January 30, 2013

little of this and that.

1. Monday night, my neighbors(Patty, Cynthia and daughter Libby) and I went to dessert at a fancy restaurant downtown to celebrate Libby's birthday. I am so fortunate to have such amazing neighbors. They are my dear friends and wise mentors.

I have never really been to a fancy restaurant before. When John and I went on our very first date in college, we smuggled Taco Bell into the movie theatre, showing Road to Wellville...which ended up being the most awkward movie to mankind. Well, for a first date. All the bodily functions...need I say more?

Anyhow. John and I would stay up rollerblading til 3 am. On Sundays when the cafeteria was closed, John would make me rice from his rice cooker. And sometimes we had Top Ramen. That is all I knew.

So, yah...no fancy restaurants for this girl. And truth be told, I've kind of snubbed the whole idea anyway.

Until I walked into the fancy restaurant Monday night and was kind of floored. In a good way.

Libby's mom remarked "Libby could get used to this life".

"Um, me too!", I joyfully exclaimed, much to my own surprise. This was FUN! The desserts were crazy and interesting and altogether bizarre. Beet ice cream and sweet potato pie, among others.

I know it sounds kinda icky but dessert turned out fantastic.

While eating our fluffy expensive desserts, Patty and Cynthia started raving about a movie they had recently seen: Les Miserables.

In high school, my parents took me to see Les Mis live at the Pantages Theatre in LA.

I fell in love with the music and played it all the time on the piano. My favorite was "A Little Fall of Rain". Sooooo pretty.

Patty and Cynthia were going on and on and on how incredible this movie was.

I'm like, really?

They said it "encapsulates the grace of God in such a powerful way" and that "I would be talking about it for days". Cynthia retold the whole movie to her kids saturday and it took 2.5 hours. 

"Wow, they listened to you that long?", I asked incredulously.

"I'm a good story teller" Cynthia replied.

Must be.

So Patty and Cynthia decided we all needed to see it together...so we made plans to see it this weekend. Hugh Jackman, Kurt Russell and Anne Hathaway, here I come! I'm really excited.

Have you seen it?

2. Have you ever seen such a miserable little lego in all your life?

Meet Gollum and his "precious"(the ring) from the Hobbit.

Twain accidentally dropped Gollum and the gold ring in the toilet the other day, much to my mortification.

"Get 'Gobblin' he sobbed hysterically.


I looked in the toilet and saw Gollum and the ring taking a little swim.
I fished them out of the toilet for my boy.
And never felt so defiled in my life.

But how could I say no to this face?

So happily reunited with 'Gobblin' after the thrilling ride down the toilet bowl.

This is why I call Twain "my round faced boy". Could eat those cheeks right up.

Today Twain and I had the best conversation at the park.

Twain: Mommy where is Jesus? I can't see Him.
Me: Jesus lives in our hearts, I said, patting his chest. And Jesus lives up in heaven with God. One day, if you believe in Jesus, you will get to live in heaven too! It's the best place.
Twain: I want to believe in Jesus.
Me: Ok, let's pray: "Dear Jesus, Twain wants to believe in you and go to live in heaven with you one day. Please help him obey. Amen."

Do I think Twain is truly saved and understands the cost of being a disciple?

No, not really. I don't think He has any clue what it entails. However, I am planting seeds and praying that as he grows, he will continue to be receptive toward Jesus. It will be my greatest joy to see each of my boys grow to love Jesus as much as I do.

3. The 2 older boys and I are still very busy with the after school reading program. Once a month, we celebrate the birthdays of that month.

Each month, Christina from my impact group(like a small group...I know, I know the Christian jargon these days is ooc...out of control)bakes cupcakes for the kids and I get to bring them. Christina has been so incredibly faithful to this job and it warms my heart to see her put in such an effort for these poor little kids.


Some of these kids have never had cupcakes before. One time, one of the kids had no idea how to eat one and was trying to eat the paper liner with the cupcake.

Finn dropped the cupcake tower and the flowers got smushed. But everyone loved them anyway.

Our church gives each "impact group" an allowance of money to spend on the community and I think it's the coolest thing on the planet. (A generous person donated money for the impact groups to spend, in hopes that the members would get a taste for giving and be inspired to spend their own money too!). Part of our allowance goes to buying bday gifts for the kids.

Some of these kids don't get any presents from their families.

We ask the kids what they want for their bday and buy it for them. The kids love it. So honored to be part of this reading program. Even when it seems like I am not making any headway.

Seriously my group of boys seemed to be regressing this month with their reading skills. They are in 4th grade and have such trouble pronouncing words. They don't stop at periods and they sound like robots. I work so hard to teach them, but sometimes they just cannot focus.


There is love. And we teach them a bible story at the end of each session. And they might not ever be the readers I want them to be...but they will go home knowing a little more about Jesus and feeling loved and that is what counts to me.

I have so much more I could say to you right now. But I'm soooo sleepy and can't think and am gonna get ready for bed. Just wanted to pop my head in and say hi. 

January 24, 2013

let's talk about hair

It's been hair cutting week at our household. Everyone got their 'hairs did'.

I am the official hair cutter for John and the boys. It's a stressful job. The boys wiggle and I get all crankypants on them. But it saves so much money, that I feel like it's worth the hassle.

Because seriously. Boys need their hair cut every 4-6 weeks. That's like around $70-$75 dollars of savings right there.

I don't really know what I'm doing half the time. Sometimes my hair cuts come out good, other times...notsomuch.

I kind of like Ollie's hair in a longer messy faux hawk. But the back was starting to get wildly poofy. So I had to take action.

I'm totally legit with my little smock, scissor and clippers.

I did not end up using the clippers on Ollie. I only used the scissors on him this time.

It came out a little shorter than anticipated. It never comes out the same twice. But that is what you get when I am the barber.

This week, I was trying a new hair technique on John, per his instructions. He said, "Run your fingers through the top of my hair and snip up against your fingers so it's all the same length."

Sounded simple enough. And at first it was simple. 

Until I felt a "SNIP" right through my hand. I shrieked loudly.

I looked down and saw that I had snipped a v-shaped cut into my skin. I knew instantly it was going to be a bleeder. "Ok John, your hair cut is now over!", I said as I rushed inside to deal with my war wound. 

Poor guy sat out there befuddled. "Were you even finished?" he wondered.

"Um...I am now" I replied. Because that's what you get when I am the barber. 

I even got my hair done this week too! I am not even going to pretend that I know what's in style right now. 

Vogue and New York Times said that this famous model has the hottest new cut of the year.

I personally think she looks better with it long. But what do I know? I am scissor shy with my hair and never do anything too adventurous. I always had a short bowl hair cut as a kid. So.

Although you cannot even tell from this pic, I did get 1 inch cut off and it feels soooo much better.

I also get highlights put in.

You could not really tell from the above picture, but my roots were getting bad. See?

I get my hair done every 11 weeks. How often do you get your hair done?

I wash my hair every 2-4 days. Generally, I curl my hair the same day I wash it, as seen here.

As the days go by, my curls get looser. Which I actually prefer...at least most of the time. I use a hot stick. I got the biggest barrel I could find at the time, but I wish it were even bigger, so that my curls would be looser.

And I don't think you have met my padawan tail yet, have you? Well it's high time you guys were introduced.

My niece Hannah wove this embroidery thread through my hair last summer.

John and I affectionately call it my "padawan tail" because it reminds us of the tails that Anakin and Obi Wan had when they were young "padawans"...in training to be jedis:

I just found out today that they are actually called padawan braids.

And each time I go to the hair salon, I am in wild suspense over whether or not my hair dresser will cut my tail off. But it's still here.
The plan is to cut it off when it grows longer than my hair. Or when I can tolerate it no further. It will leave a clump of short hair when cut off.

Welp, that's about as wild as I get when it comes to my hair. When I was a kid, I really wanted red hair and would campaign with little signs all over the house. But mom said no.

What is the wildest thing you have ever done to your hair?

January 20, 2013

my week.

1. This week I stayed home a lot. Ollie and I made this bustling metropolis from bristle blocks.

But don't be too impressed with our architectural skills. We just followed directions on the label.

Here is Twain's addition to our city. Looks more like that robot Wall-E. But don't tell him I said so.

2. The boys have taken to plastering pictures on their walls with my washi tape.

Hm. Wonder where they got that idea from.

Oh my word, this literally pains my eyes (kitties + dala horses= no). But what am I supposed to do? I don't want to hurt Ollie's feelings.

3. This winter has been unseasonably cold. There was frost on the ground for over a week straight. I don't know how some of you guys survive the snow. Tell me. How does your body adjust? I think my body went into shock. I feel stiff and slow.

I wear this hoodie 24/7. I get strange comments when I walk into trader joes, looking like an eskimo. But I care not.

This picture was taken a few weeks ago when my dearie Jessica was out visiting. Every visit with her is always special and requires documentation.

4. My sister Jessica lent me her Pride and Prejudice and Emma DVD's. Finn actually sat and watched Emma with me. He's at such a fun age where we enjoy many of the same books and movies.

I have come to a conclusion: Girls these days don't really look like girls anymore. (Please don't take offense at me... I mean no insult to anyone).

It's just that...they used to wear fun girlie dresses all the time. And dress up and go to balls. Even though I have two left feet, I imagine that even I would enjoy dancing at a ball. My only consolation is that I would most likely look pretty mousy in one of those fancy gowns--you kind of need a fabulous full figure to pull that off. And I am also consoled by the fact that I love my jeggings too much to wear a dress every day. But it would be fun for a while, no?

And I'm so fascinated by all the manners that took place in that society. I had to ask my sister a million questions like "Why was Mr. Collins not supposed to introduce himself to Mr. Darcy?" And "When boys called on girls, why did they just stiffly sit there and make awkward conversation?"

5. I went to a very special funeral this week. This is my beloved beautiful friend Megan and her husband. Megan's mama went to be with Jesus, after fighting a courageous battle.

Megan(and her mama) and Jason are my heroes. They have taught me so much through their sufferings.

It was a bittersweet journey, walking alongside them as they faithfully took care of Megan's sweet beautiful mama. Bitter in that I hate to watch my loved ones suffer. Sweet in that it's such an honor to be with my dear friends in both their joys and sorrows.

"Rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn" Romans 12:15.

Our pastor Eric did the service. I think he was the perfect person. He never ever sounds like he's reciting from a text book. In fact, you never know what Eric is going to say. He speaks directly from his heart and is very authentic. At church he always says things like "Wrinkles are beautiful because it means you smiled your whole life and worked hard outdoors". Love that.

At the funeral, he somehow made me feel glad to be mourning, if that is possible. He said,

"It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting" Ecclesiastes 7:2.

Let's face it. Most of us would rather not go to a funeral. I know I would not. Our bodies would much rather go to a party. But in reality, our souls actually need to go to a house of mourning...without all the noise and distractions of a party. Because at a funeral, we actually sit still and think about what is really important: our eternal destination.

And he encouraged us not to fight our sadness and to just go with it. Which is a good thing, because I was blinking back tears as soon as I drove up. It was a relief to not have to pretend to be brave.

At the same time, he reminded us that we don't mourn like the rest of the world, because we have the hope of Jesus.

It's still hard though(Pastor Eric on the left).

Dear friend Barbie and I. She has been such a consolation through this all.

6. John was looking for recipes on Pioneer Women's blog tonight. I find this slightly disturbing.

And then he emailed me a link so I can make her sloppy joes.

Is this normal behavior for one's husband?

7. Finally. And I've decide that 3 cats is too many cats(I know, I know. Some of you are probably thinking "I told you so!" Go ahead. Rub it in).

However, like Marilla said when Anne got into so much trouble in the early days: "But I've put my hand to the plow and I won't look back."

Because even though I'm tripping over cats (and boys) , I love these kitties so much it's ridiculous. I could never get rid of any of them.

Not a day goes by where I don't tell Blue "you are such a great beauty". I'm am simply in awe of her.

And I'm convinced that Moo has social anxiety disorder or some type of kitty spectrum disorder. He scrambles away as fast as he can whenever anyone so much as glances at him. But when you are all snuggled up in bed, he comes and nestles in...and I find it so endearing. 

January 16, 2013

what's on your list?

At last.

The boys were in bed and the house was quiet and dark.

I hopped into bed and popped the Anne of Green Gables(AGG) DVD into our laptop and started watching, happy with anticipation. John snuggled up next to me, and decided to watch too. (He had watched AGG as a teenager, when he lived with his best friend, while his parents were missionaries in Africa). It had been at least 15 years since I had last watched the Anne movies.

As soon as the music "Anne's Theme" started playing in the background, I started to cry.

Jeepers. This was gonna be a doozy. 

Half an hour later, the movie froze. And then skipped. And froze and skipped. What a tease. This was infuriating. Stinky library DVD for $2.15.

John and I frantically tried Netflix and every other online source to streamline, but there was nothing available. I would have to wait a few days to resume watching my beloved Anne. I had some serious withdrawals. 

I borrowed my sister's DVDs and resumed a few days later. 

I cried in almost every scene with Matthew Cuthbert and Gilbert Blythe. 

Especially in the 2nd movie(the Sequel). The devastated look on Gilbert's face every time Anne rejected his love...oh I cried buckets.

But all the heart ache was worth it, for the final scene on the bridge. 
Gilbert: "It will be 3 years before I'll finish my medical course. And even then there will be no diamond sunbursts and marble halls"

Anne: "I don't want sunbursts and marble halls. I just want you."

And they finally kiss. Swoon. I wish I could hit rewind 500 times. I'm love struck from the sweet simplicity of their story. 

While driving home today, I was listening to a christian radio station. The DJ comes on and starts asking his single female listeners to tell him what they are looking for in a guy. He begs, "What qualities do you girls want? Us guys are sooo confused! Just tell us already!"

I was like, "Dude! Watch Anne of Green Gables, ok? Take a few tips from Gilbert Blythe". 

One of the girls who worked at the radio station chimed in with her list:

-he must have a beard and wears flannels
-he must be a musician like her papa
-he must be an old soul

Kinda cute.

And then some other girls called in with things ranging from "he must be kind" all the way to "he must drive a european car". Um whatevs girls, whatevs. Can you be any more dull and insipid? 

Way harsh Tai.

So, it got me to thinking. Dangerous, I know. What would I have put on my list? Of course, my list does not matter, since I'm already spoken for.

As a younger girl, I never had a list of qualifications for prospective suitors. Did you? 

I know a few girls that did have lists though. Wonder how it turned out.  

I mean, even Anne had a list of "ideals" and that all fell to the wayside, when she discovered her undying love for Gilbert...as he lay sick in bed from typhoid fever:

"She loved Gilbert-had always loved him! She knew that now. She knew that she could no more cast him out of her life without agony than she could have cut off her right hand and cast it from her."

So relieved Annegirl came to her senses. 

Well, I feel really jipped that I was not allowed to play the game on the radio. So just for funsies, I decided to compile a list of qualities that I most highly value in friends and humans in general. 

1. loves Jesus(*revised due to reading Tracy's comment below--I can still be friends with someone who does not know/love Jesus! But love for Jesus is definitely a quality I value for a truly deeper relationship).
2. faithful (that's like waaaaay high up there for me)
3. doesn't gossip
4. slightly quirky(a bonus, not a requirement)
5. old soul
6. likes nerds/geeks and doesn't scorn the socially awkward types.
7. must love unicorns. and my 3 kitties. haaaaa. mostly kidding;)

And it's great if they are funny and can laugh at themselves, but it's not a requirement. I will still be friends with someone who is completely grave and solemn-- a Puddleglum, if you will, from The Silver Chair(Chronicles of Narnia).

So. What kind of qualities do you value in friends or prospective suitors?

January 11, 2013

tale of a wee hoarder.

I love to throw things away.

It gives me such a thrill.

Lately I have been scouring every nook and cranny of my house, looking for anything worthy of the dumpster.

We ended up having a pretty big garage sale last weekend. We had tons of clothes/toys/decorations in the attic that were taking up too much space.

Seeing the enormous bags of 'stuff' we had accumulated made me feel a bit ill, truth be told.

I was more than happy to see our stuff go.

John is such a profesh, hanging all the clothes. Garage sales are HARD work I tell ya.

And as much as this mama enjoys throwing things away, I'm afraid I can't say the same for my Ollie.

He has trouble throwing away just about everything. Little paper crafts from school and church are accumulating routinely on his bed. He truly values them, which is sweet, I suppose. Everything is sacred to my dear boy. Not to mention legos and kitties galore.

John and I have both tried to rationally sit with him on his bed and logically get rid of things.

"Ollie, pick a few things that are your favorite and we must get rid of the rest. You have nowhere to sleep!"

And this was met by a quivering lip, followed by tears of stress and agitation. It was a bit nerve wracking for all parties involved.

I was on a phone appointment with Dr. Cohen our "hippie" dr. from Santa Cruz the other day. (She works with Ollie on his spd issues and such).

"How is Ollie?", she asked.

"He's great!" I said truthfully. "Which is a first. Seriously. He has been SO pleasant for the last few months. Playing so nicely with his brothers and neighbors. Doing well in preschool and speech. He is actually easier than his brothers! Can you imagine that? But there is just this one little thing..." I said.

"He's become quite the little hoarder. And if that's the worst of my problems, I'm thrilled. But still. I don't know what to do. HELP!"

Dr. Cohen kinda chuckled and said "Let him keep three things on his bed".

I almost snorted into the phone. Just THREE THINGS? Ha. What a joke. But I was too ashamed to say so to Dr. Cohen...and we eventually hung up.

"Hm. Just 3 things" I thought to myself. "We have a lot of work to do."

While Ollie was at preschool on tuesday, I started going through all his boxes. There was at least one hundred little treasures stashed in all his boxes. I started putting things away and throwing things away in the trash outside. I felt so smug and sneaksy.

When I was done, I had narrowed it down to 21 items, most of which fit in his little box. Whew. Still have a way to go, but it was a start.

Then Ollie came home from school. When he went into his room, he got very nervous and started asking me where all his things were.

I calmly explained "You have too many things Ollie! You have nowhere to sleep! Mommy had to put some things away. But there, there", I consoled, "You still have 21 things. And Jesus wants you to be content with that".

And Ollie did that thing he does, which gets me every time. It's the worst.

He closed his eyes. And his lips were quivering. And he was trying SO hard not to cry. He was crushed. He can be such a mournful child.

"Where is my brown box?", he asked. And he started naming off various things that I had thrown in the trash.

Crud! I thought. This boy is too smart.

I decided that it was too sneaky of me to throw away his treasures without telling him. So I dug just a few things out of the trash and gave it back to him, as a token of good will.

This little boy is so sensitive.

Seriously, he knew almost every thing I had dumped.

So we don't quite have a handle on this hoarding thing yet, but I am going to keep trying and trying and trying until he is cured of it.

And it's a reminder to me
store me treasures in heaven rather than earth(Matthew 6:19-20).

by loving Jesus and His word in the Bible above all
by loving people and sharing the good news of Jesus with them
by helping people who are in need.

So tough. I fail so often.

While reading Anne(of the Island) I read a passage that really hit me.

Anne was talking to her silly frivolous boy-crazy friend, Ruby Gillis, who was (tragically)dying of consumption. Ruby was afraid to go to heaven because she thought it would be so different than her life she built here on earth, revolving around pretty dresses and such.

Anne reflects upon this grave situation:

"The little things in life, sweet and excellent in their place, must not be the things lived for; the highest must be sought and followed; the life of heaven must be begun here on earth."
--Lucy Maud Montgomery of Anne of the Island

Um, wow. Yes. So inspiring. 

Yesterday, Ollie walked in the door from preschool holding 2 crafts. I only let him keep one item.

The other went in the trash.

And we took a picture of the remaining craft and I told him "you can keep if for 2 days and then it's time to say goodbye". Am I a genius? We shall see.

There were no tears, Hallelujah.

I feel so lucky to have this amazing boy, with all his quirks therein. It's a gift.
One thing is for certain. There is never a dull moment with Ollie around.

If you ever have a kid that has a disorder, then thank the good Lord for that precious gift.

Because this kid will forever change you. For the better. 

January 8, 2013

my nose in a book

When I was but a girl, I enjoyed reading. Ya know. Babysitters Club and Sweet Valley High(My mother did not approve, for the record).

But then I grew up and went to college and had absolutely no time to read for fun.

The only time I was in the library was for researching scientific papers.

I grew to loathe the library.

Like when we were dating in college, John had to drag me in there.

I found the library so depressing and I was so burnt out on my research, I just wanted to cry at the mere thought of going.

And then we got married and had kids.

No time to read there, either. It was just too aggravating for words to be interrupted every 5 seconds, so I just did not bother.

And realistically, I still don't really have time to read, I suppose. Twain is still a young yipper snapper who constantly making outrageous demands from me, 24/7.

"I'm hundry(hungry)!"
"Make my blantet lite a stware"(make my blanket like a square--during naps and bedtime)
"Wipe my tushie!!!!"

Oh the exhaustion of it all, I could just pass out.

But somewhere along the way...that little thing called reading...began to creep up on me unawares.

It started with a book here and there...and then I read the Chronicles of Narnia. And was hooked. Just enamored beyond belief with the hobby of reading.

I was so bummed when Chronicles of Narnia were over. I missed Narnia.

But then I started reading Anne of Green Gables.

And was happily transported from Narnia to Avonlea, with Anne Shirley and Gilbert(Dreamy)Blythe. (I'm convinced that is his middle name).

I laughed.
I cried.
And mostly wanted to shout to Anne and Gil "HOOK UP ALREADY".

Anne and her pride. I found it extremely vexing.

You are killing me Anne Shirley.


But regardless of your ambivalence to Gil...I love thee Anne...ever so much.

After finishing the book, I did something I have not done in a very long time.

I went to our library today. EEK! It is simply a splendid place when you can get more books on Anne. I'm convinced that is the sole purpose of our library.

I can hardly wait to dive in.

I mean, seriously I cannot wait. Look at these two hotties.

And while I was at the library, I picked up a DVD. I feel giddy.

I was a little shocked when they charged me $2.15 for the movie. I mean, isn't the library supposed to be free? I guess times have changed. I don't know. Maybe they have always charged for movies. It's ok though, because I get to keep the movie for a whole week.

So, I got to thinking about my favorite fictional couples and here is my top 5 list.

1. Anne Shirley and Gilbert Blythe
2. Katniss and Peeta (obvi)
3. Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy(Pride and Prejudice)
4. Shasta and Aravis(from Horse and His Boy)
5. Rapunzel and Flynn Rider.

Tell me. Who are your favorite couples?

January 4, 2013

new years week and resolutions and such.

1. New Years Eve, I left the boys behind and took a little road trip to Ikea with my sisters. Driving on the open road next to sheep and bovine always makes me burst into songs of praises to my God. No matter what storms are brewing in my mind, I cannot help but worship God while on the open road.

One minute dashing through snow-capped mountains and the next moment joining the throngs of traffic  in Burbank. It's kind of unreal.

The mother ship calling me home...

I had not been to Ikea in like 15 years. It's quite the experience. I could not stop galking at all the strange  peeps, especially the guy in pink crocks. I kept pointing out weirdos to my sisters.

My sisters were like, "you must be suffering culture shock from being sheltered in a small town for so long... because we think everyone looks normal". Haaa.

My little sister Lindsay bought some super cool metal shelves from Ikea, and so I made the trip to pick some up for my house too. She gave me her blessing to be a complete copycat. Gotta love sisters. So much fun that day.

2. We rung in the New Year by traveling to my sister Jessica's house to celebrate the day with the entire family, including my boys.

Lindsay made tiny pies that were adorbs.

Jessica bought a cute tablecloth at Target. Arrows or trees? Take your pick. I love how arrows look like Christmas trees and vice versa.

Why hello Ollie! Love that boy.

3. The next day, I decided that I urgently needed a teeny tiny white unicorn from Only Hearts Club...so that I could play with Ollie and Twain and Tabby and Tux. Forgive the cruddy phone pic.

But this white unicorn is so mysterious, that it cannot be found anywhere. They only tiny unicorns being sold are pink or purple. I'm totally bitter. And nobody cares but me.

4. On my list of things to do for the new year was to buy new sneakers. My old ones were lit-er-a-lee falling apart at the seams.

My requirements: Neutral greyish color, good support for exercising and walking around town.

I went to a special store where they put you on a treadmill and take a video of your foot pronation while walking. It's pretty nifty. If you have any feet/knee/hip or back issues, I'd highly recommend this type of store. Also I stepped onto an electronic device that took digital readings of my foot/weight distribution and it was found(for the first time) that I have high arches and need great support. Who knew???!!

So I've been meaning to blog about my exercise regime(or lack thereof) on this blog for a while now. Basically I get into a groove for a month and then completely fall off the bandwagon. Either because my knees are stinging from the exercies, or I get busy or sick or what-have-you. I'm completely inconsistent. But a main problem for a while has been stinging knees whenever I run, jump or lunge. It's rude.

I have loose ligaments near my knees, according to Dr. W, and that has been part of the problem.

And today at the shoe store I learned that due to my high arches and weight distribution, it sends shocks straight up to my knees whenever I step/jump/run. Hence the stingy knees. So the shoes I bought should help with this. *crosses fingers*

Everyone in the store was wearing wild flashy colorful sneakers and all of a sudden I wanted wild ones too...everyone looked so happy and sporty in them. But alas, the shoes the fit best were these plain janes. And at the end of the day, I want happy feet and knees.

So here's to a new year with hopefully more exercise. And I should like some sporty clothes to run around town in, to match my shoes. Because I want to live in these bad boys. So not my usual style.

5. Yesterday John informed me that he wanted me to do "the LIONS SHARE" of cooking in the house from here until eternity.

Ok, maybe he did not say for eternity...

My reaction? I wanted to curl up in the corner and cry. I felt so overwhelmed. I will confess that I am NOT motivated in the kitchen. At all. My mom and sisters are amazing in this area of service to their family(and should plug their ears for a minute) while I am a bit of a black sheep in this area.

Here's the deal. I don't mind making festive meals for company or bringing people meals. It's the mundane daily grind where I fail.

And then John and I got into an argument...and the following convo makes me sound bratty(I was in a horrifically ornery mood and had a head cold):

John: "Don't you want to serve your family?"
Me: "No." (See? Ornery. I did not mean this at all.)
John: "Didn't you sign up for this deal when you decided to be a stay at home mom?"
Me: "No sorry. You got the short end of the stick when you married me. I'm sorry."(Yikes, super ornery)
John: "That's ok. I still love you as a wife. You do have other good qualities."

Poor boy. And I did later apologize for reals and ask him to forgive me for my shortcomings...which he did:)

And the root of the problem which makes me wince to write: I am a bit lazy in the kitchen.

There. I said it. No point in lying. Now I can move forward and deal with the problem.

My dear friend told me that I am part of the RCA(Resistant Cooks of America). LOL. Is this for real?

Anyhow, in order to combat this horrid RCA condition of mine, I had to come up with a plan, or resolution, if you will. I should prepare the main course of dinner in the morning or afternoon, when I have the energy and desire. Because truly, when 5 p.m. hits, I am mush. If there is not meat defrosted or a plan, I just get too overwhelmed and self destruct. If there is a plan and meat defrosted, I actually don't mind cooking at all. And we do write down all of our meals on the calendar. But it does me no good if I don't actually look at the calendar until 5 p.m.

And I'm praying for a change in attitude every time I am tempted to poop out and get lazy. Because truly truly, I realize it's a huge honor to feed these boys(and husband) of mine. And I have all the food and cooking tools at my disposal in this bountiful nation and I am truly grateful for the ease of cooking in this day and age. This a pep talk for me and anyone else who struggles with kitchen motivation.

So, with this in mind, yesterday I made a chicken pot pie and was done before 3:30 p.m. I felt like I won the lottery, at being done so early on in the day.

I mean, can't you tell from my expression?

I really was smiling ear to ear. Honest.

Such awkward selfies(self pics).

My reward for cooking dinner early in the day will be snuggling up with a book at 4 or 5 while dinner cooks in the oven.

John got me the Anne of Green Gables book at the library. I'm excited to read it next.

6. My other new years resolution. I need to learn how to be a boy scout. Or girl scout.
Basically, I have no head in emergencies.
I have no idea how to read a map or operate a compass. I barely know my bearings. I don't know where to drive when the damn breaks and floods my town(an entirely possible situation if an earthquake hits, but that's another story). And if this happens I need to drive North or South.

The entire time I have lived in this town, I was convinced that I knew which direction North, South, East and West were. I was wrong. Even though I thought I was going S, I was really going SE according to my iPhone compass.

And every time I thought I was going W, I was really going NW.

No biggie. But good to know. So I'm practicing. 

I'm learning how to be more independent and how to improvise and figure things out if need be. I could make myself crazy thinking about fires, floods, earthquakes and evacuations. Instead, I will trust in the Lord to take care of me and the boys...but in the meanwhile, do my best to learn and make wise decisions with the tools and brain he has given me.

7. One more thought on resolutions....comes from our Pastor Ryan: God is even more zealous to transform us and grow us than we are. Any change that comes about is initiated by God. Our part is to respond in obedience, and to use the tools that God has given us to do the work He set before us.

For example. If we have a neighbor who doesn't mow the lawn and we buy him an awesome lawn mower to get the job done...it's pretty pointless if our neighbor does not use the lawn mower, but instead chooses to watch t.v. all day. 

Happy New Year!