they’ll be able to think of some of the smaller things.

The other thing that we’re working on is what it actually means to be grateful. I have a bunch of quotations, and we’re talking about ways to show gratitude. That might get a little old for the kids, but hopefully it will make an impression. Last year our theme was “A House of Order,” and I really think that focusing on making our home more orderly really helped us. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this year’s theme will help us be a little more appreciative.

p.s. Don’t you love those blocks?! My sister-in-law Sharleen made us these for Christmas. There is a whole book of options with different messages. Awesome!

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To Julia, With Love

January 14, 2010 at 9:41 pm (Food)

In a french pot, no less!

I, along with millions of other people, recently watched Julie and Julia. We watched before Christmas, and I was very inspired and a little depressed. Inspired, because who wouldn’t love to be living in Paris, and who wouldn’t love their little blog to be made into a book and  then a movie. A little depressed because I’m not living in Paris, nor is Ellen Page about to play me in a movie (ah the irony!).

Anywho, it made me pull out my copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I’ve had it for a good long while, and it easily could have been me who came up with the Julie/ Julia Project, except that my name is Sarah. Whatever, I have skills, and I have a blog, and I’m just biding my time right now!

On to my main point. For Christmas this year Doug bought me some Beef Bourguignonne Braising Base from Williams Sonoma. I’m sure Doug knows that I could make the sauce on my own, but I’m all for expediency. All I can say is, sixteen dollars well spent. It was an amazing jar of sauce.  I probably could have eaten it without adding the beef. It’s a wonderful dish for company, but it probably  would have been better for our dinner guests had they not been a half an hour late, but it was still warm while we ate!

The secret ingredient

Maybe I could try a year’s worth of Canadian cooking. Day 1: poutine, day 2: pickled herring…

p.s. If you haven’t read Julia Child’s, My Life in France, you don’t know what you’re missing.

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Saturday Adventure Series

January 13, 2010 at 8:34 am (Family, Fun Stuff, Road Trips)

Posing after the grape stomp

I was less than consistent in my posting throughout the fall, but I thought I’d share one particularly great Saturday with the family. I’m pretty sure this was one of the last Saturdays before school started. This was also when I was still a newspaper subscriber, so I knew about all of the fun goings on. That particular Saturday there was some kind of vineyard tour that included a free grape stomp. I was envisioning a huge thing right out of A Walk in The Clouds, but instead we got this:

So authentically European!

It really wasn’t all I thought it was going to be, and the whole texture was kind of gross. There were lots of kids there, but I don’t think they were used to people who showed up solely to stomp the grapes, and not purchase any wine. Oh well, it was an experience!

Once we were on the road we pulled out the Texas Tour Guide to see what we were close to. It turned out that we weren’t all that far from Lockhart. What is Lockhart, you ask. It’s the barbeque capital of Texas! So, off we went to test what the best barbeque in the world (if it’s the best in Texas, it must be the best in the world!). It was an extremely hot day, and being in a room full of fire pits didn’t help, but the place certainly wasn’t lacking ambience! We only went to one place, but I’m sure we’ll go back to compare with the other restaurants in town.

Next stop, the Aquarena. This is on the campus of Texas State University. It used to be a fun park, with rides and underwater mermaid shows, plus I’m pretty sure there was, at one time, a swimming pig! The park closed down about ten years ago, I think, and the university took it over. Now they use it for research. One of the things you can do at the Aquarena is take a glass bottom boat tour. It’s honestly all a little bit out of an episode of Lost. You can see where they used to do the show, and the tower from where the tram used to be. A little creepy, but also lots of fun.

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Just in case you missed my 15 minutes

January 12, 2010 at 8:35 am (Fun Stuff, Why I'm crazy)

This is right from her sight. We're practically bff's!

My cousin Liz posted about blogging and the reasons behind it. I went off on a crazy tangent in her comment section about how Ellen Page stole my life, and blah blah blah here I am today. I am a little annoyed with Ellen Page, but I’m going to have to find my fifteen minutes elsewhere.

Which leads me to my appearance on The Pioneer Woman. Now, don’t get too excited, I wasn’t consulted for one of my fabuloso recipes, but I did make a fun evening out of a book signing in Austin with my friend Lucy. I would just like you to keep in mind that there were hundreds of people at this thing, and she chose Lucy and I for her blog. I was considering bringing the baby because Dixie told me that would make me a shoe-in, but I’m very glad I didn’t bring her along. The drive to Austin is a little over an hour, and then we waited about four hours for our turn. Thankfully I had Lucy, and a very lovely lady behind us. How nice was the lady behind us, you ask? When we finally got to Ree and I got my camera ready, the memory card was full. At this point I do realize that I had four hours to delete some photos, but right then and there it was too late. This lovely lady took pictures for us and then posted them on her blog. Thank you Amy! This is why I love Texas. This woman is also responsible for correcting me on my poor pronunciation of the town named Burnet. You might think it’s Burnett like Carol, bt it’s actually burn it. I also learned that two bits four bits has absolutely nothing to do with Home Depot. I digress…

I showed up with three books. She signed them all and we got free t-shirts. Not a bad night all in all. I still haven’t been nominated for my academy award, but I’m sure it’ll be happening any day!

Thanks for the picture Amy!

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Taking Inventory

January 11, 2010 at 6:32 pm (Random Thoughts, Why I'm crazy)

The first pile of fabric

Alrighty, we are well into January, so it’s officially time to get organized. We have been very successful at keeping the desk in the kitchen clean. It has been over two weeks, and there is still nothing on it that shouldn’t be on it. I was inspired by Anna’s Christmas gift. Doug and I also have an agreement that if either of us put something on the desk that doesn’t belong there, then we have to pay the other person one dollar. So far, I’m up a dollar. It’s been a very good incentive for us.

 Now, I’m on to phase 2: The fabric collection. I try and I try to not buy new fabric … unless I have a really good use for it. Well, I think I have a really good use for almost everything, but I’m not using it. Am I the only one with piles of fabric? So, I’m going to start some sewing projects in an attempt to pare down the clutter. I have some stuff to do for Ingrid, plus I never finished what I was doing for Andrea (that is mostly because I’m still cursing the Minky!) Also, there’s a baby boom going on in our ward right now, so I should be able to unload some fabric on burp cloths and blankets. I’m wondering if it’s wrong to use up all my fabric just so that I can go buy more fabric. I really, really love fabric! Thanks Trisha for keeping me honest. I don’t know where you saw the idea, but I”m running with it!

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Holiday Recap ’09

January 8, 2010 at 6:01 pm (Family, Fun Stuff, Road Trips)

The annual visit with Santa

Well, I’ve been gone a little while. Weill, not so much gone, or too busy, just distracted. I’ve been distracted with road trips and Christmas and neighbor gifts and putting Christmas away, and all the other things that go along with the Christmas season.

This was really a great and low-key holiday for us. We went on a massive road trip for Thanksgiving, and we stayed close to home for Christmas and New Year’s. There was a bit of a mid-holiday funk, but the new year has made things good. We’re are full of resolution and a bunch of other stuff that is befitting of a new year!

So, without further ado, here is our holiday season in pictures. I might come back and re-visit some of this stuff later. Right now I’m looking to cover a lot of ground so that I can start fresh!

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Where does the time go?

January 6, 2010 at 10:41 pm (Random Thoughts)

I swear it was just just yesterday that my kids were all young and cute, and now here they are sporting facial hair! Alright, I’m coming back tomorrow. Don’t get too excited!

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