Thursday, July 12, 2018

Gratitude brings Joy

Sometimes when life gets hard it's difficult to see the abundance of blessings you already have in your life. I need to remember to write down the many, many things I am grateful for in my life. There's been actual scientific studies done to prove that: people who consistently write down the things they are grateful for in their lives are more optimistic, more joyful, and can more easily get through tough challenges than those who only see the negative. 

So here's my list because I want to be and feel more grateful today and everyday.
I am grateful for:
-Fresh raspberries from our front yard bushes.
-A strong and healthy body.
-A grocery store nearby that always has fresh food to buy.
-My husband's garden for fresh vegetables
-A home to live in that I can paint the walls any color I want.
-Cars to drive, even old ones
-My two lovable, sweet dogs who are my hiking buddies and furry friends.
-A safe neighborhood to live in with kind neighbors
-Great wilderness trails nearby and a creek to swim in on hot days
-Four little boys who are passionate and creative and fun
-My husband who loves me and supports me in so many ways
-Options and resources to educate myself and improve my life in new directions
-Good books! Book Club!
-The internet and all the ways we can learn, grow, and connect through the www.
-The scriptures and the peace they bring me.
-Jesus Christ and His everlasting atonement and His ability to heal the mind and soul.
-The power of prayer.
-A strong, courageous mind.
-Church callings and the way they stretch me.
-Thrift stores and the way they relax me and save pennies.
-The job I got working at the gym daycare in exchange for a free membership.
-The gym! Grateful for weightlifting and where it is taking me/has brought me.
-The smell of Tranquility essential oil by Plant Therapy.. MMMmmmmmm
-Online college to fit into my busy life
-My newfound love for Instagram--I love it!
-EMDR and the life changing effect it's had on my brain/life/soul
-Andrea. Just Andrea.
-Red rock mountains
-The smells of juniper and sage on a hot summer day.
-New friends to enjoy.
-Doctors, dentists, and other professionals who we rely on at times.
-The Family Support Center who babysits my two littles (weekly) when I need my sanity.
-This laptop.
-My husband's passion for creating things like wild turtle habitats in our backyard.
-Ladybugs on asparagus plants.
-Malachi's energy and excitement for everything.
-Grandmas who take time to come visit and spend time with the kids.
-Glass beads, driftwood, and string for making dangly things.
-toilet paper, tooth brushes, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, and soap. 
-Friends who text and call.
-Sautee'd spinach and garlic.
-Painted rocks that your kids find on a trail.
-The ingredients to make playdough.
-The Temple.
-Funny movies to revisit over and over again. 
-Mr. Bean
-Little boys who love to play together.
-The Grand Canyon

Sunday, May 27, 2018

The first week of summer!

The boys had their last day of school this past Wednesday for the 2017-2018 school year! Z completed 6th grade, O completed 4th grade, J completed 2nd grade, and M completed his first year of pre-school. All in all it was a fabulous year! 
Z the fat Nobleman

-Z developed a love for orchestra and jazz through his dedicated and awesome band teacher. He learned to play the flute very well and will play in summer band as well as jazz band next year. He also made a good friend and started a club that meets at our house every Friday night. He's grown out of his shyness completely and feels comfortable speaking his mind-- sharing his thoughts and opinions in public, and being a positive example and  leader to others. He has also become extremely goofy and ridiculous when he's in just the right mood. For "Ancient Civilizations Day" he dressed up as a Nobleman from the medieval period. He had learned in history that Nobelman were fat and that their fatness was a sign of prestige, thus he wore a T-shirt and filled it with stuffing for the day. Oh my.

Soccer O
-O  loved going to school this year! He loved his classes, his projects, his artwork, his reports, his lunches, and his friends. He reminds me of me at that age! He also voluntarily started walking home from school, which took him around 20 minutes. 
He asked to sign him up for 1 week of summer camp (also so me) so that he could further explore different subjects and be in a social environment with other kids from his school. He's also attending a 2 day science camp this summer. He loves creating artwork and he played soccer this past season and kicked butt. He used to be really shy on the field but he really got in there this time and played a strong defense. He is such a loving, sweet, and fun boy who is kind to everyone!
J's Eagle Habitat

-J is such a sweet, sensitive, shy, and tenderhearted child. When he comes home from school we do a lot of analyzing to help him understand all the things that happened there during the day. He learned a lot this year about how to make friends, what to do at recess and lunch, how to react to other's weird behavior, how to assert himself when he has to use the bathroom, and basically  how to navigate the ins and outs of 2nd grade. He learned right away that he likes school and he likes to learn all the cool stuff, but he doesn't necessarily like everything. And that's okay. It's okay not to love everything...because that's life. He also figured out that if he wears his jacket everyday that has the zippered pockets he can bring any toys he wants out to recess weather they are allowed to or now. That's my boy. :) 

-M went to pre-school twice a week this past year. This kid is a social butterfly who loves to keep busy! Pre-school was the perfect choice for him. He was in a class with 10 other 3 year olds where they learned their letters, sang songs, painted pictures using all sorts of cool techniques (have ya heard of painting with legos or marshmallows??) and played outside where everyday he would have his teacher Mrs. Woolsey swing him on the swings. 
Mommy subs pre-school
When I picked him up at the end of the 2 1/2 hours he was never ready to go and made me wait while she pushed him just one.more.time! I got to substitute his class a couple times this year and had a lot of fun playing pre-school teacher. I brought our true-to-life-Jack-rabbit puppet to entertain, which the kids thought was super awesome. 

Next year Mally will be attending pre-school 4 days a week and I think he's gonna love it! 

This was the first year where all 4 of our older boys attended school for an entire year. I am so proud of each of them for the strong, mature, amazing, and kind children they are. I know that sending children out into the world isn't the easiest decision. There are days when I just want to keep them home, wrap them in my arms, and pretend they're all toddlers again. 
But, they are growing up and they are learning to be progressive, able-bodied, functioning people in this world. I feel that they are leaps and bounds ahead of me when I was their ages. They understand people and the world in a different way and are able to make mature and confident decisions. They know who to make friends with and who to stay away from. They know when their teachers are fair and kind when a teacher is unfair or wrong. They know how to make good decisions and how to talk about their problems. They know how to be leaders and how to set an example of goodness.

I don't know what the future will hold as far as homeschooling anyone or not. We're just going to play it year by year and see how we all do.  Right now I am appreciating the moments of quiet I get to catch up on housework, exercise, plan, and recharge my batteries for when they all come rushing through the door. I love my boys so much and I also love my quiet time. (two truths)

Summer is my absolute favorite season! I am so excited to spend the next few months playing with my boys. The last couple nights we've gone to the park to play freeze-tag. I love it when we can do fun things like this outside together.
I thank God everyday that I have a strong, healthy body that can chase these little boys around. They keep me so busy, but like I say, I wouldn't have it any other way...
Happy Summer! 

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

I joined Instagram!

I joined Instagram. I know, I know, I am about 8 years behind, but since I quit facebook 6 months ago I am realizing more and more that I still want and need to stay in touch with distant friends. Instagram seems like the most simplistic and meaningful way to do it, without all the bombardment of the personal soap boxes and politics getting in the way. 

So...come find me on Instagram at Sallyseashell2018 where I'll be sharing awesome photos. And that's all.

Friends often ask me why I up and quit facebook. There are so many reasons why but the most important reason was that I felt a very strong prompting from the Holy Ghost that I needed to step back from social media. The spirit had been prodding me for years trying to tell me that it was not the healthiest distraction for me, that it was taking too much of my time and focus, that I was experiencing more anxiety because of it, and that I was becoming a slave to social media addiction. And because I'm often stubborn and prideful I kept telling myself that I was fine, that I could handle the distractions, that it was important for me to stay in touch, that I needed the distraction to stay sane as a mom, etc, etc.
But I knew in my heart those reasons weren't true. 
And because I have an addictive personality I also knew that I couldn't quit on my own so I enlisted the help of my eldest son. I basically had him change my password so I couldn't get back on until I felt ready to handle it on my own. 
I admit the first month was hard. I was so used to checking facebook everyday for the past seven years that the impulse to click on the app was overwhelming. It was like having a big, delicious bowl of pudding in front of me yet knowing I couldn't touch it. Grrrr! I LOVE pudding!  
Yet, after about a month of not being able to check it, the urges to check it stopped and the desire be on there started to wane completely. Most of all I felt the spirit confirm in my heart that I made the right choice. That was such an amazing feeling that I'll never forget.

After about a month and a half of no facebook I asked my son to give me the password. By that time I was able to clearly see the amazing benefits of quitting facebook and was able to easily deactivate my account. That was 6 months ago and I don't think I will ever return.

The most  positive benefit of quitting is the powerful way that my mind cleared. It was like a loud radio suddenly turned to low volume. Or a rushing waterfall suddenly slowing to a trickling stream. Or a crowded room full of people quieting down to a hush.
That's how my mind feels. Quiet, focused, serene, and clear.
It also feels like a conduit of creative, spiritual, and nurturing energy opened up for me. Because I'm not focusing my day-to-day on the other people's problems that I can't fix, or comparing my life to people I barely knew from college, or receiving abrasive rants and raves about politics and religion, I feel an infinite amount of ability to use my talents, skills, and care for those around me in my nearby vicinity. I have a grater desire to serve those in my community and my family. I see the world in a greater, happier light. I feel the spirit more readily and receive clearer answers to my prayers. 
The amount of revelation I need for raising these little people feels more easily in my grasp. I have a clearer memory and less anxiety about the world around me. I feel more inspired to focus on creative projects for the sake of doing something for myself. I feel more joy and less hustle when I spend quality time with my husband and  children. 

Facebook was such a bittersweet experience for me. There were so many wonderful, positive, sharing moments yet a lot of negative, too. I know it's not the same for everyone. I have friends who don't really think about it that much. They can casually check facebook maybe once or twice a week and move on with their lives. I couldn't. I would absorb every ounce of emotion and feeling and problem there was to consider and never give my brain a break. 
I'm so glad that's over. 

So, I'm going to give Instagram a try (but if it starts to feel like too much you'll know why I've disappeared again.) 

Friday, May 18, 2018

Spring animals

We have some new animal friends around here. Two new baby chicks to add to our flock of hens and a Slider turtle that some friends were getting rid of. Sometimes I can't believe how many animals we have around here to take care of (2 dogs, 1 cat, 2 snakes, 1 Cockatiel, 2 sucker fish, 5 chickens, and a turtle) but I can't imagine life without them! 

These little creatures enrich our lives and make us happy. I hope the feeling is mutual. :) 

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Weird Al in S. Utah

Tickets for Weird Al's "The Ridiculously Self-Indulgent Ill-Advised Vanity Tour" went on sale this past October so we bought 4 of them on opening day! We got excellent seats for myself, Micah, and our two eldest boys 8 months in advance! The concert was this past May 4th! I am so glad we got to go and also that my husband is so in tune with what cool things are coming to town because I had no idea. This concert was AMAZING!! 

Weird Al is one of my favorite musicians...more than because he has written some of the most hilariously funny parody songs of my generation but also because he is a brilliant musician on so many other levels. What many people don't know (who don't know Weird Al) is that he writes many of his own original songs which are brilliant, clever, comical, and shed light on many social and cultural issues but in a really lighthearted way. He also sings, plays instruments like the accordion, and has amazing hair.
 As we've followed his career over the years I've come to appreciate much more than his popular hits and have come to admire him as a talented artist and overall good person. 
By the way he's also a decent family man, his lyrics are clean, and yes, you can bring your kids to the show! Our boys loved it! It was so fun to be able to sit with them in the crowd and laugh and clap together at all the great things that are Weird Al. He is a phenomenal entertainer! And his opening act was a comedian called Emo Phillips who was pretty entertaining as well. he he...

The tour that Weird Al (and Emo) are on right now is not one of his mainstream tours designed to promote his most recent album. This tour was specifically intended for Weird Al to play all his obscure, original, and not as frilly songs purely for the fans who love his music. And it didn't disappoint! His music is awesome whether he performs "Amish Paradise" or "Buy me a Condo."

In lucky addition to getting to attend a Weird Al concert in semi-rural Southern Utah it also coincidentally landed on the unofficial official Star Wars Day, which means that he played 
The Saga Begins as his encore song. Score! It was great! And as a bonus people were waving their LED light-up light-sabers in the audience as he played. 

Overall this concert was so much fun and reminded me of how much I love going to concerts. I mean I REALLY miss going to them and miss having that rich, musical culture in my life. It's hard sometimes living in such a rural place, but I guess in the long run it makes these moments so much sweeter. 

Monday, May 7, 2018

I hiked in Zion and it felt good

Last Saturday I was able to check off a huge goal from my list--hiking Observation Point trail in Zion National Park! It was 8 miles up and back and one of the most gorgeous (amazing, phenomenal, inspiring, incredible, breathtaking) hikes I have ever been on!

My eldest son was going to come with me but got sick last minute. So, although I know that we would have had a lot of fun together I was actually really grateful that I was able to hike by myself because I had a lot to think about and needed some space to clear my head. 
Not only did I get 4 entire hiking hours to think and clear my head, but I also got a whole hour 1/2 on the car drive there and an entire hour 1/2 back to clear my head! There's no better way to clear your head than driving 85 MPH while blasting the soundtrack to Wicked that my Dad sent me years ago. (p.s. that's another goal on my list--to see the Broadway musical Wicked someday!) Oh and don't forget the 20 minutes to clear my head while standing in line for the Zion shuttle plus the 20 minutes it took to ride the shuttle to the drop-off stop for Observation Point trail head. If you're wondering at this point if my head got cleared, indeed it did. (However, it's filling back up again so I'm going to need another recharge-myself-date real soon! Mollie's Nipple next?)

This hike blew me away more than I imagined. For some reason I thought it would be just a bunch of hard switch-backs going up the side of the cliffs, but it was much more than that. This trail took me through some amazing stuff like narrow canyon walls, water pools, forests of trees, sandstone over-hangings, and beautiful view-points along the way. 

Have you ever been somewhere that is so dang beautiful that it makes you want to cry? That's what Zion does for me. And not just because my calves were burning all the way to the top. This place is truly a spectacular gift from God. I am so lucky to live so close by!


Sunday, April 22, 2018

Sunday Surroundings- a nearby desert wash

Nearly every Sunday after church we go exploring in the beautiful surroundings of our nearby wilderness. I can't think of a better thing to do with our family on the Sabbath day than be surrounded by the natural outdoor gifts God has given us.
We live in a large valley surrounded by the most majestic red rock mountains and sandstone architectures that seem to have been sculpted by God himself. However, we learn as we explore how they were formed and continue to change- from water, wind, and natural erosion-sculpted from the creations of the earth.
Southern Utah has some of the most gorgeous and interesting geology. We are so lucky to be able to drive five minutes and be surrounded by breathtaking scenery and profound learning experiences. I don't take it for granted!

Okay, sometimes I do.
Which is why I feel it is important for me to write down these experiences, even so small as they are, to realize how much I truly love it here.
 There are some real burn-out moments in my week where I long to be surfing on my North Shore or backpacking through some foreign lands but am forced back to my reality-- being that I am a busy mama to four little boys who need me to be physically, mentally, and emotionally present, constantly.
The great thing is that they need me here in this gorgeous red rock country, here among these sandstone cliffs, and here where life is tiring and busy yet amazing and serene all at the same time.

Today Micah took us off a little path up in the red hills to explore a wash that is rarely bothered with hikers. Odin and Micah had been there once before so they knew some really cool things to show us, but otherwise It was the perfect place to set our children free and let them explore and make discoveries of their own.
Micah knows a lot about geology so he is able explain the various whys and whats and hows  of the rock formations around us. Whenever the kids have questions about rocks I direct them to their father. I took geology in college and it was one of my favorite classes but retaining technical information is not one of my strong points. However, when the kids find something pretty they run and show it to me so that makes up for it, right?
Odin found an owl pellet, which we all thought was pretty cool. At first he thought it was a dead mouse but Micah explained to him  that it was the regurgitated parts of a dead mouse! Owls can't digest all the fur bones, teeth, and claws so they absorb the good stuff then spit out the rest.
That regurgitated dead mouse pellet is now soaking in a Tupperware of water on the front porch of our house where Odin is going to try to dissolve and dismantle it and glue all the pieces of the mouse back together. Fun times.....
Owl Pellet
At the end of our 20 minute jaunt up the wash Odin and Micah showed us some super cool discoveries they'd made last time they were up here. My pictures don't do it any justice at all but here it is anyways: There was this area where you climb up a dry waterfall to find walls of thousands of small rock formations that look like tiny mosaics. Odin remarked,"Don't they look like puzzle pieces from a pretty picture?"
 The tiny shards of rock are so fragile and delicate that the slightest touch makes them crumble away. We had to be very careful not to touch the sides of the "walls" and to also keep the dogs away. That type of discovery is something you don't want to see destroyed by human hands. Odin was so proud of it and loved showing it to us. I hope these puzzle-piece-walls stay intact for years to come.

 I always love to see the trees in the wash who's roots have endured years of erosion but are still hanging on for dear life even though they are exposed, vulnerable, and about to fall off a cliff any minute. This tree below looks pretty well-established except that the sandstone beneath it is slowly crumbling away.
All in all we had a fantastic time hiking up this wash! Jonah had fun scrambling over rocks, Malachi had a blast picking up rocks and throwing them, Odin took pride in showing us cool stuff, Zadok enjoyed the scenery, and Micah and I loved being outside with our kids like we do. 
My 12 year old looking 15 with that new haircut.
It was a great day for our Sunday surroundings!

Monday, April 9, 2018

Throw pillows are for throwing?

I love having decorative throw pillows for the couch but knew that actually having them with four small boys would be a joke, so I put it off for years. However, I finally couldn't stand it any longer and made some really cute ones to match the turquoise wall! Then my mom sent me two more!
I kindly asked the boys to refrain from beating each other with them. They've been pretty good about that....yet it hasn't stopped them from finding other ridiculous uses, like the video below.
Mostly when I walk into the room they are on the ground. I can't figure out why? WHY? Why can't they just stay on the couch and look pretty? But no, the first thing my kids do when they sit down on the couch is throw the throw pillows. Go figure. 
Anyways, here's what I walked in to find the other day: 

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Secondhand Saturday

I decided that I'm gonna start posting my awesome second-hand-thrift-store finds some Saturdays, starting with this couch.

I found this couch at D.I. for 60 bucks. It's a Lovesac Sactional sofa which costs about $3000 brand new. However when I found the couch I had no idea what it was or how much it was worth. It just looked like a good, cozy couch for our downstairs family room (the party room as my boys call it).
After I got home and started putting it together I noticed the Lovesac ensignia on one of the cushions. So I looked it up and voila-I had just purchased an overly-expensive sofa in mint condition for a minuscule fraction of the price! Oh how I love thrift stores!
I was telling some friends about my new couch and how one of my favorite aspects of thrift-store finds is imagining a history to behind the object.
 I mean, I don't know who owned this couch before us but I could imagine that it was sitting in a large living room of a rich couple who's children had all moved away so then they decided to sell the house, donate the furniture, and move to the Bahamas where they would be relaxing and sipping on Pina coladas in the warm sun til they died. I even found a Tootsie roll wrapper in one of the cushions that was probably left by a grandchild on their last visit to the house and therefore the last time they would sit on their grandparent's couch before they moved out of country.
My friend Danna laughed at me and then told me the real story was that the couch belonged to an old man who choked on the Tootsie roll and died so his wife got rid of the couch because it gave her nightmares. 
 I liked  my story better. :)  

I love thrift-store shopping and I love finding great deals on really cool and useful things. 
This Sactional sofa will probably be around for a long time, but if we ever donate it the story will go like this: It sat peacefully in the family room of a happy family of 6 who loved to gather on the couch to laugh, talk, watch movies, play video games, and enjoy each other's company!

Thursday, March 22, 2018

The Newspaper Route Tidbit

As of this past December I have a newspaper route! Yep, the good old fashioned kind where you pick up the weekly papers, take them home and roll them into baggies, and then deliver them door to door for the very meager wage of 6 cents per paper!
I wasn't ever planning it this way but life just happens.... One minute you think you are full beyond capacity and can't possibly fit in one more thing to do and next minute you have a paper route!
Okay okay, the paper route belongs to my 12 year old, but I help with it and consider it (partially) my own. He'd been wanting his own job for a long time so when an opening opened up for a carrier in our neighborhood, he jumped at the chance. 

Micah and I talked it over and decided it would be a great opportunity for him so we signed him up. He has 153 papers in his route, and delivers once a week on Wednesdays. This route makes about $36 dollars a month. It became clear that he would need another person to help him since the route covers such a large neighborhood with a lot of back and forth across streets. By himself it would take an hour and a half. With another person it takes 40-45 minutes. Luckily his little brother Odin said he'd do it with him and they could split the wages in half. Yay! Unluckily, that didn't last long as Odin decided he didn't like the paper-routing-life and resigned after 2 weeks.
That's when I took over. 

At first I was irritated, resisting the fact that I had to squeeze yet another activity into my life.  However I knew that it was more sensible for two people to cover the route, and I knew that I was the only one for the job (Micah would still be at work and the littles are too little.) I logically explained to the recently retired Odin that by quitting the paper route I would now need someone to watch the littler kids for 45 minutes while I'm gone. I explained, "You are basically trading a paid employment opportunity to stay home and babysit your brothers for free. You get this, right? This is really what you want to do?"
"Yes, mom," he replied. "I just really don't like paper routes."
Well, as it turns out, I really DO like paper routes! My resistance quickly melted away as I discovered how fun it is to walk door-to-door and toss newspapers onto people's front porches! Not only am I getting outside, getting exercise, and having fun, but I also get to spend some quality time with this cute kid: 
Rain or shine, he gets the job done!
At first we were kind of slow as we awkwardly made our way through the winding cul-de-sacs, condos, apartments, and duplexes that made up our route. But after several weeks we got it down to a science! 
Through talking and planning we have come up with faster methods to get it done under a specific amount of time. It's even exhilarating when we beat our own goals! 
For instance, during  the first month we were both tossing the papers onto the front porches and then returning to the sidewalk to walk to the next house. One day we realized that most of these people have really crappy landscaping and probably wouldn't care if we walked on their front lawns, therefore it would be much quicker to toss the paper onto the front porches then cut across the front of the yard to the next house and the next and the next... Now we have a "No sidewalks" policy to ensure faster delivery. 

We have a good time each week. We make jokes and also some pretty weird observations about the way people live.
 There's a house which has had broken windows all winter long covered up with cardboard boxes and duct tape. We wonder if the people will ever get them fixed or if having broken windows is their new (freezing cold) normal.
There is house with a repulsive, rotting, dead deer head on the front lawn. It looks like they went hunting and then tossed the head on the lawn with no forethought. We wonder if they think this is a good decoration or if there will ever be plans to remove it. 
There is a house that never brings their papers in. Week after week the papers pile up until they finally throw them all away. Then we start over again. We wonder if they can't read or if they don't have time to read or if they simply hate the local news. I don't really blame them if it's the latter--our local newspaper isn't very exciting.
There's an annoying middle-school-aged kid that always follows Zadok for several houses in a row and asks him the same annoying thing,"Hey can I ride in your cart?" He first started asking that question one day when Z was pushing the papers in a stroller. But now the kid asks him every single time even though he's not pushing the stroller anymore. Sometimes Z ignores him but sometimes Z yells at him to go away. I never see it because I'm usually on the other side of the street in the cul-de-sacs. However, If it keeps happening I'll probably have to find the kid and the parents and have a talk about harassment and being an annoying little poop...
There's one house that has a cute blue door with a lovely colorful wreath on the outside. I wonder if I met the occupants, if we could be friends, because I like colorful doors and pretty wreaths, too! I'll probably never find out.

We both hate the houses with barking dogs and the houses with trash all over the lawns.
We both like delivering at the condos because the doors are so close to each other and makes it feel like we're going super fast.

Overall, my son really likes getting the money each month and I really like spending time with my son. I also think that he enjoys this time spent with me, but like most tweenagers, he probably won't admit that for another 15 years or so.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The Snowboarding Tidbit

This past November our local 4-H Club announced this amazing program where kids  (grades 3-12) and their parents could sign up to learn how to ski or snowboard for a fraction of the ski resort price. I jumped at this opportunity and signed Odin and myself up for a package that includes three full ski days at Brian head Resort, ski or board rentals, and lessons, for just $90 each! Such an awesome deal!
With Brian head being just 25 minutes away from our house I've really enjoyed getting myself up there each winter to play in the mountains. It's  such a rejuvenating, exhilarating experience to be able to get away from my day-today responsibilities for a day and just feel the pure adrenaline and excitement of my favorite snow sport. 

However, I've also been dying to get my kids up there with me because when you truly enjoy something it's natural to want to share it with your favorite little people. But so far, Odin is the only one that has showed any interest.

Our first ski day was February 3rd! Odin signed up to learn how to snowboard and I signed up to take lessons to improve my snowboarding technique (since I'm already a pretty experienced snowboarder I didn't need beginner lessons). It was so much fun heading up there with my boy! I was really hoping he could feel the excitement and energy of being on the mountain with me!

After everyone from the 4-H club arrived we split into our various lesson-groups until we met up later for lunch. The instructors took the beginners to this teeny little bunny slope where they got to ride a "magic carpet" to the top and then ride down while learning all the basics. Odin did pretty well in his lessons, but in true Odin fashion he got extremely frustrated that he didn't "get it" right away. He ended up staying on the bunny slope all day, not wanting to leave until he'd mastered how to stop his snowboard correctly. I tried to convince him that one of the fun parts of learning to snowboard is riding the ski lift to the top of the mountain and then figuring it out on the way down! Even with all the falls, fails, bumps, and bruises, it's still really fun!
He didn't buy my plan and so stayed on the bunny slope until he decided it was time to go home and call it a day. 
I am so proud of him for trying, though. Snowboarding is a really hard sport to master and he gave it his best shot. 

Meanwhile, I ended up spending my morning with one-on-one lessons from a private instructor. They didn't mean for it to happen that way but several people in my lesson-group didn't show up so I got the royal treatment.
 The instructor and I took the ski lift to the top of the mountain together so he could follow me down and watch my technique then give me any tips on improvement.
I am happy so say that I got rave reviews on my snowboarding performance. haha. He told me my technique looked great and my skill level was admirable (probably for my age and life circumstances but anywho, It was a feel good moment!)
Then he asked me if I'd like to learn how to switch-stance. This is where you switch from having your dominant foot forward to having the other foot forward and back again. It can be a lot of fun to switch back and forth between the two feet as you zoom down the slopes, even though learning would take some new mental skills.
We spent the next half-hour trying to teach me to overcome my mental blocks with not much luck. I've been a regular-foot surfer and snowboarder for the past 20+ years who never attempted much with switching my stance. It was hard for me to switch in my mind and thus tell my brain to use the appropriate muscles to make it happen. I spent a good part of the morning tumbling down the mountain with many bruises, bumps, falls, and fails along the way. But it was all part of the fun, right?

Overall we had a great time. As part of the package we also got to do a tour of the facilities and learn more about the behind-the-scenes operations of the ski-resort. Here's O and his friends listening to ski-patrol give a quick briefing on safety. 
Even though little O didn't want to go back up with me for the second ski-day on March 10th, I was proud of him for trying the first time. 
So, this past Saturday I got to go up for a full ski-day by myself (and some friends), which was glorious!
I got so many runs in that by the end of the day I was exhausted from happy over-exertion. I haven't attempted to try switching stance since that last time, but I will try again another day. Probably on a more powdery soft day and possibly with a helmet on. :)

Our next ski club day is on March 31st. I'm hoping that between now and then I can convince at least one of my kids to come back up there with me and feel the pure joy of riding the snow waves. :)

Friday, March 9, 2018

The Lacrosse Tidbit

I quit Facebook several months ago (Nov 7, 2017 to be exact) and I'm not sure how I ever managed to fit it into my life! My weekly schedule is so jam-packed with everything from exercising, to shopping, to cooking, to Relief Society visits to chauffeuring everyone to their daily activities around town that whenever I do have some "down time" I am catching up on reading or journaling. When the heck did I ever find time to do social media? I'm so glad it's out of my life because real life is full-- so very, very, very full, and time is my most precious commodity.

I've found that because life is so full I'm going to have to blog in tidbits. Every time I try to sit down and write a long blog post with many different recaps and stories of our lives, I am faced with distractions, mostly in the form of this kid:

So here's my daily tidbit before my three year old finds me and realizes I'm not talking/playing/entertaining him: 
Lacrosse season has begun for my eldest son. Last year when he first told me he was interested in joining a lacrosse team my initial reaction was,"Lacrosse?? What the heck is lacrosse?" I had never really heard of it and was wondering what attracted him to it. 
Now I know that lacrosse is one of the fastest growing sports in America! It was created in the 17th century by the Native Americans as a competitive sport and spiritual tradition! The benefits include cardiovascular and muscular fitness as well as mental discipline and skill development! Not to mention learning to throw a tiny ball into a tiny net that is attached to a skinny stick while running and dodging other kids. 
I love it! And I love that our son has taken such an interest in it. He's such a mellow, non-competitive kid so when I see him out on the field with all his battle gear- his padding, his helmet, his protective mouth piece, etc,  I'm still a little astonished that he picked this sport. Here he is after practice with his post-lacrosse-helmet-hair:
He has practice three times a week plus games on the weekends. Chauffeuring him around to practices is my pleasure because I love to see him thrive in something that he enjoys and feels so passionate about.
Go lacrosse season!