Friday, May 11, 2012

My Mom

I am so excited that today is Friday, May 11th! My mom is coming to visit this weekend, which is always wonderful, but it is extra special since it's Mother's Day weekend. We have a weekend full of fun activities planned, things we hope she enjoys.

My mother's visits aren't stressful but very relaxed and fun. Mom doesn't judge the state of my house (I do a quick straightening beforehand, of course), my decoration, my cooking, my relationship with Steve, or anything else. She comes ready to have a good time, and we do our best to help her accomplish this and to make sure she feels at home. Her visits are my favorite because seeing us isn't her secondary purpose - she isn't here to go shopping or see a doctor or any other reason - the main reason she's here is to visit her daughter and son-in-law. It makes me feel special and very loved. (For the record, I love visits from people even if we're not the primary reason for the visit. So, come visit me even if you have another reason for doing so!)

My relationship with my mom has grown a lot as I've matured and become smarter. I appreciate our similarities and differences and am really, really thankful to be able to talk to her about my life without worrying too much about how that's going to affect our relationship. I know that she doesn't always agree with choices I make, but I know without a doubt that she will always love me.

Mom deserves a lot of the credit for me turning out as good as I have (however good that is). She instilled in me a sense of cleanliness and taught me the skills to obtain that state. Growing up, my brothers and I always had chores; we had a chore or two that had to be done after school before we could go out and play with friends AND we spent a good couple hours or so every Saturday cleaning the house. At times, I had wished that she was like my friend's mom who never made her do anything, not even make her own bed! Now, though, I'm so grateful to have learned to appreciate having a clean house and the know-how to clean it well.

Mom was the disciplinarian in our home. When we broke a rule or did something that was unacceptable (more often than not we knew it wasn't a good thing to do), she didn't let it slide.  I like that she wasn't obscure or surprising in her discipline. We always knew what was good and what wasn't. We also knew without a doubt that we'd get punished. Mom was consistent and very fair - we all had the same standards and were equally punished when we didn't obey. She taught that there are consequences to our actions - it was our choice whether or not we did something and so we had to live with the consequences. It's probably one of the best lessons a person could ever learn. Thank you, Mom!

My mom wasn't all work and no play, though. I have happy memories of playing with her. When I was a teenager, she and I would always be on a team against my dad and older brother when playing Pinochle. We'd cheat horrifically and still lose every time. It was so fun, though! We'd giggle about it and I loved the conspiratorial glint in her eyes when she'd use our prearranged signals. I remember how we'd all get giggling so hard before family prayer, Mom giggling right along with us. It would make my dad so upset that a few times he'd leave the room, which made us laugh harder.

My love of walking comes from my mom. Off and on while I was growing up, she'd take me walking with her in the evenings. She walked pretty fast, so I had to work hard to keep up with her, but it kept me in shape when I was already showing signs of a tendency towards chubbiness. And we would talk. Talk about our day, boys, dreams, plans, everything. I learned to be able to trust my mom during these walks. I've always been able to talk to her.

Faith, hope, belief in a loving Father in Heaven and Savior were taught in our home. We're not the most religious family in the world, but my mom instilled in us these traits. Although I haven't always been as obedient to my beliefs as I could have been, I have never once doubted the things she taught me. The foundation she laid for me is priceless. I know people who didn't have that and they miss it, whether they know it or not. Having experienced the death of loved ones, how blessed am I to know that I will see them someday! How blessed am I to know that I can be forgiven of my sins by a Father who loves me and wants me to be happy! Thank you, Mom, for giving me these and so many other lights of knowledge and hope.

Mom, I definitely don't tell you often enough how much I love you and how much I appreciate being your daughter. This blog doesn't even begin to express my feelings, but I hope you're able to see the top of the iceberg and realize how much more lies hidden underneath. I'm so glad I'll get to spend Mother's Day weekend with you. I love you!!

Happy Mother's Day, Everyone!

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Cheerful Sitting Room

One of the things I liked about our current home when we were considering buying it was that it was move-in ready. The carpets were nice, the walls were an acceptable color (not white!), and everything else looked good. As we have lived here, though, I've grown to not appreciate the color of our sitting room walls. The color itself was nice, a warm chocolate brown, but not in such a small room with just one window.

The individual who spent the most time in there was Sadie. She has loved laying in there ever since last summer when she discovered the joys of having a ceiling fan. The second most frequent visitor of the room is my three year-old nephew who likes to play in there a) because of the foot rest (he likes to hide inside it) and 2) no one else goes in there so he has free reign.

The people who lived here before us hadn't just painted the walls chocolate brown, the ceiling had been painted the same color! It was a cave! Fortunately, there's pretty crown molding and faux trim that are white, which helped but not a lot. A few months ago, Steve painted the ceiling white for me. It helped...but not a lot.

I wish I had a picture with the furniture, but this is a good representation of the color.

A couple weeks ago, I sat in there (trying to make more use of the room) doing a puzzle. I kept looking around thinking that it was a good room but too dark and cave-like. I suddenly had an idea. I'd paint the room! I'm not going to school or working, so I have plenty of time to do fun projects. After about 2 milliseconds, I decided to paint the room yellow. I love yellow. It's so cheerful and welcoming. At first, I thought I'd paint it a very faint yellow - white almost, with just a hint of yellow. I wondered if a brighter yellow would clash with my very red couches. While looking at paint chips, though, I tended to go for the brighter yellows. I decided to go with the color I liked best and move the couches into the living room if they ended up clashing.

They don't. The colors look great together!

It took me three days of off and on painting and I was tired but proud when finished. I listened to the the horrible advice of the paint guy at Lowe's and didn't use a primer (what???) because he said the built-in primer in the paint we had bought would be sufficient and I'd only need one quote. What was he smoking? Luckily, I ignored both him and Steve and bought as much paint as I wanted, 3 gallons, instead of what they suggested, 2 gallons. Good thing because I ended up painting 3 coats in order to effectively hide the brown from under the yellow. (Seriously, covering a dark brown with a bright yellow and only needing one coat?? Why didn't I ignore him and use a primer??) Anyhoo, I figure that even had I used a primer, I would have probably painted two coats of yellow anyway, so I would have had to paint those walls 3 times either way. And it looks great. No harm no foul. And lesson learned, I know what I'm doing and shouldn't listen to the paint guy at Lowe's if I think he's wrong.

Sorry, I ranted there for a bit.

Comparison shot - brown walls

Comparison shot - yellow walls
With new paint on the walls, I suggested getting rid of the horrible window treatment (sorry, forgot to take pictures) and Steve said okay. Throughout the process, whenever asked his opinion on anything, he said it was my room and I could do whatever I wanted with it. He'd help whenever I needed/wanted, but I got to decorate it however I wished. Yay! He took down the brown, dated, bamboo-esque wood blinds and I went shopping for something new, something simple. I bought the curtain rod at Bed, Bath, and Beyond and the curtains at Target. They weren't what I was planning on - I wanted white curtains with red poppies or other flowers - but when I saw them I loved them! I knew they'd go wonderfully with the pillow cases my cousin made me and would tie in the candles on the fireplace mantle that my mom had gives us.

Shows the curtains and candles, but not what the color really looks like

 I love my new cheerful sitting room and sit in there every day now. The only thing it needs now is art on the walls and repainted ceiling fan blades (yellow, maybe black - opinions?). I already have a print that I love (the inspiration for the red couches) and just need to get it framed so it can go in there. It will be fun to look around for other pieces to add and to watch the sitting room truly become my room, my oasis.

Oh, and Sadie's. She still loves laying in there...even more so now that I'm in there, too!

I love this room!!

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

April Updates

I had a good April. It's always such a lovely month. I enjoy watching the flowers pop through the earth and for color to be re-introduced into my world. I love the cessation (hopefully) of snow and enjoy the rain as long as there are a few days of sunshine in between storms. Even if it does snow, at least I know that it won't last long and the snow will melt quickly, if it sticks at all.

I didn't have the best of months as far as goals went, quite frankly, but I'm still pleased with how my month turned out. Here's the rundown:

School. Is over! My last day of classes was Thursday, April 12, since I only had Tuesday/Thursday classes. The final for my Auditing class was actually the weekend before that, so after class on the 12th I was done with that class. I took my remaining two finals on Friday the 13th (scary?!) so was completely done with school by 10:30 that morning. It felt great! It feels even better now that I know that I earned straight As for the semester. Woohoo! I worked 4 hours a day the following week with Friday the 20th being my last official day until Fall semester. I have agreed to work a few days here and there up until June to cover my coworker's vacation days, which will be nice. I'll get a little extra income, will get out of the house, and can read for 6 hours because I imagine it's going to be pretty slow. In other school news, I received a letter on April 30th announcing that I have been accepted into the Masters of Accounting program! I'm not overly surprised because I get good grades and had a good test score, but it's still nice to get the confirmation and can now move forward with registering for classes. Yay!

Summer Trip. We accomplished the two big things I wanted to get done with regards to our trip. We booked our shore excursions and we applied for passports. My passport didn't actually expire until next year, but with getting married, I needed to get it updated. Steve has never needed a passport, so he had to get a brand new one. We finally were able to get into the post office (by appointment only) and get everything turned in. I'm actually quite pleased with my passport picture. I figure that anything now would be tons better than my old one! I'm also really pleased about the shore excursions we have picked out. I really didn't want to sit in a tour bus/truck/train for hours on end to look at pretty scenery. That's all okay for a bit but gets old quickly. We're going to go on a zip line over a forest, go to a salmon bake, tour a salmon hatchery, river raft, and a couple other things I can't recall at the moment. It's a good mix of active and not-so-active. I'm really excited.

Journaling. Fell apart this month. I'm totally out of the habit. It's sad because there were a lot of things that I would have liked to record, silly things that don't mean a lot but that I'd like to remember. Like the time I was so tired and jokingly asked Steve to carry me into the bedroom. He picked me up and carried me all over the downstairs turning off lights, shutting blinds, locking doors before finally depositing me on the bed. It was so silly and fun and I was laughing the entire time. It's moments like this that I want to capture and that don't get captured if I don't write daily or close to it. So, I'm recommitting to this goal. Now that I'm not in school and not working, I may try switching the time I write to the mornings instead of at night. We'll see what works.

Exercise. I'm bummed that I didn't meet my goal of exercising 100 miles in April; however, I know I still exercised every day, sometimes twice a day or more, so it's not as bad as it could be. Seriously, having a dog and not having a yard is good for my health! That's why my mileage is down - I walked most of the month and only rode my bike a couple times. It was either too chilly to ride my outside bike or I ended up going for the evening stroll with Steve and Sadie instead of riding my inside bike. No matter, I know I got in a lot of exercise, so I'm okay. This month, I'm going to get back into a routine of riding my bike every morning. The past two weeks have been crazy (plumber, painting, etc) but starting tomorrow I'm going to ride my bike every week day. That should really help out my mileage numbers. AND I really enjoy it.

April exercise totals: 1775 minutes (29.5 hours), 82.5 miles - mostly walking

Second dog. Isn't going to happen. In a way, I'm disappointed because I was really excited about getting another greyhound. However, I'm very proud of myself for recognizing that I couldn't do it and accepting it instead of feeling guilty and doing it anyway. And being miserable. It was hard for me to admit that I wasn't happy with a second dog (it totally wasn't the dog, it was me), but now we know that two big dogs isn't a good idea for us. Other people do it easily, not me. And you know what? I'm okay with that. I'm really enjoying having Sadie and that's good enough.

Summer To-Do List. Since I'm not in school and not working, I made a list of things I wanted to accomplish this summer. In April, I accomplished three things - I planted a garden (with Steve), put together a puzzle, and painted the sitting room. Technically, I didn't finish painting until today, but I started on April 30th, so I'm counting it for both months. :) Some of the items are really easy, quick things and others may take more time, but all of them are things I've wanted to do for a long time so am happy to have some time to work on them.

Other. We took a trip to Cedar City for Easter and had a great time seeing my family. Wish Jason would have been able to be there, though. I finally managed to hook up with my cousin, Cassie, and heard all about her trip to Peru. It's always fun to hang out with her. And, I heard wonderful news about one of my best friends getting engaged! I'm so excited for her!

The highlight of the month was my one-year anniversary of being married to my wonderful husband, Steve. In a way, I can't believe we've been married for a whole year. In a way, I can't believe that I haven't been married to him all my life. He's my best friend.

Yep. It was a good month. I love this time of year.

Hope everyone has a wonderful May!!