Discoveries

Yesterday was a day filled to the brim with new discoveries.
We spent part of our day out and about in a city and part of our day outside our home and the rest of our day inside: eating and spending time together.

I’ll let the pictures take it from here:





Because staplers generally turn up in weedy garden beds, right? (In the interest of bragging: now a WEEDED garden bed)


My facebook update dedicated to this one glorious loaf of bread:
And it came to pass in those days there went out a visiting teacher bearing bread of the finest make and she did bring it unto the poor and gluten-free trodden, and there arose up a cry of joy from the hungry. Said they, “this gluten free bread doth not sucketh!” And in that day of feasting, there was much joy and rejoicing. For unto us was born this day a beautiful ray of hope through the bountiful arms of one glorious visiting teacher and the fruits of her Pinterest board.
RECIPE!!!


And finally the BIGGEST discovery of the day:

I picked Prince up not too long ago from a local family. We each swore Prince was male and delighted in his very rare quality of being a male calico because they are SO rare.
But, as it turns out, Price is not a rare male calico but a very pregnant FEmale calico.
Though it still appears Price is male, so I’m not really sure what the heck is going on at all and am beyond tempted to name the pretty kitty “Hermaphrodite” after the Greek God of the almost-same name.

I hope your day turns turns over as many secrets as mine did yesterday.
It really makes life worth living, you know?

Salt Lake!

A few days after writing my last post, I hopped in a car with my friend, Jewel, and talked her ear off for 8 (? 7? 9?) hours straight. We drove through sunshine and snow, flat land and mountains, and finally arrived in Salt Lake City, Utah!

I want to tell you about it and share some of my pictures, BUT FIRST.
Before I forget: Trenton has taken to calling cat litter “cat glitter” and I couldn’t be happier.
“Ugh! Stupid CAT GLITTER all over my shoes…”
Let it here be recorded that if anyone -ANYone -tries to correct this, I will become aggressive. Don’t take my happiness, man.

Secondly: because of life and How It Is right now, we had to do our big grocery shopping trip last night… at 9 pm… with three children. 13 hours prior to what will go down in Deets Family History as one of our most monumentally chaotic family outings, Lacy gave Trenton a pencil. It seemed like such a simple thing at the time…
But 13 hours later at 9 pm and again -14 hours later at 10 pm -Lacy decided she wanted the pencil back.
And the scene in the backseat went exactly like this:
(please understand that this ALL HAPPENED EXACTLY AS I’M RECORDING IT.)
Lacy: (in full-on, streaming-down-her-face tears) I WANT THE PENCIL! I ONLY SAID BORROW! I SAID IT QUIIIIIIETLY BUT THE PENCIL IS MINE!
Mom: Lace, we will talk about this in the morning after you’ve had some sleep. If you want to be upset and cry, that’s okay. But we aren’t going to talk about it until tomorrow. We can talk about anything else…
Lacy: BUT I WANT TO TALK ABOUT THE PENCIL! IT IS MINE! I WANT IT RIGHT NOW!
Trenton: (pencil smugly in hand) Lace, quit complaining.
Alice: Lee Me! Guy Me! Wah bee sigh me! Heh me…

She always gets stuck at “help me.”
The irony is not lost on me.

It’s trips like that -the 25 minute jaunt to Wal-Mart with 3 very tired children under my wing -that make me doubt my tolerance of travel. But I was able to cruise with Jewel for hours upon hours with no bumps. Lots of laughs, lots of jokes, lots of music, lots of free-roaming livestock… but no stress. Even in the darkest of dust storms and snowy roads, I felt remarkably okay.
I think traveling with children has somehow callused me.

As the photo above accounts: We drove through sunshine and snow to get to Temple Square and then we drove through wind and dust to get back home.
And I’d do it again in a heart beat.

Once in Salt Lake, I stayed with my best friend from infancy, grade school, high school, college, and PROBABLY the pre-existence… Tia.
Tia is really the highlight of Utah in every way. Not everyone knows this, but I do. She’s like Utah’s best kept secret.
I hate leaving her home always and have -in very fact -made definite plans to return with Danny next month. I didn’t know I was so big on Utah until recently… Tia’s bewitched me, or something.
With Tia, everything is calm and simple and beautiful and wonderful. It’s a wonderful gift she inherently has. Trips to visit her are never fraught with obligation or schedules or stress, but laughter and easiness and good, solid sleep.
She texted me a few days before I came asking if we should go thrift shopping… meaning she texted me and asked me -without my telling her -if I’d like to do the ONLY thing I really wanted to do (other than attending the Women’s Conference and hitting up a temple session) up in Utah.
D.I.

After spending a morning alone walking around Temple Square, doing a session, snapping pictures, and traipsing all over Brigham Young’s house, I went thrift shopping with Tia.


While walking through DI, I remarked on the mass amounts of pastel blouses and khaki… everything.
“You know that outfit at Dillards you passed up thirty years ago?” Tia’s husband replied, motioning toward the merchandise, “Now’s your chance…”
And at SUCH reasonable prices!

After a solid round of Cafe Rio and a good night’s rest, Tia’s electricity was turned off for maintenance.
So we went outside and stuff.

And then my brother picked me up and took me out
to hike! I’ve always wanted to hike, but I have kids and live in flat land. I was thrilled to go on a very mild hike (you have to go easy on beginners) up Ensign Peak.
It didn’t take me but a few feet to start feeling like I wanted to puke, but I kept going. Except when I quit and then we’d set and rest.
Set and rest awhile.
But I persevered because that’s what cow folk DO… and eventually made it to the peak

After taking in the sights and climbing down -incidentally, the peak was significantly shorter in descending mode -we ate at a vegan restaurant and, overall, felt very healthy about the whole experience.

Steve sent me home with a lovely gift of decorative, speckled Robin’s eggs… which my niece was very interested in when she saw them.
“Easha, are deese REAL?” her eyes gleamed and sparkled with wonder.
“No,” I shrugged.
“Are day CHOCOLATE?” her eyes gleamed and sparkled with hope.
“No, sorry. They’re just for being pretty.”
“Oh,” her shoulders fell, all hope and wonder vanished…

That very evening, I went with Tia to the Conference Center for the First EVER General Women’s Meeting. Tia had some tickets, and a gaggle of us gathered together and enjoyed a landmark experience.
The seats were second row seats! It was unbelievable to take in the Conference Center from the front… to hear the choir’s powerful sound bounce off the back wall, to watch the women file in: mothers, sisters, grandmothers, friends!
There was perfume and pumps and Chevron print EV-ER-EE-WHERE.
But most of all, there was us.

Jewel and Ju Ginger.
That’s what I’m going to call them now…
Heather -a fellow music major from college who has managed to look younger and lovelier with age (how the heck? amazing!)
and Mean Tia.
Meaning… me and Tia.

FLASHBACK TO 1993
Big Brother: Who is going to be there, Alicia?
Me: Me n’ Tia.
Big Brother: I didn’t know Tia was mean. Meeeeen Tia… hardy har har
Me: I WANT MY PENCIL!
(I don’t know where Lacy get it…)

Conference was so moving, so brilliant, so filled with lessons that I’ve since spent hours recording my thoughts and impressions. I will say that I didn’t make it but three single NOTES into the opening song before I was just weeping outright.
The sheer volume. The power behind the sound of ALL the women. It was something I will never -ever, in this life or beyond -forget.
To feel the reality of being in the presence of so many sisters… and to be there with my own sister and Tia who has been a sister to in every way save the blood way! It was an experience for the books.

The entire trip has taken me several sit-down “process” sessions because I learned and gained SO much. It was truly a gift of a trip.

And to complete this post, I’ll gift you with a little bit of Tia.
Here’s what happens when we try to take a selfie and put Tia in charge of snapping the picture because
1) she has the longest arms
2) we trust her.

She still has the longest arms, but the trust? Miiiight have been broken in the best possible way. I invite you now to look at Ju -so wonderfully unchanging through it all.
And then compare her to Tia.
And then laugh out loud like I do every. dang. time.
Time lapse: approximately 10 seconds. maybe. prolly 9.

The Longest Short Walk Home Ever

“Let’s go for a walk,” I said to my freshly awoken daughter.
“Okay,” her boots slipped on over the jeans she slept in.
The door opened quietly, closed quietly… one long finger held over my lips… “shhhhhhh…”

The morning was OURS. The singing birds, the cloudless sky.

“Reach your hands over your head, stretch! Take a big breath in and FILL your body with all this fresh air!”
Our shadows danced next to each other. She giggled. I breathed in ALL in.
It was magic.
Until.

*Screen slam*
He’s barefoot, rubbing his eyes.
“What are you guys doing?”
Going for a walk with one child is enriching and refreshing. Going with two?
But at this point, do I have an option? I could send him back inside where he’ll cry and wake the baby up and be scarred for the rest of his life and only dredge March 25th, 2014 up twenty years from now when his therapist puts down his pencil and asks, “Now. Don’t you think it’s time we addressed your Middle Child issues?”

I resign.
“Get your boots on, buddy!”
“Don’t leave me.”
“I won’t, but I DO have to go to work… so… hurry.”
“But you’ll leave me.”
“WE WON’T.”
“But I don’t -”
“Buddy. Choose. I only have a few minutes, so I DO have to start walking. If you’re going to come, hurry and get your boots on.”
“Don’t leave -”
“I won’t leave.”
“But I don’t have time for socks.”
“Okay, that’s fine. I’m going to start walking, and you can make your own choice. You’re welcome to come if you want. Or stay with Daddy.”
“I don’t want to stay with Daddy!”

I realize socks matter. I do. But he never seems to care about socks until there’s really no time for socks. I imagine our house burning down and Trenton tugging on my robe, “Um, I need socks…”
The kid isn’t exactly known for consistently wearing undergarments of ANY kind, unless he’s wearing them on his head.

“Your choice, buddy,” I say and start walking.
The screen opens, slams.
The screen opens again after a few seconds, slams. The boy comes running down the driveway in his boots.
“I will ride my BIKE!”
“This morning, we are walking,” I say, unwilling to start the argument of “if he gets a bike, why can’t I get a bike?” and “my legs are tired of pedaling” and “my bike is stuck” and “GET OUT OF THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD!”
“But I want to ride.”
“You don’t have to walk this morning, you can stay and help Daddy make breakfast.”
Tears. Shoulders slumping.
Tick tock, tick tock.
“I don’t want to STAY.”
“Awesome, then let’s go!”
“I want to ride!”
“We are walking. You can make a choice.”

Trenton hates it when I say that.
Within 49 seconds, he’s stopped crying and is full on running, gleefully.

We reach the stop sign (a quarter of a mile -maybe -from our house). I start making my way around, Lacy takes a different way. I try calling out to her. Trenton falls into the gravel and screams.

The magic oxygen I inhaled on my lawn has been completely usurped in my efforts to simply endure.

But then she slows down.
Hands in pockets, sighing.
“Come on, Lacy!” I cheerfully coax her, “Let’s get some oxygen in our lungs! Breathe in and fill them up like a balloon! Swing your arms! Let them feel the oxygen too!”
She deliberately stiffens them next to her side.
“Let your arms swing,” I show my daughter by example how good it feels to let loose.
“Mom, no.”
“Trent, don’t run. You’ll fall again.”
“Can I take a short cut through the short cut?” Trenton asks -wanting to know if he can plow through two of our neighbor’s personal driveways on his way back to our own.
“No,” I said, “We just have to make it home. I have work. Lacy! Come on!”
“Can I just swing ONE arm and use the other to hold my pants up?”

And in one swift questions, she summed up my entire life.
One arm swinging, the other holding my dignity together.

Later in the evening, I try to do yoga.

Better to have tried and pulled your hair twice than to have remained on facebook.
Right?

Trigger Pull…. *BAM*

I believe so many things about myself that just aren’t true. Not even a little bit true.

You’re a failure.
You’ll never be enough.
You’re unattractive.
You’re too much… too loud, too vocal, too animated, too MUCH.

Only recently did this gigantic “ah, HA” world open up to me where my character traits I believed were flaws were actually GIFTS.

GIFTS.

I talk too much? No. I don’t. I just really, really don’t.
Try: I talk openly and freely. I’m expressive and talkative and colorful. It’s the way I was made and created, and for over 20 years, I’ve been solidly SQUASHING it because it seemed so demmed unattractive.

I’m playing a new game now -new field, new realm, new ball game.

As I’m cleansing my my life of my false beliefs, I’m finding I have to avoid certain places and situations that trigger them. Of course, I learned this by finding myself plopped IN those situations and thoroughly hating every fiber of my being.

I’m a very hands on learner.
Just ask my battle-worn sewing machine.

So here’s the deal: I can’t do cardio workouts right now. Every time Jillian Michaels pops up on my screen, I’m suddenly unattractive and riddled with shame.
I used to RUN toward that, thinking I needed to rid myself of my unattractive-ness!
When really? REALLY. I just needed to rid myself of Jillian Michaels for right now -until I’ve accepted myself fully as I am, until I’ve learned that I AM attractive and can embrace what I see in the mirror at any given time of day: first thing in the morning, freshly out of the shower, and right before bed when the day’s cookie count has accumulated in my bloated abdomen.

Shame for me is found in so many places.
I see Jillian Michaels… the trigger is pulled, and BAM: a false belief runs the gamut of my mind.
You’re too soft.
You don’t have it together.

I see a clean house run by someone who cleans their house religiously.
You’re not enough.
You’ve failed.

I see someone going through hard things who is all steel and granite.
You’re weak, you’re so SO weak.
You’re less than.

The blank unholy truth of it all is that I have this crazy belief that the way other people live somehow has something to do with ME.
And it doesn’t. It doesn’t AT ALL.

They can clean their house, and I can NOT and we can live and love each other without me believing that I am somehow the world’s worst and fullest failure of a creation that ever poisoned the carpet she dared to rent.
(PS: most of that is the kids’ fault… okay?)

I can own my beautiful MUCHNESS: my loudness, my animation, my crazy love for anything free and wild… this weird existence between country western and liberal gypsy (go ahead, ask me how long it’s been since I shaved my legs).

And I will say this: I do stuff really well. For everything I DON’T do well, I DO DO other stuff well (like make 11 year old boys laugh by saying “DO DO”).

There are wonderful people who have taken this journey before, who will read my words and think, ‘duh, Alicia.’ and that’s okay. Right now I’m in a cleansing place of learning to accept myself in spite of how others live, in spite of the mountain of “shoulds” I’ve built in my 28 years, in spite of my default setting that tells me life is somehow all about me.

In truth, life is a gigantic, majestic, embracing work of art full of variation and life and color. And I am a piece.
A good piece.
A MUCH piece.
A necessary piece.

And for that, I will stop apologizing for who I inherently am. I will apologize for things I do that are offensive and awful, but
“sorry I talk too much” is no longer on the menu, along with “sorry my house is a mess.”

Cleaning. It’s just not something I GET. I have to work REALLY hard at understanding the mechanics of organization and cleaning. Right now, during my cleanse, I just can’t do that.
Yesterday, I asked my kids to run and clean their room while I picked up the living room. Minutes later, my daughter came out of her room… where she had been CLEANING, remember … with THIS

My daughters have inherited my MUCHness, and now is the time to start loving that part of me so I can fully love and instill self-love and full self-acceptance in them.
Because the scene of my two favorite females emerging from a work environment wearing hard evidence that they’d actually been PLAYING was awesome and hilarious and (let’s face it) admirable.

I found this image through Glennon… Momastery Glennon… and it fits today.

I'm often asked about my parenting "strategies" and I usually just say -"forgive yourself for being yourself." But I saw this picture today and it reminded me that another parenting strategy of mine is to gently swerve out of the way sometimes so beautiful things can grow.

 

About it, she says:

I’m often asked about my parenting “strategies” and I usually just say -”forgive yourself for being yourself.” But I saw this picture today and it reminded me that another parenting strategy of mine is to gently swerve out of the way sometimes so beautiful things can grow.

And I issue that same invitation to myself… to get out of my own way and let myself swerve out of the white lines I’ve painted in my restricted and colorless Mountain of Shoulds.

Because


So this morning, I left pretty early for a quick medical test in a town 45 minutes away. I took my eldest with me and left everyone else in the dust.

Because they were sleeping.
But apparently, my starting up the car and backing out of the drive woke my 5 year old son up, and he naturally assumed that his ENTIRE FAMILY had abandoned him.

He did what any boy in his situation would do, which is run next door and tell “Super Grandma” (we have a lot of Grandmas around here) that his family left him alone.

She did what any loving neighbor in her situation would do, which is come next door and see the mess of my weekend and discover that my husband was sleeping soundly under his favorite thick comforter while his son was PJ-clad and gallivanting around the neighborhood.

We’re going to make her card.
I’m not sure if it should be full of apologies or gratitude. We’ll probably go with both and cover all of our bases.

This month has kind of been like that, you know?

A few weeks ago, we were driving to the store and my husband asked what I was thinking about.

I don’t know WHY he does that. It’s always mildly frightening, and he has to mentally go through this whole PROCESS of deciding to accept me anyway -in spite of my inner most thoughts.

“I was just thinking about how I hope I have a tumor growing on my brain so there would be a natural explanation for my utter lack of physical grace. Walking across a room and moving around is sometimes such a chore because I stumble and bump around. Is ‘bramble’ a word?”

Awkward is though.

Awkward has sort of been the theme of this month. It’s just been… off in ways that are head slappy and sighy and “of COURSE”y.

But the days are getting longer, and the Arizona heat is flirting with me. So I don’t much mind the awkwardness.
To be honest, I’m getting kind of fond of it. It feels familiar.
Which is probably hard evidence that there’s no tumor on my brain. I’m just naturally brambley.

Soul Feast

My soul needs nourishing.

Sometimes, my soul needs more nourishing than it does at other times. Lately, I’ve needed a steady stream of nutrition directed RIGHT at my soul’s epicenter.

I wanted to share a little sample of my Soul Feast with you today. Is that okay?
I have so many things to blog about, but my time is very precious. What very little down time I do have these days is spent lying on the trampoline soaking up sun with my boy.
“Do you feel the Vitamin D, Trent?” I ask with my eyes clothes and limbs stretched out on the warm, black canvas.
“No,” he sighs, “I just feel da heat.”
“That’s the Vitamin D!” I say.
“Oh. I wanna feel da Vitamin D wiff my toes,” he says and peels his socks off.

That’s what I want to do with my downtime. I want to plug into the present and let the early spring sunshine have it’s way with my skin.

That is soul food.

Every once in a while, I push play on this video and let my soul digest slowly.

And quotes. I’m big on quotes. Quotes are like fulfilling Soul Snacks. Unless they’re about someone else making you happy and passed around the internet by preteens. Then they’re sorta maddening.

I found that gem on Facebook, and I absolutely love it.

Here’s another great video I push play on every once in a while… just for good measure:

It keeps me from “at least”ing others… AND myself.

My sister recently introduced me to Yoga with Adriene, and I can’t recommend it enough. It’s come into my life right when I’ve needed it.

She has a slew of videos, and I’m loving diving into them.

Yoga is the one excercise that finds it’s way to my soul through my body, and I’ve found this detox tea from Camp Wander to work the same way.
I leave out the Apple Cider Vinegar because I don’t have any.
And also because I’m not brave enough to buy any yet.

Everyday! Morning Detox Tea

But my morning routine goes something like this:
Oil Pull as I read scriptures (instead of facebook -staying true to one of my new Dailies)
Wake my daughter up for school
Do Yoga
Drink my Detox tea while I listen to DeBussy

Make breakfast
Shower
Get Ready
Go to Work

Except I don’t always fit ALL of that into a morning. But when I do, the rest of the day feels it.
Heck, if I can even get THREE of those into one morning, the rest of the day feels it.

I know there’s more goodness out there, and I know there’s a huge amount of Soul Food just waiting to be discovered, but I’m simply handing you my present soul food.
Bon Appetit!

I Don’t Know Stuff

They say we’re living in The Information Age.

But I really think we’re living in The Answer Age.

Everyday I’m bombarded with answers!  They blow up my facebook feed, headlines, even my phone line.

Stay at home as a mother.

But don’t.  Don’t stay at home.

Let babies sleep, but wake them up.  Make them take naps -no wait, DON’T.

Wear pants to church!  But also remember that you should absolutely NEVER wear pants to church, and there’s a bunch of meme pics of Elder Holland to back it up.

Give cake to gays!  But for the love, don’t EVER bake a cake for gays.

There’s answers for addiction, for relationships, for marriage, for parenting, for lifestyles!

A few days ago, I began to be bothered.  NOT by the insane amount of answers being shoved into my face at any given moment (because we all know you don’t have to be online to have someone have answers for you!) but because I felt stupid.

STOOPID.

In the sea of answers, I seem only to be on the receiving end.

And that must mean -by default -that I am stupid.  Right?

All right, so that’s a false belief, but before you diagnose me and give me an answer, please just listen for a few minutes…

I don’t have the answers.  I don’t have the pathway down.  I can’t sit here and type out what you should be doing or shouldn’t be doing or which boundary you need.  I can’t laden you with comforting answers or set you on a path or put you on my back and carry you down my path, expecting you to see the RIGHTNESS of it all as you observe.

Because all I have is questions.

Through this whole thing, I’ve resigned myself to a few unchangeable truths in my own life.

1) I really don’t know anything which doesn’t make me stupid -rather, it sets me free.

2) God knows everything.

3) He doesn’t tell me everything, and I reserve the right to resent Him for it now and then instead of handling this truth how I feel I’m “supposed” to (which is to stuff my anger down and go to church.  Now I shake my fist to the sky and go to church which is different because my stress level has gone down.  Follow?  No?  That’s okay.  I barely follow and I’m living it).

But as I got ready for work on Tuesday and felt anger toward Him for not letting me know the WHY of a few hard things going on right now, a good friend a few states away sent a poem my way that read:

“I SHALL know why, when time is over,
And I have ceased to wonder why;
Christ will explain each separate anguish
In the fair schoolroom of the sky.
He will tell me what Peter promised,
And I, for wonder at his woe,
I shall forget the drop of anguish
That scalds me now, that scalds me now. “

~Emily Dickinson

My answers lie where Emily’s lie: in heaven.  Even reading that poem minutes after shaking my fist to the sky, I found God giving me my #3 truth all over again.

I KNOW, Alicia.  I KNOW, so don’t worry so much.  Just keep asking questions.

 

Truth #4:

I have no answers for you.  I will respect you enough to let you tell your own story and find your own answers while simply sharing my story.

My days are filled with me content to not know enough to participate in online arguments, happy in my question quest, but reserving the right to let God know how irritating it is that He keeps so much to himself even though I truly know what a beautiful gift it actually is.

Not all beautiful gifts are 100% irritation-less.

 (*cough* kids *cough*)

Truth #5:

I used to have answers.  I used to give advice and hand out “HERE’S THE WAY” tickets.  And sometimes letting go of that makes me feel dumb.

But abandoning a world where I insist on having answers has freed me.

There’s no pressure anymore.

There’s only a world of exploring questions and asking God for my own truth.

I won’t wear pants to church, but will you?

I would totally bake a cake for a gay couple but don’t hold an opinion on your answer to the same situation.

I let my baby sleep, but would you?

I can’t walk you through this life.  But I can tell you that God is walking me through it.  And sometimes I pretend He sings songs to me… songs about calling and answers.

I smile each time I hear the line, “and if you court this disaster, I’ll point you home.”

What?  Me?  Court disaster?  Please…

(By the way, it’s 8:30 in the morning, and I’m currently dealing with the stench of burned milk.  I forgot I let the burner on, okay?  It happens.)

This is me coming to acceptance with not having answers and owning that THAT doesn’t make me -by default -shallow, dumb, stupid, or clueless.

It makes me free.

Dailies

I recently had someone challenge me to come up with 3 to 5 new uplifting tasks I could perform every day… and then they told me they were going to check up with me once a week to see how I was doing.
I kind of hate that. In a good way. You know what I mean…

I came up with:
1) Instead of opening my facebook app first thing in the morning, I’d open up my Gospel Library app and spend a few minutes reading from the scriptures and manuals of the church.
2) Take time to look in the mirror each day and tell myself I love myself.
3) Find one person each day to express sincere gratitude toward.

I have to say that number 2 is RIDICULOUSLY hard to do. It’s easy in theory, but when I’m face-to-face with me in the mirror, it’s hard to meet my own eyes and say, “I stinking love your guts, lady.”
It just is.
It’s awkward and weird… and then I walk away feeling sad because I’m not fully feeling the self-love. However, I have used mirror affirmations before with amazing success, so I’m going to keep it up. It’s a little bit crazy how such a simple act can be so stretching.

What would you choose for your dailies, do you think? Not that I’m challenging you -I have my own challenge to worry about -but I just wonder.

10 sit ups?
A daily walk?
Sing a song? out loud?
Meditate?
Add a leafy green?
Listen to uplifting music?
Express yourself?
Write in a journal?
Put make up on everyday?
Do an act of service?

There’s so many options, so many different personalities to tailor them toward.

So far, it’s going okay for me. I’m not 100%, but that’s okay.
Yesterday, I didn’t hardly get out of bed except to visit the bathroom and I don’t think I did a single one of my dailies… except profusely thank my husband for buying me Sprite, taking care of the children, cooking, and cleaning the house.

He’s the best mom ever. I’m serious.

Winner!

You guys are delivery guys.

I received a total of 15 comments -all of which I stuck in my back pocket and breathed a sigh of relief because when it comes to travel I’m overcome with anxiety. It’s hard to push through it and tap into my own creativity. So thank you for getting the process moving for me. I’ve been procrastinating it!

Random.org picked our winner: comment #15

 

Jewel wrote:

Another thought that just hit me (I saw Tia’s response), but St. George is BEAUTIFUL. Tons of stuff for tourists to do! When we went up there for my race, I wished we could’ve had an entire week to hang out there! Thatcher is a better idea, I’ll be honest, but St. George would be fun. Some day. :)

JEWEL!
Thank you for all of your ideas!

I wanted to post the winner yesterday (like I said I would -I’m such a pants-on-fire liar), but I ended up unexpectedly spending some quality hours with my husband at his work.
And then he stopped off at my favorite florist to pick up the bouquet he ordered… and then came out with TWO bouquets. It turns out two men love me enough to send me flowers.
My husband and my Dad!
I used both bouquets -neither of which contained roses because although roses are pretty, I’d rather not thankyouverymuch -to decorate our dinner table. This year’s Valentine’s Feast went off with about 300 hitches and was nearly cancelled three separate times.
(Moms, can you relate?)

And as we all sat down to dinner, I said to my husband, “I’m not doing this next year. I’m forcing this to happen and that’s not how I wanted this to be. No one else wants to do it as much as I do.”
“I want to do it,” my husband said.
“Thanks for offering, go for it next year.”
*BAM*

I started planning this year’s feast on February 15th, 2013. I collected things throughout the year to add… heart ramekins, a pretty vintage tablecloth from an antique store…
A few days before, I finalized a menu and then whisked myself off to the store where I bought fancy goblet-glasses and a $20 huge hunk o’ Salmon.
I spent almost $100.
It kind of makes me sick…

And by 5 o’clock I was yelling at the kids, stressing about the green beans, and fending off a baby who hasn’t stopped screaming for a week.
That’s when my phone rang, and I picked it up and told the man on the other line that I’m very sorry, but the dinner I’d been planning for a year just wasn’t going to happen.

It finally did (thanks to the hungry man on the other end of the phone line), and although it didn’t go off as perfectly as I’d fantasized (a flaw of mine -and Anne Shirley’s), it was a good experience.
(still not good enough to make me go back on my vow. There will be no feast put on by the likes of THESE hands come next year.)

Along with the salmon and green beans, we ate a spinach salad (well, my husband and I did -the kids just picked at it with their hands. Verdict: weird and yucky). For dessert, we dipped strawberries and marshmallows in chocolate while we watched Mormon Messages, and then the kids went to sleep while Mom and Dad finished off the strawberries and Martinelli.
We watched “Austenland” and laughed so hard we almost peed our pantaloons.

And then I woke up seven hours later on the couch with the big comforter from our bed tucked tightly around me… my husband loves me enough not to wake me when I crash and burn after a long day AND to sleep with a lighter blanket on a cold night so I Can have the warm one.

I love him too. I love him enough to make him an avocado breakfast even though I hate avocado (I’m actually thinking of starting a club?) and I love my kids enough to feed them fancy foods (fancy for US, I mean) even though they’ve brought to the brink of insanity and I love you enough to give you eValentines.
Designed by Yours Truly.

I hope your Valentine’s Day was filled with love of others, of self, and of chocolate.

The package one is indecent.
I’m not even sorry.

A Trip, A Thanks, A Favor

I left this weekend.

It was quick and painless and even included a hefty bit of Costa Vida and got me thinking I ought to leave more often. We took our family down to the warm valley and attended the Gilbert Temple Open House.
Alice pointed to everything, “Pri-bee! Pri-bee!”
And I have to agree with her… everything in that temple was pretty. Lacy was in awe the entire time. Trenton was thrilled over the multiple stair cases. Danny was nearly moved to tears by the Celestial Room and I was just so bully gall darn happy to have us all in the Temple at the same time.

Once outside we took a picture which made us realize that
1) When Danny is stressed he loses weight and
2) When Alicia is stressed she gains it.
3) Our children are darling, no matter what we sometimes might believe.

The weather was perfectly warm -short sleeve and sandal kind of weather, and I’m grateful we were able to go as a family and meet up with more family.
The Phoenix area in February is gorgeous enough to make you want to move, but all you have to do is think, ‘I could totally live in this,’ for 5 whole seconds before you remember The Phoenix Area in July.
Yuck, melt, die.
But February?

Bliss.

We stayed the night with my brother and sister in law who put us in stitches watching “Impractical Jokers” and entertained our children by making wooden spears and launching mini marshmallows through the house.
And if you ever want a good hearty laugh, watch my littlest one go after launched mini marshmallows. She doesn’t mess around.

A girl after my own heart, I say. This coming the day after I stress ate half a bag of mini marshmallows…
ANYway.

You guys really are pretty much the best and most amazing people in the entire universe. I’m saying that because you’ve all been so supportive and sweet about my going off gluten. You’ve given me answers and resources and pats on the back.
I’m happy to report that after going not-quite two weeks without gluten my joint pain is almost non-existent. It’s a gigantic miracle. I was in so much pain this last year since the baby was born. I didn’t like talking about it, but I was scared out of my mind because it hurt. so. bad. I’d been dealing with it for 5 years, but this last year was… gosh… helly.
So thank you for that. Really, I appreciate it so much.

I also wanted to thank you for helping me out in my Bubble situation. Several of you reached out quickly after my post, and each of you comforted and cheered me and helped me.

NATURALLY when my husband and I tried for HOURS (as in… the drive down to Mesa and back) to figure out once and for all what we’re going to do for our 10-year anniversary, I finally threw up my hands and said, “I’ll ask my friends.”
And by “friends” I mean you.
And he knew it.

Because I don’t want to taketaketake, I crafted up a gift of Valentines Proportions (okay, Valentines Colors) to give out as a way of thanking you in advance for input.

We don’t have tons of money, and I’m sick of spending gads on time perusing Groupon Getaways.

I just want to know… do you have any go-to spots you love to slip off to when you can? Any dream vacations? Any ideas at all? Tips? Tricks?
Every comment you leave will be one entry to winning (I wish I could give you a million dollars, but) a hot pad and wooden spoon set.

The hot pad is bursting with pink and coral with a little mint and pumpkin thrown in there (dark grey on back). I just love it. After I finished the front, I sat and stared at it and just loved it. Because it was lovely and bright and no one came up behind me and UNcrocheted it. It’s lovely how hot pads STAY DONE.
So refreshing -like a balm to my laundry-sickened soul.

The spoon has hearts on the bottom. Because I love you. And the Valentine’s season is coming and going WAY too fast for my liking.

Please post your comments here and not on facebook because I will lose track of you if you start running social media circles around me.  The comments should include some input as to our 10 year anniversary trip, so you KIND of have to earn your entry.  Sorry about that.  But also desperate about that.

I’ll put all your names into a hat and pick one out on Thursday and mail the package out on Valentine’s morning (FRIDAY!).

Thank you, I love you. I really do.
And I have my Valentines in, so if you want one… send your address my way! And remember: Alicia’s sense of humor is weird. Just keep that in mind as you read your Valentine Postcard from me.

~Alicia

PS: Here’s the Hot Chocolate Float recipe I promised I’d post *cough* (two months ago) *cough*