As I sit here and write this I can hear fireworks going on outside. My two big babies are sleeping, my little baby I just got to sleep and my big sidekick/hubby is also snoozing. I should be too but I’m waiting out the 45 minute period where my LO seems to wake up and if he does then staying awake is a whole lot easier than falling asleep, getting a 30 min nap and then being woken up and a zombie while I try to get him back to sleep. Plus, it’s new years! I’ll be able to have my own quiet little party.
It’s true that one of my ‘goals’ is to have a new years party some year, or maybe every year! A really cool, big one, you know the kind everyone wants to be at. But the truth is that’s just out of pure tradition and because it’s just what people do right? The change of one year to the next really hasn’t meant much to me other than just a change of a few numbers on my calendar. I guess that’s what parties help us do, they make the ‘change’ seem a whole lot more meaningful and exciting!
Sure it’s an opportunity to reflect and make changes, to start fresh. But we can also do that at Christmas, our birthday’s or any other day of the year really. I think it’s fair to say that as humans we have an affinity for fresh starts; a new week, a new school year, a new spirit, whatever it may be. It’s a chance to do things differently than we did before. To make progress.
So even though it’s just a few numbers changing on the calendar, or Sunday turning into Monday just like every other week in the history of the world, it’s still another opportunity where we can reflect and improve…party or not.
I’ve always loved New Years but didn’t know how to process it until now. It’s not about the parties, the traditions themselves but what they represent. Renewal.
So as I sit here quietly in my dark warm house with my frumpy pjs on, messy hair and loved ones dreaming around me I’ll be full of thanks for the opportunity I have to reflect and change, simple as it may happen.
Many memories for the boys, birthdays, gymnastics, soccer etc.
David had big findings at school, was able to ‘graduate’ and we all had a big, fun party to celebrate.
Found out we were expecting our 3rd baby! Born beautiful and perfect at home!
Wonderful trips to St. George
Family is everything!
Able to live with Mimi and Papa for a while, just enough time for Lucie to make a new life long friend.
Found our own home with lots of space and a wonderful area.
So much progress with both businesses.
Healthy, healthy, healthy!
Did I mention a cute baby boy addition to our family?
Decision to Homeschool Ben and William gets to enjoy preschool.
Mom and Dad got to celebrate anniversary with a wonderful trip to Park City
Sherwood and Stephenson family reunions
We were able to start a garden!
Not wanting for anything. We have food in the fridge, clothes on our bodies and always a warm bed to sleep in.
David’s back/hip problems have finally resolved after 3 long years of pain and wondering if he would ever be truly fixed!
I love New Years. I’ve never been able to celebrate it like I want to; a big party with family and friends, glitz and glam, games and non-alcoholic beverages but music and dancing that would make outsiders think otherwise. I guess before I was married and had kids is when I came closest to that ideal but what I picture will be so much more. Maybe ringing in the year 2019 will be the one. Infact, that’s one of my goals. 🙂
For now, the year 2018 will have to be rung in with what I hope will be snores from each one of my adorable, loved family members. Snores instead of sparks and instead of kissing, snuggling in our beds.
It started in July. The plans. My naive mind thought it could happen in a months time. No, I knew it would probably take a bit longer because things just do….take longer than expected. But I didn’t think it would take this long. Here we are in November. But it’s finished. Well mostly. We’re still waiting on our last bench that will go on the other wall. It’s top is finished and the steel for the base is in the hands of the amazing welder (my brother) but we just need a few more inches of steel to finish it up.
The plans for this one changed so much over the course of these past months. That’s the cause behind the extended timeline but I am happy with the way it turned out.
We ended up needing to do a very custom shape and size for our weird, small dining room so a basic farmhouse table (easy) was out of the question.
My darling husband was up for a project to make it look custom and something a bit more exciting than just 2×4’s.
I think he succeeded. He worked hard on this one (in his spare time-ha!) Boy do I love this man.
Someday soon when we get over the initial newborn shock we will take the steel legs to get powder coated black but I didn’t want to wait any longer! I was getting tired of sitting in camp chairs!
I love it!
The benches are made of some beautiful maple and the table wood is sycamore taken from trees from the Brigham City temple grounds. But don’t get too excited, they weren’t sacred trees as they were removed before it was dedicated. 🙂 Haha.
A huge thank you again to my amazing brother the welder who took those straight steel pieces and somehow turned them in to that! Beautiful!
I borrowed this book from my mom yesterday and finished it just this afternoon. It’s a very short, easy read.
I guess that’s expected when it’s labeled as a children’s book.
I don’t really know how I feel about it. It’s about a girl and her adoptive uncle who have just lost their beloved May. What do they do now. How do they cope? It’s an interesting perspective but mostly the writing is creative and fun to read.
This Wednesday we have a book exchange for our relief society activity. What will I take? HMmmmmm.
I miss reading. I used to read all the time.
I think about reading all the time but I’ve gotten so far out of it that in a way it’s hard to get back in. Where do you start? The genres that used to appeal to me don’t anymore. When do I have the time?!
I started reading the old Wizard of Oz book to the boys. The really old one by L. Frank Baum and practically no pictures. They seem to really love it. Ben a bit more that William but even William is interested and stops me every sentence or so and asks what a certain word means.
I have been doubting a lot that it will work. I stop and ask, “should we stop for now and take a break?” and they say, “NO! keep going!”
I am really enjoying that. The fact that they can just listen with their ears and pick up a story and be enthralled is cool to me. I’m excited to see if we can finish it.
And as for myself, my goal is to find a book that I’m excited to read. I don’t know what it will be. Fantasy? Non-fiction? A novel? Do I even really know the difference? I don’t know. I just know I want to be inspired and changed a bit by reading it…a little bit better somehow.
So if you have any suggestions, please send them my way…I’d greatly appreciate it.
The hubby is starting up the fire and I’d love to spend more time cuddling around it with a good book. 🙂
A combination of illness in myself, my kids and my hubby, a lack of motivation, and a muddle in our schedules has kept me from the gym for quite a long time.
And I’ve been feeling it.
And I’m not just talking about in my low energy, foggy brain and achy back. I’m talking about literally I can feel the squishyness of my muscles. Oh sad day.
It’s not fair how fast that happens.
Anyway that’s all behind me now. Because I’m back.
And it feels good. Oh how I missed it.
I actually thought to myself while at the gym today, “I wish I could stay here all night!” But alas the hubster was waiting to go and get his workout in.
I am excited to see that I still have my little traps! These muscles are super important to me for my particular back problems. But they definitely could use some more strength.
I hope I never have to go this long without working out. Having a trainer at the gym waiting for you and working with you was a huge positive so I have to either find another one or find a way to do this alone. It’s tough!
I love making goals. It happens naturally and randomly for me throughout the year.
There are a lot of things that I want to improve on or change, things that I hope to achieve and they are the things that don’t require me to write them down. They’re there. Always there.
This time I have one goal that I want to zero in on. One thing for 2017 that needs my better attention.
Everything else will kind of just happen as they are things that I’m reminded of every day, things that I’ve been working on for years or things that I am excited about doing.
This solitary goal for 2017 however is going to be pretty difficult and will require my constant care.
In short, I want to worry less in 2017.
I realize there isn’t really a way to gauge something like that but that doesn’t matter. All that needs to occur in 2017 is that there is less worry in my heart than there was in 2016.
My mom has given me a book to read called, “Letting Go” which she claims will change the life of anyone who reads it and is exactly what I need. I am excited to read it and start my journey to a less worrisome me.
It does go deeper than just worrying less but I don’t feel the need to get into those deep dark corners of my mind.
Worry is not healthy. It’s taken it’s toll on me and I worry (HA!) that if I don’t get it under control it could kill me.
I don’t know what my journey will be like, it may involve a professional, maybe this book will be the ticket, maybe both and even more than I can imagine as I sit here at the very beginning of this year. I have no idea but I do know that it’s good and is what needs to be done.
Other than the fact that I am still recovering from the Influenza virus and will not be ringing in the new year like I want to, I am excited for 2017. I generally love change. I love new beginnings. I love fresh starts. I can feel it in my bones that it’s going to be a good year.
You’ve heard it said before that when you become a mom you lose your identity as it gets swallowed up in all that is being MOM. Who are you anymore? What did you like to do in your spare time before besides sleep ? Were you pleasant to be around? Did you once know how to interact with other adults? Can you do it again? What kind of clothing style did I have? What’s my style now besides sweatpants and t-shirts? These are questions that I and I am sure other mom’s have asked themselves…at least I really hope I’m not the only one.
These questions come up in phases for me. I feel like I’ll have an identity crisis but then it goes away for a while and I am fine and feel great about life but now and then it will come up again. Because of this reoccurring pattern I deciding I needed to dig a little deeper.
This time around when the questions starting coming up again in my mom brain, I decided to talk to my wonderful husband about it. He is always a good listener when I need it and is also full of good advice.
It really came down to the sad and maybe pathetic fact that I really have no interests and hobbies outside being a mom! Sure, I like to cook and I’m not half bad as my husband enthusiastically pointed out but that for me is not part of my identity in that it makes me feel complete or like I am progressing. It is more something I do because I feel like I have to…because I WANT to give my family the best options as far as food and nutrition. I am happy to do it because then I sleep at night knowing they are healthy. I’m just weird like that. But it’s not a passion…something that I WANT to do just because it makes me happy and I have a genuine interest in it.
I also discovered talking with the hubster that it’s possible I never really ‘found myself’ in my college years. It was still definitely a time of growth and figuring the world out. The only time I identified with myself the most and was the most happy about my purpose and passion was when I was called ‘Sister Stephenson’. After that I feel like I was methodically thrown into wife-hood and motherhood.
Don’t worry about me…we are not talking about a serious identity crisis here. Just one that makes it clear I never really nourished or cultivated any real interest or hobbies in my growing up years. There was piano which I love and will get back soon when my piano can get repaired. But there really wasn’t much else that as an adult I took interest in and ‘blossomed’ on my own.
So!!! What does this all mean?!
Now the time has come!!!
Tacky as this may seem, a couple of hours were spent on websites found by typing in ‘Lists of Interests/Hobbies’ into Google. Ahahahahaha I know. Good ‘ol Google.
But it got the juices flowing. And I definitely was able to rule out the ones that I knew wouldn’t bring my any interest or happiness.
And despite my downer sort of uncertainty I did get almost a full page of interests copied down! I am so excited now!
Part of my hang up after I figured this out was how do you choose the right one? Which one is the most important? Especially since none of them seemed life changing or society impacting. But again my wise husband assured me that there is no such thing as one more important than another. As long as it makes me happy and it’s good then somehow, someday the Lord will use those experiences I had for good in helping others or myself.
So here is what I do know that I love and have interest in but will be put off until a future time mostly for financial purposes.
Gardening – although I could do some reading in this area to learn more methods and terminology.
Landscape gardening – This is what my dad has his degree in and is verrry good at it. Maybe some of it passed down!?
HORSES! – ’nuff said
Shooting – maybe even competitively? On horses?! AH! How fun!
Becoming a personal certified trainer – who focuses more on the nutrition side of things.
Hosting parties – duh!
Learning languages – Chinese is first! I could also do this currently but I feel that it would be better done at a later time.
But here is my list of interests/hobbies that I am able to do at this very moment!
Breakmaking! I’ve been dabbling but now I’m not holding back anymore! Books are ordered and tools will be purchased. And the focus is on 100% whole wheat of course!
Creative writing – because writing is fun and healthy. But I wouldn’t say that I’m very good at it. I need inspiration. And probably a revisit to grammar school.
Dance/choreography – specifically hip hop or similar…this is one of those seemingly unimportant ones but to be able to move comfortably and not look like a string bean would make me happy. I love dance.
Interior Decorating – Some research and study is all it would take and someday with a home is when I could try things out. Before really thinking about it I never thought I would be the type to be interested in Interior Decorating but after binge watching ‘Fixer Upper’ on Netflix with my husband it has sparked an interest in finding my own decorating style.
Meditation – something that I have come to feel is really beneficial and important to practice. But it’s pretty difficult so practice and become proficient I will!!!
Missionary Work – always praying for opportunities is all it takes!
Education – this one would include becoming a proficient in Geography, math, nutrition and learning calligraphy or just bettering my handwriting overall.
Are you surprised powerlifting isn’t included in this list? Me too. I am still struggling with that one. Maybe in a different time of my life it will become a hobby again.
This whole mom thing is a journey and things change all the time! I feel like this discovery is really going to enrich my life and I hope that future identity crisis’ are non existent or at least less often. Cheers to finding myself as I fight thru the high and lows of these hobbies and experiences!
Have you ever had an identity crisis? What are your interests that give you purpose and happiness?
As a preface to this post I have to say that I do not claim to be a genius on this subject. Although I’ve been married to a genius who has taught me A LOT the last 7 years I cannot claim to know everything.
However, I do feel strongly that my passion for this subject has led me to greatly broaden my knowledge and driven me to live a certain way. And experience is usually a great educator. So I am going to share my experience and what I’ve learned.
First, to understand a bit more maybe I can let you in on one of my dreams…..
If I had a billion dollars I would start a non profit company that made healthier ‘processed food’ options. They would be offered at a lower price so that they would be the first choice of all ranges of people. Eventually I would also start a fast food chain that offered homemade healthy choices at a lower price. My goal with these is to get nutrients down the American population who are consuming these products anyway but that are essentially void of nutrition.
You are probably thinking, ‘aren’t there already options out there like that?’ Yes there are but not to extent of what I’m thinking and not for cheap…usually when you go out to a nice healthy place it’s a bit pricier. Right? Because of that a vast majority of Americans choose the unhealthier option. This would help me sleep better at night. Knowing people who have busy lives and have to choose ‘fast’ options are at least getting good nutrients.
OK but for now since I do not have a billion dollars, I want to do what I can to help people make better choices with what we have available to us.
Let me tell you what I believe.
I believe eating healthy IS OF GOD.
I believe that when we strive to do so He will help us just as He helps those striving to follow other laws and commandments.
It’s more than just the Word of Wisdom (if you are not familiar with this LDS commandment it’s a law given to us from God about our bodies and how best to take care of them easily found in the Doctrine and Covenants Section 89). It’s about learning what that means for our day.
Back in 1833 they didn’t have to worry about processed food and diet cokes. If there were these foods I am certain they would be written in the Word Of Wisdom.
Refined and processed foods are not really food. Too much sugar is harmful and addictive. You know this. We all know this. But making it a part of who we are is a different more difficult story.
Eating healthy is often termed ‘too expensive’ and left at that but can I suggest some food for thought?! Pun intended. If you believe in a God who created you and gave you your body as a gift doesn’t it makes sense that He would encourage and help you in your quest to take care of it?! And if you don’t believe in God well then I’d love to have a conversation with you. 😉
I announce that He does. As a person steps forward with faith (and it takes a lot!) to take better care of their body they will receive divine help both temporally and spiritually. I’ve seen it.
Maybe He helps free up some of your day and makes things go a bit smoother. Maybe in way we don’t understand His hand reaches in and supports us.
My little family has been living at the poverty level for almost 7 years. My husband is finishing up his PhD and has started a business on the side. It’s been a crazy several years… one for the books and another story altogether but the point is if you looked at us based on how we ate, things would not match up. More than half our budget goes to food. The Lord has been supporting us somehow to keep up with our ‘expensive’ eating habits. Because I believe it’s important.
I believe God is on our side.
Some people would look in on our life and finances and say “You could be living middle class if you’d just cut your grocery bill and settle with what food you buy! It’s no big deal!” Well here’s the truth…to us, we’d rather stay at the poverty level than compromise our health. We know someday we wont be at the poverty level and we’d rather show up at that glorious day shining and healthy as can be!
So what do I mean exactly?! What do we do differently?
Make real recipes for every meal. Or better than that alter the recipes I do use to make them healthier! Everything offered to us on the grocery store shelves can be homemade and is always better, not only nutritionally but in taste too. There are limits of course to what we can make depending on our circumstances for instance if you live in an apartment like we do you can’t keep cows and make your own milk and cheese products. Someday hopefully. 🙂 For now learn what a roux is make your own cream of chicken soup. Your own broth and more.
2. It means grinding my own flour and making my own bread with said freshly ground nutrient rich flour and getting rid of that worthless and probably poisonous white powder ‘they’ try to pass as flour. It’s absolutely nutrition-less and a waste of your money, space in your belly and calories. Did you know that in every way you use white flour you can use whole wheat flour? Your buds get used it quickly and eventually prefer it over the tasteless gluey white stuff.
3. It means making better choices with the things I do have to buy from the store. I’ll be doing a more comprehensive post on just this topic but for now a few examples are this Jif Natural PB and Barilla Whole Wheat pasta. The ingredient lists are short and you can pronounce everything in them. Take a gander at other pasta’s and PB’s (maybe your own pasta and PB) to see how it compares.
4. It means controlling our sugar intake. The truth is our bodies can’t tell the difference between what sugar we put in it. Honey, table sugar, high fructose corn syrup or fructose etc….our bodies react in the exact same way. Shocked? I was too. So no matter the source…just control it. Sugar is not evil. This is what I try to teach my kids…but too much sugar will start to harm you so let’s just keep it minimal and really enjoy it when we do!
5. Vegetables accompany every meal. It’s HARD teaching kids to appreciate eating healthy but it’s possible. Just like we have to teach them to sleep and use the potty we have to teach them to like and appreciate good food. Ok I can’t say they accompany EVERY meal but pretty dang close!
6. Yes! We use full fat ingredients for heavens sake!!! I’m sure you know they can’t just take out the fat and wa-la! We have a delicious less caloric healthier food…right?! Wrong! They have to fill it back up with un-necessary fillers and usually more sugar. Natural is better. I promise. Fat is not your enemy. Full cream, real butter, natural cheeses and whole milk. All wonderful and healthy.
7. I’m going to contradict myself here for just a second. It’s for all you diet coke drinkers or whatever diet 0 calorie drink you use. Obviously my first thought would be to just stop drinking these drinks altogether but I have too many friends ‘addicted’ that I know it’s almost impossible or too much to ask. When it comes to sugar it’s always a better choice than ingesting the sugar substitute used in those drinks (or foods). That stuff is not food. Please just switch to the real stuff. I guarantee if you were taken to the plant or warehouse or wherever it is that they make the stuff and saw what it was and where it came from (who knows?) that you would start to question the sanity of the world. It’s just not food. Do we need to define the word food?!!
8. In our world, the consumption of red meat is controlled as well. Fat can become a problem (although I might add emphasis that it’s still not as deadly as sugar and other things found in low fat/no fat ‘foods’) when sausage and bacon and high fat meat cuts are eaten frequently. But at the same time these things can be extremely beneficial and nourishing when needed and eaten sparingly. Yum.
How do I feel these sacrifices/steps have helped my family?
At the risk of sounding boastful I’ll just say that I know my kids do not get sick as often as the average American kid. They are bright, capable and able to understand the effect of food on their tiny bodies. They feel the difference on their own.
As for me and my husband we couldn’t really give you any real comparison because we don’t really know any different. When we do eat white flour on rare occasions and not by choice, our digestive systems freak out for a while which makes us feel icky. It’s noticeable.
I feel blessed to be able to eat the way we do and I feel so strongly about it I am compelled to share it with others.
Have you heard the phrase, ‘If your great grandma wouldn’t recognize it as food then it probably isn’t food’. Next time you are in the store look past all those bright well designed marketed bags and boxes and try to decide if it could really pass as food. Did it come from the earth? And then what did it’s journey from the earth to your mouth look like? How long was it? What did it come in contact with? Who did it come in contact with? What did it loose in the process? If this journey makes your head hurt or you have to get a pen and paper out chances are it’s not the best choice for food. This goes for simple deceiving ingredients like white flour…it’s journey was long and gruesome and it came out the other end hardly recognized by its fellow wheat berries. You can definitely do better yourself.
This journey is HARD. I know. But again I promise you will receive help. Not only from God but I am here to help as well. Another dream of mine would be to move in with somebody (everybody) who is wanting to change their lifestyle and become their sidekick as they start the process. Show them how to make bread. Go to the store to buy the grinder and show them how to use it. Buy recipe books, make lists and go grocery shopping with them. Watch the satisfaction they have as they realize they can do this and how great it feels. Or we can just text. 😉
Every time we eat is an opportunity to nourish and heal our bodies. We should do our best to not waste those precious opportunities.
And just so you have proof that we do eat sugar and white flour though they may be rare occasions here is William enjoying a doughnut.
ps. If you are looking for a fabulous chef who has multiple recipe books, Betty Rosbottom is it. I LOVE her recipes. She actually knows what she is doing and she uses real ingredients (save for the use of white flour – easy switch!). I’m a little obsessed with cook books if you have any you love please share!
I haven’t felt much like writing lately. I couldn’t tell you why exactly but I believe it has something to do with the fact that I’m off social media. I’m going through a transition period.
About a week ago I went through an epiphany of sorts, a personal crisis where I confronted the reality that not only am I addicted to social media but that I actually sincerely dislike it.
I noticed that every time I logged off social media I always felt worse. Darker. Lower. You get the idea. It was not uplifting.
Yes of course there are benefits to social media. Marketing for businesses, missionary work and the spreading of good news, and others. Social media is not the same for others as it has been for me. I realize that. But FOR ME these benefits did not outweigh the injury.
Not only was I addicted to constantly checking at the ease of a button on my phone, the endless scrolling and mindless activity of ‘connecting’ with those around me but it left me feeling like I was losing who I was and what was important.
When I would feel ‘confident’ enough to post something myself it was always at the expense of my pride and vanity. Meaning it made it worse. Somewhat unknowingly I was trying to portray a certain lifestyle and picture of who I was. And yes everything I did post was of me and my life but in a weird sort of twisted way. Instead of feeling more connected with those around me I felt farther away and that my ‘friends’ didn’t really know me at all.
I knew something had to change. So I logged off. For good. If I’m being honest I’ve had one slip up since then. I logged onto FB for about 30 seconds. It was meaningful however because it solidified what I already had been noticing. I DON’T MISS IT AT ALL.
Ironically this was all just after I had decided with the help of my trainer to ‘document’ my journey to a 300# squat. I was going to do videos, pictures, posts galore on what I ate, how I trained, sleeping etc. Sorry Atticus. Hope I didn’t disappoint you too much.
Which brings me to my point here for this post. No, I wont be doing a document my journey to 300# on social media. But I would still like to do a bit of it here on my blog.
If you haven’t already noticed I love powerlifting. I should specify. I love powerlifting at Blacksmith Barbell. I know I wouldn’t find the same progress, the same soundness and integrity anywhere else. My body is achieving things that I didn’t think it was capable of doing.
Do you know how fun that is?!!!!
Atticus, my trainer believes that I can reach my goal of 300# by Halloween. I’m not sure that’s true although he does have a weird way of always being right about these things. We are however taking two 1 week vacations before then so I wonder how that plays into it.
Nevertheless I will get there eventually. I don’t really care when I just care that I do. Learning more and more each day….like how to not brace the deadlift bar on your knee on the way down…whoops.
We’ll start at my 230# rack pull last Friday. Sort of like a deadlift but instead of pulling from the ground, pulling from the pins near the shins.
This picture isn’t my max but it’s all I got.
I feel like I can finally make progress unhindered. My shoulder which was causing pain for the last 3 ish or more months is finally subsiding and now my wrist which I hurt in a non gym related way is making progress too. This means my bench will improve which means everything else will too. As long as I take care of myself and keep loose.