Thursday, April 11, 2013

Banana Oat Pancakes

I love cold cereal and milk. I think I could eat some variation of cereal + milk everyday for breakfast for the rest of my life and be happy, but sometimes special occasions call for special breakfast. This past weekend the special occasion was General Conference, and the special breakfast was these banana oat pancakes. Delicious. The perfect combination of soft and chewy.

Banana Oat Pancakes

2 Tbsp brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour (or another 1/4 C all-purpose)
1/2 cup steel cut oats
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp nutmeg
2 large eggs
2 bananas, mashed
2 Tbsp plain Greek yogurt or non-fat sour cream
1/4 cup milk (add more if your batter seems too thick)
1 Tbsp butter for griddle

1. Mix brown sugar, flours, oats, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg in a bowl.
2. Whisk in the eggs, bananas, and yogurt/sour cream.
3. Add in milk incrementally until the batter moves in the bowl but isn't runny.
4. Preheat a non-stick pan or griddle and grease with butter.
5. Using a ladle, pour some batter onto the pan/griddle.
6. Flip pancake when the underside is golden brown.
7. Cook opposite side until golden brown and no longer wet on edges.
8. Serve warm.

Top with fruit, syrup, or eat them plain like we did. Even Elle devoured these, and she's been rather picky lately. We might need to have these for breakfast again soon.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Car Activities for a One-Year Old

(Alternately titled: How to Not Go Completely Insane on a Twelve Hour Roadtrip with a Baby)

My first piece of advice would be to leave close to bedtime and drive through the night.

That wasn't an option with this trip, and even though my baby took several good naps (more than she would at home), being in the car alllll day was (surprise!) not all that fun.

A few days before we left I decided I'd get started on the busy box I picked for the Pinterest challenge, but then I quickly realized that I didn't have the time or materials to make most of the things on that particular list before our trip... I did have pipe cleaners and a puffs container though, so I put them together for "Pipe Cleaners in a Bottle."

If Elle could give an award for best roadtrip "toy" I'm sure she'd pick the pipe cleaners, hands down. She liked pulling them out, putting them back in, and bending them. She loved handing them to me so that I could hang them off of my glasses/nose/ears and would giggle up a storm while grabbing them back.

So I give an A+ to "Pipe Cleaners in a Bottle." Cheap, very low effort, virtually indestructible, and my brother's cats thoroughly enjoyed batting them around. The only cons I can think of are the sharp ends (I twisted those over and didn't have any problems), and once we took them out of the car, our pipe cleaners seemed to spread to every corner of the house.

I also made a texture book to bring along in the car. This requires considerably more effort than "Pipe Cleaners in a Bottle," but if you have some supplies on hand it's not difficult to throw together.

Step 1. Gather up materials with different textures.

I already had all of these things at home, but the possibilities are endless as far as what you put on the pages.

Step 2. Cut pages out of old cereal/snack boxes.

I used my Cricut machine to get the scalloped edges and then glued scrapbook paper on the fronts.

Step 3. Glue your objects on to the pages. Use the strongest glue possible if you have a destructo baby like mine.

Step 4. Hole punch the top of the pages.

Step 5. Tie together with string. Voila!

You may have guessed from the note in Step 3 that my baby girl set out to destroy this texture book. She made quick work of ripping off the fuzzy pompoms, the bubble wrap, and even a couple of the shiny hearts. I hot glued everything except for the foam stickers, and the only page that is still completely intact is the one with the fabric flowers. Maybe superglue would've been better. At the time, I was just happy that it held her interest for more than 5 minutes. 

Other tried and true activities:

*Stuffed animals



*Food, glorious food
*My wallet
*And when things got a little ugly that last hour and she couldn't be consoled, I gave her my glasses...even though I can't see without them. She went from screaming to asleep within a few minute's time. Worth it. ;)

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Pinterest Challenge Wrap-Up

Confession: I just finished the Pinterest Challenge moments ago...but I started a few days after everyone else, so it's totally okay. Honestly, I forgot about my last task, which was adding a "Pin It" button to my blog.

I wrote about the Grilled Malibu Chicken and gave a glimpse of the tab-top curtain and busy box here. I'm still planning to write separately about the busy box and our roadtrip, but realistically, I'm never going to write about the curtains, so here are some pictures of that. ;)

Definitely my most successful sewing project to date, and it was super simple thanks to my friend Audrei and her amazing "sewing computer."

That leaves the scarf headband and the truffle squares

I tried the criss-cross headband with scarves/fabric belts that I already had. The material was too slippery and the criss-cross protruded from my head more than I wanted. I think this would've worked better with something with more stretch that would lay flatter.

This story has a happy ending though because while enjoying a cold Spring Break in Arkansas with my family, I happened upon a fabric headband I liked in a little boutique. And it was a handmade, fair trade item benefiting an Indonesian woman. Win-win? I think so.

I made the truffle squares on Good Friday, and they were yummy. I was sad to go into the kitchen this morning and see that Henry ate the last one. If you like chocolate and nuts, I'd recommend this dessert.

I made a few changes (as I'm inclined to do). For one, I only used chopped almonds for my "dough" because I didn't have any pecans. For two, I used agave nectar instead of honey/syrup. For three, I added a layer of melted peanut butter between the nut mixture and the top layer of chocolate. This was a great decision because it held the nutty mixture together better, and it made the bars taste a lot more like Reese's peanut butter cups.

Now that this challenge is over, I'm thinking about what I can work on next. I want to make a wreath for spring...not sure what else yet. What will you work on?

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

You Are My Sunshine 1st Birthday Party

Happy April, friends! March pretty much tried to kill me with various ailments (tonsillitis, food poisoning, allergies, aches and pains), so I'm happy to be moving on to a fresh month. And look what I finally have to show you! I had way, way too much fun planning this party. I'm excited to share some of the pictures with you.

I told my husband I wanted the frosting to look like clouds, and well, my husband is awesome. He definitely delivered.

Suns from the "Create a Critter" Cricut cartridge

Banner from the "Something to Celebrate" Cricut cartridge

Now I'll give a little run-down of the party. We sang "Happy Birthday" and let Elle have at her smash cake, of course. I loved how she daintily picked off slices of mango before tasting the icing. She is definitely my girl. She needed a little assistance to actually break into the cake.

We kept our guest list small to cut down on the cost for food and party supplies, so we had mostly family and a few close friends in attendance. The result was an intimate gathering of people who have been in Elle's life since she was just a few days old. Since the birthday girl couldn't quite make a wish of her own, I asked everyone to record a birthday wish for her in a journal. I hope to make a tradition of filling this book with birthday wishes each year. 

Another fun thing we did was ask the guests to bring an object to represent an occupation Elle might choose in the future. We got this idea from some friends in our old ward. Apparently it's a Bulgarian tradition to sit your one year old in the middle of a circle of objects and predict their future based on what they choose. Sounded fun to me!

Based on the objects, her choices were veterinarian, paleontologist, dentist, engineer, starlet, teacher, chef, artist, or ophthalmologist. The outcome was clear: she went straight for the calculator (representative of engineering). We did the test a second time to see what her second choice would be, and she went for the protractor (Dad had sneaked in two objects for engineering). Only time will tell if the test is right...

The next day I realized that I'd forgotten to put the party hat on Elle even once during the party, so naturally I had to remedy that ASAP. I put her in the brand new dress she received for her birthday, fed her cake, which worked out perfectly because we had A LOT of leftover cake to eat up, and played with the confetti. I'm pretty sure it was one of the most exciting weekends of her life. ;)

If anyone's interested, I created a Pinterest board to keep track of many of my online supply purchases and recipes (without a visual of what I'd purchased, my head would start spinning). I did what I consider to be extensive comparison shopping when it came to things like striped paper straws, baking cups, etc. and I found The TomKat Studio to have the best prices. My order also arrived super quick! Can't beat that.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Happy Easter!

It's become something of a tradition for me to post on Good Friday, so here I am. =) As a kid, my brother, sixteen years my senior, had the day off from work, and I had the day off from school. Good Friday meant a free day to run around Six Flags AstroWorld with him and thousands of Christian music-loving teenagers. We weren't there for the concerts. Easter was totally about the Easter Bunny bringing goodies, dying eggs, and hunting for them in the yard (or as adults, in the house...elbowing siblings and spouses out of the way to get to those money-filled plastic eggs).

I still love those traditions, but now Easter has a much deeper spiritual impact on me. It's amazing to me how I can be going along ho-hum in my faith or even feeling distant from God, and Easter comes along and renews my spirit. Just like that, I remember the reason I do the things I do. I remember how deeply grateful I am for my Savior. His Atonement and Resurrection are what matter. They are the gospel, and the gospel is exciting.

This week I've had the opportunity to learn (well, I guess I should say I'm still learning) the ASL translation to some of my favorite Easter hymns (Christ the Lord is Risen Today, He is Risen, and I Know That My Redeemer Lives). Their lyrics convey the joy I feel at Easter.

I hope all of you enjoy your Easter weekend! I think I'll take some time away from my reading in Psalms to read about the empty tomb. I also have plans to decorate a few eggs, make the dessert from my Pinterest Challenge, and take my girl to her first Easter egg hunt/petting zoo. I'm so excited about that last one!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Pinterest Challenge Update

I'm happy to report that I will complete all six of my Pinterest Challenge projects by April. I've been working away on each of them. Here's my progress so far.

1. Grilled Malibu Chicken. We made it and LOVED it. Everything I hoped for and more. This recipe will definitely be added to our menu board rotation.

The only modification we made was pureeing pineapple for the sauce instead of using pineapple juice. Yum, yum, yum. We also used fancy Stubb's hickory smoked BBQ sauce. That certainly didn't hurt.

2. Tab-Top Curtain. I think I'll do an individual post about this project, but here's a sneak peek.

I'm so happy with the way they turned out.

3. One Year Old Busy Box. This one is still a work in progress, and it'll get it's own post too (especially since my baby just woke up from her nap...), but here's what I've made so far:

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Pinterest Challenge

Sisters Share It All: Pinterest Challenge

I don't know about you, but I love me some Pinterest. I think it's one of the greatest inventions of our time* and only wish it were around in my wedding planning days. That's okay though. Now I get to use it to visualize fun things like baby birthday parties and dream home decor. And I use it all of the time for cooking and baking. All of the time.

Sometimes I get on Pinterest though and pin things that look appealing to make or do "someday" and that day never rolls around because I forget about the idea. That's part of the reason I've decided to participate in the Sisters Share It All Pinterest Challenge.

If you want to participate, it's simple: choose six things on Pinterest that you want to try between now and April, create a blog post, and link up by clicking the button above.

Here's what I plan to work on:
1. A one year old's busy box. Keeping my baby occupied for three hours at church is kind of rough these days. I'm hoping this will give her little hands something to do. She'll also be going on her first out of state road trip soon, so I need things we can play with in the car for twelve freakin' hours.
2. Nutty Cinnamon Chocolate Truffle Squares. I've tried several main dishes from Perry's Plate that I've loved, but never a dessert. This one sounds yummy.
3. DIY headbands. I've been wanting a scarf-like head wrap for awhile, and I just recently came across this. Looks very simple, and it doesn't require sewing, which is perfect for me.
4. Add a "Pin It" button to blog pictures.
5. Tab-Top Curtain Tutorial. We really need a better curtain for our master bath, and this looks like the perfect tutorial to walk me through how to make my own.
6. Grilled Malibu Chicken. It seems like this might be a BYU thing? I don't know since I didn't go to college there; I do know that I love chicken and pineapple.

*The only thing better than Pinterest is a collection of Pinterest Fails. And by better I mean funnier.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Arrival of Our Little Love

In just a few days my baby girl will turn ONE. I cannot even wrap my brain around how fast this last year went by, but I guess that's what happens when you have kids. At least that's what people tell me.

Since tomorrow is Valentine's Day and we're rapidly approaching the momentous first birthday, I thought I'd share the story of her birth, which I wrote around a week postpartum.

Be warned: labor and delivery was the most intensely natural thing I have ever done, and I didn't spare any details. If you get squeamish at the mention of bodily fluids, you may not want to read. I'm in favor of keeping it real.

Now, let's continue.

It all started with my 39 week OB appointment on Wednesday the 15th. I went in that morning by myself, and Dr. Meritt did an internal exam. I was 7 cm dilated that morning, but I still wasn't having any labor signs. I was continuing to lose quite a bit of my mucous plug, but that'd been happening for weeks. I wasn't having contractions nor had my water broken, though I was so worried it might happen at any moment and I wouldn't be ready! Dr. Meritt said her comfort level with me walking around so dilated was quickly diminishing. She asked if I'd be willing to be induced later that afternoon or on Thursday. I asked if we could wait until Friday (I don't really know what difference I thought another day would make, except maybe I thought I'd be able to get my free continuing education hours at work that day??). She said she wouldn't be at the hospital on Friday, so I consented to inducing on Thursday morning.

I wrote this email to Cristy after my appointment:
Hi Cristy,
I had a doctor's appointment this morning and I'm 7 cm doctor wants to induce me tomorrow morning! She said she's concerned about an ascending infection since so much of my amniotic sac is exposed, so I'm going to do it. I'm nervous...but it's good to know this is my last day at work so that I can tie up loose ends.
She said unless I object, they'll give me a small dose of pitocin and then she'll come to check on me and break my water. What do you think about that?
Did I mention I'm nervous?? haha
Cristy responded saying personally she'd wait until fully dilated to have her water broken because she perceives less risk of c-section that way. When I talked to her later, she said she hoped that her email hadn't scared me; she wished she had just said, basically, "trust your doctor," which is what I did. =)

I went to work at Overton after my doctor's appointment, but didn't see students. Instead I spent the day sending A LOT of emails and making phone calls to cancel my drop-in therapy session for the next morning. I visited the PPCD room and told Sarah, the PPCD teacher, about my appointment, and I also said goodbye to two of my first graders. I hadn't intended to do so, but one of the first grader's teachers stopped by my office and told me his father passed away over the weekend. I wanted to stop by and give him a hug and let him know I was going to have my baby the next morning, so I did. I filled out an SSI questionnaire for a student to potentially receive disability payments. I entered ARD paperwork for this week's ARDs and talked to Alia, the Sp.Ed. resource teacher, about a transfer student. I got two new students the week that I left that I never even met. I wonder how different my caseload will be when I return from maternity leave! Alia and Ms. Hart, the bilingual PPCD teacher, chatted with me about baby stuff and Sp.Ed. stuff, and they also gave me a few presents (clothes and some crocheted hats/blankets). We have gotten SO many handmade hats, shoes, and blankets. It's amazing! I left work around 4 o'clock that afternoon knowing I wouldn't be returning for nine weeks.

I was really nervous about the induction as I left Dr. Meritt's office, but as the day went on, I felt more at peace with it. It was a relief to no longer be playing the waiting game. I knew exactly when my maternity leave would start and had a full day to calmly prepare to really leave. I no longer had to run through hypothetical scenarios in my head (i.e., "if I go into labor on Tuesday or Thursday, call the drop-in student's mom to cancel, call the bus dispatcher to cancel pick-up, etc."). Henry and I had time to go back through our hospital bags, to reconsider what we were taking and organize them better. I was able to go into the hospital well rested and fed, two things that were really important to me. I'm glad things went the way they did. Looking back it's actually a little difficult to remember what I was so nervous about. I think it was letting go of my wish for things to happen naturally and the unknown of how I'd handle labor & delivery.

That night I showered and posted news of the induction on facebook: "Looks like tomorrow will be baby's birthday. I'm going to be induced in the morning! Prayers are appreciated." So many friends responded wishing us well and letting us know they were praying for a safe delivery. That meant so much to me. Feeling that love and support brought me to tears that night, and I'm actually tearing up now thinking about it.

I dried my hair, and then we drove the Baker kids to the church for mutual. I felt tired, and on the way I had some uncomfortable contractions that didn't last. I stopped by Activity Days once we got to the church and gave Hilary her thank you note. Reagan, one of the Primary kids, said my baby bump looked so big. haha. I hadn't stayed for Primary since the end of January, so I guess it'd been a while since she'd seen me. Henry and I went by Madam Mam's on the way home, and I ate chicken fried rice for my last pregnancy dinner. =) We spent the remainder of the evening in bed reading through the Childbirth Prep booklet we got from our class. We practiced the breathing and relaxation techniques together. I read a few more things in the Ina May's Guide to Childbirth book just as a review and to psych myself up. I'm so glad we practiced because we really hadn't before that night. Henry said afterwards that he'd recommend that all husbands go over that with their wives before the big day. Henry really surprised me with how great of a coach he turned out to be. He gave me a blessing of comfort, and then we went to bed.

We were supposed to get to the hospital by 6:30 the next morning, so we got up around 5:45. Even with all of our preparation the night before, we were still running late. I got dressed and put my hair up. I'm trying to remember if I put on any makeup that morning...haha. I think I just moisturized and put on some powder. Henry made me a flax waffle with apple butter on top, and then I drank part of a fruit smoothie. Henry was distracted, probably because of nerves, and I actually had to tell him it was time to leave for the hospital. Thankfully we live right around the corner, so even though we left our apartment at 6:30, we were still only about five minutes late.

We sat down in the registration waiting room for only a minute or two before a nice woman named Mary came to check us in. We presented our IDs and insurance cards and initialed away on consent forms. Mary commented that we seemed really calm, and I did feel calm. I wasn't thinking too much about what was about to happen.

Another hospital worker came and escorted us up to Labor and Delivery. Things were busy, busy at the nurses' station as they were about to change shifts. The nurse who took us back to our room said I looked familiar. I told her that we'd been there last Thursday/Friday with our false alarm. She said she thought she'd seen me at her child's school, and I told her I do work for the school district. At that point I was starting to get nervous though so I didn't continue that conversation.

We had an RN and an RN in training (or maybe just a new hire), Danette and Amber, tending to us in our L&D room. I loved Danette. She was an awesome nurse, which I'd guess is why she was training someone else. Things took a little longer than I expected to get started because she'd explain everything to Amber, but that was okay. Henry and I were just chilling in the room while they quietly talked to one another. We actually had time to look over the breastfeeding powerpoint notes before things got started, which I was really happy about. Henry got the music on my iPhone set up. Amber placed my IV on the first try, and they ran some sugar water (at least I think that's what it was). They also monitored baby's heart rate and my contractions for awhile. I was having fairly strong contractions on my own--some I felt, some I didn't--about 10 minutes apart. They checked me and I was still about 7 cm dilated.

A little before 8 AM they started the pitocin. I'm not sure what the numbers meant, but I think they told me they started at 2 with the pitocin. The contractions picked up, but were manageable to breathe through just with the deep inhale/exhale. Shortly thereafter, Dr. Meritt arrived to break my water, so it's hard to say how much of my labor contractions were due to the pitocin or if it was really the breaking of waters that did it. I guess that's neither here nor there. I expected it to hurt or at least be uncomfortable when she broke my water, but it didn't. I barely felt the puncture; I just felt lots of warm, gushing fluid afterward.

The nurses left the room, and the contractions picked up quickly both in intensity and frequency. I told Henry I didn't want to continue to lie on the hospital bed. My butt was getting sore, and I wanted to try some of the different laboring positions. I didn't end up moving around too much because the contractions were so strong. I got in the rocking chair and did much of my laboring sitting upright. I also tried to stand up with Henry's support, but I quickly returned to sitting because I didn't feel safe when the contractions came. Henry was right there close to me the whole time. I had my headphones in with my relaxation music playing (mostly Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Paul Cardall piano, Primary lullaby songs, and Enya) the whole time, but Henry would turn the volume down when I wasn't having a contraction so that I could hear him. They came about three minutes apart, and it took all of my focus to get through them without freaking out. Henry made sure I was looking him in the eyes, I held his hand tightly, my music was turned up loud, and we did the breathing hee-hee-hee-who's together. My lower back hurt with the contractions so he also massaged me there. Despite his superb coaching I still started to freak out a time or two. I think at some point the nurses came in and increased the pitocin to 4, but that's the highest it got. The contractions rushed over my entire body. It was really intense, but thankfully they did not last for more than a minute.

I started to think with each contraction that I wasn't sure how many more times I could stand to breathe through the pain, and I voiced this to Henry. The next time Danette came in he asked her about the possibility of an epidural, and she suggested she check my dilation. I got back on the bed when I wasn't having a contraction. She said I was fully dilated at that point, so I could start pushing with the contraction. I think I started feeling the urge to push while in the chair. It felt like really low pressure, like I needed to have a BM. Danette told me that it would feel much better to be able to push with each contraction and that could not have been more true. The contractions continued to be intense, but now I felt like I had a way to fight through them. I really have no idea how long I was in this transition/pushing stage or laboring for that matter; I just know I felt such relief to actually be able to do something. Danette called Dr. Meritt's office and told her she needed to come over to the hospital (her office is right across the street). A little while later she came into the room with the surgical tech person. It took a few tries to coordinate my breathing with the pushing, but I got it down and started pushing with all my might with each contraction. I imagined the top of my uterus pushing the baby farther down each time, and between contractions, I said positive affirmations like, "I can do this!
I am doing it!" I tried to keep telling myself positive things throughout the entire process, and I think it helped.

Pretty soon Dr. Meritt told me she could see Elle's head . She and the surgical tech were pouring on lots of olive oil, and Dr. M was supporting my perineum. It felt like she was stretching it out. With each push I let out a low, guttural sound.  I remember feeling the burning sensation when the baby was crowning, and I think that's when Dr. M told me to stop pushing. I was able to pause--I think Henry had me do candle blows--but somehow I ended up with a second degree tear anyway. I don't know when that happened, and the truth is, I don't really care. I would've done anything at that point to get Miss Elle out! And just moments later, I pushed and of course she did come out!

She was placed on my stomach immediately (sometime during the pushing stage, Henry did a great job of reminding the staff of my wishes for skin-to-skin contact and to let the cord pulsate before clamping). The umbilical cord was shorter than I expected, so she couldn't reach all the way up to my chest. Holding my daughter for the first time was amazing. She let out a good cry. She was a perfectly healthy, slippery little thing with her arms flailing around. I don't remember, but Henry said the first words from my mouth were, "She's beautiful!" Then I remember thinking, "Oh my gosh, she's a real baby!" Until I actually saw her it was difficult to imagine her as a real, living, breathing tiny human, but the moment I did, reality hit me. She was beautiful. Is beautiful. She will be forever and always. Henry and I are in love.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

2012 Year in Review Infographic

2012 was the year of the infographic, right? Seems like it to me. The design nerd in me is a big fan, and when New Year's Eve rolled around and I still hadn't checked off "write end of year letter" from my to-do list, I decided that an infographic was the perfect way to go. It may have helped that Merrick recently reminded me of this letterpress card I pinned a long time ago.

This is our third year to send out an end of year card to friends and family (second year to send them via email to save money), and if I do say so myself, this is the best yet. Definitely blows last year's out of the water, but that's not saying much since I threw it together while sick and very pregnant.

I'm glad I went with the infographic. It was much less daunting than the thought of sitting down and trying to write an essay about the whole year. And I looove the way it looks. And since I subconsciously used the color scheme of Elle's* baby book, I can print it, and it will fit right in. =)

Source List
1. Fonts (in order of appearance): Perpetua Titling MT, Sail, Pigeon, Quaver Sans, Mensch, Piron V2, Homestead, Pea Bethany's Doodles, Pea Igna's Doodles, Pea Bhea Script (Many of these can be downloaded for free here or here.)
2. Arrows--this includes a tutorial on how to add brushes to Photoshop that I wish I'd read years ago. I love when people share their talents for free.
3. Graphics: I just googled what I wanted + silhouette and found them (baby silhouette, house silhouette, cruise ship silhouette).
4. I pieced together my own photo template using Paislee Press's DIY Project No. 1.

*I've decided that Elle will be my daughter's nickname on the blog for privacy's sake. Also, watermarks. I don't like them, but the reality is there are weirdos out there who steal pictures and pretend they're their own. I wouldn't blame them. Look at my baby. Hello, cuteness overload. But I'm going to do what I can to prevent stealing.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Hello, 2013!

Anyone reading this?

I know it has been ages since I've updated this blog. It hasn't been a priority, and I won't say that it will be this year either because real life > the Internet. I'm constantly having to remind myself to step away from the computer, put down the phone (and now I have a Kindle, so I have to put that down too) to engage in real life. And oftentimes I still end up spending too much time on the computer, so it's just better to not hold myself to any expectations at all for see alli scrap. (I'm not saying blogging is bad. I love reading blogs, and I'm Mormon; journaling is what we do. I have a private journal where I record the personal details of our lives. It's just too hard for me to keep any consistency with this second blog.)

That said, I do want to keep the site up and running so that I can post from time to time. Today I'm back because I cannot resist the urge to talk about my goals for the New Year and the progress I've made on my 101 in 1001 list. When I was in school, I was one of those kids who could not wait to get my school supplies and plan my back to school outfit. Although (let's be honest) I didn't want to surrender my freedom, I did love the excitement of a new school year. The beginning of the new year feels exciting to me too. It's the chance at a fresh start.

I've been participating in Lara Casey's brilliant step-by-step goal setting series over the last few days. Lara inspires me to make things happen. I'm working on part 3 right now, which is deciding what you will say YES and NO to in 2013. Seems like the perfect opportunity to review my 101 goals and reflect on what needs to change. Hard to believe it's been two years since I wrote them!

Here are few things I've accomplished:*
1. Went on a cruise
2. Visited National Parks in Puerto Rico and on St. John!
3. Sang in a choir. I was actually part of the angel chorus in a Christmas pageant last December.
4. I've made huge strides domestically. I cook and clean A LOT more than I did at the end of 2010.
5. Thanks to a Groupon I saw a movie at a drive-in theater this summer!
6. I saw Wicked last year around this time.
7. Since our baby was born in February, we've used our Netflix account a ton.
8. I flossed every day for a month. I think I deserve a cookie.
9. Sent a letter to my in-laws who are serving a mission in Russia. They come home at the end of next month!
10. I made a family letter for 2011 and 2012. I just finished 2012's today, and I'm so pleased with how it turned out. I'll post it here later.
11. We saved for a down payment on a house and then actually purchased one! I didn't think that would happen before my 30th birthday, but life is full of surprises.
12. We opened a mutual fund.
13. We're still saving $100/month for a dream vacation using Smarty Pig.
14. I've read more than 10 nonfiction books. The classic novel goal isn't going so well.
15. I funded three Kiva projects.
16. We adopted a family for Christmas last year. Loved it.

1. I'm working on following FlyLady's daily tasks this month. This one has been challenging because I usually go out of town at least one weekend per month.
2. I only need to make it to the temple 4 more times to meet my goal.
3. I've been to the Family History Center once.
4. I'm writing down things I'm grateful for this month.
5. 100% visiting teaching last month (for the first time in a very long time).
6. Working on video recording (and later transcribing) 5 memories from my dad. I interviewed him when I was home for Christmas, so I've got about 12 minutes of recorded conversation so far.
7. I'm working on a google doc of important addresses.
8. I'm creeping along in the Old Testament at a snail's pace. I'm in first Chronicles now. By the way, my blog friend Rachel read all of the standard works in 2012, meaning the entire Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine & Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price. That blows my mind. She is a rock star.

Things I still really want to do two years later:
1. Go camping.
2. Have professional photos taken this year of our family. 
3. Review ASL.
4. Go to the temple more.
5. Clean out Google Reader (again).
6.Volunteer at Capital Area Food Bank.
7. Go to Enchanted Rock/swim in Hamilton Pool.
8. See a Jack Johnson concert (probably not going to happen by September).
9. Eat more fruits and veggies.
10. Finish the Old Testament.

Then there are other things I want to work on--primarily related to my marriage, parenthood, and my new home--that were seriously overlooked the first go round. That's why I'm going through the Making Things Happen steps. Do you have any goals for 2013? I love to read what everyone wants to accomplish. Share yours!

*I've updated the original 101 in 1001 list if you want a breakdown of every little thing.