October 30, 2012

A Random Goodnight Post

video
It is 8:03 p.m. and I am in bed and exhausted. My teeth have been brushed. My face has been washed, and I am ready to call it a night. I've been excited about getting back to blogging again, so I'll leave you with a little video just for fun. Have a wonderful Halloween tomorrow. I think I may carve and roast some pumpkins to fill with soup and then have some friends over.
On another note, we made an offer on a house yesterday and I am praying and praying and praying that this is the one. You can pray for me too if you'd like. I'd really appreciate it.

October 28, 2012

Our Favorite Park

Yorba Regional Park never fails to be a treat. Every single time we go there we see ducks, dogs, squirrels, and several playgrounds to monkey around on. Ellie and I are really gonna miss this park when we move away.


Trunk or Treat 2012

This year for Halloween our family was "America's Comeback Team," "The Hope of America," "Believers in America," Mitt, Ann, and grandbaby Romney. We went to the ward "Trunk or Treat' and were delighted watching Ellie take it all in. She was exhausted before the party started and was sound asleep when we got there, but woke up and ate some chili, paraded in the costume parade, and danced to the music. She loved going from car to car saying "a treat" "a treat" (her version of "trick or treat") and loved carrying around her orange felt pail/re-purposed easter basket filled with candy. There are moments as a mother when I am mesmerized by my daugther. I watch her as she experiences new things and she is irresistibly beautiful to me. Last night was one of those nights. I saw things through Ellie's eyes, and it was magical.
Ellie dancing...
And what would Halloween be without a little kiss? Or 4? Ellie and Luke are the cutest couple.
Now Ellie's (SLOWLY) working her way through her candy stash. She ate her first Ring Pop today at church and was in hog heaven. I think that may be her new prefered binky.

Ellie Took All the Cups Out of the Drawer and Kicked Them

and I laughed.

Ellie's First Craft

Ellie and I made some crafts on Friday afternoon. She fell in love with ghosts at my parent's house in September when she saw the ghost line (a zipline-type contraption that carries floating ghosts around the rooftops of my parent's cul-de-sac) and hasn't stopped saying "dough!" (ghost) ever since. So we traced her feet to make a ghost card for daddy, made ghosts out of suckers and tissues, and traced her hands to make a "Jeepers Creepers!" card for her Sweetheart. She was as good as gold at the grocery store knowing we were shopping to get stuff to make "dough"! This was such a fun, sweet way to spend some quality time with my 17 month old baby girl. We both loved it.

Healthy Goals

I came across a blog this week that has me feeling extremely motivated and excited to set some goals and begin making healthier choices in a couple areas in my life. One goal I mentioned in my last post was that I wanted to start trying to make the large majority of the things I eat pack at least a little bit of a nutritional punch. I mentioned putting arugula on pizza, and although I didn't have arugula on hand, spinach on top of my left over margherita worked beautifully. A few mini dark chocolate chips on top of my greek yogurt with lots of fruit and a little homemade granola was incredibly satisying and carried me all the way from lunch at noon on Saturday to dinner at 7. That's pretty good for me. 
And this homemade granola (I'll post the recipe sometime) is simply, heaven, especially with berries, apples, pomegranate, and almonds.
Another goal is to not snack at night, and drink more water, and this helps me feel much better. Another goal is to do something active every day even if it's just stretching, a little stroll around the block, or teaching a class. Overall, I'm just trying to put a little more emphasis on taking good care of this body of mine, and it feels really, really good.

October 26, 2012

Sometimes I'm My Most Ambitious at Night

When the house is quiet, and as I listen to the Santa Ana's toss around the leaves outside our open bedroom window, my mind swirls with desires, goals, and dreams. Tonight is one of those nights. I know that lying down is futile at this point, so I'm going to let my thoughts run out onto this page...
I'm wondering tonight why I haven't spoken more on my blog in the past about exercising, when it plays as central of a role in my life as it does. Since graduating college, learning to juggle a full time job, and becoming a mother in the last 4 years, I've come to establish a personal exercise philosophy if you will. Silly as it may be, using the word "exercise" instead of "working out" in my mind became an important distinction. I love to move my body. I love to develop and tone muscle. I love to exert myself physically in ways that challenge me. But personally, I have found that the "gym" environment can be a toxic place for me. When I'm at the gym I spend a lot of time comparing, a lot of time judging wrongly, and so often am floundering for variation. When I am outside, or at home, or in a class environment however, I feel much more calm mentally, and even have quiet spiritual moments that are treasured memories to me. I've also found that when I'm exercising in a way that I love, I don't feel like I'm being punished like I used to every time I walked through the doors at Gold's Gym. When I exercise in this way, I can accomodate my routine every day to suit the time I have, and also the amount of energy I'm running on. I can listen to conference talks when I exercise, and I also love that my baby sees me taking care of my body. Walking, bodyrock, dancing, yoga, pilates, and stretching are my favorite ways to move and even though they are lower impact, I told BJ recently that I feel like I may be in the best shape of our married life.
When I was in college I tried harder than ever to eat as healthfully as I possibly could. I tried to limit my fat, sugar, sodium, processed, and animal food intake as much as possible, and never in my life have I been as heavy as I was those 3 years. One piece of advice I loved in "What to Expect When You're Expecting" is to not tell yourself "no" when you crave or want something that's not good for you, but to try and figure out some way to add a little nutritional value to what you're eating, so you're not essentially wasting calories. I think this is such a wise principal. For instance, last night I made some apple cobbler. It was very sugary, and didn't have a lot of substance and I've been thinking ever since that the cobbler would have been much better if I had left the peels on the apples, added more oats and less sugar to the crumble, and given the crust more texture, substance, and health benefit by adding chopped nuts as well. Reconsidering the toppings on frozen yogurt to maybe include a little fruit, or adding arugula to the top of my pizza are both great ways to add some benefit to the calories I'm consuming. I want to make this a new goal. I want to be a little more careful about eating for good health, and paying attention to the way the food I'm taking in really improves, or inhibits the way I feel.
Being a mom isn't quite the way I imagined it would be... at least not all the time. There are sacred, breathtaking moments, no doubt, but there are a lot of minutes in the day when I am selfish, time when I want to do what I want, and not have to continually meet Ellie's minute to minute needs and desires. That, for me, has been the single most challenging aspect of motherhood- learning to be unselfish with my time. Being the youngest child in my family, I had so much independent time. I spent so many hours by myself or with just my mom, or just one friend. All day every day was essentially about me. I know this is how it is for most people before they become a mother, but I feel that I in particular, am a fairly independent person. I love my baby. I love to cuddle her and kiss her and love on her. I love to bathe her and dress her and take her places with me. But there were a lot of years spent doing just what I wanted, and I guess I'm surprised how challenging it has been to happily turn my time to someone else's desires every moment of every day. (Maybe that's why I love the evenings when I can be all alone, thinking and breathing, and dreaming all by myself.)
video
Our hearts are broken for a few of our loved rights now- friends and family members who are facing such harrowing challenges. All I can say is... our hearts are full and heavy with our love and sympathy for you. I don't know what we'd all do without the Savior. He is the only way any of this works out. How blessed we are to know Him.
I can't wait to decorate my own home. I'm hoping I'll have the opportunity sooner, rather than later. My perma-nesting has been in hibernation for the last year and two months and I'm about ready to burst. I hope I even remember how to do this! There are too many places to turn for inspiration. Oh, and did I mention we will have our own yard?! A yard!!! I think I see a garden in my future!
At this time of year I LOOOOOOOVE to cook. I love to be in the kitchen. I could read a thousand cook book, and I could literally kiss Ina Garten right now.
I just got called to be the Beehive advisor in our ward. I am thrilled about my calling, about the girls I get to teach, and about the women I will be serving with. I am especially excited about the new curriculum the church has developed to teach the youth. Now, we as teachers, are urged to make the lessons about the youth. There is much, much more flexibility in the "lesson" you present each week. You study a unit and select what points you feel are relevant and important for the youth at that given time, and then you basically treat the teaching time as much more of a discussion time. You ask questions, you listen to answers and experiences, and you let the children guide you, with the Spirit, so you can cover what needs to be taught. This is how the Savior taught. How appropriate. How inspired. And what a challenge. I always say that I love to speak more than I love to teach. When you speak YOU are in control. If you prepare well, all you have to do is clearly present the information, and you're as good as gold- a perfectly manageable situation. Teaching like Christ, however, is not about control, nor power. It is about love. It is about listening, and understanding. That seems to make a lot more sense.
I am grateful also for the opportunity I have to teach dance. It blesses me. It brings me a lot of happiness. I hope that I not only will make my dancers better at dance, but that I will teach them in a Christlike way, and that they will loved and the desire to be better. Today my Stake President shared a thought at our training meeting,
"The wolf that wants the sheep wants the shepherd more."
That is a call to duty for me as a mother and teacher. I am happy to have that call.

October 25, 2012

Hey Ellie Layne,

I love you, bug-a-boo.

I'm Really Gonna Miss Where We Live...

because it's really, really pretty
the people are nice, conservative, religious, and ambitious
we have the best ward ever
and Orange County, whether its pathetically expensive or not, is a pretty great place to be.
(these photos are around our current neighborhood.)




Kale Autumn Salad

Tonight I made this salad to go with our margharita pizza. It was gorgeous, seasonal, delicious, and satisfying. I love fresh, raw fruits and veggies, but having the kale sauteed in a little olive oil as a warm and savory contrast to all the fresh fruit put it over the top, and made it feel less "salady," which I think is nice in these cooler months. It was so delectable- the perfect way to eventually use up an entire bag of kale.
Sautee some kale in olive oil, kosher salt, and pepper
add some granny smith apples
red grapes
clementines
pomegranates
and pine nuts
*because of the nice savory flavor of the kale, you don't need any dressing.
Enjoy!

Could There Be a Better Picture In the World?

Hahahaha. Gets me every time.

October 22, 2012

Lately

I got a text message from my sister Jess last night:
Jess: Seriously?!? You haven't updated your blog since the 11th of last month. Post something already. I've given up on Kate. But you have to make up the difference. Ready. Set. Blog.
I told her I would blog when we get our own house...which probably isn't true, because we probably won't be able to pay for wi-fi when we do. 
We are currently looking to buy a home here in southern California. It is a very discouraging pursuit. Housing here is insultingly expensive, and the market is quickly going up. We are beginning to feel very, very discouraged. I told BJ last week that I feel like I'm pregnant with this house. You know how when you're pregnant for the first time 90% of your thoughts throughout the day are about your new baby, your new life, motherhood, etc? Well that's how I feel about finding a home. I daydream about refinishing kitchen cupboards, and gardening my own yard. I can't wait to buy a round table for the kitchen and a roll arm sofa for the family room. I can't wait for Ellie to play out back while I wash dishes and watch her out the kitchen window. My head is constantly buzzing with ways to repurpose old furniture, and color schemes I'd like to use. If you'd like, you can pray for us, cause heaven knows we're gonna need a miracle to find a home we can afford that is just right for us.
I've been teaching dance a lot more lately, and am loving it. I work at a studio that is 7 minutes away from my house, and I have the most adorable students. I love moving my body and watching Ellie learn some moves as I choreograph at home.
I've been to Utah twice recently, and it always makes me happy to be there.
I love listening each day to a couple recent general conference addresses. I think my favorite this conference was Neil L. Anderson's, "Trial of Your Faith" talk.
Ellie is growing up every day. She looks so tall and old. Her hair is coming in and it melts me. She is becoming more and more independent, learning more words, and getting to be really coordinated. She has much more of an opinion than she's ever had, and sometimes her will is like iron. But she still melts us, and we still long for her every night when she's asleep in her bed and not near us. She is awesome, challenging, and adorable... everything a 17 month old should be.