Friday, December 29, 2017

2017 Year in Review in Pictures

I debated even doing a year in review post.  This year was kind of a beast for our family and I feel like a lot of it would sound like complaining. But there was a lot of good that happened (sometimes you just have to look harder for the good), and as this blog also serves as a kind of journal for me, I decided to go ahead and do it and try to make it as positive as possible :)

We got to go tubing with Trevon's work to start out the year. V got to stay with Trevon's mom while we took the girls. He was too little to ride. But we got lots of fun tubing, some nice hot chocolate and donuts to eat and some really great family time.

We had a few uneventful months, aside from food poisoning we didn't have a whole lot until Easter. We had an Easter egg hunt and hot dog roast.  

In April we had some huge life changes that were hard. The biggest change was my grandma dying very suddenly.  She was a huge part of my life from the day I was born. My kids knew her well and we saw her at least a couple times a week.  She has been missed, but because I have her to remember, I feel like it's made me a better person.

We bought our camper "Kit" and remodeled it through the early summer. It was a really great project for me to keep myself busy and channel my stress/anxiety/sadness after my grandma died into that. I am extremely proud of the way it turned out. It also helped me pick blogging back up!

The first day we started work on the camper, V fell off the top bunk and hit his face on the table bench below. First trip to the ER with any of our kids. We were super thankful that he was completely fine except for a black eye.

We did a ton of stuff over the summer. Keeping busy was a really big blessing for me. I was busy with my church calling, and working on healing from shock and depression. I suddenly had anxiety come up in my life and would lose hours of sleep most nights for the first few months. So being busy was a really good way for me to stay sain.

We went swimming a lot.

J ran her first race.

V turned 1 year old!

We went to Lagoon with Trevon's work.

We played with cousins.

We went to the cabin and crossed off a bucket list item to go to the steel cabin that I've heard about my whole life.

There were a lot of friend/family weddings this year.

Had a backyard campout with neighbors.

We saw a lot of rainstorms and rainbows.

We went camping.

We went to the aquarium.

We watched the eclipse.

J turned 6!

I did a lot of running.

And I chopped my hair off.

Then summer was over and school started faster than a blink! J started first grade and M started pre-school.

We kept busy for the rest of the year. I think keeping busy was a big part of coping with all the changes and stresses that I've been feeling.  I started running more in the mornings and got to see some really amazing sunrises. I used to hate running first thing in the morning and now I don't mind it at all. I can run just about any time of day now.

We took a family trip to Idaho to visit Trevon's family. We try to do this at least once a year.  It's a great time to relax and enjoy not having to worry about anything. We went to bear world and got to see some fun animals and ride on their mini amusement park.

I ran my only 5k of the whole year. It was a chilly day! Next year I plan on running a few more than that.

We took family pictures.

Trevon and I were able to take an overnighter to St George for our anniversary. We stayed with my cousin and her husband. We went hiking and then to the Tuachan to see Newsies.

Then M turned 4!

We spent fall break in Bryce Canyon hiking. It was a blast! The kids all had a great time even if it was a quick trip.

We spent some time at some pumpkin patches. Our favorite one was just 2 minutes from our house!

For Halloween, we were a ninja turtle, a bandit, Elsa, Merida, and a lumberjack.

We battled lice and won. We all survived (except the lice) thanks to my mom for buying the lice spray and my neighbor for bringing us dinner so I could focus on cleaning every inch of our house.

I ran a lot more (of course) and learned how to meditate to help me battle anxiety.

We enjoyed Thanksgiving with our families. 

Then we got to pick Trevon's brother up from serving a mission for 2 years in Texas. 

We had a fun Christmas season!  Santa delivered big time at our house.

And that's it, those are the highlights of our year! Looking back at it, we did a lot of great things, even with all the trials we went through.  Now on to 2018, please be good to us.

What was your biggest highlight of your year?

Are you excited or sad to see 2017 go?

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Making Achievable Goals

It's that time of year when we all start rethinking, refocusing and remaking our yearly goals. Some of us will be making the same goals as we did last year and hoping that we do better at achieving them, while others will be moving on to new goals or setting goals for the first time.  The hard part is knowing what kind of goals we can set to make sure that we are achieving them before the next year.

First, let's talk about the different kinds of goals to set.  Think of the things you want to change in your life.  Is there one specific thing or are there several different areas you'd like to change? You don't want to overwhelm yourself with a ton of goals, but if you do have more than one thing that you want to work on, split them up into categories (Exercise, work, religion....). Breaking it down into categories will make it feel not so overwhelming.

A big key to making achievable goals for the new year is to make goals that are easy to track. Gregg Clunis from the podcast Tiny Leaps, Big Changes put out a free guide to help you make better goals in 2018. He explains why making goals that are easy to track is the best way to make sure you actually meet your goals next year. He also gives a lot of great tips for creating goals in that guide.

When setting a new goal, make sure that you're setting a goal that is reachable in the amount of time that you're giving yourself. It's going to be pretty impossible to set a goal of something like "I want to lose 20 lbs in a month" and then when you don't achieve that goal in the time frame that you set, you'll get discouraged and give up on the goal altogether. So make sure you're setting goals that you know that you'll be able to achieve with some work this year.

Now let's talk about making sure that you're keeping and achieving your goals. Because once we make the goal to do something, that's when the work begins and that's when we can sometimes get discouraged or frustrated. Here are a few tips to help you stay focused and working on your goals.

1. Reminders:  Set a reminder on your phone however often you need it. It takes about 21 days to make a habit, so if the goal you're trying to make is one that is a change in habit, setting a reminder or alarm on your phone can help. Another thing that helps me remember my goals is to put sticky notes up with encouraging things written on them.  That way, when I'm feeling a little weak in whatever area I'm working in, I see a sticky note and it reminds me to keep at it. 

2. Tell someone: I know that if I tell Trev or one of my cousins or someone else that I am close to about a goal that I have, I'm way more likely to follow through because I'm more accountable for it. One thing I do when I'm planning on going running in the morning is put my running clothes and shoes out so I can see them, and Trevon can see them. I'm more likely to actually go running that way because Trevon knows, the night before, that I'm going to go. And if I don't go, he's going to ask me about it. I'm also a pretty competitive person, and pretty stubborn. So if I tell someone that I have a goal to run a race or to make a quilt or, anything else really, I can't not do it and then have them bring it up. I have to prove that I followed through with things.

Telling people also gives you cheerleaders. The more you tell, the more people you have that will celebrate with you when you reach the goal. It might also encourage others to join you. I had a goal of running a half marathon, I told my cousin and she wanted to do it too. So for a summer, we worked together, we ran at least once a day until we could run far enough that we felt confident entering. We ended up running much more than a half marathon, but that's a story for another day. Telling other people about your goals also gives you someone to remind you of them when you start to forget. If you and your spouse have the same goal to buy a ho you can give each other a gentle reminder by asking how big of a need it actually is and reminding each other of your goal. 

3. Incentives: Give yourself one incentive for each goal you accomplish. Just like your boss would give you an incentive for making a goal at work, or the incentive you gave your 3-year old for potty training, give yourself something for all the work you're putting into your goal. For me, the incentive for running is that I will be able to sign up for and PR at another race. But you could reward yourself with a special treat that you don't normally get, or a pedicure or spa day. Really whatever gets you excited about finishing something works great! 

4. Start small:  Don't burn yourself out. In high school, I did this way too often with running. I'd injure myself because I'd push too hard for too long and not listen to my body. I think this is the same with anything though, not just running or sports. Setting a goal that you can break down into smaller goals helps you meet your big goal in the end because you're taking tiny steps at a time and you see your progress easier that way.  Break your goals up into smaller, trackable goals so that you can see your progress as you go.

5. Set a date. Mark a date on your calendar for each goal you want to accomplish.  Marking a date gives you the feeling that there is an end in sight. It helps you know when your goal should be accomplished in order to get your incentive.

6. Big picture: When you start to get discouraged, remind yourself to step back and remember why you made this goal in the first place. It's ok to have a few off days here and there, but don't lose sight of what you're working for. When there is a setback, pick back up where you started and push through it.

What do you do to help you or your children keep on track with your goals?

Monday, December 25, 2017

Our Ride on the Polar Express

Merry Christmas! I hope you're all having a fantastic day. I just wanted to share a quick post about one of the fun things we did for the week of Christmas this year.  The girls really love the story and movie of The Polar Express and we thought it would be so special and fun for them to be able to actually ride "the polar express". 

We are super lucky to have a passenger train close by too! I remember riding the Heber Creeper a couple of times growing up and thinking it was pretty neat. So when we found out that they do a North Pole Express ride we decided to buy tickets in July.  Then Trevon found Polar Express ticket look-alikes online and we printed them out, taped them up so they would look more real and Santa sent them to the kids in the mail.

We had dinner in Heber, just a few minutes away from the train station, at the Dairy Keen.

And then we headed to the train station and boarded.

They let you pick anywhere in the car that you reserved a seat for, so you want to get there early enough to make sure that you get to sit with your family.

Once the train got moving, they played music and passed out cookies and hot chocolate (just like the book) 

They took us to the  "North Pole" where we picked Santa up for the ride home.  He went car by car to wish the kids all a Merry Christmas and give them a special Christmas bell as a gift. He was really good to take his time visiting for a minute with every kid.

Then we all sang Christmas songs on the way back to the station. It was a fun little activity to do. The kids loved it (even though V was a little restless being stuck in the train and not being able to run around too much). 

It made for a special night and helped us feel the Christmas spirit a little bit more. I hope you all have a great Christmas. I'll be back Wednesday to visit with you some more.

Is there anything neat that they do for Christmas in your area?

What is your favorite Christmas tradition?

Is there anything your parents did for you growing up that made Christmas extra special?

Friday, December 22, 2017

How I Lace My Running Shoes

I had my yearly physical appointment earlier this week which went pretty well.  After the visit the doctor asked me why I lace my shoes the way that I do (I wear my old running shoes as everyday shoes when I get a new pair). So I told her. When I was running in high school, my foot would sometimes fall asleep and it drove me crazy! So when I got my next pair of shoes I asked if they had any idea of why that would happen. And they showed me how to lace my shoes differently. I've never laced my shoes any different since then and it seems to help. So here's step by step in pictures of how I lace my running shoes.

1. Start out like normal.

2. Instead of criss crossing, lace it straight up one hole. 

3. Cross it through the loop on the tounge. This helps keep the tounge in place and I'd think you should lace your shoes through this all the time. It would be super annoying to have the tounge of your shoe keep sliding down when you run or walk. 

4. Skip a hole and criss cross through the next hole.

5. Lace stright to the next hole to make two loops. Then criss cross your laces and put each lace in a loop. This helps keep your shoe tight on your ankle so it won't move around too much even though it's loose on the top of your foot. 

6. Then double knot tie them, I like to flip my bow under my laces so that it holds it just a little better, and it won't flop around and hit me in the shins. I can't ever remember having a problem with my shoe laces randomly coming untied when I do this. 

You might recognize this as wide foot lacing. I honestly never thought I had wide feet until I had kids and 2 out of the three have really wide feet.  But I'm not even sure that's why my feet fall asleep sometimes.  I do know that lacing my shoes like this seems to help give me enough looseness in my shoes to keep my feet from going numb and still keep them comfortably tight so that I don't feel like they will fall off or that my feet are sliding around.

Do you have narrow or wide feet?

Is there something you do that you're not sure why it works but it does?