Monday, January 5

Digging in to the New Year!

Ryan sent me on a Mom Escape last weekend as my Christmas/birthday present. Nothing could top that in this season of my life! It was just the break I needed to have quiet time to think, write, sleep, and love on Aliza. We were recently surprised to find out we've accrued gold membership status on our Marriott card so I had three free days at the hotel with meals included. Awesome!!! And when I got home on Sunday morning, Ryan had packed up most of Christmas and my chores had been done while I was away - even the laundry! HALLELUJAH!!! He wins best husband prize! Seriously, this is the gift I want every year! We'd been trying to make my retreat happen since September, but life has been too full.

I spent the first day of my escape reading, working on Primary tasks, and then did a little shopping at the packed mall. I have a specific list of things I am in need of so of course I didn't find any of them! That evening I met a couple lovely friends for dinner at my favorite Italian restaurant. The next day I holed up in the hotel reading and writing, thinking about what I wanted from/for myself in 2015 in conjunction with three goals I'd written down on New Year's Eve.

My bishop is starting a leadership/inspiration business and I took the time to browse some of his website's posts. He and his wife are very goal-oriented and I never have been good with follow through so it was timely reading. One post mentioned a mission statement generator so I gave it a whirl and loved it. Here's the link - Franklin Covey Mission Statement Builder. I liked it so much, I emailed the link to Ryan and set up a dinner date for us that evening so we could hopefully have time to chat about our mission statement. Reading Ryan's mission statement had me in tears. I married a great guy and it captured parts of his heart that I hadn't seen in a while because we've been too busy keeping up with life. He inspires me!

Ryan dropped the kids at our friend's house and met me at a new restaurant, Joe PeƱas, which is a Mexican food chain apparently. Ambiance was pretty good but the music was a little on the loud side for the conversations I wanted to have. We had high hopes for the food but it didn't pan out so well. I think if we'd ordered items we didn't have expectations for (chimichungas and enchiladas), we could have been pleasantly surprised. The drinks were delicious, at least! We brainstormed some of the places still on our travel bucket list and when they could be calendared. Travel feeds both of our souls and it is fun to see the kids getting excited about new adventures. Ryan has had his eye on Cypress and the ferry to Cairo, Thailand again and Cambodia (?!), and we'd both like to get up to Hamburg and Copenhagen. This year is filling up fast, however, with me and the kids heading to my folks' for the summer. YEEHAW!

After our date, I went back to the hotel and spent the rest of the evening finishing some computer tasks while starting to watch episodes of "Person of Interest" on Netflix. I must say I'm surprised to find a show I think Ryan and I will like together! And it's pretty clean too, so far - Hurray! 

On Sunday morning, I enjoyed breakfast before packing up and heading home. Loved seeing the kids again and how hard everyone had worked in my absence. It's so nice to go to the 1pm church schedule this year! After getting the kids' clothes ready, I headed off to ward council and the snowball began rolling. Had to make sure I fed Aliza during sacrament meeting so I could do Primary. It was showtime with a new row of Sunbeams! Jake and his cohorts did surprisingly well! By the time we got home, we were all starving and exhausted. So much so, in fact, that I don't recall much of last night other than that we were all in bed at 8:30!

As the kids aren't back in school for another week, I took my time today reading and planning healthier eating for my family by making a cheat sheet master list of nonstarchy vegetables, low sugar fruits, nutrient dense proteins, whole food fats, serving sizes, and number of servings recommended per day. I planned "Next Actions" for myself and emailed a few health conscious friends to get their input on the SANE eating/exercise methodology. One friend shared the OhSheGlows recipe website with me so I'm excited to start trying some of her favorites. When Ryan got home, I was so happy to see that my "Calorie Myth" book arrived today along with some shirts I ordered quite some time ago to accommodate my shape shifting body until it sizes down from my healthier eating. YAHOO! We had green smoothies and popcorn for dinner while watching a couple episodes of Dr. Who. 

For Family Home Evening, we took turns reading our Mission Statement answers aloud. This afternoon I had taken the three older kids aside and walked through the mission statement builder. It was fun hearing their answers and helping them shape them into what they truly desire out of life, what their natural strengths and weaknesses are, and how they can work on themselves this year. I loved the chance to chat with each of them one on one about how awesome they each are! I should do that more often! As we shared our mission statements tonight, Jake snuggled up next to me and eventually dozed off by the closing song. Man, he's dang cute! Aliza has been napping since dinner time when Ryan was able to coax a few giggles out of her with Easton's coaching. 

Aliza is such a joy and pretty predictable. At a week shy of 4 months, every once in a while she sleeps through the night but not with any pattern I can discern yet. I just zipped through "Happiest Baby on the Block" to glean a few refresher tips. Aliza is developing a bit of stranger anxiety already, especially of those who wear glasses! Her range of vision has recently expanded and she's beginning to grab at things now that she's discovered her hands. She actually likes tummy time which I've just started in the past week. The kids each daily take time to check in with her and it's just adorable. Jake oo's and ah's over her while sometimes showing off his super hero poses and costumes. Morgan bounces in and can't contain her energy as she babbles on with her sister to get good coos and smiles. McKay likes to snuggle Aliza and get her to smile. Easton is excited to coax laughs out of her and he just has to hold her at least once each time she's awake.

Ahhh, life is so good and we are feeling very blessed right now with health and our lil' crew of Carters.