Sunday, June 8, 2014

10 Reasons to Get a Dog

So it's been a really long time since I have written a blog post. This past year of teaching was a little bit stressful at times and maybe I didn't have anything too exciting to write about. I've also been thinking about starting another blog to focus on a different type of writing. So stay tuned. Life has been a hussel and bussel of adjustments at our house adjusting to our new family member, Odin, our Yorkie pup. Having a pet really changes your life, as you might know, it in a lot of ways. I've been making a mental list of these changes over the past month that Odin has been in our home and I thought I'd take the time to write (type) them down and share.

Reasons to Have a Dog:

1. Teaches Responsibility

So it might sound clichue that a dog teaches responsibility, but it is so true! Having a dog takes some dicipline on the owner's part because fur babies are pretty dependant for everything they need. I can no longer stay at work late because I need to get home to take Odin out.

This is on our way home from picking Odin up from his mom. He cried the whole way home. Then puked on me. Good times! 

2. Get More Exercise

We  live on the third floor, needless to say we get a little more exercise hiking up and down the stairs several 'more' times a day than usual to go out and play and to go to the potty.

We had this stuffed Shaun the Sheep toy. Odie decided he wanted it. They are best buds. 

3. See More Sunrises and Sunsets

It really isn't my favorite thing to wake up at the crack of dawn to run out to allow Odie to relieve himself, but when I get the chance to see the beauty of the rising or setting sun, it's an added bonus.

He thinks he's people 

4. Notice the Small Things

Odin makes us stop and pause on the simple things in life. When he has an accident it's not the end of the world. We also celebrate his successful tinkles. We spend a lot of time watching him entertain himself in the most unusual ways. My absolute favorite thing he does is when he crawls in my lap and plots his chin down on my arm or looks into my face. They don't call them puppy dog eyes for nothin'.

Odin rides in his crate if I am driving. But I couldn't resist letting him stay on my lap because he was sleeping. 

5. Practice for Parenthood

We joked that having a puppy is training us for parenthood, but all jokes aside, it really is a great way to get you in the parenting mindset. I could list all day some of the similarities between having a puppy and a baby, but that would be another blog post. So I won't do that to you.

He steals my pillow. 

6. Spend Time Outside

I'm almost certain I have spent more time outside in the last month, than in the last year. That's an exaggeration, but definately more time than usual. This is great because not only am I getting some vitamin D and feeling the sunshine I get to notice more detail in nature. I also started a garden due to the amount of time I was spending waiting on Odie to get his business done. Now I have something to do while he is sniffing out the perfect spot.
If you can't tell by the look in his eye he really wants that apple. Apples are his favorite treat. And popcorn. 

7. Becoming Selfless

Having a pet really makes you put yourself aside for a moment. Like when I have to get out of bed extra early to take Odin out, or cleaning up doggy do-do. Having a pet or even a child be completely dependant on you puts you in a very different position. I have really started to think about how my plans or what I want will affect Odin.
Just hanging out.

8. Not to Procrastinate

This is one I never expected, but if I procrastinate taking him out, I pay the price. Luckily this is rubbing off in other areas of my life too. I am putting things off less and getting more done. All thanks to a puppy.
Working on our snob poses. 

9. Make Lots of New Friend

I can't even count the people and new friends we have meet in the time Odin joined our pack. People that live in our condos, or at the vet, come up to us just to chat. We are making new friends all the time. We even have friends calling to make play dates. Which honestly, has benefited our social skills just as much as Odin's.
Meeting Hadoop, our pink elephant 

10. Someone to Come Home For( because husband is never home! )

Having a pet has made me come home form work earlier on a consistant basis. (I know I have mentioned that before in other reasons above) I feel really guilty if I take too long getting home. This has actually helped to cut out some of the stress from work. I now have a small amount of meaning
outside of work. It has honestly added a healthy balance to home and work.

Odin kisses. 

Make no mistake, having a pet is a lot of work! It is also very rewarding and gets better with time.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Educated Mother

I have been stuck on this belief that someone shared with me this past week. "Education is a means to an end. Nothing is so important to put off motherhood for. Real women are selfless and they have children."

If you know me even just a little, you know that I have a degree in Elementary Education, I work full time as a 5th grade teacher, and I don't have any kids. So you can only assume why this comment really struck a chord with me. Partially some of that angst about this comment comes from my own wondering if all the time I've spent getting an education and starting my career have really been worth it. I have had to put having a family on hold for just a little while because of the choice to get an education. 

I found this little gem:

A Woman's View: the gift of an educated mother
It helped to ease my mind that this preparation really will be worth something for my children. My education has also blessed many other areas of my life. It has helped me to be able to serve others in ways I wouldn't have had the skills to do otherwise. Overall I have become a better person for it.

Just because there is one thing in your life that is the most important thing to you, doesn't always mean it comes first. For example, let's say one of your greatest dreams is to climb Mount Everest. Would you wake up that morning and start to climb it? NO! You would take some time to prepare for it. Make sure you are physically fit to make the trek. You would spend time learning about the environment and what things you need to take with you to be successful on the trip. Even after all the preparation you for some reason don't get to make that climb.

For myself, I see my education as part of my preparation before I become a mother. Just because I chose an education first, doesn't mean that I don't value motherhood or that I don't want to have children. It just means that this is the sequence of events that I personally need to go through before feeling ready to take on motherhood. There are also women who would love to be mothers and don't get to fulfill that role in this life. That doesn't make them selfish and it doesn't mean they aren't real women. Real women are those who glorify God in whatever they choose to do.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Foot-In-The-Mouth Syndrome

I bumped into a blog post entitled: 11 Things Stay at Home Moms Are Tired of Hearing. Even though I'm not a mom I could totally see how some of the things on the list would be irritating to hear again and again. It wasn't until I read some of the comments made about the post that I thought, "Wait a minute, that's not cool stay-at-home moms." A few of the commenters were saying things along the lines that childless people just don't and can't get it.

The thing is, people with kids say some things that us childless people are tired of hearing too, like:
  • Do you want to borrow my kid for some practice?

  • Do you know when you are going to start having kids?
  • Are you trying to get pregnant?  (This is my all-time favorite)
We have to face it, everyone gets unwanted comments from time to time. The obnoxious string of questions doesn't just start and end with an assortment of baby questions. Those pesky questions most likely start way before we can remember and they really never end. I remember being a senior in high school and constantly being bombarded with the state of being of my dating life. It was like I couldn't just be without having a serious boyfriend. The sad thing was I thought maybe something was wrong with me or I wasn't a normal 18 year old because I wasn't dating anyone that was leading to marriage right away. I got married at the ripe old age of 20. I was definitely an old maid by then. 

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Next up, when you are finally dating someone steadily people are giving you pressure to get married. There seems to be this unspoken rule (only in Utah) that if you are a girl and aren't married by like 22 or 23 something isn't right with you. Getting married seems to be a decision that is only partially in your hands. I mean it involves a whole other person. If that second party isn't on the same page as you, there is not a lot that can be done, but break it off or become desperate, needy, and clingy about the marriage subject. It always seemed like married people were so much happier, before I was married. Don't get me wrong, I love being married and I wouldn't trade that to be single, ever again. But marriage is a huge adjustment. There are new stresses that come with it. So don't rush it. Oh, and don't forget those annoying questions that started getting asked before you were married, They don't end once you are married.

Once a couple is married some people think it's their duty to pry in and find out when a baby will be joining the family. I remember being married for about four months when all of a sudden people were very interested in my plans to reproduce. Almost more interested than I was at that point in my marriage about my fertility. At first I tried being honest with people, explaining we weren't ready and wanted to get a little more education under our belts. That just brought on more unwanted questioning and meaningless advice at the time. I'm learning the less details you give the better off you are. I know some of the people asking me such questions were parents themselves and just wanted to share their joy of parenthood with my husband and I, but I have to admit it wasn't at all helpful. I mean should we really be trying to peer pressure people into having kids?

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Then a baby finally arrives and people want to know when the next one is coming. Before too long there will be getting comments that it's time to stop having kids. But don't fool yourself, it doesn't even stop when the reproductive years are at an end.  My parents constantly get asked a lot about when Ry and I will be getting them a grandchild. I assume the people that ask are grandparents, and let's face it, there apparently can be no greater joy than to be a grandparent.  All of the questioning is pretty annoying. I mean, who decided that it was OK for another person to tell someone else they need to be getting married, or when to start having kids, or that your brood is large enough? I really want to know! I've come to call this uncontrollable form of questioning Foot-in-the-mouth Syndrome. 

Here's a little conversation I was fortunate enough to be part of to illustrate just how Foot-In-The-Mouth works: 

 Acquaintance: "When do you think you'll start having kids?" 

This is an easy question to respond to, play dumb. 

Me:  "I don't know. Some day." 

That usually stops people. Not this person, they kept going.

Acquaintance:  "Are you trying?" 

Me: "That's a little personal don't you think?" LOL smiley face. "But no, we aren't"

(and the truth of the matter is, even if we were trying to get pregnant, I wouldn't be talking to you about it!) 

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Somehow I came out the inconsiderate one in this scenario because this person didn't think that was a personal question, they just wanted to know how I was doing. So I was obviously the rude one for speaking up and letting her know that was a private subject in my mind.  Let's be perfectly clear, asking someone, "Are you trying to get pregnant?" is not even close to the same thing as "How are you doing?" What you are really asking when you want to know if someone is trying to get pregnant is, "Are you having unprotected sex?" I apologize if that offends anyone that I don't really care to discuss those details with anyone. The time to be excited about a couple having a baby is when they announce that there is a baby to be excited about.  This is a classic case of Foot-in-the-mouth Syndrome that all of us humans just seem to have naturally at one time or another. I'm pretty sure I have said some very dumb things at the very wrong time. It just happens. 

A syndrome comes in varying degrees of severity. It can't be cured, and each person will show their own set of symptoms, some worse than others. The best way to combat this ailment, is to simply be aware that at one time or another you are going to put your foot in your mouth, and you might never even realize it.  Secondly, if you are on the opposite side of Foot-in-the-mouth, just enjoy it. Give the person the benefit of the doubt that they are just trying to fill the silence. They know not what they say. So smile. Be polite. And if you really feel like they are crossing the line, tell them. Even if they get offended, that's not your problem. We are all in this world together, we make mistakes, most of the time when it comes to human interaction none of the offense that is taken was really meant to be given. I hope no matter what phase of obnoxious questioning you're in, you have some great come backs up your sleeve. 
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What are some of your best come backs to these questions? 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

A Secret

Lean in close, I have a little secret to tell you. You are a child of God. He knows you. He loves you. He understands what is in your heart. He knows your struggles. He knows your strengths and desires. It doesn't matter what you have done. What path you have chosen to follow in life, He loves you just the same.

I wasn't going to respond to all this hype about the gay marriage ban being overruled in Utah or all the propaganda surrounding Duck Dynasty. The more I tried to ignore it and get on with things the more I couldn't help but wonder if there wasn't something more I should be doing or saying. I want to stand up for what I believe in, but I didn't want to insert myself into any of the debates and drama that have been hanging around social media and the news. This should be a safe place to share those feelings.

I am a member of the LDS Church. The family is very important to what we believe as far as our purpose for being here. We are sent to Earth to live, grow, and experience opposition in many facets of life. Within the LDS Church we believe that marriage is between a man and a woman and within marriage couples have the privilege and responsibility to have children and provide for their needs. Fathers and mothers have unique duties to a family. Sometimes we confuse those with 'gender roles', but naturally women are more nurturing and care for the children, while men are more naturally protective and concerned with providing for their family. The role of a father and a mother differ from one another, but one must support the other to accomplishing those duties. Mothers and fathers depend on one another. Marriage is beautiful and wonderful. There is so much joy that comes from creating a home and having a family with your spouse. It's no wonder everyone wants to partake of that. To read more in depth about God's purpose for the family read, The Family: A Proclamation to the World.

Another thing that the LDS Church teaches is to love one another. We are here to care for each other. It's not our place to judge the choice of others. We can however judge issues for ourselves. For example, I choose not to smoke. Do I think people who smoke are bad? No, that's a choice they have made for themselves. I don't judge that person's character and whole heart on that one choice. Just as I would not one some one judging my character based on one aspect of my life. I am judging the act of smoking to be unhealthy for myself. We are all imperfect, which means we can't cast any stones.

We are here to invite people unto Christ, love one another and lift one another up. I have to be completely forward here, when I saw people posting about how exciting it was that the ban on gay marriage in Utah was at  an end, I didn't feel all that happy about it. On the other end, when I saw friends expressing their anger and outrage on the issue, I didn't feel right about that either. Honestly, it made me think back to a time when segregation was in effect based on the color of ones skin. Today it seems so foreign that people weren't allowed to use the same restroom or drink out of the same drinking fountain because of the color of their skin. If I had been living at that time would I be fighting to keep segregation alive or would I fight to end it?

Obviously, if you really look at the two issues they cannot be compared. During the civil rights movement people were denied "unalienable" rights. Not to say that gays haven't been treated unjustly just because they have chosen to go against traditional marriage, it just doesn't seem fair to say the issues are the same. The one thing I know for sure is that we are all loved by a Heavenly Father. No matter who we are. Even though we all have differing opinions on certain issues we can still show love, kindness, and respect to one another. I hope that if you are struggling with this issue at hand from one side or the other, that you will find peace with it at this time.

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16
Remember this Christmas season that we are celebrating the birth of our savior Jesus Christ. Through Him it is possible for us to repent, find comfort, change ourselves, and do better in life.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Do You Have a Smart Phone or a Rude Phone?

With technology making communication so much easier these days, sometimes our manners on the phone get a little too casual. Here are some rules to keep in mind when using our wonderful advances in communication. Enjoy.

1. Please Leave a Message

I know lots of people screen their calls. Mainly I do it because I get lots of calls from funky numbers, and the times I do pick up, it's very much the wrong number. So I error on the safe side and hope if it's important you'll leave a message. The other half of the time, my phone is off, charging in the other room, on silent, or I'm some place that I can't take your call. Please leave a message, and I promise I will get back to you. Otherwise what am I supposed to do? Call your number and sound like an idiot saying, "I got a missed call from your number, who are you and what do you need?" I suppose I shouldn't let this annoy me too much, if you don't leave a message your call wasn't that important in the first place. 

2. Texts vs. Email

Texts and emails are NOT interchangeable. If you need to send me so much information at one time that it takes five texts, yeah send me an email. It's just annoying to receive  multiple text messages that come to my phone in a jumbled order, so I have no idea what you are trying to say. Texts are for quick, short responses or questions. Such as "I'm running a little late" or "Meet me here at this time", not a full and complete conversation. 

3. Have Patience

If you don't get a response immediately, I might be busy. I might be at work. Or I might not want to respond to you at the time. Rest assured the more you continue to text or call me, the less I want to respond to you. Leave me a voice message or send one text message, and wait. Patiently. It really is obnoxious to see that I received messages from you at hour intervals, when this is the first time I have checked my phone.

4. All Hours 

Cell phones make people so much more accessible these days. Has that become a boon or a bane to our existence? No one likes to wake to the sound of the phone ringing.  I'm going to also say that there is a cut-off time in the evening hours in which nobody wants to be disturbed. Of course there may be circumstances that necessitate a late night or early morning phone call, but make sure it's a real emergency before you call. For example, "I just wanted to see if you were awake", doesn't quit fit the criteria of an emergency. 

5. Pick One and Stick With It

Pick a form of communication and stick with it. I once had an individual email, call, and text with in a two minute period. That's great that we have so many forms of communication, and with smart phones these days, they all come to the same place. My phone. So in the end it doesn't really matter what form you choose. Just stick with one. Even with a smart phone, I still need a few minutes to read or listen to your message before I can respond. Again, exercise some patience. 

Well that's all for now.  What obnoxious rude phone habits have you encountered? 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

An Invitation

I heard a couple of wonderful thoughts today at church that I wanted to share.

In primary we traced our hand and wrote one thing on each finger that would help us get closer to Christ. Each week one thing can be picked and worked on. I love this idea and it really helped me think about what I could be doing to strengthen my own testimony of Christ. But it also seems like a fun way to get children involved in thinking and remembering Christ.

I heard such a beautiful thought that was shared in a sacrament meeting talk. I can't quote it word for word, but this is the main idea.

Our lives are bombarded with invitation. Invitations to legging parties, maxi skirt parties, DoTerra Oil Classes, Jamberry Nail parties, Mary Kay parties, and the list goes on and on. The most important invitation we can give to another is the invitation to come unto Christ. 
This is profound to me because I get so caught up with the everyday business, and don't always stop to remember Christ in my own life or even to share that message with others. Even if you are just sharing this invitation in your own home to your own children, you are bringing souls unto Christ.

One last thought. This comes from the December 2013 Visiting Teaching message, found in the December 2013 Ensign. The Divine Mission of Jesus christ: The Only Begotten Son. Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said:

"Faith in Jesus Christ is the conviction and assurance of (1) His status as the Only Begotten Son of God, (2) His Infinite Atonement, and (3) His literal resurrection." 

This is the gift of the season. I see all these fun Christmas ideas that people do with their families and kids, but then I think, what are we truly celebrating? I hope that we all find time to remember Christ just a little this Christmas. Celebrate the wonderful gift of the Atonement that he so willingly gave to all of us.

How do you celebrate Christ during the Christmas Season?

Friday, November 29, 2013

Black Friday

What does Black Friday look like at our house?

Not waking up early that's for sure. You might say we are party poopers, but there was nothing that really enticed us to go out in the cold and fight the crowds this year. Or any other year for that matter. I did stand in line for an hour and half with my sister-in-law and her husband to get a TV on Thanksgiving night, mainly for an excuse to get out of the house. The only thing that made it bearable was being in good company.

I got to sleep in and work on my tree skirt! I used the Holly Jolly Tree Skirt pattern (you can find it here: A Bright Corner)

I had a hard time deciding between the two combinations of fabrics. The only fabric that is different in the two pictures above is the one bolt on the right. I finally decided to go with the white fabric. I felt the other one, even though it was super cute, would be to busy for my tree skirt.

The skirt needs to be quilted and bound before it goes under the tree, but here is what it looks like mostly finished.

Here is a sneak peek of another project I have been working on today:

We also decorated for Christmas, a little bit. I love Christmas and decorating for it. Having the tree up gets me really excited for the season. It's just a great time of year.

 My mom used to give my siblings and I a nativity ornament each year. I want to carry on that tradition but nativity ornaments are really hard to find! If you see a nativity ornament somewhere let me know!

I so love glittery things, hence my tree is full of ornaments and a topper covered in glitter.

I made lots of these little nativity stitchery last year and gave them out for Christmas gifts. They were super simple and fun. To add the color I just used crayon and then ironed the fabric (placing a paper towel between the stitchery and iron) to set the color.

Not only do I like collecting nativity Christmas ornaments, I love collecting nativities. Here is the new one I got this year from Seagull Book. Such a beautiful addition to my on going collection.

I made this table topper before I was married. It's been so fun accumulating things over the years. I ran out of hooks so I couldn't add anymore ornaments to the tree so I put some of the extras on the table.

 Best smelling stuff on the planet! It is a wonderful mixture of Christmas smells. This oil blend includes: Wild Orange, Cassia, nutmeg, Cinnamon Bark, pine needles, and vanilla. It is heavenly.

I got this from my intern coach last year for Christmas. A just little reminders of the reason we celebrate this season.