Sunday, January 22, 2012

New phrases from Miss Smartypants

I love my daughter and the things she says :) New this week:

I don't know! (when asked what a picture is)
Breakstast
Mom, I'm poopy please! (as I'm changing her and asking why she didn't tell me she was poopy)
Mommy, what's wrong? (as I'm rubbing my tired eyes)
Yeah, that's funny!
Mom, you spat? (after I brushed my teeth. I don't think I've said the word spat ever in her earshot)
Mom, I picked my nose!
Where IS everybody?
Daddy, I need breakstast. I want granola cereal. It's not all gone, mommy buyed some at the store!
Mom, I need to work (translation: I want to play on the computer)

Funny stories from today:
Richard dropped Rachel off in nursery, where she immediately stole a toy from Emmalyn. Richard told her she needed to ask Emmalyn for the toy instead of just taking it. Meanwhile, Emmalyn had moved on to another activity and had forgotten the stolen toy. So for a while we had Rachel chasing Emmalyn around saying "Nemmyn! I have toy? Nemmyn! I have toy?" while Emmalyn ignored her.
After church I was pulled aside by an RS sister to talk about a possibly tutoring gig (yay!), and Richard needed to go find a Bishopric member to talk about a Temple recommend. He got stopped by someone else, and in the confusion and all the people Rachel kind of disappeared. Richard leaned over to tell me his plans, and to ask where Rachel went. I kind of pointed, and he said "I'll find her." After we met up later, he told me she had been determined to get to the cultural hall, and feeling incredibly comfortable in her surroundings just started squeezing between people, pushing them apart with her tiny hands saying "Skooz me! Skooz me!"

Monday, January 16, 2012

What I love about my kids

Rachel
She says "hi" to EVERYONE
She loves to learn
She actually likes vegetables
She is routined to the point that I told her for two days in a row she could have a chocolate after she took a nap that now she thinks that is an everyday thing
She comes up with the awesomest games
She loves to dance
She loves to sing
She will play by herself with her toys in her room for four hours uninterrupted, and when we go to get her she has created a WORLD in there
She gives the best hugs
She tells me EVERYTHING
She learns quickly, and remembers for a long time
Her laugh
Her smile
Her pretty little face
Her cute little hands
Her HUGE belly
Her long hair
How she has to take off her clothes and put on her jammies before she can take a nap
How she says "I got it got it got it" when she wants to do something herself
How she knows the role of each person in the house. Mommy says no, daddy gives her candy, Grandma lets her play "birds", Aja does everything Rachel tells her to, Camary paints her toes...
How she obeys certain rules
How much she loves her brother
The stories she tells
The songs she loves to sing
The names she gives to movies and books, like "The penguin one (Happy Feet)" and "The butterfly one (Fern Gulley)"
The way she brushes her teeth
The way she climbs into the car
The way she says "Love you!" on her way out of the room

Reuben
His bright, beautiful blue eyes
His soft, fuzzy hair
His tiny soft hands
His smooth pink belly :)
His little boy laugh
His high-pitched squeal
His cute little teeth
His happy sounds
How solid and strong he is
How he's already trying to walk and hasn't yet learned to roll over from his back to his tummy, not to mention crawling
How he lights up, smiles, and starts flapping his arms when he sees me
How he sticks out his tongue when he smiles
How happy he is in the tub
How he loves to smile
How he knows what to do when I pat his mouth so he'll make "ba-ba-ba-ba-ba" noises
How well he eats at mealtime
How incredibly distractedly he nurses
How much he loves Rachel and is entertained by her
The way he holds on so tight and snuggles me
The way he leans over to look around me while I'm holding him
The way he puts his feet together when he's on his back
The way he snuggles when I rock him to sleep
The way he smells
The way he loves to stand up rather than sit
The way he pats my face while he nurses
The way he balls up his hands when he's STARVING
The sounds he makes when he's soooo tired but doesn't quite want to go to sleep yet
The smile he gives right after he's done eating
How happy he is with the simplest of toys
How he puts EVERYTHING in his mouth (including Brussels sprouts, as it turns out)
How he loves being warm

Friday, January 13, 2012

Back Blogging

Ok. I have decided my blog is really confusing. I want to make it more user friendly for myself and anyone else who might frequent it, especially as I'm hoping to post more helpful tips for everything in the near future. So I'm going through all my old posts to move them to my two NEW blogs (which are linked at the top of this one) so that this will be the JILL AND FAMILY blog and the others will be for things others might actually be interested in reading :)

Anyway while reading through old posts from 3 years ago I found this and thought it would be fun to do again:

20 years ago I was...
1. In first grade, experiencing all the drama that goes with that. My teacher was Ms. Fitkau.

10 years ago I was...
1. In high school
2. Part of marching band, orchestra, and color guard
3. Reading a TON

5 years ago I was...
1. A newlywed
2. Working on my last semester of college in Rexburg
3. Learning how to be married and getting ready to move to Portland with my husband

3 years ago I was...
1. In limbo, kind of working while my husband was waiting to get into BYU
2. Substitute teaching and learning German
3. In pain, either before or after I got my wisdom teeth out

1 year ago I was...
1. Pregnant with #2
2. Living here, with my parents, in our newly finished basement apartment
3. Making new friends and enjoying life in our ward

So far this year...
1. Started and am continuing a great workout 3-4 times a week
2. Found several new hairstyles to replace the boring ponytail
3. Started (and continued) more projects than any sane person should attempt

Yesterday I...
1. Made delicious crock pot stroganoff that EVERYONE liked
2. Watched me some "How I Met Your Mother"
3. Made headway on some of the above-mentioned crazy-person projects and now my house looks better

Today I...
1. Cuddled with my babies and sang Christmas songs
2. Watched my husband play with our kids
3. Ate a good breakfast

Tomorrow I will...
1. Maybe go on a double date?
2. Finish another project (the messy pile sitting next to me on my desk)
3. Snuggle with my family :)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Sweet Potatoes with Avocado Yumminess

Today was epic win for a number of reasons. I'm just going to put it all in this post.

Epic win #1: Keeping the kids happy while I cook.
I have a hard time at lunch most days. I really want to cook something amazing for myself, but my 7 month old screams whenever I put him down. It's hard to cook with one hand. Anyway today I combined an old project I never really finished with one I saw on Pinterest a few weeks ago and came up with something awesome!



This worked great until Rachel yanked a puzzle piece out of Reuben's hand and then the board fell over onto him. But it should be golden tomorrow!

Epic win #2: Lunch.
I mentioned earlier the book I've been reading about nature foods. In the sweet potato chapter it mentioned an idea I'd never thought of before: instead of adding butter or sour cream to mashed sweet potatoes, throw in an avocado. Genius! I love avocado. The author of the book talks about using avocados a lot in place of butter or other fats. Such a yummy fruit, and good for you (fats aside hehe). So here's what I did:
1. Wash potato. I decided not to peel it today after reading about all the good stuff in the skins, so I washed it really well.
2. Cut into 1 inch pieces and boil. I cut off some gross parts as well.
3. Drain and mash.
4. Add avocado and mash into potato.
That's it! It was so yummy! I did two small/medium sweet potatoes and one avocado.



I gave some to Rachel as well. She's been doing really well with fruits at lunch lately, but I'd love it if she would eat more veggies so I thought we'd try this out. She wasn't a huge fan, but she ate a good amount of it.



The best part of it was that it was all natural with no milk products, so Reuben got to share it with me. He loved it!

video

Keep in mind, if you're planning to feed this to a baby, that this is straight potato. When you feed a baby from a jar of baby food, it's diluted with water so he can eat a lot more. Reuben only ate about 5 or 6 bites of this before his tummy was all full.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Christmas

Alright, back blogging. Here are some stories.

Christmas was a new experience this year. What's happened in the past is Richard and I have fretted over what to get each other, set a budget, and then had a really nice day together. Richard started the tradition a few years back of making hot cocoa that morning and putting it under the tree, then waking me up for presents. We usually get each other just two or three gifts each, and it's just a nice day. The last three Christmases have been a little different because of Rachel, but all it's meant is that we buy more presents and a baby sits on our lap while we open them for her. It really hasn't been too different. Last year was more fun, because Rachel was almost two and really enjoyed ripping up wrapping paper so we wrapped each movie individually and let her open those and had to make sure to let her open what would be her favorite gift last so she could get a chance to open all of them. She also had her own cup of cocoa last year, and she loved that. She became quite addicted to it during the week of Christmas :)

This year was different, as Rachel is now almost three and old enough to really understand the fun things about Christmas. She helped with the tree a little bit, she helped us build a gingerbread house, she got to look at Christmas cards that we got, and she saw the presents under the tree for weeks before hand. We tried to take her to see Santa but that was a fail of epic proportions. Just so you all know, Santa's lunch break is from 1-2 pm at both the Provo and Orem malls. We got there at 1:05 lol. Anyway in preparation for the visit, we asked her questions about Santa and got her to understand that he would bring her a gift, and ended up getting her to believe that it would be a coat that she wanted. Hey, you gotta start 'em young, right? So she was excited for her coat and asked about it all the time.

This year we were mostly unemployed for Christmas. I kept trying to get Richard to talk about a budget for each other, like we had done in the past, but he would never say anything about it. So we went mostly budget-less :) I had ideas of what I wanted to get for each of the kids, and took care of their shopping mostly by Thanksgiving. I also sneakily bought Richard's gift on one of my trips, so I was mostly done. But then we had to buy Pixi gifts for Richard's family, and Richard went a little crazy at the Lebkuchen sale at BYU bookstore. Then we decided to get my dad a super nice knife, and instead of me just making one book about our first year of marriage to give to our family we ended up buying the story of how we met for all of our parents. The books are close to $20 each. To sum up, we spent a LOT of money on Christmas. But you know what? The money didn't matter to me. At all. I'm probably one to not spend much money on other people, and Richard will spend everything he owns to make someone else happy. This year I think I finally caught up to his giving spirit of Christmas, and it was wonderful :)

In addition to all that specialness, this was the year Rachel would finally get that rocking/bouncing horse that had been sitting in the garage for two years. I was SO excited to finally put it to use, and to be done trying to avoid her questions every time she saw it in the garage.

Anyway the strange part of Christmas came Christmas Eve, when we got everything ready together. We've always done our own thing in the past, because it was always for the other person. But this was really the first year that we, as parents, were giving Christmas to our kids. So we worked on cleaning up that dang horse, wrapping last-minute gifts, cleaning the room and packing for our trip to Logan the next morning, and getting everything set up just right. Then we went to bed, just before midnight. We planned out how the next morning would go: Richard would go upstairs and work on the cocoa, while I went in to sit with Rachel. Richard grew up with the tradition of singing Christmas song on Christmas day until his parents came to get all the kids, and it's one we'd like our kids to carry on. So I went in and woke up our sweet little girl and tried to get her to sing a couple Christmas songs. She was super sleepy, so it didn't work to well...Richard sat out in the living room waiting for us to start singing so he could come get us. It took a while for him to realize we were practically whispering in her room :) He came in, and we went out to the living room. The first thing Rachel saw was, of course, that huge horse, and she went right for it. Exactly the reaction we were hoping for :) Then we all had our hot cocoa and dug into our stockings for some morning goodies while we unwrapped our presents.

Spoils:
I got the kids both a Sunday outfit, which I was super excited about because Christmas was ON Sunday, so they would get to try them out on day 1. I also got them each a pair of PJs, and Rachel's came with a bathrobe that she has been sleeping in ever since :) Rachel also got a coat, and Reuben got a pillow to snuggle with once he gets big enough for that.
Richard went a little crazy at the game store, and honestly we still have to try out the games he bought. I got him 7 Wonders, which is amazing. We've played it dozens of times since then. And he got me jammies and socks, which is all I asked for :)

After Christmas morning downstairs we trekked upstairs to join my family's festivities. My mom got just one gift for each of her grandkids (well, Reuben got two because his were cheap). Rachel got a huge keyboard pad that you walk on, and she loves it. My mom also got a "grandma" present, which stays at her house for when the grandkids come over, which was a teeter-totter. Trevor and I put it together when he was here on Sunday, and Rachel and Charlotte LOVED it. They played on it for about 20 minutes before we pried them off to go to bed.

My dad LOVED his knife :)

So after all the presents it was off to church. I played my violin with the ward choir. Oh that's a story in and of itself...

Every Christmas Richard's sister Julia asks me to participate in her ward's Christmas program. She and her husband run the choir in a Spanish ward in Provo, and it's kind of small as you would imagine, so choir pickings aren't as great as in a normal ward. I'm very glad to help out every year. This year, like two years ago, they sang a version of The First Noel that was set to Pachelbel's Canon in D. I love the song, it's very pretty, but I HATE the melodies from the Canon that the arranger threw in. It's as though he took his favorite three melodies from the piece and stuck them in, in no order, wherever they would fit. I guess it worked fine for a choral piece, but you have to understand - I am a violinist. Pachelbel's Canon was WRITTEN for the violin. It has been ingrained in my musician's heart ever since I was a small child, and I love it. I've played it many many times, and I could not stand to play what this man had written. I'm sorry, I just couldn't. So I spend one evening re-arranging it. I took the original piece and found a recording of the choral version on Youtube, and I spliced. It took me three hours, but by about 11:30 I had a working violin "obligato", if you will. Then I had to cut and past individual measures out of the piece and put it together into two pages. Oh don't worry, it was a project :) Anyway it turned out pretty good, and it sounded great with the choir.

My dad walked through the room as I was putting the finishing touches on and said "We're singing that in our ward, did you know?" I did not. I asked him if they had a violinist to play with them, and he said he didn't know. I resolved to talk to the choir director at church the next day and see if I could put my 3 hours of arranging to use in more than one performance. Turned out they did NOT have a violinist, but the director was willing to listen to my arrangement and see if she thought it would work out. We met up after Sacrament meeting the next week and played through it with the piano as she sang to herself, and afterwards she said "Yes. I think that will be very nice." So I went to rehearsal on Christmas Eve, and it sounded amazing with the choir. I was very excited. And a little nervous...I hadn't ever played for my own ward before. Playing for Julia's ward was easy because no one knew me. LOTS of people know me in my own ward.

The performance was great, and the entire Christmas program was very special. I enjoyed sitting with my sweet Rachel while Richard walked around with Reuben. After church we had a quick lunch (that mostly involved Lebkuchen and soda), then took off for Logan. We left a HUGE mess in the living room, but Reuben really needed to go to sleep so we had to get driving. It was an uneventful drive, and we arrived in Logan as the first guests at Dave's house, not the last as we had anticipated. So we had lots of relax time before dinner.

Dinner was fabulous. Richard's family knows how to put together good meals. Except that there was an entire counter filled with goodies that taunted us all for the rest of the week. After dinner we had Christmas again with Richard's mom and Aunt Debbie. They got us a LOT of books! I was so excited to see all the new board books for Rachel and Reuben. They also got a few new outfits, and lots of candy that Rachel has hopefully forgotten about. We decided to postpone the program we had planned until tomorrow, as dinner had started late and presents were consequently quite a bit later and kids needed to go to bed. But when we had it, it was great. I played O Holy Night on my violin amidst several stirring performances from Richard's nieces and nephews, and followed lastly by a great rendition of Were You There? sung bu his niece Janessa in Spanish. It was all very beautiful. There's so much talent in that family, and they love to share it. That's something I hope we can cultivate a love for in our children.

For the rest of the week we basically stayed up way too late, ate way too much sugar and crap, and had a TON of fun with Richard's family. Richard and his brothers were up until the wee hours of morning most nights playing WoW, but we did get a couple good games of 7 Wonders in. It was a great week, and we loved spending time with the Logan Gwilliams :)

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year's "Resolutions"

So I guess it's that time of year again...the time when we look back over the past year or so and decide what parts of our life need changing. Some mock this tradition, and others embrace it for just a few days or weeks before letting the goals they set fall by the wayside and become forgotten. To me, goals are an important part of my life. Changing who I am every day, striving to be better in order to deserve the blessings I have and reach for the blessings I one day hope to deserve, and coming closer to Christ through my actions have become central to my being over the past ten years. So when I made my resolution list last year, it was filled with things I really wanted and needed to change about myself, which helped me to keep them in mind and try harder to work on them. I'd like to start this year's resolutions by looking back and seeing how I did last year.

Recap: New Year's Resolutions, 2011!
1) Keep my car clean (on the inside)
2) Finish at least one of my family history projects
3) Have a baby
4) Clean my bathroom more often (lol)
5) Do the following more often than watching TV or playing computer games: Reading, Writing, German, Violin.

Ok honestly number three shouldn't even count, but I definitely did it! And he is fabulous. I love that boy :)
But as for the rest of the list...

I think having a second baby helped a lot with number one. I actually kept it pretty organized as well. I added a perma-diaper bag, with my moby, a few diapers/wipes, and some toys right where Rachel can reach them once her arms get a little longer. Basically everything I want to stay in the car all in one place and off the floor. It's nice :) Then when the car needs to be cleaned out it's easy to just grab stuff and chuck it in the trash. So for the most part I have done well on that goal. It's one I need to continue to keep up, though. It's a small car, so any mess is a huge mess, and if I toss something in the backseat to take out later it ends up getting trampled by my siblings when I play taxi. So while not a resolution, this is still a goal I'm keeping in mind.

I did AWESOME on number two! We had a lesson in RS a while back where a lady down the street showed some of the family history binders she's been working on. She challenged us to make time at least once a week to work on our family history, and her lesson really motivated me. I went to Walmart and bought a bunch of binders and found some sheet protectors and started collecting stuff to fill them with. The job I had last year had a lot of down time, so I worked on a manner of scrapbooking between calls and got some nice covers typed up for each binder and put it all in a big box and pulled it out every now and then to work on organizing a bit better. Then I came up with a better idea...I remembered I had made Rachel a book for her first birthday with pictures and little stories from her first year of life, and thought it would be cool to make books about our life together as a little family. I figured I could get some done by Christmas, and I was already working on one for Richard for our anniversary. I ended up finishing the first one, about how we met, and we gave copies to all our parents for Christmas. I also finished the second, about our first year of marriage. I need to get going on the third, but from here on out they will be easy. I had to organize every picture on my computer for the second book, so everything is where it should be so that the next books will be easier. This also helped me organize the computer a little bit and keep it that way, so now when I upload pics they go in their designated spots all organized and pretty :) In addition to the books, I decided we needed a home video. You remember growing up your parents made all kinds of home videos and then would pull them out on birthdays and first dates and the like? We don't do that anymore because all our videos go straight onto the computer, and from there to either Youtube or Facebook to be viewed once and forgotten. So I wanted to make a DVD of our home videos so the kids can watch them, and so that we can as well. I put together a video of our first "documented" year, which is 2009 (the computer blew up early that year and we lost all our videos. Which makes me sad, cuz there was an excellent one on there of me beating Richard at chess on our honeymoon), and made up a DVD for Christmas. It made me happy to watch :) I'm planning to continue this habit, and maybe I can get two more put together for next Christmas, along with a couple more books. Once I get caught up it will be easy to pump out books and movies at the rate of one per year, which is my goal, and then I can start going back to high school for me and for Richard and then get some projects going for my parents and just see how far I get.

I didn't keep up with number four to my satisfaction, so it's going back on this year's list. I did try. A couple weeks ago I even pulled out the cleaner and set it on the counter so that I'd see it every time I went in there and hopefully would be reminded of what it should be used for...it's still sitting there and I haven't used it. So yeah, back on the list with this one.

Number five...I think I did okay up to a point. I downloaded an app to help me learn French and I had all these German projects I was working on, I played the piano quite a bit actually, and I finished a couple novels. But then came Reuben, and he is seriously so needy. Lately he's been very interested in toys, so I can sometimes set him down next to me while I play the piano for a few minutes. The app isn't really working out because I need the sound, and the only time I play on the iPod is when I'm putting Reuben to sleep. Once he's sleep trained I can play on it at other times, and then I'll get back to the French on there.

And now on to this year's goals!

Here's the thing. Resolutions are bad because they are huge, and NEW. My life is crazy enough without trying to add new things to do each day, each week, or even each month. I've been thinking about it for the past few weeks, and I think what I need to do is just rotate activities out. There are several things I do each day that I absolutely don't need to do. When people ask me what my hobbies are, I always say things like "Oh, I like to read, make music, and spend time with my family" but I always feel guilty saying that. I have always loved to read far more than watching TV or playing computer games, but that doesn't mean that's what I always do in my free time anymore. What I actually do is really far less likely to be admitted to publicly. I spend a lot of my time playing Tetris on Facebook. Who wants to admit that their hobby is Tetris? I also do watch a few shows on TV, and when I get behind on them I tend to watch several episodes a day. I justify this by crocheting or knitting at the same time, but sometimes I choose to watch a show and crocheting is a secondary activity, not the other way around as I would prefer it. I used to devour books in the bathroom, too, but lately I always bring the iPod in with me. And that's not so I can study French, it's so I can play Bejeweled Blitz or Solitaire or Nertz or something equally stupid. I honestly blame my lack of reading on my children, but that is something I'm happy to do. I'd much rather say I spend all day chasing kids instead of reading than to say I read all day and ignore my kids. I can't read in bed like I used to because the light will wake Reuben up, but we'll get there. He just really doesn't sleep well and I don't want to mess up what is currently working.

Anyway I don't mean that to sound like a list of excuses for why I don't do good things with my time, because a) I hate excuses and b) the only valid excuse is that I'm spending time with my kids instead, and that's a better thing than anything I put on my to-do list each day.

The point I'm trying to make is this: I have a lot of things I do each day that I don't need to do, and I have a long list of things I wish I had time to do each day. So instead of making resolutions this year, I am conducting a habit swapping activity. I will be looking at several bad habits I have and will come up with an activity to replace them this year. So. One at a time, here are my bad habits.

I've developed some pretty bad habits since Reuben was born. I know that having a baby changes your life, and I agree that you have to let some things go in order to give 150% of yourself to your new little one, but sometimes I think it is really easy to take that too far. For example: My child is the neediest I have met. He will not let me put him down or even give him to his dad for more than 10 minutes before he starts wailing for me. Don't get me wrong, I love this :) but it makes for some unproductive days. I love to hold my boy and snuggle him and play with him, but I am a multi-tasker to the core and have a hard time sometimes JUST holding him. So I'll have this thought: I should try to do something on the computer. I'll sit down and prop him on my left knee and see what I can do one-handed on the computer. I'll tell you one thing you can do one handed - count the number of things you can do on a computer on one hand. The list usually gets narrowed down to browsing pictures, watching youtube videos (which my kids LOVE, btw), looking at stuff on Pinterest, or playing some sort of game. I've listed these in some semblance of the order they should go in priority wise, but I'll bet you can guess which one usually tops my list of things-I-actually-do...I end up playing Tetris. It's terrible, I know, and it doesn't usually last very long because unless there's pictures Reuben gets bored just sitting on my lap at the computer. This leads me to the worst thing I do lately: I get stuck wanting to play Tetris but being unable to do so at my chosen time, which leaves Tetris at the top of my Nap-Time Activities List. So once both kids are asleep I tell myself "Oh I'll just play two games. Or for ten minutes. Just a little. Then I'll go get something done." Without fail, Reuben will wake up within the hour, and I will still be playing Tetris. Nothing gets done that day, trust me. Anyway that was a long way of me saying I take the excuse of "I can't clean with one hand" a little too far sometimes. So that's bad habit number one: Tetris. Way too much Tetris.

Bad habit number two is along the same lines as number one. I've been meaning to clean and organize my house for...about 7 months lol. We made some good progress on Christmas Eve with the computer desk, but I still feel like our home is really cluttered and I can't keep up with laundry and I haven't deep cleaned my bathroom for several weeks and my rolltop keeps collecting stuff that goes somewhere else...Basically when I have some free time I choose to do that which is not productive rather than cleaning. At one point last year I made a chart for cleaning each day, but then Reuben was born and I didn't have time to do everything on the chart (it had other goals on it, like exercising and playing with kids and making music and learning French that were to be done each day) so I just moved it and figured I would do what needed to be done each day and someday when life calmed down and Reuben would let me put him down for a while I'd get back to it. Well, I think we're about there, and my shower really needs to be scrubbed. So that's bad habit number two: Clutter and my house not being as clean as it should be.

Bad habit number three. I have been a sugar-a-holic since about Halloween. Really bad. Like, Rachel didn't get the kind of candy I wanted for Halloween so I bought the kind I wanted so I could have some yummy Halloween candy. Hello? Yuck. At that point I had had a goal to lose all my Reuben weight by Christmas, and I think I had about 5 more lbs to go. I decided to just give up until after the holidays and enjoy all the sugar I wanted to in the meantime. It turned out okay for the most part, because I was still eating really healthy and I had started running in the summer and only having sugar when we ended up getting ice cream for someone's birthday or went to parties and things like that. By Christmas I had actually lost three lbs, so I came pretty close to meeting my goal :) But then we went to Logan for Christmas and there were literally MOUNTAINS of goodies. This is when my habit really showed how bad it was. I would wake up and think "Hmmm. I could go for some chocolate right now. Just straight chocolate. Let's see what we have." I'd head into the kitchen and see all the straight chocolate was gone, but we did have mint flavored chocolate oranges and chocolate covered pretzels. I don't like mint, so that wasn't a temptation, and I didn't want a pretzel, so that shouldn't have been. Oh well, it's sugar, right? So I'd eat a few. Then I'd find the Lebkuchen and eat a few of those. Oh and there's some bubbly left from last night, I'll have that as well. Gah! Really? I've been really good at controlling myself for the past year or so and my sweet tooth has actually died out quite a bit, and then last week happened. I can't really blame anyone but myself. But I gained 6 lbs. There, I said it! I'm a terrible person! Now I'm not 2 lbs away, I'm 8. And my end goal is not just pre-Reuben weight, it's 16 lbs beyond that! That means I have to lose 24 lbs to be where I want to be. How gross! And it's all just because I would look at a slice of cheesecake and say "Man. That's gonna make me gain a pound. But it will be yummy, so I'll eat it anyway." What kind of logic is that? So that's bad habit number three: Sugar.

And while we're on the topic...number four is sloth. Oh that sounds bad. It's really not that I sit on the couch all day, because I don't. I run around plenty, and if you don't have kids just trust me - chasing, clothing, feeding, snuggling, sleeping, and just generally enjoying kids all day is quite a full day's work. And it's not that I don't enjoy working out, because I love it. One of my favorite events from this past week in Logan was the chance we had to play Richard's family's deck-of-cards-workout game. You draw a card from a regular deck and are then required to do the amount shown in pushups or situps, and usually you alternate each time it's your turn. We had five people playing, so we didn't do an entire deck ourselves, but we sure did plenty. That was on Thursday I believe, and now on Sunday my abs are still killing me from all the situps I did. It's a great group workout, and his family does it every time they get together. But it's not something I do on a regular basis myself. When we were first married we did pushups and situps every day, and we've kind of done them off and on since then, taking breaks for babies and hectic schedules and the like. But lately we've both been eating pretty poorly and not exercising enough, so we'd like to kick it in gear. So bad habit number four is: Not exercising enough.

Bad habit number five is going to have to go in a separate post, because this one is already getting too long and it will be at least twice as long. Basically...there are many things about the internet that make me angrier than I like to be. One of them is Facebook. I have found that spending too much time on there is bad for my well-being, so bad habit number five in a nutshell is: Too much Facebook.

Bad habit number six pains me to admit, but here it is. I haven't read my scriptures on a daily basis since before Rachel was born. This is something I need to be doing, and I just haven't been. It's not that it's difficult, it's just that when I get a minute it is not something that comes to mind as needing to be done. I will sit down and spend an hour trying to get a show going on my laptop connected to the TV so I can laugh for twenty minutes amidst all the buffering and dirty jokes rather than sit down and open that marvelous book for twenty minutes before going to bed. I have tried several times in the past few months to start the habit, only to have it backfire in many ways. That's not to say I shouldn't keep trying, however. I want to read the Book of Mormon every day, and I need to start now.

And bad habit number seven. I have always loved learning and being a nerdy linguist. I love that my jobs have had so much to do with language, and I love that I somehow managed to convince my husband to turn into a nerdy linguist as well. I have been learning German for the past ten years, and I started picking up French a couple years ago (I really can't say much yet). I also got interested in Old English a few months back, and I have a couple Latin textbooks waiting to be opened on my language book shelf. I decided today that I should learn Spanish soon, and I want to learn Italian, Icelandic, Russian, and some random dead languages before this life is over. Thing is, you have to start somewhere. And just having four post it notes on my computer listing vocab words in various languages isn't really much of a start. I loved the education I received in college, and I loved being able to continue that education on my own afterwards. I just haven't taken advantage of that opportunity much lately, and I need to. So bad habit number seven: Not enough learning, or L2French, dummy.

Alright. So that's my list of bad habits. What am I going to do about it? I am going to re-routine my days, that's what.

All but one of these habits have one thing in common: They have to do with things I do while my kids are sleeping. We're talking early morning, afternoons, and late evenings after bedtime. The time in between is pretty much consumed by kids, errands, meals, and snuggles. Let's start with early mornings.

Today was great. Reuben usually wakes up around 6 and then sleeps until 8. Today he woke up at 5:30 and 7, so I rocked him back to sleep at 7 and then stayed up. I've been really bad lately about waking up at a decent hour, so 7 is really good for me :) I was able to shower and eat before Rachel woke up, which is always lovely. I was able to shave my legs, even! Ok sorry, TMI. Anyway. I want to get back to waking up at 6, even though my lovely excuse for doing so is no longer (the company I worked for kind of dissolved...). If I were to wake up at 6, I could shower and eat and still have an hour to myself. This is the time I want to spend with God. I should be reading my scriptures and writing in my journal every day, and waking up even 20 minutes earlier would give me a good opportunity to do that. So that takes care of 1 1/2 bad habits. 1) Read scriptures daily. 1/2) I want to replace Facebooking with blogging, and this is one way I can do that.

And on to naptime. Rachel "sleeps" for a good three hours most days. She goes in her room around 2 and doesn't usually want to come out until about 5. This is marvelous. Now if I could only get Reuben to do the same thing...He sleeps from 2 to 3, and then sometimes I can rock him back to sleep and he'll be out until 5, but sometimes not so much and he's awake from 3-5 and then takes a little nap. He will usually sleep for at least an hour, though, so that gives me an hour to be productive. I need to use this time to do things I absolutely cannot do when both kids are awake, which limits my list to folding laundry, cleaning the bathroom, doing hardcore work on the computer like planning meals and shopping lists or budgeting, or playing my violin. What I'm going to do is pull out the schedule thing I made last year and revamp it for two kids and their current schedules. I'll have a cleaning project and a project project for each day (I have a list of project projects on my wall, don't you worry about me running out of those), so when naptime comes around I can just look at my list and say "Oh, it's Thursday. That means I'll be working on photos on the computer." The nice thing about this is that I'm completely routine oriented. I only followed this schedule for a couple weeks when I made it (I think I made it in May, and Reuben was born at the end of May) but I still remember which projects were supposed to happen on which days. So it should be easy to get back into that habit. The challenge will come with the cleaning aspect...I never really got the hang of that. So this long explanation is going to take care of replacing 2 1/2 of my bad habits. Instead of playing Tetris and spending time on Facebook during naptime, I will instead be cleaning my house and working on a variety of projects in the hopes that someday I'll finish one :)

Which brings us to post-bedtime, and two bad habits to replace. Evenings are the times when my bad habits come out in full force. I usually spend the evening (which lasts from 8 to midnight sometimes) playing Tetris or Rummikub online, or just watching a movie or TV show for a while before bed. That's it. That's what I do all evening. This is usually accompanied by snacking, which contributes to my sugar habit. So...lots to replace here. First of all, I want to be in bed by ten so that I can feasibly get up at six. So that cuts me down to two hours. Richard and I have both committed to working out right after bedtime, and we're off to a good start! Today is Monday, and we worked out. Richard put an interval timer app on the iPod and set it for two minutes. He picks an activity (pushups, situps, bicycle kicks, crunches, etc) and does a certain number of them, then jogs in place for the remainder of the two minutes. I found a link on Pinterest for some thigh workouts, so I picked two of those. I did the first for the entire two minutes, then tried to do jumping jacks for my second set. Didn't quite make it to two minutes, but I got really close. Then I did my second thigh workout on just one leg, which took two minutes, so I did the other leg for the next set as well. I finished off with 100 crunches, which also took the entire two minutes. So mine was mostly strength with not much cardio, but come on, I did an hour of Zumba this morning! Anyway we're going to do this every night, eventually working up to 15 sets. Tonight we only did 5, but that's a good start for how out of shape we are :) So that will usually last about half an hour, leaving me an hour and a half to read or study. Richard starts school on Wednesday, and he might want to get back to translating the Hebrew bible in the evenings with me. When he does that I translate from the German bible, so that would be a good German study. Or I could get back on Rosetta Stone and learn me some French! which is probably what I'll do. Along with reading before bed, I'm going to work on finishing my German novel that's been in the bathroom for a couple years instead of using the iPod in there. I'm not going to set a tangible reading goal, like finishing one book per month or anything like that, because I don't want to feel like I have to frantically read to finish a goal. I just want to read, and it's a better thing to do at night than watching movies.

And last but not least, I have to replace my sugar habit. This one isn't hard, even though it sounds like it is. Once I set my mind to no sugar, I can stay on it pretty well. Especially once the pounds start sliding off! I'm going to replace my sugary yums with some fruit/veggie yums. Basically what this means is I will be finding more ways to prepare veggies, because eventually spinach omelets get boring, and I need more veggies than just spinach. I also have a few fun ideas to replace sweets that I'm interested in trying, but that will be a bonus. I just want to find more recipes for more veggies and start enjoying them :) On Wednesday I'm going to make alfredo pasta for dinner, to be served over spinach burgers :) My family doesn't know this yet. The nice thing is that if they don't like them, it's more for me! I sure love spinach!

Ok I think this is just about sufficiently long-winded. I'll be posting my rant about Facebook later on, but for now just be expecting to see me on there less and to be seeing links to my blog more often.