Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Everyday Greatness by Stephen R. Covey

It's been a while since I posted a book review for the Thomas Nelson Book Review Bloggers, but I need to earn my free books! So here's my review of Everyday Greatness by Stephen R. Covey and David K. Hatch.

Summary - A compilation of some of the best human interest and inspirational stories from Reader’s Digest.

Reaction - I’ve had this book for a while but hadn’t started it. I assumed that since it was from Stephen Covey it would be full of self-help and self-improvement tips and just hadn’t been in the right mind-set. But once I read the book, it turns out that’s not the case. While there is information about improving yourself and becoming a better person – and even some study questions – the majority of the book is a compilation of some of the best human interest and inspirational stories from Reader’s Digest magazine. I love these stories. They are the ones that make you feel good about human nature. They leave me warm inside. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and would recommend it to anyone who wants to feel good about human nature and the state of the world.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Awesome Things

I like to read a blog called 1000 Awesome Things. It's just a list of normal, everyday things that - when you stop to think about it - are really great! I'm not ambitious enough to come up with a list of 1000, but I was inspired to create my own list of 10 Awesome Things.
  1. Waking up and realizing that you still have a couple of hours until the alarm goes off. You can snuggle back into your pillow and go back to sleep.
  2. Stretching REALLY big and feeling it pop all the way down your back.
  3. A really big sneeze… especially if it’s been tickling your nose for ages ahead of time.
  4. The perfect pump at the gas station. Without any trying on your part, the pump clicks off at a nice, round number.
  5. Climbing into bed after you put on clean sheets.
  6. Snuggling into your blanket on the couch when it’s cold and grey outside.
  7. The feeling of accomplishment when you get a room all cleaned up. I like to just look at it and enjoy the tidiness… for a few minutes… until my kids are allowed back in the room.
  8. Staying up late to read a really good book.
  9. When my husband hugs me or holds my hand just because. (He’s not real big on PDAs, so this is actually pretty rare.)
  10. When you realize that the kids have been too quiet for too long… you go looking for them, dreading what you’ll find… only to find that they’re actually playing happily together and not getting into any trouble. BLISS!

What are your everyday awesome things?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Preston's new favorite saying...

"What a heck?"

I'm not sure where he learned it... do I really say "What the heck?" that often? Maybe I do. Or maybe he got it from daycare. (I always assume that he learns these things at daycare. ;) )

At any rate, he uses it constantly.

"It's time for dinner." "What a heck?"
"Turn off the computer." "What a heck?"
"Let's get ready for bed." "What a heck?"
{can't find the toy he's looking for} "What a heck?"
{hears a car honking} "What a heck?"

I didn't count, but I must have heard that phrase more than a dozen times yesterday... and that was just between daycare pick-up and bedtime! Makes me laugh every time.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Next time, we'll just eat in...

Last night was a good reminder of why we rarely go out to eat these days. We had a really nice ($50) gift certificate to Rodizio Grill. Originally, I had planned to get a sitter at some point and then Aaron and I could just go out together and enjoy an evening out. But time got away from me and suddenly we realized we HAD to use the gift certificate in the next couple of days or it would expire and be worthless. We didn't want to waste it, so we decided to go out on a Tuesday night. Unfortunately, that's a school night, so I figured our babysitting options were limited. We decided to take the kids with us.

Aaron got off work a little early so we could get there at a reasonable time (so as to not keep OUR kids out too late on a school night). Luckily, Rodizio is family-friendly. The hostess didn't bat an eye when we walked in with the three kids, just asked how many high-chairs and boosters we would need. And the waiters were very sweet and all checked in with the "little guys" frequently to make sure they had what they needed.

Haley did great. She went to the salad bar with Aaron and picked out what she wanted calmly and with no drama. Then she came back and ate the things she had picked. When the waiters came around with the various meats on skewers, Haley carefully picked the things she wanted, asked politely, and ate. Again, no drama and very well-behaved. We were really proud of her.

Brekken did as well as could be expected for his age. He made a bit of a mess (we always up the tip a little to try and make up for that), and banged his silverware a time or two, but mostly did very well. We'll overlook the fact that he dumped most of a cup of water down his shirt.

Preston, on the other hand... started off the evening by deciding he didn't want to follow the hostess to the table. He collapsed on the floor and started crying. Aaron was already almost to the table with Haley and Brekken, so I had to pick up Preston and get him to the table. (Oh, my back!) Then I went with Preston to the salad bar, where he refused every single thing I offered him, then again threw himself on the floor to cry because there were no drinks at the salad bar. I managed to coax him off the floor and put a few things on a plate for him and we went back to the table. Where he refused to eat any of it. He stood on his chair. Jumped out of his chair. Hid under the table. Sat on the windowsill. Tried to stand on the windowsill. Tried to wander away from the table. Cried. Shouted. Whined. Spilled his drink. Dropped his silverware. Made his brother cry. Made his sister cry. Almost made his mother cry. He finally ate some watermelon, grilled pineapple and a bit of pork roast, but certainly not enough to justify his $6 dinner price.

After looking forward to going out for this meal for (literally) months, I really didn't enjoy it at all. I was so occupied trying to keep Preston under control so he didn't ruin the evening for everyone around us that I didn't get to enjoy my own meal. :(

I know everyone talks about the Terrible Twos, but I have to say that for me, age three is a lot harder to deal with than age two!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Men are that they might have joy.

Okay, if you read my scripture blog, this is a repeat for you. But I just felt so strongly about this that I wanted to share it here, too.

As I was reading my scriptures this morning, verse 25 just really struck me today.

"Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy."

Men are that they might have joy... what a great thing! We are here to learn and progress and to be happy! We may be working to overcome roadblocks in our life, we may be trying to constantly get better, but we should also be trying to be happy.

Men are that they might have joy... we are meant to enjoy life! So often it seems to me that everything is too serious. That everything should be taken seriously. But even though it's important to be serious in some instances, we are not meant to be down and dour. We are supposed to enjoy life and family and our other endevours.

So today, be happy!! :)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Aaron's Bedtime Stories

Last night, Preston asked me to tell him a story. Specifically, he requested the "pickle onion story." I had no idea what he was talking about until Aaron spoke up and said that while I was in Utah, he had made up a couple of stories to entertain the kids. I listened as he told them a pickle & onion story:

"Once upon a time there was a Prince Onion. He wasn't married because there were no onion princesses in all the land. So his counselors told him he should go to the next kingdom and find someone to marry there. He thought that was a good idea so he went to the next kingdom. There he met Princess Pickle. He asked her to marry him. Princess Pickle was fine with that because there were no pickle princes to marry in her kingdom. So they got married and went back to Prince Onion's kingdom.

They had a baby. It was a tomato. They were all very happy. Then one day, someone chopped them all up and put them on a hamburger. The end."

Not your traditional happily ever after ending! :D

The kids loved it. They laughed and laughed and begged him to tell more. Apparently there are five or so of these pickle and onion stories... the common theme being that they get eaten in the end. So maybe they will never be the basis for a Little Golden Book, but they work for my kids! :D

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Another Quick Funny

Preston was playing and singing quietly to himself. When we listened closer, this is what he was singing:

Binky, binky
Binky in the morning
Binky in the afternoon
Binky all day long
Binky, binky, binky

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Quick Funny

For dinner last night I was fixing Swedish meatballs. Haley wanted to know "Mom, how sweet are they? Really sweet or just kind of sweet?"

When I informed her that it was actually SWEDISH meatballs, not sweet-ish meatballs she responded, "Well I've never been there! I don't know if I want those meatballs!"

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

We love PAWS

When Haley started kindergarten this year, she also started in the after-school program, PAWS. They pick her up from kindergarten, take her to the cafeteria for lunch, then take her back to the PAWS building for the rest of the day until I pick her up after work.

At PAWS, they have art projects, they play outside, they have computer time, they can get help with homework, they have toys to play with and books to read. They have staff (Miss Jilly and Miss Shannon) that Haley already loves.

Last night I picked up Haley and as we walked to the car she told me, "Mommy, I love PAWS." And so do I. I love the fact that she is well taken care of while I am not with her. I love that they don't just turn on the TV and have them tune out for the afternoon. I love that Haley gets to do arts and crafts every day (her favorite thing to do). I love that it's so low priced (something that really can't be overlooked)!

Mostly, I love the fact that she loves going there. I love that it makes her happy.

Monday, September 14, 2009

No wonder it hurts...

So after 2+ weeks of increasingly painful trouble with my back, I finally made an appointment with the chiropractor to try and figure out what was wrong. At the point that I could no longer stand up straight and walking was very painful and difficult, I decided that the "wait it out" strategy was clearly not working.

On Friday afternoon I went to the chiropractor and they did all their tests and x-rays. Then the chiro came in to talk to me. She started off with, "Good for you for coming to a chirpractor and going the natural route instead of traditional medicine!" To myself I'm thinking {I didn't realize that's what I was doing. I just thought that when you had back problems, you went to the chiropractor. Maybe I should be seeing my regular doctor instead...}

She went on to say, "Too many people just want to get painkillers to mask the problems instead of finding and fixing them." {What? Does this mean I don't get painkillers? Because I'm all for finding and fixing the problem, but what's wrong with a little masking if it gets me through my day?}

Turns out that the x-rays showed two herniated discs in my spine - which would explain why I can't stand up straight or walk or sit or lay down or do anything without wanting to cry over it. Also turns out that the "natural" way doesn't involve any painkillers. Bummer. What it does involve is visits to the chiropractor 3 times a week for the next 8 weeks. I've made two visits so far and really just feel worse... Though she tells me it takes a few visits to feel the benefits, I'm not feeling the love for chiropractics right now. But do I jump ship and go to a regular doctor? Will they tell me anything else? Will they at least give me some good painkillers so I can function a little better?

Anyone have experience with back problems and/or chiropractors? Any advice or suggestions?

Friday, September 11, 2009


Today is the 8th anniversary of 9/11. I think none of us can help but remember where we were on the morning of September 11, 2001.

I was on my way to work when I first heard what was going on. I turned on the radio and thought Aaron must have switched the station, because it was a news feed instead of my usual morning show. Then I listened more closely and heard them talking about how a plane had just crashed into the side of the World Trade Center. I was listening when suddenly they started shouting about a 2nd plane crashing into the south tower.

When I got to the office, I rushed inside to get to my computer and try to find out more about what was happening. Inside, they had the TV on watching everything that was going on. The whole office gathered in the conference room and watched as more and more unfolded. We heard about the plane that hit the pentagon, the hijacking of Flight 93. We watched as the towers fell. All horrible moments, but I'm glad that I was not alone watching it. For those moments, we were all a family comforting each other as best we could.

After a few hours, they closed the office and sent us all home. I remember going back to our apartment and sitting on the couch, glued to the TV. I remember calling my mom... because when something awful happens, you want your mom. We didn't say much, because there was nothing we could say. But it helped just to make that connection.

For a couple of days we were glued to the TV. We watched coverage pretty much 24/7. We worried about what would be next. And then we turned off the TV because we just couldn't take it any more. Eight years later, I still remember it all so clearly. And eight years later, we still tend to avoid the TV on 9/11 because we know they will rehash it all. They will show the footage of the planes and the towers again. And we still can't take it.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Pet Peeves

Everyone has a few pet peeves. Mine are really petty, but they've been triggered the last couple of days...

  • People who don't know the difference between "insure" and "ensure." (See, I told you it was a petty little complaint.) But it's all over the place in the written materials at my office and I'm constantly having to go in and fix it.
  • People who are late for no good reason. Every meeting I ever go to at my work starts late... I get there on time or a little early and then sit and wait. And wait. Most people don't get there until at least 5-10 minutes late. And it's just because they expect everyone else to get there late, so they decide they will come late also so they don't have to wait.
  • People who are late for a good reason but don't let you know they're running late. Aaron often ends up working late, which I can completely understand if he needs to finish things up before he leaves. I just wish he would call if he's going to be an hour late... Aaron often tries to call you but your cell phone goes to voice mail and the home phone ringers are off and/or a message is left but not checked (don't you wish Aaron didn't know how to edit your posts)
  • Panera Bread radio commercials. I have no good reason for this, but I just don't like them. I don't know if it's the announcer's voice I don't like or the background music or what. But they annoy me enough that I turn off the radio when a Panera Bread commercial comes on. Oddly enough, though, I love to EAT at Panera Bread. :)

What about you? Any strange little pet peeves?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

So tiny...

  • My new niece is so tiny. I mean, she's actually a pretty good size for being 5 weeks early, but at 5 lbs 10 oz (as of Saturday), she is just so much tinier than any of my big 8 lb babies! The tiny preemie-size clothes are drowning her. But she's adorable.
  • My new nephew was tiny until my niece was born! At 11 lbs, he's still pretty tiny. And definitely as adorable as my niece (love those chubby cheeks!). But compared to Abi, Kyron suddenly seemed so big. :D

  • I flew home yesterday and the airport was tiny. When we pulled up out front, I asked: "Is this the car rental counter?" "It's the airport." "All of it?" Basically just one big room where you check in, wait for the plane, and then walk through another tiny room that is what passes for the security check and out the door to walk across the tarmac and get on the plane. Quite the change from DIA! We left the house at 3:10 to catch my 3:50 flight... and were still plenty early!

  • The airplane was also very tiny. 19 seats total. 1 row on each side. This is the only plane I've ever been on where you actually have a wheel-well hump (like in the back seat of a car) that you have to climb over as you walk down the aisle!

  • The trip was tiny, too. Only an hour to fly home, compared to 6+ hours to make the drive. What wasn't tiny was my excitement at seeing Aaron and the kids again! It was a very happy moment for me.
  • There's just a TINY bit of disappointment that they managed so well without me. I came home to a house that was cleaner than I left it, laundry done that I have managed to avoid for weeks, and kids who didn't seem to miss me much at all. Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled that they did so well while I was gone... but a tiny part of me is sad that they don't need me more than that! :D

Sunday, September 6, 2009

What a week!

So here it is Sunday again. Last Sunday my family headed back to Colorado without me so I could stay and help out as my Dad went to Salt Lake for heart surgery. Since last Sunday...

  • On Monday, Mom & Dad and I drove to Salt Lake for Dad's surgery. They took him off for his surgery and told us he'd be through in about an hour. 2 hours later we were a bit impatient for news. I went looking for someone - anyone - who might be able to tell us what was going on. I wandered all over that wing of the hospital looking for someone. I went places I probably wasn't supposed to go. And it was empty. Not a patient, not a doctor or a nurse. No one to be found. So we went back to watching the "pacemaker channel" as we called it - one of those informational channels on the hospital TV. Kind of interested, being that dad was currently in surgery to get a pacemaker, but not really my choice of entertainment on most days! ;) After 3 hours, we finally heard that Dad was out of surgery and were able to talk to the doctor and go with him to his room. Turns out that the surgery was so long because Dad required lots of extra sedation because the pain was getting to him and so they couldn't get him knocked out all the way at first. And then during the surgery his heart went into A-fib (similar to V-fib) and they had to shock it back into the right rhythm.
  • Also on Monday, my sister had more problems with her blood pressure. She went to a doctor's appointment and it was too high and her labs weren't looking good. So they sent her to the hospital, who sent her home. A couple of hours later she was REALLY sick, so she was sent back to the hospital. This time they decided to admit her so they could keep and eye on her and baby. Mom & I were trying to follow this developing story while looking out for Dad.
  • On Tuesday morning, (after an oh-so-restful night sleeping in the hospital waiting room) Dad was seen by the doctor who said he could go home after the pacemaker function was all tested out. As the doctor was there talking to him, Mom got a phone call from Melissa. Her doctor had decided that the preeclampsia was too advanced and she was going to be induced right away - even though she was only 35 weeks along. So then we were trying to get Dad's release taken care of so we could try and get there for Melissa. Once again, the people we needed seemed to have disappeared. I told Dad's nurse we needed to find them and get Dad released and why. She promised to see what she could do. After almost an hour, I went looking again. I found a different nurse who had taken care of Dad the previous night and told her what was going on. She told me that she WOULD take care of things. Within a few minutes she came back and informed us that she had several people looking for the pacemaker guys and the charge nurse for the shift was personally making calls and getting it taken care of. Bless her! Within a short time, the pacemaker guys arrived, the final checks were done, the paperwork was complete, and we left the hospital.
  • On Tuesday afternoon we arrived in Roosevelt - still about 30 minutes from home, but Melissa's hospital was in Roosevelt rather than Vernal where my family lives. We went to Melissa's room where we pulled out the sofa bed and made Dad lay down and rest for a while. Poor Melissa had a rough, rough time. The drugs used for induction can really make for a painful labor (having been induced a couple of times, and once without induction, I can tell you that induction is harder and more painful). The hospital staff were (STUPIDLY) insistent that Melissa had to dilate to 4" before she could receive an epidural. (Being that I do research into medical issues and studies every day for work, I can tell you that there are recent studies saying there is NO need to wait for the epidural - it doesn't negatively affect the progress of labor the way they claim... alright, stepping off soapbox now.) Melissa was in a lot of pain without a lot of progress.
  • On Tuesday night, Dad went home with my brother to get some better rest. My sister Emily and sister-in-law Sarah and I were getting ready to head home for the night as well around midnight or 1:00 (it all blurs) and planned to come back when they broke Melissa's water - which they assured us was hours away. As we were gathering our things, Mom came back and said they'd suddenly decided it was time to break the water and start the next drug (Pitocin) to move things along. So we stayed.
  • Throughout Wednesday morning, Emily, Sarah and I hung out in the waiting room with Kyron (Sarah's 6-week-old baby) and Dan (Brian's dad). My mom and Brian's mom were with Melissa in the delivery room. We had a little "slumber party" (not that there was a lot of slumbering involved) in the waiting room - making the 2nd night in a row that I attempted to get some sleep in a hospital waiting room.
  • At about 7:30 Wednesday morning, Abigail Lee was born! She was 6 lbs. 4 oz. 18" long. She was immediately whisked away to the nursery because she had problems breathing. She had her lungs suctioned, was placed on oxygen, and got an IV for a glucose drip (her blood sugar was also very low). Poor baby just had tubes everywhere. 5 hours after she was born, my sister was finally able to see her new baby.
  • By Thursday, Abi had lost the oxygen and IV. She was still tiny (at least from my perspective with my big 8 lb babies!), but very cute. I made several trips back and forth from Roosevelt (30 min each way) as I chauffeured people to see the baby.
  • On Friday, Melissa was released, but Abi had to stay in the hospital. She had developed jaundice and had to be under the phototherapy lights. Luckily, though Melissa was discharged from care by the nurses, she still got to stay in her room at the hospital so she didn't have to leave her baby. She barely SAW her baby, since she was always in the nursery under phototherapy lights, but she was at least close and could spend as much time as possible with her. Mom & I made more trips to Roosevelt to visit and help where we could.
  • On Saturday, Brian was told that he had to go to work! His wife and new baby were finally leaving the hospital and he couldn't be there. :( So I drove over first thing in the morning so I could be there when Brian left. Melissa and I waited for HOURS for the pediatrician to come around and officially release Abi. I carted loads and loads of loot for Abi out to the car. I figured out how to install a car seat for the first time (Aaron has always done that with our cars!) and when Abi was finally sprung, we all headed back to Vernal. We picked up Mom on the way back to Melissa's (Mom hadn't been able to go over to the hospital with me because she was taking care of Dad). Brian was waiting for us when we got there. It was a sweet moment to see them all home together at last. (I know some people have to wait a lot longer to have a preemie baby go home, but it felt long to us!) After we helped them settle in, we left them to enjoy some family time together.
  • On Saturday night, there was a BYU game. With the boys in my family, a BYU game is a big event. The plans had been for everyone to gather at Mom & Dad's house to watch the game on the big-screen - and apparently those plans were not to be changed for a minor event like Abi's first night home. So Brian headed off to Dad's with my brother, his dad, and another friend for a night of football. My mom and sister-in-law and I went to Melissa's to keep her company.
  • Today is Sunday and we're waiting to hear how the first night at home went. And Brian and Melissa are on their way back to Roosevelt with Abi for a bilirubin check and a weight check. Fingers crossed that those go well and Abi is not re-admitted (as they said was a possibility if the tests don't come out well). Hopefully all is great and they will be released to be home to stay after this appointment!
  • Tomorrow is Monday and I will finally be on my way home. I have a flight tomorrow afternoon and though I hate to fly, I am looking forward to it this time. I have been away from my kids for so long and I miss them and Aaron a lot! Aaron has been wonderful to let me have so long to help with the chaos here and the kids seem to be just fine without me (that's a little sad for me, but I'm glad they haven't been sad and missing me, I guess). I am ready to get back home!
Whew! That's a long post! But then... it's been a LONG week!