Friday, February 28, 2014

DAY 918... Lord Kenneth Jacob Kinville of Glencoe

Yesterday one of my brother's turned 18. I cannot believe that he is 18! He recently got accepted to both BYU Provo and BYU Idaho and he will be graduating from high school in a few short months. I cannot get over how quickly he has grown up. This kid is HILARIOUS! He is also very talented. He plays the saxophone like a boss. Remember when we lived in Utah and he came in a serenaded my cheerleaders at practice in a wig and mustache?

He has the most ridiculous sense of humor which I love, but not everyone gets it. For his 18th birthday there was only one thing that he wanted. So my parents bought him a square foot of property in Scotland and now Jake is a legit Lord of Glencoe. How awesome is that? I am dying of jealousy seriously. I am trying to convince Spencer to Lady me up. Such a cool and unique thing! I made him this sweet card to commemorate the occasion...

Congrats Lord Kenneth on all that you done and all that you will do. You're gonna be great!!!!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

DAY 916... Confessions of a Subpar Parent

How is it possible that in almost the 20 months that Aniston has graced us with her presence that I had not taken her to the library? I LOVE to read and to write and I just love all things books! I'm really feeling as though I have failed in this aspect of motherhood. My awesome mom took me to the library all the time when I was younger. It was truly my favorite place. Obviously this was before the time that I discovered Taco Bell. Just kidding, I still love the library!

But today everything changed.

I took Aniston to the library. She loved it! She got a little anxious during story time and halfway through stood up and announced to me and everyone else attending that she was done with this. Love my sassy little opinionated diva.
 She loved playing with new toys while she was there!
 She ran towards the first Elmo book she could find and ripped it from the shelves to read. Funny thing is that we have never even watched Sesame Street. I cannot figure out how she knows Elmo, but she definitely knows Elmo.
 This horse was her absolute FAVORITE thing about the library! When we got home she told her Dad all about the horse.
 We never let her play on our computers at home so Aniston was in heaven playing on the computer. Okay, so she really didn't play, she kind of inappropriately banged on the keyboard over and over.
 Of course she had to say hi to the fish!
 The best part about story time was sitting on the blue square. Of course she had to tell all the other kids which color they needed to sit on too. I love how smart she is, and the look on people's face when they ask how old she is after her pointing out colors and talking so much.
 Once again loving on the computer!
 So many books!
 She had a little issue with the bird stamp she got on her hand. Kind of freaked her out, but by the time we got home she was okay with it. I noticed she kind of freaked out that there wasn't a stamp on her left hand also. She inherited a little of her Mommy's OCD apparently.
So much fun at the library today!!! I really want to take her to story time at least once a week. I think it's a good opportunity for her to learn to sit still and listen and to interact with other children. Most of the kids were older than she is, but that's okay. And yes, before anyone else asks, my hair grows crazy fast so it really is that long already after THIS happened.

I really think that reading leads to a wonderful imagination and has the potential to open so many doors. I love reading and I love being inspired by writers. I hope that Aniston can inherit more than my OCD traits and learns to love reading as well.

Monday, February 24, 2014

DAY 914... I Am a Sinner

We all sin. No one is perfect. Of course we may feel as though we are surrounded by people who appear or think that they are perfect, but that's a farse. I think that once a person accepts that they make mistakes and understands that it is okay not to be perfect, they actually become a little more perfect.

When I was in high school I tried really hard to obey rules given to me and looked down on my friends or others when they made a mistake. I foolishly considered them to be bad people due to their mistakes. Several years later and after I had made many many many mistakes of my own, I contacted those friends and apologized for my actions and behavior towards them. You see it took me making my own mistakes and knowing my feelings and intentions to realize that even though they made mistakes, that did not make them a bad person. It made them real. Once I made my own set of mistakes I became more understanding and more accepting of the power of forgiveness.

I belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormon church) and I have a tattoo. This is frowned upon by most members of my church and I completely understand why. I frequently encounter people eyeing my tattoo and glaring at me and judging me for it. I am use to it after 7 years. But just because I physically have a reminder of my sins, doesn't make it any worse than any other sins. Most sins don't leave a physical mark, but mine did. How does that make me worse of a person than anyone else? It doesn't. And because I made that choice, it has helped me to understand how good people are capable of making bad decisions. Being constantly judged for my sins has reminded me not to judge others.

I am definitely not suggesting that everyone go out and get a tattoo so that they can understand forgiveness and how good people do sin, I am just saying that it benefited me. My sins changed me from a judge mental human being to a forgiving and more understanding woman. I appreciate that learning opportunity. 

Why are we so quick to judge others when we have absolutely no idea what road they have traveled? I'm guilty of doing that in the past, but it's something that I am constantly working on doing better at. I want to be better because I know the pain and the hurt that can develop from judging others. We all sin, whether or not we choose to accept that is our own choice, but it's truth. We just need to stop talking long enough to stop and think and realize that we don't know what someone else has been through. We don't know what is driving them to make those decisions, so we certainly cannot judge them. I suggest we replace judging with unconditional love. You do not have to agree with the decisions that people are making, but you can be there for them to listen to them, to love them, and to offer support or advice if it's asked for.

I am a sinner, and I am okay with that.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Dear Aniston... Part 12

Dear Aniston,

I'm an honest person in general. I understand that sometimes this can come off as harsh, but to be honest just makes sense to me. I don't plan on doing anything but be honest with you your entire life. I may fib a little about Santa, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy, but those are silly white lies that will make magic for you. Anyway, I'm gonna tell you a truth right now. People are mean. People will tell lies about you and they will make you feel terrible and guilty for decisions you make or for even just being yourself. It hurts when they do this. Sometimes it will hurt really bad. I still don't quite understand why people feel the need to judge others quite so harshly. I mean does it really matter if someone in town decided to have a baby in high school? Does that affect your life at all? No, it doesn't, so why should people spread rumors and lies about them? How is that your business? People get bored and think this will cure their boredom. Never get bored. Avoid this pitfall. You will be so much better off!

I am guilty at times of saying things about others that I shouldn't have. But I have learned from my mistakes and I have been on the other end of that stick. It is not a place that you want to be, I promise. I continue to see older women who spend every waking minute talking about others and spreading rumors and they are not the person I want to be or the type of person you should want to be either. You are better than that. I am better than that. To hurt others is to expose your own insecurities and you are stronger than that. You are amazing.

When you do start to feel down, and unfortunately that will happen, I want you to know that you can always come and lean on me. I will always be here to hold and to love on you! In fact, I want you to do that. I know that there may come a time where it doesn't seem super cool to go to your mom after a long day, but I will always be more than willing to be there just for you. I will drop anything and everything just to hold you! I know that you are busy. Even at 19 months you are often too busy to stop and take time to cuddle with your mom. But no matter how busy I get, I will be there for you. Side note: Always choose your awesome Mom before running into the arms of a boy. TRUST ME!!!

Remember that there is more to life than tearing down others. Think about how that would make you feel. Just be wise with your words. Be smart, be wise and always be yourself. But remember when you feel weak, your mom will always be here to hold you. I love you Ani Kate.

Love, Your Mom

Friday, February 21, 2014

DAY 901-906... Atlanta

I think I am finally recovered enough to blog about my trip to Atlanta. Oh my heck! What a CRAZY adventure. Pretty sure we were the last flight out of Denver to Atlanta. We seriously just sat there and waited for our flight to be cancelled since every single flight around us headed south was either delayed or cancelled, but we had a brave pilot and we made it.

Can we please talk about how it was a bad idea for me to start watching LOST the week before I got on a plane headed into bad weather where we experienced crazy turbulence? No bueno! Of course I was prepared with my usually array of awesome things to keep me entertained during my flight. I am pretty bummed that they no longer pass out peanuts or snacks during a flight, but I guess I shouldn't be surprised considering everything else is cutting back on their awesomeness these days. Everything and everyone except for me! (wink wink).
And yes... It is necessary to have book a real copy of your favorite book, 3 different soundtracks of the same movie, and the book on kindle.

The storm didn't hit until later that night after I had experienced some of the most insanely delicious salsa ever! I am a HUGE fan of Mexican food. I love it all!!! We walked about 2 blocks from our hotel and ate at a "modern" Mexican restaurant called Alma Cocina. They had this avocado and tomatillo salsa that blew my mind! Their steak tacos that I had were also incredibly delicious.

Actually I ate fairly well all stinking week long! 

That's probably the only thing I miss about Atlanta, the food. That and how nice and polite everyone was. I felt more welcomed and comfortable in Atlanta than I do in the Mormon bubble of Rexburg in which we live.That seems a little backwards... I won't miss the confusing menus. I mean really. Can someone please explain this to me.....

We woke up bright and early the next morning and of course the first thing I did was look out the window to check out "the storm". AKA Icemageddon. Haha!

Atlanta took full advantage of it and one of the hotel employees built this cute snowman outside! Definitely picture worthy!

Doesn't look like much to me, but the city just isn't equipped to handle this sort of weather, so that's a HUGE problem. Pretty Much Atlanta was completely shut down. 1900 people had registered for the conference I was attending and only 800 showed up. So many cancelled flights and weather related issues! Half of the presenters and half of the vendors were not even able to attend, which kind of put a damper on things because a lot of the classes I wanted to attend were cancelled.

They had a big party the first night and Chubby Checker was the special guest. Homeboy is turning 73 this year (I googled it) and he was just dirty dancing the night away. It made me a little uncomfortable watching him get his groove on. Lucky for you he came and danced right in front of me so I recorded it. Front row seats.

I learned a lot and had an interesting time, but really I missed Spencer and Aniston like crazy. I face timed with them several times a day. Pretty sure people thought I was pretty strange when I would sneak out of lunch and they passed me in the hall singing "Popcorn Popping" to my child. I don't think I ever want to be away from the two of them for that long ever again!

One good thing was since everything was shut down for several days, we didn't have much of an option as to what to do. So I choose to hit up their insanely awesome gym a couple times. I even got an employee to unlock the stairs, weird that they even have that locked, and walked up the 14 flights of stairs to my room. Just getting my fitness on!

Friday was Valentine's Day. Not a fan. Never have been. The past 9 years I had eaten Taco Bell on Valentine's Day and that's about the extent of my celebration. I was sure that this year would end my tradition and I was super bummed about it. But by this time the mall finally opened up, so we took the MARTA to the mall and their food court just happened to have a TB. It was perfect!!! Taco Bell and I celebrated our 10th V-Day together and it was AMAZING!!!! Couldn't spend it with my husband so Taco Bell is the next best thing in my book!

When I was 5 I remember we were having a BBQ at a friend's house and Superman was on TV. I remember there being an earthquake and Lois Lane was stuck in the crack of the earthquake. This terrified me! For the next 13 years I prayed every night that there would not be an earthquake. When I lived in Hawaii we had a few so my fear faded a little, but I still didn't like the idea of an earthquake. Well Icemageddon was exciting enough, V-Day night Atlanta had an earthquake. NBD except that we were on the 14th floor and had the sway going on. NOT COOL!!! My fitbit tracked my sleep the next couple nights and I got about 6 hours total.  Boo to that!

Saturday we were able to hit up the Aquarium, which would have been so much more fun with Ani and Spencer for sure and the Coca Cola museum as well as a stroll through Olympic Park. 

I had declined to eat breakfast that morning because it was donuts and I just have never liked donuts and for some reason I thought it would be a good idea to drink quite a few cups of soda at the Coca Cola museum from different countries. Bad idea! Europe has some NASTY soda! I did try every type of Fanta from every continent and I can tell you that they were all delicious! It was definitely interesting.

It was still pretty chilly on Saturday and lucky for me I happened to wear a scarf.... Basically I walked around downtown like this. Don't worry though. It was totally acceptable in Atlanta!

I am so happy to be home. I am still tired and still missing all that good food, but so happy to be home with the ones I love and in my own bed!

Sorry if you follow me on instagram and these pictures are all repeats! If you aren't following you can find me at jahlstrom3. Check it out!

Friday, February 14, 2014

DAY 904... $49.99

It is my belief that life starts at conception. Don't try to argue with me, you will not change my mind, this is my belief. I understand you may not feel the same, and that's okay, I respect your right to your own opinions and beliefs. But this is my blog and I write my truths and my beliefs. Don't like it? Don't read it. Pretty darn simple.

How much do you spend a week on grocery's? My little family spends about $40-$60 a week to eat. So that averages out to about $50 a week. How much do you spend on gas a month? My little family spends about $32-$64 a month on gas. How much if your electric bill? Your gas bill? How much do you pay for cable and internet? How much does it cost you to go to the movies, or eat out? How much money do you spend on clothes and shoes and makeup and shampoo each month? How much do you pay for your cell phone bill or on Hulu and Netflix? We pay these bills and buy unnecessary items mindlessly. It just happens. We don't think about it, we just consider it a part of life. Of course there are times in my life where I have been on a budget, but there have been times where I definitely have not been.

What else can you do with $49.99? Pay auto insurance, buy A LOT of Taco Bell (possibly the best way to spend $49.99), buy over 4000 penny candies, go to a nice dinner and a movie.

Or a 17 year old, who cannot vote, buy pepper spray or be considered an adult can buy a Plan B pill for $49.99. There is a reason 18 is an age limit for so many things in life. Any younger than 18 and most people are not capable of making good choices. By allowing 17 years olds the option of buying a Plan B pill after they have irresponsibly had sex with who knows who, we are telling them that it's okay to make mistakes because there's a pill to fix them. Here's an idea... How about instead of taking a pill to prevent conception, let's teach our children about abstinence and safe sex. Kids will be kids and they will make choices we may hate and do what they want to do, but as parents, role models and examples we can at least teach them the adult way to deal with things.

I know and understand that Plan B is not an abortion pill. But if you think you are responsible enough to have unprotected sex, the act that creates life, you should be responsible enough to care for a child.
In life you do not get 72 hours  to fix a mistake... Once it's done it's done. With Plan B you can have an entire 72 hours to decide whether you want what's his names kid or not. How messed up is that? I feel as though the parents of those who use Plan B are simply saying, "Pardon us while we raise immature and irresponsible children and then wonder why they are who they are when they grow up."

Teach your children about consequences! Commit to giving consequences! Be an adult! Set an example! Teach your children that in the real world mistakes happen and you may not be able to change what happened but you can fix the future. You can go on to make better decisions. I understand the need and desire to want to protect your children, but do not send them out into the real world unprotected with no understanding or knowledge that can help them!!!! Teach them that there are options and not on,ply absolutes! In this case adoption could really bless the life of a family. Adoption could make someone's dream come true. Who wouldn't want to do that for someone else?Spend your $49.99 a little more wisely.

I am really missing my babies today, since this is day 4 of my trip. Here's a picture of my two valentines!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

DAY 901... I Am Great

Currently on an airplane, soaring 20,000 feet above the ground trying really hard not to think too much about how little I understand about how airplanes work and how it's possible that this massive hunk of metal can possibly keep me safely in the air for a substantial amount of time. While attempting to distract myself I began to think about my little Aniston. The longest we have ever been apart is 2 days. Until now. I will be in Atlanta (our flight there hasn't been cancelled... Yet) for the next 6 days without her! As I quietly crept into her room this morning at 4am to say goodbye I may or may not have cried. She truly is my heart and soul and my best friend! She is my little piece of heaven for sure.

As women I think that we often forget about our worth. We could brag all day about our DIY crafts or how amazing and wonderful our children are or simply how we survived another day. But we need to take a break and realize, "I am great." Recently the hubs and I hit the movie theater (love that my family lives here and are so willing to provide free babysitting) and saw Saving Mr. Banks. At one point in the film the driver says to the main character, "this is all for you. If it wasn't for you none of this would be possible." We have to, as women, realize this is the case in our lives! Without me, my daughter would not be here. Without me my home would not be decorated with probably too many DIY projects. Without me things would be different. The lives of those who I care the most about would be different.

I have talents that I probably don't even recognize as talents. Making it through the day is a talent. Being able to entertain a stubborn and sassy child is a talent. Singing my baby to sleep is a talent. Making dinner after a long day is a talent. Being able to simultaneously clean the house, do a load of laundry and make a baby laugh is a talent. Going to work is a talent. The possibilities are endless! As women we are constantly doing the best that we can to make sure that everyone else's needs are met and fulfilled that we rarely stop to fill our own needs. We rarely stop to realize and recognize our own gifts and talents and our endless potential.

If we stop and just realize how much joy our talents and our children and we ourselves bring to others and then realize how without us none of that would even be possible. Because we are here and because we are great it is possible. We have rough days where we feel depressed or anxious, or in my case both. We have days where nothing seems to go right and we feel fat (admit it, that happens), unattractive, useless, helpless, hopeless, worthless and scared. At the end of the day (did a Les Miserables tune just run through anyone else's mind?) we need to feel blessed and grateful that we survived another day and that we are blessed with yet another day to bless lives and spend time with those who we love. We are given the gift of another day where we can have the opportunity to realize that we are great!!!

I am guilty of recognizing the gifts and talents of others far more than I recognize my own, and for the sake of my self esteem I need to change that. I need to stop and realize in the mist of the craziness that is my life that I am great. You are great!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Dear Aniston... Part 11

Dear Aniston,

It's cold this morning in Idaho. So cold in fact that school got cancelled, and since I work for the school district, work is cancelled for me too. So instead of hustling around the house to prep for my day, I get to sit by the fire and watch Blue's Clue's with you this morning. And I wouldn't want to be doing anything else.

Yesterday at work I was teaching a Harry Potter class. Yes, your mother is a major nerd.. deal with it. During our Tri-Wizard tournament, one of the challenges was to put together a small puzzle in a frame and to see who could do it the fastest. My heart broke a little as I watched 4th graders put the corner pieces of the puzzle in the middle of the puzzle. These children did not even know how to put together a puzzle. When I was in 5th grade, I won the 5th grade super class award by putting together a puzzle together the fastest. This was before cell phones, before the ipad or ipod, before anything except regular and super Nintendo existed and even back then they were too expense for most people. It was before what you know now as TV and it was before most people even had computers! Basically it was before the distraction that is the mess of this younger generation. I want you to understand that as your mother I am probably going to tell you no once in a while. In fact I literally just told you no because you were throwing Apple Jacks at the TV. Why? I may limit your TV and computer time and force you to play outside. I may teach you things that you think are not important and I may bore you to death. But I'm doing these things to help you. I'm doing these things to help you become educated and smart and a valued member of society. I'm doing these things because I love you. There's more to life than technology and sometimes we just need to unplug once in a while. Get back to the basics and become more educated in the simpler things. 

I love you so much Aniston Kate, I want to teach you everything that I possibly can! I want you to know how to do puzzles, and I want you to play sports and be active. Yes, it's important and valuable to know about technology and how to use it, but that doesn't mean you need to spend 5 hours a day playing games on a computer or on Facebook (which let's be honest, may or may not even still be around by the time I let you get an account) or any social media for that manner. Your Mom loves social media, but it is a BAD BAD BAD thing. Social media can make you feel worthless or cause you to compare yourself to others when that's not okay. You are worth more than gold! You are so valuable and so loved no matter what you look like. You are talented and smart and beautiful and social media has a way of making you forget those things. That's just not okay. I don't want you to feel the way that I feel about myself. I want so much more for you! And that my child is why I might tell you no. I will do my best to set a good example for you, and currently I am trying to make changes in order to be the best mom that I can be for you. 

I love you so much Aniston and there is nothing that I want more for you than the world! And you are capable of that! I love you!!!

PS - Also don't hate me for doing your hair exactly like mine or making us wear the exact same clothes to be twins. Someday you will realize that this is awesome to the extreme!!!

Love- Your Mom

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

DAY 892-894... Birthday Weekend

My life is super crazy right now! I have a huge project for work due Friday, plus a new Afterschool session starting soon which is always craziness and I am going to Atlanta for 6 days next week for work. I don't even want to to think about being away from Aniston for that long! I have only spent 2 nights away from her and she was only .8 miles away at that point. I'm guessing there's gonna be a lot of facetiming and pictures sent via text. I've never been to Atlanta so that should be fun, but it's such a long time to be gone!

Anyway, so I'm 28. Whoop whoop. We spent my birthday weekend down in the good old SLC. Let's be honest here, my primary reason for going to Salt Lake was because everyone deserves to eat amazing food on their birthday and we definitely do not have that in Rexburg. I also happen to receive a free meal from Tucano's in the mail and you NEVER say no to free Tucano's. EVER! Aniston was absolutely wonderful on the drive there and back which was quite refreshing as I still consider her the world's worst traveler. This may or may not have been because the child is obsessed with Jamba and we happened to grab some for birthday breakfast before we left town. Now when I say she "loves" Jamba, this is not an understatement. She was chanting, "Jamba, Jamba, Jamba" while we were sitting in the drive through waiting for our smoothies. And then she preceded to drink not only her entire smoothie but also half of mine. I really don't think babies get brain freezes. If they do than Aniston is either an exception or she loves Jamba too much to care. It's probably the second option. She also entertained herself with her stuffed animals... there was a lot of kissing happening in our backseat this trip...

Aniston also LOVED Tucano's. 

Basically they had all her favorite foods from the buffet you know peas, olives and cheese. She attempted to eat a quail egg and that resulted in her throwing up, like legit adult throw up, and I had to catch it in my hands to stop it from spilling all over the floor and table and grossing out everyone else in the restaurant. Definitely the most disgusting thing I have ever experienced in my life. The joys of motherhood!

After lunch we hung out at the Gateway where Spencer bought my birthday present. We were lucky because Dick's had been sold out of my present for 3 weeks and just happen to get a shipment in that morning where there was only one that was my size and the color I wanted. L-U-C-K-Y D-U-C-K-Y! He got me the Fitbit Force. 

I am a wee bit obsessed! This sweet little contraption track my steps, how many miles I have gone that day, how many calories burned, how many flights of stairs I've climbed and how many active minutes I've had. It also tracks my sleep at night so that I can see how good, or in my case, not good I've been sleeping. I have had over 20 minutes of restless sleep every night so far. Not cool! It also wakes me up by vibrating. You can set any type of alarm through the app and it will vibrate to remind you. So much better than an obnoxious beeping. It also connects with Walgreens and for every mile I walk I get points towards my Walgreens rewards. It's a win-win situation with this puppy. I LOVE it! After enjoying the 30 degree weather outside (that's warm for us) for a while we headed over the Spencer's parents house and they took us to dinner.

Look how good Spencer's Dad looks! Such a miracle! Let's talk about my first experience with a Lime Rickey. OMG! I cannot even count how many of those bad boys we went through. Next on the birthday celebration tour we headed over to Yogurtland (Yum Yum Yum) to meet up with one of my old cheerleaders Sami. 

Oh I just love her!!!! I also love this little family of mine! They were the perfect bunch to spend my Birthday with!

The next morning we headed to the mall where Aniston insisted on riding the Zebra. This is one of her favorite words at the moment and she was thrilled to be able to ride on a "real" Zebra.

For lunch we headed to one of my all-time favorite places to eat in Utah... or anywhere for that manner, but they are only in Utah. The Philadelphian. 

This is a scary scary place. You think you would get hepatitis or something bad would happen to you while you were there, but that's because this place does it right. They don't worry about pleasing people with fancy decor or a nice establishment, they focus on the food. IT IS SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO GOOD!!!!! It is also inexpensive which is a bonus! My mouth is watering just thinking about it. If you live in the Salt Lake area and have not gone here... go!!! NOW! You will not regret it!

Later that day I met up with 4 of my other cheerleaders from my first year coaching and we caught up on life and ate delicious food of course (The Cheesecake Factory) and had a good time. These girls and Sami of course are some of my favorite people ever! We had some crazy rough times and one of these girl's and I had it out bad, like worst fight of my coaching experience, but we are friends. We have grown up and we respect each other. We have learned to say sorry. These girls haven grown up into such beautiful women and I never go down to Utah without seeing 1 or more of them. They may be 8-9 years younger than me, but they are my good friends and AWESOME people!!! I just love them!

 I also really love both of these people so much! They seriously make my world spin and give me so much to be thankful and happy for!

Aniston absolutely loved spending time with Grandma and Grandpa. I think the massages were her favorite thing!

On the drive home I may or may not have stolen Ani's boppy to use as a pillow....

This may or may not have resulted in her sleeping like this...

Good thing babies are flexible right?!?!

It was a GREAT birthday weekend and concluded with some Super Bowl action... or non action... But Spencer and I did get to attend our first Super Bowl party as a married couple! And yes, my hair does grow crazy fast.

And it also concluded on one of my favorite holidays!!! 

What a cute little groundhog! I hope you all had a fabulous weekend!!! It was definitely one I won't be forgetting anytime soon!